DEL BROMHAM (STRAY)
Del Bromham has been a mainstay of Stray who first came to prominence
in the 70's and are still going strong today. Del Bro ham releases
his debut solo album soon plus he tours with Leslie West (Mountain)
and appears with Pat Travers, on the latter's London show on June 3rd.
Thanks to Batttttty for passing the questions on.
|1. What are you currently up
I have recorded
Well, after a busy last year with the band Stray, I have been in
the studio recording my first solo cd. Also making plans for my first
solo tour - you would not believe how much there is to do and to think about !
|2. What has been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of your career to
Well there's a question! I don't think there's enough time to list
Having my first Gibson Firebird guitar stolen from Newcastle City
Hall was a low-point.
It was a rare green one. There were only a few of them made - I
think about five at this time. I had one, Stevie Winwood had one,
Eric Clapton had one, and guess what - we all had them stolen !!!
A major low point would probably be back in 1977 with the original
Stray band members, we found ourselves in bad shape due to
management, business and financial problems. We found ourselves in
such a hole that we had to sell our assets and cease to be a band at
that time. That was very depressing. We all just about lost
everything we had worked so hard for. The situation was highlighted
by the fact we had just completed a tour with Rush, and had an album
out entitled 'Hearts of Fire'. To the outside world all looked 'rosy'
but as it transpired, that was not the case. Too many other low
points to list.
High points : Turning professional shortly after leaving school snd
getting our first management and record contract.The release of the
first album. Being presented with our first Gold album
for 'Mudanzas'in 1973. First tour of USA. Iron Maiden recording one
of our songs 'All In Your Mind', doing the European tour dates with
Iron Maiden in 2003, and confirming we can still do the business.
|3. What do you think has been behind the longevity of Stray? When the
band formed did you expect to be going so long?
I think like most people forming bands, we were so pre-occupied
with what we were doing at the time that we didn't think too much
about tomorrow - well, not till a bit later maybe. We wanted to be as
big as The Beatles. I wanted to write songs and I believe that our
music, generally speaking, has a timeless quality. I listen and still
play some of the songs we recorded thirty years ago and I still think
they sound fresh. I listen to some acts who come from the 60's ,70's
and 80's etc and they sound pre-dated.
Furthermore, I am stubborn and I believed in Stray then and I
believe in Stray now and will do until the day I die. I don't see why
I should hang my guitar up just because we might not be fashionable
or have a large management company with a fat cheque book. I got into
playing music for the enjoyment, not the money. Unfortunately there
are some that lose the plot and end up only doing it for the money.
If that were my case I would have packed it in years ago. Like I said
I'm stubborn. Blimey, I nearly went into one there !!!!!!
|4. Which Stray albums and tunes do you think have stood the test of
time and why?
A true Stray fan would give you a more accurate answer. I think
the first album, primarily because of the track 'All In Your Mind'
which is almost our theme tune. I think the sound of the album, the
recording quality, and the energy emitting from the tracks is unique
and unmistakably Stray. I also feel Saturday Morning Pictures has
stood the test of time. Bear in mind both of these are over 30 years
old now !!! I hope that '10' will last as long - I love that album,
it is special for me as well as John and Paul.
|5. What made you first want to play guitar and has your style changed
down the years?
I don't know why really. It was just this love of music from as
early as I can remember. There was always music in the house. My dad
and my older brothers were always buying records. My brother Alan had
various groups and most of the time they practised in my mum and
dad's house and I used to sit in and watch. Sometimes the guitarists
used to leave their guitars at the house and unknown to them I used
to get them out and have a go. The guitarist used to like Hank Marvin
and Carl Perkins - it was the latter that I was more interested in.
As for my style changing, I suppose (and this may sound an odd thing
to say now) in recent years I have become more confident particularly
regarding soloing. What you have to understand is that I never really
rated myself as a guitarist. I was the songwriter, I was more like a
Pete Townsend guitarist in that I needed to play in a more rhythmic
style than solo. I had no rhythmn guitar or keyboard so I had to make
the whole sound fatter on my own. I think that a mix of the rhythmn
and lead has contributed to my style. Over the years I have often
been asked if I use backing tapes or even if I have a guitarist on
the side of the stage, because there are those that cannot believe
what a full sound the band gets from just three instruments.
You have a new solo album out soon. Could you take us through some
personal highlights please? Where do the ideas come from for your
OK, the album is called Devils' Highway. It is very different for me
because this is a 'blues' style album.
I wanted the title of the album to in someway both represent the
blues and represent me. The blues was called the Devils' music,
predominately by the black Gospel Church in the USA. Musically and
personally this is a different road I am taking, so put the two
together and there is the title - Devils' Highway.
There are 11 tracks on the cd. Devils' Highway is the title track
which opens the album and is just me singing the song and playing
bottleneck slide guitar. Lots of fretbuzz and neck rattle. There is a
reprise of the tune played on electric slide guitar later in the
album. I have used no effects or pedals on the guitars throughout the
I worked with Paul Kennedy who has worked with me now on the
last two Stray albums. He is a great sound engineer and I have never
felt more comfortable working with someone. He seems to know exactly
what I am looking for. I wanted to make the album sound authentic. I
played all the instruments on the album, drums, bass, guitars, piano,
organ etc... that in itself is an ambition which I have now
I don't mean to sound critical or that the album is in
anyway contrived, but I have noticed artists tend to keep covering
the same old songs. So my contribution, I hope, was to write
something new but in the spirit of the blues. I didn't realise until
I began to sit down to write this album, I'd forgotten how much of
blues and rhythmn and blues artistes I used to listen to when I first
started playing. People Like Robert Johnson, John Mayall, John Lee
Hooker, Elmore James,B.B. King, Clapton and Beck etc etc... I can
hear influences myself, I am not ashamed of that admission. I which I
knew where the ideas came from. They do seem to literally come out or
I write stories - some fiction some autobiographical. Generally
lyrics are important, but as I have said I was more concerned with
capturing the spirit of the blues and consequently I hope the album
is taken as a whole and not dissected. In a literary sense, on this
occasion William Shakespeare has nothing to worry about...
|7. What have been the live highlights for you? Have you seen newer
fans still coming along to your gigs?
I suppose I have been lucky over the years. I can honestly remember
very few gigs which I haven't enjoyed.
When you are doing what you enjoy doing the most, playing with good
musicians and friends and playing to good audiences - it does not get
much better than that. That can be a small venue or a large one.
Fresh in my mind are the shows we did in Europe and Eastern Europe in
2003 with Iron Maiden. These were stadium shows, anything from 10,000
people per night upwards! Maiden fans are extremely loyal to their
band and they do not always show their appreciation to the support
I can honestly say that Stray went down really well every night.
It was mentioned by members of the Maiden entourage that they had not
seen an opening act go down so well for many years! It just re-
affirmed that we can reach audiences right across the spectrum of
music. Interestingly enough when we started the band at school that's
exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted as many people as possible to
Yes a lot of new fans, young and very young fans are picking up on
the band. It's great to look out on an audience and see a cross
section of people of all ages visibly enjoying the music.
|8. What sort of set-list can we expect on your upcoming tour with
At this moment in time, the intention is predominantly to play the
Devils' Highway set. However being on my own, I can swop the set
around and change the set and add old songs on the spot. On this tour
it is just me, on my own - I will not be playing with a band.
|9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?
I must have spare time, but I cannot remember where it goes!! My
personal life has undergone some changes recently. I used to play
squash fairly regularly, but unfortunatley my Dad passed away last
year and my mum is not well so she needs 24-hour care, so I drive
down to take care of her when I can. I go through phases of either
not playing my guitar very much, or the reverse. At the moment I am
doing a lot of playing.
I have to confess to becoming something of a couch potato. I've been
watching more TV than ever .... that's probably another good reason
for me to get out on tour again. Roll on April !!!!!!!!
|10. Message for your
Whatever I try to say does not seem enough. I have been on the road a
long time and there are those out there who have been with me
virtually all the way. I listen to what they have to say. They are
all honest and let me know what they like and what they don't like.
Whatever, I have the greatest respect for all the fans old and new.
I sincerely say to all a "BIG thank you".
Take it easy. Del
Interview © 2004 Jason Ritchie/
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