Robin McAuley hates the term “supergroup” and wouldn’t call the Black Swan members that
Black Swan lead vocalist Robin McAuley was recently interviewed by Kyle McGinn for Dead Rhetoric. The word “supergroup” was obviously mentioned given that Black Swan consists of McAuley (Michael Schenker Group), bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake, Dokken) and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big, Faithsedge).
With respect to the “supergroup” tag, McAuley indicated (with slight edits): “I hate that – I really do. As soon as I saw this, someone said, “Oh boy, a supergroup!” I was like “No!” What is a supergroup? It’s just something that a person wants to call it. What it is, is a phenomenal person, Jeff Pilson. I’ve known him for a very long time, and he was on the last McAuley/Schenker album together with James Kottak, who played and perform on some of the earlier parts of the McAuley Schenker Unplugged, and he was best man at my wedding, and I’ll be married 27 years this year. I’ve known him all of that time – he’s a great friend. Reb Beach I had met before. Reb is a phenomenal songwriter and a killer guitar player, in his work from Winger to Whitesnake. I think when you hear him on Black Swan, he has a nastiness to him on this that I’m not sure he has really dug into in any other record he’s done.
I think that made this record a little bit different. I think we saw an opportunity to do a little bit more than we had done in the past with bands that people were familiar with. Then Matt Starr came in at the end, which was an unusual process because Jeff never wanted to play bass on this. But he called me and said that Frontiers wanted him to put together a project, and he jumped at the opportunity because he knew he wanted to call Reb first, because they had worked together on the Dokken records, and he called me. We got together and had a chat. They sent me some music, and I came in with the first melody and lyric that I offered to them and it was eventually “Big Disaster.” I remember Reb looking at me, because I had only met him once before, many years ago in my Survivor days, and he started laughing and said, “Probably not the best title for a new project!” [laughs] Then the irony of that is the song came out the day after I came out of the hospital as the second single. People are going to start thinking this was a crazy publicity stunt, but I can assure you it’s not.
So that was the first song that was written. We kind of beat Jeff up, as the recording process was at his house in his studio, and he would lay down the bass parts as a guide. He had a bunch of names, really well known bass players, that he had queued up for the project. But they became less and less available before the time schedule to put all of this together was stupidly crazy. Reb and I always had the idea that Jeff would be the bass player, and we wouldn’t give up on it. We told him, “C’mon dude, you are going to have someone in the studio saying that these are the parts you put down and want to keep it the same.” We knew he’d play bass, even if he didn’t want to. In other projects I suppose, you are in the asshole of the world and you record your vocals and they just stick it on. That’s not how this was. Matt came into the studio, after Reb‘s, mine, and Jeff’s parts were done, and we played the drums over the top of all of the music, with Jeff’s production guidance. He did a powerhouse job. He came in very strong with some good ideas, and it worked our really, really well.
The supergroup element is just an easy title for those who want to call it something else. I wouldn’t call it that as I don’t like the term. It’s four guys who were fortunate enough to put it all together and we had an absolute blast. For us, I don’t want to call it a super group, I want to call it a kick ass rock band – that’s what it is.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Robin McAuley at Dead Rhetoric‘s website.
Black Swan‘s “Big Disaster” video (from Shake The World):
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