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Andy Boulton (Tokyo Blade)

Interview with Andy Boulton from Tokyo Blade
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 December 2008, 3:32 PM

There was a face-to-face interview scheduled with the legendary British Metal band's mainman Andy Boulton after TOKYO BLADE's gig in Athens, Greece (late November, 2008) that sadly did not happen. Rapidly, we took the chance to send a dozen of questions for Andy to answer, so as to have a brief picture on the current BLADE status. Fortunately, here are the answers for you. Thanks Andy!

Andy, are you feeling alright? Because you seemed pretty tired on the show in Athens. By the way, how were the shows in Greece? Do you have any complaint (be honest, haha)?

The fans in Greece have been fantastic, they are completely insane and we loved every minute of it! Yes, I was a bit tired but I will get past it.

First of all, how's the tour so far going? You announced a set of gigs around Europe this November. What was the motive for such a decision? What's the feedback, too, from the audience(s)?

The tour was planned to get the band back out in front of the fans to show that we are back and ready to kick your teeth in. The reviews and responses have been amazing and we are very thrilled to be back out again.

We listened to a new TOKYO BLADE song during your gig in Athens, Rip It Up. Should we start to expect a new TB release in the near future? Is there any news regarding this 'topic'?

Indeed, after the tour and after the winter holidays we will begin writing and recording a new album to hopefully be out sometime in 2009. We already have bits and pieces we have begun working on that are right out of the Night Of The Blade era but will also have a heavier modern Metal side to it as well…no one will be disappointed!

It was announced you'd release a solo CD and an instructional DVD, too. What happened regarding these releases? Do you have any idea when we'll enjoy new music from Andy Boulton, anyway?

The instructional DVD is out, I'm not sure exactly where it is available but I do know that it is out there but is more about basic guitar than on how to play old BLADE songs. My solo album, Why Me?, is also available, there are links on the TOKYO BLADE and Razar Ice Records MySpace pages. And has been delivered to iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody and many other online outlets and should be available online shortly.

Are you going to preserve the same lineup in TOKYO BLADE? Really, how long have you all been together and how did you meet each one of them? Especially for Bryan Holland, is he also related to Razar Ice Records, the band's present label? They are responsible for TOKYO BLADE's back catalogue reissues, right?

I met Bryan last year, we developed a friendship and we decided to re-release the old BLADE albums to iTunes etc. through his label Razar Ice Records. As those things were announced we found that promoters were asking for the band to make live appearances, so instead of trudging through the past we decided to rebuild the band with some really hungry and eager guys (Chris Gillen - vocals, Bryan Holland - guitars, Franks Sapardi - bass and Lorenzo Gonzalez - drums) to make this a band for the future than to try to just recapture the past. I think once you have witnessed this new lineup you will have to admit this is the very best line-up that TOKYO BLADE has ever had but that we can deliver the goods and compete with many newer bands out there today. This line-up is as definitive as the original and without a doubt is TOKYO BLADE!

Was it on purpose that fans of the band did not have sufficient information regarding the band's status the last (many) years? Really, what were your thoughts for TOKYO BLADE's existence/future? You've been in the music business for 25+ years now. What's the motive for still playing music?

Well, I am a musician, I teach music for a living but the reason for bringing TOKYO BLADE back is explained above. The reason there was no information is that there was none to give, the band was over, I had lost interest in keeping the band going due to past issues until the fateful meeting with Bryan and the rest of the band which showed me that this could without a doubt be the viable and relevant touring and recording band I had always dreamed it could be and now is!

Do you feel - kind of - embarrassed when fans ask mainly for songs off the band's first two albums? You feel TOKYO BLADE had lack of promotion for the rest of their discography (you know, many fans interested in TB may not be aware of some of your 90s works) or it was also something else goin' on (e.g. a change in the songwriting patterns, new members etc)?

Not at all, those songs are a part of their lives like THIN LIZZY songs are a part of mine. I am very grateful for the loyal support and for giving the new lineup such a warm embrace, I don't believe anyone will be disappointed. The labels in the past without a doubt dropped the ball in many regards of promoting and supporting the band, the changes in the band didn't help, I was just doing what I could to keep it going.

TOKYO BLADE's discography was, anyway, somehow fuzzy, especially the first years. Original releases, US issues, lots of EPs…summing it up, though, we're talking 'bout on of the most notable British Heavy Metal bands. Do you now think you finally received the recognition you deserved?

I think the band received a lot of attention early on and rightfully so, again, a lot of those early releases were done by the labels who made sub-licensing deals with labels who put out a different release with slight variations so they begin to get muddied up. I believe the band now will finally be able to attain the proper recognition as they really deserve it. This is the best band I've ever played with in my entire life.

Are you keen on today's Rock/Metal music? Do you listen to new stuff from Metal bands? How do you see this 'trend' of female-fronted Metal bands or 'aggressive to the bone' bands? You think there's not much of a strong will for guitars melodies in Rock/Metal songs anymore?

Trends come and go, it's always the same thing, it will continue to change and we can't help that, all we can do is do what we do best. I mainly listen to my old favorites but do enjoy some newer acts from time to time.

When you started to perform with TOKYO BLADE in the early 80s, it was the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal typhoon taking place in Great Britain. Do you support the opinion that minimum are the chances for such 'streams' in our days?

Because of the fickle public I think trends will continue to come and go rather quickly with little loyalty. Earlier years were a bit more loyal and we are fortunate that so many fans still love what we are doing now.

Andy, thanks a lot for your time to answer this dozen of questions. Really wish we'll listen to some new BLADE music in the near future!

Many thanks to you and your readers for their continued support, original members matter not, this band is TOKYO BLADE and deliver more than ever before.


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