An Interview with
'Dave Bickler'
The Original and Former 'Survivor' Vocalist 
that took place on Friday 22nd March, 2019.

Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.

Dave: Hello

 

Glenn: Hi Dave, how are you doing? It's Glenn from Metalliville.

 

Dave: Hi Glenn. I'm good.

 

Glenn: Cool. You've just come back from the UK. How was the UK Sir?

 

Dave: It was great. I love it there and the musicians I played with and was hanging out with were fantastic. We had a great time. It's a good place for 'Rock 'n' Roll. I had a lovely time.

 

Glenn: Excellent. Which parts of the UK stood out for you that you played in? Any particular gigs at all?

 

Dave: I liked all the gigs. I really liked the London and Nottingham gigs. They were great. I've been in Nottingham before when I played 'Rockingham' . It was fun. It was nice to be back there. There are some beautiful places. It was all good.

 

Glenn: Yeah. Excellent. I must apologise because some of the weather was a bit rainy and cold.

 

Dave: It was cold yes. (Laughs) It felt just like home in New York at the time of year. It was exactly the same.

 

Glenn: That's crazy. Yeah! We had a bit of snow early on but I missed that completely.

 

Dave: For us this year, here where I live, a little bit north of New York City we had very little snow this year. It's very, very light. The way my house is, I have to shovel it. It's not a lot of fun so I'm happy.

'

Glenn: Yeah. There's nothing 'Rock 'N' Roll about shovelling unless it's 'Jonesy's Jukebox' with Steve Jones, who refers to his studio assistant as Shovel looking after the show etc. That's me going off on a tangent (I laugh)

 

Dave: Yeah. (Laughs)

 

Glenn: What songs are your personal favourites in the live set?

 

Dave: I got a big kick out of doing 'Children Of The Night'. I play my original songs by the way a lot... we've got a couple of those in there. That was really fun. I am grateful for them. They did a great job – 'Hope' and 'Always You'. But I love playing 'Children Of The Night'. It hasn't been done live in years. The last time the band Survivor or anybody played it was back in 1981. That was really fun. I got a kick out of that. 'Summer Nights' was fun. They sounded real good. They did a good job on that too. The band played it very, very well. That stood out for me.

Glenn: What reception did you get when you played your newer material? Was it a good reception from that and what surprised you?

 

Dave: I do. I've been getting a really good reception from that. I have. It's been working out really good. That's great because it's hard to introduce new music to people as it's not familiar. Sometimes it takes some getting used to. I got some really good reactions and comments from people that heard those songs. I'm very happy.

 

Glenn: Excellent. That's great. It's a good album and I'm hoping that the songs that you've played live are going to drag some people in and are going to buy the new album when it comes out.

Dave: Yeah! We'll see how it goes. I've got a good record company. They're going to do their best to promote it and get it on playlists as the singles come out. 'Hope' is out as a matter of fact and we'll see how it goes.

 

Glenn: Excellent. That's awesome. How did you assemble the actual band that you've been playing with live in the UK? How did all that come about?

 

Dave: I have a friend, Giles Lavery. He works with Graham Bonnet and I ran across him somehow. He took me on and said, “Come over and do this thing (Hard Rock Hell) and play some other shows also in the UK'. I'll find a really good band. Some guys that you can use. He really introduced that and put them together for me.

 

Glenn: That makes it a bit easier as well.

 

Dave: We had one rehearsal.

 

Glenn: One rehearsal? That's incredible!

 

Dave: One rehearsal (laughs) It went great man!

 

Glenn: Did you literally send the songs out to the guys and they put their heads together and got on with them or they simply supreme session musicians?

 

Dave: They went on the internet and also talked a bit about endings and stuff like that but they learned the songs from the recordings. The new stuff, I sent to them of course. We just had chit chats back and forth on the phone. With some endings I sent to those guys, I said, “Here's an idea”. That's how it went. We went through a couple of run-throughs. Then off we go.

 

Glenn: What was it like meeting all the guys for the first time? Did you take a bit to warm up with them musically and did you click as people straight away as well?

 

Dave: Straight away. Just the nicest guys. They were really, really fun too and an awesome sense of humour amongst those guys. (Laughs) It was hilarious. We were watching videos in the car all the way along the road. The nicest guys and terrific musicians. We have a lot common. I made my new policy at this point in my life now that I can't work with people that are difficult. You know what I mean?

 

Glenn: Yeah!

 

Dave: People with giant egos. I can't do it. I was really happy to find out that all those guys were really talented and very humble guys. They just wanted to play music. They are musicians like me. There's no need for that drama. There's no need for it. It's destructive. Music should be joyful and it has been for me. Making that record... all the people that I worked with on that record and these guys I went out to play live with were all (great egoless people). They want to play music. Our love for music and it should be that way. It should be fun.

 

Glenn: Yeah. It's such a small world. I know Giles from knowing Graham Bonnet. He's a cool cat is Giles.

 

Dave: Yeah he is a cool cat.

 

Glenn: A New Zealander. He's cool.

 

Dave: He is cool. He's got a cool, cool vibe about him for sure. A very cool guy.

 

Glenn: He's very in depth and intense but when he's away from the stage he is a laugh a second. He's like two people in one. He's great.

 

Dave: Yeah. We get along great. Again, no mean people. (We laugh)

Glenn: I've never actually come across 'Deko Music' before. What was it about them that made you decide to sign to them or them to sign you as such?

 

Dave: Charlie Calv who is involved with that. He's a friend of Stephen DeAcutis. I was looking for a place to mix 'Darklight' and somebdy turned me onto Steve DeAcutis. He's very close to me. He's in New Jersey. He's got a mixing place. We recorded everything except for the drums. We did some of the bass parts. We did the guitars and vocals there and I had just a wonderful time. To make a long story longer, Charlie Calv... the first day I came in there, he was there and I met him. He's an old friend of Steve's. I felt I knew somebody that was dealing with him because Steve had known him for a long time. He said, “He's a good guy.” A lot of other people told me that Charlie was. That's how I got hooked up with Deko.

 

Glenn: Awesome. That's great. They've got quite a few big names on that label as well. It's a brand new one to me. It's like an alternate Frontiers.

 

Dave: It kind of is that label. They've hunkered up with some other guys – so yeah! It's become a bit of a juggernaut right there and I'm happy to have them on my side. He was at Warner Brothers.

 

Glenn: Exactly. You've managed to get some big names on your album. You've got Brad Smith from Blind Melon, and Ryan Hoyle from Collective Soul on there.

 

Dave: Yeah! That was the California connection with Ryan. The first thing I was looking for was that you've got to have great drum tracks on a Rock 'N' Roll record. I have a friend at Sony, Jeremy Holiday who suggested him. We hooked up and I went out there and recorded drum tracks. Brad Smith – he was a friend of Ryan's – he's a great guy too. A really accomplished Producer and song-writer. He was real helpful besides just playing bass parts.

 

Glenn: I remember Blind Melon from back in the day when they played at Woodstock '94 when the singer was still alive.

 

Dave: Yeah! Blind Melon – a cool band. Very cool.

 

Glenn: What made you decide to call the album 'Darklight'? Is there are dark, hidden deep meaning behind that?

 

Dave: The real basic idea of it is that some of the songs on the album are a bit dark. Some are light. When I say light, I mean positive like 'Hope' or 'Magic' whereas 'Fear Of The Dark' is about a suicide bomber. That's the two sides of the coin. When it comes to Dark and Light – you can't have one without the other. It seemed to work for me.

 

Glenn: Hence the cover, a natural looking, dark and light sort of thing you've got going on there?

 

Dave: Yeah. I took that photograph. I was up at my Mother and Father-In Laws. They live up in the Catskill Mountains, North of where I live. I walked out of the door... I always have my camera with me. There were weird clouds around the moon, so I snapped those pictures and that's what ended up being the album cover.

 

Glenn: Awesome. You didn't even have to pay anyone to produce an incredible cover. You've got one yourself.

 

Dave: I didn't. I didn't have to pay a graphic artist. (We laugh)

Glenn: Brilliant. You mentioned 'Fear Of The Dark'. When I listened to that I almost felt like there was a tribalness to it, almost like a Native American sort of vibe running through it. I don't know if that was a conscious thing or not but that is what I picked up on.

 

Dave: Yeah. It was a dream. Every once in a while I dream music. I woke up and I ran down stairs, got my little recorder and recorded that melody. I'd watched the movie 'Wanted' – Morgan Freeman's in it, Angelina Jolie & James McAvoy. Anyway, it's this crazy movie. I don't know if you've ever seen it before but it's got Danny Elfman score. I like him. It's real rock songs. I was sure that I must have nicked this – that I must have copied something and that's why I dreamed it. But when I listened to the tracks from the movie they were nothing like that. I thought, 'Oh good!'. That's where that song came from.

 

Glenn: I kind of guess that was like your 'Yesterday' that Paul McCartney got in a dream. That was like your equivalent to it. Have you had many songs like that?

 

Dave: Yeah I've got a few more like that. Right now that I'm doing actually. One thing that I've learned: When you wake up, don't wait. If there's something that seems kinda cool, you better get it down now or you will forget it. It will be gone forever.

 

Glenn: I guess it's annoying sometimes when you are in the middle of a dream and you hear something, then you wake up and you can't remember what it was.

 

Dave: Oh absolutely. Gone forever! For sure.

 

Glenn: Yeah. It's there isn't it?

 

Dave: Yeah! It sucks! Yeah! Dreams are funny things. Most times you have to tread it over in your mind through a dream or it will also go away. I worry about that. At least for me anyway. I don't remember unless it's something that I think about after I've woke up and reprint the memory.

 

Glenn: Do you remember what you ate the night before when you got the idea from for that song?

 

Dave: I do not. I've got to believe it's some kind of random thing because dreams seem so random. It's funny about that.

 

Glenn: It's crazy isn't it. Us human beings!

 

Dave: Crazy!

 

Glenn: Yeah! (We laugh) With regard to the two song titles, who is 'Magic' and who is 'The Gift'? Who are the songs actually relating to?

 

Dave: 'Magic' is about my Wife. It's about a real person. The idea of 'The Gift' is the gift of human beings being conscious human beings and what goes with that – we know of our own mortality. That's really what it is. It kinda sucks but it's also about (the fact that) being alive and being on Planet Earth is pretty awesome on a good day.

 

Glenn: Totally. I agree. Yeah. You've got a modern style in the song 'Time'. It's almost like a post-grunge type style but it doesn't get boring. Some of those styled songs get a bit samey but because your voice is there, it's got something great about it. Was it a conscious decision to have that style of music or did someone suggest that?

 

Dave: I just suggested it. That came out. It's a little more heavy and more metal than my usual music. It seemed like it had to be because the concept is 'Time' and how there really isn't enough when you are trying to get things done. It's a simple concept (laughs). At that time I was really feeling it. I was really feeling a time crunch because there were a lot of things I was supposed to be finishing and doing.

 

Glenn: It's almost like a teaser at the beginning where you've got the clocks because you are thinking, 'Oh, it's going to be the Pink Floyd' song', but no it's one of yours.

 

Dave: Oh yeah. The clock is amazing. If you have the CD, there's a picture of the clock when you open up the CD. It's a real clock. It's not a sample. It's a clock that Stevie D had. It was his mums. It's 80 years old with these cool chimes. You wind it up and when it gets to the alarm, that's those chimes. He put a couple of his high-end AKG mic. systems there and recorded that. Just coincidentally, the tones on those chimes are actually in tune with the track which is another astonishing thing. I thought that was amazing. We thought, 'Wow. That actually works.' We had a lot of fun doing that.

 

Glenn: It's like it was meant to be. The planets align with the time. You know?

 

Dave: Yeah. I guess you're right. It was meant to be that things did line up that day.

 

Glenn: I love 'Sea Of Green'. It's a great song. A nice power ballad there. It's funny, when you see 'Sea Of Green' and you'll probably rip my head off now but when I think of 'Sea Of Green' I keep thinking of 'Yellow Submarine'. It's that line but it's got nothing to do with it.

 

Dave: (Laughs) I Love it though. I really like 'Yellow Submarine' so I'll take that. It's about an event. When I was in Colorado, driving up from Denver into the mountains. You come over this path and when you are coming in Rocky Mountains National Park there is this big valley. It was Springtime so it was green. It was just incredible and I've never forgot it. It's a concept of being. When you go to a place like that it helps you. As in it helps you to reset yourself. There's scientific evidence to prove it to the people that you can get great benefits from going to a beautiful place. Whether it be a sea shore or whatever. Some place beautiful – it's a dream.

 

Glenn: Yeah. It has a positive effect on your life and not just that day or that week. It's kinda there. When you think about it, it brightens your time or your vibe up that day if you're feeling a bit down. You think of that sea or that great scene. It just does something for you.

 

Dave: Yeah. It does for me. It works for me.

 

Glenn: We've talked about quite a few of the songs that have grabbed me. I knew you would mention 'Hope' that I know you have had as the lead-off single. Was that your idea or was that a record company idea to have that as a lead-off?

 

Dave: I did think it was the best thing. That's why I put it first. It was the first song that we worked out when I got to Stephen's. Stephen DeAcutis at 'Sound Spa Productions'. It's his place. It's this wonderful place full of all this incredible analogue gear. We had all the digital gadgets there too as well. That was the first song we worked on and it set the tone for the record as far as the approach and the production itself. It seemed like a no-brainer to me as far as the single goes.

 

Glenn: That makes a lot of sense. What would you say are your personal favourites on the album and why?

 

Dave: My personal favourites on the album? Gee! I don't know about that. That's a good question. One day it's one song and another day it's another. I do like all the songs on there. They were written at different times. Some are older, some are newer and some are really new. It seems to hang together in a good way as an album. I don't actually have a favourite.

 

Glenn: It's a tough one isn't it? It always gets people. A lot of people say, “They are all my babies”. (We laugh)

 

Dave: Okay, I'll go with that. The thing is they are. You know about song-writers right? It's a journey. It starts off... just like Winston Churchill said about writing a book: “It starts off with joy and ends up enslaved”, because you've got to bring it all the way home. You've got to finish it and go all the way to the end. Make sure all the stuff... all the pieces work together. The beginning stuff is always real fun but then you've got to make it all come together.

 

Glenn: Then sometimes when you start, you don't know where you're going to end. You might not always have a plan. Things just fly in and you think, 'Oh sh*t, how do I end this thing?'

 

Dave: Exactly. It's always the ending .You are thinking, 'What am I going to do?' because you want it to go on a journey. Start in a good place and end up in a good place.

 

Glenn: Yeah. Otherwise you end up with 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands' or something by Bob Dylan when it's 20-odd minutes long. It keeps going and going and going.

 

Dave: Yeah. He can actually get away with that somehow.

 

Glenn: Yeah on one side of an album. (We laugh)

 

Dave: The Poet Laureate, Bob Dylan. (Laughs)

Glenn: Who would you say your influences are from a writing point of view?

 

Dave: Of course, I am old enough to have seen The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I was 11 years old and it completely electrified me. That's all I wanted to do. Be one of those guys. Then of course, all these other great bands. There were just so many amazing bands in the 60's and 70's. Then, I will say that along came the 90's and Seattle – Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Nirvana of course. All those bands. I thought some of that stuff was fantastic. The music that came out of it. The definitely had a big influence on me.

 

Glenn: That is like a jewel of a thing to say really because a lot of people were doing great until Grunge came in. They say things like the record companies threw us to one side and we had to get a normal job because we couldn't make it pay as a band. We had to split up during the Grunge times. Don't talk about that! But we've got someone who is talking right here. You liked the style and something different needed to come along to not get rid of the old guard but something that turns it on its head a bit. It was like the 90's equivalent of Punk or something, if that makes any sense.

 

Dave: Yeah and those guys did listen to a lot of Punk. That influenced them. It was just a breath of fresh air. Some of the pretension of Rock 'N' Roll, they didn't have that. They'd go out there and play. I thought it was really great.

 

I mean listen, I like all kinds of music. I listen to all kinds of different stuff all the time. I think everything you listen to has some effect on you and influences you in some way.

 

Glenn: Yeah. How long did the album take to put together from beginning to end?

 

Dave: About nine years – I kid you not! Because really, when I started off I would go over to California and record a couple of tracks. Then I'd go home and do whatever I had to do. I was travelling and doing other stuff with the commercial campaign that I was doing for the likes of Bush. So I'd go there whenever I could. I recorded 15 tracks that have drum tracks on but I only put 11 on the album because I didn't want it to be too long. I have some in the can. Then of course, we did all the other stuff as well - the overdubbing. Then when I got to Stevie D... Yeah I can't believe it but it took a long time. I will say this about that though, I'm working on the next one and it's not going to take that long. (We laugh). I've got all my people in place now so I know what to do.

 

Glenn: Excellent, I was going to joke and say, “We are looking forward to the next one in 2028”.

 

Dave: Yeah. I think I'll be in a wheelchair or something. (We laugh). A rocking chair at the very least. I'll be well along in the process.

 

Glenn: (We laugh) Yeah. When you sing certain Survivor songs live, what goes through your head? Is it a case of getting on with the job and getting them out there as good as they were when you were first doing them?

 

Dave: Oh I still really enjoy doing those songs. I really do. They were good songs. I was always proud of the work that I did with Survivor. It was all good. So yeah, I have a lot of fun doing that and I'm really happy to be doing my own stuff. I want to put more songs into my set as I go along.

 

Glenn: Now you have had a positive reception from the audience to them it makes more sense doing that.

 

Dave: Yeah!

 

Glenn: And it makes you feel good as well doesn't it. It enlightens the show and it enlightens you personally so it's all good.

 

Dave: It makes me feel good. I've got to admit it. (Laughs)

 

Glenn: Yeah. The worst thing is if you say on stage, “Here's a new song” and half the audience forms a queue at the toilet or something like that. You think, 'Ugh' (We laugh)

 

Dave: Right. Exactly.

 

Glenn: That must have gone through your head when you've been thinking realistically, 'I hope they are going to like the new stuff and they are going to be receptive like they are with certain Survivor songs.

 

Dave: Yeah of course. It was in my mind. I was very happy that I got a good reception.

 

Glenn: I don't want to mention 'Eye Of The Tiger' too much because no doubt everybody does in Interviews. It's probably your pension that song as such with the royalties and everything else that keeps coming in. Plus, all the promotional campaigns and TV/Radio Advertisements in America or even over here. We've got it here for years to come. It's always a song that's always in those Time-Life collections and whatever else – your Father's Day, 'Dad's Rock Collection'. It's always one of the songs that's always there. I guess it is to you what 'Merry Christmas Everybody' is for Noddy Holder (of Slade)?

Dave: You know, it's crazy man. It's the song that cannot be killed. I have someone in my neighbourhood, a Parent that'll say, “Oh yeah, my five year old loves 'Eye Of The Tiger'. It's his favourite song". That is the reason it can't be killed because you've got another five year old coming along that's been brainwashed already (by it).

 

Glenn: Yeah.

 

Dave: It's funny, my wife was showing me this video with these guys playing toy instruments, on 'The Jimmy Fallon Show'. They use toy instruments and play songs – all toy instruments but it sounded amazing. People take the time to do something like that, that I haven't tried. Then it becomes a viral video and there you go.

 

Glenn: What about re-recording it with those guys? That'd be cool.

 

Dave: It would be cool. If I actually tag along to 'The Jimmy Fallon Show'. It could happen. Who knows?

 

Glenn: Yeah. That's awesome. Talking of TV Shows, I was looking on YouTube and I found footage of you performing 'Eye Of The Tiger' on a German TV Show with an orchestra.

 

Dave: Yeah! Cult Classics.

 

Glenn: How did all that come about? Did they suggest that? or, Did you suggest it by asking, “Can we have an orchestra?”.

 

Dave: It was a lead up to Bonfire thing. They contacted me and they wanted me to come out and do it. The Promoter, he got in touch with me and asked if I would come on and I said, “Okay!” It was cool. They had a band – a horn band. They were really good and it was a whole other take on 'Eye Of The Tiger'. It was a lot of fun. Everybody was really nice. It was a good time. Fun.

 

Glenn: That's absolutely great. What sort of things would you say you've been honoured to do and been proud of in your career so far?

 

Dave: As a singer, I really try to bring everything I've got every time. I really do. I love being in a band. I love being in the middle of a band, performing and singing. Like I said, I saw The Beatles and I wanted to be those guys. I didn't get to be those guys but at least I got be in the music business and I still love doing that. I'm proud of the recorded work that I did. I look forward to doing more you know? And I'm still kicking!

 

Glenn: (I laugh) Do you find that when you get up there on stage, is it harder to warm up?

 

Dave: You know what, I never used to warm up at all. I didn't. Now I do. Now I do warm up and it makes a huge difference. I've got some really good warm-ups that I picked up. I went to the otolaryngologist down at Mount Sinai over here in New York. He gave me an exercise to do. It’s three to five times a day. Then there's a Seth Riggs Warm-Up thing He’s an LA Vocal Coach. It's amazing what that does for me. You get warmed up and you can preserve your voice. You don't want to hurt yourself.

Glenn: Right. I went for singing lessons and was in a choir for a couple of years. My singing teacher said to get this book by this guy called E. Herbert Caesari that had all these exercises in it. All the E-A-R vocal exercises etc. You get higher and higher. You go as high as your range allows you to do. Of course, you want to go higher but it's down to watch range you have which is annoying but it's incredible how it really warms you up. It makes such a big difference doesn't it.

 

Dave: Yes it does. It's a repair thing. Daniel McCabe is my Doctor and he repairs. He sprays something on your lining. He tweens the vocal chords. I don't know exactly the anatomy but apparently it works. It sure seems to. It really does switch you back on if your voice is tired. It really helps you to get it back in shape. It's pretty amazing.

 

Glenn: Exactly. You are such an uptempo, uplifting, positive guy. It's to chat to someone who has been in the business for so long and still positive. You've not let bad times in the business get to you because your voice is so happy, positive and you're so happy to talk about everything.

 

Dave: Yeah. I always was an optimist. I'm glad I'm not bitter. When I started in the music business, I didn't know anything about the music business. I knew about music but I didn't know anything about the business. I was really naive. I could have become bitter because of that but I'm just happy to still be doing this.

Glenn: One of my buddies, Tonito Bermudez asked to ask you, “If a film biopic was made about you, who would you want to play you and why?”

 

Dave: That is a difficult question.. (Laughs) Man... I don't know if I could answer that. Honesty, I have no idea. I have never even thought of me in a biopic. I don't think I'm biopicable enough like Freddie Mercury. Oh and by the way, that performance is so fantastic in that movie. He wouldn't play me. He was perfect for Freddie Mercury. I don't know man! (Laughs) That throws me for a loop that question! (I laugh)

 

Glenn: Oh it's always the golden nugget question.

 

Dave: You'll have to let me go on that one. (We laugh)

 

Glenn: That's funny. Have you still got the beret that you used to wear back in the day? It became like a trademark.

 

Dave: Yeah. You know that frikkin' hat is really hot. I did try it out when I was out with the Bonfest. I did wear it one day and I will again. I will again! Somebody told me, “Why don't you just put it on for when you do 'Eye Of The Tiger'. So maybe that's what I'll do. Next time I play. I'll put my beret on. Then there you go. I still have it. I had two of them. One of them completely disintegrated but I still have the other one.

Glenn: Yeah. Got you. What's travelling like for you now? I mean, back in the day it was like easier as such but how do you feel about travelling back and forth. Do you get the Jet lag? Does it seem to affect you more as you get older?

 

Dave: Yeah. It's not too bad. Some times are worse than others. You know what I really hate? The guys are from around Cardiff so we were around that area. We rehearsed there and then we were driving down to London. We got caught in this traffic jam because of construction. That sucks. Two hours to go twenty miles. That really sucked! I hate traffic. But all in all, I can take it pretty well still. I keep myself in pretty good shape.

 

Glenn: I guess the good thing about it is that New York is only 5 hours difference with regard to the timezone to the UK. It's doable. What was it like on the way back? Are you worn out for two or three days or can you get back into the New York timezone quick?

 

Dave: It took me a couple of days of being tired. It was pretty much a whirl. I came in on Saturday, we rehearsed on Sunday, then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday was shows and then fly back. By the time I got home I was pretty bedraggled. It took me a couple of days to recover. It took longer than maybe it did when I was in my 20's.

 

Glenn: Yeah. The reason I asked you that is because when I came back from the States, it seemed to take me a bit longer to get used to the time difference. Therefore I was curious how it affected you after going back to your side.

 

Dave: Yeah. Sometimes it's worse than others. I mean, seemingly for some inexplicable reasons and I'm not sure why, sometimes I get reset real quick. When I flew over there to the UK, I didn't really notice any dislocation but when I came home I did.

 

Glenn: It's strange isn't it?

 

Dave: I guess when I got home it was midnight but for me it felt like six in the morning.

 

Glenn: Yeah it gets annoying but you just have to get on with it and go through it all. I know what it's like because I've been there a few times. There's no doubt you have.

 

When you're on stage with your own band as such, do you sometimes find that when you're singing Survivor songs you have a blank moment, turn around and think it's going to be a member of Survivor stood there and you lose the plot of where you are? Do you have those weird flashback moments when you get to certain songs?

 

Dave: I don't know. It's different but I take it as it comes. It's going to be a little bit different to Survivor when I'm with a different band. Frankie Sullivan has a very distinctive guitar playing style. He's real good and fits it. He's unique. Somebody else will do there bit. It won't be exactly the same but will still be really good. In some ways better because it's more newer to them. They're having a lot of fun with it. They aren't having to play the same songs over and over again. Also, I would say things about that too, like for instance, 'Children Of The Night', I suggested doing that back in the day many times and I was shut down. Nobody wanted to do it. Or 'Chevy Nights' - I also love playing that song. It's the opening track on the 'Premonition' album. I really like playing that song live. I could never get those guys to do it. Never!! Just No!! I said, “Okay!”.

Glenn: I guess that's good for you now because you can do whatever the hell you want? You've got nobody to shoot you down.

 

Dave: Right. I can do what the hell I want.

 

Glenn: Yeah.

 

Dave: Exactly. (We laugh)

 

Glenn: It must be good for you being away from the ego and megalomaniacs and just being the lead guy?

 

Dave: It's fun (now) and yeah. I'm not like a dictator. In fact I asked the guys, the band members that were coming to play with me there (in the UK) about that. I said to them, “What do you think, what songs do you think we should definitely do? Actually, Glenn the guitar player said, we should do 'Take You On A Saturday' because a lot of musicians, when they got out the 'Eye Of The Tiger' single back in that day, they flipped it over and it was the b-side. It had actually influenced them to be a guitar player. I said, “Well okay, there ya go”.

 

Glenn: That's really cool that. Were you surprised when they came up with something like that?

 

Dave: I was a little, yeah. He was right. It got a great reception. He was exactly right about it. It was fun to play with those guys too. It was really fun.

 

Glenn: What about fans as such after the shows? Were they saying, “Can you play this, can you play that?” Were there certain songs that you were amazed that they'd mentioned that you never even thought about playing in the set because you didn't think they'd go down as well as other songs?

 

Dave: Yeah! Here's one, I hope I'm not going to offend anybody but when we were recording the 'Eye Of The Tiger' album, they asked for another track. We came quickly and whipped up 'Silver Girl' together. I have to admit, I've never really liked the song and of course, there's somebody out there that thinks that thinks that's the best song we ever did wants me to do it live.

 

Glenn: So you're going to do it live next time?

 

Dave: Errrrr??

 

Glenn: (I laugh) I put you on the spot.

 

Dave: I think that's where I draw the line.

 

Glenn: (I laugh) Yeah. So you're not going to do what The Rolling Stones type thing when they have the online voting, bur in this case, they can vote what song they want Dave to sing that night?

 

Dave: Right. I don't know about that.

 

Glenn: That's not going on the list.

 

Dave: F*ck no! F*ck no! There's only so far I'll go Glenn! (he jokes and we laugh)

 

Glenn: You'd be like, “I'm leaving the band! - Hang on it's my band!”

 

Dave: Yeah, Yeah. I'm sorry. No!

Glenn: Apart from the fact you are obviously doing the promotion for the 'Darklight' album, what have you got in the forefront that you are looking forward to?

 

Dave: I've got some shows coming up. I've got this rock version of a classic jam. They are putting a show together down in Chile that's coming up. All that stuff is great. I am looking forward to it – the live shows. I've got a songwriter studio in my house. I have as much fun doing that on any given day as anything. Playing guitars and recording. I still think recording is this magical thing. It still amazes me that you can do that. It's gotten better than ever. For a whole studio you can really have some good gear for your single change. You don't have to buy the whole 72-Channels. You can really have some good stuff at home.

 

Glenn: And in comparison, it's inexpensive isn't it? It's just a lot easier to do these days.

 

Dave: It's inexpensive in comparison, yeah! It is. It really is!

 

Glenn: Space-wise it's great as well.

 

Dave: Space-wise as well. It's digital recording too. It's terrific. You don't have to run tape. I like tape but man oh man, it's an expensive proposition.

 

Glenn: Yeah. You can edit easier with it too.

 

Dave: Yeah. Digital is just a life saver for work-flow. It's just crazy-good. I don't pitch correct my vocals or anything. When we got to the studio and it's going to go on the record, there's a little touch of that. If it's a good performance and there's little things, they'll fix that but basically I try to just give tracks that sound good already. They don't have to do it.

 

Glenn: You don't like faking it.

 

Dave: I don't. I like a performance.

 

Glenn: Yeah, there's too many people out there that are doing that and using auto-tune. That's not real. Mentioning no names.

 

Dave: Yeah. The real-time auto-tune thing now that actually corrects your pitch in real time. I don't even know how you do that. It's like what are you listening to when you are singing when it's coming out in tune. I don't know how that works.

 

Glenn: I know. It's like, how do you sing in tune when you've not got it?

 

Dave: Yeah. Obviously there's a use for that anti-theoretical tool from where I came from.

 

Glenn: I totally agree with you there. Outside of music, what hobbies and interests do you have apart from photography?

 

Dave: Oh I love to read as much as I can and I really enjoy reading plenty of history books.

 

Glenn: Aha cool. There's so much history over here in the UK as you probably know. Well it's been an absolute pleasure having a good chat with you anyway. Is there anything else that you'd like to bring up that we've not talked about?

 

Dave: Gee! I don't know. We've covered a lot of ground and your questions were great. It made me think. I can't think of anything else I'd like to say other than that it's good to be here, it's good to be anywhere.

 

Glenn: Too right. Anyway, thanks for you time buddy and we are looking forward to seeing you come back to the UK again soon.

 

Dave: Oh I can't wait to get back. I'll come back any time.

 

Glenn: Excellent. Anyway, Brother have a good rest of your day and we'll see you soon over here. Bye.

 

Dave: Thanks Glenn. Take care and thanks again. Bye.

Special thanks got to John Dryland, Giles Lavery and Charlie Calv for making this happen.

Recent Tour Photos by Mark Ellis of Shootthegroove.com

that have been supplied by Dave Bickler with full permission.