A couple of questions with Tommy Shaw of Shaw/Blades
ALSO: Shaw/Blades was featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: For those just learning about Hallucination now, can you give a nutshell of your career prior to its release?
Tommy Shaw: In the summer of 1975, I was in a band performing at a bowling alley lounge in my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. In December of 1975, I became a member of STYX. We will be touring the U.K. this April and May, then on a national U.S. tour to promote our new DVD, called “One with Everything,” with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland. In 1989, Ted Nugent, Jack Blades, Michael Cartellone and I formed a band called Damn Yankees, released two albums, and toured the world until 1993. In 1994, Jack and I recorded Hallucination.
BE: Do you have any stories about the recording of the album?
TS: We worked with producer/engineer Don Gehman, who had previously had great success producing John Cougar Mellencamp and, more recently, Tracy Chapman. He told us he’d just produced a new band called Hootie and the Blowfish. Steve Smith played drums and created some grooves that have and will continue to stand the test of time. It was a real blast to get a little rootsy after four amazing years of full-on blazing guitar rock with the Nuge.
BE: Did you expect the record to have a better commercial reception than it did?
TS: We knew two things for sure: 1) We’d made a really good record. 2) The days of our era of music were drawing to an abrupt close. When our champion, Michael Ostin, left Warner Brothers and a new regime came in, slashing the roster, the fat lady had sung.
BE: Are you pleased to find that it still maintains enough of a following to make its way into this piece?
TS: It has definitely developed a cult following. For a while, I had to buy it on eBay if I wanted another copy. It was often hard to find and quite pricey. To this day, we still hear from friends and fans that Hallucination has never left their CD changer in their cars.
BE: What are you doing now?
TS: Right this minute? Eating a steak sandwich. In March, Jack and I will release our new CD, entitled Influence, on the new VH-1 Classic label, and in April/May we’ll do a cross-country tour of the USA to support it.
Check out Shaw/Blades' official site for more info.