Interview with Chris Lyne of Mother Road

How long has it been since your favourite act released their new album…? If they are one of those restless bands who seem to literally live in the recording studio, their next record will probably come hot on the heels of the previous one. Other groups may make their aficionados wait a bit longer. Remember when we all waited for Guns N’ Roses to release Chinese Democracy…? The international supergroup Mother Road doesn’t go to such extremes in terms of album delays, but still, it’s been a couple of years – six exactly – since the release of their first offering Drive. Now that their new album II is ready, it was the right moment to ask the Mother Road guitarist Chris Lyne what’s prompted their six-year hiatus and discuss the new record down to the smallest detail…

Mother Road 2020 – Chris Lyne, Zacky Tsoukas, Keith Slack and Barry Sparks

Alexandra Mrozowska, Rock Speculo Interviews: Why did it take you so long to record a follow-up to Drive? Were the band members engaged in other projects throughout this period?

Chris Lyne: Well, that is a good question. I am sure they did (laughs). After we broke up in 2016, everybody had to go their own way and work on other things. I mean, we have to pay our bills… (laughs). I worked on my film music stuff and got for two movies awards. I also work as engineer for some post-dubbing companies and also played a lot of studio sessions for other bands… All of us are independent people and I don’t know exactly what the other guys did.

AM: Congrats on the awards! During these six years, some line-up changes were inevitable I think. Barry Sparks [ex-MSG] replaced Frank Binke. How did you hook up with Barry?

CL: Frank and me are long-time friends and we have made a lot of things together, but in the middle of the production, we had the feeling that we need a change musically. I spoke with him and he said, “Of course, Chris, no problem”, because he’s a professional musician and a great person and we are still friends! Barry and Keith [Slack, Mother Road’s lead singer – AM] have played two years together for Michael Schenker and they’re really good friends. So, Keith asked me what I think about Barry and I said “Wow, an amazing bass player!… If he has time for us – yes, of course let’s try.” Then I had a long chat with Barry and we both realize that we are definitely on the same page. I sent him one song without bass to let him play what he feel as for me that’s the best idea to check out if someone is musically on the same page as we are. And what can I say… one day later he sent us the song back and we were really impressed. He’s a hell of a bass player and an outstanding character too. So, Barry was absolutely the right choice for us, he and Zacky are so great together and that was the last missing piece in the puzzle. We are really happy and proud to have him on board!

AM: It was Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, JORN) who played the Hammond and piano on Drive. Why isn’t he a part of the band anymore and who took over for him on the album?

CL: Well, with Alessandro it is really simple. He wanted to be a permanent member of the band, but he doesn’t have enough time to work for it, because he has too much work for his employer – Frontiers Music SRL.

AM: Oh yeah, his schedule is perpetually busy to say the least!

CL: I really like what he played on the first album and I wanted to write songs with him for the second one, because I thought we could write songs closer to the whole band. But he told me that he has a publisher contract with Frontiers and that makes it difficult, even if he wanted to participate… We want to be independent and that’s the main reason why he is not longer a part of Mother Road. The Hammond stuff is played by an Austin, TX-based guy called David Breaux, the screaming B3 monster. Keith knows him very well and recorded with him.

AM: Do you plan to include a keyboard/piano player in the line-up, especially for the purpose of live performances?

CL: I’m not sure we really need a keyboard player when we go on stage with Mother Road, because Keith is also a great guitar player and it can be that we play with two guitars for some songs. But that’s a choice we’ll face with when it comes closer to some gigs.

AM: When I chatted with Keith six years ago, I remember he mentioned it was actually you who came up with the band name. Where did the idea come from? Are you interested in American popular culture?

CL: First of all, I’m generally interested in history of the whole world. And yes, that was a funny thing – as I told Keith about this name, he said he had never heard of that. I told him that’s the nickname of the Route 66. I saw this on a sheet metal sign in a car repair shop from a good friend of mine. For me, it sounded good and speaks also a little bit about our music.

AM: I believe you’ve been writing songs for the album with Keith in a span of the last two years actually, which is quite a lot of time. Do you have any outtakes of those writing sessions shelved for whatever reason?

CL: It’s not like we spent two years on songs for the album. The thing is, we don’t have any support from a record label or something. We pay everything from our own pocket and we have to pay our bills. Everybody in the band also works on other things to make money. But yes, of course we have some more song ideas and cool riffs… who knows for what! (laughs)

AM: Also back in 2014, Keith pointed out to slight difficulties of writing songs together due to the physical distance between you and him. What was the songwriting process like for the album this time? Did you manage to handle all songwriting/recording sessions in person?

CL: In 2015, I was in Texas for four weeks to work with Keith on the songs for our second album, and I would say that 80 per cent of the song ideas we wrote for the new album were originated in these four weeks. With the last things like the arrangements, melodies or solos etc. everybody has worked in their own studio and we spoke via FaceTime or send each other samples. After we finished the complete songwriting process, Zacky came over to my studio and we recorded the drums, percussion and guitars. Also, I recorded the horn section for “Cold Heat” in my studio in Berlin. Keith recorded all his vocals and the Hammond B3 Organ in his own studio in the USA. Barry did the same – he recorded all bass guitars in his own studio. The good thing is that all of us are also great engineers, have their own studios and know how to record an instrument… Then, after everything was done, I started working on the final mix of the songs.

AM: The new Mother Road’s album being titled simply II, is it a homage of sorts to Led Zeppelin?

CL: You are right, it is a homage (laughs). I mean, Led Zeppelin did everything what they wanted to do. They never did that what the people in suits behind the desk say. Like they never had band pictures on the cover or made things they didn’t stand behind and I’m sure that all promotion companies were completely freaking out when they saw that. Led Zeppelin have let the music do the talking and rose to one of the greatest Rock bands ever. Okay, it was a different time, but for me is that impressive! And on the other hand, how important is a name of a music album…?

AM: The number formula did it for Led Zepp, so that’s probably how unimportant it is. So, in terms of music, II is more or less a continuation of Drive. However, there are some surprises along the way, such as the song you’ve already mentioned – “Cold Heat” with its Jazz/Funk vibes…

CL: (laughs) I don’t know what you mean with Jazz sound…?

AM: (laughs) Isn’t it open to interpretation?

CL: Maybe you mean the horn section. “Cold Heat” is a pretty cool rocking Funky song with a great groove and a lot attitude. I mean a lot of Rock music from the ‘70s have this kind of groove and sound. We are also big fans of the Soul and Motown stuff from this period. It was Keith who came up with this song idea and asked me what I thought. I said, “Wow, let’s work on the arrangement” and I’ve had the idea with the horn section that give the song the this special Tower of Power feel. The guitars are really heavy and funky with a cool Robin Trower-like Uni-Vibe sound. It’s a really great piece of music for us, because we wanna write songs that sound differently from the rest. Each song from the album has its own character and tells a different story. By the way, a good example of what I mean is Led Zeppelin again. Listen to “D’yer Mak’er” – that’s a Reggae song!

AM: Yes, there were no musical boundaries for Led Zepp indeed and it still reflects in Robert Plant’s solo career for example. On the other hand, at least a few songs on II have the Southern Rock feel to them. Also, your previous band Soul Doctor was often dubbed by the reviewers as “Southern Melodic Rock”, so am I right in thinking that you find Southern Rock particularly inspiring?

CL: Yeah, I agree! My real love and passion for music and inspiration are certainly from all the bands of the British Blues Invasion, but of course I love the Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to name a few. We wrote a lot of the songs in Texas and this was really inspiring for me too. I mean, ZZ Top, the Winter brothers and a lot more great musicians come from the same area where we wrote our songs for the second album. Also it’s that Keith comes from Texas and of course he has it in his blood. You can’t and shouldn’t deny your roots, so we wrote what was coming from our insides and let it flow. And with Soul Doctor, it wasn’t really possible to write and play music in the vein of the ‘70s Blues Rock, because the singer never had the voice for that kind of music and was more a Melodic Rock guy.

AM: Your music has this vintage vibe to it and yet, it’s the 21st century production after all. What do you think is the secret behind the right balance of the old and new?

CL: Good question! For example, today it’s technically possible to make music sound bigger with more bass frequency, or you can make it sound wider, I’d say – more stereo, because it is digital. Back in the day everything was analog, the tape machine and all the great analog outboard gear in the studio. All that gear sounds a lot better than the digital gear that the most people use today. For me the “old” sound was a lot better, it was warmer and had more dynamics. Today everybody thinks the louder is better and with one’s cheap device and a computer they can make a good sound… (laughs) That is not the truth! The mastering for vinyl was also a complete different thing, but that’s a different story. Anyway, I try to produce an album with that kind of music in the old analog way with a little help of the good side of the digital world. Me and Keith use high quality old microphones and pre-amps, real guitar amps and a lot of all the good vintage stuff. I know that isn’t easy to understand when you have no idea what’s going on the technical side of studio work, or how to record instruments – but I think it works because you picked up the vintage vibe in our production and that makes me proud (laughs)

AM: You’re right, I have absolutely zero experience as a sound engineer (laughs). Anyway, you’ve just mentioned Drive being re-released on vinyl [by Metalapolis Records in 2015 – AM]. Do you plan to do the same with II?

CL: Maybe… In my opinion, vinyl’s the best medium for this kind of music. But there is only a small group of die hard vinyl fans – including me – who would buy such an album on vinyl. Especially that it seems to be that we will only make a digital release of our second album on all platforms around the world, I mean streaming and digital download etc. All because nobody buys CDs anymore. But maybe we will make a limited edition of II on vinyl eventually, because I need one in my collection too… (laughs)

AM: Saying there will be only a digital release of II kind of contradicts what you reported in April – to be in the midst of searching for the record label to release the album in physical format…

CL: As I said before, the record companies in our genre don’t give you real support. They wanna have a hit album and a high class production, but they do nothing for that. Of course, you can go to a record company where a songwriter writes the songs for you, the label boss gives you a new band name and after one record you are out… Sorry, but I am an artist and not a slave of the money! If you have a big name from the ‘80s or the ‘90s maybe you have a chance to get a proper deal, but for us it’s not easy these days. So, I guess we will make it in our own way and bring the album in spring 2021.

AM: What you say is sad but certainly true… Before the pandemic hit, you were also planning to support the album release with concerts.  Have you ever performed together after Drive was released? Do you have any specific concert plans once the situation is back to normal?

CL: Back in 2014, after the release of Drive, we have made a lot of promotion and wanted go on stage to promote our album. The band was ready, but our business partner told us it’s too expensive and it’s better for a new band to go on tour after the second album. Some festivals were interested, but they didn’t wanna pay any money. I mean, Keith and me finance everything and paid for the complete production. Flights, studio etc. – all that costs money and we couldn’t spend more money from our own pockets. Having said this, we were all really disappointed of how some things are going, because the reaction from everybody was great and a lot of people were so excited about Mother Road’s music. But that’s how it is, nobody will pay a penny for a band who doesn’t have a big name from the good, old days. I mean, all of us have a long history and had played in really good bands with a big name. Reviewers called Drive a highly recommended album. Sad but true, because it seems that the music is the second choice for the business people in our genre! Still, the new album is in my opinion a big step forward, because we are now closer as a band and that reflects in our music.

AM: I know what you mean. I could tell you how years of experience in music journalism are of no value for some of the music industry people too, but that’s a different story. Anyway, during the lockdown we see many musicians engaged in live jams, acoustic live streams etc. What do you think about it?

CL: As I said before, personally I have a lot studio work for some film companies where I worked as sound engineer and also, I wrote some new songs in my studio. Still, regarding streaming gigs with everybody from the band sitting in different rooms and playing a song… Maybe that works for a single teeny Pop star or whatever. But for me it does never work for a real Rock band, because Rock music feeds a lot off the energy exchanged between the musicians on stage and the fans in front of the stage. For me that [live streams – AM] is  boring!

AM: What are you up to now? And speaking of the other bands you played in, what’s the current situation of Soul Doctor? Is it on hiatus, or did it permanently disband?

CL: I also have my Thin Lizzy tribute band together with some really good friends and musicians. We play some shows if we have time for that. That’s a lot of fun and believe me, we are not so bad (laughs). As for Soul Doctor, I left the band in 2011 and this chapter is definitely over for me!

AM: You’ve also done a lot of session/studio work, including albums by Drive, She Said, Paul Laine or Voodoo X. What was your exact role when it comes to them?

CL: I only remastered some old records of these bands you are talking about. I did that in assignment as Mastering Engineer for a record company and I never worked with all the musicians on the original recordings. After the remastering we spoke on the telephone about some details or special things obviously, but that’s all.

AM: Is there anything you’d like to add in the end?

CL: First of all, thank you Alexandra for your support and the opportunity to do this Interview! Just saying, support real music and listen the new Mother Road album. We did our best to make a real good-sounding Blues Rock album with amazing songs. Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to play this music live and then I’m sure we’ll give you all a blast with this amazing line-up. I might say a lot more to music fans, but that would be too much… (laughs) Till then, stay healthy!

Mother Road on Facebook

Mother Road on ReverbNation

Chris Lyne’s Official Website

To find out even more about Mother Road, be sure to check out the interview I did in 2014 with the lead singer Keith Slack and my review of their first album Drive [both for Hardrock Haven].


Interview with Adrian Vandenberg of Vandenberg

Nostalgia. The overwhelming feeling of longing for the past. It certainly works as a marketing tool these days, boosting record sales and turning remakes of classic movies into box office successes. But for an artist looking forward rather than back, it can be a real burden too. That’s exactly why Adrian Vandenberg was a bit reluctant to revive his namesake group we remember from the heart-tugging power ballad “Burning Heart” and three ‘80s albums – and decided to reform it entirely instead… And now that the new Vandenberg album 2020 has already hit the shelves, I was ready an’ willing to chat with the Dutch axeman for Rock Speculo Interviews about it – and a lot more.

Vandenberg 2020: Adrian Vandenberg, Ronnie Romero, Randy van der Elsen, Koen Herfst. Photo used by permission. Photo credits: Karina Wells

Alexandra Mrozowska, Rock Speculo Interviews: I have a feeling that actually I should start every 2020 interview from asking either “where would you be today if it wasn’t for the virus” or “how is the rescheduling process going”…

Adrian Vandenberg: Well, we would’ve been on tour through Europe with the reformed Vandenberg and I was really looking forward to it, but now we’re postponing it to early next year. We’ve planned a pretty extensive European tour for I think March/April next year, including most European countries, and then maybe we’ll play in Japan as we love to do. Who knows, maybe the tour will get stretched out or something, depending on how it goes…?

AM: Let’s hope so! While the rescheduled tour dates give us something to look forward to, still there are some long-term effects the pandemic would have on the music industry…

AV: Yes, it’s really, really sad that there are no concerts. I mean, bands and crew members are in serious withdrawals and of course financial problems, because they can’t play. And for the fans, it’s utterly boring… Me, I always love to go to see a band if I know they’re good and worth seeing (laughs). It’s just weird, it’s very surrealistic and no fun at all, so to speak. But I’m a hardcore optimist and I’m very sure and positive that it’s gonna be sorted out as soon as we have the vaccine or the virus goes back to the stage of a regular flu or something. I sure hope so, like everybody does.

AM: Speaking of good things in life – with your return to the moniker of Vandenberg, your career really came full circle, but the presumed nostalgic vibe to it is largely missing due to the new line-up. Where did the idea for this come from?

AV: The idea to name it Vandenberg came from my record company and my management when I told them I wanted to start something next to [Vandenberg’s] Moonkings. It wasbecause with Moonkings we couldn’t tour internationally as Jan [Hoving], our singer, has a huge farming company and isn’t able to be away from home for more than one or two days. When I told them about it, the record company and my management said, “Well, why don’t you use the name Vandenberg again?” And I said that I didn’t want it to seem like a nostalgic project. But when I thought about it for one or two days, you know, I realized than instead of putting the old band together and making exactly the same music, it would actually be way more fun and way more inspiring to put an amazing line-up together with an amazing singer that fortunately I found in Ronnie [RomeroRainbow, Lords Of Black, The Ferrymen etc.]. Then, it’s a brand new ass-kicking band with a name that has a heritage – so, that was the idea.

AM: What about the Moonkings’ current status?

AV: Moonkings are on hold. I hope to do at least some Dutch shows sometime in the next couple of years because we had a great time onstage, there’s a great chemistry and I love the records that we did. But like I said, we can only tour in Holland and maybe some Belgium and close-to-the-border German gigs because of our singer Jan.

AM: Having announced Vandenberg’s comeback and the new album, did you feel any pressure because of certain expectations people – especially the fans of the band’s early period – might have about both?

AV: No, I didn’t feel any pressure because I got way over that stage in the early days (laughs). I might feel some pressure whenever I put the record out, you know, but I always think this is the best I can do right now – whether people like it or not. I’m basically always making a record that I’m gonna be proud of and that I would buy as a fan of this kind of music. I really appreciate the opinions of fans and stuff, no matter if they’re positive or negative… as long as the negative is like a fair judgment that has got some foundation instead of just slamming everything that a lot of people do on the Internet. Since the Internet is there, everybody considers themselves journalists (laughs). So yeah, I do care about people’s opinions but like I said, I always want and try to make an album that I would love to buy myself.

AM: You’ve already mentioned Ronnie Romero – how did you hook up with him and the rest of the current Vandenberg line-up?

AV: With Ronnie, it was an interesting situation. A couple of years ago – five or six years ago – I read somewhere that Ritchie Blackmore wanted to do a bunch of Rainbow shows and I thought, “Oh man”. Ronnie James Dio passed away and I knew that Blackmore didn’t wanna work with Joe Lynn Turner again, so I was curious who was gonna sing and do justice to all those amazing songs. So I looked on YouTube and I saw Ronnie blowing my socks off (laughs). He’s fuckin’ amazing singer. It was around the release of the first album with Moonkings I was very successful with. So, very spontaneously, I wrote Ronnie a mail and I said, “Congratulations on your job with Rainbow, you’re a great singer. I wish you all the success.” He immediately wrote back and said that he always liked my work and that he hoped that we could meet somewhere on the road one day. So when I thought about reforming Vandenberg and putting a new line-up together, the first person I thought about was Ronnie, because it only made sense to me if I could find an amazing singer and Ronnie is one. When it comes to Randy [van der Elsen, Tank] and Koen [Herfst, Doro] – Randy was recommended by a very well-known bass player in Holland who teaches bass guitar in one of the Rock Academies here, and Koen had been voted the best Dutch Rock drummer already for seven-eight years in the row. I didn’t know him personally, but when I read that, I checked him out on YouTube and I was blown away. He’s a great guy and a great drummer, and Randy’s a great guy and a great bass player, so I got lucky with the line-up once again.

AM: The album features guest appearances by the two musicians that don’t need any introduction – Rudy Sarzo and Brian Tichy. Was there a consideration of reforming Vandenberg with them on board, at least for a brief moment?

AV: I asked Rudy and Brian if they were willing to play on the album, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the line-up together yet. So when I had it together eventually, a couple of weeks before we went into the studio, Rudy and Brian enthusiastically agreed to just play a couple of tracks. So there was never really a plan to bring them into the band because they both have their things to do. They’re both great friends of mine. Rudy and I have been very close friends since Quiet Riot supported Vandenberg, so I always know what Rudy is doing. I knew from the start it wouldn’t be a band situation.

AM: Listening to 2020, I can’t help but notice the album has a Whitesnake-ish vibe to it. What was the songwriting process for the album like?

AV: Basically, the songwriting process was exactly the same as it was in the early ‘80s. I start writing the songs and the lyrics at home and I work very hard on both, because I don’t wanna surprise myself once I’m in the studio. In the very early days, when I was about twenty or twenty-one, with some songs I thought “I’ll wait until it’s recorded in the studio, it’s gonna sound great.” But I found out very soon that song has to be great and then it can only get better sound-wise in the studio. So I do it the same way since then. I make very, very extensive demos – they almost sound like a record (laughs) – and in the studio it’s only gonna get better because you get a better sound than the demos. My demos sound pretty good though (laughs). Anyway, this album does have Whitesnake vibe to it, but so does the very first Vandenberg album – that’s why David [Coverdale] asked me [to join Whitesnake – AM]. You know, songs like “Burning Heart”, “Your Love’s In Vain” or “Wait” could have been Whitesnake songs. So, Whitesnake and especially David has always been an influence on me just like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Free, Cream… you name it. Every Rock band that plays from the heart and makes great music with great musicians is an influence on me.

AM: The album was produced by Bob Marlette, known from working with Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath or Rob Zombie. What was the collaboration with him like?

AV: It was a great connection and after five minutes of working together we already agreed that we’re gonna do the next album too (laughs). It was a great collaboration and the first time we’ve talked on the phone, we agreed right away what the idea of the album should be like. And it’s like you walk into the best rehearsal of a band and you stand right in the front of the little rehearsal room stage and everything is loud and crisp, the vocal is loud and so are the guitars, the drums and the bass. You can hear everything and it becomes one powerful ball of sound… It’s all about the performance, you know. We were really happy with it and Bob and I became instant friends. He’s a great guy and a very musical producer, and he’s made a great mix, so I’m very, very happy.

AM: In the past, you used to design Vandenberg’s album covers. However, 2020 is basically just a refreshed version of the band’s 1982 self-titled debut. Weren’t you tempted to offer something more complex, especially given your artistic skills and experience?

AV: I thought about doing a painting again, like I did in the early ‘80s. But then I realized that these days most people are listening to music using stuff like YouTube and Spotify and the record cover is always like a thumbnail there – really small…  I thought it would be a clearer signal if I just restyled the logo and then put it on and put “2020” with it so people would know it’s a new Vandenberg record and not the “best of” type of thing. But I’m pretty convinced that on the next couple of albums I’m gonna paint another picture again, so we’ll see.

AM: Do you feel the new Vandenberg picks up exactly where the previous incarnation of the band left off musically, or is it a whole new chapter in the band’s history?

AV: Well, of course it doesn’t exactly pick up where the last incarnation left off – partly it does, but you can’t erase thirty years in between. I’ve learnt a lot with Whitesnake, I’ve learnt a lot touring around the world and playing the biggest stadiums and the biggest arenas. Also, over the years I became more and more critical of myself. I need to get the same kick listening to my album that I get listening to the favourite bands of mine. I try to raise the bar each and every time I make a record or put together a band.

AM: There is a nostalgic vibe to one song on the album, however – a re-recorded version of Vandenberg’s biggest hit, “Burning Heart”…

AV: The reason why we re-recorded “Burning Heart” was actually what my manager said when the record company wanted to put out a press release once Ronnie joined. My manager said – and he was right – that everyone and their grandma puts out a press release, so it would be a much stronger signal if there was music with it. But we haven’t been to the studio yet. Then I realized that for the Moonkings’ second studio album we recorded the instrumental tracks – bass, drums and guitars – for “Burning Heart” just in case Japan would like to have a bonus track (which they always do, in order to compete with import records). So I realized we already have basic tracks and all that I have to do is to fly to Madrid where Ronnie lived at the time to record the vocals. Then I went back home and recorded the solo in which I stayed very close to the original – well, I wanted to [do that], but I think I played it with more live experience. That’s the challenge each and every time. And at the same time I didn’t wanna float away from the original version because I don’t think I should mess with it. It turned out to be great the way it is.

AM: Do you intend to revisit Vandenberg’s early catalogue again on your next albums? What about concert setlists – will you revisit the material you wrote together with David for Whitesnake, as it already happened with Moonkings?

AV: I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought about it yet because I always wanna make new stuff, so who knows, maybe…? We’ll definitely do a couple of Vandenberg songs in a live set. We’ll also definitely do a few songs that I wrote with David for Whitesnake, and maybe even one or two Rainbow songs because of Ronnie’s connection with Rainbow. It will be fun and we can make a great set.

AM: Is there a song of your catalogue you’d never revisit in the live setting? Why?

AV: Well, that’s an interesting question! Actually, I haven’t really thought about it. Probably “I’m On Fire” from the first [Vandenberg] album because I didn’t feel it was as strong as the rest of the album – but that’s a personal thing. There’s a couple of songs that I would definitely like to do in the live setting and these are the ones that fit Ronnie’s voice and his way of singing. And it’s gonna be a surprise! (laughs)

AM: What do you think was the proudest or the most important moment of the forty years of your career?

AV: That’s not too difficult [to pick up – AM] actually. Like when the first Vandenberg album broke and we had the hit single right off the bat in the United States and a lot of European countries and Japan. I was really, really proud then because I’ve been doing that for such a long time with so much passion that it’s just really nice when people like what you’re working for and what you love to do. So that was one thing, and the other thing was of course with Whitesnake. Starting in 1987 when the album and “Here I Go Again ‘87” soared to number one in the charts everywhere, especially in America. I’m really proud that I got to play the solo on “Here I Go Again ‘87” because… Man, that’s a lifelong thing to be proud of to have a guitar solo on a number one hit single in the States and other countries! Yet the other thing was in 1990 with the [Whitesnake] line-up including Steve Vai. We played a stadium in Holland. It was a beautiful summer evening and my whole family was there, my mum and my dad – my dad was still alive then… A whole bunch of friends came too, and they set apart the whole VIP section for all those friends and family. It was so memorable, a beautiful day and a great concert, and I’ve been walking around for months with a big smile on my face. Another thing is when I came up the first Moonkings album that I’m still really proud of. I’d stayed away from the music scene, as people know, for more than ten years, to be involved in my daughter’s life as she was growing up. Her mum and I separated when my daughter was three and I didn’t wanna be one of those dads who sticks his head around the corner a couple of times a year and goes, “Hi, I’m your dad! I gotta go, see ya!” That was more important to me than anything else. When I came back with Moonkings, I’m really proud of these albums and of the band and the great shows we’ve had. And now, the next thing I’m really, really proud of is the new Vandenberg album. It’s one of these albums that I’ve always hoped to be able to make and I’m serious about it. And I’m not just being a second-hand car salesman here (laughs). I’m just really, really proud of it and I’m proud of each and every band member and the production and the songs that I wrote. I’m a happy fucker, you know? (laughs) I really am and I feel fortunate because there are so many fantastic talented musicians all over the world. Still, I had the opportunity to be in this business for such a long time and to be able to play and to be able to make the kind of records that I want and love to make without interference from the record company people… Because situations happen when managers push you in directions that you don’t feel comfortable in and in the end, you kinda do a concession or something. But that’s never been the case, so I just feel fortunate because of that. Music, as painting, writing, making movies and stuff, is an art form and art should have freedom of expression. That’s why I feel lucky that we can express ourselves like this, with this band. For me it’s a dream band and it’s really cool.

AM: Is there anything you’d like to add in the end?

AV: Thanks very much for your interest! Let’s hope to see each other on the road somewhere – we’ll be there! Take care and hi to everybody from the little Adrian in faraway Holland! (laughs)

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Be sure to check out Vandenberg’s single “Skyfall” off their 2020 album below: