Kyle McGinn of Dead Rhetoric recently conducted an interview with vocalist Robin McAuley (MCAULEY SCHENKER GROUP) about BLACK SWAN, the new project that also features guitarist Reb Beach (WINGER, WHITESNAKE), bassist Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER, THE END MACHINE, ex-DOKKEN) and drummer Matt Starr (ACE FREHLEY, MR. BIG). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dead Rhetoric: Before we get into things, are you feeling better after the medical issues that happened just before 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise?
Robin: "I feel fantastic. Thank you for asking. I feel as good as I did right up until that moment — I was feeling great and my family and I had been out to church that morning and we got home and had breakfast. It was an hour before I was supposed to drive into L.A. to take the flight to Florida and I suddenly became extremely cold. It was about 80 degrees outside, but I was extremely cold. Within a 20-minute window, my body went into shock. I was shaking, and I could barely speak. One of my sons jumped on the phone and called 911. By the end of the day, I was in an ICU unit and was in a 12-hour critical window. When I came to, everyone was telling me it was a lucky one! I was like, 'What just happened?'
"The long and the short of it, is that you can be feeling really healthy — I had no symptoms, and I felt really cold. The end of the day results was that I had somehow contracted the E. coli virus, which became a UTI/bladder infection, which then become septic and got into my bloodstream, beginning to poison the crap out of me. The ICU unit worked extremely hard — thank god for our medical staff — and they were pumping me with antibiotics. It took them from Sunday until Wednesday before the CDC had located the exact type of bacteria it was, so then they could use the antibiotic to best take care of the infection instead of a more broad one. As soon as I started taking that one, the world turned around and I said, 'I think I just missed the boat, let's go!' [Laughs]
"I swear to god, I'm a great believer in keeping healthy and staying fit, so that if there's something wrong you'll know about it, but it seems not necessarily so. I thought I would get some sort of warning but I did not. People have come up to me and asked how I am going to know next time — I said, 'Maybe I'll get a memo next time!' [Laughs] I don't know the answer to that. The good news is that I'm here to tell the tale, and it's a good thing I wasn't actually on the cruise ship [when it happened]."
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that BLACK SWAN is different from other bands that you have been a part of?
Robin: "Straight out of the gate, as a vocalist, it's by far the best produced, most real-sounding that my vocals have ever been recorded, thanks to Jeff Pilson. It's fresh, it's very powerful — I think people will be impressed with how heavy and powerful it is, yet we can turn out your typical classic rock ballad with the same freshness. It just came together really easily. No one came in with a blueprint of how we needed to make the record. That said, Frontiers [Music Srl] said, we love classic rock so I said that we shouldn't just make 'another one.' We wanted to make sure it wasn't the same old, same old. While it's a classic rock record, there are elements that are current in terms of lyrical content, the melodies are strong, and it's got a firepower to it. I'm really proud of it. I love it. It's the best thing I've ever done. I know a lot musicians say that the last thing was best they've ever done, but that's how I feel about it."
Dead Rhetoric: Given the busy schedules of everyone involved, how much room will there be for live shows from BLACK SWAN?
Robin: "That's the million-dollar question, because Reb's WHITESNAKE/WINGER schedule is to say the least, is to the wall. Jeff is very similar although when the two of us were doing an interview together last night, he mentioned that come September, FOREIGNER will be somewhat free of live performances. I have a very busy schedule because I perform five nights a week in Las Vegas with the 'Raiding The Rock Vault' show. But in the next few weeks — the first week of March I head out to Japan with MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST. Very soon after that, we head into the U.K. and the rest of Europe. There's the very strong possibility that there is another U.S. leg put together. So that's a little bit crazy.
"But now that I know that Jeff will be available after September. [Laughs] Ideally, because we've all spoken about this, it will take work but nothing is impossible. The making of this record, we thought it would never happen. We loved the idea of working together and we went, well, if we could get together and write a song, it would be a lot of fun. Well, we did it! Reb lives in Pittsburgh — he's not up the street. Jeff and I live in L.A., and so does Matt. I can get to either Jeff or Matt really easily. The parameters there are pretty easy, and the three of us have decided that we aren't going to Pittsburgh because it's too damn cold! [Laughs] It will take planning, and I absolutely hope that this gets a shot at doing a bunch of shows. So, fingers crossed."
You can read the entire chat at Dead Rhetoric.
BLACK SWAN's debut album, "Shake The World", was released February 14 via Frontiers Music Srl.