David Readman Interview
3rd August 2022
Q: Your new solo album is out on Friday (August 5th). It’s taken a lot longer than you expected due to various things out of your control. Excited?
DR: Absolutely! For me, honestly, at this point it’s sort of out there in a way as I got the final CDs a week or two ago and I’m not involved with a record company. It’s all my thing and I’ve done it all myself. I needed an official date so I just went ahead and said I needed about four weeks to get the message out there which is not easy. That said, the amount of times I’ve done interviews and actually a friend of mine is doing some stuff for me on the internet and suddenly people are saying ‘Oh! He’s made a record!’ You know, it’s funny, you post and you mess about and people might see it in passing by but don’t necessarily acknowledge it but yes, Friday it comes out. I did a GoFundMe thing on this one where people could pre-order the CD and I’ve just sent out 250 CDs.
Q: You crowdfunded it. Was that as successful as you hoped and is it the way forward for you now?
DR: I think so. I’m now biting the 300 mark and I knew it might plod along a little bit but let’s be honest, if you are involved with a record company, it has good and bad points and the few thousand CDs that they would then sell are now coming straight too me. I’m getting orders from Japan, Brazil, America like crazy, Ireland of all places even though I know they love their Rock music…so I’m getting a feel for who buys my music now and being with a record company, you wouldn’t get a real feel for it. The GoFundMe thing worked fantastic in that I could get a certain amount of money together to make the record comfortably.
Q: Why Medusa?
DR: Well I could tell you this really romantic, amazing story or be honest and say that I had got in contact with my graphics guy who is Jobert Merllo from Sledgehammer Graphics. He’s always been really good to me and when I re-released my first record, I wanted a coat of arms type of thing with a flag and everything and did that really good. For this one, I wanted a stone wall, marble kind of thing with an emblem and he did that but then I thought there was something missing and I could imagine this sort of face in the middle. Then I thought it would be fantastic to have the hair made of snakes – well, it’s Medusa. I had the title of the record, I sent it to him and he did the artwork. I admit I did say to him that I wanted this marble thing which reminisces a bit of the Whitesnake 1987 thing but I also wanted the emblem thing to continue on from the re-released album and then we did the Medusa in the middle. It’s also good for T-shirts as it looks cool. As far as the booklet is concerned –I’m talking weeks ago now – I sent him some money, asked him if he could finish the booklet, he said yes, I sent the lyrics and the credits and said, for example Shelter From The Storm lyrics, do something with a storm…whatever. Within two weeks he sent it back and I didn’t change a thing. Each title of the songs, he did this really nice background thing. He’s from Brazil and I’ve never met him or even spoken to him! (laughs)
Q: You’ve got a lot of renowned musicians on it. How did you select the band and guests?
DR: I’ve worked with a lot of them before like Bodo Schopf from Michael Schenker’s group on the Pendulum Of Fortune record so that was a no-brainer for the first song. In the beginning I thought I needed to do a bit of name-dropping because it does help so I got in Alex Jansen on bass who has worked with many different artists including Scorpions; he’s Dutch guy living in Germany where I used to live and on guitar, I got Laki Ragazas from Greece who also did the Pendulum Of Fortune thing. For me, it’s important that when I work with someone and realise he’s a cool guy and a great musician, I always think I want to get something going with them at some point. Yoi never know when, it might not happen but it’s great when it does. As it went along, it was a bit of a puzzle really. I had the next song wondering who I could get involved on it so there was a bit of brainstorming and I had no major plan. Some people wanted paying to do it and that’s fair enough and others did me a massive favour by just giving me their talent.
Q: I had a listen to your first solo album which came out in 2007. You voice naturally sounds more mature but it sounds stronger as well. Have you done anything consciously in the last fifteen years to develop it? I know when you were over here last you had given up alcohol.
DR: I don’t know really – it’s possible. When I made that record back then I was definitely hitting the bottle but then finally saw the light…
Q: You finally saw the light…and then joined Tank.
DR: (laughs) Yeah! I joined a band where contractually you’ve probably got to drink! (laughs) I’m happy to let them do the drinking these days and it was cool though because almost every day everybody would have a bad hangover in the van and I’d be fine. Wide awake the whole journey and the rest were out.
Q: There is a difference in your voice between that first album and this though.
DR: I think you are still discovering something from your instrument in a way. That first album was for Frontiers Records and more melodic because that’s what was happening at that time and that’s what they wanted but this time I could do what I wanted to do.
Q: Given that it has been 15 years since your last solo album, what’s the evolution of the songs? Are they ideas from over those fifteen years or a completely new batch?
DR: Songs like Fallen and Madam Medusa are not that old but some are older, they didn’t go far enough for Pink Cream 69. They were just moments and riffs and ideas that didn’t turn anybody on or didn’t make the A List. I always felt this stuff had something but it just needed that next level. So, what I did quite often with for example Children Of Thunder which is an old song, I got involved with Raimond Burke and said ‘Take this song, do your thing’. The general concept was there but he’d change the solo section or whatever for more what he wanted to do and so we’ve written it together.
Q: You also have a big line in merchandise and as you mentioned earlier, your stuff not only represents you but also looks good just as a shirt.
DR: That was the thing. I’ve spent time in other bands where we would have this album cover that when it went on a T-shirt…well it was like having mushy peas on there (laughs). It was useless, nobody wanted to wear it. You do need a fashion statement in a way in that even if nobody knew who I was, they would consider wearing this T-shirt because of the head and the snakes and a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll and stuff like that. We do have the option on the website to make all this different stuff like water bottles and bedspreads and it sells well – especially in Japan. Our friend Noriko over there is a massive fan and I think she’s bought everything from the shop! As I’ve said often in my Vlogs though, all the money goes back into my records anyway and that’s how I managed to make it.
Q: Your YouTube channel is also doing well.
DR: Thanks. At the beginning I was very ambitious and trying to go for thousands of subscribers at the beginning but these things take time. It can be frustrating in some respects when sometimes you get a lot of views on a video and then next time you spend a lot of time on a video and you only get half as many and you don’t know why. It’s finding the right formula for something that people really want to watch. I’ve always tried to keep delivering something new for those watching and it is an amazing tool because a lot of people are watching it on their TV. I bought a massive TV and there is a YouTube button on the remote control and I thought ‘I can now go and watch all this nonsense and rubbish on YouTube’ but then I thought ‘Wait a minute, why am I not doing this kind of thing’. Honestly though, it took me a long time to build up the confidence to do it, the confidence to open myself up. It’s one thing to do a video to say ‘Hi, we’ve made a new record’ or advertise a gig or something but to open yourself to who you are, your personality, that’s a very different thing. Also at the beginning I tried to make better videos but I quickly realised that that wasn’t necessarily the thing. You see the singer from Darkness on there and it’s always the same, him sitting there with an acoustic guitar and he’s got 35,000 people watching it! (laughs) Anyway, let’s see what happens.
Q: In 2021 you were one of the vocalists at the Jon Lord tribute concert in Koln. How did you get involved with that? Was it through Demon’s Eye?
DR: No. I don’t have any contact with Demon’s Eye anymore. I did it for a while and it was a good earner but unfortunately replaced by a younger version. I wasn’t happy at the time and I still think it’s a bit ridiculous but the world turns and there’s nothing you can do. I got involved with the Jon Lord concert because I was in Almanac with Jeanette Marchewka who is the female sing in the band and we still keep in touch. I live in the Netherlands but Germany is only just over the border and that was where the concert was, in Köln, an hour and a half away. She wrote to me and asked me if I’d like to do it so I said YEEEEESSS! Of course I would! I do that stuff anyway so it’s a no-brainer really. It was a really great gig, well organised, filmed and it was at the beginning of last year, just as things were starting to warm up again with gigs so it was weird to be onstage again, in front of people who didn’t know how they could react. They didn’t know if they could move or whatever. We had a rehearsal the day before and the next day we did the gig.
Q: Is that the first time you had sang with an orchestra?
DR: No. There’s a guy called Thomas Blug from Saarbrücken , Germany who made his own portable amplifier and we did a festival in the in the middle of the city. Same sort of thing with an orchestra and we did some Led Zep and other stuff. The thing with an orchestra is though, there’s no jamming. You can’t just think you’ll extend a part on the night because they re playing to a score so that was weird because I’m used to jamming a little bit but you really have to stick to the rehearsed arrangement.
Q: There was an orchestra behind you, a more sonorous sound. Did you find yourself behaving or projecting vocally in a different way?
DR: I think so, to a point, yes. What I did find is that everything is a little bit more laid-back. The movements of the violin bows and things like that, you somehow have to get into the timing. They are playing in perfect time of course and obviously the drummer has to play to that perfectly so it’s a little bit more laid-back. It’s also the opposite way round in some way as well because there is this massive sound but the drums are louder than anything else. They put plastic screens around the drums because these musicians are not used to playing with a drummer and they have to be very careful. Their ears are very sensitive and they are high-class, well-paid musicians and the high-end effects of the cymbals could affect their future of a musician. They were cool people but it was often the case that this was something they had never done before.
Q: Give us an update on Tank.
DR: We were going to go out and do a few dates, some weekend dates but it was at the time I had just started something else and it was also the time that it was really unclear what was going on so I couldn’t commit and had to say to them that it wasn’t going to work for me with the rehearsals and everything. Mick and Cliff are currently involved in other things and both Bobby and Randy have left so I haven’t heard anything since that.
Q: Pink Cream 69
DR: We just played about three weeks ago at the Masters Of Rock Festival in Czech Republik. 20,000 people, just like the good old days and it made you wonder what the hell we had just been through…eating breakfast with plastic gloves. We had gone from that to 20,000 people, hot and sweaty getting totally pissed, shaking hands…I flew to Austria, we did a three-and-a-half-hour trip in a transporter bus, did the gig and then I was being transported back at 3am for a 7am flight from Austria back to The Netherlands. I was non-too-pleased as everyone else was still there having a bloody good time and every so often I’d wake up and find the bloody car swerving onto the other side of the road! (laughs) It was fantastic though. Pink Cream will do a new record soon.
Q: Voodoo Circle
DR: A new record as well – everybody wants to do a new record now. I re-joined them after five years at the beginning of last year and did an album but the unfortunate thing about a lot of records that got released around that time is that people don’t realise as the got lost in the covid news. So anyway, it’s time for a new record.
Q: How many bands are you in these days David?
DR: (laughs) As many as humanly possible! I enjoy it though and I remember back in the day when I was young and tender and Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden called me up and I did an audition for him but that time he just said ‘Well let’s see what happens’. Well anyway, at one point, he did call me up but by that time I had moved to Germany, signed to Sony exclusively and in those days, you didn’t really do other stuff. You didn’t just wander off and do other things but now if it happened, I’d be saying ‘Yeah! Let’s go!’ I really enjoy doing different stuff these days.
Q: David, always a pleasure to talk to you, best of luck with the album, take care and stay in touch.
DR: Will do, all the best to you and great to speak to you man.
You can access David’s YouTube channel here: