"Just For The Record" is a brand new section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
WORLD TRADE: "World Trade"
WORLD TRADE and their self-titled debut album from the year of 1989 (Polydor Records - produced by Keith Olsen). If there's merely one underrated high-tech Prog/AOR/Pomp album of the late 80's that you need, surely this must be it? Seriously, I can't praise this record highly enough since it's just flawless schtuff from the opening seconds of "The Painted Corner", to the closing dito of "Open The Door". How about a remastered reissue anyone? (there are more tracks from this session to be found at the home of Sherwood). This was a super-group of the late 80's consisting of vocalist Billy Sherwood (YES, Solo, Yoso, etc.), guitarist Bruce Gowdy (Stone Fury, Unruly Child), keyboardist Guy Allison (Unruly Child, Air Supply, Doobie Brothers) and drummer Mark T Williams. Very similar to the sound of YES in the eighties according to most folks. However, I can also he ar a lot of Peter Gabriel, Rush, plus the typical smooth AOR sound of Allison/Gowdy (they would obviously work together again as the songwriting team of Unruly Child). Sadly destined for cult appeal and bargin bins only though. Polydor didn't even try to make any $$$ on this record and the vocalist would eventually end up as Jon Anderson's replacement in YES. Here to give us his insight on the World Trade album, the excellent vocalist of the band, BILLY SHERWOOD...
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
Three months in studio at Keith Olsens Goodnight L.A. (fans of Magnum take notice),
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
Somewhere in the 400K range.
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
It's relative to the times, back then one didn't have Mac and endless tracks to create on in your own home. You needed a place to create which had the toys of the times... that being Sony 48 track digital. I used every track for the vocals.... so in the end what was worth what is a relative thing.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Personally my engineering / producer hero's are Hugh Padgham, Keith Olsen, Mutt Lange, Gary Langdon, and all the guys who recorded those amazing prog rockers I grew up on... I just wanted to have as unique a sound to the music.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Keith Olsen raised my awareness of how to make a record immensely, he was instrumental in the production grand spectrum, as was the engineer we worked with at the time, Tom Fletcher.
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I am very proud of WT1
Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Yes.. one I use to this day, but I am sworn to secrecy by Keith Olsen to never speak of it :) Thanks for understanding.
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
3 months making the record the entire process was one giant overdub for me.
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
Myself along with Bruce Gowdy (ex-Stone Fury) did the time in studio with Tom Fletcher. That was the core trio at the wheel.
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
The way that is phrased it would imply laziness on ones behalf and no one in the band was that. Everyone was there... but the three of us were really there.
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
I find the lyrics to reflect times as if they were written yesterday, for me that is what I like about them. The lead single "The Revolution Song" being about a religious terrorist zealot leading his followers to battle and for all the wrong reasons... was and is ironic considering the name of the band and all.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
We didn't... it never evolved into that as the band broke up as YES was knockin relentlessly on my door :)
Did the record company interfere anything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
Not at all, Derek Schulman signed the band based on the music and lyrics etc... and only served to forward the project.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
"Open The Door"... I am intrigued with the idea of the afterlife and or what's beyond.
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
A few tracks... perhaps one day they might surface.
What's your honest opinion about the songs and the production today? Dated, fresh, a mess?
Music is an evolving art form and all types and approaches are welcome in my world, I have my favorites of course.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Not really, we're pretty boring.
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
I think when a label invests a million dollars into a band and signing etc... the intent is to win. As they say you win some and you lose some, in the end I make music, so I won.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
It was a odd time at Polydor when we were there.... regime change, say no more.
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
I just released my 4th solo CD "Oneirology" available only at www.billysherwoodhq.com
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,