Tony Mills is
the vocalist with Norwegian band TNT. In 1983 he joined Shy and enjoyed
considerable success before leaving to join Siam.
He rejoined TNT
in 2006 and the band releases a new album 'Atlantis' in November 2008. In what
has been a busy year, Tony has also released a solo album 'Vital Designs'.
What are you
currently up to?
I've just returned
from Norway to spend a couple of weeks with my family before I set out again for
more concerts there.
The last two weeks
have been spent promoting the new album with live TV performances etc. in Oslo /
Could you take
us through your excellent new album 'Vital Designs'
The songs were all
written individually but with stark subject matter that meant the songs could
all be taken as individual songs in their own right, or alternatively be
inextricably linked together with a sinister undercurrent throught the album.
That is why I gave each song a subtitle on the sleeve. I left it for the
audience to make up their own story.
Like 'A Vital
Design' , was really all about things that we can scarcely be without these
was no different in that it was purely and simply about having your liberty
removed and what happens after that.
From Nowhere', was a cover of a Cat Stevens track from 1970 but it fitted in so
well, I couldn't resist it.
Buried deep inside
me somewhere is that grain of doubt that must hang in every atheist's heart.
That subject has pulled many songs, even a complete album of me in the past and
surely enough it reared its head again on this record with 'God Called My Name'.
The 'resolve' of it all, and having passed through many turmoils of our lives
only led me in the end to 'Glory Days' and the final retrospective view on what
life was for us during our time.
Do you plan to
do any solo shows to support this album and who else would you like to
write/record with if given the chance?
I already played
some solo shows in Norway with Neil Hibbs and Geoff Nicholls from Sabbath came
along for the ride. TNT's commitments limit what else I can do to promote any
Could you take
us through your pick of the songs on the cracking new album by TNT 'Atlantis'?
Did you record with the rest of the band or is a case of recording your vocals &
then sending them onto the band in Norway?
I think my
favourite tracks on the new album are the title track, ATLANTIS, TANGO GIRL and
the opening track ( which has now become the opening track for the current
touring schedule) HELLO HELLO.
I recently had to
take Tango lessons with a Swedish teacher to perform the dance during the solo
from Ronni Le Tekro on live TV and on stage. What a blast !
Atlantis works so
well for me, it is a real dreamscape of a track and is very strong live.
And Hello Hello
has replaced Invisible Noise as the opening track. Judging by the audience's
response, we did the right thing. All the vocals were recorded in Oslo, TNT is
not a band that records in separate places, we live together when we record for
several weeks at a time.
How did you
come to join TNT and why do you think some TNT fans have been not so keen on the
band's sound on these last two albums?
I got a call from
Mark Alger at Z Records during May 2006 informing me that Tony Harnell had left
and wondered whether he should contact them on my behalf.
As I had just had
a less than pleasant experience singing for The Sweet on their Danish tour, I
was only doing some session work at the time and thought it would be a great
opportunity to work with the guys.
I had one gig left
to do with SHY and TNT came to Berlin to see the show. A week later I was
rehearsing in Oslo and the following week we were on tour.
There will always
be debate over whether change is for the better or not. And so there has been
with this situation, ever since I joined the band. But I have to question that
debate in this case, when I am looking at the people queueing up at the signing
sessions and 50% of them are under 20 years old.
It seems that the
older fan-base have dwindled because of the change of style and have been
replaced by a younger generation. Surprising, yet nevertheless, refreshing !
How did you get
your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass
onto budding musicians?
I don't think I
had a real 'first break'. I played live and recorded demos for three years
before a deal landed on the table. It was at this point that I should have got a
lawyer and an accountant before we looked for a manager.
But, a strong
manager opened a lot of doors and pushed hard until the right money was offered
to support the band and its plans.
Then, off we went
around the world on a mission. It kinda snowballs once you get going. But, you
have to remember that there's no such thing as 'something for nothing', it never
works out that way and it's important to make sure you are protected legally
against people who are not what they seem. And there are a lot of them about !
Especially in the music business.
I personally have
had three managers. Needless to say, I dont have one any more. But determination
is the key, if you don't have the drive and ambition to want to be a full time
working musician, it will be obvious to everyone else. You have to really want
it, or else you should do something else.
How do you view
the current music scene? Have you seen an upswing in interest over the past
couple of years in melodic/hard rock?
Without a doubt.
Admittedly, I have been in Norway now for over two years and the music scene is
prolific there. All manner of music is available to be heard at all levels. I
have never seen a rock scene like it, there are rock bands everywhere you look!
But they get the airplay and they get the audience turnout and with things like
financial assistance from the government to encourage art etc., they can only
succeed. Something the English government should consider!
I can't really
consider myself as part of the 'melodic rock' scene anymore, because of how TNT
write and move forward and what different people's opinions of what exactly
'melodic rock' is.... But rock in general seems to have a good profile now,
certainly in Scandinavia anyway. The internet tells me that there is a lot going
on elsewhere as well.
Shy - what were
the highlights and is there any possibility you may work with the band again at
some point in the future?
were touring across the US and Europe, accompanying Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson
on stage at Worthing Town Hall, recording Excess All Areas with Neil Kernon in
Holland in '87 and working with many writers inc. Don Dokken and Jeff Scott Soto
in Los Angeles.
But the best gigs
were the Marquee shows in the late 80's. TNT's plans for European domination
will be extended this year, so I don't think I will be departing to do anything
else. But I have agreed to sing with SHY at the Classic Rock show at the NEC on
What do you
like doing with your spare time outside of music?
I spend quite a
lot of time with my daughter, and even then I don't get away from music; she's
too busy singing the new TNT album for me to get away from it !
Apart from that I
like a wide variety of films and drama that I catch up on when I'm home. And
some beer every now and again !
Any plans to do
a box set or collectors versions of your Siam and solo albums?
Wow, well I really
hadn't considered that ! I am talking to Neil Hibbs about writing a rock opera
at the moment, maybe it would be an idea after that was finished we could
consider such a campaign.
Message for your fans...
If it wasn't for ardent followers of what I have done, then I guess I wouldn't
be doing it at all ! I have to say that the fans in Scandinavia have been a joy
to behold; now it seems that all the hard work over the years has been worth it
and I know I wasn't wasting my time on a worthless cause.
Singing rock music
is my passion and i was never any good at anything else, so that's what I did. I
still have loyal fans in the UK as well, and people travel from all over the
world to see TNT play live, just as they did for SHY, I think it takes a
determined person to be an avid fan to that point and it has to be admired.
Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.
Album review (Tony Mills)
Album review (TNT)
Band website (TNT)
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page