One of the big surprises for Firefest V this year is the return of AOR gods WHITE SISTER. This band have been through more turnstiles and circumstances then you might care to acknowledge. However, what is clear in the present tense, and some twenty plus years worth of experiences for both band members and the listening public, is that WHITE SISTER are still massively popular within the AOR genre. One mention of the band name brings back glorious memories of massive guitars, huge banks of keyboards and an assortment of neckerchiefs - so lovingly adorned by the band on their 1984 debut album cover. WHITE SISTER's return will be tempered by the fact that drummer Richard Wright is no longer with them, having passed away in 2006. In readiness for Firefest, I managed to track down keyboardist and spokesperson for the band Gary Brandon. He shares a few words with GLORY-DAZE.
Firstly Gary, the prospect of getting back together and playing again?
It feels wonderful to be back together after all these years. We actually hope that this will be a wave that we can ride for a while. Not really so much for the money, but really for the love of it and because of the appreciation we have for the fans and industry personnel out there who continue to amaze us with their undying support and genuine enthusiasm! Even some people who have never heard of us are willing to give us a chance... and we appreciate that opportunity a lot.
Has Richard's passing been a catalyst for the three of you to come back together again?
Yes in a way it has... Actually we had discussed the idea in earnest back-stage at the last Tattoo Rodeo performance in 2006 in Hollywood. We were thinking of doing a double concert type of situation somewhere in L.A. We were all pretty excited about the idea but life marches on, you know?... and we all got busy. Then the next thing you know, Rich was gone and there was a period of mourning and denial that we all went through. It was rough. Kieran's invitation to Firefest kind of shocked us out of the state we were in and we decided that life is short and you really do have to go for it while you can. We are not happy about doing it without Richard, but he was the kind of selfless guy who would have said 'damn guys... just go for it!'
We understand you are on the hunt for a drummer.. early days yet I guess in terms of filling the spot?
It is a bit early, but also something we'll need to multi-task as we move forward. We have a few friends whom we have contacted about it already, real monster players... so as time goes on we'll make a final decision but right now the 3 of us are still in that ""pre-production"" phase of huddling in a backroom at Rick's facility working up all the chords, harmonies and sounds again. It's coming along nicely so far. We are pretty good at reproducing our sound live without the aid of Pro Tools and such. We are kinda old school about that.
Beyond Firefest, new material for a possible new album?
New material?... depends on your definition of new. We have a few old songs actually, that we would very much like to record. Songs that we wrote before the debut album was recorded. Songs that Gregg Giuffria (our producer at the time) cut from our repertoire because he wanted us to focus on our big ""hook"" songs. Some of these old songs showcase our musicianship over pure commerciality, but not to the point where someone might say 'this isn't White Sister'
, it still is in a big way... it just reflects our head-space back then. We may even drop one or two of these old gems into our live set at Firefest... but not 100% sure yet. As for brand new tunes, none written yet but we are all confident that they will flow once we sit down again with that specific goal.
As for a new album... all options are on the table, as politicians like to say. We will probably wait to see how we are received after our show at Firefest and then decide what to do next. We certainly have the equipment needed to tackle this ourselves, but it's really too early to say what the best road for us will be. We're open to, and very appreciative of, any label that might be interested in talking with us regarding that possibility, when the time is right.
And.. finally.. what is the latest with your developments with Fast Machine?
At the moment, the group is getting ready to record and also is involved in a web serial that is slowly coming online. We hope to get out there and play again this year too if all comes together as planned. You are right... it's gonna be a very busy year for both projects.
Thanks to Gary Brandon for the update. Check out their website at: www.whitesister.com
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