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Mark Mangold is a keyboard player, vocalist and composer who has had some massive albums in the melodic rock/AOR field. He started with Touch, who had success in the early 80's, Drive, She Said, Mystic Healer and the Sign (get this CD if you can - pure class). Plus he has written hits for Michael Bolton (when he was good!). He has recently reformed Drive, She Said and there will be a be studio album early next year.

1. What are you currently up to?

Well, we just finished the new Drive, She Said record, that is Al Fritsch, Jonathan Mover and myself. It should be out around March. Also working with a new band stateside that is more current in direction, meaning more I think related to the bands that are happening at the moment. Kind of a psychedelic retro alternative thing. Grungy hammond organ is a lot of fun.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

Wow, generally I would say a highpoint is when I am creating, writing, recording, and a "less than high point" is when I am not. I would say I haven't felt I've had any low points, (though the shambles when Touch disintegrated was not pleasant..But that quickly folded into doing alot of work with Michael Bolton, so he kind of saved me there for a while. .) but that was forever ago....oooh a title "Forever Ago", maybe that should be on the new Sign record. Anyway as you can see my fantasy life is too strong to get too low too often. I don't let that happen.

3. Who have been your biggest influences on your career?

As an organ player I would say Jimmy Smith. As a person, and therefore musician and songwriter, I would say certain spiritual beliefs and goals that keep me focused and keyed in to my inner/higher/creative self/universe and things that are positive and "good", and therefore open to the ideas, melodies, inspiration, moments and lyrics that happen.

4. Drive, She Said are rumoured to be back. Have you any more updates on this and what direction the new material will take?

See above, yes it is certainly our best record, in my opinion. It's.......big.

5. The Sign - one of my favourate CD's of last year. How did the line- up come together? What are your favourate tracks on the album? Any plans for a follow-up yet? Would the Sign ever tour or is it solely a studio project?

Well, yes we are actually at work on a new Sign record. The idea originated for a "band" with Frontiers records, and I put it together with Randy Jackson and Terry Brock. Randy knew Bobby Rondinelli, who got on board, and Terry knew Billy Greer, to play bass (and cowrite some stuff). Regarding my favorites, it varies. I like the epic "I'm Alive" and "Aryon", melodically LOVE "Forever Again", and actually I like all the tracks quite a bit, eg. "I Will Be There", "Wine" is cool, "Love Is Alive", "All Your Life", etc. Actually we did do some gigs here and in Belgium at the Lokeren Feesten last year. It was very fine. Of course as the band, and style of music, is a bit culty, there is not a huge demand for us to tour. Any invitations???

6. You have a solo album out now - could you tell us some more about it please? How easy is it to come up with new song ideas? Do you prefer studio work or getting out on the road?

Yes, I invite you to check out The solo record is quite apart from the metal stuff. Piano oriented, I'm actually singing, many "world" influences from celtic flutes, violins, percussion, strings, and lyrics that are personal to me, spiritual. I guess Peter Gabriel or Bruce Hornsby (it is piano) may be a starting off point, though it is hard to catagorize. The new record is called "Lift". We toured with it during the summer and it was quite wonderful.

7. What made you take up keyboard playing? Which songs that you have recorded through the years have given you the most pleasure? Any song you wished you had written?

I usually am really into whatever I am doing at the moment, so I wouldn't point at any one song as the most pleasurable. I must say working with Al on D,SS stuff is a pleasure. The frequency of 30 voices and 8 overdubed guitar harmonies with the rest of the stuff kickin' hits a resonance that kind of hits me.

Of course I just finished that so it's in my mind. Also worked on some really funky stuff with the new band I'm with, that's a different trip but very cool too. So.... I don't know. As far as a song I wish I'd written, "Gimme Some Lovin'" by Spencer Davis Group...actually we have something with that same grindy organ in the "new" band, so I feel OK about it.

8. Is there anything else you want to achieve in the music business? Who would you have liked to and/or would like to work with?

TONS. More records, more people hearing the stuff and enjoying the music, touring our buns off, etc. etc. etc. Being a part of sending some message, whatever it may be.

9. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Well my hobby is music, so I love to do that. Don't have much free time, though when I do I love taking a bike ride, surfing or doing something aerobic.

10. Message for your fans...

Thanks so much for listening. I certainly will keep doing my very best to create stuff that will bring enjoyment/create a moment... That's what it's all about.

Interview © 2002 Jason Ritchie/
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