"Steppin' out with Daryl Stuermer" - Daryl talks about his new album and Phil's Big band project. By Alan Hewitt.

Further to the review of Daryl's new album elsewhere in this issue, here are the man's own thoughts about it...

AH: You've recently released a new solo album, which sadly isn't available on this side of the Big Pond yet, so can you tell us a little bit about it...?

DS: Yeah, well it's a record I had been working on for about the last three years, meaning it didn't take the last three years to make this record. It took three years because I was busy doing tours with Phil and so I'd record two or three songs here and three songs there until I finally got about fourteen or fifteen songs and basically it has acoustic music with nylon string guitar and some steel string guitar and there are a couple of vocals; one is sung by our singer that's in the Phil Collins band: Amy Keys and Phil sings backing vocals on that one and another song is sung by me and Amy Keys. So there are two songs and the rest is instrumentals and they are kind of in the progressive rock instrumental vein, you know; it's not jazz and it's not rock; it's somewhere in between, I wouldn't necessarily call it fusion music but that's what it is.

AH: Who are the other musicians on it?

DS: The other musicians on it are: Leland Sklar on bass and Brad Cole our piano player and a drummer from my old home town that I've known for many, many years named Mark Torell and a Russian keyboard player named Kostia who has records out on the Narada label which is more of a New Age label but that's not what it is but he has a couple of albums out himself, and then there's Amy Keys.

AH: Going back to your first solo album, "Steppin' Out". Why did you decide to record the cover of one song which Phil had done?

DS: Well, it was my song first, it was an instrumental first but he got to record his first! (laughter) and he heard my demo and had said; 'you know, I'd like to put lyrics to this' and so he did but I still wanted to put out the version that I had done and so most people thought that I had covered one of his songs.

AH: What is your opinion of this Big band tour because it came as quite a surprise to most of the fans myself included...?

DS: Well, for us it is a lot of fun. See for me... I had done this when I was eighteen or nineteen years old. I'd played in big bands in my home town and when Phil said he wanted to do it; I thought; 'well, it will be kind of interesting'. Some fans aren't ready for this and some are; some people accept it immediately and others are a little cold on it and they're thinking 'well, this isn't what we came for' but if you just lay back an allow it to come in and you will view it differently, and they're not necessarily the songs you would remember and some you can recognise and some you can't. Even Tony Banks who was at our show last night said; 'I could barely recognise "Hold on My Heart"...'

AH: Well, I was at the soundcheck this afternoon, and when you went into that bit of "Los Endos" I couldn't recognise it straight away...

DS: That one we play as a whole song and it sounds close and in fact, that's probably our biggest and hottest song and even Tony Banks liked it!

AH: We've been hearing some horror stories about the shows' reception in the States, was it really that bad?

DS: No, I don't think so, I think that a couple of gigs here and there gave you a feeling that it was horrible but one of my favourite shows was Boston and the other one was London and one was a very different audience; one was outside and occasionally when you have a percentage of the audience which maybe 5% that are kind of disappointed or yelling "Sing, Phil!" it makes you feel that the whole audience is against you and it's only really a handful. Most of the people were respectful and others liked it! (Laughter). So there were some who really enjoyed it and some who were respectful and patient and then there were those who didn't like it. But that's what you're going to get and if you've based your whole career on vocals that doesn't immediately fall into place and we had a couple of not great audiences in Europe which surprised me but generally they were ok, sometimes it was the elements; sometimes it was freezing cold and raining! (laughter).

AH: Well, it's that famous Genesis equation: open air equals rain!

DS: I agree!

AH: So, what are Daryl Stuermer's plans for the future...

DS: The rumour is and this is not based on any factual known thing is that Phil would like to do more touring with the pop group again, you know maybe in a year from now after he has another record out and he may want to do this again as well.

And that's where time caught up with us I'm afraid. My thanks to Daryl for giving us an insight into his work and my continuing thanks to Carol Willis and Tim Brockman for all their help in making this possible.