Neon's Metal Madness

 

Interview with Nick Douglas
January 17, 2008
By Neon Blonde
Of
www.metalexpressradio.com

 

NB: Nick thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you are extremely busy with Doro, etc.
You're quite welcome Neon and thank you for the opportunity. Actually at the moment, I have a little break before we start the next tour.

NB: I kinda want to start with the present and then work backwards. First, I’m a major Doro fan! When Roxanne contacted me to do an interview and I did my research on you and found out you play with Doro, I was like ‘wow’! What’s it like getting up there show after show and getting to jam with one of the most talented, sexy, and downright metal chicks ever?
It's great. Doro is an amazingly consistent vocalist for every show. Even if one day she is not feeling well, she manages to pull it together for the stage with full power. It is an inspiration to play along side of someone with such diligence.


NB: If I read my information correctly you’ve been with Doro since 1990? That’s an awesome track record! It really says a lot about her and you. Can you give us a little insight on what it’s like getting ready for a tour with her?
Thanks Neon. I'm proud of the fact that I've been in the band this long. As far as preparing before a tour, in the earlier days I used to practice the songs over and over by myself and then go into rehearsal with the band for a week or two. But now since we all know the songs so well from having played them for years, we usually get together for just a couple of rehearsals right before going out. It keep things fresh for us.

NB: I also read that you play with Chris Caffery (Savatage & Trans Siberian Orchestra) and Blaze Bayley (ex-Iron Maiden vocalist). Tell us what it’s been like getting to collaborate with such metal giants as these guys. I mean it’s gotta be a real blast for you!
Yeah it's been great working with Blaze and with Chris (come to think of it, that would make a pretty cool band!). I like learning the idiosyncrasies about an artist and then be able to offer something that works for them, it's very rewarding. Playing Chris' music was like a slap of reality for me. Very challenging stuff that I respect and it allowed me to reach into new places as a bass player. And performing with Blaze was a sheer honor (being an Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane fan!). He is such a natural frontperson. I admire how he works with the audience. He has a good, sincere spirit about him.

NB: Now I know that when you are not working with these guys you do your own work. I’m listening to “Through the Pane” right now. I love it! Tell us a little bit about this album. What was your inspiration?
It was recorded over a few years time, when I had time (between tours and such). It was my first real release so for me, it's exploding with all kinds of thoughts and energies that had built up throughout my life . Pain, joy, regret, triumph, etc.. I grew up listening to soul, Motown, 60's and 70's British rock, all kinds of stuff so I let Through The Pane be an outlet of all of my earlier influences which I couldn't really express otherwise. I wrote and recorded most of the tracks myself but also had input from some talented collaborators.

NB: At the tender age of thirteen you picked up a bass guitar after being influenced by your Mom’s collection of 70’s music. Did you know at that point that you wanted a career, a life in music?
Not really. At first, I just saw it as a way to speak what I otherwise couldn't say with words. I was a quiet and withdrawn kid but I had a lot of ideas and energy. I think as soon as I realized how gratifying it was playing the bass and creating songs I had no intentions of letting go of that. As time went on, the idea to pursue the bass as a career became more realistic. Besides, there weren't many bass players in the area I grew up in so from the very beginning, I was playing a lot.

NB: What was it like for you, being only 19 years old, and touring with Deadly Blessing?
Euphoric. We were old enough to take care of ourselves but young enough not to have fear about it. We traveled in a van that we bought for the band. I think there was nine of us in it and it was an eight passenger van. I used to sleep between the passenger side wheel-wells, front to back, where the side sliding door was. It was the only place I could fit. I loved it.

NB: You were 22 when you left DB and picked up with Cycle Sluts from Hell (now there’s a name I hadn’t heard in forever!) and Hittman. What was that like for you? Do you feel like all these experiences were stepping stones for you? Did you ever say “what in the world am I doing”?
They were both very short and educational experiences for me. I guess I wasn't thinking of any consequences or if it was a stepping stone, I was more focused on the present and less of where it would take me. I was just soaking it all in, having so recently moved to New york from a small town in Southern New Jersey. I guess I thought that I'd either adapt or I wouldn't. Both bands were very different environments from being in Deadly Blessing. I was stepping on new ground.

NB: Now coming into present day, you joined Doro shortly after. Tell us how you came to get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This all happened in July and August of 1990. I had heard that Doro was going to hold auditions from a guitar player friend that I had known in New York at the time, Steve Price from the band Thor. He was friends with Paul Morris who at the time was Doro's keyboard player. It was through Paul that I had received a cassette of songs to learn and in about a week, I along with Steve, Paul and a drummer named Dante auditioned as a group for Doro at SIR Studios in New York City because she needed a guitarist and drummer as well. After we played, I was asked to stay as Doro was going through other guitar players and drummers. The whole audition time lasted about three days and there must have been...I'd say about one hundred and fifty musicians who tried out in that time. Although she auditioned other bass players on the different days, at the end of it I got a call from Doro's manager to come back down to the studio. I played one more time with a what looked like a line up of other players that Doro liked and at the end of that session, I was pulled aside and asked if I wanted to go on tour the following month. I was of course very excited that amongst all the bass players who have tried out (some that were way more qualified than me) I got the gig.

NB: On your album “Through the Pane” did you write The Last Goodbye by yourself or did you have collaboration from Doro? It is a very beautiful song. What is the meaning, if there is one, behind this song?
Thank you Neon. The lyrics to The Last Goodbye were written by a Greek songwriter named George Savalas and I wrote the music. George told me that story behind the lyrics are about his teenage son's friend who had decided to take his own life. Very sad. I think we as a society need to really encourage and nurture teenagers. We adults should not forget how awkward the transition into adulthood was. Teens are very, very important people since they are our next generation of leaders, doers and thinkers.
Back to the song....some people have made their own interpretations of The Last Goodbye and have written me letters about how it helped them through a hard time. I'm really, really honored by that.

NB: You Break is absolutely hauntingly beautiful. How did it come to be featured on All My Children? I gotta be honest with you, some of the coolest songs I’ve heard have been off of soap operas!
Thanks. It's one of my personal favorites too. I know a man named Jim Klein who is an Emmy winning songwriter and he has written music for tv for years. A few years back, he decided to start placing songs into tv by outside writers so I submitted a few songs to him and You Break got picked for an episode. I have never seen the episode. I didn't even know about it until months later when I received a royalty check for it. I immediately got in touch with my Jim and thanked him for making it happen.

NB: Now to get a little personal! Who are some of your musical influences?
I'm a fan of good lyrics and bands with exceptional chemistry of any style. Some of which are: The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Free, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Massive Attack. Some bass player influences are Pete Way, Steve Harris, Paul McCartney, Pete Farndon, John Paul Jones, Benjamin Orr and James Jamerson.

NB: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not touring, etc.?
I like to work on new music ideas in my home studio. It's where I love to be when I'm not traveling. Also going out to eat and having good conversation with friends is fun.


NB: And I know that all the female readers out there would like to know…are you single?
As hard as it is with my schedule, yes I'm in a relationship now (she's really understanding and patient!).

NB: Have you ever thought of starting your own band and just heading off to tour?
All the time. It's just a matter of logistics. It can happen and maybe it will after I release a new record. I've done a couple of solo gigs here and there and so far it's been exhilarating. It's very different then just being a bass player for another artist.

NB: Well Nick, thanks again for doing this interview. The floor is yours! Anything you want to add? I will see you, April 12th in Fort Worth, Texas at The Ridglea Theater!
Right back at you Neon, my pleasure! Hey all, Doro is heading out through North America again in March and April so if you failed to catch us last year, here's another chance. And I hope to see some familiar faces as well! Cheers! Nick...

 

KEEP ROCKIN'!

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