Live Dates

10 AugustFestival aux Champs, ChanteixTickets
16 AugustBelgrade Beer Festival, BelgradeFREE GIG!
28 AugustEstival de Trelaze, TrelazeFREE GIG!
23 SeptLooe Music Festival, CornwallTickets
16 OctBarby Club, Tel AvivTickets


Interview with Baz and Mike Marlin

Singer/songwriter Mike Marlin will be familiar to most of you out there as he has now supported The Stranglers on three separate tours. He has a new album ‘Grand Reveal’ coming out soon which includes a certain Baz Warne on guitar. We thought it would be nice to catch up with them both for a quick interview as they prepared for their respective UK tours… 

You have recently been special guest on two UK and a European tour with The Stranglers. How do you perceive their place in the music world?

Mike: I started going to gigs in the 70s and first saw The Stranglers play at the Hope & Anchor. They were fantastic! Serious and dark – much tighter and leaner than the rest of the punk bands. In fact, I never saw them as a punk band at all. Nobody else sounded like them and they did not care about fashion or fitting in to any particular musical category. Thirty years on and the band has not changed. So, I think of The Stranglers as outsiders. The music industry carries on doing its thing but, meanwhile, the band carries on writing great songs and playing great shows. Occasionally the media notices but I reckon the band would keep going even if it didn’t.

Mike has a distinctive musical style. What do you think of his work?

Baz: Mike’s style is distinctive yeah…he’s quirky and decidedly left of centre and that was part of the appeal for me… He thinks outside the box and has a canny way with a melody… He knows his limits vocally but always seems to come up with something interesting and, as he puts it, ‘Marlinesque’… He’s growing musically too…this album kicks a lot more than his first two and he wasn’t afraid to experiment more with this one… I like the way he thinks about music…he’s very unique…

Jim MacAuley, Mike’s drummer, has been on gigging secondment to The Stranglers since last summer (and is currently on tour with you around the UK). Did you appear on Mike’s album by way of returning the favour?

 B: No not really… I was already jamming around with Mike in dressing rooms on the last European tour before we even thought of using Jim… He’d asked me if I’d play on a cover of Hanging Around that he was thinking of doing so we worked on it a bit when we could…that’s when it started really… He then began writing more rocky material and thought it’d suit my style… I was in London and went along to his place and we hit it off and it went from there and I got more and more involved…

Baz appears on just under half of the songs on ‘Grand Reveal’. What do you think his playing brings to those tracks?

M: Baz is fantastic to work with. In the studio he is really easy going and full of ideas. He loves music and all the minutiae that goes into a song and into creating a great guitar sound. When he starts playing he turns into Baz the front man. He brought aggression and confidence that I would not have been able to to dial up and he really helped take the songs where they needed to go. He also brought lots of great anecdotes, a wicked sense of humour & we spent a lot of time in the pub…

So Baz, which tracks did you play on and can you tell us a bit about each of them?

B: I played on five tracks: ‘War to Begin’, ‘Skull beneath my Skin’ (watch the trailer here),  ‘Giving it all away’ (which I have a co-writer credit on), ‘Amazing’ and ‘Girl on the Roof’… I gave Mike a bit of grief actually about the title track  ‘Grand Reveal’ because I wasn’t around when he recorded it and it’s right up my street… He got someone else to do it, and a fine job he made of it too, but I’d have liked to do that one….spooky twangy blues…

Watch a video of Baz working in the studio on ‘Skull…’ here

Did you pick tracks you wanted to play on or did Mike select them?

B: Mike selected them… based on what he thought I could contribute and what he was working on at the time and, apart from ‘Grand Reveal’, he got it spot on…heheh

Where did you record the album?

M: We recorded the album in my basement. It was a very efficient process. I work very closely with Jarrod Pizzata and we co-produced the album. Jarrod is am amazing drummer but also both technically and musically very adept. We produced very quick demos of the songs and then brought the band in (and Baz) to put meat on the bones. In all but one case, the demo structure is the one on the record and many of the demo parts turned out to be keepers.

 Away from The Stranglers, do you enjoy side projects such as this?

B: Yeah I do… My heart lies with The Stranglers and that’ll never ever change of course…but, as a musician, it’s nice to stretch out and play with other people occasionally…and I do it when time and circumstances allow… The pressure is off to a degree and you can play different music in different styles with different people…very enjoyable…

Mike, you are supporting ex Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ frontman Huey Morgan on his upcoming tour around the UK and some of the venues are quite..erm…intimate. Do you prefer to play in larger or smaller venues?

M: I prefer larger venues! I want to play stadiums… Joking apart, I don’t mind where I play. The Stranglers tours in the UK are full on Academy O2 venues with big stages and huge PAs. It is brilliant making that much noise in a big, big room. But, in a small venue (when it goes well), it is easier to make a connection with the audience. I am happy to play to one man and his dog in a pub – and, on occasion, I have. I am really looking forward to supporting Huey and playing the new songs – with a new drummer (Jarrod) given that those bastards stole Jim! I hope some Stranglers fans will squeeze in a Marlin gig between the gigs on the Stranglers’ UK tour. By the way, I am coming to The Stranglers Bristol gig and I was thinking of bringing my guitar and hopping up on stage…

Your tour with Huey visits Amsterdam and the (hopefully now finished) Het Depot in Leuven too. Are there plans to extend it further afield?

M: We have another tour booked in May (it is a secret!) – that takes us more to the North of England and to Scotland. The Stranglers European tour was a real blast, so I think Europe is going to be a focus for me over the next few years. I hope we will get out to Europe again in the autumn. 

Mike’s tour with Huey Morgan kicks off in Wolverhampton this coming weekend and finishes in Leuven, Belgium. The album ‘Grand Reveal’ is released in April. More details can be found on Mike’s website. Thanks very much to both Baz & Mike for their time…

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