Δευτέρα, 8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

MILLENNIUM interview with Mark Duffy & Mike Muskett

MILLENNIUM same-titled album, originally released in 1984, is definitely one of the best British Heavy Metal records of the 80s. However, after the album, there are many demo recordings, enough to create another album, that some people could consider it, even better... With the album re-released recently via No Remorse Records, including many of those unreleased demo songs, we had the opportunity to speak with Mark Duffy (vocals 1982-1988) and Mike Muskett (guitar 1984-1988) about the history of this great band.

-When did Millennium started?
Mark: Millennium started in 1982 me and Pete McArdle started writing songs on acoustic guitar in 1978 when we went to guitar lessons together then we moved on to electric guitars.

-What do you remember from the late 70s – early 80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal era, as a young fan and as a young musician? 
Mark: There was a great interest in British bands at the time and there were lots of bands and clubs putting bands on. It was a great time to see new bands that had a different style after the punk era.

-Which bands did you like back then?
Mark: The bands we liked at the time were Saxon, Heavy Pettin', Girlschool, Trespass and a local band called White Spirit. We also liked early Whitesnake and Black Sabbath with Dio.

-So, when you started writing the songs for your first record, what was your expectation?
Mark: Our expectations were to show record companies what we could do.  There were so many bands trying to get record deals so we decided to do it ourselves and hoped a record company would pick up the album or be interested to do another album with us.

-What do you remember from the recordings of your fist album and what kind of feedback did you get back then?
Mark: The recording of the album was not a good experience for the band. We had a lot of disagreements with Guardian Records who released the album and we were not happy with the way the recording was done. When the album was released we had great feedback and some great reviews but the band just wanted to forget about the album because of the bad experience in doing it and just move on and write new songs. Dave Merrington left the band after recording  the album because of the bad experience of recording it.

-What about live shows?
Mark: We only did one tour in 1985 around England and a few shows from 1986 to 1988 because we spent more time writing and recording demos during that time.

-After the album, you recorded some demo tapes and your music style became faster and more powerful. How did that came and why didn’t you record another album?
Mark: We recorded a lot of demo tapes between 1985 and 1988. I think the metal scene was changing and getting heavier with thrash metal coming through. We also replaced our guitarist with Miles Lofthouse who brought a heavier style to the band.
Mike: The musical style kept on changing, evolving, improving; each time were were knocked back by a record company we'd try to take the music a bit further, explore more avenues and heavier styles. I don't remember what was happening in general within the heavy scene, we were so caught up in wWith songs like 'Confession' and 'The Beast' I think we were finally becoming what we wanted to be; it was complex, hard and fairly fast paced, but still with some melody.
We never managed to spend enough time in the studio to make the demos sound right; most songs were just recorded without any fine-tuning or without proper arrangement; if I was going to do it all again it would be very different!
A second album would have been great, but it would have been a very different Millennium from the first album. Finance was the real problem: without record company backing it was almost impossible to achieve, back then.
Shame - I would have liked to do an album: I was writing more and more powerful music, the band was becoming really tight as a unit and Mark was a brilliant frontman.

 
-Mark, do you think that this faster and more powerful style was your first step to your next band, Toranaga?
Mark: Yes I think I felt more comfortable with the heavier and more powerful style as a vocalist and felt it was where I wanted to go. Toranaga were a heavier band with a Black Sabbath influence that I thought I could work with, which suited my vocal style.

-Mike, when did you join Millennium and which were your memories before that regarding Heavy Metal music in England?
Mike: If I remember correctly, I joined Millennium in '84/'85; the guys were looking for new direction, and I had just quit 'Skitzofrenik' and was looking for an outlet for some music I was writing - perfect timing. I'd spent a few years gigging around the North-East of England with Skitzo, but I was really still trying to learn my instrument (I didn't start playing until I was around 18 or 19 - quite late).
The musical style kept on changing, evolving, improving; each time were were knocked back by a record company we'd try to take the music a bit further, explore more avenues and heavier styles. I don't remember what was happening in general within the heavy scene, we were so caught up in what we were doing.

-Why Millennium split up back in the late 80s?
Mark: Millennium split when Mike Muskett and Steve Mennell left the band. We did replace Mike and Steve but the style had changed, we became a lot heavier and it did not sound like Millennium anymore so we changed the name to Major Threat then our bassist moved away and it started to be line up change after line up change. I then saw an advert in Kerrang magazine for a vocalist to join Toranaga which I auditioned for and then joined.
Mike: I had to quit music altogether in 1989 as I contracted RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), which badly affected my hands; I couldn't even walk for around 1 month when it first hit. That was the end of my musical career! Luckily, I had some skill in art. That we were doing.
I managed to get a job in the computer games industry, producing artwork for Codemasters video games (a small company called Optimus Software). I moved into programming and then Art Direction (with Iguana Entertainment and Acclaim Entertainment (Mortal Combat/NBA JAM). I still can't play, but I do have a small collection of guitars - I guess some things will never change!

-What about now, Mark? You are still active in the music…
Mark: I am still active in music and re-joined Toranaga in December 2010. We released a new album "Righteous Retribution" in September 2013 and we are playing live shows. We are also writing new songs for the next Toranaga album. I would also like to do a reunion show with Millennium if the opportunity comes along!

-What about you, Mike? What is your epilogue?
Mike: These days, it's great to see guys from the old music scene in Teesside (like Mick Tucker from TANK and Janick Gers) doing well. Davy Little (Axis) is doing some great stuff with 'Lies of Smiles'; I played with Davy back in the '80's just before joining Millennium - I think there was a huge amount of talent up there.
After I left the band I think they did 1 more demo, but then folded and went their seperate ways. Mark can tell you more about that part of the band's life; I was so cut up about my physical condition that I basically cut myself off from everyone and everything for around 12 months. Not a happy time, but on the plus side it led to a fantastic 15 year career in video games - priceless.



"Millennium" was originally released via Guardian Records on vinyl format in 1984.
Re-released via No Remorse Records on CD format in 2014, including 8 bonus tracks.


MILLENNIUM line-up
Mark Duffy - Vocals (1982 - 1988)
Steve Mennell - Drums (1982 - 1988)
Pete McArdle - Guitar (1982 - 1985)
Dave Price - Bass Guitar (1982 - 1986)
Dave Merrington - Guitar (1982 - 1984)

Mike Muskett - Guitar (1984 - 1988)
Dave Hardy - Guitar (1985 - 1986) / Bass Guitar (1986 - 1988)
Miles Lofthouse - Guitar (1986 - 1988)

Join MILLENNIUM on Facebook HERE
Join TORANAGA on Facebook HERE

1 σχόλιο:

  1. Το Traveller πρεπει να παίζει Live broadcast οταν θα πατήσει για πρώτη φορά άνθρωπος στον πλανήτη Άρη

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