INTERVIEW WITH REECE, EX-ACCEPT AND EX-BANGALORE CHOIR SINGER DAVID REECE
Date: July 28, 2019
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
IT WAS ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO THAT I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO DISCOVER TWO AMAZING ALBUMS FROM THE ’80S ERA. ACCEPT’S ‘EAT THE HEAT’ AND BANGALORE CHOIR’S ‘ON TARGET’ WERE BOTH PURCHASED BY MYSELF ON EBAY MANY YEARS AFTER THEY WERE INITIALLY RELEASED. BOTH WERE ALBUMS THAT I REALLY GRAVITATED TOWARDS ONCE THEY WERE FINALLY IN MY POSSESSION.
SO AS WE GO INTO MY LATEST INTERVIEW, YOU MAY ASK YOURSELF WHO IT MAY BE? POSSIBLY THE ORIGINAL HEADING MAY HAVE GIVEN IT AWAY, BUT REGARDLESS, IT IS NONE OTHER THE VOICE THAT WAS FEATURED ON BOTH THESE TWO MASTERPIECE ALBUMS, THE LEGENDARY DAVID REECE.
I CONTACTED DAVID OUT OF THE BLUE A WHILE BACK BECAUSE I HAD RECENTLY HEARD ‘EAT THE HEAT’ AGAIN. I THOUGHT THAT POSSIBLY WE COULD HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT HIS RECOLLECTION OF THE RECORDING OF THAT VERY ALBUM. WHEN WE INITIALLY SPOKE, DAVID ADVISED ME THAT MY TIMING WAS PERFECT BECAUSE THERE WAS TO BE ANOTHER LIMITED EDITION PRESSING OF ‘EAT THE HEAT’ BEING RELEASED VERY SOON. WITH THAT SAID, MY BEAUTIFUL ORANGE VINYL COPY ARRIVED YESTERDAY VIA AMAZON. I WILL ADD, THAT THIS RE-ISSUE IS TRULY A BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED PIECE OF WORK. THE COVER IS 100% GLOSSY. THE INSERT LOOKS PRESTINE AND THE JACKET INSERT PROTECTS THE ALBUM AMAZINGLY WELL. RCA HAS DONE A TERRIFIC JOB ON THIS RE-ISSUE. IF YOU’RE A VINYL FAN AND A FAN OF THIS ALBUM, IT IS A MUST HAVE, BUT BEWARE, THIS PRESSING IS LIMITED TO 2,000 COPIES, SO I WOULD ADVISE MAKING THE PURCHASE WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. IT WILL BE GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!
REGARDLESS, I GIVE YOU DAVID REECE. I WILL ADD ONE MORE THING BEFORE WE DIVE IN, I LOVE THIS GUY. HE IS TRULY A MASTER AT HIS CRAFT, BUT HIS RECOLLECTION OF THE PAST IS AMAZING. I REALLY ENJOYED OUR TIME SPEAKING TOGETHER.
Sleaze Roxx: Good to talk to you, man. Thanks for doing this. Right off the bat, let’s get started. I’ve got a number of questions for you. So I just want to start by saying congratulations. I guess you resigned with El Puerto Records recently. Awesome. So that’ll be a Reece album will it?
David Reece: Yeah. They did a great job for me when I did Saints & Sinners. I really like the guys at the label and they really pushed the promotion. Mighty Music didn’t do shit for me, so I just said, “You know what?” I offered them the option on the label, they never acted like they were ever interested or anything. They just want your album and sell it! I said to El Puerto, “Do you guys want this?” and they were like, “Come Back!” I said, “Okay!” So I went back. I’m happy. I can call them on the phone any time of day to vent or to tell them how happy I am. It’s one of those relationships. It’s none of that, “Oh it’s a label, don’t say anything. Don’t make anybody mad!”
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah because then, they’ll be mad at you and they may not help you or promote you. And that sucks.
David Reece: It’s just arrogance that labels have. Without us, they’re nothing.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, exactly. That’s so true. You would think nowadays, with the way music is that they would think differently, but I guess that has not changed, right?
David Reece: It’s even worse. The pie is getting smaller every day. They’re keeping as many crumbs as they can.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah! So let’s go into Accept’s ‘Eat The Heat’ album. So, tell me about the reissue. There’s a vinyl reissue coming? We’ll start with that and then we’ll talk more in depth about the album.
David Reece: I actually just learned about it I think when you first contacted me. Some friends said, “Hey, have you seen that they’re reissuing the album. It’s going to be 2,000 copies, limited vinyl orange?” So I googled it and there it was. I was even unaware of the re-masters when it came out 10 years ago on a blood red color. They do one every few years because no matter how much bad press the album got, people still buy it and they love it. Obviously, they do it for a reason — because they sell. I’d like to know the label that’s doing it. I just happened to see it on Facebook.
Sleaze Roxx: So somebody’s probably bought it from CBS at the time, which is now Sony. Obviously, someone’s got it.
David Reece: Yeah I’m sure. Gaby Hoffman has sold it a hundred different times. She’s found different albums to reissue.
Sleaze Roxx: Well, that’s great. That’s good.
David Reece: I told one of my collector friends when he buys it – he buys something like fifty copies, to hold one for me.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah no kidding, because that’ll be awesome to have a copy. Do you have a copy of the original one?
David Reece: I do. I have a couple of ’89s that are unopened on my piano that I actually got from a friend in Austria as a gift. He came down to visit me one time and brought me a Bangalore Choir CD. My mother actually had… Do you remember the long-boxes? I’ve got an ‘Eat The Heat’ long-box from my Mom and I’ve got a Bangalore Choir long-box in my little man cave.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s really cool.
David Reece: I got my first gold album from ‘Eat The Heat’ from a collector friend. There was a limited release of I think four songs on LP size. It was a limited edition thing and that sold really well. He brought one to a show, framed it for me commemorating 50 000 sales in Europe, so that’s cool!
Sleaze Roxx: That’s really cool. That’s cool that there’s people out there that will find and keep stuff for you.
David Reece: They’re real fans!
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, exactly. I mean, probably at the time, with so much going on, you may not think to get a copy.
David Reece: A true story about ‘Eat The Heat’ — I was doing a promotion tour. I don’t know if it was Bangalore Choir or what it was. It was in Europe. And I was seeing the gold album in magazines. It was Metal Hammer or something. It said, “Gold Norway”, “Gold Sweden. I said, “What is that?” “It’s your gold album dumb-ass!” “Well, I never got one.” “Yeah it was gold in Norway!” I went, “What?” So I contacted CBS. I was furious. About a year later, I guess. They said, “You can have one for $600!” I’m like, “Ah no! I wrote and sang on the album. I’d like my commemoration!” “Ah nah, you have to pay for it!” A lot of guys told me, “You get the gold album. It could be Black Sabbath, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ painted gold!” You don’t know!
Sleaze Roxx: I once got a Mötley Crüe ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ gold album as a gift. There was only 250 of them. The Crüe did it and they sold them on their website. I believe, if you look at the album itself, one of the songs should be really short, but it’s not. Something like that or there’s six songs when there’s actually only five. So you know it’s not the real album! Which was kind of disappointing, but it is what it is right! It still looks cool.
David Reece: [Laughs] Yeah it does. It’s the thought that counts.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, exactly. So going into that, that’s probably one of my favorite Accept albums. I have to be honest. It’s just an awesome album. So going into the recording after you initially got the gig, what were the expectations? Being the replacement to Udo [Dirkschneider], there must have put some pressure on the situation.
David Reece: From all fronts! My memory at that time was total terror on the side of the band because they made a huge choice. A lot of nerves, a lot of anxiety. Peter [Baltes] had written a lot of the riffs with Stefan Kauffman, who went on later to be the guitarist in U.D.O.. It was kind of an album where a lot of the songs were all over the place. It wasn’t really structured. It was just ideas. I got there the first night, totally jet-lagged. I was living in Colorado, the phone rang actually out of the blue. I walked away from L.A. and said, “I’ve had enough!” I had a demo I’d done with Mitch Perry, the guitar player. Somehow, Wolf Hoffmann had gotten it from Dieter Dierks. You know this business is so weird. Wolf called me at home on the phone. I didn’t believe it was him, so I hung up and he called back. The next thing, I’m on a plane to Dusseldorf, Germany. I got there about six in the evening. Of course, I was excited. I didn’t sleep for two days. And then the next morning — I had actually gone out for a run that night. I really didn’t get a bearing on where I was in this village. I’m pretty good at that because I grew up hunting big game and being in the woods. Anyways, “I’m going to go for a run!” I took off and I got lost. Luckily, I saw this house off in the distance. It looked like it was from “The Munsters”. This old guest house! I said, “That’s the house!” I put my key in and turned the lock. It was the house thank God. I crawled back into bed.
I think I slept an hour and I heard a knock at the door. It was Peter with a bass on his shoulder going, “Let’s go!” I go, “Where are we going? “To the studio!” I’m like, “Cool! I get to meet the Scorpions!” I’m a 27 year old dumb ass right! So because I knew they were in the studio doing ‘Savage Amusement’, finishing that album. So I walked in the door and there’s Dieter Dierks talking to Rudolf Schenker. I’m like, “Wow!” I said, “How ya doin?” They both kind of looked at me like, you know, whatever. They kept talking and I was like, “Okay!” Peter literally walked me downstairs into this small demo room with a 24 track machine, with 2” tape, and had a 58 microphone behind a board. And we sat down and sort of played, I think the first song we played was “Turn The Wheel.” He said, “Sing something!” I mean, I haven’t slept for like two days and he goes, “Sing something!” I’m like “Really?” He’s like, “Yeah!” So after a couple hours of him scribbling words down, he gave me the title “Turn The Wheel” and we just started recording. And that went on all day. They delivered lunch to us. Dieter’s mother ran the studio kitchen, so they’d bring us some lunch and beers. I went back to the guest house and the band would come after that and listen separately.
The next day, back to the studio, downstairs, here’s another song. This went on for weeks. Then I started kind of meeting the band. It was weird. They were very stand-offish. I spent most of my time in those days with Peter, in the beginning because his wife is American. We shared their guest house together. So I would say there was a lot of anxiety. A lot of fear. Is this the right guy? They had a guy named Rob before me. An English guy. He just totally did not work out. I was the next guy. All along, every day in the studio I saw Udo, and he was like, “Hey, how are you? Hey nice to meet you!” He was recording ‘Animal House’ in the same studio. And they had written that album with the intention of having Udo in the band still. But as kind of a gift, they gave the album to Udo.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, that was gonna be one of my questions. Now I have gotten the answer without having to ask.
David Reece: I had heard the song “Animal House” from Peter I think and I said, “Don’t give it to Udo! That’s a great track!” I just did the U.D.O. tour in Europe in the spring of this year and he played it every night and the crowd would go ape-shit! So I was always like, “Damn it! I wish I could have sang that song!” [Laughs] It’s a great track.
Sleaze Roxx: I read that he does ‘XTC’. Is that not true?
David Reece: Funny story about that. I play it every night, right? Yeah. I do “Hellhammer”, “XTC”, “D- Train” and what else do I do? “Generation Clash.” So we’re on tour and Udo is one these guys, you can have a 105 fever, go on stage and sound the same. He’s a fucking German Panzer tank. You can’t kill him and he had a terrible bone infection in his left leg. I read in the press — I think it was January right before I was supposed to start in February, “Udo very ill, in hospital in Barcelona”. He comments, “Doctor said cancel the tour. Go home and get well!” He says, “I never cancel. I will never cancel!” So I’m freaking out. The tour is going to get canceled, you know. I put a lot of money into it and a lot of planning.
Anyways, long story short, we play it every night. And after about a week of shows I’m in the bathroom backstage. He’s taking a shit. I’m doing my warm-up exercises. He goes, “Shut the fuck up! Stop this ridiculous screaming!” I’m like, “Fuck you!” He goes, “You don’t have to do that. Just go rock!” I always warm up. He never does. So he comes out of the toilet and he looks at me, “By the way!” He looks up at me, “The song XTC! You’re playing it wrong every night!” I said, “Ah, really!” “I will come on and show you how it’s supposed to be performed!” I said, “I’ll take the challenge Udo! Challenge granted!’ I go, “When will you join me?” “You will know! I will come on singing!” The bone infection daily, got worse. He was really in bad shape. I mean he performed great but he never came on, over the last shows in Scandinavia, his son Sven joined us. He came on stage and played it like he played with us the whole time. He rocked the hell out of it, but he actually told me, “You are singing it wrong. I will show you the right way [laughs]!”
Sleaze Roxx: That’s funny. So none of those songs that became ‘Eat the Heat’, Udo hadn’t worked on them? It was more the ‘Animal House’ stuff? So this was all new material with you then?
David Reece: As far as I know, I never heard that he was part of it. Gaby is called ‘Dieffy’ on the albums. She had come up with some lyric ideas. A lot of stuff is kind of just a bowl of soup. Just ideas for titles and words, so being the American, the concept was to have an American who speaks English across the pond and break the band because they never really go gold. They would hit 400,000 with ‘Balls To The Walls’, ‘Metal Heart’ and ‘Russian Roulette’ and it would stop. So the label said, “We’ve got to get this band broke! You guys have everything. And I think the only way to do it is to get a guy who speaks English! Kind of commercialize the sound!”
Sleaze Roxx: Huh, that’s interesting!
David Reece: That’s what I was told. I mean, it sounds about right. Record companies destroy everything.
Sleaze Roxx: Oh yeah, I agree. Did you move to Germany after you joined the band?
David Reece: Yeah. I was living there for — the audition actually lasted six weeks.
Sleaze Roxx: What?
David Reece: It was a nightmare. The Germans don’t play, they’re work ethic is — the reason Accept is a successful group — they work! When you go to rehearsal, it’s not like an hour or two brushing up on the set, it’s an eight hour day, minimum. Then during the downtime, the road crew would be around us, you know, tuning guitars, working on instruments. It was really, really well put together. We didn’t fuck around. Actually my final audition was a live show. I’d been demoing the album. Working with Dieter Dierks on pre-production. We started rehearsing at this club called the Empire. I used to work out there and they rented one of the rooms — the club room for a show. I thought, “Well, blah, blah, blah!” I was told a few days before that “This is your final audition! We’re going to see how you handle the crowd!” So they advertised is I believe Germany’s biggest heavy metal band and everybody knew. So typical touring fashion like these guys, they’ve done so many large tours. It’s no big deal. It’s a gig.
We’re all sitting across the street from the venue, I look out the window, it’s raining like hell, and there’s over 1,000 people standing in line. And that’s when the fear set in. I went, “I’m going home! I’m not going to make it!” So I said, “You know what, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and this could be my last day here!” They didn’t say, “Welcome to the band” that night or anything. It was a smash. About 3,000 people I think. And then the next morning, I hear the band upstairs at the guest house. They’re all talking, laughing and I said, “Well, I better go face the reaper and get my flight ticket to go home!” Gabby looked at me, put her hand out and said, “Welcome to Accept!” I was almost pissed off because it had been such a stressful audition. Living with people that long, usually a couple days later, they say, “Oh it’s not working for us!” but they really, really analyzed me. Well, that’s a very German thing.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s interesting. Going into the studio, what was Dieter Dierks like to work with?
David Reece: An absolute madman? What happened was that after the audition, and I passed it, we were in production and a couple weeks later he was taking nitroglycerin capsules. He had a heart disorder. Albums, he does take forever. He’s like Mutt Lange. He over produces you know. And I think the stress from the Scorpions’ ‘Savage Amusement’ was about a four year period and he lost the band right after that. So he basically had a heart attack. We had to take a break and he had to go to Switzerland to get healthy. That was pretty scary. You know, working with him was — as a singer — I could sing powerfully, I can sing notes, but I had no identity at all. In cover bands all your life, you want to sound like [Rob] Halford or [Ronnie James] Dio. And he says, “You’ve got the voice, you just don’t know what it is!” And he helped me a lot. I owe him a lot. He really worked me. We’d be in the studio doing vocals from 1:00 pm to 1:00 am, day after day. He’s kind of nuts that way. “Still Loving You” by the Scorpions — “Time… after time”, that first word ‘time’, they did that for 18 hours with Klaus [Meine] and he collapsed. That’s how nuts he is. But that song, believe it or not was on a 45 in France and sold 750,000. So he has the ear bringing out that vocal. He’s really good at it. He’s a complete madman. I mean, I love him to death, he’s crazy as hell but he’s a great producer. I learned a lot.
Sleaze Roxx: I was gonna ask you about that, vocally in the studio, but you kind of answered that, but elaborating a bit, he more or less directed you on how you got your own identity? I’m sure the band had an idea as well.
David Reece: There was a Casio keyboard, a little battery operated thing. I wrote all the words with those guys. It was a group collaboration basically lyrically. What I had a tendency to do in those days and I still do, is sing ahead of the beat. German music is on the top of the snare. So if you initially sing ahead of the beat and you’re singing to German metal, you’re going to sing way ahead. So I had a real hard time singing to the English back-beat because I came from the Deep Purple / Bad Company school, so trying to fit my timing in was an issue. He helped me with that a lot. With melodies, he’d play it on the keyboard and I would imitate it vocally. He was good at that. He really helped me orchestrate what you heard on “Mistreated” and stuff like that. A song like “D-Train” I just blew it. I went out and rocked it.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, that’s a great song. Wolf Hoffmann in the studio — he did all the guitars on that album, I believe, right?
David Reece: Always does!
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah. That’s what I thought. For me, from a personal standpoint, the way he executes in his guitar sound, it’s just so precise and good. Were you in the studio when he did his parts?
David Reece: No, that was another weird thing about Accept. Everybody was recording separately. During “D-Train” — the drum track, is the first drum track that was done. Steffan Kaufmann — he ran in the studio. I looked at Dieter and said, “Holy shit!” I mean, it was so good. And he came in, “I can do it better. I can do it better!” And he’s like, “No, you can’t! Listen to this!” He goes,” No, no, I can do it better!” Dieter and him got into an argument in German. I would later learn what they were talking about, but he refused to let him do it again. For the most part, everybody recorded their parts alone with Dieter, which I don’t like. I want to be part of that. I want to rally the troops and I want to be there. I want to watch the guitar player rocking and feel it! With Wolf — we went to see Stevie Ray Vaughan. Wolf’s a great guitar player. There’s no kidding about it. And I said, “You got to see this guy play” as I’d seen Stevie Ray in Pebble, Colorado on the Allman Brothers tour. I knew of him really well for years so we went to this whole club in Bonn, Germany.
This is a true story. There’s about 20 people there, Stevie walked out in the big hat, a crazy feather, looked around, sat down on the drum riser and said “Hey y’all, let’s have some fun tonight!” Wolf and I had both bought a beer. Big German beers. And I’ve been to the bar 10 times during the set. After the show, Wolf was standing there, he looked at me and I said, “You didn’t drink your beer!” He said, “Oh yeah, what just happened?” He was blown away. He said, “I’ve never seen somebody play guitar, rhythm and lead with both hands!” So we stopped at a place called “World of Music.” It’s open 24 hours a day and he bought every Stevie Ray Vaughan album available. I woke up the next morning and I could hear him playing. He was playing Stevie Ray, but he couldn’t get it. He was German and didn’t have that blues feel. He really went crazy and if you listen to “Generation Clash” — I’m a big David Gilmour fan as well. If you listen to that Strat — all that stuff, I said “Listen to this guy play! Change that staccato, metal thing and listen to these guitar players. You’ve got it in you!” He really sat down and listened to a lot of guitar players’ sort of changing ideas and amps because we had to.
Sleaze Roxx: Now that you mention it, there are different textures than what earlier Accept albums would have had.
David Reece: If you go back to ‘Metal Heart’ and ‘Russian Roulette’, you can hear the transition melodically in Wolf and Peter. They were commercializing slowly. If you listen to tracks on those albums, you start to hear that ‘Eat The Heat’ wasn’t really that far away. It was because of the different voice, but guitar-wise and stuff, they were kind of leaning that way, but because they had Udo on it, the crowd wasn’t really that aware of it. Many die-hard fans have told me, “I studied ‘Eat The Heat.’ I bought it and I hated it, I started listening back, I started to hear it!” That’s where they were going.
Sleaze Roxx: So that was smart on their part. I seem to recall when ‘Russian Roulette’ came out, that it was said to be a little bit more commercial than ‘Metal Heart’ had been. So I do remember there being conversation about that. You’d read it in magazines or what not, but it makes total sense. So when the album was finished, what was the consensus? Did the band management and the label, were they confident in what was put to tape? Were they happy with it?
David Reece: Yeah, they were really scared though. During the recording process when we were nearing the end, Dieter — and I — tell this story often. You probably read it. He stopped the tape machine, he looked at me all serious and said, “You realize if this fails, it’s your fault and my fault!” I said, “Ah fuck off! I’m great. You’re great. We’re going to make it!” He goes, “No, this is a big deal. Udo is a trademark. If this bombs, they’re going to blame me and they’re going to blame you!” He could not have been more honest. Those words ring so true in my head to this day. It terrified me. When it was released and sent to the record companies — I think releasing “Generational Clash” as the first single was a terrible mistake. I thought we should have stayed heavy and released “XTC.” Followed it up, kind of smoothed it out. Let everybody get used to it that. It’s still a heavy band. I think the American corporate guys — of course the “Generation Clash” thing, it was so abstract that it terrified the old fan base.
Accept‘s “Generation Clash” video:
Music video by Accept performing Generation Clash. (C) 1989 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Sleaze Roxx: As I think back about it because I remember when it came out, I agree with that. I think “XTC” probably should have been released first and it’s sometimes where the record companies think that they know what’s best. You take a band like Accept – that was a heavy metal /hard rock band and then all of a sudden you say, “Here, we’ve changed our sound!” A lot of fans aren’t going to buy into it. It’s like if you took a band like Poison, did the opposite and they come out as a thrash metal band. It won’t work. The perception is already there. No one’s gonna buy it. Often, I attribute ‘Eat The Heat’ to the Mötley Crüe situation where the John Corabi album may be the best one they’ve ever done but the fans at the time didn’t buy it. Then you have another situation where you had bands like AC/ DC or Van Halen where the singer changes and people buy into it. It’s just a hit or miss thing.
David Reece: Yeah, I don’t really know if AC/DC had done it so well without ‘Back In Black.’ I think if they had done ‘Highway To Hell’ again, I don’t think it would have worked. The songs were just so great. They were planned of course for Bon [Scott]. Brian [Johnson] walked into a goldmine. I think they have such a legion of fans for so many years. You know? Like Iron Maiden — Look what happened to them? You know changing singers is a risk and it seldom works. Van Halen — that was a weird one. You had the Dave [Lee Roth] haters and Sammy [Hagar] lovers and vice versa. They were still so successful. That trademark sound. They even got more popular with Sammy. If you listen to “Unchained” and “Mean Street”, it’s pretty heavy stuff, but then you had “Jump” and the transition went right into ‘5150’. It’s a hard call. It’s not an easy task.
Sleaze Roxx: Sabbath did it too with Ronnie James Dio. It worked.
David Reece: The die-hard Ozzy [Osbourne] fanatics, they hated Ronnie. It’s about personalities. I thought when “Neon Nights” came out, I thought “Oh my God!”
Sleaze Roxx: It’s a weird thing. People don’t just take it as new music or just music.
David Reece: I really think Accept should have changed the band name. If we had come out as a new band, former members of Accept and put Accept on hiatus, at the time, ’88 was still a thriving market. We may have hit it, but should of, would of, could of. Now, that’s the story of my life, to be honest, it’s one of the most frustrating parts of my career. Timing is everything.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah. So I mean, was there ever a discussion of doing that?
David Reece: Never. They had the brand. I think they thought that would do it. Udo came out as Udo. I can tell you the fans love him more than Accept now. I was on tour with him. I had more fans surround me saying, “All this is so great. You’re opening for Udo! What a cool thing! We’re done with Accept! He’s real!” The thing about Udo, is that a lot of people say he was a character. Udo is one of the guys. He’s not good looking. He’s a guy from an industrial area in Germany with a unique voice. One thing Gaby told me one day, the reason he’s so revered is that he’s one of them. You watch him on stage and look at the audience, everybody looks just like him. It was such a real slap in the face. On this tour, there were guys in there early ’70s singing along and it was down to 14 year olds.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s a legacy.
David Reece: Absolutely! Accept — they opened for AC DC. That’s instant death to most fans? I mean, The Answer did it. They did like 20 shows. It cost them a fortune. They were booed off the stage every night. Accept went out and my friend said, “I gotta be honest Reece, they killed it! They played “Balls To The Walls”, “Fast As A Shark.” People knew who they were! 80,000 people in the stadium and I saw kids 14 years old with Accept t-shirts!” So that brand is still powerful. They went over great. AC DC is typically instant death!
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, no kidding. Wow. So let’s shift gears a little bit. Can we talk about Bangalore Choir? I love that album. It featured yourself on vocals. I was just going through the liner notes. I remember the two guys from Hericane Alice — Ian Mayo and Jackie Ramos — being in the band, but they didn’t actually play on the album. That was Dan Greenberg and Derrick Thomas.
David Reece: Phenomenal bass-player.
Sleaze Roxx: I got my copy on eBay. I’ve never seen the album in Canada. They showed the video once for “Loaded Gun” on MuchMusic. And then that was it. I never saw it again. I never saw the album in the stores. I got my copy from the States, I believe on eBay. I think 15 years ago, I hunted it down. Yeah, it kind of sucked here for music sometimes, or you had to go into the city to find it. Anyways, the first track “Angel In Black” — which I’ve heard both versions. I’ve heard Steve Plunkett’s version on the Autograph demos. I like this one better. How was it that song came to be used on the album?
David Reece: Record company direction. At the time we had a guy named Glen Parrish managing us. He managed Stevie Nicks. He was kind of a go between her and Howard Kaufman. Howard, of course, managed Whitesnake, Heart, everybody. So we walked into — I had great momentum after Accept. I literally played nine gigs in L.A., which was over a period of about a year. After those nine shows, I had an offer from every label. I had great management. We had written a lot of songs. In typical record company fashion, we needed a hit, so we brought in Steve and he’s a great songwriter. Him and I wrote a lot of songs over my life. Five years after that. That’s how that came into fruition. “Loaded Gun” was written by the bass player from Styx — Ricky Phillips. That guy is Nashville — he’s been in Styx now for 15 years. I was told ‘We need a ballad.’ Danny Rosencrantz who was at the time, I don’t know if he’s still alive, was the guru for AR radio. He played it for me. He said, “Reece, if you’re singing like Reece, that’s a number one!” When it was released, it was the most added to radio in two years in the history of America. I mean, it was added like hell. We thought we had a smash hit. If you watch the video, the young man that’s with that girl is Jared Leto, the actor. He was like 14. His Mom brought him in, I looked at ten guys that day and I looked at him. He had the James Dean hair, blue eyes, I said, “That guy!” Long story short, I met him about 10 years ago at a 30 Seconds To Mars show. I said, “Do you remember me?” He’s standing there looking at me with that red mohawk. He says, “I know your face!” I go, “Bangalore Choir? Loaded Gun?” He started jumping up and down screaming, “Oh my God, that was my first acting part!” So that’s kind of cool.
Bangalore Choir‘s “Loaded Gun” video:
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Sleaze Roxx: That is cool. Then another track “Doin’ the Dance”, which was Jon Bon Jovi and Aldo Nova. Was that from the record company as well?
David Reece: It was. When Jon was doing ‘Young Guns II’, “Blaze of Glory”, they sent me down to A&M Records. I walked in, there’s Bon Jovi. He looked like death warned over, chain smoking in a computerized room. Jeff Beck was there in the corner with a guitar because everybody played on that album. He took about 10 minutes and took me in another room and said okay, “I got this track!” He’s chain smoking Camels. I remember it like it was yesterday and I’m looking at him, “You smoke?” I smoke and I’m like, “Why would a pretty boy like you smoke? You never seemed like the smoker type!”, but he still is a heavy smoker. He played me this song and he started telling me he was trying to help Aldo get his career back because of the drugs and all that. He said Aldo had been a big part of the beginning of Bon Jovi’s career. “Runaway” and all that Aldo really wasn’t getting it, “What do think?” So the guitarist Curt Mitchell and I looked at each other and said, “You know we could make this a Queen like thing!” as we listened to the harmonies and all that. “Okay we’ll use it. Can’t hurt to have a Bon Jovi song for promotion. In the end, it really didn’t do anything for the album as far as promotion. We talked about it a lot. I think it’s pretty cool song. We played it live at Firefest in 2010 on the live album. Do you have that?
Sleaze Roxx: I don’t. I didn’t even know it existed to be honest.
David Reece: It’s called ‘All or Nothing: Live At Firefest.’ We hadn’t seen each other in 19 years. I had to have three original members. I had members Dan Greenberg and Curt Mitchell. I met them at Heathrow Airport. We rehearsed that night in the hotel. We played the gig. It was unbelievable how big the album was in the UK. I had no idea. I mean, we were huge! If you listen and watch it — you can see it on YouTube. “Bangalore Choir live at Firefest”, you’ll see “Angel In Black”, etc. That’s the shit. That’s a live recording.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s awesome. I will check that out for sure. And I will probably hunt it down and get it. I recently interviewed Dave Meniketti of Y&T, so it was funny, I was looking at the Bangalore Choir album and the production was handled by Max Norman. Dave and I had actually talked about Max Norman because he produced Y&T’s ‘Black Tiger’ album. So he kind of gave me his feelings on him. So I thought I’d ask you the same thing. What was it like working with Max Norman?
David Reece: It was a nightmare [laughs]. I mean, he’s Max Norman. He’s done Ozzy albums, some Megadeth. He just really wasn’t fun to be around. My guitarist, Curt Mitchell, is a nerd behind the board too. He would look at me and say, “I can’t stand this! What are we doing? This guy can’t mix!” Of course, we were afraid to speak up. When the mixes came out, the master of Kirkland went completely ballistic and said, “I can’t accept this! We’ve got to remix the album!” And so, the four singles remixed by James ‘Jimbo’ Barton! The rest of it is left as Max Norman. You’ve got the great four sounding tracks which were Curt and Jimbo. They went in as nerds and just mashed it out. Then you’ve got the Max Norman material. If you listen to “Freight Train Rollin’”, at the end of it, he forgot to turn off the cowbell and it keeps running in the fade-out. Max just did it for the money I think. He wasn’t really into it. Was Meniketti happy with him?
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, he said he hadn’t seen him in 30 years. Yeah, I think it was a different time. I think it was like 1982. So I mean he seemed like he was very happy. He said he worked them really hard.
David Reece: He was hot then. He did ‘Diary of A Madman’.
Sleaze Roxx: He said it was a good experience. They hadn’t seen Max in 30 years, he came to one of the shows and with the other three guys having passed away, he said it was kind of an emotional thing. Now as for the cover for ‘On Target’, the girl was taken off the cover, right?
David Reece: I did that! I did a re-issue and re-master because I didn’t want to get sued. That was my manager’s wife. Later I found out that they had divorced, but you never know in this business. She could come after me, so I said, “Just put the bomb on there!” So it was a legal reason.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you guys get flack over that album cover when it came out?
David Reece: Oh yeah! You have to remember the grunge thing was happening. Anything to do with chicks and long hair. It was the enemy. It is another knock of bad-timing. If I didn’t sing about heroin overdoses and misery, I mean, that’s why it didn’t work. You’ve got a girl with nice tits, then it’s airbrushed to make them look better and she’s riding a bomb. It was not a good thing. Tora [Tora] went through the same thing. They got crucified. Mötley Crüe seemed to be the only band that could pull it off.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve talked to Anthony [Corder] from Tora Tora about the cover. I just saw him down in Nashville, but when I interviewed him initially back in January, he said that with that album cover, they had a huge painting poster of that, of the whole thing. To me that album cover was cool because it represented war time in the United States in the ’30s and ’40s. I was not offended by it and I wasn’t offended by this one. I thought they were both great covers.
David Reece: Exactly. That was the concept.
Sleaze Roxx: So what happened with Bangalore Choir? I remember the band being there and then you were no longer there.
David Reece: We were on top of the world. We did the Lynch Mob tour and literally, I think three months after the release — we shipped I think about 500,000 units, maybe only 400,000. I got a call into the office, and I sat down, you could feel it and they said, “We’re dropping the band! It’s over! Get a day job!” And I said, “What?” “Grunge is the new thing, we’re putting our effort into that. Metal is dead! AOR is dead!” It was unbelievable. I think I ran into Jani Lane a few days later, he was dropped. This guy sold 10 million albums. Ratt — all of us were crawling around LA. We didn’t know what happened! It was like a bomb had gone off.
Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, it was crazy. And as a fan, it was horrible. So, then from Bangalore Choir, you went to Sircle of Silence. You didn’t manage to get an American label release on those two albums with Sircle of Silence?
David Reece: No, we got a Japanese deal.
Sleaze Roxx: Right — by that time, that was where the whole grunge thing had — they didn’t want to sign anybody. As a fan. you had to bend over backwards to get new stuff because it was mostly on import.
David Reece: And it was expensive. $30.00 for a CD in those days for a kid was a lot of money, plus postage from Japan.
Sleaze Roxx: Now, did you do much in Japan, touring wise with that band.
David Reece: Not a thing. It was all talk. Speculation. I think we did 10, 15,000 copies. They gave us another album. It just fizzled away and after that I retired. I’d had enough. I tried to go kind of heavy and grunge on the first one. Fans would buy it. They knew it was an attempt to stay relevant, so I failed in that matter. Now, it’s kind of a cult classic. People talk about that album all the time. I’ve got it right here on my wall actually. You know, I love that first album. Steve Plunkett and I wrote a bunch of those songs. Greg Chaisson from Badlands was in the band for a little while. I had toured with Badlands in Bangalore. That was a great tour together. It was a singer and guitar player’s dream. You had two good singers and you had Jake [E. Lee] and you had Curt. It was pretty cool.
Sircle of Silence‘s “Dancing’ On The Sun” video:
A classic music video, Sircle of Silence’s “Dancin’ With the Sun”, directed by Chip Miller (and noted cinematographer, Bryan Wilson), and edited and produced…
Sleaze Roxx: As we close out, more or less, I guess the future for you is with Reece. Are you working on anything other than that right now?
David Reece: You know people are asking me some questions. I had a Norwegian guy writing me last night. A journalist about some secret pseudo project with an Italian guy. I don’t even know who it is. I’ve got the new Reece album written. I haven’t figured out the title, but I scheduled it for March 2020. I have a huge tour starting in April. Giles, my manager, he’s handling Girlschool, Riot and Alcatrazz, so obviously it’s going to be with one of those three. It’s going to be about a six week run. And I think this album is better than ‘Resilient Heart.’ I learned a lot from the Udo tour and doing ‘Eat The Heat’ shows, playing those songs live and watching the crowd. Tempos, melodies, aggressive — so it’s got a lot of that. I think it’s not going to be too abstract for the fans. They’re gonna say, “Ahhh, Reece has still got the metal voice!”, but you know, I can capitalize on that. So I told Andy, “Let’s just start writing heavy riffs with melody of course!” But it’s kind of ‘Eat The Heat’ on steroids. We’re into drums right now. Guitars and bass next. Then I go in and start shouting into a mike. Hopefully I’ll have it recorded by the end of September. I’m going to England. I play with a band called John Steel. Oh — I’ll do a John Steel album. Maybe this year, but definitely next year. I do a lot of shows with them in Bulgaria. I may go to England because the drummer lives there. So I may take off in November and go spend till March there. Just to keep my family fed. Because I’ve got kids and a wife. You work, I work, we all work!
Sleaze Roxx: I did want to mention that the Bonfire album that you did, I really liked that album.
David Reece: Thank you. I just listened to “Let’s Fly Away” about ten minutes before I called you. It’s one of my wife’s favorite songs. Last night, the journalist in Norway asked me, “Why don’t you do a double album of all your ballads in your life?” He goes, “That would be amazing!” And I said “Really?” And he said, “David, you’ve got so many great ballads you sing!” I said, “You know what, I’ll put some thought into that!” So I started kind of fishing around for songs I didn’t even remember I did. Songs like “Mistreated” or “Fly Away” — or you know, maybe I could do that just for shits and giggles!
Sleaze Roxx: I think that’s pretty much all I’ve got David. Thanks so much for your time.
David Reece: I like talking to you Tyson. Let’s stay in touch.
Sleaze Roxx: Of course David, thank you very much.
Reece‘s “Any Time At All” video:
“Any Time At All” is taken from the Reece album “Resilient Heart” out November 9th worldwide on Mighty Music on LTD LP, CD and digital.Credits: Live video: L…