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SoulMonster

Alan Niven on the difficulties of replacing band singers

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Alan Niven on the difficulties of replacing band singers

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:41 pm

In this open letter where Niven bemoans some affairs in Great White, he says some interesting things (and positive for once!) about Axl:

“Great White have just chosen their third singer. As one of the main composers of the band’s material do you have any thoughts on the matter?

Replacing singers in an existing band is the most difficult of transitions … how do you follow a great singer who has indelibly fixed the song in the consciousness of the audience? For example, my heart always went out to Myles Kennedy when he performed with Slash – the audience wanted to hear those Guns n Roses songs, but really, how do you supplant Axl? Can’t be done. Myles did his best with patience and grace, but it was an awful position for an artist to be in.
Interestingly, Axl/DC works. Here’s a band that has had three great singers. I have always been a Bon Scott fan, but I also thought Brian Johnson was brilliant on Back In Black and consistently a feisty frontman with attitude. And no one has more ‘attitude’ than Axl.
Which perhaps illuminates a point. Singers are not just sound, they are also an attitude, a presence. A rock n roll band should embody the free spirit, and a great singer, the point of the sonic spear, must consequently have an unconstrained element to their performance.
As for Great White? Well, Russell is also one of those incredible voices who had ‘attitude’. His replacement, Terry Ilous could not replicate that edge, and for me, I found his European vibrato misplaced. I wrote songs directly for Russell’s voice and personality so I found it difficult to watch videos of the band performing with Terry. Terry might have been OK as an emergency fill-in, but I never saw him as a suitable replacement lasting for a complacent seven years.
Mitch Malloy? Well, he certainly has hair and teeth, a lovely guy, he’s the Fabio of rock n roll, but does he have the personality that is required for the songs? To date he seems constrained, and, ironically, a little too ‘white’ in his phrasing, as the band happily Pablo Cruises its way into the next casino. The jury is out for me. Is Mitch better suited to Broadway than he is to Sturgis? The Great White way used to be to swim where the Buffalo Chips fell …
In spite of what might have recently been said by Mr. Kendall and Mr. Desbrow, the events leading to Mr. Ilous’ departure unfolded in this manner [apparently honesty is not a Born Again requirement]: at the beginning of last year I had yet another conversation with Michael Lardie in which he again expressed his frustrations with Mr. Ilous’ personal and professional manner. Dropping a solo Ilous record on top of a very expensive new Great White recording was the least of it. His stated desire that he wanted to tour solo in 2018 did not help either. At this point I asked why they had still not found a better fit. Michael added that Mrs Kendall, [management], was as frustrated as everyone else. I suggested that, with her consent, I’d quietly, discretely, look around and see who might be available.
Consent given, I looked at a number of people, a couple of which I had record on both old and new material. One, in particular, I thought well worth auditioning. Terry Glaze was the original singer for Pantera. I saw him in Dallas. He rocked – a powerful and present singer. Terry was not a mimic, not a seller of nostalgia, but an ‘in yer face’ presence. He had ‘attitude’. I would sacrifice the perfection of nostalgic mimicry for conviction, presence, any time. Authentic front men are rare. Glaze is one such. Personality? He’s cool – married to a legitimate rocket scientist. He’s no space cadet.
I sent Mr and Mrs Kendall, Mr Desbrow, Mr Sullivan Bigg [agent] and Michael recordings. Glaze’s take on Big Time, a new song, put it in a good place, better than that of the original recording. The prospect of contemporary excitement was there. I thought he had the potential of adding a decade to the band’s future prospects.
The plan, between Mrs Kendall, Michael and myself was to have Glaze ready to take over in September – before the 2018 fair shows went up for sale.
Apparently Mark and Audie refused to listen. Glaze did not get an audition.
So. I can only suppose Mr. Kendall thinks big hair and even bigger teeth suit best.
There was no acknowledgement of the considerable time I put into the search.
There’s the truth.
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Re: Alan Niven on the difficulties of replacing band singers

Post by Blackstar on Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:47 am

Haha, it's definitely a rare occasion when Niven says something nice about Axl. It's also interesting that he praises Axl/DC, although when it happened he had said he was "very disappointed" at Axl for playing with this "satanic band" Very Happy

Probably the only other time Niven talked positively about Axl over the years was at the time of the Slash night visit to Axl's house saga in 2006, when he had sent a letter to Metal Sludge commenting on that and on Weiland's rant against Axl:

I MANAGED GUNS N’ ROSES FROM 1986 TO 1991, AND IN SO DOING, OVERSAW THE PRE-PRODUCTION OF ‘APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION’, ‘LIES’ AND ‘USE YOUR ILLUSIONS’.

I WAS ALSO PRESENT AT SEVERAL REHEARSALS DURING THE FORMATION OF VELVET REVOLVER AND I HAVE SEEN THEM PERFORM ‘LIVE’. [I PASSED ON AN INVITATION TO MANAGE THE BAND, PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYMENT OF SCOTT WEILLAND, FOR PERSONAL REASONS].

CATEGORICALLY, SLASH IS UTTERLY ACCURATE – MR WEILLAND IS, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, A CLUELESS POSTURING FRAUD, OF NO PARTICULAR OR OBVIOUS ABILITIES, INCLUDING, AND MOST APPARENTLY, COMPOSITION. THE BAND IS A THOROUGH WASTE OF A TRULY GREAT GUITAR PLAYER AND TERRIFIC RHYTHM SECTION. [THEIR OUTPUT HAS BEEN ENTIRELY FORGETTABLE AND ONE DIMENSIONAL].

AS FOR MR ROSE, I HAVE NO DOUBT HE IS STILL GENUINELY AND PROFOUNDLY GIFTED, AND IT IS SELF EVIDENT THAT HE HAS PROVIDED MORE INSIGHT AND MEMORABILITY IN A SINGLE LINE OF COMPOSITION THAN MR WEILLAND HAS MANAGED IN AN ENTIRE CAREER.

FOR THE RECORD, MR ROSE WROTE THE MAJORITY OF THE MELODIES AND LYRICS ON THE GUNS RECORDS, WHICH INCLUDE THE BEST SELLING ROCK DEBUT OF OUR TIMES, WITH 16,000,000 SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE.

HE SHARED THE SPOTLIGHT WITH INDIVIDUALS WHOSE EXCELLENCE IS REFLECTED IN SUCH SALES FIGURES.

WHAT MIGHT NOT BE UNDERSTOOD IS THAT HE, AND THE OTHER BAND COMPOSERS, EMPLOYED A COURTESY SHARING OF SO CALLED MECHANICAL INCOME – GRACE AND JUDGEMENT IN ACTION.

MR WEILLAND, OF COURSE, EXHIBITS NEITHER GRACE NOR JUDGEMENT IN HIS DELUSIONAL UTTERANCES, AND IN MY VIEW, NO DISCERNABLE TALENT EITHER.

I HAVE HELD THIS OPINION FROM THOSE VERY FIRST REHEARSALS, AND CONSIDER HIM BETTER EMPLOYED BY HIS FORMER BAND, WHERE HE COULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR COMPOSING ABILITIES ONCE MORE.

PERHAPS THEN WE COULD ALL GET DOWN TO THE VERY SERIOUS, AND BIG, BUSINESS OF REFORMING THE GREATEST, AND MOST RELEVANT, ROCK BAND, [DISPENSING WITH THE COURT SPATS THAT SUCK THE JUICE OUT OF LIFE ITSELF], FOR THE DELIGHT OF MILLIONS OF FANS, A MULTITUDE OF WHICH, THE SECOND AND THIRD GENERATION OF ADMIRERS, HAVE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE FLORAL ARTILLERY IN LIVING MAGNIFICENCE.

THE INDUSTRY COULD CERTAINLY USE A SHOT OF GENUINELY TALENTED FIREPOWER.

SINCERELY

ALAN NIVEN

http://metalsludge.tv/classic/?p=31199

It seems people were so surprised that they thought the letter was fake, and Niven sent another e-mail saying it was really him.
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Re: Alan Niven on the difficulties of replacing band singers

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:06 am

Wow, I had never read that before. Alan Niven truly is a character.
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Re: Alan Niven on the difficulties of replacing band singers

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