American vocalist David Reece rose to prominence in the late 80s when he was chosen to replace Udo Dirkschneider in the German Metal juggernaut known as Accept. His sole album with that band, 1989’s Eat the Heat, was very divisive upon his release, mostly because David simply wasn’t Udo, but it has gotten a much better reception in recent years.
After a time out of the music business, David returned to sing in multiple bands, including another great German band like Bonfire, and in recent years he has been focused on his solo career, with 2018’s Resilient Heart being a phenomenal album and one of the best in Hard Rock music in the last decade or so.
A few days before the very release of his new solo album, Cacophony of Souls, the current pandemic stroke and that has left David’s plans up in the air for the remainder of the year, but that didn’t stop his album from being very enjoyable and for him to give us an interview where we talked about his career, his time in different in other bands and a lot more. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for being here, David. How are things going for you and your loved ones with the virus situation?
Hi, greetings to you and your readers and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you all. We are doing okay, taking this day by day. Fortunately my wife is able to work from home and my oldest step son was hired recently as a policeman and the youngest son is doing his school work from home. My two daughters are in nursing so you can imagine they are all very busy.
How this situation affected your plans for 2020?
Well at first I was very angry to be honest because a new album, great reviews and shows booked and then one week before the official release party we’re in locked down! I live in the north of Italy and this whole thing supposedly began here less than 30 minutes from where I live. After the disappointment, I realized it’s of course bigger than me or anyone and it has become global. And many people around the world have suffered loss of many, many things.
Before the quarantine went full force, you released your latest solo album, Cacophony Of Souls. For those that perhaps missed out on the album due to the pandemic, what can you say about it?
Artists always say their new album is their best and of course partly due to hype, blind faith and marketing it’s the obvious thing to do. For me though I do feel like it’s my best work at least as a singer because I feel like I’m becoming that guy I wanted to be. Hard to explain but originality isn’t something Rock ‘n’ Roll is famous for. As a singer I’ve been growing and maturing so I’m happy about that. As for the songs there’s a real fresh energetic vibe to this album and, frankly, after Resilient Heart I knew I needed to come up with something better and I feel we’ve done a great album.
I found your 2018 release, Resilient Heart, to be quite strong. How does this album compare to that one?
Like I mentioned in the question before, Resilient Heart is a great album and there’s a sort of two distinct styles on it: One blues rock and the other heavy style and, frankly, the heavier style suits me more with melodic hooks.
In terms of songwriting and production, did you do anything different for this album or was it business as usual?
Well, after the UDO tour I realized from the audience responses that people expect the heavier David Reece than the bluesier David Reece, at least here in Europe. So I focused with that in mind. Eat the Heat was a big part of my live set and songs like Hellhammer and D train and XTC seem to hook ‘em live so it’s a good way to get a feel for what works.
Of course, you have been in bands like Accept, Bonfire and Bangalore Choir throughout the years. What are the differences between singing in a band and singing in your own solo group?
Freedom, simply put. Bangalore Choir was my group after Accept but corporate entities were yanking us in every direction so it was more of me following the bouncing ball instead of listening to my heart and of course Curt Mitchell because he’s always detested the business side of music; I should have listened more to my gut and him looking back. As for being in established groups you’ve got to do the old catalog and emulate those songs as closely as you can. Also there’s a way things are done when you’re a hired guy and I’m not a follower. I’m a leader and if I see or feel something isn’t true, I’ll mention it. I’m not concerned like so many others about not rocking the boat because I need a few hundred Euros for cigarettes or weed; it’s about treating fans and people you work with nicely.
What did you learn about leading a solo band that you didn’t know before?
Well if it goes to shit it’s my fault! (laughs) Of course, there are things you cannot control and compromises you have to make, but in the end the buck stops with me.
What are the songs that you think people shouldn’t miss on Cacophony Of Souls?
Tough one. I change my thoughts all the time on my favorite songs, but lately it’s Cacophony of Souls, Another Life Another Time and Collective Anesthesia. But that changes all the time which I suppose is a good thing.
You worked on this album with guitarist Andy Susemihl, who obviously played with Udo. How was that collaboration in the writing process?
Incredibly easy, he’s a great writer and producer and we’ve known each other a very long time. He’s probably one of the greatest guitarists in the world. He’s great.
You have developed a friendship of sorts with Udo throughout the years. In fact, a while ago you did a tour together, as you mentioned earlier. How is your relationship with Udo?
He’s a consummate gentleman and professional. He’s always treated me well and in turn I’ve reciprocated as I have deep respect for him.
Which brings me to the topic of Accept. Looking back after all these years, how do you feel about your time in that band?
I’m asked that in every interview. I’m grateful because it opened the doors to bring me to the public attention. There’s good and bad about my memory with them, but every time I’mplaying Eat the Heat live, I always hear how much the album means to people and after 30 years that’s a true blessing. I wish that Hoffman would acknowledge that period instead of dodge it. It’s strange to me. Remember: they hired me. I didn’t hire myself and every band has ups and downs but true artists acknowledge those things, in my opinion.
Do you feel that your presence in the band affected their writing process in Eat the Heat? There were rumors that you guys discarded almost an entire album that Udo took for his solo debut, Animal House.
I was told Animal House was written to keep things moving for UDO. Peter Baltes had been writing Eat the Heat before I came into the fold. Remember that albums like Metal Heart and Russian Roulette were leading in that direction and, again, corporate entities said they needed an American or English type guy to break into the states.
And how was the experience of touring and making music with those guys? Especially being an American singer playing in a German band.
Very difficult. American and German people are different. Different mentality and culture so add all that plus the anxiety of getting a new singer. Very tough. I wasn’t perfect, either; I was a cocky, young guy ready to rule the world, so there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Renowned German producer Dieter Dierks was in charge of recording Eat the Heat. I read somewhere that he was a huge influence on your singing on that album, so I wanted to know if that was true?
Yes, it’s true. He once said I had a great singing talent but that I didn’t know who I was as a singer. Very strong words, so while we recorded I kind of found my legs with his help. He’s a great producer and I am blessed to have worked with him.
During that album’s tour, you played with one of my favorite bands, W.A.S.P. I wanted to ask how was the experience of playing with that band.
I really didn’t speak with Blackie but I’m to this day a friend of Chris Holmes. I love the guy, he’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.
During the live shows, did you feel comfortable singing Udo’s songs?
Yes, I can handle those old ones. I also felt like I needed to show the old fans. I still do some UDO stuff live now.
How is your relationship with the guys of Accept these days?
Zero. I saw them in Milan and smiled with Peter long ago, but that’s it. No connection. It’s really stupid, actually, that we don’t speak, but the door’s open.
For those that perhaps lost track of your career until recently, what did you do during the 90s and most of the 2000s after you left the band?
I left music for about 8 or 9 years. I’d lost all hope, to be honest. I went back to farming and construction to get away from it all. While away I realized how much I missed it, though, and when I got my first MySpace page it was crazy how many asked where the hell I’d been! (laughter)
One of the most interesting times of your career, at least in my view, was your time with Bonfire. What can you tell us about that collaboration?
That’s a strange thing for me. I’d decided that I’d get back into music for five years and if nothing happens, I’ll walk away again. Oddly enough, on the fifth year, Hans Ziller reached out and asked if I’d do an album with his side project Easy Livin’, to which I agreed. Then he asked if I’d like to tour and I frankly said cut the shit everyone says they’ll tour and it never happens but Ziller actually brought me over and we did about 20 dates, I suppose. At the time you could see he wasn’t really a part of Bonfire because the others would interact and he’d be standing alone onstage. In the beginning we got on well and then he mentioned he was going to buy the name from Lessmans and would I be interested in being the Bonfire singer.
During your time with Bonfire, you coincided with another fellow American, Ronnie Parkes, who we had here in MusikHolics. How was the experience of playing with him?
I met him while doing Tango Down. He was kind of brought in without my knowledge. He’s an alright guy and at the time was playing in a Bon Jovi tribute group with his brother. I told Ziller I’d do Easy Livin only if Parkes was part of it because back then I kind of liked him. So I put Parkes out there, otherwise he’d still be home.
Having played with American and German bands, what do you think are the cultural differences in both scenes?
Metal is German. I think people fail to recognize the impact bands like Accept had in music. All the big bands mention, especially Thrash, that they influenced them. American bands… we had heavy rock but somewhere in the late 70’s the two countries sort of merged and created where we are now. I also think the Schenker Brothers, Maiden and Priest were part of the recipe.
As you mentioned earlier, you’re also currently living in Italy. What can you tell us about that scene?
It’s very limited, to be honest. We have a festival named Luppolo in Rock in Cremona, which I’ve played twice. It’s a new up and coming festival and I love all of them. The club scene is not super strong, but, in all honesty, where’s the club scene strong anymore? I love the country and its people. They are very at ease, it seems.
What can we expect on your future live performances to promote Cacophony Of Souls?
I’ve got three shows that are still on the books for 2020 in the late fall. I’ve been writing a new album with the down time here and I hope that my postponed shows will be re booked in 2021, but there’s a ton of groups vying for every piece of real estate so I have a feeling next year’s going to be tough as well.
Thank you for taking the time to do this, David. Any last words for our readers? Where can we follow you on social media and buy Cacophony Of Souls?
Thanks to all of you, I always and probably it’s getting old to say how thankful I am to all of those who still buy my records and come to see me live. I also thank all those in media for their attention and interest in my career and life. I can be found on David Reece Official Facebook and www.davidreeceofficial.info
My album Cacophony of Souls is available everywhere worldwide and also from my record company El Puerto Records. I also as you’ve probably guessed got a lot of merchandise here which was for the album tour for sale. And if anyone’s interested I’m offering it at a discounted price I have Accept, Bangalore Choir and lots of other cool stuff so message me on Facebook, if you like.
And thank you all and stay healthy and let’s get back to live Rock ‘n’ Roll!