Renaissance Interview

For more than a decade, "Renaissance" has been churning out their unique brand of rock music.

The group has recently switched record labels, leaving Sire, for I.R.S. Records, and a new album release titled, "Camera Camera".

Changes in "Renaissance”, include the departure of drummer Terry Sullivan and keyboardist John Tout, and the addition of Peter Gosling and Peter Barron.

Currently on a U.S. tour, we spoke with lead singer Annie Haslam about the "Renaissance" of today.

Q. As I recall, when "Renaissance" played in Syracuse four years ago, you were unable to do an encore because of vocal strain. How do you prevent something like that from happening all the time?
A. No, it wasn't a voice problem. Actually, at that time I had the flu, and I was singing and I shouldn't have been. I shouldn't really have done the date. I probably would have ruined my voice for the rest of the tour had I done the encore. Now, my voice is a lot stronger than it was.

Q. What happened to the original five piece line-up of the group?
A. There's still five people in the band, but the main nucleus is Jon, Mickey, and myself. We make all the decisions and things like that. Peter and Peter kind of augment the band like a Genesis situation. When they tour, they take people with them.

Q. Is it true that this is the first tour you've ever made money on?
A. The American tour, we did right before Christmas is the first tour we've ever made made on. Mind you, we've cut down on a lot of equipment and things like that. We're still quite big on the East Coast but we've had to do a lot of clubs, especially on this tour, in places we haven't been to in four or five years. It's like starting again. We used to spend a lot of money on effects, lights, and backdrops. It is necessary to a certain degree but not if you've got to make money out of it, and it is a business after all, unfortunately.

Q. Can you make any money on overseas tours?
A. We made a little bit. Yes, we did, because they have the P.A. system out there which saved us money. You can do it, if you go out and just take your instruments.

Q. Any plans for a Syracuse concert?
A. I think we will in the fall, because we're doing a three month tour then.

Q. You weren't too happy with your former record label, Sire Records. What kind of problems did you have with them?
A. Distribution. It was never in the shops. The thing was, it was Warner Bros. /Sire and the thing with that record company is if you're not a big band, then they don't want to know you. They always give you a recep­tion and say you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but that's as far as it goes. You don't see any more of them after that unless you're a big name, something they don't have to work on. It's very hard now a days. We were very surprised when we came back just before Christmas because we'd been away two years and we weren't sure what the reaction would be to the new music and and whether the old fans would still be there after two years. Byt we’ve been very surprised, the audiences have been great.

Q. Critics seem to feel "Renaissance" has turned into more of a rock 'n' roll group. Listening to the latest album, there doesn't seem to be that radical of a change.
A. No, there isn't really. It's just updated. There's a lot more energy in the band. It is a bit rock yet actually, the live shows are. It's bound to be different, because the keyboard player and the drummer are different.

Q. Is change a necessary part in the business?
A. It is. I had to change my image because my image was the long dresses and the long hair. Because the music had changed, I had to change my appearance to go along with the music.

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