17th December 2019

Steve has quite a history in music but has never been in the limelight as much as some of his peers. 2019 has changed all that, coming to the fore in several different projects and finally receiving the recognition he deserves, he has - and has always had - his feet on the ground. He is also one of the friendliest guys you could meet in the music business.

NB. This interview was conducted in Dec 2019…I was just late putting it online. 

Q: You’re been a busy man this year Steve: one of the busiest you’ve ever had?

SM: It’s kind of weird Glenn. This last three years, the way things have come back into my life is very strange. Starting with the Schenker Fest three years ago, the Lionheart reunion and now The Sweet and I don’t know if you know about Liar but we are looking at doing a new album next year as well.

Q: I know know Liar of course but didn’t know you were thinking of doing a new album.

SM: Yes when Schenker Fest and Lionheart came along that was strange enough and then The Sweet came along and I thought ‘Wow…my whole life is catching up with me’ and then –do you know Khalil Turk from Escape Records?

Q: Yes I do.

SM: Well he is a big fan of Liar and Liar recorded an album in Los Angeles in 1978 for Bearsville Records that never got released and it was Khalil who asked if there was any way we could release the album. So thought ‘Yeah, why not?’ so we are packaging this up and have recorded a new song called Woman which was written forty years ago but never released. It was done via the internet which is the way everything is done these days and it’s mixed and mastered and ready to go. That will go on the album as well and it’s going to come out in February or March next year. On top of that, if time permits, Khalil would like us to go ahead and record a whole new Liar album. That’s very much dependent on whether I have the time to do it but it could be a very interesting project.

Q: The original line-up? Clive and Paul?

SM: Unfortunately Clive died a couple of years ago which was sad but we got the rest of the guys into it; Dave Burton, Dave Taylor and Paul Travis. It’s an exciting thing and I’m enjoying doing it.

Q: Sounds* didn’t like Straight From The Hip (1977) calling it five years out of date and having a 2D production. They did say that there was some excellent material on it though.

SM: I’d agree with that as it always sounded like a demo to me. I wasn’t actually on the album as it was recorded before I joined the band. My picture is on it but it was Geoff Whitehorn from Crawler played the lead guitar and I have to say some really great lead guitar but I think that review was fairly accurate. Geoff is a great session guy, a very funny guy and has a good voice. We did actually mention re-recording that album with today’s production values but we just thought it would take too long. It’s still up in the air but who knows, maybe you’ll see a new Liar album next year.

Q: Moving on, 2019 has been one of your busiest years…

SM: Without a doubt. When you consider that three years ago I was intending to kick back and take life a bit easier and support my son in his endeavours – pass the mantle so to speak – it’s been quite a time. I can safely say I did not have a minute to spare and it’s going to continue in 2020.

Q: So let’s start with the latest from The Michael Schenker Fest is Revelation. Did you have a bit more work to do on this one than Resurrection?

SM: Yes. The way Michael works is that he is the sole music writer. He writes backing tracks and then gives them to the singers so in terms of my personal contribution to the songwriting, really my part was doing the keyboards. It was that way on the previous album and this one as well. I think there’s a little bit more input in terms of the keyboards with this album. Everything that was sent to me was just stems of Michel’s guitar parts, guide vocals and drums and I just flooded the whole thing with keyboard ideas. They can then filter out what they don’t want in the mix and leave in the parts that work but I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised by this album how much of the keyboard parts I sent was left in – they seemed to work really well.

Q: That’s the reason I asked; I hear a lot more of you on this album tha the previous one.

SM: I think you’re right there Glenn – I had that same feeling. On the last album, on some of the songs, there were some keyboard parts that already existed and I talked to Michael about it but he said that on this one I should do all the keyboard parts.

Q: You’re touring it of course and coming up you’ve got the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise with The Michael Schenker Fest; have you done one of those before?

SM: No I’ve never done a cruise before! I’ve heard a lot about them from different people and I’m very excited about it. We are headlining so we have nice ca bins with balconies and I think it’s going to be a huge amount of fun.

Q: Then you’re in Japan doing two different sets. Can you tell us anything about that or does it have to remain a secret until the curtain goes up?

SM: (laughs) You’re going to have to wait for the curtain to go up on that one! We are still tweaking it a little bit but I’m afraid, yes, you’re going to have to wait. It’s a closely guarded government secret.

Q: Two drummers as well…

SM: Yes and I’m really looking forward to that! Having Simon there is wonderful as I’m a huge Toto fan as well. I’m a massive admirer of him, loved that first album that he did with Michael and thought his work was sublime. Bodo (Shopf) is really looking forward to it as well and obviously they’ll each do some of the set.

Q: Both Simon Phillips and to a lesser extent Bodo Schopf are a very different drummers to Ted who sadly can’t be with us anymore. Both have played with Michael before; have the musical dynamics within the band shifted in any way?

SM: Yes they have done already. One of the things about Bodo coming after playing so long with Ted is that it does make you realize how much of the dynamics within a band are down to the drummer. As you say, Bodo is a very different drummer to how Ted was and it’s different to quantify but Ted was a very British sounding drummer. I’m not trying to typecast here but it’s something I’ve come to realize over the years that German music and British music differ a lot in their basic feel. The British feel is a little bit more Bluesy and has a bit more swing but with Bodo, the timing is rigid – absolutely perfect. Both are good, neither are better or worse in any way but you have to get used to the difference and that’s what became apparent to me when we started working with Bodo. I’m sure that will be the same with Simon as well.

Q: The next project is the new Lionheart album; what’s the situation with that?

SM: We are probably about two-thirds of the way through that and now I’m busy with Michael so it’s just a case of finding a window of opportunity to get it knocked out. I’m to have it done by the end of February for a spring release. I might add, in terms of content, this album is stunning! I know everybody says this but I know, in my stomach that when this album comes out, it will be a very special album – I just know it.

Q: On Second Nature, you are credited with guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, production, engineering, mixing and mastering. Are you doing the same for this one?

SM: Yes.

Q: It’s a bit of a work load isn’t it?

SM: Yes but as long as it works, as long as I feel it works, I’ll carry on doing it that way. The thing is, I am a perfectionist and I have these ideas in my head and I know how I want things to sound. If I ever struggle, then I say to myself ‘Right, I’m not the person for this’, and I’ll go to somebody else. I work that way with Lee when we write songs because I’m not a melody writer or lyric writer and would never even attempt to try those because he’s far better at it than I’ll ever be. So I’ll write some music, send it to him, he’ll write a vocal, cut it up a bit and we send it backwards and forwards until we have it right. When it comes to engineering, what would be the point of me sitting with an engineer telling him how I wanted it to sound when I can just as easily do it myself? There is also the speed of creativity and this is a very important point which I try to explain to people; I go into a kind of a creative whirl in the studio where I have guitars to my left, keyboards to the right and the desk in front of me. I get this creative frenzy when things go bang-bang-bang-bang-bang and record loads of stuff. It might be two or three guitar notes and then I think ‘no, need to change that keyboard’ and the guitar goes down so I can change the keyboard and then that changes the guitar part again and so on. It’s a creative frenzy I get 100% absorbed in and I come out of the other ending thing ‘Wow – that worked!’ I don’ know what happens there Glenn, it’s very hard to describe, it’s almost like a trance when I get to that stage but the point is, if I had to explain to someone what I wanted, that creative frenzy would go. I don’t do it because I want to be seen to be doing everything; I do it because it works for the band and they are very happy they work that way.

Q: I understand exactly what you are saying and I suspect many other artists of all kinds do as well. I certainly do as a writer…sometimes I can’t stop the words coming through and they have to be written down at that moment or they are forever lost in the ether.

SM: That’s it. I think what it is, is that I am a believer in ‘the greater us’ and that we are more than what we realize. You can call it spiritual or whatever you like but somehow, when you have that need to write or I have this creative frenzy, we open some kind of door to our creative self and it just comes flooding through.

Q: Yeah my girlfriend used to often wonder why I was working at 2:45am but she’s learnt now to just let me do it.

SM: Same with me. If anyone comes into the studio and disturbs me, I have to ask them to give me a while because if I stop, it will be gone. Some of the best moments on this album by the way happened when that door opened and the creativity comes through.

Q: Yeah we should get back to this! Can you fit some Lionheart shows in somewhere in-between MSF and The Sweet?

SM: Oh…that’s a very good question! (laughs) We would love to but the priority is to get the album done of course. Once we’ve done that and it’s out, I think we’ll be looking at festivals mainly rather than support tours or club tours.  

Q: I mentioned The Sweet who you have hooked up with again after some time. Good to be back in the fold?

SM: Oh fantastic! It’s been a very busy tour but things never change in The Sweet and I think we are very lucky that we just happen now stumbled across a very good line-up.

Q: Yeah run me through the current line-up, this is Andy Scott, Lee Small, Bruce Bisland, Paul Manzi and yourself?

SM: Well joining Andy and Bruce who is a brilliant drummer – I can’t describe how good he is, just stunning – we have Paul on lead vocals and he’s one of the best Rock singers around. Lee on bass and backing vocals and is also one of the best Rock singers around and we just seem to have fallen on our feet. We have loads of fun, there is a lot of energy and excitement onstage and the reviews this line-up have been excellent.

Q: I hear what you are saying about Bruce. I did some shows with Statetrooper back on the eighties and of course their singer was Gary Barden.

SM: (laughs) Yes NWOBHM is very incestuous. Everybody knows everybody and different times everybody has worked with everybody else. It’s a small world the NWOBHM.

Q: I saw them some years back when they were here and Andy’s voice was earpiercing…he still hits that high note in The Sixteens.

SM: It’s amazing, unbelievable - It’s G I think he reaches. He’s seventy years old and he’s had a few health scares over the last few years and he’s obviously not as fit as he used to be but he sure can belt it out! With Lee and Paul as well who are world class singers, the vocals in The Sweet which is what they were known for are really superb. Bruce has a good voice as well.

Q: Your voice isn’t too shabby either Steve.

SM: It’s ok. They don’t me to sing though so I just prance around on guitar. (laughs)

Q: So apart from Michael Schenker, Lionheart, The Sweet, sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health** what else are you doing?

SM: Liar! (laughs)

Q: (laughs) I walked right into that! Steve, always good to talk to you, I’ll see you in March.

SM: You too Glenn. Take care.

*Sounds was a British Rock newspaper that ceased publication in 1991

**From Monty Python’s Life Of Brian

スティーヴ・マン インタビュー2019






SM: 不思議なことだよね、グレン。ここ3年間の僕の人生というのは、とっても奇妙なことの連続なんだよ。3年前のシェンカー・フェストを皮切りに、ライオンハートの再結成があり、今はスウィートだ。君はライアーのことを知っているかどうか分からないけど、来年にはニューアルバムを出す予定で準備しているところなんだよ。











Q:サウンズ紙*は『Straight From The Hip』(1977年リリース)を5年も時代遅れの深みのないサウンドだと酷評しましたよね。いい曲はいくつかあると認めましたが。












Q:あなたはツアーにも出ていますし、マイケル・シェンカー・フェストでの「70,000 Tons of Metalクルーズ」も迫ってきています。こういうことは経験済みですか?













SM: ゴールまで3分の2は来たってところかな。今、僕はマイケルとのプロジェクトで忙しいから、これにかかれるタイミングを見計らっているところだ。春にリリースできるよう、2月の終わりまでにはやってしまいたいと思っている。付け加えるけど、内容に関しちゃこのアルバムは凄いよ!誰もがそう言ってくれると確信している。このアルバムがリリースされた途端、とてつもないアルバムなんだっていう実感が湧くのがもう分かっているんだ。


Q:アルバム『Second Nature』では、あなたはギター、キーボード、バッキング・ボーカル、プロデュース、エンジニアリング、ミキシング、マスタリングとクレジットされています。一度にこれだけのことをやったのですか?






































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