“There is a lot of music and lyrics on our 22 albums”: interview with Magnums Tony Clarkin

The pandemic is still out there and we have getting used to it but in my opinion it’s time to open up the world again. Of course I miss live music but that’s not the only reason why I think it’s time to open up, it’s just time. Many of the musicians around the world have working in studios and I think that 2022 will be a year when we will see many, many releases from excellent bands. One of the first releases this year is ”The Monsters Roar” which is the brand new album from Magnum. I’ve got the opportunity to talk with one of the nicest gentlemens out there in the music business, 75 year old Tony Clarkin who formed Magnum back in 1972.

Magnum is back with studio album number 22. When you started the band did you ever think that you would release 22 albums?

-No way. When we released the first album ”Kingdom Of Madness” back in 1978 we were so focused on that one so we couldn’t even think about releasing 22 albums. Now I’m thinking like ”hell on earth how did we do this?”. It’s kind of crazy when I thinking about it because there is a lot of lyrics and music on this 22 albums and how on earth could I have wrote all that stuff.

The new album is titled ”The Monsters Roar”. What can the fans expect?

-It’s difficult to say I think. I guess that it depends what your approach to the music is. I believe that Bob Catleys vocals on the album is really, really good and the songs are quite a bit different throughout the album. With this I mean it’s a variation of songs on ”The Monsters Roar”. Now when the album is out there I’m very pleased indeed and my thoughts are how will I ever write anything again.

These days you don’t sell 60.000 copies as you did with the album ”Wings Of Heaven” in the U.K. in 1988. If we talk physical copies do you know how many you have sold of the last album ”The Serpent Rings”?

-No I don’t. There is no market att all for physical albums these days. The music industry isn’t what it used to be and albums don’t sell at all with all the streaming services out there. If you look closer into it I believe you could sell 5000 copies and end up on the top ten, that’s unbelievable. But to be honest I don’t care as long as we can play live but that’s also has been taking away from us. Hopefully though we can soon go on tour and if that’s not possible we’re looking at a real scary future.

You are right and the world isn’t what it used to be and right now you can’t tour with the new album (thankfully the world is starting to open up again). Do you have a tour schedueled?

-Yes we will go out in March if it’s posssible. The last tour we were supposed to do didn’t took place, you know we were doing rehearsals but after one of those I got a phone call and everything was locked down. This time I really hope that we can hit the road because a band wants to play live, that’s why we start bands. We’ll be ready this time so lets see what happens.

Vaccine passes has been an issue in Sweden the last few months. What do you think about the idea around those vaccine passes?

-I don’t really know. I can understand it but it also kind of ordering people. In the U.K. you can go to concerts without vaccine passes I think. In the end the whole situation can be kind of strange if the vaccinated people are setting against unvaccinated people. I hope that we just can carry on and go on the tour in March.

I talked to you two years ago when you released the album ”The Serpent Rings” and we were talking about your age. Now two years have passed and you don’t get any younger. How long could Magnum last?

-I really don’t know so we will keep going on. My whole life has been about playing music and when I started writing songs for Magnum I thought that it would be one album. The process has continued though and the answer to your question is that we will carry on.

You have had a long career and I wonder if there is anything that you regret you didn’t do?

-No not really. I have had a very happy musical career and even if we didn’t have any money or any food in the early days living in London we had a lot of fun. I can look back with a nice feeling and I have enjoyed what I’ve been doing over all those years. I am very lucky to have been doing this.

When it comes to hard rock and hevay metal the fans are extremely loyal, but I would say that the bands are pretty loyal to. If you speculate for a while do you think that Magnum would have last this long if you were playing pop music?

-No way, absolutely not. I joined Bob Catley in an night club in Birmingham a long, long time ago and there we were playing pop music. To be honest I didn’t get my teeth into that and I wish I never did it. If we were playing pop music we had been going down the tubes many years ago.

There are streaming services out there but I think that hard rock fans are still buying records. One thing though is that it has been expensive buying records. Do you think it’s to expensive?

-I don’t know. I don’t think it is but to be honest I haven’t bought records lately. There’s not many record stores out there these days which is a pity. I think old stuff is quite expensive but I also think that it’s important with physical records.

Are you still living in the U.K.?

-Yes I live outside of Birmingham.

Then I have to ask if you’re a Birmingham or Aston Villa fan?

-I’m not very interested watching football but Bob is a real fan of football.

Was it easier to write music back in the 80’s?

-I would say it’s easier for me now. In the 80’s we signed with Polydor and the albums sold with the big machine backing us up but I didn’t like that period. When I was writing songs for ”Goodnight L.A.” it changed because I met Russ Ballard and it turned out that he was a very talented guy. He also was a very nice guy and we were writing songs together in his house. He had his own studio in the house and he was absolutely great to work with. He also made some hits back then.

Okay Tony. I thank you for talking to me and I wish you good luck with the new album.

-Thanks a lot.

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“There is a lot of music and lyrics on our 22 albums”: interview with Magnums Tony Clarkin

March 3, 2022

Hopefully though we can soon go on tour and if that’s not possible we’re looking at a real scary future.

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