Interview with Richard West (Threshold)
Always a pleasure to talk with such a talented musician and down-to-earth guy like Richard West. Dividing Lines is the new effort by legendary progsters Threshold but we also wanna talk about Maybe a Writer – My Life In Threshold, the unexpected autobiography by mr. West! Let us check what he has got to say to TrueMetal’s readers!
So dear Richard, what shall the old and new fans expect from Dividing Lines and how was to have mighty Glynn on board again?
I think Dividing Lines is a leaner, darker record than Legends Of The Shires. There are no huge changes, we still sound like Threshold and we always will, but you can sense the shift in the atmosphere. The world has been through a lot since we made Legends Of The Shires and that has probably influenced us all. Glynn slotted back into the band really easily. I’ve been so fortunate to work with three world class vocalists in Threshold over the last three decades. Since Glynn returned to the band in 2017 we’ve toured so many countries together, so it feels like he’s been around forever now. It’s like he’s got some unfinished business and it’s great that it worked out for him. I love his voice and it’s a pleasure to work with him again.
December 8th, your autobiography, Maybe a Writer – My Life In Threshold will see the light. When did this idea first come up?
I started writing it last year. I was spending a lot of time looking after my Dad before he died, he was sleeping a lot so I just started writing. He had written down an adventure from his youth and I’d converted it into a hardback book for him, so in some ways I was inspired by that. Sadly he died before my autobiography was published so he never got to see it, but I know he was very proud of me for doing it.
How much Threshold and how much Richard West (his personal life) may we find in the book?
It’s mostly about Threshold, but you get some of my life story as well. It’s called “My Life In Threshold” so I guess that tells you how I approached it. I tried to put in as much of the band history as I could, all about the albums, the tours, the line-ups, all the stories along the way. But I also wrote about working with bands like DragonForce, writing pop songs for Simon Cowell and a whole lot of other things I’ve got up to over the years, so hopefully it’s an interesting read.
How much time did it take to complete the whole thing and what feelings did you experience while re-living mentally your whole life?
I wrote it over a period of about 18 months, in between working on other projects. I really loved doing it, you don’t normally go back and look at your life in that sort of detail, so it felt rather magical to re-live everything again and immerse myself in all those memories. Actually I enjoyed it so much that I hope I’ll get to write another book one day.
Is there any “surprise”, I mean something the fans would never expect from you, in the book?
The biggest surprise to me was how it ended, because in the last chapter I ended up signing a record deal for a new project called Oblivion Protocol. I honestly didn’t see that one coming! So next year I’ll be bringing out a new album which I’ll also be singing on. It’s basically a sequel to Threshold’s Legends Of The Shires album, so I’m really looking forward to completing that.
Can you describe what the book will look like?
Yes, it’s a hardback book, about 200 pages long plus about 40 pages of photos, so it should look pretty cool. I’m a huge fan of rock biographies so I’m really excited to see this on my shelf with all the other books I’ve read over the years!
What do you recall about your first experience with Threshold, I mean rehearsing and recording Wounded Land back in 1993?
At first I thought I was only there as a session player. I thought I was just there to play a few solos and other parts in the studio, so it was a real surprise when I was asked to appear in photos and show up to rehearsals. I’d written some quite difficult solos on a couple of the songs, but I thought it wouldn’t matter because I’d never have to perform them again. So it was quite a shock to discover I’d have to play them every night on tour!
Do you have a Threshold album that has a special place in your heart?
Most of them have special memories for me, but I’ll always look back at the Mac years with great fondness. So I’ll go for Subsurface, I still get goose-bumps when I hear Mac singing Mission Profile or Flags And Footprints. He had such a magical voice and it was a tragedy that he died so young.
How are things going with League Of Lights?
Actually we just got back from supporting xPropaganda in the Netherlands, they were one of my favourite 80s bands so it was a wonderful moment. Great songs and lovely people. It was our first opportunity to play songs from our new album, so it was great to do that and hopefully we’ll do some more shows next year. I know League Of Lights is a bit different from Threshold, but a lot of people seem to be fans of both bands which is great.
Do you have any message and greeting for your Italian fans waiting for you over here?
Thanks for supporting us, it really means a lot. We had such a great time on our last trip to Italy for the 2Days Prog+1 Festival in Veruno. I know we don’t come over too often, but hopefully we’ll come back soon!