Carl Sentance (Persian Risk, Krokus, Don Airey Band)

Carl Sentance

A long time ago, before the dawn of ‘istry, Carl Sentance invited me to his house in Cardiff to interview him for a feature in a new fanzine. At the time his band, Persian Risk, looked to be on the verge of a breakthrough. They had seemingly survived the loss of both Jon Deverill (replaced by Carl) to the Tygers of Pan Tang and, somewhat later, Phil Campbell to Motörhead. Kerrang! magazine was championing their latest single ‘Too Different’ and the band also made a successful appearance on Channel 4’s short-lived rock and metal show ECT. There was much talk of a record deal for their first full album.

Unfortunately the fanzine never really got Persian Risk on ECTgoing and the interview was never published. Risk’s career, too, took an unexpected nosedive, though they did, at least, manage to release their debut album (under the rather retrospectively ironic title Rise Up). Risk’s demise was a real shame. At their best, they could mix it with any of the new bands around at the time, as tracks like ‘Calling for You’, ‘Riding High’, ‘Jane’ and ‘Sky’s Falling Down’ amply demonstrate.

There is, then, a sense of unfinished business about this particular Q&A, though in its way it’s quite timely, given the surprising appearance in October 2012 of a second Persian Risk album, Once a King.

Not that Carl was resting on his laurels in the intervening quarter of a century. He has sung and toured extensively with the likes of Tokyo Blade, Geezer Butler, Krokus and, more recently, Don Airey’s band. He has also sung and performed in musicals, notably playing the role of Herod in a version of Jesus Christ Superstar. He has released a solo album (2008’s Mind Doctor), and, according to his website he once came close to joining Marillion!

So, Southampton Metal Fanzine‘s loss is Words and Music‘s gain. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Carl Sentance.

So Carl, you’ve sung and toured with a lot of bands and musicians over the years. Is it still possible to say what rock music means to you?
It’s something I have to do ‘til I die, that’s all I know!

First artist to make an impression on you?
Elvis. Who else? Maybe Rob Halford second.

An album, song or lyric that means a lot to you?
So many!  I don’t know, maybe Sad wings of Destiny (Judas Priest), ‘Victim of Changes’ or ‘The Ripper’.

An artist who has stayed with you over time?
Rob Halford

How do you view what you do as an artist?
Fucking stressful but love it.

How is your music most often labelled? And do you think labels are helpful or limiting?
I don’t know. If it’s good it’s good right? A song’s a song, and I always write for the song not my singing voice. But there again, maybe I’ll show off more next album round, ha!

Persian Risk Once A King album coverYou’ve recently put a new Persian Risk album out. How did that come about after all this time? 
I thought about it for years then came across a Risk classic on cassette tape called ‘Once a King’! It had to be done then.

The album contains some old and new songs. It’s not exactly clear from the sleeve notes whether the old tracks have been re-recorded or who plays on them. Can you clear that up for us?
Yeah, would have been a lot of text to fit on the album if explained in full, but everything was re-recorded! If someone asks me who played guitar on ‘Riding High’ or ‘Women and Rock’ or bass on ‘Battlecry’ or ‘Once a King’ I’ll tell them!

Carl Sentance Mind DoctorYou’ve also put out a very good solo album (Mind Doctor) and recorded with Don Airey. Is it difficult to separate out the different projects and decide which material is suitable for which band?
I wanted Once a King to be more like the original band (bit more up tempo) but it’s hard to do something that you did 25 years ago. Mind Doctor is a lot of different ideas that just came to me.

Rock music – the spawn of the devil or a force for good?
WHAT?!

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – jaded stereotype or the meaning of life?
70s, 80s, Oh Yeah!

Dylan or Morrison?
Not a fan of either but if I had to choose it would be Morrison. I find he had a more melodic voice.

What do you say to a ‘rock star’ after you say hello?
Where’s the backstage rider?

Your best encounter with an artist as a fan?
Walking into a dressing room and seeing Lemmy reading a novel! (I still have the photo)

Your strangest encounter with a fan as an artist?
We all got flashed by a woman in our dressing room showing us her piercing. It wasn’t a pretty sight! Disturbed for life!

What makes a rock gig special?
Energy/power, and the fans love the real live music.

Your most notable gig as an artist?
Would have to be Basel Football Stadium with Krokus! We supported AC/DC. There were about 30,000 people. I was on a high for weeks!

Your most memorable gig as a fan?
Judas Priest around 1983 in Cardiff. I always remember Rob Halford singing with his amazing voice but you couldn’t see him ‘til half way through the song. He just appeared at the back. Thought that was so cool.

Rock music – music for all or a tribal affair?
FOR ALL!

Is there a particular piece of music, or album or performance for which you would most like to be remembered?
Not really. I never listen to my own stuff. I don’t know what it sounds like as I created it! But I’ll always like to be remembered for singing live, and when I see someone smile in the audience that’s a good feeling!

What would you say to people who say that rock or the rock era is dead?
It’s the only music that survives isn’t it??

And finally, what are you up to at the moment?
Playing The Hard Rock Hell fest on 29th November (2012) and looking into European festivals for next year. I’m about to write for a new Risk album, and when Don Airey gets back off tour we shall also be writing for his next album!

Carl Sentance live crowd shot

For more about Carl Sentance, please visit his website:
http://www.carlsentance.com/

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