First of all I would like to say that I’m sorry because this interview were made back in march this year. The reason I haven’t published it until now is plain and simple that I’ve got writing cramp for a pretty long time now and my mental health has been going up and down as well. I hope that you like this interview anyway and hopefully it will be better in the future.
Last year we found out that Pretty Maids singer Ronnie Atkins were sick. Now we know it’s incurable cancer and of course this was devastating news for all the Pretty Maids fans all over the world but mostly for Ronnie and his family. What can you do when you get this kind of news? Ronnie choosed to do a solo album which is out right now and I got the opportunity talking to Ronnie over the phone. The first time it didn’t turn out as we wanted to because the weather in Sweden wasn’t very good. A week after that it went much better and we had a talk that lasted for 31 minutes.
Hello Ronnie. Nice to hear you.
-This time you here me right?
Yes I do. I hear you perfectly.
First of all Ronnie I would like to say welcome back on record.
-Thank you very much.
Your first solo album. When and why did you decide to do a solo album?
-Two reasons actually. First of all I was diagnosed with lung cancer in september of 2019 and the first diagnos said it was curable so I was doing surgery and went to therapy for six months. In february 2020 they thought no more cancer and of course I was very happy for that. Six weeks after that I got pain in my chest and we thought it may have something to do with the surgery but they found something on my rib. After a while I got the message that it was state four cancer and it was a total shock and I totally paniced.
When the first shock was over I decided to pull myself together and I knew that I had some song ideas in my Iphone. I started to focus in a positive way and the other reason that I made a solo album was of course the pandemic. I couldn’t do anything else so Chris Laney said hit me with your music and I did. He record it and I did the vocals first because I didn’t know if I would die – within a year. It’s all in my head 24/7 but I can’t change it and I try to maintain a positive attitude everyday.
You are mentioning Chris Laney and he was producing the album and he is also a member of Pretty Maids. Did he help you write the songs?
-The songs are my ideas. I doing the singing parts and send it over to Chris and then he put the whole thing together. He came with inputs, he arranged and produced the album. I send him a verse, a bridge, a chorus and he did something with it and sent it back to me. He did a great job.
Are you pleased with the result?
-I’m very very pleased. We’re getting tons of reviews and it’s the best reviews I’ve got in my career which makes me pretty surprised but also overwhelmed of course. I know we put together eleven good songs in a traditional 80’s style with good melodies. Chris produced it little lighter than Pretty Maids and it’s my trademark I think.
Chris is also a huge Kiss fan.
-Yes and we call him Kiss Laney from time to time. He has all kinds of Kiss stuff and when we opened up for Kiss in Denmark he was totally starstruck.
You have had a long career in the music business and Pretty Maids is definitely one of the best bands in the history of hard rock. Which is the biggest moment for you?
-I would say that 1984-1992/93 was the highlight of our career. We released ”Future World” 1987 and after that we were touring with Deep Purple and we’re also doing the Monsters of rock around Europé. In 1990 we did our first tour in Japan and it was great. Between lets say 1995-2009 it was a hard time for us and hard rock and heavy metal went down during the period because of grunge. But we have always stuck to our roots and I would say that the last eleven years really has made me proud of Pretty Maids as a band. It started with ”Pandemonium” back in 2010 and from that album I believe that we are still relevant in the music business.
We got a brand new approach when we started working with the producer Jacob Hansen. ”Pandemonium” was the first album he produced and we had worked with him ever since. ”Little Drops Of Heaven” was an old idea from me and Ken thought it was to simple but we did record it for the ”Pandemonium” album and it turned out pretty well I think.
When I heard Pretty Maids for the first time back in 1987 it was the title track of the album ”Future World” and I thought there was two singers. You must have been one of the first that combined light and dark song. Did you think of that back then or was it just your natural way of singing?
-I really don’t know why, that’s just my voice. I’m born with that voice because I’ve never ever taking any singing lessons. When I was about ten-twelve years I discovered that I had a kind of unique voice and I have learned to take advantage of that voice. To make a long story short that’s my voice.
If we go back to Chris Laney you were a part of his project At The Movies when you sang ”We Don’t Need Another Hero”. Was it strange that you had to be in different places recording because of the Corona virus?
-I did my part in Jacob Hansens studio but first it wasn’t even sure if I were going to be capable to do it. I couldn’t use my voice because I start to cough when I tried to sing. I said to Chris that if I could sing I would do it and the first time I rehearsed I could sing and it felt great, and at that time I said let’s do this. I think the version of ”We Don’t Need Another Hero” is absolutely great and the musicians are just brilliant. And the whole idea doing those movie songs is great.
Will the music scene be normal again?
-I don’t know, I guess it will. People are starving for rock concerts again but I can say that there will be no festivals this summer (this interview took place in march). I believe it will be concerts again for real in early 2022 and their will be many bands out there playing. I think it will take years to get back to normal and it’s pretty logical that it will be tough for bands to get a gig.
My next goal is to go out with Pretty Maids or Avantasia because I want to check my capacity, but to be honest I seriously don’t know where I am one year from now. It’s like an antelope on the savannah. I don’t know what, when or where and I’m glad I don’t know. Right now I’m fine but I had to check myself out regular and it’s difficult to plan anything.
At last Ronnie I want you to pick out your favourite Pretty Maids song of all time.
-It’s difficult to pick just one song but iI have to say ”Future World”. It’s a great guitar riff and the keyboard parts in the intro is extremely good. That song moved the band forward and I still enjoy playing that song live.
Okay Ronnie. Thank you so much for this interview.
-Thank you. Take care.