Tommy Heart

Soul Doctor

The former voice of Fair Warning, Tommy Heart, handed us this curative interview that includes a complete profile of our favorite doctor, the Soul Doctor, a new band with fresh sound but with roots in late 80's bands like V2 and Bonfire (Do I have to point out again, that late 80's is the best era?).
By Dimitra Zertopouli
September 9, 2001
Tommy Heart (Soul Doctor) interview

Would you like to introduce the band to us? How did you guys teamed up?

Soul Doctor do exist already since two years, I started putting my song ideas together with our guitar player Chris Lyne, whom I have known for many, many years, I played with him in my first band Heartlyne before I joined V2. I met Joerg Deisinger during the Victory, Bonfire, Fair Warning tour in 1993 and we became close friends, as he is like me addicted to movies. Joerg was not happy with Sabu, I was not happy with Fair Warning and some day we started talking about starting a new band, which we never did before when we met. We three started jamming some classic rock tunes and then worked out new songs and we all were feeling absolutely great doing this and Soul Doctor was born! Zacky played with Fair Warning the last Japanese tour for the Four record and was formerly in the touring band of Mothers Finest guitar player John Hayes.

How can you describe the Soul Doctor sound?

A Canadian journalist described our sound as AC/DC meet the Black Crowes on the way to the beach, and that's something I totally agree with. I think this a very good description of how we sound. I mean we're all influenced by all the classic rock bands, like Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake and why should we deny our roots? We're definitely influenced from bands out of this era and also have no problem being compared with them, for us it is a honor being named in the same breath with Whitesnake, Free, Bad Company etc., and hopefully someday the people will enumerate also Soul Doctor when talking about great Rock'n'Roll bands. This is the music that comes straight from our hearts and we like to play - and that's the secret of the Soul Doctor Sound.

Can you tell us some things about your self titled debut album? For example, who wrote the songs and what are the lyrics about?

Soul Doctor is a real family, we share everything from the expenses to the income in equal parts. And this is also something we do when we're writing songs: everybody is putting his influence into the music, we don't have a band leader, each of us is involved concerning the song-writing and everything! We develop the songs together in the rehearsal room, this is how it has to work in real band. The lyrics are describing partly some very personal experiences I made, but to realize this you have to read them very carefully, not everything looking like a simple love story is about love and relationship between women and men, but has a metaphorical character to certain personal experiences. We're all together working on the lyrics and get a little support from our friend Steve Plunkett, who's known from his band Autograph.

Are you satisfied with the outcome and the production? How long the whole process lasted?

We're totally satisfied with the album, I mean it was our first sign of living and the whole record was produced by ourselves - so we don't have any complains about the production, it really sounds like we were intending it would: heavy guitars on a solid rhythm base, a pure Rock'n'Roll sound. We recorded the songs in our rehearsal room in December 2000 and mixed everything in February this year, and I think you can hear this spontaneous working process.

How is your cooperation with Massacre Records and Marquee / Avalon?

Massacre Records are doing a great job so far, the guys there heard the songs and were quite enthusiastic about the album, so they offered us a deal - and we accepted, as it was the best offer we got on the table. They got a very varied artist roster ranging from the melodic to the heavy and black metal style, but it's all Rock'n'Roll and that's the only thing that counts! Marquee contacted us already right after I quit Fair Warning and showed big interest in signing us, and after some negotiations we found a good basis for a cooperation.

What are the plans for the future? Should we expect some more releases, soon?

Of course, I really have to point out that Soul Doctor is definitely not a project but a real band, as we all hate these typical projects appearing on hundreds of records. We want to concentrate to 100% on this band. Right now we're quite busy promoting the record with lots of interviews, we really would like to go on tour again playing as many shows as possible as a supporting act or doing some club shows, and in autumn we start with the pre-production of the next record, which is supposed to be released next year during the summer time. We're already in the middle of writing some songs for our second record.

How did your tour with Kingdom Come in March went? Was the people response positive?

We just wanted to go on the road and play live, it was our intention to convince the people with our music and show from the first tone. We didn't care whether the crowd knew us or an album was available - standing on stage and playing is the most important thing for a rock band. We want to play live as much as possible, and that's why we decided to play this tour. And we will definitely play more shows this year, that's for sure! The Kingdom Come tour gave us the chance to proof that we're a real band, and that worked out. The crowd was reacting very enthusiastic everywhere, we got lots of attention and many people came to us after the show saying that they've enjoyed very much our set and that it was very refreshing to see a band playing this style of music.

On May 11th you played in Berlin as support of Alice Cooper. How did this feel?

What can In say, it was absolutely fantastic!!! The crowd was going wild and we after we've finished the sold out hall was clapping the hands, singing and yelling - an incredible feeling for us having the opportunity to open up for one of the masters of Hard Rock.

What should audience of Waken expect from your appearance?

The fans can expect 45 minutes of pure Rock'n'Roll, a solid shot of earthy, good time Rock'n'Roll in the Soul Doctor style. And we hope of course that the fans in Wacken will support us and have fun with our music.

Do you have plans for any other shows or a tour?

Our management is right now in the middle of negotiations for another tour, we definitely want to play live as much as possible, as this is something a real band is about: standing on stage, having fun and make people happy with the music.

Reports over the net say, that the response, of people in Japan, on your album was fabulous. What about Europe and US?

We've been to Japan end of May doing some promotion for the album and also played a showcase in Tokyo, and the reactions were simply overwhelming. When we took the train from Tokyo to Nagoya, people were standing at the station giving us little presents, one girl manufactured for each of us the t of our Soul Doctor logo in sterling silver - it's incredible. The album was released in Japan at the end of May, and we entered the international album charts on # 19, the domestic album charts on # 48, so all is going well for us and we're all very happy being so well accepted in Japan. I really would like to take the chance to say a big Thank you to the Japanese fans!!! Also in Europe the critics and fans were welcoming Soul Doctor with open arms, we mainly got good and very good reviews and are very pleased about the positive reactions we got by lots of fan mails or in our guestbook on!

What do you think about the future of Melodic Rock? Do you think that the market will be more positive the years to come?

There was always an audience and a market for this music and this will never change in my opinion. Rock'n'Roll is timeless, in 20 years you will still listen to classics like Deep Purple, Whitesnake or Led Zeppelin. Trends come and go, pure rock will definitely remain, and I hope that people will also mention Soul Doctor in this enumeration of big rock acts in some years. As long as there are people who like this music, there will be a market for it. So we look with a very positive feeling in the future!

Which bands do you consider as your major influences?

As already mentioned we're influenced by all the classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Free, Bad Company and Whitesnake, and that's where our music has its basis.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with your patients - fans?

We want to say thank you very much to all our fans for their support and their warm words. See you on the road!

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