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Clive Edwards

Interview with Clive Edwards from Clive Edwards
by Grigoris Chronis at 29 August 2009, 4:00 PM

Clive Edwards' history is far more valued than you may assume; being the skinsman for classic British Hard Rock bands like WHITE HORSES, U.F.O. but also Uli Jon Roth's ELECTRIC SUN project, it was good news to be informed (thanx to my friend John Sinnis) the established drummer was spotted on the radar (good motto, Clive!) with the reunited British rockers STAMPEDE. Catching the opportunity, here's what we had to ask and learn from a very gentle and conscious - I strongly believe - musician.

Hi Clive, let us start this interview by saying it's an honor for us at METAL TEMPLE mag to feature an interview with you.

Many thanks mate, it's a real blast to know that people still enjoy the various bands and recordings that I have been lucky enough to play on.

Interview with: Clive Edwards

Well, let's start with your current activities: you recently(?) joined the revamped STAMPEDE lineup. Under what circumstances did this addition happen? Guitarist Lawrence Archer, I guess, was the critical point for this to occur, right?

Yes, I have always kept in contact with Laurence Archer, he lives not far from me so we speak a lot and play together regularly. I was working on a project with LA and Paul Williams when STAMPEDE came up, as you can imagine I jumped at the chance. I know Rueben and Colin from years ago so it made a lot of sense to do it.

What's the plan with the reunited STAMPEDE now? Some live dates were already announced; more are yet to come? Really, how were the shows so far? Did you have- apart from old fans- any samples of the new generation willing to listen to some British Hard Rock live?

Yes, the plan is to get some gigs under our belt in preparation for more to come next year, it's gone very well so far. I think with the strength of lineup it makes it appealing to old and new fans, loads of young fans come up after the show and say how much they liked it. We also get a lot fans that wish they had been around in the old days too; they have all heard the albums and seen the videos…and probably heard the stories.

Are you also planning to head to the studio for a brand new collection of songs? Do you know if there are any 80s leftovers to be included in a future release?

Obviously we need to record the new material too, and we have done the first batch of songs in the studio. The new stuff has gone done great on the gigs, so that is really encouraging, new material is the lifeblood of a band. We don't want to be some kind of STAMPEDE tribute band stuck in the 80s (as good as it was), we want to pick it up and take it forward…onward and upward as they say.

STAMPEDE were an- in my opinion- underestimated band back in the 80s in Britain. I feel they were not 'heavy' enough for the New Wave Of British Metal clans but, at the same time, played loud enough for the standard Rock likes. What can you recall from those times back then?

Yes that's very true; there was a kind of divergence in Rock music around then, with Metal on one side, with the likes of MAIDEN etc and Hard Rock on the other, with U.F.O. and LIZZY. STAMPEDE sat on the Hard Rock side of things, which has become a bit of a poor relation to all the Metal variants over the past few decades. It was a great time to be in Rock music during the early 80s, loads of energy and excitement, a bit like Punk was in 70s…but without the gob and safety pins (I did a week with THE CLASH in the early days)!!!

Really, did you happen to tour with STAMPEDE back then, while a member of another band?

No, I never got to gig with STAMPEDE, I knew them all personally but never on the same bill…well, let me qualify that…if I did I don't remember it!!!

Jumping to other topics, now: your deeds with Pat Travers, WILD HORSE, Uli Jon Roth and U.F.O. are quite known in the Rock circles. Still, it seems that the masses lost your traces afterwards. I can recall only the formation of a band called WIREHEAD (related to a ROCOCO, an early band you were a member of, right?). Was WIREHEAD your band? Active, as we speak? Did you have any other projects you were involved with?

I am always doing something; I never stay still for long me…I did some stuff with MEDICINE HEAD after U.F.O. (also with Laurence). Yes, WIREHEAD is a project that's been on and off for a few years with some of the members of my first serious band ROCOCO, my cousin John Edwards is not involved (far too big a star to work with us mortals) but just about everybody else form the original is…plus a couple of new guys…It's in hibernation at the moment.

I have also been working with BLUE THUNDER; this is a project by Paul Williams, he did an album with Micky Moody, Mick Taylor and Andy Summers a while ago (what a line up) and I have been doing gigs with them too…Plus, as Paul is an old friend of mine (and great vocalist) I have a little Blues Rock project including the marvelous talents of Laurence Archer on guitar; called THE AWE BAND (short for Archer Williams Edwards)…we just fit in gigs when we can (we try and blow the roof off the local pub every once and a while)…So, as you can see I haven't been idle…just slipped off the radar (and bringing up children)!

Having played with such renowned musicians, in what ways you think they helped you developing your profile as a musician? Do you consider yourself lucky enough to be included in a wider 'family' in the British Rock/Metal scene of the 80s?

OMG…I think everyone I have ever worked with has given me something, you just learn from people and situations. Yes I blame them all!!! I have been lucky enough to work some fantastic musicians…and characters. I have had such an amazingly checkered career, but that's what makes things interesting.

Really, did you share any songwriting credits while being the drummer in these bands? Were you writing songs/lyrics back then or are you up to it e.g. the last years?

Yes I have had the odd credit, but not as much as I would like!!! Unfortunately being a drummer no one gives you a credit for your input, a vocalist by the very nature of what he does can sing average lyrics (or worse) and get song writing. A drummer works long and hard on stuff and is ignored. Buts it's changing, that's why so many of the new bands and projects are as 'band written', just look at U2 or CHICKENFOOT etc…also stops the in-fighting.

From such an experienced musician/rocker, would it be wise enough to ask what's wrong with the Rock/Metal music of today? Or you think that's just a natural thing going and it's just that we old rockers are not that much into this new era due to our own beliefs/memories with 70s/80s Rock music?

Well, a big question to answer…as I said before, I think Metal has been healthy for years, it's got lots of stuff happening… but it's not my kind of Rock… I don't really listen to IRON MAIDEN or METALLICA, I am much more ZEPPELIN etc… I think the Hard Rock side of things has been lacking for a long time and the reason is a lack of new ideas, it's been the same old same old. The all seem to want sound like the same band, a lack of originality is at the heart of it. Maybe it's a chance for STAMPEDE to stand up and be counted!

Do you consider yourself some kind of a session drummer, Clive? Or it was due to external factors that you did not stay with one band for long enough- apart from U.F.O., maybe - to be considered an original member? Do you regret for any choices at crucial moments for your career?

No I don't consider myself a session drummer, I did the whole nine yards with WILD HORSES, that's just the way things pan out…Some of the reasons where musical and some are commercial…No I don't regret decisions, I have thought sometimes it would have been great to of done another album with so and so, but you can't have regrets…I try to think my cup is half full not half empty.

Was it an initial decision to become a drummer? Or you switched e.g from the guitar? What was the driving force making you to develop your drumming skills as a young man? Any drummers of that time? Apart from the Rock references, did/do you dig also Jazz or Blues music?

Well it's a long story, when I was around 10 yrs I wanted to play guitar, and my parents bought me an acoustic, I had it about a week and loved it, when a friend of the family (who was very large) came round and sat on it…I was so upset, but the friend said don't worry, I will replace it with something better…two weeks later he arrived with a new instrument all wrapped up, when I opened it to my horror… It was a Banjo…. I was so upset, until one day I looked at it and thought hey it's a drum with a neck, I took it to the tool shed and cut the offending bit off and there it was…My first drum.

After that I progressed to a real kit and got into pop, Blues and Jazz, I still like the old 50s Jazz (Miles Davis and John Coltrane) and Blues is where it all came from, but when Rock came along I knew what I wanted to do. All the greats Moon, Bonham, Baker and Mitchell they all inspired me. I was lucky enough to get to know Keith and Mitch…their legend lives on. One thing that I have always strived for is to be original and not to copy anyone, just be inspired by them and find your own identity.

There's a strong opinion among many Rock fans say that- for unknown reasons?- Britain always was the leader for many music styles (Prog Rock, 70s classic Rock, Punk, Oi!, Heavy Metal) but somehow lost the leadership as years passed by. Would you support this opinion? If yes, for what possible reasons?

Yes I agree, most of the best bands from the late 60s 70s and 80s came from the UK…Basically in the old days it was frowned on to sound like someone else, so you had to be original, that has gone. I think the death of the venues plays a large part and the rise of the tribute band another, most of the gigs now are cover bands…How do you expect new stuff to flourish if all you get is Smoke On The Water and ABBA!

Violent actions bring violent reactions still seems to be a strong motto for many, in our days. The revolutionary meaning of Rock music has- in your opinion- lost its strength? Maybe abrupt social changes may result in fresh Rock movements?

Yes, you have a point, Rock (at its best) should have an edge musically and lyrically, there has been a dumbing down for years…It's all devils and demons now, not real stuff…Also phony Rock bands like OASIS have done a lot of damage, its just Bland Rock…Viva la Revolution!!!

I think you're married and a parent, right? Are you supportive to your kid(s) taste in music? Do you feel weird when introduced to kids/teachers/other parents as a Rock musician, haha?

Yes I have kids (boy and a girl), and no, I stay away from their music (High School musical and Hip Pop) as much as possible…but when they are in the car, they get my music…Jeff Beck, ZEPPELIN & AC/DC!

Funny enough: the SCORPIONS played in my country this summer- fourth gig the last four years- and summoned nearly 30,000 fans. DEEP PURPLE performed two weeks ago in front of 10,000-12,000 spectators. Relevant stories are heard 'bout bands from the 70s/80s that still attract the interest of both the old and new generation. Is this a confirmation of British- and classic, in general- Rock's class and value? The music industry has changed a lot, of course, but is this enough?

Yes, I think it does show that people do still want to hear those great bands, and the reason is they are very good at what they do, but are original enough that they still sound fresh. Basically the bands are getting a bit old, but the music is still young…Long live Rock and Roll!

Are you familiar with new technologies (Net, downloading, MySpace/Facebook etc)? Do you sometimes feel some kind of fear 'bout the limitless possibilities of these networks?

Yes, I am fully aware of what's out there, and the security you need on your PC to keep it safe…No, I'm not scared I'm excited about what will come!

Clive, thanx a lot for giving us the chance for this interview. Really hope we can catch up with STAMPEDE at one of your future gigs; anyway, thanx a lot for your time and accept our deepest respect for your contribution to hardrockin' music.

And many thanks to you for helping keep the spirit of Rock burning…All the Best, Clive.



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