Bat Kinane (Glyder) interview
Glyder guitarist Bat Kinane has just released his debut solo album ‘A Lifetime To Kill’. We catch-up with Bat to get the latest on his solo album and why Glyder recently called it a day…
1. What are you currently up to?
Ive a gig in two weeks time with my solo thing and thats it really. There are some other things on the horizon but will confirm them when its time. Ive been putting down all my music ideas and lyrics that I write on scraps of paper they are scattered around my office. Ive got ideas on my phone too so Ill gather it all up soon and make another solo album and see what happens.
2. Could you take us through the songs on your debut solo album ‘A Lifetime To Kill’? (e.g. story behind the songs, songwriting process etc)
The first track is called “Yellow Moon” and its basically about a magic mushroom trip. I havent taken them in a long long time but I did a few times in my early 20’s. Listening to music was something magical on them but the last time I did them I didnt enjoy it to much. I dont want to be advocating taking drugs but I think a lot of fairy tales especially the Celtic ones came from taking the “Pucas”(meaning Ghosts) as we call them in Irish. So any young ones reading this, if your head is not firmly screwed on dont take them. They open the doors to strange places, Some great places and some horrible places. The idea came one night I was out observing the moon and it shone yellow behind the apple tree at the side of the house. The autumn feeling was in the air and that’s when the Pucas fill the fields. I hate the transition from summer to Autumn but when Autumn in in full swing its quite beautiful and amazing.
“Makin a fool out of me” isnt too deep just a song about a Vagabond in that Phil Lynott kinda swaggery way. I love western movies and the wild west hero so its that kinda vibe. I love the riff in it and its a nice upbeat number.
“Voodoo Bones” is a song I wrote with the Mississippi Delta in mind. My wife and I went and did a road trip of the Deep south on our honeymoon. We visited Elvis and Graceland, did sun studios and all the musical history of that region. Its where rock music began, but the problem is now that there are no real musical heroes or icons anymore. You take the X factor or Amercian idol, they churn out “Stars” like they are in a conveyor belt. Take someone like Lou Reed, couldn’t sing a note and couldnt even hold down a chord but hes a real star. A real star needs to be a little edgy, most of these pop idols are wannabees and have no real substance. Rob Strong does the narration at the end. It was real funny because in the studio after he says “Why Stevie ” he said “Why couldnt it be Bon Jovi” We laughed our heads off but we had to cut it out. Listen to the song and you will know what I mean.
“Jeremiah Jones” is a song that is half about a friend of mine and half fiction. I was watching a western one night and the chorus came from that. Its has a bit of an Americana folk feel. Ive been listening a lot to The Band over the past few years. Im very proud of this song as I believe the chorus is very strong.
“A lifetime to Kill” was written at the time we wrote the third Glyder album. Its a bit like the Eagles and The Band so it didnt fit Glyder. We recorded it as Glyder and it got put to one side. I took it replaced the vocals and put it on this album. I wrote it from spending time walking by the lake where I live. To me musical ideas are like gold and songwriting is like prospecting. Sometimes you strike gold with a song or idea. Its also a song about living a simple and easy life, something I aspire to do. Ive watched people bite off more than they can chew and see all the stress sending them to an early grave, I try not to be stressed. People slagging me because im the wrong side of 30 but ive got plenty of time to do things and one thing is sure im doing them.
“The intrepid Fox” came from an idea that had been in the back of my head for a while. “When the chickens come back to roost the fox will be so amused” was rattling round my head. One day I was sitting in the office picking my guitar and I had the Capo on the second fret. It created this really eerie tonal sound which is unusual to achieve using standard tuning. Then the words just all came. I had the song written in an hour. Im very proud of this song. The meaning of the song is in life there are always “chickens and foxes”, people who are doing stuff behind your back that you are unaware of.
“You know you have a friend” is about the struggle of life as an artist. Being an artist can be very rewarding but also very hard. You open yourself up for criticism and expose yourself in ways. You take risks, Ive risked a lot to do what ive done but my wife has shared that risk with me. Its not her hopes and dreams but she stands with me and beside me. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without her and I dont forget that.
“Stage struck 74” is about a young man going to see Rory Gallagher in the early 70’s. I was only one years old! I watched the Iirsh tour video and you see the young guys up the front , it must have been magical. I think back in the 70’s life was more simple. No distractions like internet, PlayStation etc and a live concert would have been the highlight to what might have been a very mundane existance. In Ireland in the 70’s we were still under the influence of the Catholic Church and the country was very poor and Rory , Thin Lizzy and Horslips were the antidote to that way of life. Foreign acts did not come to Ireland because of the troubles up north and it wasn’t financially viable to do that. Rory brought a lot of happiness to a generation of Irish people. The riff has a celtic feel and its like a mish mash of Gallagher and Horslips. The working title of the track was “Roryslips” !!
“No turning back” is the only song I co-wrote on the album. My cosuins Fiance Shane Counter wrote some of the music. We were collaborating on some stuff when he was out of a job and the riff and verse music was lifted off a demo he had made. I wrote the words and made the chorus etc. The song was inspired after reading a bio on Willie Nelson. He inspired me very much. His story is remarkable and the whole approach to life makes me want to walk a little in his shoes. I think for any real artist you come to a point of no return. I came to that place last year. I though if Glyder didnt work out I could go back and re-skill and get a job but I would not be happy doing that.The rest of my life would be a …what if? situation.
“My song” took a while to write. I must have re-written it ten times and eventually the song became about the song if you understand what I mean. Its also a similar theme to “No turning back”. I found that making this album, having people like Rob Strong helping me gave me a lot of confidence. I love spending time with positive people like Rob, he has a lot of wisdom. Ive learend so much from him and not just musically but the attitudes towards it. In Robs words music is not a competition about who is best or who is a better singer or guitarist but its about what you do with what you have.
3. You have some name guests on the album. In particular Rob Strong (The Commitments) and Pat McManus (Mama’s Boys/Cletus), how did you hook-up with these two musicians?
Rob is a neighbor of mine and we are good pals too. We help each other out and Rob offered his help on my album and I was delighted. He is the best soul singer in Ireland. He doesn’t sing any lead vocals on the album and if he did he would really show me up!! He played Bass on 6 tracks and guitar on a few. He does a few backing vocals too. For those who don’t know Rob was nearly in Deep Purple but what ever happened Joe Lynn Turner got the job.
Ive got to know Pat Mc Manus over the past few years through Glyder. Its a small country and you get to know people. We have a lot in common musically and our paths continually cross. Pat is an amazing musician, he is so underrated on a global level. His style is blues with a Celtic twist, very unique. He plays the fiddle on my track the “Intrepid fox”, Its in the key of B which is not easy to do on a fiddle, no problem for Pat!
Also a mention to Dave Roe who played with Johnny Cash, He is a top country player but hes also no stranger to rock having played bass son the new John Mellencamp album. I’m very lucky and honoured to have him on this album.
4. The solo album covers many genres from blues to folk and even a little prog rock. Did you enjoy the musical freedom you have as a solo artist and are there any other musical avenues you’d like to explore in a future album?
Ive always been about artistic freedom with me, As much as I loved doing Glyder we still had to offer up something rocky for our supporters. With this I could do what I wanted. I will always do what feels right for me. I think that’s the essence of being an artist. The minute you start to do stuff because there is an expectation is the day creativity get choked. I loved every minute of making this album. It was such a relaxed affair. I enjoyed writing the songs, I enjoyed the people I worked with from the writing and recording through to the design, manufacturing and promotion. I think this album has been a very important thing for me and I think I would have gone insane if I hadn’t had something to focus on for the past year.
As for the follow up, I dont know, it could be similar. It could go anyway but my feeling is it wont be very much different to whats on offer now.
5. Glyder have now sadly called it a day after releasing a very strong album ‘Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow’ and landing a deal with SPV. Where did it all go wrong in your opinion?
It had been going wrong for a long time and the year it took to make the deal with SPV saw big changes in our lives and priorities.
Its just seemed to be blow after blow. There was a lot of hope in the band when the album came out. The UK PR agent did not do his job and the album absolutely flopped in the UK. I was so angry and frustrated , then that turned into apathy.I distracted myself with my solo album. I could see the album was doing great in the USA and Alice Cooper was liking us and all but it was our first release and like starting all over again. I thought the album would have made the UK rock press and radio start to listen but it went on deaf ears. Rick Wakeman sang our praises and that was great but just not enough. I tried and tried. I wanted to keep the band going and allow the guys to do what ever else they wanted to do with their lives and hopefully get onto the European festival circuit next summer. SPV offered us a 12 date tour with Molly Hatchet in December. I believe this would have cracked the German market open for us.The lads came to the decision they wouldnt do it. I can understand why but to me it was our one fighting chance to make the new album work. SPV are behind me and next January im going to assess the situation and possibly have a new line up.
6. Is the live rock music scene better now for newer bands than say five years ago or is it a case of the established bands are still drawing the crowds but stifling newer bands coming through? Any newer bands out there you’d recommend?
I will tell you this and I honestly believe rock music is nearly dead. Its an ageing audience and unless bands are given half a chance we will all live in the past. People are only interested in going to tribute acts and old bands and want a blast of nostalgia. I would recommend two excellent bands from Ireland one called Bandwagon and another called The Dead Presidents. Also keep an eye out for Million Dollar Reload who have signed to Powerage. The best bands in Ireland are all coming from the north and there is a very healthy scene there due to the Diamond Rock Club. Its the best run club in Ireland and Derwin Mc Farland and his wife Fiona have done a lot to nurture a very healty scene there. The south is no good for rock im afraid. Jaded Sun are another great band from the south who I hope do great things.
7. What were the live highlights with Glyder and why?
Metallica in Marley Park….I dont think that needs any explanation!
8. Who are your main musical influences and why?
Phil Lynott has always been my hero, as much as I loved his music, I love the whole swagger and romance about his life.
Other than Phil Lynott I love everything from Iron Maiden to Paul Brady who is one of Ireland’s best songwriters.
When I was a kid I would have a list of my 10 favourite bands but I dont see music that way anymore. I love it all as long as its honest and real.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
I like watching TV and being a couch potato, especially westerns and documentary’s. I like to go for walks and love fishing but I havent done much lately, something I plan to do a lot more of in the future. I also like long road trips but only when Im the driver! I turn the stereo up real loud!! Visiting cultural places is something I love, im not a sun holiday person. I want to find out about the places and the people. I like boozing too but funnily enough I dont like getting too drunk as I prefer to have my wits about me.
10. Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Well like Phil Lynott I dont like the word fan but to anyone who likes my music and supports me by paying for it, I thank you!!