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Progressive Rock Interviews

Steve Thorne

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview With Steve Thorne from 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

You are a busy guy - can you catch the readers up on your history?
For many years before "Emotional Creatures Part 1" and my current solo career, I was the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for a band calle "Colony Earth." This group went through many changes and line-ups over the years as well as musical styles. From the beginning of Colony Earth to the present day, I have written over 200 songs...some of which feature on Emotional Creatures Part 1 and Part 2. Two of the tracks from "Emo 2".. Sandheads and White Dove Song were written in the nineties and kept back for this project for many years. So I guess you could say that Emo 1 and Emo 2 have kinda been a life's work.
MSJ:
You had a lot of notable musicians on your solo album. How did you decide who to get to play on the disc, and how did you pull that all together?

My co-producer and engineer Rob Aubrey, on hearing some of the rough material for Emo 1 suggested I use a really good drummer for the album. The best one in his opinion was Nick D'Virgilio of Spock's Beard. I had not heard of Spock's but I had heard of Nick, as I am a big fan of Kevin Gilbert's work and he was the drummer for that. Things seemed to snowball from there. Although some of the musicians on the two albums had never played together, they are all aware of each others reputations and it has been fun to see all these elements come together on the project. A Nick D'Virgilio/Tony Levin combination is an awesome thing, I have to say that all the guests involved are completely amazing in their own right, and working with each of them has been incredible for me, but Rob Aubrey has been the lynch pin in the whole project.
MSJ: That disc was Emotional Creatures Part One - can we look forward to a part two in the near future?

Emotional Creatures Part 2 is at the mixing stage. Tony Levin, Geoff Downes and Nick D'Virgilio all appear again, as well as Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, Pete Trewavas of Marillion and John Mitchell It Bites/Kino. I have also enlisted the help of a local orchestra for a couple of the tracks. This "home-run" stage is really pleasurable, mostly because the musicianship is of such a high standard. The new album will be ready for release late February 2007 and I consider it to have some of my finest songs on there. It is developing into a strange beast before my very ears and I can't wait for its completion.
MSJ:
Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?

Yes, of course. There are quite a few, but I am almost sure it won't happen unfortunately...David Gilmour is one, Phil Collins is another...I could go on forever. It would be great to write some stuff with someone else also.
MSJ:
I know artists hate to have their art described or pigeonholed, but how would you describe it?

It's very difficult for me, as the sole writer, to give a name to what I do. I try to be diverse when I write, and I think it's best left up to the listener to decide how they percieve it.
MSJ:
Who do you see as your musical influences?

There are way too many to mention, some may be obvious and others less so. Roger Waters, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Rush, Camel....jeez I could go on forever. I like a real mix of music, from The Finn Brothers to Counting Crows, and I spend a lot of time listening to music, so my influences are endless.
MSJ:
Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?

I think it works both ways. I have downloaded music from the internet and as a result have gone on to buy the actual product. I like to have the complete thing -lyrics,artwork and information. I may not have bothered if I hadn't had the chance to really listen to it in the first place. I think that when it comes to multi-million unit selling artists, the loss of revenue is probably negligable, but it can be crucifying for minority niche artists. What fans and listeners need to know is that the sale returns of an album, dictate the budget for the next, so from this point of view, if everybody were to download an album, it would seriously affect the quality of the following project.
MSJ:
In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

There is a part of me that thinks music should be free.... but good music costs money to be made well, and that money has to come from somewhere. However, you cannot blame poeple for taking advantage of the technology available, I guess.
MSJ:
What's ahead for you? Touring, more recording?

Hopefully yes. I have written and roughed a third album....however,as with Part 1 and 2,there seems to be about 28 tracks for it so it may end up being another two albums. I have been invited to play at the Marillion convention week-end in Holland next Feb.I am looking forward to that, but my main prority is to finish Part 2.
MSJ:
What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

I recently bought Deadwing by Porcupine Tree and I have been listening to the first two albums by Doves a lot lately. They are Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast.
MSJ:
What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

The last concert I went to was to see Eels in London's Astoria - Brilliant gig!
MSJ:
What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

It was a long time ago, but It has to be when I sacked a guitarist while we were driving on the motorway to go and shoot a video. During a live performance the night before, he turned his Marshall stack up so loud that he drowned the rest of the band. He then started playing solos at that volume, that we had never heard before in rehearsals. He demanded the car be pulled over on the motorway, he then jumped out and marched off on the hard shoulder in the opposite direction.
MSJ:
Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?

Try to be a good person. Never date twins on the same night, and please don't burn Emotional Creatures Part 2 when it's released because the packiging is really nice!
 
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