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XS Rock readers know that I’ve recently been raving about the debut album by Sainted Sinners featuring David Reece (Accept, Bonfire, Bangalore Choir). Well, today I had the chance to talk with him about his new band, his past work and his influences as well as what the future might hold. He’s a really great guy who appreciates his fans and is truly grateful for the opportunities that he has been given to him to do what he does best, be a singer in a rock n ‘roll band. You can check out my review of the new Sainted Sinners album here. But first, read on to see what David has to say….
XS ROCK: So I guess my first question is what happened with Bonfire? It seemed like you were a good fit for the band?
David: You know, I was just miserable dude. I was really unhappy working with Hans Ziller. Our relationship started off really strong when we were doing the EZ Livin’ thing in 2014. He hired a manager who I really dislike and he basically put that guy in control. He got between us, the same old stupid story, and gradually the relationship deteriorated. And I was basically told that the manager was more important to him than I was. When that happens, and there was a lot of dishonesty going on, I’m really about being up front and not having any drama in my life. I just couldn’t stand it. I had put in my notice to leave Bonfire in December of 2016, but behind my back they were fishing for a singer, which is fine, but when you find out ten minutes before you go onstage in July that that’s your last gig in Italy, it wasn’t very fun to go onstage. They could have said we’re going to get this guy and bring him in, but they didn’t and I had put in 150% of my life into that thing for a year. The way they handled it was typical Bonfire style. I’m glad to be out and I’m mentally and physically healthier. I don’t have that anxiety of getting to the airport on Thursday and flying to gigs and the dread when I should be having a good time. You know, our album Glorious sold fantastically and the double album that we did, didn’t do so bad either. There was a lot to celebrate. I did an interview recently and the guy said that Bonfire has had 25 different people in the band and I was like what? I went back and counted and the guy was absolutely right. There’s been 25 members in the band in 30 years. That’s almost one a year. But, they always seem to get back together, so I would say that my projection would be that it wouldn’t be that far-fetched that Claus (Lessman) and Hans (Ziller) kissed and made up at some point and got back together for a reunion tour. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.
XS ROCK: So your new album with Sainted Sinners is just fantastic. It’s one of the best rock records that I’ve heard in quite some time and it seems to just really fit your vocally style naturally.
David: Well, you know, I came from Bad Company, Ian Gillan and all of that stuff . I’m not having to do the crystal polished, sugar coated vocal style that I’ve never been that good at anyway. I can be gutsy, gritty and stuff and I just threw it all under the table. The reviews have been amazing, yours and from all over the world.
XS ROCK: So tell me about the formation of Sainted Sinners?
David: My last gig with Bonfire was July 2nd 2016. In ended really ugly that night and I went home that night and thought what am I gonna do. I live in the north of Italy now. They went back to Germany. Frank Pane the guitarist, my writing partner in this group, called me and said I need to talk to you. This ended really badly and I don’t want you to think that I was a part of this. Can I stop by?. He came here and we buried the hatchet, broke bread and he basically came clean and said you’re one of my all time favorite singers and I don’t want this to end. He said I have an album written for a group that I was in called Purpendicular, but he had since left Purpendicular so he played me one song, which turned out to be “Truth Is A Lie” and sitting at the table I wrote the lyrics to that song with him in about ten minutes. I had the title already in my head, but it just stuck. So it was pretty much done and I said what else do you have? So he has all of this stuff on his iPad and I said okay, give it all to me and in like a week, I think I wrote lyrics to four or five songs to what he had. I think we wrote like three other songs at his house in Germany and that’s how it all came together.The other members of the band are Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards and slide guitar from Axel Rudi Pell and the drummer is this guy Berci and Malte the bassist were in Purpendicular with Frank and that was perfect because they had toured together for years. So they were just naturally in groove together. They were a perfect addition to the band. Berci produced this album so that’s where you get that organic 70’s feel, I think.
XS ROCK: Where do you find inspiration for your song lyrics?
David: Well, it had been a crazy year. The last year of being in Bonfire was misery and anxiety, a lot of lying, money problems and stuff like that. I get a lot of my inspiration by listening to people talking or sometimes it’s something that I see on television, or I’ll be in a store and something that somebody said will click in my head and I’ll go home and start writing something like a script and then I’m not an very good musical guy, instrumentally, so I need a guitar player that gets what I write lyrically, like Frank. So that’s how it all kind of works. We start the story and I’ll sing a lyric and then he’ll play a riff and it all kind of grows from there if that makes sense.
XS ROCK: Sainted Sinners has a real bar room swagger to it. Was the mixture of styles like blues, southern rock, classic hard rock pre-planned or did it just kind of all come together?
David: Frank had done a lot of tours with Purpendicular. He’s obviously a (Ritchie)Blackmore guy. He had played a lot with Ian Paice, and for me, my first rock album was Machine Head by Deep Purple and that same day, I bought Alice Cooper’s School Out. Then I bought all of the Led Zeppelin albums and then I started going more into UFO, and of course before that was Bad Company, which was a huge favorite of mine. I believe Paul Rodgers is the greatest to ever walk the earth. Those styles, that’s the kind of singer that I am. It seems like a lot of the bands are trying to sound like Journey and have forgotten who they really are. Records are like here today and gone later today kind of mentality. And to be honest Bobby, I’m really sick of that. I can’t listen that anymore. I’m tired of doing multiple albums in little studios for small fees that never tour. That was the reason that I I worked with Hans Ziller and joined Bonfire. It’s a touring band. Most of the other bands did several albums with, but I never got on stage with them, but with Hans, we played two or three hundred shows together.
XS ROCK: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
David: Musically? This album, Sainted Sinners. I think is my best and that’s not me blowing smoke, I think I put it all out there as a singer both lyrically and melodically, but a close second is Bangalore Choir. Bangalore Choir was my baby too. Those two albums are my favorites. Sainted Sinners probably gives me the best feeling, because I can listen to the whole album in rehearsal and not go, ugh! I could have done that better. It just happened that way.
XS ROCK: You mentioned Bangalore Choir. Is Bangalore Choir still alive as a a possible side band or have you moved on?
David: Well, I was offered to do the Rock N’ Skull Festival this year as a reunion with those guys. We did Firefest in 2010 and recorded a live album that night back in 2010. It’s a real quirky band. There’s a lot of personalities there. Not only did grunge destroy us, but we kind of self destructed with all of our personalities. To get those guys in the same room is like getting Obama to shake hands with Trump and mean it (laughs). It’s a very pretentious, thing with a lot of anger there. Maybe that’s why we wrote such good songs. So to answer your question. No. Bangalore Choir is dead. Curt Mitchell doesn’t want to tour. He loves to be home with his wife and children and he’s perfectly content with teaching guitar. He can’t deal with all of the drama. It’s a full contact sport, this business.
XS ROCK: So, I understand that you are currently living in Italy. How is the hard rock and metal scene in Europe compared to the United States?
David: The metal scene? It’s easier for me to play in Europe. After being in Accept, that opened the door for me in Europe. It’s easier for me in a lot of ways. But it’s still difficult because everyone’s vying for the same spot. Another problem is that you have a lot of classic bands that may have one original member, that has a rich family member that’s willing to finance the flights from the east coast or the west coast and they’ll come over here and play for the door money. So the club owners have been reluctant to pay a fee, because so many guys want to play so bad that they’ll end up playing ten shows and then go home penniless. I’m lucky in the sense that I can get a guarantee and get shows, but it’s a fight. I’ve been on the phone all morning today since six a.m. talking with agents and promoters and it’s 3:45 pm now. I’m working on a U.S. tour that should kick off on the 21st of June, right now.
XS ROCK: I really like your work on Accept‘s Eat The Heat album. What was that experience like and how much input did you have in the making of that record?
David: Well, Gabby, Wolf Hoffman‘s wife has always been the lyricist for Accept. If you look at the liner notes on the albums it says all lyrics written by Accept and Deaffy. That’s her nickname. When I was signed to the band, the whole plan was to break the band bigger. So they were like let’s get an American guy who speaks English and let’s really try to do it. That was the vision that they had. I don’t think they were really whole-heartedly committed for that shock and awe that comes with all of that change. I was in the studio one night with Dieter Dierks and he stopped the tape and looked at me and said, You realize if this album fails, it’s your fault and my fault. And I was like oh, come on now and he said no, wait and see if it fails it’s our fault that we destroyed the band. And I’ll be damned if he wasn’t right. I had some of the old fans who took me in, but for the most part they didn’t like it. And the new fans really loved me, but didn’t like Udo (Dirkschneider). As a life experience, I can never, ever express what an opportunity that was. I was in the second largest rock band in Europe at that time, behind the Scorpions who were number one. It opened so many doors for me. They taught me what it’s like to be a worker. That German work ethic. They taught me to be professional you have to work for it. Your not going to just walk on stage and just get it. Those guys work hard. We would rehearse 8 to 12 hours a day. We didn’t even have a set list on stage…we knew the set. I wrote a lot of the new lyrics on that album, which was a fight because Gabby wanted to be the lyricist and they questioned my slang terms because they weren’t aware of all of the English slang. It was really great and really terrible at the same time. But, I don’t regret it at all. That album, people now write me every day and say you know what, I went back to that album and I really love it now. It’s weird, you know I still get royalty reports for that album that’s almost thirty years old now. It was extreme vocals on that album. Rudolph Schenker had said that Accept had found the perfect replacement, Rob Halford Jr. I kind of took it as an insult at the time, but that’s the way it was, you know, balls out metal. And that’s what you have to do with those guys, because that’s how they are.
XS ROCK: Which artist or band were you most influenced by regarding your decision to pursue a career in music?
David: Originally it was country music. Conway Twitty, Charley Pride. I grew up in Oklahoma. That was the stuff that I was listening to every day and plus my grandmother’s brothers were country players. After they would come home from working in the fields all day, they’d come home and play after dinner in the yard, until it got dark. I grew up hearing that happiness in the music and I was fascinated by that vibe, fiddles, guitars and just watching people and having that feeling. Then I went to Minnesota and got into rock and started playing club bands in the mid-west. I loved the Beatles and The Stones and I knew who they were, but I was told in my house that even Johnny Cash was a sin to my grandmother. I always thought he was cool. The man in black. We couldn’t watch his TV show as a kid, my grandmother would make me go to my room. I was always fascinated with that dark character. I think Johnny Cash is another of the greatest to ever live. I got more into the rock things in the late 70’s with Elton John and then it moved into Deep Purple and that kind of thing. I really liked Todd Rundgren, he was great too.
XS ROCK: What was the first rock concert that you ever attended?
David: The first rock concert that I ever went to was Peter Frampton on the Frampton Comes Alive tour. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was unbelievable. The opening band was Ruby Starr and Grey Ghost. Ruby Starr was of course, the background singer for Jim Dandy in Black Oak Arkansas. I grew to be great friends with her later in my life. She’s gone now, rest her soul and the second band was J. Geil’s band and they tore the roof off of that place. The Detroit scene was huge.
XS ROCK: So What’s next in line for David Reece?
David: Saints and Sinners is my band. I’m not going to do anymore projects, unless a guy like Michael Schenker called me, and then of course I’d do it. But, I’m going to do a few new solo albums because I already have them written. Frank and I have about another album, right now ready to record. I just wrote a new song with him a few days a go. We start touring soon. We did our first show out with Graham Bonnet, a little surprise show and then we’ll play starting on the album release date of February 24th. We’re going to Bulgaria, Austria and then I’m trying to set up the whole East Coast U.S. tour and then carry on up into Canada. We’re going to follow in the same vein for the second album.
XS ROCK: What would you like to say to all of your fans?
David: Apart from sounding like a corn dog, the people like you, who have followed me through the years, know my catalog and actually believe in what I’m doing, I want to make clear that what you’ve heard from me in the last few years were not really bands. They were projects and I was a hired guy. I don’t want to do albums and sit at home. I want to play live gigs. When you play like 5 gigs in 5 years, that’s not really a band to me. I want the people to know that to be valid, I had to make these records to keep my self out there, but I just thank everybody for the support and all of the love. I do the best I can. We’re working on a new album right now. We’ve got a great label and we’re happy. It’s working. Frank and I, we like each other. That’s really important for me.
XS ROCK: David, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. It’s been a real pleasure to talk with you.
David: Thank you Bobby! God bless you and thanks for all of the support and for the great review that you wrote on the new album. That means a lot to us.