in the early 1970s there was no shortage of great progressive
hard rock bands coming out of England. As a result, some fell through
the cracks of the music scene then, yet in the age of the internet,
artists are sometimes able to reinvent themselves and reconnect with
their early fans and others who missed it the first time around. Case
in point is The Tirith and their 2013 comeback CD entitled
The Daughter Of The Water. Their story goes back
to the dawn of the 1970s when Tim Cox (guitars) and Dick
Cory (bass, vocals) formed the band in 1971 with Paul Williams
(drums) joining in 1972. Original drummer in The Tirith,
Williams adds drums on a pair of tracks here, including the
title track and Gazing At Stars while the bands
new drummer Carl Nightingale is featured on a track here as
well. Over the years, The Tirith kept in touch and lo and behold 40+
years later, they have a new four song, self-produced EP (extended
play) CD. Ostensibly testing the musical waters again, the new Tirith
CD is centered around the song The Daughter Of The Water,
which features Cory sounding like Greg Lake singing in a progressive
blues-rock band circa 1972. The title song is offered here twice,
both as a stately rock number and also as a more ambient neo-acoustic
version, effects and all, and has a definite Greg Lake era King Crimson
type aura, while two additional rock tracks are also well done. As
a vocalist and bass player, who also adds acoustic guitar here, Dick
Cory is a worthwhile prog-rock discovery while the electric guitars
and production of Tim Cox are superbly recorded. The three production
songs are very tastefully produced, with the CD heightened by the
atmospheric version of the title track. One would reckon The Tirith
would cause an even bigger stir with a full length release yet, Daughter
Of The Water is a most welcome return to form from The Tirith.
presents an interview with
Dick Cory of THE TIRITH
The new CD by The Tirith marks a long awaited comeback for you and
the band. Can you give some background into the history of The Tirith
and what was the spark behind the writing and recording of The
Daughter Of The Water, which was just released on a CD EP.
DICK CORY: The Tirith originally formed, as our previous incarnation
Minas Tirith, in 1971. Tim and I had played together for several years
before that at school, you could say we grew up, in music, together.
The previous band was a four piece including remarkably, for that
time, an electric violin. That band lasted until 1973, playing gigs
around the Leicestershire area, but there are no good recordings from
that era. We went our separate ways when I went to university, Tim
went on to be in a succession of bands throughout the 1970s
and 80s, finally having great success as part of the dance music
production team Band Of Gypsies, who produced all of the early Rozalla
hits. Everybody's Free was a worldwide hit selling over
a million copies and has been used in remixes and films most notably
by Baz Luhrmann in the wedding scene of Romeo & Juliet -
the movie. Tim and I have stayed in touch throughout and the band
came back together again in 2010 at the behest of the original drummer
Paul Williams through Facebook contacts. "The Daughter Of The
Water song is a 1970's song by Tim which the previous band never
played, the other songs by me are newer songs.
mwe3: The Tirith sounds influenced by both blues-rock and progressive
rock. Is that how you would describe the sound and who were some of
your favorite music influences, both then and now?
DICK CORY: We were influenced initially in the late 1960s early
'70s by the blues bands that were around then like Cream, and I would
challenge anyone to tell me that White Room isnt
prog, Led Zeppelin who started off very blues and went in a number
of directions, and early Jethro Tull which was a very blues based
outfit that later became prog and even folk. So that is how it started
for us in the early 70s, but we moved rapidly in a prog direction
and since reforming in 2010 those are still the points of reference.
Tim Cox, our guitarist is basically a blues guitarist, but the music
we write is either prog or straight rock and it gets a blues feel
due to the guitar.
The title track The Daughter Of The Water sounds influenced
by prog legends such as Greg Lake and Asia too. What does the track
signify and would you say The Daughter Of The Water, both
the CD and the song is more progressive rock or hard rock in nature?
Can you give some insight into the song?
DICK CORY: The song was written by Tim Cox way back in 1973
but it has never before been recorded. We have also heard people say
it sounds like Dream Theater, but the truth is it was written way
before Asia or Dream Theater. It is really a rock/folk ballad and
there is an insight into this on the EP with an acoustic version of
the track. Maybe there is a bit of Greg Lake in my approach to the
vocal, although in general I wouldnt call him a major influence
on my vocal style. It is quite a challenging song to sing with soft
sensitive lines and the higher screaming rock lines, but very much
my territory which is rock/folk/prog. I would say the song is very
definitely prog. Funny thing about this track I had that guitar line
from the instrumental going round in my head for 30 years, I knew
it was one of Tims, but wasnt sure what song it was. Then
we relearnt it after 30 years and well, there you have it.
mwe3: Whats the musical chemistry like between the members
of The Tirith and how long have you been playing and recording together?
CORY: Myself and Tim have been playing together since the late
1960's when we were at school together. In the early 70s there
was the previous incarnation of the band Minas Tirith,
that lasted until about 73 when we went our separate ways. We
had always been in touch throughout the sabbatical and
had worked together on various tracks throughout the years, so when
we came back together again there was the same chemistry. Our musical
contact is pretty instinctive, Tim always knows what to do with my
songs to bring out the best in them, and I hope I interpret vocally
his songs in the best way I can. Lately we have been writing material
together, this can mean he comes up with a full track with no top
line or lyrics and I just do the top line and lyrics, but sometimes
I have taken vintage lyrics from him and come up with the whole thing.
Basically we have complementary skills and it just works.
mwe3: Can you give a little insight into how the new tracks
on The Daughter Of The Water were recorded? When and where
were the tracks written and recorded and can you say something about
the CD cover art for The Daughter Of The Water and what it
DICK CORY: The tracks were recorded in our rather tortuous
recording process. Drum tracks were recorded at Far Heath studios
near Northampton in 2012. After that all overdubs are done at our
own recording setups either in London or Sheffield. We both use Logic,
vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards are recorded directly into Logic.
Tim then takes it all apart, sometimes in Pro-tools, puts it all back
together again, sprinkles some magic dust, and you come out with the
finished mix. Its a long process but we think our recordings
stand out as so much recording effort and know how has gone into them.
As I said previously The Daughter Of The Water was written
by Tim way back in 1972. Song Of All Ages is a relatively
new song from me dating from about 2005 I think. It is written to
be a continuation of the theme developed in one of our older songs
The Tower, which is all about the discovery of a Tower
on some planet in outer space, and ends with the line The
door drew back, and so we saw
. Well, Song Of
All Ages is part 2 and puts an interpretation on what we might
have seen. Gazing At Stars is another new one from me,
originally started working on it in the 1990s but only put into
its final form over the last few years.
cover art relates to Daughter Of The Water, the eye is watching
the image of a woman reflected in the shimmering water. Is she really
there? Or is she a vision in the mist and the reflections from the
mwe3: What about the gear The Tirith use on the CD including
guitars, bass and drums. Are you and the rest of the group gear heads
of sorts? Can you say something about your gear? (guitars, amps, stings,
DICK CORY: The sound of The Tirith is based around the guitar
work of Tim Cox.
TIM COX: Live I use a 1994 Paul Reed Smith and a Gibson 335 from
1988. In the studio I also use my old Stratocaster which I bought
in 1973 and an old 1965 Telecaster.
Live effects are mostly from the Fender Mustang IV amp but I also
use a Cry Baby wah, Boss Digital Metalizer, Boss Ds1 and Boss tuner,
Electroharmonix Nano Clone and sometimes an old Korg multiple effects
board. Studio effects are Native Instruments Guitar Rig, and the guitar
effects in Logic, Pro Tools and Studio One. I also use a Lowden steel
string acoustic and a Takemine nylon guitar in the studio.
DICK CORY: I use an Ibanez bass, through a Digitech processor
multi pedal, for the gear heads that is a BP355. It gives a really
solid and defined bass sound as often in our music the bass is playing
counter melodies and roots to the guitar and you need that definition.
Live I use a Mark Bass cab. I have two wonderful acoustic guitars,
a 6 string Crafter, and my 12 string is a French made Log. When I
choose guitars it is about how they feel to play and the sound, no
matter what the make or cost.
Carl Nightingale uses the following;
Drums : Pearl Masters 22, 12,13,16 (Blue mist)
Snare : Vintage Ludwig 402 Supra Phonic 14 x 5 (Olive badge)
Bass Pedal : Pearl Powershifter Eliminator
Cymbals : Sabian AAX series:
14" Fast hats, 21" Metal Ride, 16" Studio Crash, 17"
18" Stage Crash, 18" China
At the present time The Tirith are not using keyboards live, but in
the studio, subtle keyboards are added to the masters, mostly Hammond
organ, piano and strings from Logic and some voices from a Korg Triton
Extreme Workstation. We are not fans of cheesy synthesizer sounds.
When did you start playing music and studying music? What were some
of your early music studies like and can you remember your first guitars?
DICK CORY: We were of the generation that grew up with The
Beatles. They literally ruled our lives in those days, in a way that
is hard to comprehend for younger people these days with so much music
around. From there we went on to blues, prog and beyond. My first
guitar was an acoustic of unknown make as Tims was probably
as well. But very early on Tim got a Strat which he still has to this
day, and he is using it for some things on the album we are currently
We have absorbed so many influences over the years, all of the prog
bands of the late 1960s and 70s are very firmly rooted within
us. We draw from bands such as Van der Graff Generator, Pink Floyd,
King Crimson, Caravan, Gnidrolog, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Family,
Cream, YES, The Doors, Captain Beefheart and early Genesis. Too many
current UK prog bands seem to be trying to be Genesis clones... but
we feel the scope of prog music is much wider than that and we try
to reflect that in our music. These days we mostly relate to overseas
prog bands such as Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Opeth and Catatonia.
mwe3: What other activities are the members of the Tirith involved
with, both musically and otherwise
DICK CORY: Musically my life is The Tirith, no time for other
musical ventures, but my day job is as a geologist and project manager
in the coal industry. Tim also works as a dance producer and writer
mostly with various female singers and has recently appeared on radio
with William Orbit.
The Tirith are currently getting rave responses in both the prog music
world and the hard rock and classic rock world. Are you planning other
musical adventures as 2013 moves into 2014 and in what directions
would you like to move next? Are there still uncharted waters so to
speak for The Tirith to pursue in the future?
DICK CORY: With The Tirith it is very much unfinished business.
Our first album is currently in production, and most of it is recorded,
just one acoustic track to record, but with our tortuous recording
process it is taking some time. The first album will feature mostly
our older songs from the 1970s, albeit with some additional lyrics
and improved arrangements. We have most of the material for the 2nd
album as well and that will feature mostly new material. We will be
looking to release the albums on a bonfide prog label, so any labels
who fancy it please get in touch.
Thanks to Dick Cory, Tim Cox and Carl Nightingale @ www.TheTirith.com