When Jan Bechtum and Rob van Enkhuizen left PICTURE, I didn’t really have a good feeling about the band’s future, to be quite honest with you. Of course the band was given a fair chance to prove me wrong. With new recruits Peter Bourbon and Mike Fergusson, they recorded their new album “Warhorse” and they hit me in the face with a crowbar. What a power, what a great new record! The album contains only killers and no fillers. PICTURE is back, stronger than ever. Time for me to send some questions to front man Pete Lovell, to see what he could tell us about the departure of the two guitar players, the recording of the new album, and the future of PICTURE. When you are going to battle, make sure to ride a ‘warhorse’. It will definitely make you stronger. Here’s what Pete had to tell me....
Congratulations with your new album “Warhorse”. How are the reactions on this new album so far? (I rewarded it with 9,7 out of 10, by the way)
Pete Lovell: “Yours was the first review of the album. Thanks for the kind comments and we’re really glad you liked it so much.”
How did the deal with Artist Station Records come about and how did they actually gain interest in PICTURE? Who’s behind this label?
Pete: “We were planning to release it ourselves, but needed a distributor. We approached Jos Mennen, who does Benelux album distribution and he advised us to approach Artist Station Records. It clicked straight away and we liked their concept of a record company and how it should be directed by the wishes of the artists.”
Can you please give us some background information about the songs on this new album?
Pete: “Some songs were written just after the “Old Dogs New Tricks” album, but Jan Bechtum, the old guitarist, found them too heavy or dark and didn’t want to work the songs out any further. When he left, we were free to write how we wished and Peter came with some great music for songs. Mike came to the band just before we went into the studio and the songs were already written.. However, he still came up with some amazing solo work, which you can hear on certain tracks “Eternal dark” is a bonus track and we rerecorded it, because we wanted to let everyone hear how the song had changed through the years. We play it much heavier now.”
Where did you get the inspiration for the songs on “Warhorse”?
Pete: “Things that go on around you and real life experiences. Things you hear or see on TV. Also some fantasy from the ‘darker side’ of life.”
This new album sounds so heavy, in fact you are leaving the sound that you had on “Old Dogs, New Tricks” and it’s like starting all over from scratch. Is this a way to get rid of all the old feelings and sorrow, that was there with the former line-up? You sound like a totally different and fresh PICTURE. It really sound like you are reborn.
Pete: “We’re free now to write how we want and the guitars are a major part of the sound.. The fresh sound is thanks to the excellent mixing from Oscar Holleman. We recorded the music and vocals in six days, that helps with the fresh sound.”
Are there any leftovers from the “Warhorse” sessions, that didn’t make it on this new album? If yes, what are you about to do with these songs?
Pete: “Everything we recorded is on the album. However, there are lots of ideas that we didn’t record, but coming up with new ideas for songs isn’t too difficult. Maybe we will still use those old ideas, maybe not. Time will tell.”
Where does your musical inspiration and influences come from nowadays?
Pete: “I personally don’t get inspired that much from other bands or artists. I don’t even have a CD player and never listen to music outside of PICTURE. Strange, but true !!!”
The sound of the new album is really amazing! You worked with Oscar Holleman and he did a helluva job. Who decided, that PICTURE had to sound blasting and loud like this again?
Pete: “The songs just came out like that. We produced it ourselves and Oscar mixed. That was the best decision we could have made. Oscar makes the sound what it is. He knows what he’s doing in the studio. No doubt about that!!”
Who did the artwork for the new album?
Pete: “Tom van Wanrooy from cartoon factory. It looks great and perfect for the title “Warhorse”.“
What’s your favorite song on the new album and why? (Mine would be a difficult choice, because they are all great songs, but my highlight on the album for sure are the catchy but heavy opener “Battle Plan”. What a killer track that is!!! “Stand My Ground” would be a good choice too, because it contains so much power!)
Pete: “My personal favorites are “Shadow Of The Damned”. I always turn up the volume a notch, when I play that song, and “My Kinda Woman’ and I really like the way “Killer In My Sights” worked out, but I like all of them really!”
You added a 2011 version of “Eternal Dark” on the album, which is of course one of the all-time favorite PICTURE songs. Did you also think about reworking other songs (like “Bombers” for example), or was it an obvious choice, that “Eternal Dark” would be on “Warhorse” in a new version?
Pete: “We play “Eternal Dark” a lot heavier now and we wanted to show how it had evolved through the years. “Bombers” would be a good choice, but that’s also on the live album and it was a song originally with Ronald van Prooijen on vocals. For a re-record, “Eternal Dark” was the most obvious choice.”
Will there be a CD presentation for “Warhorse”, because I didn’t see too much Dutch gigs on the agenda so far?
Pete: “We’re not planning on a CD presentation as such, but you could see the gig in Amsterdam as the presentation.. It’s at Bitterzoet on March 31st.“
Do you have any touring plans for 2012 and if you could go on tour with any band of your choice, with whom would you like to tour then and why?
Pete: “Our booking office is planning a short tour at the moment. We just got back from Italy and in a couple of weeks we’re off to Spain, then Holland, Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia…More to be announced.. The dates can be found on our website: http:// www.pictureofficial.com/”
One of my slogans is “Never change a winning team”. You dared to change a team, that travelled around the world, played at all the famous metal festivals in Europe and created a great album with “Old Dogs, New Tricks”. What happened that Jan, and later on Rob, left the so successful PICTURE line-up?
Pete: “Like I said, Jan didn’t want to play songs he hadn’t had a hand in writing and the band was divided in two camps. The band in one camp and Jan and the management in the other. It just doesn’t work like that. You’re a team or you’re not a team! And in a struggling heavy metal band, you have to work together.”
Adrian Vandenberg had some serious problems about the name VANDENBERG with some ex-band members. Same happened with SAXON a couple of years before that. Both bands even had to fight in court to keep their names. Could this be an issue with PICTURE or has Rien registered the name PICTURE somewhere as his ownership?
Pete: “No, it’s not registered, but the songs are all declared by Buma Stemra. It would be stupid to name another band “Picture”. If someone wanted to call their band PICTURE, they can take on our debts as well …(lol).”
Peter Bourbon is a name, that people might know from his work with VENGEANCE. But maybe you can introduce new member Mike Ferguson to us a bit closer. Did he play in other bands before he joined PICTURE?
Pete: “We’re really pleased to have Mike in the band. He’s originally from America and now lives in Utrecht. He also plays in a metal band, called DETONATION..Great guitarist and a really chill guy.”
PICTURE has played with many big names in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. I guess you must have some very nice (juicy or funny) stories about touring or playing with some of them big names. I hope, that you will share some of these stories here.
Pete: “I won’t share the story of drunk girlfriends sliding down hotel stairs on a mattress and throwing my blankets out on the street below…oops ….just did !! Anyway, we won’t be allowed to stay in that hotel anymore!!”
I bet, that there is a lot of nice old video footage available from PICTURE over the years. Any plans for a DVD with an overview of the bands career so far?
Pete: “Well, we are planning to make a video clip and then more a kind of rockumentary idea… Watch this space!!”
By the way, what happened to the footage that was shot in Utrecht for the previous album “Old Dogs, New Tricks”, which would be used for the South American release of this album as a bonus DVD. (At least, that’s what they told us) Did this ever happen or will this footage ever see the light of day somehow?
Pete: “It got screwed up by the management..nice.. It cost us an arm and a leg and we only got one song out of it “Choosing Your Sign”. It’s on You Tube.”
Recently, we have restarted the Holland Heavy Metal website at www.truemetalfan.org/hollandheavymetal.htm. Do you think, that the Dutch metal bands that existed between 1980 and 1990 need this kind of attention, or do you feel that everybody knows what they are up to nowadays?
Pete: “I think, it’s a great idea. Every bit of exposure surely helps. It’s always a long hard road for Dutch metal bands, so thanks for taking up the challenge. We need all the help we can get.”
Are you still in touch with some of the former members of PICTURE and if yes could you please give us an update about what they are doing nowadays? (Not necessarily musically, as some previous members might have chosen another profession by now?!)
Pete: “I still hear from Jacques van Oevelen and Chris van Jaarsveld dropped me a line a couple of days ago to say he was coming to Bitterzoet. I think, that Rien still hears from Rob van Enkhuizen now and then.”
What’s your favorite Dutch heavy metal band from the early days, besides PICTURE and are you still in touch with some of the heroes from long gone?
Pete: “I always liked VORTEX. Last year there were plans to tour together, but it didn’t quite get off the ground..”
Is there a latest news flash about PICTURE that you want to share with us?
Pete: “I think, you know more about what’s happening than we do !! (lol) Well, as I mentioned the clip is our next goal and touring!”
The world famous last words in this interview are for PICTURE…
Pete: “Just really happy to see, that there is still interest in these old dogs with their old school.. and I hope you to see you all at a gig somewhere! Keep it heavy !!”
Interview by: Toine van Poorten, exclusively for Holland Heavy Metal / January 2012.
Visit their official website at: www.pictureofficial.com/