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A web-interview with Mr. Birtles

The most satisfying fact about these pages: the constant process of putting it all together. Shortly after having contact with GLENN SHORROCK, it was BEEB BIRTLES who got in touch with me. BEEEB was a founding member of LITTLE RIVER BAND, and left the group in early 1983, just after the release of 'The Net'. BEEB agreed with a web-interview for our webpoage. Here's what he told us ...

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Beebs comment

www.lrb.net Beeb
1.) In 1983 you left LITTLE RIVER BAND. Obviously the band was not going into your direction. At that time, what plans/ambitions/visions did you have for LRB? Where would you have liked to see LITTLE RIVER BAND go to? I had become dissatisfied with not only the musical direction of the band but more than a few other things. The main reason for me was that Graeham was trying to push the music into a different direction with which I did not agree. Now, you may hear different opinions from the other members of the group but I have to tell it from my point of view. To me the band's unique sound was our great harmonies and that's something that could have continued on until today. I felt that the music underneath those vocals needed to be updated. That meant working with hipper producers and recording engineers. Up until my departure, I was instrumental in bringing those kind of people to the band's attention. The best example I can give you is Bob Clearmountain who remixed 'The Net'. Personally I think the band stopped having hits because the songs weren't as good anymore but I do believe that we could have still been around today because the public loves harmony music and we were one of the best at it!!!
2.) Thinking of all the wonderful songs you have written and sang lead vocals on, some fans wondered whether there were political reasons these songs weren't released as singles [I'll Always Call Your Name, Take Me Home or No More Tears]? As far as I know there were no political reasons for those songs not being singles although I'll Always Call Your Name was the band's second single in the U.S.A., if you didn't know that! No More Tears was covered by a Nashville country artist whose name is David Slater. From the album 'Be With Me' released in 1989 on Capitol Records.
3.) It's been almost 15 years since you left LITTLE RIVER BAND. What did you do during this time? And what are your future plans? In the time I've been out of the band I set up 'Songskill', my own music publishing company and I continue to write my songs. I have also tried some things which have not been successful but that's to be expected!!! My future plans are to record my own solo CD and that is all part of why I moved to Nashville. This is the greatest city in the world for song writers and I have learned so much in the 4 years since I have lived here. I never stop learning!
4.) Being with the group from 1974/75 to 1983, during this time period, when did your enjoyment/satisfaction peak? I would have to say that my enjoyment and satisfaction peaked with the recording of 'Time Exposure' which we recorded on the island of Montserrat.
5.) One-Way-Records re-issued 'No Reins' with The Netherlands as a bonus track. This version is different from the version we know from 'The Last Romance'. Could it be this was a demo submitted but rejected by LRB? And - from the 'The Last Romance' sessions, are there still any other unreleased tracks out there? Yes, the version of The Netherlands on 'No Reins' is just a demo! As far as I know there are no other leftover tracks from 'The Last Romance'.
6.) What did you think of other releases of LITTLE RIVER BAND, after you left he band? The FARNHAM recordings, the SHORROCK releases and even the solo projects of GRAEHAM, GLENN [BLAZING SALADS] and STEPHEN HOUSDEN? I did not think that any of the LRB albums with John Farnham singing were very good. In my opinion, bad choice of producers and recording locations as well as not very good song selection. Farnham's solo albums were very successful and who can argue with that but I am not a John Farnhamm fan. Sorry!!! I have not heard any of the solo projects by Graeham, Glenn and Stephen Housden.
7.) LITTLE RIVER BAND recorded quite a few songs. Is there one in particular that you recorded that you really don't like and/or regret recording? Two songs from the same session are my least favorite. They were both recorded for 'The Net'. The title track, The Net I hated as a song, totally wrong for the band and the least melodic song the band has ever recorded. The other song was One Day which to me was a 'nothing song'. It didn't say anything!!!
8.) We heard you've been offered an invitation to rejoin LRB back in 1988 but declined because you felt it would be the same old LITTLE RIVER BAND. Old hat ... what changes would you have wanted in accepting the offer? I have not officially been invited to rejoin the band for 1988. I feel strong about the band doing something like that on the highest professional level. If it's going to be done on an amateur level, then I would not be interested. I have said in the past that I am weary of walking back into my past but that's not to say that I wouldn't consider a reunion of some kind. The year 2000 would be perfect!! I have no doubt whatsoever that the band could still make great music together.
9.) What do you personally think of the period and production of 'The Last Romance'? GRAEHAM stated that he would have expected you two to leave the band, if 'The Last Romance' would have become a success. Do you agree with this statement? And - do you still have contact with GRAEHAM? 'The Last Romance' was one of the most enjoyable albums I have ever made. At that time in the band's career, Graeham and I had so many songs left over which the band thought were not suitable for LRB, songs we thought were too good to just leave lying around. We had Glenn Wheatley approach Capitol Records for us to record a duo album. However, fear set in when Graeham and I had a national top ten hit with I'm Coming Home. The single sold more than 100,000 copies in the Philippines and Mark Holden, an Australian teen idol, had a top ten hit with Last Romance. When the album was released in the U.S.A., Capitol Records did not promote it for fear of Graham and I leaving the band. I, personally, had no intention of leaving the band at that time. It was just another outlet for us as it was for Glenn Shorrock when he released Bobby Darin's Dream Lover as a single. I have not had contact with Graeham since he put together 'Too Late To Load' CD!!!
10.) In the year 2000 would be LITTLE RIVER BAND'S 25th anniversary. Do you see any chances for a reunion with the original members including GRAEHAM GOBLE and GLENN SHORROCK, maybe together with STEPHEN HOUSDEN and ROGER McLACHLAN? Maybe for an album project or an anniversary tour? Would you be available? (...) Not that we hate each other but we've all been doing our own thing for so long now that it could be a little awkward at first. (...) Time is capable of healing many wounds, I think!!! I honestly think an album project is not out of the question as long as the others are open to me suggesting who we should use to produce and engineer. My big thing is that it has to sound 'today'!!! It has to be current and it has to be contemporary!!! Hey, I have some great songs waiting to be recorded, I know that much!!! I will be available!!!

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