Exclusive interview with Bernie Tormé

www.rockgig.co.uk have been lucky enough to catch up with guitar legend Bernie Tormé and asked him a few questions about his new CD and forthcoming UK tour.

RG. Your new double CD has been financed through a PledgeMusic campaign. Where you surprised how successful this was?
BT. Totally blown away to be honest. I never expected it to be anything like that! I think it was at 100% of the pledge within a day! I thought I would struggle to get anything! Man I have the best fans anyone could possibly have, unbelievable.

RG. 10% of any money you raised after the PledgeMusic goal was reached will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust. How did you get involved with the Teenage Cancer Trust?
BT. I am not involved in any other sense other than contributing to Teenage Cancer Trust, it seemed to me to be a very worthy charity. Like everyone else you come across these terrible things that touch your life that happen to teenagers and kids, it’s just something small I could do to help a bit.
I've been very conscious of childhood and teenage cancer for a long time, when I was eleven or twelve I spent quite a long while in hospital after a major kidney operation, and one time I had a lovely sparky kid called Michael in the next bed. He had leukaemia. I went home eventually. He died. 

RG. You are working with Chris Heilman, who of course we remember from the Tormé line up of the late 80s. How did your paths cross again?
BT. It’s a real pleasure for me working with Chris again, he's such a lovely guy, he really was the glue that kept Torme together for those few years, none of us really got on all that well together, it could be quite dramatic to say the least, but we all loved Chris!  Chris and me never really lost touch, I stayed at his place in LA when he was in Shark island.
When he came back to Blighty after years in the land of LA he turned up at quite a few GMT gigs, and once Robin and I had a blow with him because John was not too keen on doing some GMT shows and Robin and I wanted to do them anyway. So it might have been temporarily GHT! McCoy obviously changed his mind and did the shows anyway as it turned out, but Chris was next in line as it were!
 So when I wanted to do some recording and gigs again of course I asked Chris, he's such a great guy to work with, a good mate, a great bass player, really locks in, and a really easy going person. It’s a real pleasure for me working with him again.

RG. Will the Chris and new drummer, Ian Harris, be your touring band for the UK dates in October/November 2014?
BT. Short answer is YES! It’s been a bit of a revolving door to now, unavoidable because of availability really, but Chris and Ian are definitely doing the tour, and I'm really looking forward to that, great band, it will rock! 

RG. Those of us who have “pledged” our support have heard the first track “Crash and Burn” from your new double CD, and it sounds great. Have all the other songs been written yet and how would you describe them? Does the new CD have a name yet?
BT. Thanks, I appreciate that! 
Yes everything else has been written and of course it’s all absolutely wonderful!  But I'd rather play music than try to describe it, not too good at describing it, I'd rather leave that to journo's.  It is like what I normally do, lots of hell guitar, but it is definitely not an attempt to play safe. Pretty varied, rockers, bluesy stuff, psychedelic stuff and some rootsy stuff too. 
It’s not in my opinion possible to do a one style double album, so it has taken and is taking a lot of thought and hard work from me, and that’s been really good for me. It's been a real challenge. Not made any easier by having to change drummers midstream, but such is life, Simon Jeffrey did a great job, and Ian Harris has come in and really kicked some new life into it too. No easy thing to do after Simon, but he's been brilliant.
Some good tunes too. Can't wait for people to hear them! 
CD titles? OMG! Well I have had so many suggestions online and offline it’s been terrifying, I've had about a half million suggestions, I was like a fucking rabbit in the headlights! Some great ideas, some maybe not quite so great! And some maybe a bit completely silly! But all entertaining! I'm pretty settled on 'Flowers & Dirt", it kind of suits it, but I'm worried about which disc is which!

RG.  www.rockgig.co.uk are looking forward to the UK in October/November 2014 (catching you in York) and to hearing the new material live, can we also expect to hear some of the older Bernie Tormé material? Any chance that Lightning Strikes will make the set list (well for York at least)?
BT. Oh definitely older material too, people know and want that. Older Bernie stuff, a few choice GMT tracks, a few Gillan tracks too. And new tracks of course too. 
 I am hoping to do varying sets at different shows to keep it interesting for both audience and band. I have been playing Lightning Strikes live at the last few shows I did, so do remind me closer to the York gig and we will play it!

RG. Have we heard the end of GMT or are there plans for you John McCoy and Robin Guy to get back together sometime in the future?
BT. GMT took a break originally because McCoy at the time had some other stuff he wanted to do, production stuff and also a solo album. I don't think the solo album has happened yet, but the production stuff did and is ongoing, and he also got involved with the Tyla Gang as a bass player, so he's been doing a lot of touring with them, and still is. They are doing a new album for Universal soon.
Robin has always had a lot on his plate, so the situation of us all being available to do stuff became a bit of an insurmountable problem. 
Thats not to say it won't come together again, I'm sure it will at some point, but there would have to have a good reason to. No plans for it at the moment but it definitely is more than a possibility at some stage. 

RG.   Finally, if we were to listen to the music on your iPod would we find any surprises?
BT.  Nothing but surprises probably! I listen to everything that does not sound even vaguely like me, I hear far too much of that! Everything from Gorecki to Bonny Prince Billy and all points in between. Currently listening to a lot of English Folk, Copper Family and The Young Tradition. I go through phases! I always go back to the blues.

Many thanks to Bernie Tormé for sparing the time to answer our questions.

Bernie Tormé and his band are on tour in the UK in October/November 2104 and www.rockgig.co.uk would recommend that you check them out at your local show.
15 Oct Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge
16 Oct Wolverhampton, Bilston, Robin 2
17 Oct York Fibbers
18 Oct Great Yarmouth, Legends of Rock the Originals
22 Oct Brighton, The Albert
24 Oct Dorchester, Corn Exchange
29 Oct London Borderline
30 Oct Manchester Academy 3
31 Oct Kinross, Backstage
1 Nov Newcastle, The Cluny
13 Nov Troon, South Beach Sessions
14 Nov Aberdeen, The Moorings
15 Nov Edinburgh, Bannermans
Get full details and tickets for the tour at http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/shows.html

To get you in the mood here is Star 


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