– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking your time. We haven’t heard anything from you after releasing “Like Father, Like Sons”. What have you been up to after releasing that album?
(GUNNAR NELSON): Matthew and I had a lot of family business to attend to in the past few years- most specifically the real and intellectual properties of our father, Ricky Nelson. We also spent our time over the past seven years or so touring incessantly (between 75-100 dates per year), assembling a sound business team for our family endeavors, and living real lives in the short moments in between all of that. We’d just gotten our own label, Stone Canyon Records, to the level of strength it’s currently at about fourteen months ago- which coincided with being approached by Frontiers with doing the Lightning Strikes Twice album.
– And, of course, what prompted you to come back? Especially to the Melodic Rock paths, since your newer albums were more orientated to Country music. 10 years have passed and I guess you’re now more mature, wiser… Does this make you living the release of a new album with bigger intensity?
(GUNNAR NELSON): I’ve always had a burning desire to make a follow up to our debut record that would prove for once and for all that NELSON was no ‘one hit wonder’ (even though we had four top tens in the US). I had a good 80% of the record written for that purpose when I was approached by Serafino Perugino of Frontiers Records to make a follow up to the “After The Rain” album… and what I found was that the record I’d already been working so hard on was in fact was that very record that we all wanted- the record I always felt NELSON should have been allowed to make 20 years ago. Matthew then came in to write with me for the remaining 20% of the album… and that was when something magical happened. That was when we realized that we had both been carrying around the same desire to finish what we started with “After The Rain” all this time… and that this was our opportunity to do just that. Serafino is not just a shrewd business man- he’s a true FAN of the music he sells through Frontiers, first and foremost.
– And do you feel the same excitement and energy as this was your debut album?
(GUNNAR NELSON): After the Rain is a great record, and it was the beginning of a dream… but only the beginning. This new record of ours has 20 more years of touring, shredding, writing, and recording experience behind it… and it’s because of that that I think it outshines even our debut. Give it a listen with fresh ears… resist the temptation to compare it to that one single record from the past, and instead compare it to everything else out there. I’m hopeful you’ll find as many are that it’s fresh, vital, powerful, and exciting all on its own… and that it hopefully creates a whole new benchmark for us as well as everyone else out there to beat.
– During this time msuic has changed and so does Rock. Have you brought more modern elements and/or influences to this new record?
(GUNNAR): Yes, this new record of ours has 20 more years of touring, shredding, writing, and recording experience behind it to influence.
– Has been the feedback for the album as you expected to be?
(GUNNAR): LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE has been receiving better reviews than any Nelson album we have ever done.
– And are you both happy with the final result?
(GUNNAR NELSON): This is the record NELSON should have been allowed to make in 1992 had the world not discovered grunge. If you were a fan of the After The Rain album, you’re going to LOVE this record. I know it’s normal for an artist to be in love with the latest thing they’ve done… but objectively, I think it surpasses our debut in every way.
– What was your focus while creating “Lightning Strikes Twice”? It reminds me a lot to “After the Rain”…
(GUNNAR): I made sure that a fan could listen to the record from start to finish and escape in a cohesive experience… and at the same time enjoy each song one at a time as a single if they so chose. There’s not a weak spot on the record as far as I’m concerned. Each song has it’s own mood- relays its own experience- and each one has moments in it that make me smile still. For example: the guitar solo I played on ‘Take Me There’ surprised me. I must have been in the zone that night- it’s well beyond my normal capabilities, but I woke up from the trance I was in while recording it, played it back, and was shocked (in a good way). Those are the moments that keep me excited about creating music to this day. ‘To Get Back To You’ turned out beautifully textured- ‘Call Me’ is a song I just can’t wait to play live- I was able to get my UFO on for the beginning of ‘How Can I Miss You’- the background vocals on ‘In It For The Money’ are super cool in an old-school blues fashion. Give the record a listen, and tell me what you think!
– We can find Steve Lukather as guest musician in the track “To Get Back To You». Was your idea to have him on there? And what do you think has brought to that song?
(GUNNAR): That was amazing. Matt and I have been fans of Toto and Luke in particular since we were seven years old. Over the years, we’ve always been friendly to each other- knew a lot of the same musicians, a lot of the same chicks. You know how it is… we were always two ships passing in the night on a never-ending tour. But while we were making this record, I found myself in Los Angeles to do some of the final overdubs that I just couldn’t do in Nashville- namely the recording of the real string quartet for ‘To Get Back To You’ and ‘Take Me There’. In the middle of the afternoon just before the night of string tracking, Matt and I were invited to a backyard wedding of a friend of ours, who just happened to be Luke’s best friend. There we were, taking in the atmosphere and free food, when Luke walked up and we all started talking about what we were each working on at the moment. I told him about this new record for Frontiers we were making, and he just casually said, ‘mmm… I’d like to play on that.’ We jumped all over it. I think he was just meaning to be polite at first… but I wouldn’t let him off the hook about it. I called his cell phone like a stalker ex girlfriend for the rest of the afternoon… and he relented and came down to the studio. I think at first he thought he was going to humor us as a courtesy… just throw something quick down on what I’m sure he thought were just warmed over demos. But when he heard ‘To Get Back To You’ played back through the studio speakers for the first time, he excused himself, when back home to get his REAL guitar and equipment, and insisted on spending a few hours getting his solos perfect. He was amazing to watch. He was the PERFECT man for that song… which was already special because Matt and I had written it with our good friend Mark Slaughter (of SLAUGHTER)… it was a rare occasion of all of the planets aligning to bring a bunch of friends together to do their best and make a gorgeous song. I just love it.
– There’s a video for “You’re all I Need Tonight”. Tell us please a bit about it.
(GUNNAR): It’s hard to believe, but it’s our first music video in over 15 years! We h
ad a lot of fun filming it in Hollywood.
– “You’re all I Need Tonight” is one of my fave tracks on the album, it sounds like is going to be a big hit…
(GUNNAR): Thank you! That song was originally written for the AFTER THE RAIN record, but there was not enough space on the debut album.
– Frontiers has also released “Before the Rain”, containing the demos of your debut album. I found this CD like a must for your fans which also has a big emotioanl charge, does it? I mean, how do you now feel when listening to those demo tracks and remember those days?
(GUNNAR): Well, I was amazed at how much like finished records those original demos sounded like… and was not surprised at all that they got us signed. So much work went into them in preproduction, we basically re-recorded those demos in the big studio to make our record, and to make our record company happy. I’ve always been fascinated as a music fan myself how my favorite records came together… like if I could get a listen to the original demos for Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera’ I’d just about sell my soul. I think it’s wonderful to be able to hear how the songs you came to know and love on the radio came about. It’s marvelously voyeuristic. It’s like getting a glimpse at a your favorite smoking hot actress in one of her rare nude scenes before she got famous, a big head, and refused to do them any more.
– But this is not the only release that has came out from Frontiers Records, since we can also find the live album “Perfect Storm – After the Rain World Tour 1991”, fromthe tour you did for the aforementioned album, which I also think is a must for your followers and for nostalgics. What are your memories about that tour?
(GUNNAR): I know I sound like a braggart… but I’m reminded of the fact that we absolutely, positively had the greatest rock band in the world on any stage at that time.
– And finally, what can we expect from NELSON from now on? Do you see any chance of touring Europe?
(GUNNAR): We’d love to. Stay tuned for Europe dates.
– That’s all, thank you once more for your time. If you want to add any last words to your Spanish fans feel free to do it.
(GUNNAR): I’d just like to say thank you to not only our fans- but to fans of melodic hard rock as a whole. You are all passionate, committed proponents of a musical artform that embodies so many different emotions all at once- passion, power, intimacy, sex, fun, sorrow- you name it, it’s all there. These past 20 years have been hard on a lot of you as trends have come and gone. But all of a sudden, it’s not quite so ‘unhip’ to be creatures of the 80’s, is it? Everything you’ve always loved is now super cool again- and it should be. Times are tuff these days… there’s nothing wrong with wanting to rock your ass off to escape from all that day to day crap. THANK YOU for your support, your open minds, your passion… YOUR LOYALTY. Matthew and I will spend the rest of our lives giving our absolute BEST to you in return. We look forward to seeing you on tour… and until then… ENJOY THE NEW RECORD!!!