In the first of a two-part exclusive, rushonrock quizzes one of melodic rock’s star performers on the re-recorded classic album Trouble Or Nothin – featuring the songwriting talents of Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley, Desmond Child et al – and the battle to bring it back to the masses.
Robin Beck: I’m very proud of the fact that Trouble Or Nothin’ has been re-recorded 20 years after the original and that people still want to buy it in 2009. It’s released on my own record label and it’s a victory for me in the face of opposition from the record company which owns the original recording. I didn’t let them beat me and I’d just like to say to them that they might have won the battle but they didn’t win the war!
rushonrock: Why did you face such apathy from the record company who own the rights to TON?
RB: I suppose the kids that are at the record label now are in the early 20s and they were probably in diapers when Trouble Or Nothing was first released. Maybe they know the song First Time but they’re wondering where to go from there. If it’s not at their fingertips they probably can’t or won’t do it. I think an unfamiliarity with me and my music meant they had no interest in taking on the project – particularly the guys in the office in the UK. They hold the licence for the original record so I had to work a way around it.
RB: All’s well that ends well as they say! I think the new version sounds a little bit better than the original and hopefully some of my fans will agree. I know a lot of people will be stuck on the old record and that’s fine but, for me, listening to the 2009 version it does sound more current. The songs have had new life breathed into them but I stayed very close to the originals because I understand that’s what my oldest fans really want. But looking at it in terms of a new product I had to update it a little bit.
rushonrock: Surely your own voice has changed over the last 20 years and does that come across on the re-recorded album?
RB: If anything I think my voice has become a little bit deeper over the years and bit richer. It’s still tight – just with a bit of added maturity! But to me I’m still singing it the way that I did all those years ago. They’re all recorded in the same key and it’s still as tough singing them now as it was then! The musicians are definitely a little bit younger but they’re not babies. And over time they had an impact on the overall sound. The musicians on Trouble Or Nothin first time around were all seasoned pros and it’s the same this time.
RB: Of course I’m hoping the anniversary edition of TON will persuade people to look at some of the other work I’ve done during the past 20 years and dip into my back catalogue. But the fans who have always stuck by me are my real passion. Without them I can’t do very much and I certainly can’t put out new records. The main reason I’m releasing the anniversary edition is because I’ve been asked to do it so many times by fans over the years. It’s pathetic that you can’t get your hands on that record without paying astronomic sums for imports or over the internet. That’s why I went back to Universal to beg them to put out a couple of thousand copies for these people who are spending so much money trying to get the record. They didn’t listen.
rushonrock: So you set up your own label and did the record again. That must have cost a few bob?
RB: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to break even financially with this thing but I’m the kind of person who you just can’t tell ‘no’. I found out something about myself in the process of fighting the record company and setting up my label. I really do believe you can do anything you pout your mind to. It’s a thrill to have come this far and to be able to give the record back to the fans.
RB: I don’t know how much crap you hear from other artists about how much they love their fans but I’m being totally honest when I say I’d hug every one of them who’s backed me over the years. I never could – and still can’t – believe it when people asked for my autograph. I was like ‘you want my autograph? Can I have yours too?’. It’s great to make money and be happy. But I’m more than happy without having to make money out of this.
Check out part two right here tomorrow when Robin recalls her chart-topping heyday and life as a working mother who’s still rocking.