35 years ago, One Eyed Jacks was Spear of Destiny’s 2nd release on the major label Epic Records. For many original fans this is ‘the’ Spear of Destiny album. Kirk Brandon believed the album was a fine body of songs played by a fine bunch of musicians, but detrimentally interfered with by a record label that had no idea how to market the sound of Spear of Destiny at that time.
I met with Kirk Brandon to discuss the tour, One Eyed Jacks album and playing gigs in Liverpool.
Welcome to Liverpool, are you looking forward to the gig?
Thank you very much, and very much so! I gigged here, a solo show – early last year and I had a fantastic reception. But, this is with The Spears’ so it’s going to be banging rock and roll.
The tour itself, how has it been received?
It’s been great! A few sold out shows which is brilliant and people love the idea of playing the 1980’s Spear of Destiny album One Eyed Jacks the, sort of breakthrough album so to speak. It is funny doing that stuff but people well, love it! So, give them what they want for a change!
The tour in terms of old work and new records, do you have much chance on the road to pen new material?
I always find the sound check is the chance to do new stuff, something just happens, it just appears on guitar and you think, what was that?
So, a moment of creativity just appears?
Oh yes, it just sneaks through at sound checks!
In terms of the One Eyed Jacks album, it’s been 35 years since release, yet you went back and rerecorded and refreshed it. Why 35 years, is this the only chance you have had to revisit the album?
There’s a lot of reasons, but basically we recorded it all again as we couldn’t get hold of the master tapes. We tried to buy them and then licence them. Then, we were told they were missing and then we were told they disappeared. But, they miraculously appear 35 years later. But, licenced to go through another company – but they didn’t help in any way. Yet, this is your legacy, your material and your work. In a way, we are taking back our life, our legacy. So we recorded it again. And it is available now and can also be bought again at gigs with other merchandise. We haven’t mucked around too much with arrangements. Guitars added etc and it was very exciting and it is bangin’ now.
Are you at risk of taking something away from the album?
Fans, unanimously said it is great. Maybe a small percentage don’t think it is, but overall – a huge success. But, the company will not help, won’t do anything with it. They will not even speak to us, so we rerecorded and I advise anybody in that position, anyone out there, to do that. You are part of their blue chip, someone making money out of you, it’s ridiculous but that’s the industry.
I spent a bit of time this morning looking at the charts from 35 years ago, and I was thinking how many artists are….
….not around anymore, (laughs). But, what is the drive, what makes you carry on?
The drive is to write, to create and ultimately for people to listen. If I can call myself an artist, then I am one to create material. It is all about creation. And I enjoy taking it out on the road. People are interested and I am very grateful for that.
Is there room for other artists these days, I feel the market can be saturated by big labels and the large television channels?
There is a lot of reinventions. There is always someone coming around the corner with something, there always will be. Someone will have a different handle on it – which is great. There is one show, dear old Jules Holland, banging out his world music which is great and blows your mind. But there are tens of thousands of bands here with no mainstream outlet. If you get on BBC6, then great, you’ve won. But there is so much that sounds like a weird Southern American drive to turn everything into nothingness. It is soulless.
Arriving in Liverpool, with its rich history of music, does it feel different being here?
Well, you can’t get away from John, Paul, George and Gringo. Whichever way you go, they are always there. That music though!, my favourite guitar sound ever was the guitar sounds on ‘Paperback Writer’. That is the real deal, I like that so much. So many songs I like, they are great, great songwriters. But you also have Billy Fury, the Cathedrals, Albert Dock, Liverpool FC and Everton FC.
I loved playing the Royal Court, I came here and played here with The Clash! And I have to mention Pete Wylie – everyone loves Pete. He’s the funniest bloke I’ve ever met, he had us all in the room crying with laughter!
From myself and all at Explore Liverpool, I wish you all the very best for the gig, the tour and the future
Thank you very much, thanks to all of you.
Matt Jacobson – Explore Liverpool
Pictures by Michelle Marshall