It’s Friday morning. I got up late and have been on weird hours ever since Simon went out on the road with Queensryche.
Most of you know that I’m a lawyer and do civil rights work. I am also reviving New Renaissance Records, and of course, Hellion, so it is not unusual that I put in a 16-hour day of work. Last night I worked until four in the morning.
Most recently I have been working on the up-coming Hellion anthology, which is called “To Hellion And Back.” In doing so, I have had the task of listening to many early Hellion recordings. This has been emotionally difficult because quite a few of the recordings involved people who are no longer alive and whose hard work meant so much to the band. There have been many times while I was going through the recordings that I’d have to take a break and walk away.
A number of people asked me what prompted me, after so many years of not singing, to get back into the studio, to write new music, to sing again, and to re-release new and old Hellion recordings. Others have asked me who I stopped singing in the first place.
As you may already know, Hellion had the privilege of working with incredible people and producers. It was tremendously disappointing when the demo recordings we made did not result in a major label record deal. It was particularly disheartening because the band knew we were good, and because we always had supportive fans and friends. In the end, considering that I’d had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the music business, and that all our hard work had resulted in so little commercial success, it became very depressing.
There were periods of time when I told myself that my music must not have been good -- otherwise we would have enjoyed the success that our friends in other bands had achieved. It was often easier to walk away.
Last year, Ken Scott, with whom Hellion worked in 1985 and 1986, wrote a book called “From Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust.” Hellion spent a lot of time recording demos with Ken at Total Access Studios. Before the demos were 100% complete, Ken and his wife, Patience, stopped responding to my phone calls. When I read Ken’s book it was the first time that I knew that it was the dissolution of his marriage, and not our music, that had prompted Ken and Patience to stop working Hellion. Knowing this meant a lot to me.
I also tried to tell myself that Hellion’s failure to land a record deal after having recorded demos at Sound City with Ronnie James Dio, also meant that Hellion must not have been that good of a band. Of all of my disappointments, the failure of Hellion to land a record deal after recording music under the watchful eyes and ears of Ronnie, was the hardest to take.
In recent months I have had the privilege of communicating with people who I had assumed had heard those demos, and had passed on them. Some of these people were A & R guys, and booking agents, who had been very interested in helping Hellion in the early days of our career. All of them confirmed that they never heard the demos we did with either Ken Scott or Ronnie. While this information has been distressing, it also is a relief, because it means that the people I’d mistakenly assumed had “passed” on Hellion, didn’t.
In late 2013, I began recording with a new line-up at Total Access Studios. Ken Scott, Wyn Davis, and Adam, all have helped on the technical side of things. The musicians who are working with me include Simon Wright, Scott Warren, Maxxxwell Carlisle, and Bjorn Englen. It also is my hope that musicians from the earlier line-ups will be able to perform with us as special guests as 2014 progresses.
Hellion recently signed a deal with a record company based in London, which will be releasing both our new and old music. The anthology will be released in early spring of 2014, followed by the new Mini-LP. It is my goal to respectfully maintain Hellion’s legacy, and to introduce our new music as well. A press release and video blog will be issued later in January with more information.
I didn’t have the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Years, so I’m doing that now. I hope you have an excellent weekend, too!