Do you remember those brilliant days, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal days? Suffolkís TRESPASS were one of the most promising bands around at the time, but they fell short of their potential. After a bootleg CD, containing early TRESPASS material, had been released in the early 1990ís, original members Mark Sutcliffe (vocals/ guitars), Dave Crawte (guitars) and Paul Sutcliffe (drums) decided to release a definitive 16-song compilation in late 1992, entitled The Works. In August 1993 the re-activated TRESPASS performed live at the Wacken Open Air festival (Germany), and late September that same year a new CD, including all brand new material, was released. Bassist on that effort (Head CD) was none other than youngster Leo Smee, who left the band shortly after, to join CATHEDRAL. The following interview with drummer Paul dates back to mid October 1993; a small part of it was already reprinted in Mindview magazine # 4, but I simply had to reprint it entirely, in order to do it justice. Here it is at last ... Enjoy!
Paul, how come TRESPASS never released an LP, despite the obvious potential?
Basically we didnít do an album because it was down to Trial Records. Steve, who was running the label, wasnít really prepared to take the risk. He was always a bit worried about spending the money. I think that he thought that we could get a deal purely through the singles. Which, in retrospect, I think was the wrong thing to do. We should have done an album, I think it would have made a lot of difference. We certainly wouldíve gotten a deal, because there was a lot of label interest.
And what about that cassette-album that surfaced in the early 1980ís?
The cassette-album was really out of our hands. I mean, I couldnít even tell you exactly what songs were on it. And as to when it was released, Iím not sure, because Steve did that off his own back, really. He didnít consult us, he just went ahead and did it. I think he made about 1000 tapes. We shouldíve been more on top of that!
You once told me there were 5000 copies pressed of each TRESPASS single, yet I noticed different figures in a German magazine; whatís the story?
The trouble is I canít remember how many I told you in the first place. But the German magazine is obviously wrong and Iím obviously right, so youíll have to take as what I told you as being correct.
Whatever happened to the other Ďoldí TRESPASS members?
Old TRESPASS members ... Well, I havenít seen any of them for years, like ten years ... Robert Eckland (vocals), I think, is a landscape gardener. Cris Linscott (bass) is a social worker. The only one thatís got any connection with music, apart from Richard Penny (bass/heís a DJ now), is Steve Mills (vocals). He sent us a tape not long ago, heís still plugging away there. Unfortunately Bob Irving (bass) ... Bob actually committed suicide a few years back, which is very sad. But no, not really in touch with any of them. Bob was the only one we stayed in contact with.
With hindsight, wasnít it wrong to form BLUE BLUD after TRESPASS had disbanded? Why didnít you just continue as TRESPASS?
Itís difficult to say wrong to form BLUE BLUD, I donít know. Things that people donít realize about the TRESPASS thing is that it didnít really last that long. We only really formed in sort of the end of 1978 and it was all over by about 1982. But one of the driving forces behind the band was our dad, Alan Sutcliffe. He died in 1982 and that kind of took the wind out of ourselves a little bit. We couldnít get a deal, we couldnít get a line-up together, we just wanted a clean break. We didnít really want to call the band TRESPASS, we didnít want to rake up the past, we wanted a new start, basically. With hindsight, which is always the easy way to do it, we could have called the band TRESPASS, but I donít think it wouldíve made a lot of difference.
What exactly did you release as BLUE BLUD/BLUE BLOOD?
We did an EP to start with, which was basically as a three-piece : me, Mark and Dave, when the band was a lot heavier. The Liquor & Poker EP. We then got Phil Kane (vocals) & Rob Arriss (keyboards) in the band and signed to Music For Nations Records. We did a 7Ē/12Ē (Running Back) and two albums (The Big Noise & Universal Language) for them. There was also a CD-single in Japan, off the second album.
Why did BLUE BLOOD call it quits?
The reason BLUE BLOOD came to an end ... Well, we lost the deal with Music For Nations, because people werenít prepared to put their money where their mouth was; itís an age-old story with record companies. We did make another demo and shopped it around, but things just werenít going well within the band; we werenít happy with the kind of stuff we were doing and basically we wanted to get rid of the keyboards and of Phil. So thatís what happened. Until we reformed TRESPASS, we were actually working on another project, which has turned into Head, the album. We were gonna start another band, but after doing The Works ... we were just amazed by the response we got from that CD, itís done really well. And we thought, why go back to square one, people are obviously interested in the band, and I think enough time has passed for us to forget about the bad times we had with the band. We thought weíd just reform the band and give it a shot.
Having just mentioned The Works yourself; what made you decide to release that compilation in the first place?
Well, it was because the Live It Up bootleg, which I think is okay. The quality is not fantastic, but then again theyíve taken things straight from cassettes. I mean, they are providing a service : people obviously wanted a collection of material and we werenít giving it to them, so someone else did. So we decided to do the real McCoy, so to speak. I think it says in the sleevenotes, it was time for a definitive album from the band.
Knowing there is still plenty of old, unreleased TRESPASS stuff available, would you ever consider releasing The Works Volume II?
Yeah, thereís a possibility of The Works II. Unfortunately, I think weíve put a lot of the better known stuff on The Works already; maybe we should have held something back for it. There are still a few songs kicking around, itís a possibility. It could happen, but I donít know exactly when though. If ever ...
Why did you release The Works on your own label, Alien Egg Records?
We decided to start our own label because you make more money. Being the record company as well, you get a bigger slice of the pie, obviously. We already signed a major deal in Japan for The Works. Thatís basically what we do : we do everything ourselves, recording, artwork, etc., we take care of everything. And then itís a matter of trying to sell it on to other labels, just licensing it to other territories.
Do you intend to release non-TRESPASS related releases on Alien Egg as well?
Looking long-term we will be releasing products from other bands, but there are no bands planned at the moment. Weíre not even looking at that at present.
How have sales of The Works been so far? And what about that Japanese version?
Weíre really happy with the way things have gone, as far as sales goes. I couldnít give you an exact figure at the moment, but I think weíre up to about 5000, which is more than we thought, certainly. Itís to be released by Fuji (Pony Canyon) in Japan on November 14th, I think. Their version will have an extra track (Look Alive), plus different packaging. I have no idea what theyíre gonna do with it, I havenít seen any artwork or anything like that yet. Presumably theyíll have some sort of booklet, that will be fully translated into Japanese, etc. Itíll be as much a surprise to us as it will be to you.
Who are the Hillside Brothers, who are mentioned on The Works?
The Hillside brothers ... The reason we called íem Hillside Brothers was because the tracks were recorded at Hillside Studios, which is now closed down. And it was run by two brothers, but we couldnít remember their names, so we had to call íem the Hillside Brothers.
Further on the subject of the Japanese release, how did that happen?
The deal with Pony Canyon came about because Tets Maruo, whoís head of A & R at Pony Canyon, is a big fan of N.W.O.B.H.M., and we heard from a guy that we know from Music For Nations that he was interested in that period of music. So we simply sent him a copy of The Works and he was just totally into it, he loved it. It all went through real easily.
Earlier this year TRESPASS performed at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. How did that come about and what was it like?
The reason we got invited to go out and play there was because Hellion Records, which Iím sure youíve heard of. The guy who runs that, JŁrgen Hegewald, again is a big TRESPASS fan and he got involved in the organization of it. The bands ran over time badly, they couldíve been a bit stricter with some of the bands playing too long. The attendance was good. It was our first gig as TRESPASS, and to play in front of a few thousand was great for us. There was a great stage and we just enjoyed the whole thing. Itís always a difficult thing, since it was our first time back.
Did you happen to witness HOLOCAUSTís set as well? What were they like?
Yeah, I saw HOLOCAUSTís set. They were good. Iíve never really heard any HOLOCAUST stuff before, so all of it went over my head, but they were really nice guys, we got on really well. Theyíre a good band.
At the time of the N.W.O.B.H.M., did you have any contacts with any other bands?
No contacts with other bands. We never really did at the time, because, if you could see where TRESPASS actually comes from ... Although weíre only an hour from London, weíre right in the middle of the country; we didnít really mix with any of the other bands that came from various cities. We donít really know anybody. Apart from a couple of guys from IRON MAIDEN that live around here, but they only moved out here subsequently to making a lot of money.
What do you think about this current Ďrevivalí of the N.W.O.B.H.M., and what do you think instigated it?
Iím not sure if there is a current revival, I think itís coincidence more than anything else. But if there is, itís probably because there arenít any good British bands around anymore. We havenít done anthing since then ... British Rock music really hasnít been on the map since DEF LEPPARD and IRON MAIDEN and bands like that broke through and went on to become really successful. But there hasnít been a band thatís broken internationally since then, which is probably why people look back at the N.W.O.B.H.M. with a lot of interest. About the instigation of it, I donít know. Like I say, I think itís because nothingís happened since. Where are these bands breaking big? It just never happens ... All power to bands like THUNDER and LITTLE ANGELS, theyíre great bands, but theyíre not really doing anything outside the U.K.
So, what do you think of the nowadays U.K. metal scene in general then?
Is there one? I mean, the press are just totally pro-American. Iím sure there are great bands out there, like TERRORVISION and bands like that, that are doing some good stuff. The Americans are just wiping the floor with us at the moment, Iím afraid. And itís because the press are totally into American bands. I mean, if I was a journalist, who are among the best paid people in the world, as Iím sure you know, and I could have a trip to Boston to see a band or a trip to Sudbury to see a band, Iím sure Iíd go to Boston. I may be a bit cynical, but Iím afraid thatís probably the way it is.
And what about your native Suffolk then?
Suffolk ... There is no metal scene in Suffolk. We are it! Itís all country & western. Itís really quiet. Itís not unlike Belgium, itís very flat, very green, very beautiful, but itís not the most interesting place in the world to live.
Okay, over to the TRESPASS sound of today; how would you say your style is now, compared to the early days?
Letís say that weíve probably evolved super, because weíve matured as people and musicians. Weíre all, hopefully, a lot better now ... Itís up to other people to judge, really. As for our current style, I think weíre a lot heavier band now than TRESPASS was originally. I think weíve had a lot more influences, and maybe as a reaction to the BLUE BLUD/BLUE BLOOD thing, we just wanted to bring the guitars out, thatís why Dave has gone back on guitar. We wanted that classic two-guitar sound, we wanted to make it sound hard.
What has new bassist Leo Smee been doing prior to this?
Leoís been in quite a few bands. I donít think you would have heard of any of them. Heís completely insane, and heís only 17 years old. Heís an incredible bassplayer, just amazing. Heís just a total natural talent, completely around the twist ... Really, he has to be seen to be believed.
Whoís responsible for the songs on the new album, Head, and what are they about?
I wrote seven of the lyrics and Mark wrote three. A lot of my songs are about standing up for what you believe in, not just going along with things because you are afraid to rock the boat. Itís about saying no, you know? Itís about having the strength to stand up when you donít believe in something and say so, and not to be afraid to do that. I suppose that comes out of a lot of our experiences in the past; we have been guilty of maybe listening to other people too much, and Iím sure a lot of bands are. And thatís where a lot of my songs come from. I suppose there is a lot of political meaning in it as well. Especially in this country. The government shits all over us, and itís time for people to stand up and do something about it. Basically thatís the general feel of my lyrics.
How did you get Simon Phillips to produce Head?
1 think youíve been misled a bit. Simon didnít actually produce the album, we just recorded it at his house. He was away on tour with TOTO at the time. We produced the album ourselves. We have talked to Simon in the past about production but heís just too expensive.
The cover art for Head is quite striking; who did it and how would you describe it?
The artwork for Head was done by David P. Cutter, who is an American artist. I noticed some of his work in a magazine, contacted him through the publisher, and he came up with the artwork. We love it! Itís very difficult to describe. I mean, I could describe it but it would sound really corny. I think you really have to see it to get the sheer majesty of it, you know. We think itís great! People either really like it or donít like it at all, so itís got a good reaction to it. Itís not wishy-washy at all.
Is there any particular meaning as far as the album title is concerned?
Actually the album title was inspired by the artwork, rather than the other way around. When you see it youíll understand. Besides, we thought of a few good appetizing slogans, like ĎGive Head for Christmasí or ĎHead available here.í If you like a sic, oral sex joke, which I do myself.
Will there be any tours in support for Head and/or The Works?
Weíre gonna be starting in the U.K. and then Japan. U.S.A. Iím not sure about yet, but certainly Europe. We wanna get into Europe sort of like early next year. We just want to go anywhere they want us, really. We wanna play, we wanna work, just go out there and put the band back on the map.
What will a nowadays TRESPASS live set be like, what can we expect?
Well, we are concentrating extensively on the new album. Obviously we are doing some of the old stuff as well, but we really want to go forward with this thing and the only way we can do that is by pushing the new stuff. Obviously, the classics are in there. But as to what itíll look like, thatís still being sorted out at the moment, weíre still in the production side of the tour.
Will there be a Japanese release of Head as well? If so, will there be any bonus songs?
We donít know if the Japanese are gonna release Head or not, because theyíve only just been sent a copy. And we havenít received their reaction to it yet, so ... They have got an option on that album. As far as featuring extra songs, we havenít got any material recorded at the moment, so if they want an extra track theyíll have to pay.
Out of curiosity, are you guys able to make a living from Alien Egg Records/TRESPASS?
Yeah, we make a living from Alien Egg. We do because of the business we do in Japan, and we sell directly to shops. We do good business, we do allright. We survive. The musicís the most important thing to us.
By the way, how did you come up with the Alien Egg moniker?
The reason that Alien Egg was used as the name for our label is, weíve also made some films ... me, Mark and Dave, and Daveís brother Adrian. A few years ago we made a science fiction film, low-budget obviously, and it involved an alien coming to earth. Itís kind of a comedy film really, laying alien eggs all over the place, and thatís basically where it came from.
Itís sad to say, but nothingís really happened with TRESPASS ever since. Like I stated in the introduction, bassist Leo Smee joined CATHEDRAL, who have recently been supporting MY DYING BRIDE on their European tour. But as for TRESPASS, no tours whatsoever. No news either ... And Iím afraid in this case, no news doesnít mean good news. I tried to phone Paul in order to find out what the current situation is like, only to find out that the phonenumber is no longer valid. I then tried writing to the Alien Egg address, only to get my letter returned to sender. Iím afraid to say, but I think Ďitís all overí ... for good. Then again, TRESPASS may resurrect Ďone of these daysí ... Only time will tell ...
Website : http://www.trespass-alienegg.co.uk