Kal Swan Interview
In the last few years we've had groups emerge with names like "Tygers of Pan Tang", "Zebra", "White Wolf", and now we have "Lion". Recording for Scotti Bros., lead singer Kal Swan talked with us about his band.
Q - You're aware there is another group on Atlantic Records calling themselves White Lion. Are you concerned that the public may be confusing the two groups?
A - I'm sure there is a slight confusion. I don't know how much of a factor it is in distinguishing between the two bands. I'm sure there is some confusion. We've been together since '83. They knew about us when they were putting their band together, that's why they called themselves 'White Lion.' It's great they got the success they did. I think they just got more push then we did by a long shot. With our album, we didn’t get the promotion we expected. We opted to go with Scotti Bros, over a major label 'cause we felt we would get more attention.
Q - So what does this mean for the future?
A – There’s obviously been a lot of fireworks going down between the band and the label, and the management and the label. We had a tour that was set up and they said they would pay for. When it came down to the crunch, they just didn't come up with the money. The biggest problem is they play the pass the buck syndrome. Because we're signed with Scotti Bros, were also on EPA, which is Epic Portrait Associates. They say we'll see if we can get them to pay for it. You call them and they say no, they're supposed to pay for it. It gets to a situation where no one is really accountable, to what's going down. The people at EPIC have been great. They've really done a lot for us, more than the people at Scotti Bros. But as far as our future goes, with Scotti Bros., we don't really know at the moment.
Q - What accounts for your tremendous popularity in Japan?
A - A number of elements. The band and the band members have much more background in Japan than they do over here. It goes back as far as Steeler and Tytan, the band I was in previously. Tytan had quite a lot of success in Japan. They knew about me. And they knew about Mark through Steeler, and Yngwie and Ron Keel and all the rest of it. His product had done well over there. Plus, when the band was looking for an American deal, and we were getting ready to do like a week of showcases at S.I.R. we released like 6 songs over in Japan. They were demos actually that we didn't think would make it to the album, the "Dangerous Attraction" album. Surprisingly it really sky rocketed over there. I think there's something about our music that appeals to the Japanese market. I think in Japan the music is more of a predominant thing than the image, although the image is important. I think in America the image is probably more important than the music to a large extent. The Japanese are really in tune with what goes on. They actually know more about you than you do. (Laughs).
Q - Doesn't it unnerve you when fans constantly have you under surveillance over there?
A - The only thing I got irritated by, to be honest, was the way the fans were treated by the people that ran the hotel and the Venue. The fans are great. I'm not 35 or 40 years old. I haven't had like 20 years of it like some bands. I guess it would get on your nerves, at some point. But, it's a long way from getting on anybody's nerves in this organization. If anything, what gets on your nerves is the response we got over here. The fans are great. They're not pushy. They don't get irritating. They're real polite and real respectful. The people at the hotel got real upset at the people in the lobby all the time. They used to push 'em away and wouldn't let them come near the band and get photos, or sign things. It's very rare for a band on their first album over here to have toured Japan at all, much less to have toured it twice! Most people, who have 4 albums over there, have only been there once.
Q - So why won't the Japanese government let you back in, or will they?
A - They will. It was basically just a misunderstanding. The people at the hotel won't let the band stay there again.
Q - Many fans are having a difficult time distinguishing the groups. They tend to look as well as sound alike. What's your response to that?
A -1 know what you're saying. There's certain elements that are all the same, but then at the same time you've got your Guns 'n Roses, your Faster Pussycat. The image is fine, but at the same time music has got to have Number One Priority. There's got to be a certain integrity to that. I would feel very uncomfortable saying I'm going to change the way I look just because someone thinks we all look the same, or we need to get attention. How outrageous can you get? It's been taken to the utmost. W.A.S.P. are throwing raw meat into the crowd and whipping naked women on the post. I don't see where you go from there. Guns 'n Roses are openly promoting drug abuse, whether they say they are or not, they definitely are, their album covers, their t-shirts, their merchandise. I don't think Guns 'n Roses are the worst offenders in that scene by a long shot. Guns 'n Roses at least have some depth about what they're doing. It's not all hype. I don't know what to say that, yeah, bands do look the same. Basically, everyone has four limbs you know?
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