Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 83: Interview with American Tears

AMERICAN TEARS: An interview with MARK MANGOLD

Interview by Ian Johnson

Mark Mangold, that name conjures up a lot of memories for all of us who read this magazine. Touch, Drive, She Said, guest slots with the great and the good who perform AOR has made his name, in our circles at least, a household one. But before all that Mark Mangold performed with a power trio called American Tears. It's been almost forty five years since that band made a record, so Fireworks talks with Mark about the reasoning behind this new release, what still drives him as a musician and much more.


American Tears Mark Mangold Interview

The first album under the moniker of American Tears, 'Branded Bad', came out almost forty-four years ago. So what was the reasoning behind you making another American Tear album?

Wow, forty-four years, I hadn't thought of it like that really. I wanted to play the keyboards again is the answer. I wanted to be in a place where we were creative musically again, where we weren't limited in what we did, trying to do something unique and maybe not so song orientated. I think also that part of doing this was the situation of our times, especially politically. I won't dwell on it but we all know what's going on, here and around the world at the moment. It was the same back when we recorded the first American Tears albums. Political upheaval, Vietnam, anti-war, anti-draft and now we have all these similar things today, with political power being mis-used etc. Our music is kind of a protest to what was going on then and now. We always wrote songs about inclusion and accepting all peoples and with today's situation bringing up old memories I got into that American Tears state of mind, which got me to thinking about how all the progress we've made over the years is being thrown aside at the moment. So a lot of the songs lyrically speaking on the new CD are about the struggle we're in and the stupidity of some of our leaders today.

On the new album it's basically just yourself handling everything. Whilst on the earlier albums you were at first a power trio. Why are you the only musician on 'Hard Core'?

I definitely thought about doing this album the old way, you know with a band but sadly a lot of the guys are now gone. Greg Baze has passed away and I tried real hard to find Tommy Gunn but I just couldn't. So after that, I sat down and looked at the budget I had to make this album, and it isn't like the old days where you got a lot of money to make records. In the end I knew this was going to be for me a labour of love but a very complex musical one. I mean the drum stuff alone is so complicated that to just have someone come in here and there to put down the drum tracks wouldn't have worked, and I knew I could do it and get the drum sound I wanted, so I decided the best way of doing this album was if I played everything. Of course my preference is always to have a band but this is just how it worked out this time. When we do the next American Tears album, there will be a band.

With a gap of almost forty-five years a lot of people will only know you as the man who was in Touch and Drive, She Said. They, therefore, would be more in tune with the music of those bands. But on 'Hard...' it's just you playing drums bass and many, many keyboards. To keep the fans who came later happy, was it ever in your thinking to have a guitar player?

No it was always going to be just keyboards. The mission of American Tears when we started out was to be a keyboard band. We wanted to create the parts usually filled by a guitarist with the keyboards, so if you listen to the older albums and this new one, there are solos but solos, played with keyboards through Marshall amps getting the distortion and energy you expect from a guitar, but all done on my keyboards. That was what I wanted for this new album. If you listen you'll hear me playing riffs that normally would be the province of the guitar player but I'm doing them on my Hammond.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Statement.

I accept cookies from this site


My favourite type of albums are the ones where you as a listener have to sit down and take the time to work out what's going on before you can really start to enjoy them. Instant fixes are all well and good but investing in an album has always made me love a band's music more. What do you feel about this?

I agree. I always try to put depth and feeling into what I do. I never sat down when recording this album and said to myself, right Mark, who is this aimed at, how commercial should I make this, what's my target audience? I just wanted to make a record that, maybe the person listening to it, has to really work at to get the most out of what I've created before they get what I'm trying to say. I didn't want to have limits or boundaries which in some genres you have to adhere too. On 'Hard...' I just wanted to make music, music that needed space and time to get to know. Making this album really opened up my creative thinking processes. I'd start out with say, a drum beat, then I'd loop that in the studio, then just start playing along to it letting the keyboards and creativity take me and the music to wherever it wanted to go. Kind of free flow musicality if you get my meaning; and I wanted the audience to come on those musical journeys with me. Band's like Purple, Tull, Zeppelin had that free flow thing, where they would just play together to see where the music took them and 'Hard...' is my take on that.

As you played and did almost everything else on this album, I wonder how long it actually take to record?

Funnily enough not as long as you'd imagine. Everything took about two weeks, which sounds fast I know. But when I opened those creative flood gates (laughs) the music just seemed to pour out of me. It probably took longer to make sure that everything sounded right than it did to record the music. The lyrics were probably harder than the music because each of the tracks in the beginning were instrumentals and I added the words later. So the music, two weeks from start to finish and the whole thing, production lyrics etc, about two months.

I'd like to talk about a couple of the album's songs. Firstly 'Tear Gas', which has the same lyrics as the one from the album of the same name but musically it's so different. Did you always want to re-visit this song and give it an update?

When I sat down and decided to do this new CD it was that song that was in my head, the riff especially. So I suppose to make the connection between American Tears of the 70s and now I decided to use the 'Tear Gas' lyrics in a new song. It was never to fix it or to say there was anything wrong with the original, which is a song I've always loved, it was just a way of connecting then with now. Also a lot of time has passed since the first record came out and there will be people like you who know our music but also a new audience who doesn't, so maybe having that song on this CD will make them curious and they'll want to go and check out the earlier albums.

Tell us about the songs 'Ferryman'', which I found to be smoother and lighter in tone than a lot of the other tracks on this album and 'Lords Of Light' where lyrics such as 'No ghost of lies sent to deceive us, the demon eyes that come to get between us' are very poignant.

Well I'm a big fan of 10cc, The Moody Blues that kind of stuff. When I was writing the album I decided to use the Mellotron on a couple of songs and 'The Ferryman' was one of them. If you use the Mellotron you can get an almost string like quality to some of the keyboard sounds, which as you said gives the music a lighter feel. The song itself is a bit dark, dealing with death and the river Styx hence 'The Ferryman' title. With 'Lords...' it has more modern phrasing and I suppose lyrically it's an anti authority song, which is important to me. My lyrics then and now deal with what is going on in society and I think music can be good at getting people to wake up to what's going on in the world.

With a new album under your belt, what's next for Mark Mangold?

Well the second (new) American Tears album is already underway. To be honest it's almost finished. I'm also always writing and producing for other artists. I've got a couple of things coming up in movies and I write for Pop singers because in this day and age you can't just concentrate on one genre, you have to diversify to get ahead.

Finally, did you always want to be a musician?

Simple answer... Yes! (laughs) It's a disease and obsession. It's the language I speak. I do it because I love listening to music and I'm a fan of music. Being part of that creative process, having that musical soul in me, has been a wonderful thing. I love the way music hits you like a blow to the body, how it makes you feel and it's been that way since the start. So please listen to this new American Tears album on a good system and hear it how it was meant to be heard. Loud up-front and hitting you like a body blow.

Share this on the web.


Comments (0)add comment

Write comment

security image
Write the displayed characters


busy

Latest Reviews on Rocktopia

Status Quo - 'Backbone'
21/09/2019 | Central Electronic Brain
article thumbnail

'Backbone' proves that Status Quo have still got it – and long may they continue!


Latest News on Rocktopia

DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL announces second run of bands for 2020
19/11/2019 | Central Electronic Brain




JOINING THE LINE-UP:

VOLBEAT, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, BA [ ... ]


Member Login



Calendar

<<  June 2019  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
       1  2
  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Search Here

Shout Here

Latest Message: 1 day, 9 hours ago
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
  • Berny : @el nowy: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. Pls. check your mail!
  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!
  • Rocktopia Te : @l.thijs: Apologies for the delay, your digital copy can now be downloaded from your "My Downloads" section.
  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
  • Berny : @bpomper: Can you pls. contact the Rocktopia team here: «email»
  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
  • Berny : @Johns Band: I've just sent you an e - mail. Best regards, B.
  • Johns Band : I have ordered FM Live video and £1.99 taken from my PayPal account. How do I download video. Something gone wrong at processing with Fireworks. The links to report it do not work.
  • Berny : @kevinw01: Have you received the mail containing the donwload instructions? It seems as if you are downloading the bonus CDs from the "Fireworks" menu, those are meant for our readers in the USA and Canada whose copies do not come with the CD. I will send you a mail now. Thanks, B.
  • kevinw01 : I have ordered several issues of Fireworks but when I press the download button I only get a copy of the MP3 but not the PDF files. I have an iPad. Am I doing something wrong? Kevin
  • Berny : @ARONITY: Thanks for your order. As stated in the item's description, it can take up to three hours for your purchase to be processed. You should have received a mail containing the download instructions by now. Thanks for your patience!
  • ARONTY : Hi, Just ordered #88 pdf, Paypal show the payment, but no d/l link, please help..
  • Berny : @John: Pls. check your mail, this should have been sorted by now. Apologies for the delay!
  • johnmason : Hi. I paid for #88 and it doesn't show up in the licenses/Downloads and I never received any email telling me how to download it.
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks Magazine #88 is out now!
  • SeaDog57 : Thanks Berny got it
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: Not sure why the password disappeared, but it's back. Pls. download your copy from the usual place (i.e. Fireworks - > Bonus CD 87 on the TOP menu). Have fun! :)

Only registered users are allowed to post

Follow Us

FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoogle

This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Statement.

I accept cookies from this site