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19 February 2013|
RAGE OF ANGELS
Rarely does an album get pre-released to seasoned hacks and then have them frothing at the mouth with appassionato. The cause of this sudden rush to proclaim ‘Album Of The Year’ is due to Escape Music’s impending release of a band collective going under the name of Rage of Angels. The gentleman behind this major ripple in Melodic Rock/AOR circles is none other than the quiet, unassuming, all-round genuine nice guy (and ex keyboard player of Ten), Ged Rylands. Carl Buxton got reacquainted with the man now in demand on Skype over the Christmas period to look back through his history and discuss the album that everyone is now waxing lyrical about.
Can you explain the genesis of this album and why you chose the name Rage Of Angels because I think you said it’s been two or three years in the making?
Gosh! Two of the songs I had in their basic form are from the Ten days. We were all going to go off and do a solo album, going to do a bit of a Kiss where we’d have a hiatus and go off and do a solo album. But for one reason or another it never happened. So I always had songs and always wanted to do this solo album. It’s one of those things…I didn’t have any hobbies at home so I started building a recording studio. It could have gone horribly wrong and I could’ve started building a train set or something, but I wouldn’t have got an album out of a train set, that’s the thing [laughs]. So I started recording the songs. Some of the songs I had in my head and then new stuff started coming and it was never meant to be put out, it was never meant for someone to listen to. And I bumped back into Bruce Mee at a Z Rock show, about three years ago, and got talking to him and he said play me some of it, so I did and he was like ‘Oh my God, you should release this, we need to get this up and running.’ So two years of development went into the album. The songs I’ve worked on and worked on and worked on until the point where I was happy with them and again, talking before about the old school way of really crafting your songs and changing them and, you know, making them as good as they can possibly be. That’s why it’s taken so long. But getting back to how we got the name, funnily enough Bruce Mee had written a lyric called ‘Rage Of Angels’ and when we were trying to find a name for the band we all came up with sort of ten or twelve names each. I did, Bruce did, Khalil Turk at the label did and one of the names that Bruce came up with was Rage Of Angels and we all seemed to like it, you know, that sounds great, let’s use that. So the name came from Bruce really.
And the title ‘Dreamworld’?
It was going to be ‘We Live, We Breathe, We Die’ but we’ve gone for ‘Dreamworld’ because it’s the opening track on the album and it was a bit snappier, and it kind of rolled off of the tongue. Again it was a decision that everyone was happy with, the label and everyone involved.
So were the core of the songs finished then Ged and you used a guide vocal before you decided on who would sing them?
Yeah, absolutely, every note of music was done before anybody else got their hands on it. With the lead vocals what I would do is put a guide vocal on and send it off. I mean I’ve got people who are heroes of mine like Harry Hess. How embarrassing is it to warble in a guide vocal and send it off to one of the guys you really, really admire, one of your favourite vocalists? So that was a bit of a strange, surreal situation. Same with Danny Vaughn, having to do guide vocals and then send them off to someone of Danny’s calibre and you know he’s one of your favourite vocalists, and have him listening to you warbling away? It’s a strange thing. I’m very comfortable with backing vocals but lead vocals really isn’t my thing, so I left that to the guys who did it properly and do it well.
Is producer Martin Kronlund involved with a band as well?
Bruce Mee recommended him because he’s one of Bruce’s favourite producers of the modern era. He’s done the Reece/Kronlund stuff, he’s done quite a few other bits and pieces. Dennis Ward was mentioned but he wasn’t one of the guys we were going to go with. He was busy doing other things and we really wanted to try and move on with it. Tommy Hansen was a name mentioned, Mike Slamer was a name that was mentioned but again very, very busy. It was like, actually, do you know what, people keep saying to me go with Martin Kronlund, so it was like ‘Yep, go with what everyone is telling me, let’s use this guy’ and do you know what? He’s done such a great job, really has done a brilliant job, although I think there were times during the mixing where he absolutely hated me; I think he had a little voodoo doll of me and he was sticking pins in it [laughs]. When I sent him the stem tracks of the songs he rang me up and said ‘I can’t believe it, this is the biggest production I’ve ever done in my life as a producer, are you serious?’ and I’m like ‘Yep, honestly, please trust me’, and he said ‘But do we need all this?’ and I’m like ‘Yep, please, please trust me. Let’s just go with it and see what we come up with’. At the end he said to me ‘Yeah, it was a huge task but I really see it now’ and I think we’ve got a huge sounding album.
Fantastic. I want to ask you about ‘Spinnin Wheel’ because the bridge in that song is very much reminiscent of Y&T - ‘L.A. Rocks’ from ‘Contagious’ - and I wondered if you were influenced by Y&T at any point or if that song came about because of your UFO influences?
No regarding Y&T but yeah to UFO a bit, and then I threw the counter riff in as well because that counter riff wasn’t there originally. One day I got bored and was playing along to it and I just started doing a counter riff to the main chugging riff. I thought that’s very Scorpions, I like that and it was again old school. Y&T weren’t a big part of my musical background so it was definitely more UFO and Scorpions, but the whole thing about ‘Spinnin Wheel’ again is that I wanted to make it old school. A spinning wheel is a long playing record, it’s an old 33rpm disc and that’s why you have that noise at the beginning with the arm coming over and the needle going on to the record, you hear the crackle and stuff. It’s just going back to when I first go into music all those years ago and all that anticipation when you heard the crackle of the record and you were excited and you knew that it was something that you wanted to listen to.
I’ve tried to put a bit of theatre into it so when you’re listening to the record there’s something to visualise as well. Certainly ‘Requiem For The Forgotten Soldier’ – that is full. You could close your eyes and almost see a feature film in front of you when you listen to that track and that’s what I wanted
How about Robert Hart’s involvement?
We went to see Bernie Marsden at the Jazz Club earlier on in the year and Robert Hart was up with him and he did all the Whitesnake songs and we both looked at each other and went ‘My God, this guy’s voice!’ and it was strange because for many, many years Vinny Burns had been saying to me ‘Oh my God, Robert Hart has got one of the best voices in the business’. I’d been hearing about Robert Hart all this time and I didn’t even know he was playing that night with Bernie Marsden. Then suddenly there he is in front of me and I’m like ‘Wow, I can see where Vinny’s coming from, I know exactly now why he holds him in such high regard’. It was something we mentioned to the record company and it went like this; ‘Actually we’re talking to Robert at the moment because he’s doing an album for Escape – would you like to see if we can get him involved?’ We have Robert on two tracks and I have to say it was one of those almost…you know I cry at almost anything these days, I will cry at the most stupid thing, the older I get, I cry at everything. You know, it’s one of those things that when I got the vocals through for Robert’s tracks it was ‘Oh my gosh’, really emotional at hearing that, so, yeah, it was great to be involved with Robert - and Robert is doing a great album with Jim Kirkpatrick of FM.
So are there any plans to tour the album in the future then Ged?
Well, yes! I do have a full touring band and my plan is that the band is going to then become the permanent band. I’ve already started recording album two. It’s written and I’m just starting to record it, so my plan is that we will go out on tour probably May/June this year if we start talking to promoters. I’ve put a great live band in place. I’ve got some names on there that will surprise a lot of people, but let’s just say I’ve really hand-picked the very best that’s available, and when this band gets out there it’s gonna be one hell of a live band. It’s going to be a six piece band and it will kick serious ass, believe me, it really will!
To read the full double page interview with Ged, where he speaks about several of the tracks and guest singers, as well as his past album credits, you need Fireworks Issue 56!
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