George Dionne of Rock Is Life recently conducted an interview with TNT frontman Tony Harnell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Rock Is Life: [TNT's] current release "All the Way to the Sun" is a slight departure from your last release "My Religion". Was this a conscious effort to sound different or did it just happen that way when you sat down to write it?
Tony: "I kind of just happened that way. We didn't set out to do anything. I don't know if that good or bad. On 'My Religion', we had a lot of time to work on it. Getting the band back to make the record was a fairly long process, as we were doing some shows and we had a greatest hits album out that we needed to record a couple of songs for. We had quite a few writing sessions and recording sessions in about a two year period. We had somewhat of a conscious idea that we needed something that we could live with and that was contemporary enough for us to record it. We needed to do something that we could get back under the same skin. I guess it was a little more of a conscious thing with 'My Religion'. With this one, we went back to what we usually do, which was to wing it and whatever comes comes. I think that if you listen to any two TNT albums back to back, like at the very beginning when I joined the band, there have never been two albums that have been the same in our entire career. It's nothing new for us to do that. It's frustrating for people sometimes, and I think in a way that's what makes us special. We're willing to take risks. Plus, we don't sell enough records to have that giant pressure from the record company, so I think we have a little more freedom that way. I think ninety percent of our fans kind of dig that. They don't know exactly what to expect each time."
Rock Is Life: Are you going to tour in support of this album?
Tony: "We have been, but in Europe mostly. We are going back out in March, and we'll do Greece at the same time. We'll be doing some Scandinavian dates too. We're going to use that area as a launch pad. Whether we're doing a full tour or heading off somewhere else, we use Norway or Sweden or one of those other countries to warm up. We'll be touring as much as possible and probably playing a bunch of festivals over the summer. We are really working hard getting to the U.S. We have been talking to promoters about it. I can't give you a straight answer on that right now. Nobody wants to do it more than I do."
Rock Is Life: Will there be another STARBREAKER album or maybe a tour to promote the current album?
Tony: I really thought there was going to be another STARBREAKER album. I was really hoping there was going to be another STARBREAKER album. Magnus [Karlsson, guitar] and I need to do some work together, but I'm not sure it's in the cards for another STARBREAKER album. Part of that reason is the way that the band was put together, and how it was structured by the record company in Italy. [Frontiers] does not give us a lot of freedom to go forward using the name, so I'm not sure that's going to happen. We're all good friends as well. It's just a business thing. We were all very gung-ho about it, and we tried to put a tour together, but things came up that none of us felt we wanted to deal with on a business basis."
Rock Is Life: Frontiers Records seems to throw artists together on a project to put out an album, and it just seems to not go anywhere after that one album.
Tony: "It's unfortunate. For a situation like this, the way that is it done is; they will offer everyone in the band a fee. STARBREAKER was originally something that Frontiers was putting together around me, and we went back and forth for about a year with what kind of material it would be. It almost didn't happen because they kept sending me these songs that I would not do. Finally we agreed I would write the songs with somebody. He wanted me to do really lightweight, AOR sort of thing, which I had zero interest. Seriously, AOR doesn't really sell, unless it's TOTO or JOURNEY, or one of the established bands. Metal is a much bigger market. Metal is such a wide genre, it goes from one extreme to another. AOR doesn't really have the following you think it would have. Personally, even if I loved it, I wouldn't care. I have no interest in doing it. I love those bands; JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, and BOSTON. Those bands are phenomenal, but they did it already and there the best at it. Why would you try and copy it? That's what I don't understand about some of these releases. They sound like B- or C-level JOURNEY-type bands. I just don't understand what the point is. So anyway, we finally came to agreement and in the STARBREAKER project, Frontiers owned everything. That's kind of their plan. They owned the whole thing. That's fine if it goes well, like it occasionally does. I would say that maybe one out of twenty of these things turn out like STARBREAKER. STARBREAKER was a situation that we all really wanted to go forward with together. Because of that situation that, [Frontiers] would not bend on that. We came to a decision to not to go forward at this point. In the future you never know."
Read the entire interview at www.rock-is-life.com.