been six years since Mike Oldfield released his album Music
Of The Spheres. That albuma classically inspired
instrumental music masterpieceis now followed by the 2014 CD
release of Man On The Rocks. A most welcome return
to form, Man On The Rocks is very much an Oldfield-esque rock
album. Featuring Mike working in his studio in The Bahamas, Man
On the Rocks was recorded using state of the art 21st century
technology with Mike directing the recording process via Skype with
musicians in the studio in Los Angeles. Produced by Stephen Lipson,
the 11 track Man On The Rocks features a memorable batch of
fresh Oldfield originals that pairs his guitar work with vocalist
Luke Spiller from the band The Struts. Also playing on Man
On The Rocks is bass legend Leland Sklar and drummer John
Robinson. A number of other musicians lend a hand including Davy
Spillane (whistles), Matt Rollings (piano) and Michael
Thompson (guitars), while producer Lipson adds in guitars as well.
Mike always featured excellent singers on his rock vocal albums and
true to form, Luke Spiller takes on Mikes latest complex and
challenging tracks with vim and vigor. Even if youre mainly
a fan of Mikes instrumental works including Tubular Bells,
the classic QE2 as well as his now fabled 1976 album with
Pekka Pohjola (to name just a few), the sheer rock power and energy
of Man On The Rocks will leave you breathless and coming back
for more. Commenting on Man On The Rocks, Mike explains, The
logical thing for me to have done would have been to make another
Tubular Bells-style album to try and cash in, but Im not that
kind of person and the new album Man On The Rocks is all live, back
to basics rock. Theres way too many highlights to
mention here, but the title track Man On The Rocks is
surely one of Mikes most powerful songs as is the lead off track
Sailing and the memorable Minutes. Man
On The Rocks takes its place right up there with Mike Oldfields
great progressive rock albums. www.MikeOldfieldOfficial.com
presents an interview with
The lead off track Sailing sets a great mood for Man
On The Rocks. It sounds very McCartney inspired. Did you set out
to write the perfect pop song?
Mike Oldfield: I never set out to write a specific kind of
song. I wait for inspiration and the song gradually takes shape. Sometimes
the song seems to write itself.
mwe3: Is Moonshine is kind of a tribute to the
early immigrants that left Ireland for America? Is there a lot of
that glorification of in England and Ireland for the early American
pioneers? Do you even wonder what it was like to be on those big ships
coming to America for the first time?
Mike Oldfield: I heard a song by Bruce Springsteen call American
Land and that gave me the idea to write an immigrant song. I
love the USA and the people there and living in Nassau is very close
mwe3: The title track Man On The Rocks is the showpiece
of the album. The guitar sound you get on the closing of that song
Mike Oldfield: The guitar sound was a recreation of the sound
I used on Ommadawn, my third album.
mwe3: I guess recording with musicians in various places around
the world through the internet is now the current vogue. But you mentioned
the sound you can get with high speed internet these days is unprecedented.
Is this what youve waited for all your life?
Oldfield: I hope the internet will get faster and easier to navigate
it, real time in high quality sound and vision.
mwe3: Castaway has another nautical type feel,
kind of like an old sea shanty. Is Castaway about desperation
or is it really as you said about child abuse? Did you have an abusive
Mike Oldfield: I have memories myself of being afraid and lonely.
They used to cause me problems but I have come to terms with them
and am at peace and have been for a long time.
mwe3: Minutes is classic Oldfield. You mentioned
that track was influenced by the early 1960's sounds of The Shadows
and even Buddy Holly.
Oldfield: I remember Buddy Holly and the sods of that tine...
it was just as my awareness of music was starting to develop so I
wanted to make a track in that style and mood.
mwe3: You say Dreaming In The Wind is about someone
being cremated and then releasing the ashes? Another classic Oldfield
track. A lot of people like this song... I think youve struck
Mike Oldfield: It is a song about the afterlife which I believe
in and I can feel its existence even now.
mwe3: Nuclear sounds like a death metal song! You
mention the emotional suffering being an inspiration?
Sounds like an early Procol Harum song with that organ like ending.
Mike Oldfield: I traveled to Ypres in Northern France to tour
the museums and battlefields of WW1 because my Irish grandfather was
there in 1916.
mwe3: Chariots is a rocking song. Is the song about
personal relationships or business or other types of relationships?
Mike Oldfield: Chariots is a song for those going
through difficult painful times to give them hope and courage.
mwe3: Following The Angels is almost is safe haven
after the preceding two songs. Tell us about the Olympics ceremony
in London. What was that like?
Mike Oldfield: The Olympic games ceremony was the high spot
of my career and I wanted to try to capture the feeling I felt in
music of the event.
mwe3: Being that you live in The Bahamas and I live in the
Miami Beach area were always talking and/or worrying about hurricanes.
Thats the subject matter for Irene. What are your
plans when the big one hits here?
Oldfield: I always prepare everything before the hurricane arrives
and have a generator, a well for water and satellite internet. Also
I live in a house built into the rock here in Nassau well above any
possible storm surge.
mwe3: Now that you mention it, Irene has a kind
of Stones beat! Id love to hear Jagger sing that song! lol Honky
Mike Oldfield: I would also love to hear Mick Jagger sing it.
mwe3: I Give Myself Away is a bit sedate after
Irene. Anyway, the sentiment is nice and it has a cool
Mike Oldfield: It was not supposed to be on the album but Steve
persuaded me to include it as I had changed it sufficiently to make
fit on the album.
When did you discover singer Luke Spiller and how did you decide to
work with him? What does Luke bring to Man On The Rocks and
who else is playing with you on the new album?
Mike Oldfield: Luke was suggested by my record company as he
is signed to them as well. The names of all the musicians are on the
artwork. They were all American musicians from L.A.
mwe3: What was it like working with producer Stephen Lipson
and how did he shape the sound? How did you meet him?
Mike Oldfield: I met Steve through a musician friend and he
was easy to work with as he is an engineer, producer and musician
mwe3: What guitars are you playing mostly on the Man On
The Rocks album?
Mike Oldfield: Mostly a Fender Deluxe with Humbucker pick-ups.
mwe3: Man On The Rocks features musicians recording
on different continents, with you in The Bahamas and others in L.A.
Whats coming next for you technologically? And where do you
think computer technology is going next?
Mike Oldfield: It was easy working on two continents using
the internet and I would not hesitate to work like that again. I hope
the internet will speed up until everything is instant with no waiting.
The flip side is how do you feel about "over technologizing"?
Mike Oldfield: Technology has improved so much for recording
music, especially in the last few years with the latest Mac computers
and Protools software. Now the studio is fully capable of recording
mwe3: Tell me about the label youre on now. Are you back
on Virgin? Look at UMe owning Virgin, Capital and EMI.
Mike Oldfield: Universal have bought up most of the labels
now and I am very lucky to be signed to them. I get on very well with
all the people there.
mwe3: When you were a kid did you buy all the Shadows singles,
EPs and the LPs? Is Wonderful Land still your favorite
Mike Oldfield: I bought Apache and Wonderful
Land, they are my favorite.
So you mention you might consider recording a 1960s type album?
Would that be pop vocal or instrumental or both? How about you and
me working on a Shadows inspired / Pohjola inspired guitar instrumental
album? One time I was at a festival in Finland, in the summer of 1985,
and his band were doing a concert which was incredible (you wouldn't
believe the echo and sonic effects from the sound board)... and I
admit that we had a few beers but Pekka looked me straight in the
eyes and said, I want you to produce our next album.
(lol) Out of a number of times Pekka and I were visiting between
1979 and 1993, in Finland and New York, I always remembered that.
Mike Oldfield: Pekka Pohjola was a fine bass player but I dont
have many other memories of him. Sorry I dont collaborate well.
Thanks to Mike Oldfield @ www.MikeOldfieldOfficial.com