Laurie Mansworth (More/Airrace)

Laurie Mansworth
So readers, here’s a question for you. What do More, Airrace, Roadstar and The Treatment have in common? Answer: Laurie Mansworth! That fact alone put Mr. M. near the top of my Q&A series wish-list. Everyone who knows those bands will have detected a certain je ne sais quoi that Laurie brings to the mix. He is clearly doing something right. But what’s his secret? Mange tout, Rodney, mange tout. Listen, learn, read on …

Hello Laurie, you’ve seen a lot of the music business both as a musician and from the management side. Is it still possible to say what rock music means to you?
Believe it or not that is a difficult question. I think it is the only music that I have always completely connected with and I feel passionate about British Rock and enjoy helping to keep young British rock bands flying the flag for this genre. It has been my way of life since I was 15, and not just a job. If you are a true rock fan, it is with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rock means as much if not more to me now, than when I first became a rock fan.

Who was the first artist to make an impression on you?
When I was 13, I watched the Marc Bolan Show on TV; he had AC/DC as guests. I think they were playing ‘Live Wire’. It was literally like a religious experience in my head. Once I saw Angus with his SG, going crazy jumping around, I was hooked. From then on my whole life changed, all I wanted to do was play guitar and be like Angus. I was determined to get in a band, and hoped one day to play with AC/DC. Strangely enough the universe listened because I joined More, who were signed by Phil Carson, who signed AC/DC to Atlantic Records, and then again Phil signed Airrace who were given the support slot on the AC/DC For Those About to Rock tour. I am a great believer in talking to the universe; you just have to ask the right way.

Can you tell us about an album, song or lyric that means a lot to you?
Well, the song lyric that always come to mind is in the song ‘One Vision’ by Queen. Airrace did a big European tour opening for Queen, and Freddie liked the title of our album Shaft of Light. He said to us: “I am going to use that line in a song one day.” None of us thought any more about it. Go check out the lyrics.

An artist who has stayed with you over time?
The artists I have continued to love throughout my whole career are: Jeff Lynne, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, and Pink Floyd. I cant give one name for that answer.

I was a fan of More back in the day. I loved the Warhead album, and also had the track ‘Solider’ on a compilation called Metal Explosion. More were often associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Did you find the label a help or a hindrance? And, in general, do you find labels helpful or limiting?
I definitely thought it was a help. I think movements are always a good thing in music, like mods, punks, and the NWOBHM. It normally means there is a whole new generation of kids getting into music on a much wider scale, rather than a few bands doing it on their own.

What did you make of the rather devilish imagery that some NWOBHM bands seemed to favour?
To be honest, it doesn’t really bother me that much as long as the music is good, but for some reason these bands always seem to be not very good. I always preferred fast cars and women type songs as opposed to doom and gloom.

More, of course, played at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington. That was something of a Mecca for British rock fans in the 80s. Was it the same for you as performers?
There’s always been a mix up there. I played the Monsters of Rock shows across Europe, but I had a massive argument with band dictator Kenny Cox a couple of days before Donington so he told the management to tell me that I couldnt play. He was one of the worst human beings I have ever worked with and I was glad to get away from his abuse. He ruined More, and not too long after Paul [Mario Day, the vocalist] left and that was it.

Your most notable gig as an artist?Laurie Mansworth
I think headlining the Rainbow Theatre at 17. That comes to mind. And also opening for Queen and AC/DC was pretty special as it was all arenas.

You most memorable gig as a fan?
14 years old, Rainbow Theatre, down the front for AC/DC. I caught Angus’s shirt and I had it for years, but lost it when we moved. Shame!

What makes a rock gig special?
I think it’s a combination of the band and the audience getting into it at the same time. The energy going back and forth can be incredible. I dont know what makes that happen, but it normally only happens once or twice on a tour.

Dylan or Morrison?
Morrison, all day long. I have been to his house in Laurel Canyon and his grave in Paris. I am a massive Morrison fan, I have Mr Mojo Risin tattooed on my arm. I loved his voice and The Doors. It completely captures the era and that is the sign of a great band. If you put those records on it transport you to another time, when making an album meant something.

What do you say to a ‘rock star’ after you say hello?
Well, I have met quite a few and the conversations are normally brief, so probably “hello” and “goodbye”. Although I did sit and watch Top Gear with Gene Simmons in full stage get up. We talked about cars. That was quite surreal.

Your best encounter with an artist as a fan?
Meeting Bon Scott. I bunked off school to go and see AC/DC at the Hammersmith Odeon. Me and my mate got there really early, and stood at the back hoping to get a glimpse of the band. Bon Scott saw us, and let us sneak into the sound check, which was unbelievable for us. He seemed a really great guy. He saw us at the gig that night and came over and shook hands, laughing at us. A true down-to-earth legend.

Your strangest encounter with a fan as an artist?
I think the strangest was when my mum answered the door to a Japanese fan who said I had got her pregnant. When she called me to the door, I had never seen the girl before in my life. My mum told her to sling her hook in no uncertain terms. My mum’s a little redhead from the East End; she knocked on the wrong door there, lol.

You’re currently managing The Treatment. Personally I think those boys have got what it takes to go all the way. How are things shaping up?
Things are absolutely amazing with The Treatment. We have just finished touring the USA with Kiss and Mötley Crüe and the boys went down an absolute storm. Now at the grand old age of 18/19 they have played almost every big stadium in the USA. We will be touring for the next year, and the second album will be released.

Every band you’ve been involved with either as a musician or on the managerial, production or songwriting side has had a certain energy, passion and power. What’s your secret?
I think I just put my heart and soul into whatever I do. I dont have a formula. All I ask for is from whoever I manage or produce, is that they come in with a positive attitude and give it 100%.

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – jaded stereotype or the meaning of life?
Well, I really like the sex and rock ‘n’ roll part, but I was never a druggy, I tried most things when I was younger, and fortunately it didn’t do it for me. Anything that turns you into an arsehole can’t be good. I have seen a lot of that.

Rock music – music for all or a tribal affair?
I think it is tribal because the average everyday person doesn’t always get it. I am the only one in my whole family who has had a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. When I had long hair they used to look at me and think “look at the state of him”. But I used to look at them in their office gear and think the same, so it must be tribal.

Of everything you’ve done in rock music of what are you most proud?
Seeing my son and his band walk out to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ in Bristow Virginia, in some gigantic open air shed opening for Mötley Crüe and Kiss after spending three years rehearsing in our garage. I think we pulled off an incredible feat to get through that tour,. We had no crew, it was just me and the five guys, and we nailed it. I don’t know any other British band that has done this on such a big tour with no budget. This has been my proudest achievement.

Is there a particular album, song or performance for which you would most like to be remembered?
I really enjoyed it when Airrace reformed and opened Firefest. We blew the place apart and there were fans from all over the world holding up copies of Shaft of Light. That was a great show.

What would you say to people who say that rock or the rock era is dead?
Go and see The Treatment.

And finally, what’s next for Laurie Mansworth and The Treatment?
We are off on tour with Thin Lizzy next month, and we are playing a Christmas one off at The Underworld in Camden on 15th December.

The Treatment rock High Voltage 2011

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