On April 11, 2011, Mike and the Mechanics will release The Road, their first studio album since 2004's Rewired. In the past decade, Mike and the Mechanics has truly evolved in virtually every sense of the word, but perhaps never more so than in the past year. After the passing of co-lead singer Paul Young in July 2000 and the departure of fellow front man Paul Carrack in 2005, the future of The Mechanics seemed uncertain at best. Thankfully for Mechanics fans, founding member Mike Rutherford carried on with long-time Producer Chris Neil and began recruiting a new team of players to shape the next generation of the band.

2011 finds Mike Rutherford's newly rebuilt Mechanics with a new album and aptly titled 'Hit the Road' European tour. The Road features the additions of popular British R&B/Pop singer/songwriter Andrew Roachford and Canadian singer Tim Howar who have taken up the mantle from Carrack and Young. The Mechanics is rounded out with Gary Wallis on drums, Anthony Drennan on guitars and bass and, of course, Mike Rutherford on guitars and bass.

World of Genesis.com had an opportunity on February 2, 2011 to do a little question and answer session with Andrew Roachford about his involvement in the new Mike and the Mechanics album, his solo career, and what lies ahead for the band in 2011.

 

WOG: Can we expect to hear any of your new solo songs on the 'Hit The Road' European tour? How about any of your older signature solo tracks? Will you or Tim do any Genesis songs on the tour? If so, which ones?

AR:
We will be doing some of my songs on the 'Hit The Road' tour, and of course some of the Genesis hits... but you will have to come to the show to find out which ones!

WOG:
Will The Road be released outside of Europe? If so, do you have an idea when it might be released in North America?

AR: I think there are plans to release The Road in North America, but I don't have any exact details at the moment.

WOG: Are there plans in the works to tour beyond the dates announced for the UK and Germany this spring? Perhaps world tour?

AR:
There are no definite plans at the moment, but it would be cool to do a world tour with the Mechanics!

World of Genesis: How did you first get introduced to Mike Rutherford? Did you have a "formal" audition for your new gig with The Mechanics?

Andrew Roachford: I met Mike through a mutual friend, Martin Sutton. I got invited to Mike's studio for a chat. It was a very informal first meeting between myself, Mike and producer Chris Neil... and actually we started songwriting that same day.  

WOG: At what point was Tim Howar introduced into the band? Were former Rutherford colleagues Chris Neil or BA Robertson involved with this project as well?

AR: Tim was involved in the album project quite early on. Chris Neil was co-writing and producing a lot of the material, but BA Robertson was not involved with this project.

 


The Mechanics Truly Rewired (L-R): Roachford, Rutherford and Howar


WOG: Having not heard the new album yet, can you tell us what the new Mechanics album sounds like? Would you describe it as being similar to your recent solo albums like Heart of the Matter or Word of Mouth? Does it sound like the 'old' Mechanics or is this a totally new sound for the band?

AR:
The Road does have elements of what you would expect from a Mechanics album, but obviously when you have different people involved it will put a whole new spin on it. I am a big fan of Paul Carrack; however, I think we have very different styles of singing and writing.
 
  WOG: Are there plans to continue with this configuration of Mike & The Mechanics following this new album and tour? If so, having had some significant success as a solo artist, will working with the Mechanics still give you the artistic freedom to pursue your solo activity?

AR: I am planning to release my album later this year and do a Roachford tour to support it. Touring with the Mechanics will expose me to an audience who might not be familiar with my material, so that can only be a good thing. I really enjoyed working with Mike in the studio, he is a very 'intuitive' artist. I'm sure we will work together in the studio again.


Mike and the Mechanics (left to right):
Andrew Roachford, Mike Rutherford and Tim Howar

 
WOG:
I understand that you were approached as a songwriter by artists like Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan. Was it different collaborating or writing for someone like 'The King of Pop' versus Mike Rutherford?

AR: I was asked to write for Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan, but I didn't write with them. It was just a matter of submitting songs for their projects. With Mike Rutherford, we worked very much together.

WOG: On your solo projects, I've noticed that you've done some fairly diverse songs mixing pop/rock, R&B, funk, and even some jazzier things. If someone has never heard an Andrew Roachford album before, how you describe your sound?


WOG: Obviously, Paul Carrack had a strong soulful voice on the older Mechanics albums, but your vocals will certainly bring a great soul/R&B quality to these new tracks... Are there particular songs from the Mechanics' back catalog that you prefer to sing in concert over others?

AR: I have been really enjoying singing some of the songs that Paul Carrack sang originally. At the moment, my favorite songs are "The Living Years" and "Over My Shoulder." They are so much fun to sing, and I feel I can relate to them lyrically.

WOG: I had heard you were working on a new solo project this year called Addictive. Did you compete that project prior to joining Mike & The Mechanics? If so, when might that be released? Did any songs you initially wrote for that project end up on the new Mechanics album, The Road? Were you and Tim both involved in the writing of the material on this new album?

AR: Yes, I have been working on my own album, Addictive. It is due to come out in late 2011. I was still working on my album whilst I was co-writing the new Mechanics album, but none of the songs on my album are on The Road. Tim also co-wrote some stuff on the new Mechanics project.

WOG:
When you were writing songs with the Mechanics, did you write anything and later decided it would be better sung by Tim or vice versa? In the past, Mike shared with me that he used to let Paul Young and Paul Carrack both take a shot at the songs he wrote and later decided who was the right 'voice' for the song. Does it still work that way today?

AR:
Actually, there is a song on the new album called "Do You Wanna Dance" where Tim sings some lines on the track with me, and that worked very well.

WOG:
Is there a particular song you wrote or co-wrote for this project that you are particularly proud of?

AR: I really love songs that evoke a lot of emotion, and the song "Try to Save" really moves me!!
 

 

AR: On my first album, it was more of a live rock/pop band feel to the stuff, but now I would say my style is more a personal singer/songwriter feel... in the tradition of Stevie Wonder, Prince, James Blunt, James Morrison. I like to touch people with my songs.

WOG: Will the new Mike and the Mechanics official website be on-line soon?

AR: Yes, it can be found at: http://www.mike-and-the-mechanics.co.uk/

WOG: Can you share the name of the first single from the album? Do you sing that track? When might the single be released?

AR: All of that info will be on the website soon!

WOG:
What's the meaning behind the title of the new album, The Road?

AR:
It is the title of one of the tracks on the album, and also I think that the Mechanics sound is obviously on a journey and is changing and evolving.

WOG: I know they filmed the Prince's Trust gig you did with the Mechanics in Digital 3D. Since its the first ever show with the new line-up, do you think it will surface on home video? Are there any plans to film an actual full Mike and the Mechanics gig on this tour for future release?

AR: I'm not sure about the Prince's Trust footage, but I'm sure there will be some footage of the 'Hit The Road' tour released at some point.

WOG: Since Phil Collins also appeared at The Prince's Trust, did he share any words of wisdom about working with Mike?


Cover art for Mike and the Mechanics 2011 album, The Road

  AR: All he said to me was, "Are you having fun?" and I said, "Yep" and he said, "Great!" I think those are very wise words indeed!

WOG: What was it like meeting Prince Charles? Is he a Mike and the Mechanics or Roachford fan?

AR: I met Prince Charles years ago, and I gave him a cuddly toy and a copy of my album... I forgot to sign it though!  So, I hope he remembers me (laughs)! He is definitely a Mike and the Mechanics fan!

WOG: Following the Mike and the Mechanics tour, what's next for Andrew Roachford?

AR: Following the Mechanics tour, I will be releasing my new album and doing some solo shows. The Mechanics will be playing the Isle of Wight Festival, and afterward I will doing an acoustic set in the acoustic tent... It should be a fun day!
 

Select Recommended Titles by
 
Mike and The Mechanics


Hits (1996)
Spanning the first four albums, this collection features songs like "Living Years", "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)", "All I Need Is A Miracle ('96 version)", "Taken In", "Word of Mouth", "Over My Shoulder", "Beggar on a Beach of Gold" and more!



Live at Shepherd's Bush (NTSC/Region 1 DVD) (2005)
Recorded on the Rewired Tour in the U.K., this was Mike and the Mechanics' final tour with Paul Carrack! Includes hits and favorites from the Mechanics' catalog plus bonus interviews with Carrack and Rutherford, behind-the-scenes footage, and music videos!
 

 

Select Recommended Titles by
 
Andrew Roachford


Very Best of Roachford (2005)
European Compilation featuring favorites like the hit "Cuddly Toy", "Only To Be With You", "Get Ready!", "How Could I?", "Family Man" and much more!
 


Heart of the Matter (2004)
One of Andrew's more recent projects featuring the title track, "Walk On", "The Pressure", "Ordinary Life", Take U High", "Love Games", and more!

For more CD titles by Mike and the Mechanics and Andrew Roachford, please visit the World of Genesis on-line shop.

Special thanks to Andrew and Stephen Roachford for this interview. For more on Mike and the Mechanics' 2011 album, please check out their official website. For more on Andrew Roachford's solo career, check out his official website. This interview 2011 Dave Negrin and may not be reprinted in whole or in part without permission.

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