This is Lee Walker from Planetmosh meeting up with Alan Nyland from The Handsome Beasts
LW –Thanks for taking the time out to discuss things Beast related for the Planetmosh readers.
LW – For the people out there just discovering The Handsome Beasts as a result of this interview how did the band form?
AN: It started when Steve, Porky and Melbassa were looking for a singer. Gaz was doing the Big Gazz band at the time, they had a chat over a beer or three and it went from there.
LW – What made you chose the name The Handsome Beasts for the band?
AN: Melbassa came up with it from a character from the Beano comic Lord Snooty I think.
LW – What bands/artists have influenced you over the years ?
AN: Well there are many from Free, Quo, Ozzy, Maiden, Thin Lizzy to Disturbed. Too many really and that’s just me.
There’s been many musicians come and go inn the band all adding there own flavour to the pot.
LW – The “Bestiality” album cover is still randomly popping up regularly to this day. What was the reason behind it?
AN: Hahaha well it’s an unforgettable picture. It gets voted the worst album cover in lots of readers polls, so does The Beast Within and 04. I have seen it on a few shows. We love it if you can’t have the best then worst is cool no one remembers the one’s in-between.
LW – I believe you disbanded in the mid 80’s – what were the reasons behind this decision?
AN: Well what with the punk thing going strong and the general apathy Gaz was disillusioned about it all plus the others had there own projects it sort of drifted apart.
LW – Is this something you regret doing?
AN: I was not in the line up at that time. I was too young lol but I know Gaz did not regret it he was doing covers its easier and a lot less pressure.
LW – In 1990 you decided to reform. What was the reasons behind this ?
AN: Me (Alan), Gaz , Vic Fincher, and Maz were working on a project and we started to gig it, Gaz got the buzz back, I was doing more of my own stuff and it went from there.
LW – In the 90’s you recorded two albums “The Beast Within” and “Litte Sister”. You only released “The Beast Within” though. Why was “Little Sister” not released ?
AN: Well Birch went into liquidation ~ some scam of his lol and it got shelved at that time.
LW – Will “Little Sister” stay locked away indefinitely or is there a possibility of it being released some day ?
AN: It has on Itunes. Birch ain’t daft God knows how much he has made off us over the decades.
LW – In 2006 Garry Dalloway sadly passed away and you recruited Simon Hall to do vocal duties. What made you chose Simon to fulfil this task?
AN: Gaz picked him. It’s a long story so get a cuppa and pin back your ears. Me and Gaz were working as sound engineers at a venue in Brum. Si’s band was a cover band back then and we got to know him really well. Gaz said to me “get his phone number that’s the new Beast singer when I am not here”, I said “sod off you git you will out live all of us”, but I was not listening to what he was saying, he knew he was living on borrowed time. When we recorded 04 we had to rush him to hospital as his lungs were filling with fluid. He later told me that one nearly killed him. “Rock and a Hard Place” would but I was not listening and I will live with that for that for the rest of my life. Flabby was my mentor. I learnt so much from him there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.
LW – Simon left the band in 2007 – what were the reasons behind this ?
AN: To do his own band that’s always been his baby just like the Beasts is mine. He did a great job as front man but the vocals were streets apart.
LW – Do you still keep in contact with Simon ?
AN: No not really but I wish him all the best we had some great times with him.
LW – In Dec 2007 you recruited Rocky Shades of Wrathchild fame as a new vocalist. What made you chose him to be the new “voice” of The Handsome Beasts ?
AN: Well we were still reeling from Flabby’s death, I was at Maz’s birthday bash and he introduced me to him as he had worked in a band with him. It went from there, but I wish we had auditioned other people for the job. He was the wrong type of singer for us but we always give new musicians time to fit in but sadly Rocky just did not fit in.
LW – How you think his vocal sounds compare to your earlier singers ?
AN: They did not it was a big mistake and one we are still paying for today. Rocky’s a great guy and killer wordsmith. His vocals are more suited to the glam stuff he is doing today we wish him all the best.
LW – I believe you are currently working on a new album. Can you tell the Planetmosh readers what to expect from it ?
AN: A great all killer no filler album you always try and make a better album than then last one, but more importantly it will be introducing Jack Dodd as the new voice of the Beasts and it will be the first Beast album with out Flabby singing on it so it will be strange for me not hearing Gaz singing on it. Plus we know people will be comparing it to the older albums. Jacks vocals are stunning and more like Flabby’s. You are in for a treat. We have gone back to the old bluesy rock vocals that Gaz was known for.
LW – In terms of the album what are your favourite songs on it ?
AN: All of them it’s are best work yet, we all have favourite tracks like “Never Too Old“, “Man of War”, “Shaken Not Stirred”. Jacks favourite is “Back From The Rack”.
LW – How do you think it compares to your earlier releases such as Bestiality, The Beast Within, Rock and A Hard Place etc?
AN: Each album is different not only in production but how the band evolves you can’t live in the past. Each album is us at that point in time plus Jack’s vocals will be there instead of Gaz’s that’s the big difference. We are all excited about it, we have gigged the songs over the last year and the new tracks are going down killer. Plus we are recording it with Andy Faulkner who has worked with Shy and Bolt Thrower to name but two. We are all excited about it.
LW – If you had to pick one song to sum up The Handsome Beasts right now what would it be?
AN: Of the new stuff “Never Too Old”, but to me its still “The Beast Within” or Flabby’s song as the band call it. It is a reminder to us and the fans that Gaz is, and will always be part of the band and he will never forgotten.
LW – Besides the album release what do you have planned for the rest of 2012?
AN: Well an e.p will be out in late June or early July. It will also have a remaking of “The Beast Within”, which will not be on the album. It will be followed by the album release in Oct/Nov followed by gigging as much as possible. The fans know that’s what we do best. We are doing Hard Rock Hell this year. There’s a few more but I am not saying which until they have been confirmed so watch this space. There will also be a video of three of the tracks plus a live video is on the cards too.
LW – Are there any bands out there you would recommend keeping an eye on right now?
AN: Every band that’s supported us at gigs. It’s harder today with how the economy is. People have not got the money to go out two or three times a week so any original band working the circuit you should look at.
LW – Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to your fans ?
AN: A big thank you for one, we have fans from all over the world turning up to gigs and that still blows me away to day. So from me (Alan), Mick, Mark, Shawn, and Jack once again thank you all.