Gary Barden, best known as a vocalist with the Michael Schenker Group, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer in a band?
Hi Stuart, nice to talk with you and the fans of Michael Schenker. My early days of 14 and 15 and eventually 16 years old were varied. My first phase was SKA music, Tamala Motown..... then, Hippy stuff, Quintessence etc......then I heard Deep Purple and the ‘Orchestra Concerto’, and then I heard Deep Purple “In Rock”.
Apart from Michael Schenker Group and Praying Mantis, have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any other notable bands?
TNT was mentioned, but after I left Michael in April ‘84 I wanted to do my own band Statetrooper. As for offers, sorry to say no! Bernie Marsden asked me to do a couple of gigs with The Company of Snakes. I tried it but I'm not David Coverdale, and will not do karaoke anymore!
You have appeared on a number of albums over the years. Do you have a favourite and why?
The only really poignant one is a song called 'Brother Kill Brother', which I wrote on a jolly holiday in Thailand which I wrote in my head about the Serbian/Croatian war going on then nothing changes? I went back to Germany and put it down with Michael Voss's help, and by the time I'd had a coffee he played me the backing track! Don Airey’s introductory keyboard piece really sets up the song. Of course, The Michael Schenker Group 1st album, the light and shade on that one is untouchable.
How was it for you singing alongside Graham Bonnet, Rob McAuley and Doogie White in Michael Schenker Fest?
People thought it wouldn't work! Too many egos on that stage at once, but we proved them wrong! We try to be professional about our artistry, and of course, Michael is at the top of the game of that, as always.......ego's? Handshakes and hugs...
Do you have any plans to release another solo album?
I honestly can't make living out of it........ all my solo albums are free courtesy of YouTube! The same goes for any other artist…been ripped off once, won't do it again!
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip-top shape all these years?
Any you can recommend? [laughs]
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
I shit myself on my first gig with MSG! Still do...... but once I'm there, Mr Hyde takes over......
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
There's only Michael.....
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your time in Silver and Statetrooper that could see the light of day?
Still trying to bring to the light of day a Marquee Live recording by a Japanese chappie on his Sony Walkman. Can't find the original 2" 24 track from Trident Studios? There are two songs recorded in Scream Studios, Croydon, which I'm still talking about to Jeff Summers (original guitarist/songwriter) about.....hey ho....
Is there a chance we could see you performing in the UK again soon?
Never say never is a poor answer...but let's see which way the wind blows.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you can share?
Not working wise, but spring in the UK after Christmas will be bloomingish for some people. Ok, thanks for the chat, I like to wish yourself and Fireworks Magazine a safe and productive year to the next one. Dreams of the faithful, thank you for all you’ve given me over these years.
Interview by Stuart Dryden