Q & A Archive - June 2003

Colour Code: DANNY, LUKE, BEN, HARRY, CHRIS, THINNY


MESSAGE FROM DANNY:
I see from the tone of late that some people may be getting a tad uncomfortable with the levels of frankness and honesty occasionally displayed in these pages. I like a debate as much as the next person, but only when there's a level playing field for all involved. I have no desire to upset anyone with my answers, and I'd hate to think that you thought I was telling you off (Matron did that far better than I could). It's not my mission to upset you, that would be stupidity itself, but I have always found ignorance and rudeness hard to tolerate, anywhere. I'm simply reacting honestly to the questions put to me (and sometimes it's not a question, but an opinion with a "how do you feel about that?" tagged on the end). If you have an opinion and want to express it that's fine, after all that's part of what the Q&A can be used for, as long as you understand that if you've been rude you may not always like the response. We reserve the right to disagree with you if we do. You're always very quick to point out the things you don't like so why can't we do the same? It has to be a two way street. The alternative is to do away with anything real and stick with the toothpaste and socks and favourite colour type questions, which we can do of course if it makes everyone feel better. Based on most of what I see and hear, I don't believe you want that.


Q: Hi guys. Firstly that bloke with the bleached blond hair at the Bon Jovi gig was singer for the opening band - called "Crown of Thorns". My question is about the live stuff you have recorded. I've read you have recorded a few gigs and bet you've got quite a few saved up. This may be quite naive - but could you offer copies of them for sale? I love Thunder live, and wouldn't mind a few more songs - I'd supply the blank disks if needed, and don't need any fancy covers! Or could you make them downloadable off the net for a fee - I think some bands are doing this. The costs (bandwidth etc) would be covered by the fee. Really looking forward to the new album - keep 'em coming! Chris,Walsall
D: Mmmm, we do have a lot of the last tour in the can, as well as last November's secret Marquee club show, and it's all great. I suppose it comes down to whether or not there's much of a demand for more live material from us. I'm not being negative, if enough people want it we'll see what can be done, but there were grumblings from some when we included live songs on the Loser CD single, how it wasn't good value for money etc, so to be honest we discounted the idea of more live releases. What do other people think? If you'd like it let The Thin One know, if we get enough positives, we'll look into the viability...Still, if nothing else it opens up the question.


Q: A question for Danny really: is there anybody that you would really like to record a duet with? I ask, because I would love to hear yourself and Sam Brown sing together in a live setting... Adrian Smith (Shady), Cambridge
D: Sam Brown has a great voice, and if she asked I'm sure I could arrange to wash my hair another night...Seriously I haven't done much dueting but I've enjoyed when I have.


Q: Danny - could it have been Jean Bouvoir from Crown of Thorns? Kenny, Aberdeen 
D: I remember him being there of course, but I have no memory of him being on stage with us, but to be honest I'm not sure now if that was the question...


Q: I first saw you playing at the Bon Jovi concert on the Saturday show and you guys were fantastic which made me go home and nick my dads albums - I've been a fan ever since! I was wondering though who it was that sang with you that day as I can't seem to find him mentioned anywhere. He had bleach blond hair. Can you help me? Nicola Booty, London
D: I have absolutely no idea what this is about. As far as I can remember we were just the five of us during our sets on the Bon Jovi shows, but it was in 1995 (almost 8 years ago!) so I may be wrong. The old grey cells aren't what they were you know... Does anyone else out there have any clues??


Q: I'm sure I can't be alone in following bands other than yourselves, such as Marillion, Magnum and Fish, who also seem to have similar 'media profile' problems as yourselves (80's heavy metal bands!!), and lack of record company support. You all seem to be using the Web to counter this apathy. I was therefore wondering if you had ever thought of forming a co-operative with like minded bands to mutually benefit all, i.e. running one record company instead of x individual ones? Dave, Kent
D: Nice idea, but I fear it may be just a bit on the Utopian side. Everyone's situation is different, as will be their approach to music, recording and business I'm sure, so it doesn't automatically follow that you should join together just because you do a similar thing. It make sense though, assuming of course you can find like minded people you can trust. Please bear in mind that the media is notoriously hard for all kinds of businesses, and big labels suffer in exactly the same ways as small labels. The difference is they have the ability to chuck more money at it, but spending more money doesn't mean their acts get any more exposure, and once spent the acts do owe the label the money, so they will have to sell more records etc.. That's just a small part of why the record business is in the shape it's in. The web is a very good alternative tool to help gain exposure, and also to alert your followers, but it can't possibly do it all. It can take a big team and big money to launch a band, that's where big labels come in. Once you've been around for a while and hopefully built up some following, the opportunity to take control is there, that's why some bands do it. I am currently talking to various bodies about the possibility of using the Thunder model to help other bands who fit the required profile (good live, been around a while, self motivated etc), but it's very early days and it could amount to nought so there is nothing concrete about this right now... I'll keep you posted as to developments.


Q: After getting Classic Rock last week, I was sad to see that there was no review of your tour. Is it still pending, or will there not be one. You deserve a good review, as you were brilliant at Manchester. Also, there was no review of your new album. Is this because it was on your own label? Danny, i don't drink tea, but you can come and pour me a glass of wine anytime. Angela, Lancaster
D: Not sure why Classic Rock decided not to run a review of the tour, so I guess you'd have to ask them. There was a review of the LP a while ago, pretty positive too. Sorry, the offer was tea only...


Q: I got El Gringo Retro two days ago, and can I just say what a beautifully crafted album it is. The songs just seem to flow into each other. There are few album which are suited for summer weather and thankfully yours is. My favourite track is One Drop. it is fantastic. I would like to know will there ever be a follow up to El Gringo? I do hope so because it is so different to Thunder and is very relaxing. Also can I ask who were you listening to to record the album, did you pick up any things from listening to other artists. Michael Beck, Flint
L: Glad you like 'El Gringo'. I would like to do another album at some point but who knows when that will be. I wouldn't say I was listening to anybody in particular during the making of the album although during the writing period I was listening to 'Stanley Road' by Paul Weller and 'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morrisette. I'm not sure how much they influenced what I was doing though!


Q: Hey all! Hope you're all well. Just a quick one for Luke if I may..; Just wondering, being a song writer myself I prefer writing about things that are relevant to what's happening around me, especially in my life. Do you write based on what you personally believe, or do you just go with what you think will turn out as a good song? Thanks for your time, take care all! Dave, Newcastle
L: There are no rules when it comes to writing songs so I do it any way I can! It's all about what feels good and that's a very difficult thing to explain. Lyrically I have to be able to understand and empathise with whatever or whomever I'm writing about. I couldn't write about something that wasn't real to me or within my experience.


Q: I recently watched the BBC 'Imagine' programme on Charles Saatchi, which featured some of the works of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst among others, and it struck me how much of a role 'critics' can have in popularising art in all its forms, even if to some people it seems like the work that is being praised is absolute garbage! I enjoy reading reviews and do respect their opinions and even come to like the style of some reviewers (Charles Shaar Murray and Brian Sewell are two that come to mind), and I suppose I am influenced to some degree. Film reviews are an obvious example - usually the critics get it right if they say a film is lame. So, what I'm leading up to in a long winded way is; What role do you think the 'critics' have to play in your art form and are you ever influenced by their opinions? John
L: Good question. One the one hand you could say that opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one. On the other hand you could say critics perform a necessary and important function in making us aware of quality art that we might not know about. Either way critics are a strange bunch. The subjective nature of all art makes it impossible to be 'right' when passing judgement so I guess you need to believe totally in your own eyes/ears to want to do it at all. For me being a 'good' critic is all about having your own style, honesty, wit and an unjaundiced approach to what you do. Simply being cynical or sarcastic is not enough in my opinion. If you criticize anything it does help to have had some experience in that particular field yourself. I'm not influenced by critics but I will always listen to opinions of people I respect.
D: Nice question. Hard to be objective about critics when they're writing on your work (blood sweat tears etc), but on the whole I find that film, literary and art critics appear to be much better informed than music critics. Certainly when it comes to music hacks the general competence (and sometimes lack of it) with words appears to suggest a lack of formal training for the job. Having said that everyone is entitled to their opinion and no matter what they say, I believe the process has to be based to a degree on a subjective viewpoint. We don't allow it to have too much of an influence on us (too many people have said negative
things in the past), if we'd have listened to everything written about us we'd have given up years ago! "Take the good, ignore the bad", a very wise man said to me once, and I always to do that.
B: Can't you see he's just trying to get us to do his sociology homework for him ... and you fell for it!


Q: Q1 - What is the bigger game plan for Thunder now? Is there a hunger to get a deal with a major again? Does this matter? Have you chaps sat down together and discussed what you might like to achieve now that the band has reformed? How far into the future are the band thinking?
Q2 - Hypothetical question, but if each of you had the option of picking 5 bands to appear at a Monster Of Rock style event with Thunder on the bill (headlining or not) which 5 bands (currently active) would you choose in order of appearance. Perhaps you could give a reason or two for your line-up choice.
Q3 - Er, what toothpaste do you use and what's your fave colour? (You don't have to answer this one!) Axel Thomas
L: We are very happy with our own label thank you. At this stage of our career maintaining control over every aspect of what we do wherever possible is very important. As for the future, as long as we enjoy what we do and there is a demand for what we do, we'll keep doing it. I think festivals featuring only one genre of music have become a little dull so if it was up to me I'd make it a varied bill. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ('cos he's great live), Steely Dan ('cos I've never seen them and they're one of my all-time faves), Radiohead (but only if they played songs from The Bends and OK Computer), U2 (once again I've never seen
them) and obviously we'd have to open.
B: The nearest I want to get to a deal with a major is a decent price for a second hand tank. My lineup for the festival would be Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple, Aerosmith and Atomic Kitten (just to see how they would cope).


Q: Hi Guys, I have just come back from a relaxing holiday in Rhodes, where I spent many a while reminiscing by the pool. The lack of rock music in Greece made me pine for my CD player, and think of all the ace Thunder gigs I'd been to! One I remember going to was at Derby Assembly Rooms, it must have been some years ago as Danny had just cut his gorgeous long hair to shoulder length, and had some fab yellow 'Rupert trousers' on. Which leads me to ask whether you have to choose and purchase your own clothes for tour dates (past & present) or are they provided by sponsors? The other question I have is: Other than the ones you've done in London, do you ever do or have any plans to do one off gigs in smaller venues around the country such as pubs and the like. I'm sure the atmosphere at a smaller venue must be magical. I can't think of anything better than a small pub being crammed wall to wall with Thunder fans! Just a thought! Anyway all the best, and hope to see you all in November (only five months to go - hoorah!) Leanne, Derby
D: You must be the only person to make a favourable comment on those particular trousers! We buy our own gear most of the time but have worn sponsored clothes from time to time, but it mostly comes down to whether or not we like what's offered really. We're talking to various bodies about all kinds of promotional opportunities, which may include smaller shows in various modes (acoustic, full on etc), it's a case of establishing the best and most cost effective ways to do it. Watch this space...


Q: Chaps, congratulations not only on the album & tour but on the whole shooting match of taking on the business side of things & controlling your own affairs, hope it continues to be successful. Hypothetical question. How much different do you think your careers would have been had Terraplane been as or more successful than Thunder? Would the poppier side of Terraplane have been continued with or would the songwriting have evolved into the more blues rock type of thing anyway? Could the Bowes Morley album have been something that emerged much sooner as I feel the style & feel of the songs is much closer to Moving Target than any of the Thunder stuff? David Boyd, Kilmarnock
L: Sorry to cop out of your first question but I haven't got a clue. The only thing I know for certain is that we didn't really know what we were trying to do musically as Terraplane and Thunder was exactly the opposite; focused, organised and with a label and manager that understood where we were going. I think that the B&M album is a lot more visceral and real than MT. I think MT was very over-produced in an eighties kind of way.


Q: Danny, on the video, In out put the kettle on" you're sat on the stage (soundchecking) mouthing the words to a song, it's got a spoken lyric..."I've got a good job and I'm newly born????" Pardon my ignorance, What's the song, it sounds great?? Lauren Long, Bury
D: The song is called Bell Boy and it's by The Who, from Quadrophenia. You're right, it's great, in fact the whole Quadrophenia album is one of my favourites, so check it out.


Q: Hi guys, hope you had a great time out in Germany... Thanks for the autographs and get well soon Harry! I was just wondering if you have plans (and the the resources) to issue another single to coincide with the November tour? Perhaps 'If I Can't Feel Love' might match or better the success of 'Loser'? Anyway, thanks for a great night at the Corn Exchange (I took two members of my family and they are converted!!) and good luck with everything... Adrian Smith (Shady), Cambridge
D: There are no plans to release another single for the foreseeable future, as we're up to our necks with various things. However that may change as time goes on. Just so you're up to speed with the kinds of things we're doing, Luke and I will record a new B&M LP this summer, Ben is making various LPs with other bands, as is Chris. We have footage to edit for a possible DVD release hopefully later on in the year. The marketing campaign for SATS continues (we're talking to various companies about
this - you know as you work for one of them), as do the explorations for more foreign releases and promotional opportunities. There are ongoing talks regarding European shows, as well as the UK shows in November of course. As a general rule of thumb if it goes a bit quiet at this end, it's because we're hard at it coming up with new things for later on. Onwards and upwards..


Q: Hi Ben, who was your biggest influence when you started learn playing guitar & keyboards? p.s. I think you play the guitar & keyboards very well and  what you think of the new hammond B3??? Ben Jackson, Nottingham
B: I think every musician you hear influences you somehow. When I was growing up it was the British blues rock outfits that I listened to the most. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and The Who. I haven't tried out a new B3 yet but as it's based on the old one I'll stick to my 1963 B3.


Q: The previously Firstly, Thank you for entertaining me at Cambridge last month, absolutely fantastic gig, and the choice of tracks you played, just great. Thank you for signing my copy of SATS. My Question is.....  After your spectacular performance on stage, I was amazed to see how alert you all still were at the M&G. It clearly takes a lot of energy to perform such a show and when I met each of you, you looked as if you could go back on stage for another two hours....No problem! How do you manage it? I have major problems thinking of two hours work. I've heard a lot of bands take portable Gym's with them to work-out whilst on tour. Do any of you guy's work-out or keep-fit? Nick, London
B: It's adrenalin. It kids you into thinking that your are fit so you just keep going. At the end of the tour your legs drop off. What's a 'gym'?
C: Staying alert immediately after the gig isn't too much of a problem - it's part of the night's work. It goes downhill pretty fast from there though! I started off the year with the best of intentions - going to the gym 3 nights a week - but I've been so busy it's temporarily fallen by the wayside.
D: I've always been pretty active, and I seem to have been blessed with lots of natural energy. I used to work out ferociously, and the band did a lot of training with an ex champion Thai Kick boxer. When I had my knee operation the physiotherapy was far harder than anything I'd known, and once it ended I was so relieved, I couldn't face going to the gym again. I don't train any more, but I eat well, and it keeps me active just keeping pace with my kids.
L: I do go to the gym a few times a week but we don't take a portable gym on the road with us. Adrenalin does contribute to what we do and jumping about on stage always comes naturally when an audience is as good as you lot are most the time.


Q: Hi guys, went to the gigs at the Astoria and Cambridge, thanks a million for two great nights. A big thank you as well for doing 'SATELLITE'. Danny in the answer you gave to a recent question, you mentioned a BALLADS album, i look forward to hearing it, a couple of months ago I made up a compilation album and funnily enough I called it Thunder, The Ballads, and i managed to persuade my local pub to put it on their juke box, I put on a few rockier songs too, and nine others from the pub joined me at the Astoria gig, anyway question is, which Thunder ballad is your favourite, for me its NUMB. See you all soon. Gareth, Hampshire
B: I really love playing "I'll Be Waiting", not sure why just feels great to play live.
D: Very impressed both by your persuasion power (pub jukebox) and your recruitment techniques (9). Brilliant! Keep up the good work. I tend to agree with you about Numb, it always gets me at it, but then so do lots of the ballads, and it changes all the time, so very it's hard to single one out as the definitive one. I find you simply can't beat a good old fashioned bearing of the soul...
C: Numb is a great song, but my favourite at the moment is A Lover Not A Friend from SATS.


Q: Hi Luke, I think this question is for both Ben & yourself. Since I first heard you at Donnington in 1990 i fell in love with the Gibson Les Paul Sound And Especially the Distinctive style of play you both have, do you both use similar set ups? and are they fairly basic? Plus one last question, what were those really cool amps you were both using at the Astoria? How rock n roll are those blue backlit panels!!! sorry for three Q's in one but I could probably spend hours quizzing/talking (boring the pants off you more like) to you about your guitars, Tony Bye, Plymouth
B: Yes we do both have similar setups now as we have started using Hughes and Ketner amps. These are the one's with the blue lights. We use the H&K Triamp except that Luke has had his amp modified as he is left handed. The setup could not be simpler, we plug the guitars into the amps and turn 'em on. To busy posing to worry about pedals.
L: We've always used similar set-ups. Guitars into amps with no FX although I did use a wah-wah pedal on the last tour. The amps are made by Hughes + Kettner and if you go to our links page you'll find their website address


Q: Hi Guys, just wanted to comment on all of this controversy spinning around on the Q&A at the moment. This isn's so much for you as for the fans who have written in to say they disagree with some views expressed by others and have used these 'negative' comments as a way of expressing their undying love for your excellent band I read Matt's comments and I think some people are missing the point. Matt's postings have simply been asked for more Thunder! His comments about the set were valid (just my point of view) as I would love to hear a little more from you when I travel to see you. Just another 15 minutes, three more songs from any album would go down a treat. I understand that with the meet and greets and the tight schedule you have, that you're dead on your feet after 16 songs, so I am not expecting you to make any alterations to this system during the November gigs; but you know what, I will still be there, shouting as loud as everyone else and I am sure Matt will be too. I can appreciate that as an artist some things might not be too easy to hear, especially when you are doing everything from marketing to driving the bus (really? I am having some trouble picturing that one!). As Danny said in his post, being so involved in a Q&A as you are, you will be at the sharp end of things, which, we have witnessed, can cause both pleasure and pain. It must be very difficult not to take things personally when this is personal because it is so much of who you are as people. Matt's second posting pointed out that the Ballads album was not value for money; once again this is his opinion and I won't discuss that here as I think both viewpoints from yourselves and from some fan postings have covered this. The issue of the infamous 'fan who wouldn't buy the single' is something that concerns me. I remember his posting was certainly not rude or even confrontational; and yet I would have to agree with Matt that Danny's response was harsh. 'I am just glad all of our fans are not like you'. That might be the case Danny, but the fact is, that in running your record company in this manner you are now firmly in a customer facing environment and being on the receiving end of a comment like that can end a fans commitment pretty sharpish! In Luke's reply to Matt, he said he didn't appreciate being told how to do his job. I take my hat off to the commitment of this band and the balls you have for doing what you are doing; but surely the whole point of being in touch with your fans is listening to them and effectively how they feel you can improve what you provide to them? I know that if I didn't listen to my customers I would lose them pretty quickly; You guys have never been slow to criticise EMI for some of their poor releases in the past, so I think that if someone doesn't like the formats of single currently available then they too have the right to say it to you personally in the absence of a named record company, without being criticised in return. By the way...what type of toothpaste do you use? Ben, London
D: Thanks for your opinion. You are right of course. I am harsh. To disagree is fine, but we've done this, and to pursue this theme further will serve no useful purpose. I use Colgate.


Q: Dear Luke, A few questions for you, if I may? What influences your decision to use female backing singers on certain tracks? Do you have any brothers and/or sisters and, if so, what do they do for a living and are they musically talented like yourself? Have you tried Tesco Select salt 'n' vinegar crisps (they're absolutely delicious)? Finally, I've read that you like cycling (in your spare time) and use the exercise bike when at the gym - have you ever tried a 'spinning' class before? Lynne, Gateshead
L: I have two sisters and one brother none of whom are musicians although they all love music. When we have girls in to sing it's because I think that a certain song will benefit from having female voices. I tend to think of backing vocals as another instrument and obviously women add a different texture to the overall sound. Also being in the studio for weeks on end it's nice to have some women around the place for a change. I shall try the crisps as recommended - thank you. I've never partaken in a 'spin' class before on the grounds that I hate people shouting at me......


Q: I know this is a trivial question but it'll make a change for you to answer a light-hearted question! I have always wondered why do the roadies always wear shorts!? I've been to gigs where there is snow on the ground but still they wear shorts! Is it some sort of unwritten uniform/dress code that they feel they have to adhere to? Margie B
T: That's a very good question, and after much thought I have come to the conclusion that all roadies believe that they are gods gift to women, and think that you want nothing more than to see their muscular (!?) legs strutting around on stage. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but that's how they get their kicks you see. Mind you, if you think roadies in shorts is scary, you should see Big Pete getting out of his bunk in the morning wearing nothing but his boxers. I couldn't eat again for three days... ;)


Q: I have heard that you go on these little seeking solace holidays to clear up any cobwebs, and to strum and hum a bit, with the intent of finding the inspiration to create loads of material with which to pick and choose from for a new release. It makes me wonder about the Luke Morley secret archive. And now the barrage of questions!
 1. How much time, on average, does it take for you to write one song - from start to finish? I am sure you have some that you started 10 years ago that are not yet done, but when you are really focused and have given yourself a deadline, is there a general time frame?
L: Wow....just a quick query then! Now let me see.........There is no logic or formula to how long it takes me to write a song. It can vary from five minutes (if I'm very lucky) and two/three weeks. If the writing process takes longer than that I tend to lose interest.
2. Can you offer a guesstimate of the number of songs that you have written and, at this point in time, they have been shelved?
L: It doesn't really happen like that. The reason that songs will sometimes appear a few years after they were written is because they weren't deemed right or necessary at the time of completion. However you can sometimes 're-discover' them at a later date by which time they sound better or more relevant. Judging your own work is sometimes very difficult when you've just finished it and it takes a while to really see it.
3. Do you have any songs that you have spent loads of time on and then after completing it, you gave it a sincere, severe, and critical listen, finding it, in your opinion, to be complete crap, as you then promised yourself it would never see the light of day beyond the moment you last played it for yourself? (if so, may I be first in line for the contents of your circular file?) :-)
L: I know myself well enough now to know when I'm wasting my time on an idea. Sniffing out the bad apple idea-wise is a skill you acquire over the years. It's like developing another sense; the more you use it the easier it gets. There have been a few that have got through the net but not in recent years.
4. When you do make the decision for the final track listing of a new album, roughly what percentage is new material written specifically for that album, and how much is pulled from one of the boxes in your closet and reworked?
L: I'd say that 85% of the material is written specifically for whatever project I'm working on at the time and the remainder may well be 'off the peg' songs which are waiting to find an suitable home. When you write a lot you're always bound to have some songs laying around that weren't suitable at the time of writing. 'El Gringo' was probably a case of the reverse being true. Most of the material was written over a period of 5 years.
5. Has the band ever gone in the studio with a completely blank slate and tinkered around until you collectively came up with one song that you actually released? If so, please name that/those tune(s).
L: The only occasion that springs to mind is 'Duelling Harmonicas' which has a certain comedic value but was never going to win any prizes! 'Numb' was conceived in my head while driving to the studio during the GTGA sessions and subsequently put together that day but that was one of those miracle songs that just arrives in your head almost finished. 'Gimme Some Lovin' was a result of a jam but obviously I didn't write it! The recording studio is an expensive environment to experiment in and being the sensible types that we are, we prefer to go into that particular environment well prepared.
6. And, lastly, but not leastly (is that a word?) when writing, do you start with one song and finish it before moving on to another, or are you inspired by your own words, during the process, which spins you off in another direction and you end up writing several songs at once? In simpler terms, have there been occurrences where lyrics originally meant for Castles in the Sand, ended up in Once in a Lifetime? Dana, Utah
L: I tend to spit out a load of rough ideas at the same time and then come back to them a day later and if they still sound good I'll try and develop all of them concurrently. This is a good way to work as the 'favourites' tend to push themselves to the top of the pecking order. During this process some ideas will cross fertilize and throw up something interesting that I hadn't anticipated and that's when writing is a lot of fun.


Q: Luke, I have to say that I am astounded by Matt's comments. I have followed you lot since BSS and I can say that no band gives their fans what you lot have. I will be buying the new album, simply to get the extra track and to complete my collection. I collect the tracks not the albums. Therefore I didn't buy Symphony and Stage as I have all the tracks. I bought the single of Loser to support the campaign and so I could get it signed. I recently bought an old single to get an interview track which I didn't have. I don't feel ripped off or conned. I know it's my choice. I obviously missed the Thunder fan's meeting where you or Danny read out the leaflet that said, "You will buy all our product regardless of your own wishes and feelings, financial circumstances or necessity." I'm delighted that you may have the opportunity to spread the word further with the Ballads album and I am very very sorry that some of the fans just don't get it. I have also seen the price of the album and it's a steal considering what you are getting. I suppose I have to ask a question now, and so it's in the theme of proving the point that you are the most accessible band on the planet. Who thought of the meet and greet idea and do you ever want to strangle that person? Met you all in Glasgow and you were all infinitely patient and kind to pose for all those photographs and answer all my dumb questions. I don't think we tell you often enough, but thank you, I have gotten a lot more from you by being a Thunder fan than you ever will from me. Doc'
L: The meet + greet idea came up so long ago that I can't remember. I do recall a lot of research being done on other bands' fan clubs very early in our career. The reason behind this was we wanted to know who did it well, who did it badly and why and then adapt our knowledge to suit ourselves. As people we've always been at ease in a social environment so m+g was and is a comfortable thing for us to do. Thanks for your support and faith in what we do.


Q: Luke, the solo you pull off at the end of River of Pain (the live version on the single) is absolutely blistering! I've been trying to nail it but without success as yet - I know speed isn't everything, but do you have any tips for building it into soloing? Nick
L: Practice, practice and more practice. Sorry there's no quick fix but that's all there is to it really.


Q: Can you explain a little about the recording process? I've always wondered, who goes first? As can be seen from 'In, out Put...' you all do your own piece, listening to the others on headphones. But who starts it all off? If its the guitars, how do you keep the timing on such a new song? Also, one final question, What are those big black boxes sitting at the front of the stage during gigs? Are they speakers, or fans to keep you cool. Kevin, Kent
L: There are many ways of doing it. You can record as live where you all play as you would in a live situation but that depends on the amount of space and acoustic seperation you have in the studio. If you're recording to a click track or generated time source you can start with any particular instrument you wish or any combination of instruments as you are not depending on the drums to keep time. The black boxes are monitor speakers although we did at one point have some fans made that looked identical from the audience's point of view.


Q: Mornin'. In response to your earlier comment of being good at your job, you're not good, you're fan-blinkin'-tastic at your job, as are all of the band. anyway, on to a question. if I'm reading this right, do the record companies own the rights to your work? it would seems strange that your work is not owned by you. as you're now without a record company, does this mean that you own all of SATS? keep up the good work and I'll see you in November. James Minchew, Gloucester
L: Thanks for your flattering comments. When you sign to a record company they own the copyright in the recordings you make under the jurisdiction of said deal. They do not own the copyright of the songs. That is a different issue altogether. Yes, we do own SATS in it's entirety and that allows us to license the album which is like granting a short-term lease to another label
(as in JVC in Japan or Frontiers in mainland Europe) for a negotiated royalty rate.


Q: I would like to express my appreciation to you for the "reformation". Part of this idea of the Q and A is for the fans to be in touch with the band and although I agree that everyone should have an opinion, this is your living and criticisms of the releases is a bit much if you ask me. You are trying to market the album, promote the single, promote the tour and by your choices on the single should bring back some of those older fans who may have seen you a few years ago. The live video was great and yes possibly having a more obscure track might have satisfied the fan which has all the singles and has heard River of Pain in different versions but it's overall appeal. You are looking to extend your market and by putting one of the best tunes on the CD single will show them what Thunder is all about. This goes for the compilations. Sure we could quibble about a couple which we think may have been left off but overall it's a fair choice. Shame one of the new recordings of Like a Satellite couldn't make it. Keep up the good work and again I must say that I loved the setlist - still would love to hear Castles or Preaching. Now time for my question.... I'm off to Australia at the end of the year and I will make it to the London show but any chance you could all arrange a "band" holiday and try and arrange a club gig in Melbourne? I know you love it there and I know that you've not really ventured forth into the Australian market.  We should be proud that you give us the time of day. With regards to the previous comment about KISS charging $1000 for the special package. Fans pay it so why not. That is what Gene is all about - making money. I went to Melbourne in February and saw the Symphony show. Worth it in my opinion but I'm a fan. The album is out next month - it was a great gig. James Vincent
D: I suppose this really goes to show that you guys always decide what you believe is good value for you. I agree with you about Kiss, they've always shown everyone the way in terms of business, but as I said before, if you're a fan and you're prepared to pay it, everybody gets what they want out of it. I don't feel comfortable with it personally, but that's me. Regarding Australia, nothing would please me more, believe me when I say it's a constant source of irritation that we've not played there yet. We live in hope...


Q: Right enough of the serious negativity stuff. This is something that has bothered me for years but I've never asked for feeling, well, er stupid!! I've been to thousands of gigs and never once have I seen a singer in top soul bearing moment sneeze or cough. How do you keep your hooter under control? Alex, Southampton
D: At last. I don't know about others but I've been known to occasionally cough and splutter, I don't think I've sneezed though. Not sure why you  haven't seen it, but it's nothing special, and I try to disguise it obviously. I'm sure adrenalin plays a big part in why it doesn't happen more often, most aches and pains I have prior to the show usually disappear the moment I step on the stage, it's a case of getting in the moment.


Q: Guys.... may not be the most popular person regarding my comments on your set list for the recent tour, kind of opened up a  hornets nest and possibly hit a nerve but it's only an opinion. I did want to comment on the future ballads album. You say that in the past you have had no control over what EMI release (case in point being "They think It's All Over...which had three individual releases I think?), is this happening again? Or are the tracks that are going on this album different recordings over the years?? It would be really good to have another album of classic tracks made from archive stuff like The Live, Raw..... If it is all the album versions again with just one unreleased track then that sort of takes the piss... and I agree with the bloke that wrote in about why he didn't buy your single because it didn't offer him anything new. I must admit that the response given to him was a little out of order by saying that you're glad not all you're fans are like that. Comments like that kind of makes a fan step back and think how unappreciated we are. Bands make it, whether they be big or small, by giving the fans things they want rather than rehashing the bread and butter that they live on, such as back catalogue songs. One final point, going back to how you speak to certain fans that criticise all the hard work you do... Luke.. don't try and compare yourself with Bruce Springsteen he could do 27 Thunder songs without raising a sweat. The man is a global star, people are still desperate to see him... I wonder what he did right... perhaps you should take some notes. Matt Barber, Portsmouth
L: Right, let me make it perfectly clear to you. I think Bruce Springsteen is one of the best live performers in the world and has been for 25 years. I wouldn't dream of comparing myself to him in terms of musical ability or talent. He does what he has to do and so do I and that's it. I've read my previous answer in Q+A and if you take the trouble to read it again you will notice that I used his name to illustrate my point about how hard WE try to entertain people. Can I repeat myself by stating that Bruce and many other artists who perform on that scale don't generally do six gigs a week, they don't travel by bus driving themselves and they employ many people to take care of everything that isn't to do with actually performing. I'll turn my original point around and perhaps it will be clearer to you; if Thunder were touring and performing under the same set of circumstances as Bruce then maybe we'd be able to play longer sets as well. I do not appreciate you telling me I need to 'take some notes' as you so wittily put it. I do my job well and I don't tell you how to do yours so please don't tell me how to do mine. If you don't like what I do you that is your choice. When you are sharing your opinions with us (which is your right and I thank you for taking the trouble to do this), be they positive or negative please take the trouble to do your homework; EMI didn't release 'They Think It's All Over', Papillon did. Secondly the 'archive' album you refer to is actually called 'The Rare, The Raw And The Rest'. When I heard that EMI were going to release another album (they can do this anyway; they don't legally need our approval) I thought that the overall package would be better with our involvement as we DO actually give a toss about the quality of what gets released. Remember.......YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY IT! Neither Thunder or EMI are attempting to steal your money; you're merely being offered the choice of buying it or not. The guy you refer to in your question is a good case in point...he chose to not buy the single and that was up to him. I resent the implication that we do not conduct ourselves in the right way when we speak to our fans. We are only human and we reserve the right to express how we feel on this site. Even if it isn't pleasant all the time, at least it's honest and driven by a genuine passion for what we do.


Q: Forgive me for going back in time...however, I was listening to Power Station, Living In Fear album. You write one song, "Love Conquers All" and give the rest of the band a credit...why? Did they help write it, the song stands out a mile!!!! Surely you did all the hard work, how much input do you require to get a song writing mention!!! Johnny G, Bury
L: Actually I didn't do any work at all! Andy Taylor rang me and asked if he could use the chord progression from the chorus of 'Once In A Lifetime' and I said 'Fine'. That's all I had to do with it.


Q: Mr Morley, this is not a criticism as I am well aware that you could not please everybody with the track listing for the Ballads album, however I am curious as to how much free reign you given in your selection of the tracks? Did EMI veto the use of less well known material such as 'The Damage Is Done' & 'Every Words A Lie' or was it merely a personal decision to fully maximise EMI's marketing potential? I shall fully understand if you cannot/do not wish to answer. Again this is not a criticism, (i live in permanent fear of being told off by Danny ha! ha!). Andy, Sheffield
L: The track selection was my choice. EMI did not veto any lesser known material. I wanted the album to be a compilation of our best ballads in my opinion. I realise that this choice may differ with other peoples but that's life. Of course we want to maximise EMI's marketing and distribution capabilities as this helps our career in other areas.


Q: Hi all, You've probably had enough questions on the subject of this new ballad compilation album, but do you guys actually have any say in any of your older material being rereleased  by record companies due to who owns the copyright etc as I noticed that the "Symphony & Stage" double CD was licensed from Eagle. Martin Rodwell
D: Yes we do have an input most of the time, but not always. As the labels have the ownership they can do it but they are duty bound to ask our permission before releasing it. We are duty bound not to withhold our permission, it's all legal BS really. Having said all of that the seeking of permission only covers the release and not necessarily the selection of the songs. Luke worked very closely with EMI on every aspect of The Rare The Raw And The Rest, and with Toshiba EMI on the mixing of the Japanese release of the Live Donington 90 LP. We did the same with the EMI Greatest Hits LP, and our input on the upcoming Ballads LP is well covered elsewhere in these pages. All the other various compilations have been nothing really to do with us.


Q: Lets cut the crap shall we. Danny, you are doing a brilliant job and so is everyone else, the band, your 'behind the scenes' people and of course, Thinky (aka, Thinny). We love you, so please continue doing what your doing. i.e. making me sing along. Sod those narrow minded peps. Believe me when I say, their view is not necessarily the view of the majority. I'll be buying this record because its Thunder. Mind you, I’d buy a used tea bag if it had Thunder written on it. Oh, my question... How do you deal with the negative feed back you get? Is it like water off a ducks back? or does it get to you some times? Juel, Luton
D: Thanks for your kind words. Most of the time the negatives don't mean much but like most other humans we have good days and bad days and timing plays a big part.


Q: Here we go again, another blikin compilation album. EMI, eh? What a surprise. I'll tell you what I'm disappointed about - the fact that Thunder have recently contributed "Here In Your Arms". If I was in Luke and Danny's position I'd have told EMI to stick it up their jumper. I find it rather distasteful that compilation CDs often have that odd extra track to lure die-hard fans to part with their cash. Would you like to respond chaps? Axel Thomas
D: Right then, here we go again. I've explained our reasons for helping EMI in some depth in a previous Q & A, but....We have a big and wide picture to consider, so it's not as simple as it obviously appears to you, but nevertheless your view is valid, if a little narrow, and of course you have the final decision as to whether or not to spend your hard earned cash. After all your money is currently safe in your pocket, and no one is going to force you to spend it on this LP. For more insight into our collective reasoning I suggest you peruse the previous answer on this subject, and take it in. I ask you to engage your brain and ponder, knowing us and our views as you must do by now, and given our momentous (not to mention risky) decision to control every aspect of the release of our new LP, why you think that we might have chosen to support this EMI release. Could it possibly be that it may help the new record and spread the word about it? I'm used to moaning, believe me I hear it every day. Part of the
purpose of the Q&A is to involve you the fan, to give you the honest opportunity to ask all kinds of questions, big stuff, stuff that isn't asked. You may be disappointed that we've contributed a song, but I'm willing to bet you're not anything like as disappointed as I am in your email, and if we went round telling people to stick their marketing up their bottoms we'd have run out of friends in the music business years ago. Sorry if you think this is a rant, it's not (when I do you'll know, believe me). I respect the rights of the fan, but it has to be a reciprocal arrangement.


Q: The previously unreleased track on the new ballads CD ---- "Here In Your Arms". When was it recorded? Dana, Utah
L: It was recorded over a period of several years actually! I wrote the song with Andy Taylor in Spain in 1996 and it was a possibility for Danny's solo project with EMI . When that didn't happen it was put to one side until I re-discovered it recently in it's original form with me singing it. Danny came round to my studio and sang it about 4 weeks ago and that was that.


Q: Hi Luke, I was just wondering as someone who is learning to play the piano. I know you have some songs with keyboards/organ/piano in them, but have you ever thought of writing a song with the synth as the main instrument? Avoiding The Final countdown type riff. Maybe something up beat like Van Halen's Jump or something moody like Ozzy's Mr Crowley? Just a thought. And as we are in this frame of mind have you thought of writing a song about the fans? Something like an anthem? again just a thought. I love SATS and personally like The man inside there's something classy about it. gutted about Loser only reaching 48. I was looking forward to watching TOTP for the first time in years. Rod, Cardiff
L: The way we arrange material tends to revolve around guitars most of the time probably because I'm a guitarist. Some Thunder songs actually have been written on piano but for some reason they tend to end up on guitar. It's not something I think about too much. I just tend to let it happen. The same goes for lyrics; it really depends on what mood I'm in at the time. All the different fans I've met would be enough subject matter for a triple album as there are some seriously wacky and wonderful characters out there! I don't think I could do them all justice!


Q: Luke, there is something particularly haunting and beautiful about “A lover not a friend”. Did you write this in a particular key that makes it sound different, or are my ears just a little odd? Once again – a fantastic album! Gordon, Manchester
L: It's written in A minor which isn't an unusual key for guitar bands to use. Perhaps it's the mood of the song which appeals to your particular sensibilities. Either way thank you for the nice comments.


Q: I gather that some or all of you are fans of King's X, I was wondering if you would be able to get them to support you on the possible winter tour? They have a new album out - but it seems that UK interest isn't good enough to get them a headline tour. A night with both of you playing at Rock City would be heaven. My brother is e-mailing Doug - so how's about it? Is it possible - or am I just dreaming? Damn fine to have you guys back gigging, hope it all works out this time around! Rob of the magnificent beard, Nottingham
L: Kings X are a great band and if there's any way we could help them out we'd love to. Keep us posted.
D: Thanks for the info, we shall make enquiries...


Q: Hello everyone, before i start mi question I've got to say that since I've been following you lot (bought the Dirty Love single, then realised that when you were announced to play Donington '90 I had to go) which has been just about from the beginning, I've seen you on every tour since and I must say that when I saw you at Manchester it was the best I've ever seen you play, I don't know what it was but you seem to have a renewed purpose and I must have about 20 people telling me to tell them when you tour again as they want to see what I've been ranting on about all these years...FINALLY!!!,anyway keep up the sterling work chaps. Right then my question...I've been reading a few disgruntled reports about people about not getting to see you in the meet and greets, but have you seen what KISS are doing on the upcoming treck with AEROSMITH, they are charging $1,000 dollars for a top seat and a photo opportunity with the band( probably no conversation whatsoever ),i thought bloody hell I would want to be sat on bloody stage for that, at least you lot do the meet and greets for free (although i've never actually been to one) and you talk to your fans, I think this is what makes your loyal fans go that extra mile for you. (i.e. 3 copies of Loser) Just wondered what you thought about this...oh and sorry for the long question. Ian Helliwell, Rotherham
D: Wow, now there's a way to make some more marketing money (ha ha), no seriously Kiss have always amazed me, I don't know how they get away with it.... Still, if they've got the front, and someone will pay, I suppose it's a fair exchange, but it's not my cup of tea, at all.


Q: Fellas, forgive me if I'm going over old ground, but I sort of lost touch with you for a while until you did the MOR tour, (So glad you did that and got back together- also absolutely loved the recent tour, Rock City was FANTASTIC), but why haven't you got a record contract with a major record label now? Thanks for the autograph session after the HMV acoustic session it was the best day of my year so far. (hope the wife doesn't see this) Phil J
D: Glad you enjoyed the show, but as for your question, I guess you've been out of the loop for some while. I can only suggest you look through the previous Q & As. We've been over this many times.


Q: Danny and guys, first, can I just say I’m probably not as fed up of people complaining about the set list as you guys are, but surely anybody out there with half a brain will know that you can’t please all the people all of the time (or even some of the people part of the time). Regardless of what songs you play, you give the best live performance than I’ve seen with any band, so just get on with it, play what you want to play and sweat your nuts off on stage for us for a couple of hours – we all appreciate it!!!!!! Anyway, I have three questions.
1) How successful was B&M? I adore the album, but it can’t have appealed to all Thunder fans, so did you reach a new audience with it? It’s great news you’re doing a second album – have you learnt anything from the first album, or are you just building on it’s success?
2) In regards to an extra track on a compilation album, how do you exactly feel about that, with current Thunder fans probably owning most of your work already? The extra track is obviously there for Thunder fans who have a lot of your music already, so paying £14 for an album for just one track is a lot of dosh – what do you think?
3) Regarding comments made a week or so ago from “Rich, Sheffield” about the value of the single (or lack of), are they considerations you think are valid and if so are you thinking of addressing it or are you generally happy with the way things were? If I had my way, I would have liked to see an extra unreleased track on there, but at the end of the day, I really wanted to see you guys get into the charts so that was my main motivation in buying it. By the way, you owe me three cups of tea next time your in Manchester! All the best and maybe next time the top 40 eh? Gordon
D: We do sometimes feel some fans don't see beyond what they personally want, but luckily they appear to be in the minority, and it's never been any different, and to be honest with each new LP it gets worse. We're used to it now, and ultimately when we play live, we always play the songs we want, and not what anyone else wants. Your comments are well appreciated on that front. B&M kind of got swept aside in the wave of hysteria surrounding the Thunder reformation. It was a case of timing from hell, but there was really nothing we could do about it, the control was not ours. I have no idea how well the LP has sold, but both Luke and I are very pleased with it, hence the reason we're making B&M 2. The plan will be to sell to as many Thunder fans as like it, and with a bit of luck, perhaps some new ones too. It's always healthy to get a bit of cross-fertilisation going on, and we may bring some new fans indirectly to Thunder. The extra track on the impending EMI Thunder Ballads release is there precisely to make some people buy it, and in that sense it's a marketing tool for EMI. It's a pest if you already have all the other tunes, but the package will hopefully be nicely put together, and people will make up their own minds as to whether they think it's either good or bad value. For us, running our own record company as we do now, including a song from our new LP is a way to get much needed marketing for it, as EMI will hopefully market and promote it in ways we couldn't afford to. The other overlooked point is that a Thunder Ballads compilation record has long been sought by European radio stations, so we have to see a wider picture when we consider this kind of release. It's linked directly to your next question about the single. You have said you'd have preferred exclusive tracks on the single but you bought the single to help the cause. We are first of all very grateful to you and all the others like you who did the same, as YOU got the record to no 48 in the national chart (don't underestimate the significance of that, it's a real achievement). We know and appreciate that you guys would ideally want exclusive tracks, and it's a valid point. The simple fact is we had no exclusive tracks recorded when we had to put the single together, and had no money to record new songs, even if we'd have had them written (which we didn't). Hence the live tracks, and the live video from the Marquee show in November. We put together the best single package we could based on the resources open to us. We had to hope enough of you would like it to buy it, or buy into the cause. If it wasn't considered good value for money by some, there's nothing we can do about that, as I said we gave it the best shot we had, and thankfully enough people bought it to get it to no 48. Releasing a single is both risky and expensive, we're pleased and relieved that the moans have been few and the result was good, so all in all, given what could have happened, it didn't turn out too bad.


Q: Please guys can you tell me where I can find the Loser lyrics? Spent the whole day searching with no result...someone helppppp? Sophia, Greece
T: The 'Loser' lyrics are available in the booklet that comes with the 'Shooting At The Sun' CD, which I'm sure you have (if not you can buy it from our online shop). Hope this helps....


Q: Just a couple of things to ask guys. Have you guys heard of a band called "The Darkness" if so what's your opinion on them, I reckon for a split second Luke appears in that video either that or the rhythm guitarist is a look a like. Any news on when your coming back to the recording studio? Michael, Wales
L: I saw The Darkness supporting Def Leppard and I thought they were quite entertaining to watch. I wasn't sure about the strength of their material though. The singer has the kind of voice you either love or hate but it is interesting. It's definitely not me in their video.


Q: Hi Guys. Firstly, Cheers for a great gig at the Astoria last month. Quite a gutsy move I thought, playing a good selection of the new songs.. On the question front, (and I hope you don't mind me asking!! ) What are your plans as Thunder? Do you have any cunning new avenues you wish to explore or is it to 'crack - on' as if you never broke up? I'm just interested if the same issues apply, which caused you to take a 'wee - break' and if you see things differently now. I hope you get the jist.. Cheers!, oh and from someone who never used to be a devout Thunder fan, Loser is a great single! Nick W, Leigh-on-Sea
D: Glad you liked the show, and also that you approved on the setlist structure. It's hard to pick a setlist after so many LPs, but we have to please ourselves first and foremost, and we really wanted to play songs from the new LP. The plan for the immediate future is to continue to break new ground with this new LP. HMV have told us they have already sold more copies of SATS than they did of GTGA so we must be doing something right. This is great news of course, but there's still much to do, and offers are coming in all the time for shows so we're considering them. No firm plans for any of these yet but when they are we'll announce them here on the site. We've recorded a brand new song for EMI to add to a new compilation LP they're putting together called "Thunder Ballads". No prizes for guessing the tone of the LP, and it's an idea Luke has suggested to them more than once. Exact track listing to follow soon, along with the confirmed release date which is currently set for 14th July. From our standpoint it's a good thing as they'll be featuring one song from SATS, and marketing the LP all over Europe. It's a way for us to gain valuable (albeit indirect) promotion for our new LP on the back of theirs. Apart from that Luke and I plan to record a second Bowes & Morley LP this summer, for release in early 2004. I'm talking to clubs about setting up some impromptu acoustic appearances at Rock Clubs, maybe in September. We'll play some more full on UK shows in the Autumn and perhaps some European ones too if we can dot the I's and cross the T's. There's a lot of behind the scenes business stuff going on too but I won't bore you. Sufficed to say if it all comes off things will get pretty exciting around here, but whatever you do, keep up the good work and keep spreading the word about the band and the new LP, we need all the help we can get!!


Q: First I would just like to say however many songs you play live it is always party time. Danny is great with the audience. What is your fave Zeppelin song? Mick Hodd, Luton
B: I've always loved the Rain Song, I learnt to play when I was very young only to find out that JP uses an open tuning and I'd worked it out using a regular tuning - how stupid is that?
L: Too many to really pick one but I've always had a soft spot for 'Ten Years Gone' from Physical Graffitti'
C: There are SO many great Zeppelin songs, but my favourite at the moment is Since I've Been Loving You.


Q: Thanks for such a fantastic tour,and the whole 'HMV experience' was excellent too. Just wondered what the highlight of the week was for each of you? Chris, Lymm
B: Too many to list I'm afraid, but finishing the Daily Telegraph Crossword on the second day ranks highly. Am I getting old?
L: The audience was brilliant every night and the atmosphere created was great. The nicest thing for me was the new material going down so well.
C: I had 6 highlights on the tour - walking out on stage in front of you lot every night always gives me a real thrill, nothing quite like it!
D: Glad you enjoyed it. Hard to pin down a highlight really, it was very gratifying to see so many smiling faces jumping up and down and ready to enjoy themselves every night. Thoroughly enjoyable and very humbling, so much so that I've asked the agent to book some more shows in November (more enjoyment and humbling required). More news when it's firmed up, then we'll begin the whole process all over again. In the meantime please spread the word, tell everyone you meet just how you good it was, and why they must a) buy the new LP and b) come to a show in November....


Q: Which female singer would you like to do a duo with if given the chance?? Sarah Weeb, Yiewsley
D: Bonnie Raitt, or Gladys Knight, both fantastic voices, control and tone, emotional and moving.


Q: Luke, I really enjoyed the concert in Wolverhampton, I've now seen you at least once on every tour that you have done including support. This time I went with my brother-in-law who is 57. Is this the oldest person to see you? He had not been to a "rock" gig before since Pink Floyd so was extremely impressed with your performance as was I. Also in the row in front of us was a whole family who had come to see you with 2 daughters under 10, is this the first whole family that has come to see you at once and are you surprised to actually be a "family band"? Also as you are now smoking free and spending lots of time at the gym have you thought of supporting SHELTER again and doing a marathon or half-marathon, there are lots of them around and it could give you some publicity whilst supporting a worthy cause. All of the band could take part and even do a gig at the end or maybe just gain some overall fitness to add to all the jumping around on stage. I look forward to seeing you again later in the year and may be you'll play in Birmingham as opposed to Wolverhampton. Why don't you try The Academy? It holds about as much as the Civic in Wolverhampton, you have not played there before and the parking is easier. Also what is that "On with the show" shouting at the end of the Bowes & Morley CD? Hope to hear from you soon. Tim, Worcester
L: We don't know the age of everybody who comes to the gigs but there have been members of my family older than 57 who've seen us. Similarly we don't keep a log of families that come to see us but it's great to think we can sometimes appeal to several generations enough for them to all come to a show together. Despite being fitter than I've been for a while, a marathon is probably way beyond my capabilities right now. I have thought about it and would love to do the London marathon but I would have to have the necessary time to train properly and at the moment I don't. Maybe later. As for the rest of the band you'd have to ask them. We have an agent who books venues on our behalf so we are not usually directly involved in the process of choosing venues.


Q: It might be my mind playing tricks on me, but I seem to have a daft recollection that at the "Empire" (the same day you shot the Stand Up video) the guitar amps you used on stage were small and not facing the front of the stage. Recently, I've noticed that they're fully fledged amps and have a prominent place on stage. Is it my imagination, was it to improve sound quality in the venue, or am I completely daft and wrong (as usual?) Paul, Darlington
L: To be honest I can't remember what we did in 1994 amps-wise! It is possible we angled the amps across the stage....sorry I can't be more helpful.


Q: I flew to London just to see you guys at the Astoria. It was a great show. However, I was a little pissed off that I could not get into the meet and greet session. As I didn't want to miss any of the songs in the show, I waited till the end to get some merchandise and a pass, but they told me there were no more passes. I tried hard to talk my way into the backstage but failed. According to what Thinny said on the website, it was just enough to buy some merch and then get a pass. Well, that didn't work. My bandmates back home will torture me for not having taken a photo with you or signing the CD. What makes the entry so difficult at the meet and greet? Was it Astoria policy, tight rules, few passes? Is there any way you can help us unfortunate fans who don't live in the UK to get to see you after future shows? Aged 32 and with a lot of self-respect I don't enjoy having to beg security guards to let me meet people like you whom I regard as fellow rockers. If you are touring in November, I will be there to see you again. However, can you make sure I get my fair share of meeting and greeting? Bled, Albania
T: The news page clearly states the following: "It is important that you are aware that each meet and greet is strictly limited to numbers and will operate on a first come first serve basis." - so let's face it, leaving it until after the show to get your passes wasn't the greatest of ideas. The doors for the show opened long before the band took to the stage, so you wouldn't have missed any of the songs. We are indeed limited on numbers for each meet and greet - most of the time the rooms are very small and we can only fit a certain amount of people in the room. The top and bottom of it is that there is no way to guarantee entry to the meet and greets - but getting there early helps....


Q: Have you ever considered playing at Capital radio's "Party in the Park"... not sure if you need to be invited to play but surely if you offer they wont refuse since it's for charity? what better place to start with "Welcome to the Party"! I already booked my tickets for November and I'm already looking forward to it! Can't wait! Thanks again for all your hard work, the Astoria gig was "absolutely bloody marvellous"!  Ingrid, Hampton
D: It is very much a case of an invite being required to play at PITP, and as Capital Radio always hated us I suspect such an invite won't be forthcoming. Still, thanks for the thought and I'm glad you enjoyed the show.


Q: It's known that a certain person in a certain band didn't like you to much when you supported them at Wembley Stadium a few years ago. But who did you get on the best with who you supported? And was there any bands who supported you over the years who you thought 'I wish we could have these with us all the time as we get on so well' ? Jamie, Kings Lynn
B: We got on very well with the boys from Van Halen, Aerosmith and even Alice Cooper and his band (it must be the golf connection I guess). We were supported by five strippers at the Bulldog bash once, I'd have been happy for them to play with us anytime - ho hum.
L: We've had a few support bands over the years that were very good. I liked the Electric Boys very much - they had a style of their own that was an interesting mixture of rock and funk and they looked great. We've played on the same bill as the Quireboys a few times and always had fun. We always wanted King's X to support us in the UK in the early 90s but the timing never worked out. We did however support them in the States once and they were terrific.


Q: Luke, I've looked high and low for Gibson guitar strap like the one you have but can't find anywhere local to me, or in other various UK cities, that sells them. Where did you get yours from? Will I have to order one direct from Gibson, USA? Paul, Manchester
L: I think we were given them by Gibson about 13 years ago so I'm not sure if they still make them the same. I'm sure if you do contact Gibson they'll have a few knocking around somewhere. Good luck.


Q: Have you ever seriously thought of 'Shaking the Tree and going'? Lymm might be worth considering-nice little village but near to motorways/airports/golf courses etc. Just a thought! Chris, Lymm
L: Occasionally but I fear I'm to much of an urbanite to move right out into the sticks........


Q: I was searching the net & found out that you had an extra song to "Shooting at the Sun". It was "When Tomorrow Comes". Do you guys ever perform this song ? Alas , I have the CD but do not have the song. RJ Gula, Pennsylvania
T: 'When Tomorrow Comes' does not feature on any version of the 'Shooting At The Sun' album. It is actually taken from the 'Back For The Crack' EP which was released last year. You can purchase this CD now from our on-line shop...


Q: Hi there. just thought I'd say that I'd not seen you before until the recent gig on the last night of your tour in Cambridge. FANTASTIC! I have bought your new album, and its great, but I am trying to get hold of the name of the song that you played about 4th in the set which started with just Danny singing to the piano. Can you help? James Ross, Cambridge.
T: The song is called 'Like A Satellite' and it appears on the 'Laughing On Judgement Day' album. If it's the piano version that you are particularly after then you might want to try locating a copy of the 'Like A Satellite' single from 1993...


Q: Hello Chaps. Very happy to see you all back together...Just two questions from the past…The Harry James classic New York New York (the one where he remembers the time he was out in the hills shaggin some sheep)… was this ever produced on CD? Around 1992/93 you did a radio interview on radio 1…. I once had this on tape, but my super tape machine chewed it up.  Is it possible to get a copy of this?  I realise this is a far fetched request, but there is not much I don’t own which you have published/recorded. Keep up the outstanding work… and for fcuk’s sake, don’t get any funny ideas about going your own ways again! David
T: Harry's 'New York, New York' was only ever released on the the 7" and Cassette single for 'A Better Man' - never on CD. We don't keep copies of all of the bands radio appearances so we can't help you with that. Try asking fans on the message board? However, you might want to be a bit more specific - there were several Radio 1 appearances during '92 and '93.


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