Colin Peel Interview
This Interview was carried out by Jon Hinchliffe in late July 99.
Why did I start singing?
My love of music had grown to a point where I was desperate to be in a
band. My life was going nowhere in a bleak and black Glasgow at that time.
Anyway, as a result of a drunken party conversation, I squared up to an
electric microphone for the first time when I was seventeen.
Corny as it sounds, within moments my life changed. Suddenly I had a love, a
goal, and a future. My mates just laughed, but I'd found my way out so I didn't
Who were your influences?
At that time the obvious classic greats. like Robert Plant, Ian Gillan,
Lou Gramm, Steve Perry, Janis Joplin, Ian Hunter,David Bowie and my big love
(old stuff only) Alice Cooper (Check out "Welcome To My Nightmare").
Can you play an instrument?
Yes & no!
Actually I've appeared on "Top Of The Pops" three times playing drums on a
number one record. The truth is I'm not a drummer, but I successfully mimed in
time (a challenge in itself for the layman) and even got away with some Tommy
Lee stick twirls!
The drums had been programmed originally so I wasn't stepping on anyones
I’m a huge fan of drummers and drumming at large. The hottest guy on the
block right now has got to be Carter Beauford from "The Dave Matthew’s Band"
(check out "Drive In Drive Out" from "Crash").
I picked up on these guys in LA a few years ago and they are now mega in The
States. Our little island doesn’t support this quality of live music anymore
I do write on guitar and piano sometimes but I'm a crap player. I just use
these instruments to express myself to more competent players.
In terms of co-writing a book or a play, they say that there is always a
typist and a "pacer" (the guy who walks the room gesticulating and sweating).
I'm definitely the "pacer"!
I don’t like to touch the gear!
I think Mick Jagger works this way.
What Bands have you been in?
Obsession, Cannes, Safe In Moscow, Outside Edge, Scarlet, Praying Mantis
and some solo bits.
How did you become involved With Mantis?
Bruce & I kinda’ knew each other through circuit bands, rehearsal studios
I think he called me up to invite me over to Tinos to try some vocals on
stuff they were working and to generally hang out and meet the guys.
What do I recall from the "A Cry For A New World" sessions?
Listen…the best fun you can have with your clothes on is to be in a
The times in my life when I genuinely thought that I would die laughing have
invariably involved rock bands.
The Mantis camp has an immense sense of humour. Outside of creativity, wild
nights out and bloody hard work, killer wit is my fondest memory of working that
Bruce should be on the stage doing "stand up" routines not drums and Dennis
is a living comedy!,
In addition, Tinos face when Neal Kay and I beat him at pool (I'm crap…so
is Neal) was enough to render any grown man foetal and tearful with laughter for
a good half hour!
It’s not all misery you know!
Did you do much writing or arranging? I seem to recall Chris saying you
wrote lyrics to songs that he had already written.
Primarily I am a song-writer, not just a lyricist or singer.
I had a big input regarding melodies, bass lines, lyrics, and structure as
did anyone else in the band dependant on the track in question.
Many songs were very much "Troy", some songs were very much not.
Were the writing sessions at Tinos?
Yes. We roughed most of the album there except for "Journeyman".
What are favourite or most memorable tracks?
Moment in Life and Journeyman.
Mixed properly, I think "Moment" is the kind of song which would sit well on
a movie soundtrack. It's a strong melody, has a message and it’s commercial. My
"Journeyman" was a concept of Tinos which he ran out of time and steam on in
the studio. As such he asked for my help.
We built the song together from basics under pressure and in the mastering
environment. I love working that way "on the fly".
For me, that sort of "first time ever" excitement made its way onto tape.
A lot of the vocal is first take ever!
I particularly like this track for that reason.
How did the idea of a loose concept happen? Who wrote the story on the
I've no idea. I don't read Japanese too well and have no idea what you're
I guess Tino wrote this piece!
Talk about the Lyrics of tracks.
I'd really rather the listeners drew their own conclusions. and painted
their own pictures.
As I've said, some lyrics were a team effort some not. That said It would be
unfair to comment generally.
I'm not Yeats or Michael Stipe and I ain't curing cancer here
(unfortunately). so let's just leave it at that.
What was Neal Kay's role (Executive Producer)?
I heard later that Neal had initial doubts about my potential input to
the album, however we ended up getting on like a house on fire.
Executive producer roles vary from project to project , however Neal was
always around to grease the wheels generally and to teach me to play pool (a
prerequisite on this album).
The snide, slimy, sonofabitch, no holds barred tactics that Neal taught me on
the pool table have served me well over recent years, allowing me to beat much,
much better players in various countries. This has nearly got me killed at least
How did the German mixing come about?
You'd have to ask Tino about that.
To be honest, I was devastated when I heard the album in its finished state.
The mix SUCKS!
I cant lie about this!
If people like this record it's testament to the band and the songs!
Lose control of your dreams at your peril!
Did Music for Nations have anything to do with the album or was it just a
I can't really comment on this, but to the best of my knowledge it was
Where were the backing singers on "A moment in life" from?
The old story really…friends, lovers and confidants!
How did Bernie Shaw come to sing on "One Chance"?
I think that the boys had known Bernie for years and asked him to drop
I liked him immensely…he's a real pro and our voices sounded so similar (in
register) in the booth that we kept laughing and blowing the take.
Who are Jackson and Dangschat? I.e. Co-writers
Again, you'd have to grill Tino on this. To my recollection, they
submitted rough ideas for a couple of tracks which the band then re-worked.
Did you ever play live?
I've played in UK, Spain, France, Germany, Middle East and America.
Unfortunately, I've never played live with Mantis although Tino, Bruce and I
had a short lived cover laugh called "Hung Like A Horse".
You can see where these guys are coming from!
At what point did "Hair" occur? How long did it last and why couldn't they
Having clawed through the European auditions, I was offered "Hair" as
Mantis were beginning to plan the "New World" Japanese tour.
This "Hair" contract offered me a "West End" debut but collared me into eight
shows a week and the hardest work of my life to date.
I couldn't negotiate time for the Mantis tour as well.
I've already commented on my sad feelings about this!
Here is the important part of Colin's first E-mail to me:-
I had the best time working with Praying Mantis and its component
members…their committment to "song driven rock" will always toll the bell for
The main purpose of this email is to bring you up to speed with my
developement and activities over the last few years. It looks like you're
missing some data on my recent history.
In a nutshell…it was with great sadness that I left Praying Mantis!
Only the kind of professional and positive attitude diplayed by Tino and the
boys could have withstood and understood my acceptance of the offer to appear in
a leading London West End show at such a crucial time in the history of the
band. I believed in the making of "Cry for The New World " as wholeheartedly as
anyone and was desperately upset not to represent the music fully on tour.
This split however was a truly life changing opportunity for me, and the
Mantis boys understood that true freedom means chasing opportunity wherever it
I must eternally thank them for their commitment and understanding regarding
The musical in question ("Hair") originated in New York in the late sixties
and was a major event in rock and drug culture at that time. I was chosen from
over three thousand people in Europe and America to be in the revived London
show and I have to say that playing the lead role was probably the hardest thing
I've ever done to this day.
Aside from the physical energy output required, the show involved me getting
naked in front of three thousand people every night!
How Rock'n'Roll does it have to get !
The years since then have seen me working further as a singer, songwriter and
With the knowledge I've garnered in such varied roles, I now manage,
write for and co-produce London based band "The Butterfly
Effect" fronted by Chad Hobson.
With the "Praying Mantis" legacy in mind, "The
Butterfly Effect" is very much song driven rock!
This band combine elements of Mowtown, The Doors, Pink Floyd and early
Rolling Stones with nineties "ear candy" to approach the dizzying heights of
Radiohead and beyond!
After two Scandinavian tours and a sorties into France, the band are
recording their latest EP at Blah Street Studios in the UK.
Was there a cast recording?
Yes, however I was not playing lead at that point so "Berger" was
recorded by an American musical star albeit in lower (than original) keys.
What have you done since? Acting and musically.
Session stuff and acting bits and pieces. Nothing I want to talk about
really, although I did a London Fringe production of "Cigarettes & Chocolate" by
Anthony Menghela ( who directed "The English Patient") which I was quietly proud
Although I'm sort of "method" trained, I'm no purest when it comes to acting.
Anthony was the hottest guy in Hollywood at the time and had the entire
industry hanging out of his backside.
Of course I had no idea about this and couldn’t understand why people were
crawling around on their hands and knees while I chewed the fat with him at the
Funny thing fame!
My main focus is currently "The Butterfly Effect".
I have heard you might have done another album? Would you have fancied it?
I’ll never say never, but the timing wasn’t right at that point.
Japanese interviews it seems traditionally end with do you have a Message
for the fans?
Take responsibility for your own life. Don't do blame, don't do guilt and
know that everything happens for your higher good.
Oh yeah…wear sunscreen!
(Any e-mails will be forwarded to Colin Peel)
Current Label and Catalogue Number
Inductive Records 1404-2
Colin Peel was Executive Producer and Co-Writter with Chad Hobson the
Vocalist on all the tracks. He does not apparear on the disk.
Harstad Tribune Newspaper (Norway) – 23rd March 1998
The Butterfly Effect impressed everyone present at Saturday nights gig. They
are an especially melodic band with outstanding musical prowess. In particular
bassist Ziggy Bessesen shone with creatively grooving bass lines
That indefinable plagiarism which all great pop must aspire to was certainly
present throughout a changing soundscape sometimes leaning towards Suede.
Still, it is unusual to experience a band where the guitarist is brilliant in
his absence; stranger still that there seemed to be a wall of guitar coming off
stage. The answer in the full sound orientation of Richard Causons vintage keys
is that you don't miss a six-string at all.
Vocalist Chad Hobson is a pop singer and no mistake. Adequately melodramatic,
he basks in the stage light, voice formidable, particularly in the slower
Although the link to this Norwegian foray is that bass player Ziggy
originally hails from Trornso I hope that the Butterfly Effect will revisit us
soon, because I sit here now with the feeling, that with a bit of timing and a
bit of luck, this band could be big…Really big!
Review Score 5 Out of 6
"Thomso" Newspaper (Norway) 18th April 1998
GUITARLESS AND POWERFUL
This is pop rock blazing with energy and performed by technically supreme
Keyboards shoulder the crunches usually thrown from guitar; add a distinctive
but powerful vocal on top and London based band 'The Butterfly Effect" deliver a
sound conceptually familiar, effectively new.
They comprise of vocalist, singer and songwriter Chad Hobson, Richard Causon
on keys, Tromso lad Ziggy Bessesen on Bass, and on this four track E.P. drummer
Barry Kinder, now replaced by Canadian Bryan McLellan.
Musically it's not easy to pigeonhole this bunch, although they do sound
unmistakably British. Elements taken from a long raft of UK rock and pop history
(heroes of the sixties through to late nineties Radiohead) conspire with an
American retro legacy.
The songs can drift you back to the sixties and seventies soul classics in
content, but even more through Chad Hobsons vocal abilities and use of his
In a line up where the keys are musically central, an occasional association
with The Doors is unavoidable however if you want to imagine The Butterfly
Effect sound, don't dwell on a Hammond scenario. . . ,You'll probably lust think
you're hearing loads of guitar!
Whatever the components, they are seamlessly meshed; first and foremost what
we're witnessing here is a nineties band who have created their own style!