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Magnum at Birmingham Town Hall - Interview

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Veteran band back on the road
Reinvention is the name of the game for veteran hard rock group Magnum. The band return for the latest tour in a 40-year career (including a show at Birmingham Town Hall on March 2) with a new album and new additions to the line-up.

Magnum, Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Al Barrow, Rick Benton, Lee Morris, Lost on the Road to Eternity, Town Hall Birmingham


Alongside original members, vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin, and long-standing bassist Al Barrow, (who has been in the group since 2001), are new keyboardist Rick Benton and drummer Lee Morris. Rick joined the Magnum camp in December 2016 to replace Mark Stanway, while Lee took over from Harry James in the summer.

Tony explains: "Harry has two other bands, Thunder and Snakecharmer, and it became more and more difficult to coordinate our schedules. I must admit that I was reluctant to let him go, but after Lee had drummed for us for the first time and we realised that he adds even more rhythmic complexity to our songs, I'm more than happy with the line-up change."

Magnum, Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Al Barrow, Rick Benton, Lee Morris, Lost on the Road to Eternity, Town Hall Birmingham


Tony feels just as positive about Rick Benton. "Rick has brought a breath of fresh air and interesting ideas into the band. His style is carefully considered and he seems to know intuitively what enhances our material. You just have to give him a rough idea of the arrangement and he immediately comes up with a perfect solution.''

The new album, Lost On The Road To Eternity, has been hailed as one of Magnum's most inspired, diverse, exhilarating and alluring albums.

Reflecting on the reason for the new creative zenith, songwriter Tony Clarkin says: "As I had started to write the songs even before we embarked on our most recent tour, I subsequently had time to let my initial ideas sink in for a few weeks, which helped me realise that I was on the right path..

"That was a good feeling which inspired me to write more powerful numbers. Apart from that, the usual Magnum formula applied: I go to the studio, try out ideas on the guitar or on the keyboards and do my damnedest to write the best Magnum song of all time."

Magnum, Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Al Barrow, Rick Benton, Lee Morris, Lost on the Road to Eternity, Town Hall Birmingham


The album's title track features a duet between Bob Catley and Edguy/ Avantasia frontman Tobias Sammet, a kind of artistic thank-you in appreciation of Bob's guest stint on various of Sammet projects. Lost On The Road To Eternity was additionally enhanced by atmospheric arrangements courtesy of the Wolf Kerschek orchestra.

It has already found favour with fans while last album, 2016's Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies, crashed into the UK top 40 at number 31, Lost On The Road To Eternity has this week debuted at number 15.

Magnum, Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Al Barrow, Rick Benton, Lee Morris, Lost on the Road to Eternity, Town Hall Birmingham


Magnum 2018 UK tour dates:

February 20: Trinity, Bristol;
February 21: Tramshed, Cardiff;
February 22: Picturedome, Holmfirth;
February 24: Academy 2, Manchester;
February 25: Welly, Hull;
February 26: Garage, Aberdeen;
February 27: Garage, Glasgow;
March 1: Limelight, Belfast;
March 2: Town Hall, Birmingham;
March 4: Guildhall, Preston;
March 5: Rock City, Nottingham;
March 7: Assembly, Leamington;
March 8: Junction, Cambridge;
March 9: Islington Assembly Hall, London;
March 10: Engine Room, Southampton;
March 12: Old Market, Brighton.


Magnum, Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Al Barrow, Rick Benton, Lee Morris, Lost on the Road to Eternity, Town Hall Birmingham
Venue: Birmingham Town Hall
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Why? Veteran band back on the road
When: Touring from February 20, 2018. Playing Birmingham Town Hall on March 2.
Phone: 021 780 3333
Where: Birmingham Town Hall and touring
Cost: 30.50 plus fees
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