by Celtic Bob
Heaven & Earth’s Stuart Smith
Interviewed by CelticBob
I would like to begin by saying that DIG is a fantastic album. It received many plays throughout the year.
Thanks Bob. Glad you like it.
What initially prompted you to release a new Heaven & Earth album in 2013 rather than a solo album?
I’ve always preferred a band situation to a solo album and when I got the deal from Quarto Valley Records to do this, all the players that I wanted to get together with were available. In fact the second album was meant to be a band situation as I’d dropped my name from the title by then.
How did you find this line-up especially Joe Retta? His vocals are amazing and bring a lot to the music.
Heaven & Earth’s Stuart Smith
Yes, Joe is amazing. To my mind he’s the best singer in rock today. I’d known Joe from around the L.A. music scene for a few years and when I reformed Sweet with Steve Priest I brought Joe into that project. It was during the course of working with Sweet that I discovered Joe and myself were kindred spirits in the sense of wanting to write new material. Richie Onori has been the drummer on nearly all the older Heaven & Earth material. Both Chuck Wright and Arlan Schierbaum I’ve known and worked with over the years and when we all got together in the same room the chemistry was right there.
Was he the missing piece to make DIG the album to put Heaven & Earth on the map and in the public’s eye?
He was certainly one of them. I really feel it was a combination of things from Joe’s voice to the support of Bruce Quarto from Quarto Valley Records to the amount of time we spent crafting and writing the songs, to the players involved, the production and the stunning imagery provided by Glen Wexler.
Not really. We all just got together and wrote and felt what we love which is music from the 70’s era. We didn’t consciously set out with any clear overall sound in mind.
How is your relationship with Ritchie (Blackmore) these days? Do you see or speak to him often?
I haven’t seen Ritchie in a few years but would like to make more of an effort this year to re-connect.
Any discussions on working together on a future project?
No but I would love to.
How has the support been for this new album?
From the press it’s been incredible. Every single review we’ve had has been calling “Dig” either, “The best rock album in the last 10 years” or “Album of the Year”. Unfortunately that doesn’t translate into sales. There’s a huge problem with piracy and bootlegging right now. People don’t buy your albums anymore when it’s available from some Russian site for free the day after you’ve released it.
The debut single “No Money, No Love” had such a ‘colorful’ video that really caught your eye with the visuals. This was my introduction to your music and made me get the album. The next video single; “I Don’t Know What Love Is” was more subdued but still a great piece. Was the old-time, renaissance look a bit of a Blackmore influence or coincidence as both videos work really well with the songs?
Coincidence. I had nothing to do with the scripting of the videos. They were written and directed by Glen Wexler.
Will there be another release from the album?
No, what you have on there is all we did.
Any plans to have the previous albums (HEAVEN & EARTH and WINDOWS TO THE WORLD) repressed and reissued in the near future for those of us that just discovered your music and want to purchase more?
Yes, we have the first album as well as the “Making of” DVD available from the bands website and we’re in the process of creating the artwork for “Windows to the World” so we can make that one available as well.
Have you begun thinking about or writing for the next release?
Yes. Joe Retta and I have started laying down some new ideas.
With the fantastic new line-up and LP out last Spring do you see Heaven & Earth continuing on releasing albums and playing shows?
Definitely. We’ve got our agent working on booking us some work for this year and then I expect we will record another album.
That’s all I have for you and I would like to say Thank You for taking the time in answering a few questions for us. In closing is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Thank you for all your support over the years and I look forward to seeing you all on the road later this year.
Thanks again and looking forward to hearing more great music in the not too distant future. Cheers!