It's been quite some time since we last got an official update from former SABBAT guitarist and acclaimed producer Andy Undie Sneap, so in the interest of making up for lost time, we will let this English fool fill us in what he's been up to. And while at it, we'll even let him have a dig at his old bandmates (aka the Martin Walkyier-led RETURN TO THE SABBAT). Here it goes:
OK, last update was May last year and things haven't stopped since then. BLAZE (the band featuring Blaze Bayley, former IRON MAIDEN / WOLFSBANE / Guinness connoisseur) were just beginning recording their second album, Tenth Dimension at Backstage [Studios]. We took a couple of months on this project, and although stressful at times, everyone seems happy with the end results. Word of warning... don't ever ask Blaze what the tenth dimension is, or where the other seven are! It's one of those 10 pints 2 AM conversations. This has just been released on SPV and the guys are out with SAVATAGE in Europe at the moment. For more info go to www.planetblaze.com
Next up were the TESTAMENT guys who had been recording their First Strike Still Deadly opus. This is re-workings/re-recordings of classic material from their first two albums and was done because we thought it would be cool to hear these songs with a more up-to-date sound and of course something for the fans whilst Chuck is getting back into shape after his chemo and operations. They tracked the songs with Doug Hall (MAIDEN/TESTAMENT FOH engineer) at their own studio in San Francisco where we did The Gathering and we then spent a couple of weeks at Backstage mixing with Eric, Chuck and Steve coming over. The site of Chuck, squashed in behind the wheel of a turquoise Nova (possibly the smallest hire car ever) will stay with me for life...don't mention roundabouts to Steve DiGiorgio either.
It was then turn for the SKINLAB guys....again. I'd originally passed on this after doing two albums with the guys, and feeling I'd put in as much input as I could. So they went with Steve Evetts (HATEBREED/EARTH CRISIS) this time around. It's always difficult not treading on peoples toes when remixing an album, though I have to say Steve was totally cool about things and I think basically the band were coming from a different direction than he was at the end of the day. So it ended up with Snake (that's Mr. Snake to any Texan police out there...but that's another story) coming over and re-tracking guitars, and Steev (Esquivel) not being able to get his flight due to not having an up-to-date passport.
I then went out to Hamburg at the end of October to begin work with ex HELLOWEENies, Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch on their new band MASTERPLAN. We've been working on and off on this project for a while now and are in the finishing stages of tracking. We start vocals hopefully on March 7th for ten days and then come home to mix.
I'm also working with a new band called VACANT STARE who have been around for a couple of years. I actually did demos with them a while back and they are releasing their first album through Copro [Records] in the UK. We have just spent a week retracking guitars, due to the original tracks being possibly the most out of tune I have ever witnessed and they are tracking vocals at Philia studios in Henley with Dave Chang at the moment. We are then mixing this at the beginning of Feb at Backstage.
Projects that are coming up but not all confirmed are KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, a new Roadrunner signing who, if like me you miss powerchords, riffs and guitar squeals in this day of de tuned, single note, toe touching nu-metal garbage, will not disappoint. There's also a KREATOR live record to mix at some stage, a FOZZY no. 2 album to mix (and play a couple of solos on) and possible work with STAMPING GROUND and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, all of which I'll know more about in the next few weeks.
Until then, please keep checking back, because like I said, we will be trying to keep things more updated, In the meantime check out www.fozzyrock.com for info on Lord Edgar Bayden Powell [aka Andy Sneap] (ex-SIR GALAHAD), whose newfound guitar partnership with Duke Larue and The Kid is taking the US by storm (actually more like a small rain cloud... in the distance). Watch out for an imminent UK showcase or meagre proportions. We all bowed in honour and sang Rod Stewart songs the other week when Carmine Appice (OZZY, BLUE MURDER) showed up at the LA show and promptly phoned his brother Vinnie (DIO, SABBATH... to those uneducated fools out there) as we played [DIO's] 'Stand Up and Shout'. This is how these bands originally ripped FOZZY off 15, 20 years ago and it's quite blatantly still happening. We shall be having words!
On another note has anyone else noticed any bands 'returning' to play original songs slow, wrong and with only half the original line up.........?