When I talk about Magnum it’s with huge respect. The band has released their 21st studio album and that’s pretty amazing. The album was released the 17th of January and it’s called ”The Serpent Rings”. I got the opportunity to talk to one of Magnums founding members over the phone. He is playing the guitar and Tony Clarkin called me from England five minutes after the scheduled time.
Hi there Tony, how are you doing?
-I’m fine and I’m sorry that I’m a little bit late calling you.
That’s okay. I’m really glad that I got this opportunity talking to you. You have just released the new album ”The Serpent Rings” and I wonder if you back in the 70’s thought that you would keep up in 2020 after releasing 21 studio albums?
-Certainly not. I was a lot younger at that time and we didn’t think much about the future. Like many young guys I was playing in a band in school and of course I’ve heard from my parents that I should get a proper job.
What’s your expectations on the new album?
-I don’t really think about it in that way. As a band we are very pleased with the album and it couldn’t be better. We put our heart and soul into it and it’s pretty good I think. Of course I hope it does well out there when it comes to sales, streams etc etc…
You were formed in Birmingham and Black Sabbath is also a band from that town. Were Black Sabbbath an inspiration for you in the beginning?
-It was the best for all parts that he left I think. He didn’t get along with anyone and when you are 14 people on a bus it really helps if you can connect with the rest of the people, which he couldn’t and in the end it was very miserable. Instead we got Rick Benton on board and that was definitely a relief for Magnum. Ve are extremely pleased to have Rick in the band.
You are 73 years old and Bob is 72. How long could Magnum last?
-To be honest I don’t know, maybe til we die. We are going on a 43 date (if I remember correctly) tour in Europe and if we survive that we will survive anything, ha ha ha. It’s more physical to be a singer or a drummer so I sit tight and play my guitar. We’ll carry on, two more albums are signed for so in four years we have to take a decision for the future.
When we talk about the physical in drumming I must talk about our drummer Lee Morris. He is a lovely man and a dynamic drummer. For the new album I gave him the tracks and he practice at home for a few days and then he got in the studio and finished his works in four days, absolutley amazing.
I was talking to Lee back in 95 when Paradise Lost supporting Iron Maiden in Sweden and he was a great person to talk to.
-He really is a great person and a fantastic drummer.
You have played several times in Sweden over the years. Do you have any special memories from your visits in Sweden?
-Yes we have played a lot in Sweden and the audience are very warm to us, very nice. I remember we played on the Swedish Rock Boat once and there we met some really nice people. We like playing in Sweden.
If you compare the music scene today with the 80’s, what’s the biggest difference?
-It changes all the time and obviously the music industry as we know it going down. Unfortunately not many people buy music and in the end this will destroy the music industry. You need to make money of course and thank god that the live music is still popular. It’s worrying that the record companies didn’t see this coming but on the other hand they pretty much destroyed it themselves.
The future for Magnum? Will you go on tour with ”The Serpent Rings”?
-Yeah the tour will start in about two months and the whole tour is booked. We will play 43-45 dates. It will be a lot of countries so I probably collapse somewhere out there, ha ha ha. Hopefully we will doing a few festivals in the summer as well.
At last Tony I would you to tell me what’s your favourite album with Magnum?
-You know what I’m gonna answer now right? Ha ha ha…
Okay, I rephrase my question. What’s your favourite album with Magnum if you can’t choose the new one?
-I like different albums for different reasons but if I had to choose one it had to be ”On A Storyteller’s Night”. We were broke and we got ourselves on a U.K. tour so that we hopefully can bring in some money to record a new album. We got enough money to record ”On A Storyteller’s Night” and a small record company in Wolverhampton released the record. A few weeks after the album was released the record company gave me a call and told me that we were top 20 in the U.K..
That was pretty awesome and that small company really worked hard to make the album that success that it turned out to be. In the end we received a gold disc in the U.K. (100,000 copies sold) and of course we were happy. Still today people wants us to play songs from that album which is great. I haven’t heard the album myself for years but I remember that back then everybody was against us and we didn’t care, nothing could stop us.
Thanks for your time Tony and good luck in the future.
-Thanks a lot and take care now.