Interview – Tommy Denander
Exclusive interview with Tommy Denander who recently released the record Radioactive “Ceremony Of Innocence” Featuring: Jeff, Mike & Steve Porcaro, David Page, David Hungate, Bobby Kimball, Fergie Frederiksen, Joseph Williams, Fee Waybill, Jason Scheff and many more.
Q: Hi Tommy, You have recently released you’re Radioactive record, how does it feel?
Tommy: Well Bengt!, I have to admit that I’ve been a bit naive about this cause I was working on the album for so long that I honestly forgot what it would do for my career and “status” as a musician around the world! It took me by surprise all this attention and only now am I starting to feel relaxed about it… I mean even CNN has contacted me about maybe doing an interview! That’s how big it’s become in like 1-2 weeks!!! The reviews and feedback are stunning and I can’t thank people enough, I put 10 years of my life in to making this album and it was no easy task to make all the dreams come true so now I’ve really started to enjoy it myself.
Q: What kind of music is it on the Radioactive album?
Tommy: I’ve always been more of a westcoast fan than the typical AOR stuff but I’m also a hard rocker at heart so to me it’s a soup made of one part Toto’s Isolation, one part Giant’s Time To Burn, one part Fee Waybill’s Read My Lips, one part Van Halen, one part Mr Mister’s Welcome To The Real World, one part David Foster and a big part of me…boiled for ten years and served with love!:-)))
Q: What has been most fun under those year you have recording Radioactive?
Tommy: Two things always stand out for me - 1. recording live with Jeff Porcaro…to sit in a great studio in LA with him and Mike Porcaro and cut the 10 songs we did live was the greatest thing I’ve done and ever will do! 2. Having my idol David Foster say yes and actually play on the song “Grace”. Foster has meant so much for me as a writer, player and producer and never in my wildest dreams would I think of having him play on my album, I even got e mails from some American top players saying “how the hell did you get Foster to play on your album!!!”:-)))… it’s not easy but David is the greatest! Other than this it was OK to work with the other guys as well… :-))))
Q: What did you do to get so many great musicians on the Radioactive album?
Tommy: They’re all gay and I paid my dues!… JUST KIDDING!!!!! Thru a miracle I asked Toto if they would play on my album if I got a deal and they said yes!!!…after that happen I parted ways with the record label and decided to take my time with the album. Of course I didn’t know it was gonna be ten years but when Jeff sadly passed away in 1992 I knew how unique my album was and that’s when I decided to try and get as many of my heroes to play and sing on it. Most people said yes right away simply because they wanted a chance to “work” with Jeff one last time, that’s how big he was and a few of them had never worked with Jeff and knew this was gonna be their last chance. Some people like Bobby Kimball and Fergie I had become friends with so when I asked them it was no problem and when you have ten big names you can get 2-3 more and that helps to get another 2-3 and so on! Also the album has been written about all over the world since 1991 and many knew about it and was simply honored to be a part of it. The thing that makes me most proud with everyone on the album is that they all had a great time doing it!…most of them put in more time then they’ve ever done on anything before and played and sang at the top level of their capacity.
Q: Are there someone you haven’t played with yet, that you want to have on your play list?
Tommy: There’s lots of people I want to work with like Michael McDonald, Richard Page, David Coverdale, Steve Perry and so on and I hope I’ll get the chance but when I look at the list of people and bands I’ve worked with and think about that I’m only 33 I’m amazed and deeply grateful.
Q: Before you went to the States in 1987, who did you play with at that time?
Tommy: I was in several bands like ATC, Cheese, Down Town and Cool For Cats but I did a lot of sessions and some small tours as well, it was the “early” years and I took any kind of gig I could get. I had a lot of fun cause I was still living at home with my wonderful parents and I had very few expenses so most of the money I made I bought home studio, guitars and keyboards for….great time!
Q: Prisoner is one of your great project, is there some new releases for Prisoner in the near future?
Tommy: We just released Prisoner II and it’s doing pretty good but it wasn’t the album we really wanted to do. Due to circumstances outside of the band we had to use drum machine and so on but we’re already writing for a third CD to be released in the fall of 2002 so we’re gonna take our time and make a really good album!
Q: Do you have any other new recording project you want to share with us?
Tommy: I’m always involved in lots of projects… I recently did some keyboards plus engineered the keyboards of Mats Olausson (Yngwie M) for the new Lions Share CD “Entrance”, I’m almost done with the new Sayit CD that I think is very good, I did a solo on Bruce Gaitsch new solo album “Understanding”, I’m writing with Geir for the next Rainmaker album, I’m gonna work with another great Swede Peter Friestedt next week on his LA Project album and I’m working with Bobby Kimball on some cool stuff.
Q: I read on your site that you have a project with Bobby Kimball, what kind of project is that?
Tommy: I’m writing songs with him for a couple of really cool projects he’s doing in USA but I can’t tell you what yet so I’ll get back to you on those but we’re also writing a special song for the Jason Becker tribute part II that will be called “Jason”. It will be a kind of “We are the world” situation with a ton of big stars guesting plus an all star band backing, it’s an up tempo kick ass rock song that I hope will be very cool when it’s done.
Q: Do you have any plans for a concert tour, in Scandinavia, Europe or USA?
Tommy: No live gigs at all for me this year but hopefully next summer.
Q: Your All Star Band, include: Drum, Bass, Guitar, Keyboard, Lead song and Guitar. Please let us know?
Tommy: You got it and I’ll add a few:
Drums – Jeff Porcaro
Percussion – Lenny Castro
Bass – Nathan East
Guitar – Michael Landau (even though I’d like the gig:-)
Keyboards – David Foster and Vince DiCola
Vocals – Bobby Kimball, Geir Rönning and Michael McDonald
Backing vocals – Joseph Williams, Jason Scheff and Richard Page
Q: Thanks for the interview Tommy. Good luck with all your project!! Bengt and The Swedish Westcoast Music Site .
Tommy: Thanks a lot mate and keep up the great work! Tommy
by Bengt Isaksson