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Progressive Rock Interviews

Osiris the Rebirth

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Milo Black and Dave Adams of Osiris: The Rebirth from 2011

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Milo Black: Gawd, ancient history! If we ignore the classical training on clarinet, blah blah blah, I started playing guitar and writing with a blues band called “King Biscuit” in the mid-80s. I messed about in the studio in the early ‘90s, making tapes under the name “Black Hole,” then made a solo album and two collaboration albums between 1999 and 2002. I joined up with Dave in a Hawkwind tribute band called “Assassins of Silence” from 2002-2003, then it all went a bit quiet for a few years, until Dave called in 2007 with the idea that became the current project.

Dave Adams: Again, ancient history: I bought my first bass in 1978 and sort of taught myself to play (a bit) then with a few school friends formed a band at called “Acidic Dream.” We played two gigs. I then played in a "metal" band called “Sentinel,” who played one gig. I then moved abroad and didn't play for about four years. On returning to the UK I started writing songs, some of these were recorded under the name “Osiris.”

Following this, 1989 to 2002, I played with various cover bands. A chance meeting in a music shop with Milo led to the formation of Assassins of Silence, which continued in various forms until 2009. I left in early 2008 but had already started working with Milo on Osiris the Rebirth.

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Milo Black: Music isn't a career choice that has ever paid the rent for me, so I've always had to have a "proper job".... but I've always had to have that outlet. If I don't have something happening musically, I get pretty miserable.

Dave Adams: Like Milo, playing music has never paid the bills, selling musical instruments has though! Music is my passion and nothing is going to change that. I cannot imagine a time when I won’t be involved in music.

MSJ:

How did the name of the group originate?

Milo Black: Down to Dave, this one.

Dave Adams: Quite simply I wanted to resurrect my old band Osiris, so Osiris was reborn!

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Milo Black: Lots of prog rock, especially ‘70s bands like Floyd, Crimson, Yes, Caravan, Camel, and more recently Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Flower Kings, Porcupine Tree and Ayreon. Lots of spacerock too - Gong, Ozric Tentacles, Hillage, Hawkwind of course... and a whole bunch of stuff in smaller ways - my music tastes can be described as “catholic (small C).”

Dave Adams: Hawkwind first and foremost, Lemmy in Hawkwind is the reason I wanted to play bass. Other classic ‘70s bands, Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd, etc. and other obscure stuff and little known bands or artists like Kala (came out of Quintessence) and Kenny Young.

MSJ:

What's ahead for you?

Milo Black: We're playing the Jackdaw 2 festival in August, and planning to do some proper gigging. The last Osiris album took us 18 months to do though, so don't look for Osiris number three any time soon.

Dave Adams: Milo's answer to this one will suffice.

MSJ:

I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Milo Black: Space-prog. The new album Lost is maybe a little more prog than Remnants of Life, but we don't really close the door on anything.

Dave Adams: Space Prog, we may have even invented the genre! We do like to explore though and who knows what will happen in an Osiris the Rebirth track.

Milo Black: To hyphenate or not to hyphenate. That is the question.....

MSJ:

You’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty high profile (at least in terms of space rock) guests on your discs. How did you meet up with those people and make that happen?

Milo Black: Dave knows everybody. We ask (nicely and politely), and we're happy to take "No" for an answer (as we sometimes have to do). We'll have a track ready before we ask someone, so they can hear what we're doing. People reasonably local to us will come over to record - that's fun to do because you can work things up together in the studio. For more distant collaborators, they will record their own parts and send them back over the net. Cyndee Lee Rule, for instance, isn't in the UK often enough to make live recording possible. We're happy to work with what they give us, which can sometimes result in sending the track in some really interesting directions.

Dave Adams: I do have a few contacts. They in turn have contacts, and as Milo says we ask nicely...but we don't ask twice!

MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Milo Black: I would love to get Steve Hackett, Steve Hillage and/or Daevid Allen as guests at some point. Cyndee is keen to play with us live some time if the dates match up

Dave Adams: Lemmy! Having said that, he would blow me away I think, or eat me up and spit out the bones. I have met the man a couple of times actually. I too would like Daevid Allen to be involved with something. That may yet happen. Live with Cyndee would be really cool, have done so once before when she guested with the Assassins, but Osiris and Cyndee…yeah!

MSJ:

Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

Milo Black: It's a fact of life. It is very nice to get paid for your work, but we do make our songs available for free to a reasonable extent. Anything which gets our name about is good - as long as that then translates to sales in some tangible way. We don't make money from producing music - but it would be so nice if we didn't have to pay for the privilege. The only thing I get annoyed about is people who believe that music for free is a "right.” Sorry, no. Musicians need to eat, just like everyone else.

Dave Adams: Hands up to this, I have downloaded illegally, it happens, but I do believe it often leads to further legal interest in a band’s music.

Heaven forbid we should ever make money from our music, but it's ours and we do own it so if anyone does illegally download some of it, please buy our albums too.

MSJ:

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Milo Black: No problem with that at all, as long as they are trading them and not selling them at a profit. Video the gig, put it on YouTube or Facebook, no problem - just send us a copy.

Dave Adams: Yep, go ahead but please send us a copy. Nik Turner takes this approach and it's one of the things that has set him apart from Dave Brock.

MSJ:

If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Milo Black: The evil and nefarious Doctor Hat! Any sort of music where a hat is required to perform it seems to leave me cold. I won't name any genres, but think about it. Also, the Barbie People....plastic boys and girls with no genitalia, personality or soul. The music industry hatches these darlings in a secret lab somewhere, then trots them out to sing formulaic songs (with a big-budget video, natch). Do not give these people your money!

Dave Adams: Simon Cowell, the evil spawn of Satan.

MSJ:

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

Milo Black: It's been done! Transatlantic! Mike Portnoy (drums), Neal Morse (keyboards), Roine Stolt (guitar), Pete Trewavas (bass). I can't imagine a better prog band than that. You could suggest (maybe) flashier players in all four seats - but for something that gels? Nah.

Dave Adams: Milo is right, it has been done, but it was the Space Ritual line up of Hawkwind.

MSJ:

If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

 Milo Black: Osiris the Rebirth (opening act) - just because I'd love to share a stage with all these guys.

The Project Initiative - would love to see these guys on a festival stage

Ozric Tentacles (late ‘90s) (Did I mention time-travel? No? Ah well....)

Hawkwind 1973

King Crimson 1980

Dream Theater 2005 (Headliners)

 

Dave Adams: Us, same reason Milo gives. Underground Zero, hang on we are playing with them at Jackdaws! Whoever was in my dream festi line up, the headline act would be Space Ritual era Hawkwind.

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

Milo Black: I've been so tied up finishing our latest album Lost that I've not had time for a lot of other music! But the last album I listened to was Glass Hammer's On to Evermore.

Dave Adams: I don't buy many CDs at all. Last one I bought, I think, was Rush 2112 to replace the one my sister borrowed and never gave back. The last album I listened to was just now, by Gregorian, a band who cover rock classics in the Gregorian Chant style.

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

Milo Black: As usual, I am trying to read about five books simultaneously! Have just finished re-reading The Code Book by Simon Singh - a history of cryptography.

Dave Adams: Currently reading an anthology of Isaac Asimov short stories, I love scifi and fantasy too. The lyrics to the song "Brave New Earth" on the Lost CD came about whilst reading Arthur C. Clarke's Time Odyssey series, by way of Rudyard Kipling (read the books!)

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Milo Black: A small festival in Derbyshire, headlined by the excellent Flutatious.

Dave Adams: I was at the above with Milo and a good time was had by all.

MSJ:

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Milo Black: Too many to name. Natalie Imbruglia springs to mind at the moment.

Dave Adams: The Carpenters, Karen Carpenter's voice is just the best.

Milo Black: Yup - have to own up to that one too. "Goodbye to Love" is just the dog's doodads.

MSJ:

What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Milo Black: Playing a first gig with a prog band, in a very small pub with a "crowd" consisting of three drunks and a dog. I had been joking that the keyboard-player should get himself a cape. He took me seriously, and turned up with this dreadful gold-lamé thing. I didn't quite know where to look.

Dave Adams: I was at that gig Milo speaks of, the drummer had a stupidly big rig and the guitarist (not Milo!) had a full Marshal stack, all in a space about 10 feet by 6.

MSJ:

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Milo Black: Frank Zappa, Rick Wakeman and Lemmy. One dead, and two who probably should be! All musicians, I know, but all with interesting views, a sense of humour and a lot of stories to tell.

Dave Adams: Lemmy, Arthur C Clarke and Princess Margaret, that would be an interesting evening, I wonder who would smoke and drink the most, Lemmy or Princess Margaret!

Milo Black: Looks like Lemmy is going to be a busy chap.....

MSJ:

What would be on the menu?

Milo Black: Heh...Jack'n'coke (in biblical quantities).... Burnt Weenie Sandwiches with fried spaghetti...and a huge roast turkey dinner (to share with any lapsing vegetarian prog musicians who might happen by...) Winston cigarettes in lieu of cigars.

Dave Adams: Seafood of all kinds: if it swims I eat it, with the sole (no pun intended!) exception of eel, like Simon Cowell, the spawn of Satan.

MSJ:

Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Milo Black: Thank you for having us!

Dave Adams: Thank you and please tell your friends about us.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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