Not only musicians and freelance artists know this phenomenon: it s impossible to deliver top creative performances at the push of a button. You need peace, leisure, and most of all a certain amount of serenity to create truly great works of art. We used to be under permanent pressure from our record companies, says Magnum mastermind Tony Clarkin. They kept calling us, demanding hit singles and radio numbers. But that sort of thing doesn t work on demand. Now we re with SPV, where it s a totally different situation. They give us the necessary time and trust us to do the right thing. That s probably the reason why I enjoy working with Magnum again.
Clarkin s regained joy in his band is omnipresent on the latest Magnum offering, Escape From The Shadow Garden. Just like his simple yet logical work ethos: I simply told myself: you re a passable guitarist, so you should play the guitar. As the band s guitarist and producer, I have all the freedom I need to create exactly what I feel like creating. The result of his latest burst of creativity consists of eleven wonderfully melodic rock songs which blend all the typical Magnum ingredients, sounding in a fascinating way both timeless and classic. This band has certain unmistakable trademarks, Clarkin explains. Among them are my feel for melodies and Bob s unique vocal style.
Only a month after the release of its predecessor, On The 13th Day, Clarkin started with the preparations for Escape From The Shadow Garden as always an exciting phase in his life. Before you haven t recorded and mixed every single note, you never really know whether you ll be happy with the result. When I heard the final version of the eleven new songs with their different stories and diverse arrangements, I knew it had turned into an impressive and complete album. Together with the great cover artwork designed by Rodney Matthews (Asia, Nazareth, Eloy), this is a release which forges an arch to the early days of Magnum s career. And that s wonderful! I was really happy when my friend Jimmy Lea of Slade came to visit me at the studio again and said: You ve done it again? It doesn t matter whether by sheer luck or hard work life could have gone a totally differently way.
Magnum, who regularly breached the Top 40 of both the singles and album charts in the Eighties and early Nineties, came together in the Midlands in the mid-Seventies and released their debut album Kingdom Of Madness in 1978, followed by Magnum II in 1979 and their first live album Marauder in 1980. During this period they toured relentlessly with the likes of Def Leppard, Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest.
1982`s Chase The Dragon album was the first to go Top 20, and was accompanied by a sold out UK tour. 1983`s The Eleventh Hour, 1985`s On A Storyteller`s Night and 1986`s (by Roger Taylor produced) Vigilante album all fared similarly well but it was 1988`s Wings Of Heaven LP which really broke the band into the mainstream, going gold, breaching the top 5 of the UK chart and spawning three top 30 singles - ´Days Of No Trust`, ´Start Talkin` Love` and ´It Must Have Been Love`. During this period the band regularly graced the stages of such venues as Hammersmith Odeon and major UK Festivals as Reading and Castle Donington.
1990`s Goodnight L.A. album also went Top 10, spawned the Top 40 single ´Rocking Chair` and was accompanied by a tour of the UK`s Arena circuit, including venues such as Wembley Arena and the NEC. 1991`s The Spirit, 1992`s Sleepwalking and 1994`s Rock Art were followed by the announcement of the band s demise and an extensive farewell tour, during which the band`s 1996 live album, The Last Dance was recorded.