Saturday 13 March 2021

An Inteview With PALE WIZARD RECORDS To Discuss Kickstarter for exciting project: Alice Cooper - Killer - 50 years later.

Pale Wizard Records have been going strong for a few years now and have released some great releases from Sergeant Thunderhoof, Phoxjaw and Mos Generator over the years. Now, the label may have embarked on their biggest project yet. As the band have just announced their latest project which will be a tribute album to Alice Cooper’s seminal 1971 album KILLER.

The band have launched a Kickstarter Campaign
 where bands such as Green Lung, 1968, Mos Generator, Ritual King and Sergeant Thunderhoof performing their own versions of classic tracks from the album.

I caught up with Tim and Dan, the brains behind Pale Wizard Records to see why they’re taking on such a huge project….

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today?

TIM: Hello! I’m very good thanks. Hope that everyone is doing alright in these difficult times we live in!

Dan: All good mate, sun has been shining today which is a miracle for this country!

For people not in the know. Can you give a brief history of how the record label came together and where it is today.

TIM: Dan had already started the label prior to me joining last year. I’ve known Dan for 20 years and have worked together with him in a number of jobs over the years so it seemed a logical step to join up with him to help take this venture to a new level. Today we have several releases behind us, some currently in development and an exciting future planned. We primarily aim to make deluxe edition vinyl records, so expect coloured vinyl, gatefold sleeves, collectible extras and premium quality pressings on heavyweight vinyl. We’re also releasing on CD too!

Dan: The label was initially started up to release the first single for the band Phoxjaw. I’ve been supporting the band from their inception and it just felt like a good thing to do to help them out. The pandemic last year really spurred me on to resurrect it. Mostly as a way to keep my mind active. Getting Tim on board has really helped push things forward. It also helps somewhat in that we can release material for Sergeant Thunderhoof too, which I sing for.

Why did you call it Pale Wizard Records?

TIM: The label had already been set up when I joined, so you’d have to ask Dan for an answer on that one! I support the choice of name however, it’s definitely something that fits in the genre we’re currently releasing in.

Dan: I was just trying to think of something that felt kind of personal. As a proud ginger, freckly man, having the word pale in there seemed appropriate.

Do you have a set of rules or ideals when releasing albums on the label?

TIM: Not so much strict rules, but we definitely try to theme the releases we’ve curated around a specific idea. For example, last year we released a split single of Kate Bush covers. We plan to continue doing singles in this series using bands to cover artists that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see a covered in this genre. It’s something we feel passionately about, the release has to interest us both really for us to want to take the project on.

Dan: Yes, we just want to release things that spark our interest and that we have a personal connection with.

We have to talk about your most ambitious project to date. A new project called 50 Years Later. With your first release being a re-imagination or re-working of Alice Cooper’s 1971 landmark album KILLER. So will this be the first of many releases and why did you choose this classic album as the 1st release?

TIM: Well the obvious answer is we’re both fans of Alice, and that is true, but I think the 50 Years Later series is something that we would love to become a staple of the label and an annual tradition. Killer is such an important album not only for Alice Cooper but also for rock music in general so we felt it would be the perfect album to start with and to set the bar high for future releases. The 70s were a hugely influential period for bands of all genres, and we are excited to give some modern bands the chance to put their own spin on these classic albums.

Dan: I’ve been a huge fan of Alice Cooper since the early 90s. It was when listening to Love it to Death and Killer last summer that it occurred to me that they were both about to turn 50 years old. It seems like such a colossal milestone and made even more impressive when you consider that they’re still very active. Killer has always been my favourite album by the band, it’s flawless. So I just got chatting with Tim and we came up with the title ’50 Years Later’. We were trying to come up with alternate ways of saying 50 years. But ‘Golden Jubilee’ sounds bloody ridiculous.

You’ve released a Kickstarter Campaign for the project which I’m hoping is mega-successful. Will all your future 50 Years Later releases be going down this route or is this just to start things off?

TIM: We’ve done it this way to try and get the name out there a little before release. Being a new label, we thought this a great way to promote the album, build up some excitement and also give the backers a chance to secure themselves some exclusive goodies! As you know we plan to get these albums released 50 years to the day, and Killer was released in November 1971. With the long manufacturing times on vinyl these days we felt it was right to let people secure a copy on pre-order in plenty of time.

Dan: I’m not sure if we’ll be doing a Kickstarter for each subsequent release. My gut instinct is probably not. As Tim said, this just felt like a good way to announce the series.

You’ve got some great bands on board such as Green Lung, Mos Generator, Ritual King, 1968 and some upstarts called Sergeant Thunderhoof. How did you decide on these bands and were there any bands that you asked but didn’t have the time to do this?

TIM: Ah yes, there were a few bands we considered that for various reasons we didn’t proceed with. The bands we have chosen for Killer are all top tier choices though, and we’re delighted to have the roster we have. Of course, due to the virus there were some people that just couldn’t commit to working on this project and the logistics of organising 8 recordings during the pandemic was at times challenging, but I think the experience has taught us a few lessons for the future for sure!

Dan: We had a few bands originally confirmed which had to pull out for various personal reasons which I don’t think would be fair on them to announce. But I’m really chuffed with the final line-up as it represents a great cross section of artists from the underground hard rock scene. We did chance our arm with a few high profile bands such as Orange Goblin, and although they were very flattered, there were various reasons why they couldn’t commit in time. The pandemic has made things very tough for everyone.

Do you have all the other future releases planned? Can you give any hints on what’s to come next.

TIM: We’re always planning the next release, and we hope to be putting out new records in our Beyond the Pale series in the near future as well as another 50 Years Later album in 2022. There’s also the possibility of a new album by a band quite close to home of course. Who knows when we might be announcing that…

Dan: The next Beyond the Pale release is coming together and I think we’ll be making an announcement on that within the next couple of months. As for 50 Years Later, we will be making a final decision on which classic album from 1972 to recreate very shortly. I think it’ll be something quite unexpected but very well received.

Will you being releasing multiple releases each year or will it be 1 release every year?

TIM: We’re definitely strong believers in quality over quantity. We want to make every release we do special, and I think with both of us being big collectors of physical media ourselves we know what we would look for that makes a release something extra special. It’s that certain something we strive for with everything we put out. We’re definitely treating each release with the care it deserves. We have 2 more releases out this year prior to the Killer record, a Mos Generator live record and a reissue of the first Hoof release ‘Zigurat’. The 50 Years Later series will be an annual tradition I hope, but our other releases will follow no set pattern.

Dan: Given the amount of work involved in putting together this first release of Killer, I think we would be stretching ourselves too thin to commit to more than one of that series per year. And as Tim said, we definitely want to focus on quality over quantity.

COVID-19 has pretty much put a stop to all life as we know it for the time being. How big of an impact has it affected both Pale Wizard and Sergeant Thunderhoof. And how are you surviving in this stressful time?

TIM: It’s pretty much all I’ve ever known as far as the label is concerned! The majority of my time at the label has been spent during the pandemic, and at the time of writing still is. Naturally, it’s made things more difficult for us, the knock-on effect for us has been some bands being unavailable to work with, with manufacturing being slowed down and at the height of the pandemic with postal deliveries being delayed. All these things combine to affect every part of what we do right through to getting our final product out there and we’ve had to adapt and change accordingly to keep everything moving. Now I hope the worst of it is behind us and I think we’ll see a big resurgence in live music as soon as we’re all allowed out to enjoy it!

Dan: It was a disaster for Hoof as we were 2 weeks away from going out on tour with Howling Giant, so financially it had a big effect. Psychologically it has been tough. We did as much as we could within the constraints forced upon us in 2020, such as an acoustic LP, the double A side Kate Bush tribute with Tony Reed, the live LP released on vinyl. And not to forget the split LP we did with Howling Giant which I personally believe was one of the best releases in 2020 period. I know that sounds big headed, but we were all so proud of that. This year is hopefully going to be very productive for the band and we’re busy working on the next album.

After everything is back to some sort of normality. What does the future hold for the label and the band?

TIM: The future for us is simply to keep creating the kind of releases we would want to buy ourselves. I think that’s the ethos that has run through everything we’ve done so far and is what has kept the quality of everything we’ve put out so far so high.

Dan: I just want to keep things interesting and unexpected. Ask us again in 3 months after we see how well this release goes! Ha-ha.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your fans?

TIM: I think quite simply ‘keep supporting physical media, it’s absolutely the best way to enjoy music’

Dan: Turn off your TV for a bit. My family stopped watching it at the beginning of the first lockdown and it has been bliss! Too much negativity these days. Smile and have a happy life.

All the best with the Kickstarter Project.

Words by Steve Howe and Pale Wizard Records

Thanks to Jade for arranging this interview. Thanks to Dan and Tim for doing the interview. 

Kickstarter URL: