David Farrell from Planetmosh talks to Steve Newman about his impressive new record “Siren” and his Mullet.
PM: Congratulations firstly on the new album; I think it’s great. I take it you are pleased with it?
Steve:“Dave; great to talk to you and thank you for the kind comments in regards to “Siren”!
Yes, I am really pleased with the way this album came out, and I think the reviews have been very favourable too, which is always a good sign.”
PM: You co-wrote “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and “Waiting For The Day” with Pete Newdeck, and “When It Comes To Love” with Nick Workman. How did that come about and why did you feel you needed to do that?
Steve: “Correct. I’ve known Pete ever since he played with The Shock at the Gods Festival in 1999. We talked and got on really well then, and as it turned out he was a fan of my “One Step Closer” album. We’ve always talked to each other off and on since then, but it wasn’t until we had a chance to work on the Paris album “Only One Life” together, that we spoke seriously about writing. It was also a natural progression for Pete to join the band after Nic Lipscombe decided not to continue into 2013. I had a few musical ideas that were wanting lyrics and melody so I decided to send them over to Pete to see what he came back with. Within a day or so he’d written the melody and lyrics to both songs, and they sounded awesome.”
“Nick and I have been good friends for years too and we always try and grab the time to work with each other, so I was excited to have him on this album. I guess the co-writes come from a slightly different area so I thought it was nice to mix the album up a bit and give it more colour.”
PM:I have always liked your album covers, who thinks them up/designs them?
Steve: “Thank you. Most of concepts are mine, and then I look at various artists’ ideas, some stock photography as well, to get a better vision of what I think is most suitable for the concept of the album. I have never been into the typical rock cover, skulls and dragons, (lol), that kind of thing does nothing for me. I admire artists such as Storm Thorgerson and Hugh Syme who have a wonderful sense of art, and I think it’s really important. I think we lost something when we transitioned from Vinyl to CD, no more gatefold sleeves, conceptual art, and the room to be creative!!”
PM: You never seem to tour the UK much, just the odd festival appearance now and again, why is that?
Steve: “We tend to try and play festivals more. It guarantees us a larger/wider audience. Unfortunately the opportunities for playing dates, especially in the UK is limited. We are currently looking forward to playing USA, Germany, and next year, Greece. But hopefully we’ll be able to schedule some UK dates in between those times.”
PM: Why settle on Joel Peters as your new touring bass player, did you just click?
Steve: “It ended up being a natural choice. Pete suggested we audition Joel as he knew and respected him from Tainted Nation. After the first rehearsal, we all knew that it was the right way to go. Joel is a big talent, and above all, a really nice guy.”
PM: Do the touring band and yourself hang out together, or is it strictly business?
Steve: “The great thing about Newman is it has always been friends getting together. The band has never been, and never will be, the Steve Newman show, we all do it for the love of the music and I feel very much a part of a band when we play live. At the end of last year we lost both Nic Lipscombe (Drums) and Dave Bartlett (Bass) due to their other musical commitments. It was important for me to find two people that not only played, and sung extremely well, but also brought something new to the band and above all, clicked with both myself, Shaun and Paul, as friends. Pete and Joel are the new additions to the family. :-)”
PM: What music do you listen to while relaxing, and do you take inspiration from it?
Steve: “Mmm…. Good question. I listen to a lot of very varied music, anything from Jazz to Progressive Metal. I think inevitably it rubs off on what I write. I certainly listen to the productions on many modern rock albums. I get a great deal of inspiration from music that’s well performed and recorded.”
PM: Time for a bit of history, what did setting up ‘Chrome Dome’ give you that the other label couldn’t; was it freedom?
Steve: “I’m a bit of a control freak, haha. Yes, you’re right, this was just a way to be more in control of the production and distribution of my own product. I felt that the distribution could be better, which is why I have been working closely with Georg Siegl and AOR Heaven for the past few albums. They really know how to promote and release product, so it gives me the best of both worlds, and I can keep control of the creative side, which I certainly think is important for me as an artist.”
PM: “Under Southern Skies” was very much a personal statement; I take it that was a hard album to finish?
Steve: “Under Southern Skies” was a personal album for me, some of the songs were very reflective and I think overall it ended up being a healing process. I have always tried to sing what I believe, so what you get with a Newman album is where my head is currently at. There’s no pretence. :-)”
PM: And finally…., (My mate, Maverick from the Hardrockhell forums, wanted me to ask you this). Back in the 90s, at the Gods Festivals held at Maximes in Wigan, many people thought you sported the world’s greatest mullet; have you any plans on growing another one? :-)
Steve: “Hahahaha. Actually the mullet is still alive. I feed it a saucer of milk each morning :-)…… Maybe the fashion will come full circle one day (long after I’m gone I hope!!).”
Steve: “No problem; it’s been a pleasure talking to you Dave, and I’d just like to wish you, and your readers all the best and hope you enjoy “Siren”. We hope to see you all out on the road soon!!”
Steve’s new album “Siren” is out now on AOR HEAVEN.
Read my review of the album HERE.