Metal Discovery 3 Part IV with Chris Troy

http://www.metal-discovery.com/Interviews/prayingmantis_interview_2009_pt1.htm

PRAYING MANTIS

20th August 2009

CHRIS TROY
METAL DISCOVERY: How you doing?
CHRIS TROY: Good, good, not too bad thank you very much.

“…that is a superb feeling when it occurs. It’s better than sex, you know…well, some sex anyway!”
(Chris Troy on the euphoria of composing a good song)
Photograph copyright © 2008 Mark Holmes – www.metal-discovery.com
Interview and Photography by Mark Holmes
Originally considered to be part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement, Praying Mantis forged a style and sound that was, and still is, more readily assimilated to the melodic hard rock genre. Experiencing a degree of success during the early eighties, the British rockers, formed in 1974 by the Troy brothers, bassist Chris and guitarist Tino, temporarily disappeared from the radar mid-80s (after a couple of band name changes) before re-emerging with their erstwhile moniker in 1990 for a tour of Japan as part of a NWOBHM package. However, despite numerous lineup changes over the years (including ex-Iron Maiden members Dennis Stratton and Paul Di’Anno) they have remained prolific in their recorded output since those pivotal Japanese shows, and 2009 sees the release of latest album ‘Sanctuary’, hailed by many as their best work ever. During a forty minute phone conversation, I chat to bassist Chris Troy about this new release as well as how he regards their place within the current scene, and the band’s eventful history which seems to be full of lost opportunities, including the revelation that Praying Mantis could (and perhaps should) have become as big as Def Leppard. Read on…
MD: I’ve heard the new album, which I think is fantastic.
CT: Thank you.
MD: I’ve read some critics’ reviews hailing it as your most accomplished, best work to date. Is that something you’d personally agree with?
CT: Funnily enough, at the beginning, I didn’t think so but, I think now, it’s beginning to sort of settle in with that sort of thing. Without a doubt, across the board, they have all been really, really good reviews. I mean, you’re never going to satisfy it a hundred per cent, like with anything in any walk of life, but the vast majority between eight or nine out of ten of them really, really do like it so I think we seem to have hit the nail on the head somewhere along the line…either by fluke or by judgement after all these years! [laughs]
MD: I think it’s kind of a weird thing when critics say “ah, the band’s best work to date” because it sort of undermines everything else you’ve achieved before with the other albums…but obviously a compliment too.
CT: Yeah, but when it’s for that specific album, you don’t mind. In certain ways, when a lot of people say it doesn’t quite match ‘Nowhere To Hide’ three or four albums ago, it just puts you a little bit on a downer because, like anything you do, you obviously aim to better it. A lot if people have asked – “why such a long time since the previous album?”. You know, it is a big gap, it’s six years, but in certain ways I think that really helps. It almost gave you the time to sort of look back and go away from the music element to cleanse it effectively and come back really refreshed. In a way, I think that sort of worked. It wasn’t purposefully done like that but I think the end result has probably been a result of that sort of action.
MD: Well yeah, you’ve obviously done something right as the proof is in the reviews.

Do you ever get nervous before unleashing a new album upon the world in terms of how it will be received?

CT: Yes, I think always, because…probably not as much as a huge band because, effectively, when you are really large, it can actually make or break you. So many times a band are doing well and they release an album and it’s crap, and…
MD: ‘St. Anger’ didn’t do Metallica much harm!
CT: [laughs] Even on the poppy side, Robbie Williams had that. I think it was the really poppy one a few years ago and it just seemed to kill him, didn’t it.
MD: Of course.
CT: It just seem to destroy him, and he just sort of went into hiding after that. So I think so, and I’m hoping that we’re starting to get on a bit in life now as well, so we can’t really afford to do a bum album. I personally put a lot of work into the writing, and the new members have contributed a lot as well; I think they’ve injected some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in helping how the songs have turned out, so that’s a really pleasing development.
MD: ‘Sanctuary’…is that your first release on ‘Frontiers’?
CT: It’s the first worldwide release on Frontiers because normally we were under the Pony Canyon label based in Japan, but some of the European territories were actually covered by Frontiers. But this time round – and I must admit, I have to give them full credit – it was actually them that contacted us. They said “well, isn’t it about time you did another album”, and they started pushing it, and I said “no worries, I’ve got songs in the pipeline”, and they continued to push us. And then, in the end, we agreed that there would be so many songs on this album and they literally vetted them. They did actually say “we’d like to go through the production process – you give us the demos and we’ll hopefully, together, work on what we believe to be the best product.” So, overall, it was not so much a factory, but it is almost like a quality control type of thing which I think worked really well.
MD: There’s quite an impressive roster of bands on that label. I looked the other night, but can’t remember who was on there now, to be honest, but I remember thinking there’s some big names.
CT: There are a lot actually, it surprised me. There are some big names like Journey, Toto…Primal Fear – obviously not in the same league as the other two but there’s quite a few big ones.
MD: Primal Fear who, of course, you shared a stage with at Bloodstock last year.
CT: Yes, yes.
MD: On the same day as well I think, wasn’t it.
CT: It was indeed, yes. I can’t complain in this day and age as well, because CDs, right across the board, are dropping in sales now people do MP3s and everything so, really, one has to question the role of what a record company does now, and what they will be doing in the future. And they must question that themselves, really! [laughs] You know, sales, they must be down seventy or eighty percent and, somewhere along the line, something has to give. It’ll be a shame when that happens, really.
MD: Yeah, it’s an interesting point about CD sales plummeting and a band like yourselves, and other kind of veteran bands from the scene, I guess your sales maybe don’t plummet as much as newer bands because if you have an older fan base, they’re probably more traditionalists who want to buy something to own rather than MP3 files or something.
CT: I think so, exactly. I mean, as you say, if you’ve been brought up with the CD element in your mind, I think you tend to keep to that. It’s sort of innate, isn’t it – it’s something that you grew up with and you keep. I think it’s quite nice, even to just have a look at it, your album collection. But whereas it’s just all chucked onto…you know, it’s good to have ‘em both; it’s nice and easy for playing, but I think that the real fan will probably have both as you say. They’ll buy the album, and then transfer it onto MP3 for easy playing.
MD: I’m only thirty six now, but still within that generation where I like to have something physical to own rather than just download something and put it on my iPod…which I do have as well, like you say, it’s good to have both, but it’s always nice to have something to own with the artwork and whatever else. Praying Mantis are regarded as being at the forefront of the NWOBHM movement in the early eighties…
CT: In a way! [laughs]
MD: Well, one of the bands…but, in recent years, your music is more often than not labelled as melodic hard rock. Do you regard your music as changing in this way, from metal to more rock oriented, or do you think it’s people’s perception and labelling of the music that has changed?
CT: So many people, actually, even said at the time “were you really ever part of that NWOBHM sort of tag?” [laughs]. In a way, I probably would say maybe no. It could be that at that time there was Maiden, there was Saxon, there was Leppard…it’s really weird actually, I read this review recently where Leppard said they never were strictly a part of it and I thought that was a bit of a real slap in the face because I remember we were playing the same sorts of clubs as them up Sheffield way, and I remember them tagged as part of it, and the press helped them immeasurably to go up the ladder, and Neal Kay and the Bandwagon, that was always synonymous with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. And they said “oh no, we weren’t part of that”, and I thought that was a nasty thing to say because, truthfully, it’s what catapulted them to success. In a way, them and Maiden, obviously they were the lucky ones and went from strength to strength. We were sort of pushed into that category and, don’t get me wrong, I think it was great to be part of that category as it did help us a lot, but I think people were surprised when they came to see us. I think they were expecting a lot more sort of heads down, you know, real sort of thrash and…[laughs]. They were surprised but, I think a lot of the time, they were pleasantly surprised by the harmonies and the melodic element of the music. So, I mean, nothing’s really changed at all in that 30-34 years. Obviously, hopefully it’s got a bit more mature with some better production and things like that, but the basic foundation, I think, is very much as the original ‘Time Tells No Lies’ album.
MD: Yeah, I mean like with the new album I can hear some heavy metal oriented stuff in there with the riffing and whatever but I describe it more as melodic hard rock with some metal elements, rather than a straight metal record as such.
CT: Totally agree, yeah.
MD: Would you say you’ve had to adapt in any way in terms of attitude or whatever else to exist as a band in the current scene, or do you have the same outlook and mindset as in the early days of the band?
CT: I think at one point we did try to change. I think it was on ‘To The Power Of Ten’…on one of those albums we did try to make it appeal more slightly to the European side of things and it didn’t really work. Then we sat back and thought, what’s the point of this – we’re trying to do something that we’re not good at. We’re trying to literally be part of the production line and produce something that isn’t really within our capabilities and I thought, this time round, we just do what we do best and what comes naturally. That’s the best way; this one was just totally natural. There’s no contrived element about it – we just said, this is what we want to do. I love it when a song comes together and you get the little hairs tingling at the back of your neck.
MD: A more organic approach to song writing rather than contrivancy then.
CT: Exactly, and that is a superb feeling when it occurs. It’s better than sex, you know! [laughs]…well, some sex anyway! [laughs]
MD: When you reformed in 1990 for that Japanese tour of the old NWOBHM bands, did you ever consider for a moment the longevity of Praying Mantis in that you’d still be releasing music and playing gigs in 2009, or was it only ever meant to be a temporary reunion?
CT: It was definitely only meant to be a temporary thing, and I think it surprised everyone how well that went down. It was phenomenal. Even now, when I look back at that time…because it was amazing just going up and down the country to the little clubs up North and being in the back of a transit. You know, five or six people in the back of a transit, freezing your balls off on a cold January morning or whatever, and then this suddenly came about after a few years. In a way, let’s face it, it was very much dwindling for Mantis, and then this came along. We went over with Paul Di’Anno and Dennis Stratton, ex-Maiden members, and we were flown over by…it wasn’t first class, but it was a really nice plane. We got there and got picked up from the airport by what I call these pope-mobiles with the open top roof, and got ferried into central Tokyo which, in itself, was an amazing experience. And then we were doing larger than Hammersmith Odeon type gigs where each one was packed to the rafters. We were getting four or five encores a night. We had to repeat songs, you know, we’d already played everything that was in the repertoire! All of us were just knocked out with it; it was just unbelievable. So, from then, there was just so much interest, we just knew that we couldn’t drop it, so…
MD: So you got back into the vibe of doing the band again.
CT: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just a shame, in a way, that it really didn’t work out with Paul Di’Anno. Dennis obviously stayed in the band, but I think there was just too much negative vibes between him and…actually, particularly between him and Dennis. There just didn’t seem to be any amiability between them; there was just no love lost at all. To be honest, it may have spawned something even stronger had we kept that unit together because it was phenomenal and I would’ve liked to have seen, you know, had we stayed together as that unit, where it could’ve gone to.
MD: Happy memories…

CT: Very happy memories!

“…without Pony Canyon and that Japanese fan base there, I wonder if, probably, we may not have survived.”
(Chris Troy on the importance of Japan in Praying Mantis’ career)

METAL DISCOVERY: Trends come and go in the rock and metal scenes, of course, but a lot of the retro stuff seems to be back in favour these days. Have you seen your own popularity dip and flourish over the years with the changing trends, or have you always maintained a hardcore fan base?
CHRIS TROY: I think there’s definitely that hardcore. I think it’s always difficult to know what your fan base is though. I think now it’s becoming a lot easier with the advent of MySpace and even Facebook and things like that.

(Chris Troy on the importance of Japan in Praying Mantis’ career)
“…without Pony Canyon and that Japanese fan base there, I wonder if, probably, we may not have survived.”
MD: Of course, you can get direct feedback from the fans.
CT: Exactly, but previously you just had the fan pages, and I think it took us a long while to get onto the electronic scene, which is stupid really – we should’ve made it a lot earlier. We didn’t have a decent website for a while. Now, though, it’s sort of developed, and we do get good feedback. And certainly, now that we’ve got the MySpace and that webpage, and with the new album people are writing and saying “definitely, the best ever”. It’s good to hear those comments as you know you’re doing something right.
MD: You’ve mentioned Japan already, but how important a country has Japan been in both your early and renewed career as they seem to have remained loyal in supporting Praying Mantis over the years?
CT: Yeah, without a doubt. I think with ‘Time Tells No Lies’, obviously it sold okay in the UK and Europe, but it did do very well in Japan at that time. In a way, that did generate that initial interest in Japan and it never really waned. They’re always buying the albums and after…particularly when we did the 1990 thing, it really sort of shot off and, since then, I really think we’ve continued with….well, I think this is album number nine, or possibly ten. But really, without Pony Canyon and that Japanese fan base there, I wonder if, probably, we may not have survived. So I think it has been a very, very important market for us.
MD: Quite pivotal in your career then.
CT: Very, and it’s a shame in a way that it had to be them…you know, not that I’m criticising them at all, but it would be nice to have a better home fan base.
MD: That seems to be true of so many English and British bands that the main bulk of their fan base is in mainland Europe or Asia or wherever. It seems to be a weird British thing that we kind of embrace other bands of other nationalities more than our own.
CT: It seems that way. The ones that have bucked it really, and the only ones I can really think, is Maiden. Even Leppard…well, I suppose they did do well. I think it’s waned a bit now in this country.
MD: I think they headlined one day of Download this year so I think they’re still…well, it’s hard to gauge at a festival, I guess, as people are there to see the other bands as well, but I think they play arenas still in this country, don’t they?
CT: I think so, yeah, you’re right. It did seem to go, but then it seemed to come back a little bit as well, so it’s, as you said, it is cyclical, the markets, and you hopefully just have to rise to the occasions when you can. You do a few duff shows, a few dud albums and people soon forget. There’s tough competition out there now nowadays!
MD: I saw your set at Bloodstock last year which was really impressive – how was the whole festival experience for yourselves?
CT: It was good. I mean, that, I think, was quite pertinent to that earlier point because I do think that probably people were expecting a heavier set maybe from us, and you did see them being relatively inquisitive with the four part vocal harmonies and things like that. But we’ve done quite a few like that, particularly in Germany where it’s quite, you know, not death metal, but pretty hard stuff, and then we come along mid-way or three quarters of the way into it and just deliver that set, and initially they looked a bit perplexed, but then it actually goes down really well, because it’s a break. [laughs]
MD: Yeah, I think diversity in a festival is always a plus point because if you go to a death metal festival then it’s one death metal band after another and becomes a bit tedious, or if you go to a power metal festival it’s the same sort of thing, so I think something like Bloodstock it’s good to have a band like Praying Mantis on the bill because it offers something different along with all the other genres like thrash, death, power metal.
CT: Yeah, and I think that was certainly the case there. My only criticism, not of the festival itself, but I thought the sound system could’ve been better. It’s always strange with those things because it’s very directional. You tend to just go outside the field of the main PA and it becomes quite weak, whereas that type of music, you really do need the power there. It’s funny actually, the power tends to come more in the evening. I don’t know if it’s to do with the atmospheric aspect with the sound, but it tends to be, always in the evenings, that much better.
MD: I guess with quick change-over times as well, you’re always doing it instinctively and hoping to get a good sound through the monitors as well, and…
CT: Oh, you do, it’s incredible because, as you said there, you never get a sound check at these things. You see the bands setting up, you don’t know what the monitors are going to be like, and it’s just that very first note of that first song, and sort of just hope. You know from that first note what the rest of the set’s going to be like! [laughs]
MD: I remember your sound being one of the better sounds of the day though….from memory! I’ll have to read my reviews again! But from memory, it was a pretty good sound. When I was researching this interview, I was taking a look at my photos from that year at Bloodstock, and I took one of the crowd from the photopit, and they all looked so young…like 15, 16, 17. Do you think you’re able to attract a new, younger generation of fans?
CT: I think so. I think it’s a case of, even the harder-edged metal, I think that may sort of ease off again. It just seems to be going through that stage now. I love the melodic element, and I think people really do…it does appeal to a really large range of audiences, and that is the benefit of that type of music…so sometimes with sufficient exposure. We’ve been told with this album that some of the songs on it, with sufficient exposure, it should, theoretically in America and everything, it should go off on its own steam. But you’re up against so much competition and, nowadays, record companies are not going to come up with the amount of money that you need to really, really expose it. It’s too big a gamble, so they just won’t do it. So you’re left between a rock and a hard place unfortunately.
MD: Do you get the same buzz playing live now as you did in the band’s early days?
CT: Probably more so actually. When you do have that good sound onstage and it just is all happening, it’s just an incredible feeling…it is a superb feeling. I love playing festivals, even nice indoor things, but there’s something about a festival with the outdoor atmosphere playing to a sea of heads that is an incredible feeling. So you can never take that away – I’ll probably be doing that with a zimmer frame in the future! [laughs]
MD: Many years ahead hopefully!
CT: Yeah, well, probably not that many! [laughs]
MD: Did you see the Anvil movie?
CT: No, I didn’t, but I still want to see it actually. I’ve heard so much about it, and I’m desperate to see it.
MD: Ah, it’s phenomenal. It’s kind of Spinal Tap for real…it has the funny elements, but it’s very moving as well. It kind of makes my next question redundant – I was going to ask if you can identify with any aspects of their story in terms of experiencing a degree of fame and popularity in the eighties and then having to rebuild your popularity within the scene.
CT: Well, it’s funny, because I’m aware of the story and I must see it, you know, it’s something I’ve got to put at the top of my priority list.
MD: It’s the best thing ever!
CT: Have you ever seen Spinal Tap?
MD: Of course, yeah.
CT: [laughs] I mean that’s just a phenomenal film as well. But yeah, to a degree, obviously the first album was quite a hit and probably more so than I actually thought it was because we never thought we made much of an impact in America, and sometimes when we do these festivals in Germany and these American bands come over and, you know, we introduce one another, and we say “yeah, we’re Praying Mantis”, and they say “ah, hi guys, I’ve heard a lot about you”, and you’re thinking, how?! We’ve never played the States; as far as we’re aware we’ve never sold that many albums over there.
MD: That’s a big compliment then.

CT: It is, and then you’re actually curious as well. You’re thinking, well how are they hearing about us?! But certainly this time around there seems to be some sort of resurgence for the band, and hopefully we can build on the momentum that appears to be growing all the time.

METAL DISCOVERY: I think part of the Anvil movie as well is there’s interview footage with Lars Ulrich on there and various other luminaries from the scene and they’re saying what big fans they were, and all these other bands were getting big off the back of Anvil’s minor success and, of course, Metallica became huge but Anvil didn’t. Have you ever given a second thought…because you were contemporaries with Maiden and Def Leppard – did you ever think “ah, that could’ve been us if we had the right break”?
CHRIS TROY: Oh, without a doubt. I mean, there is this famous story where we were actually supporting…I believe it was Mötley Crüe at Hammersmith, and we had a couple of promoters coming down, and it was a special night, and things were going really well for Mantis at that particular stage. There was a musical management company…I think it was called Leber and Krebs…Peter Mensch from Leber and Krebs, and he was invited down by our management company, and he actually flew over from the States. They said they wanna sign a band as part of this NWOBHM, and they were really interested in Praying Mantis, so they came to see us and they said “well, we really like the songs, really like the material and everything, but we think it needs a couple of changes including a keyboard player, and maybe an actual front man” which we actually thought we did need at that time. But the management company said they came to us and told us a different story, that they weren’t really interested. We actually heard this through the grapevine afterwards. But we would’ve gone with it. You know, had Leber and Krebs said “look, we want you to have a front man, you know, do the songs you’re doing and maybe get a keyboard player too as it’ll add some depth to the music”, we would’ve said yeah. But the management company said “no, they’re not really interested” and they went away. They had all that money, literally half a million to invest in an English band, and they went up to Sheffield and signed Def Leppard.
“…the management company said “no, they’re not really interested” and they went away. They had all that money, literally half a million to invest in an English band, and they went up to Sheffield and signed Def Leppard.”
(Chris Troy on what might have been if Praying Mantis had better management)
MD: So you could’ve been Def Leppard! You could’ve been headlining the Sunday of Download this year! Wow!
CT: [laughs] We supported Maiden about 140-150 times in total, and there were times when we blew them off stage. We were going down at least as good as them as a support band and a couple of times better.
MD: Yeah, I guess that’s the greatest challenge as a support band, particularly supporting someone as big as Maiden, however big they were then…blow ‘em off the stage and prove your worth.
CT: Yeah, but I mean you’ve got to take your hat off to them. You know, it’s not just them. The management, the way it was managed, and this whole aspect of the Eddie thing, it worked superbly, and look at them now. Even now, they’re growing to bigger strengths, aren’t they.
MD: Yeah, of course. Bruce Dickinson rejoining a few years ago obviously helped!
CT: Yeah, I think that was fundamental. I personally believe that had he not joined they would’ve actually died a death.
MD: Well, they went from arena venues in this country to playing Brixton Academy a few years ago and Rock City in Nottingham with Blaze Bayley – you know, like a two thousand capacity venue, and that’s not what you associate with Maiden! I think they were still massively popular abroad, but as soon as Bruce left, people over here turned their backs on Maiden a bit which is why they turned their backs on the UK a bit and don’t play many lives gigs here anymore. But definitely, yeah, you’re right, Bruce was fundamental I think.
CT: He is. He is the pinnacle. In a way, I know they were doing quite well at that point but when Bruce joined, it then started catapulting them to success.
MD: You’ve already mentioned about Paul Di’Anno and Dennis Stratton being part of your lineup at one point – were, or are, you ever worried that the Maiden connection to your band will overshadow what you’ve achieved in the past and set out to achieve in the future? You know, like people saying “oh yeah, Praying Mantis, isn’t that the band who had people from Iron Maiden once” kind of thing.
CT: It’s a very good point, and a good question. Sometimes…funnily enough, we recently, in fact today, I was chatting to an American promoter who wants to get us over there to play a few shows. He did mention…well, he said “is Dennis still in the band?”. I said “no, he’s not now actually”, and he said “well, I think you need to if we’re going to do these shows because of the Maiden connection.” I said “well, let’s forget about it”. We have to be what we are, you know. We are Mantis. We are not Mantis with an ex-Maiden member. So I think that typifies that question. We have had that; a lot of that. Maybe we’ve been our own worst enemy in as much as we’ve had Paul Di’Anno, we’ve had Dennis Stratton, and we’ve also had Clive Burr.
MD: Oh did you? I didn’t realise you had Clive Burr at one point.
CT: Yeah, Clive Burr was one of the first drummers Maiden ever had.
MD: Yeah, on the first two albums…actually the first three as he was on ‘Number of the Beast’ as well.
CT: He was, yeah. So he joined Mantis for a few years but I don’t think it was a case of Burr and Stratton at the same time.
MD: Yeah, half of Iron Maiden!
CT: [laughs] It would’ve been! But I suppose that’s what I’m saying. For some reason we supported them so many times, there was that almost incestuous type thing! [laughs] You know, if they left Maiden, or were sacked from them, it was almost like we were a natural dumping ground for the ex-members! It sort of became like that.
MD: You never ended up with Bruce Dickinson though!
CT: [laughs] He’s welcome! He’s welcome to join us! [laughs] But saying that, Mike Freeland does look up to Bruce Dickinson, but Mike’s done a really, really good job on this album.
MD: Definitely. Yeah, he has an incredible voice with a very good range. What kind of stuff do you listen to as a fan these days?
CT: Er…I know some people say they listen to everything, but I do like this sort of music. There’s a band called Fair Warning.
MD: Yeah, they’re on Metal Heaven I think. I had a promo through recently.
CT: They should be on Frontiers now, thinking about it. I think they’ve split, and I think they’ve reformed now. They’re a really good band. You know, really melodic, strong, good players. I do like them. There was another band recently…Evergrey are good.
MD: Evergrey, yeah, they’re a Swedish band.
CT: Yeah, they’re very, very good. And there’s another recent one I’ve heard – ColdSpell. Have you heard of ColdSpell?
MD: ColdSpell? That’s a new one on me.
CT: It’s only recently I heard them and I thought they’re a very good band. Quite young, I think, as well. Funnily enough, even Threshold…I don’t know if you’ve heard of Threshold?
MD: Oh yeah, I saw them in Holland last year at ProgPower, and at Bloodstock a few years ago at the indoor Bloodstock. Yeah, they’re a good band.
CT: Do you know who was singing with them at that time? Was it Damien?
MD: Not at Bloodstock. I think it was the second Bloodstock, so that would’ve been 2002. It wasn’t Damien then from memory. It was Damien in Holland last year though.
CT: Right, because Damien was in our band as well.
MD: You’ve had everybody!
CT: [laughs] We’ve had more singers than you’ve had hot dinners! [laughs] It’s a huge list! There was this thing that Pony Canyon did about twelve years ago, I think it was, called ‘Demorobilia’ and they asked Tino if he could do this family tree of all the members we’ve had and where they came from…
MD: On an A1 sheet of paper!
CT: [laughs] It could fill a wall! It was quite incredible. When you look at it, you think good god when you look back at all those years, and the number of members that we have had.
MD: Maybe that’s some sort of world record or something!
CT: Yeah! Funnily enough, this lineup now, touch wood, is relatively stable. We’ve had this lineup for three years now…three or four years.
MD: My final question – for people reading this interview who have yet to purchase ‘Sanctuary’, why should they rush out immediately to buy the album?
CT: I would give them their money back if they don’t like it! [laughs] I think it covers sufficient areas; I don’t think it’s too samey. Sometimes, you can listen to an album and it can be too samey. I think there’s enough diversity in there, and some good, really melodic hooks. Even the ones that are reluctant to buy it, they’ve come back to me and said “Chris, honestly, it’s a really, really good album.” It means so much, obviously, but hopefully I think people will be relatively pleased with it.
MD: It’s had such good reviews, so that’s the best press you can hope for. Hopefully you’ll find a whole new audience out there.
CT: Totally, thank you very much indeed.
MD: Well, thank you very much for the interview and your time. It’s been great speaking to you.
CT: No problem, I enjoyed it. Alright Mark, you take care.
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