Vocalist Tony Harnell (TNT, SKID ROW, STARBREAKER) recently spoke with the "Digital Killed The Radio Star" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the art of singing:
Tony: "It's just an instinct...You have to take in what the greats [do]. If you're a singer and you say, 'I love Freddie Mercury,' and then I hear you sing and — it doesn't matter if your voice sounds different — I don't hear even a slight bit of little nuance that Freddie had, you're not getting it. Listen again. That's what I did as a youngster. Maybe [it was because of] my mom being an opera singer, but I listened differently than a lot of people do, and I took it all in. That helped me a lot. Those guys were my teachers."
On the "most fulfilling" moments of his career:
Tony: "It's pretty cool that on September 16, I'm going to be the only American inducted into the Norwegian popular music Hall Of Fame [Rockheim Hall Of Fame]. There's been a lot of really great things, and it's really cool that at this stage of the game, the hard work we put in is still being recognized. Is it important? It's not going to change my life in any major way, but it feels really good to have people acknowledge you in that way. There's been a lot of things — getting a record deal with the biggest label in the world at 21 years old was overwhelmingly... I wish I appreciated it more then. I appreciate it so much now, but I wish that when I was in the moment, I could have really [enjoyed it]."
On STARBREAKER's recently released third album "Dysphoria":
Tony: "I'm really proud of it. It came out great, especially considering [that] those records are done long distance. There's really not a producer, so it's all up to Magnus [Karlsson] and I. I have to write the songs together with him long distance and then go in and record my vocals, produce my vocals, write as I go... it's a process. They're hard to do. Considering that, this one came out really, really good. I think it might be the best of the three. I think it's the best production of the three albums. It's heavy, but it's very melodic and very song-oriented. You can really sink into the songs if you give it a chance and listen to it, and the lyrics are incredibly important on the record as well."
On the initial reaction to him joining SKID ROW:
Tony: "I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I was pretty well received. I don't look at a lot of the comments on social media. I try not to. You can get 200 great comments, and that one shitty one will stick with you, so I try not to look at any of it. Honestly, it doesn't matter — at the end of the day, I know for each show, when I go to sleep at night, I'm hyper-aware of what moments were not so great if there were some, and I just go with that."
On deciding to join TNT:
Tony: "They gave me a cassette. Side one was the entire 'Knights Of The New Thunder' album finished with the singer that they had on it. Side two was all the music without vocals — 'Here you go. You can write, you can change things, you can alter things, but the music is set. It's been recorded; it's done.' I came home that night with my [then-]bass player. We shared an apartment... and I didn't want to play it in front of him because we were in a band together. He finally goes, 'Well, are you going to play it? Put it on.' I put it on and 'Seven Seas' came blasting out. It blew my mind. I didn't say anything. He was quiet, sat there for a minute and he goes, 'What are you going to do?' I go, 'Well, you know...' He goes, 'Dude, you've got to go. Listen to that guy play.'"
STARBREAKER's "Dysphoria" was released on January 25 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Harnell initially fronted TNT for 22 years, during which time the band released nine studio albums. He left the band in 2006 but rejoined briefly in both 2013 and 2016.