“Undress Your Madness” by Pretty Maids was one of my favourite albums of 2019 and the song “Serpentine” was probably the track of the year. When the album was released in November, singer Ronnie Atkins was in the midst of a battle with cancer. A few months later he has made good progress and Pretty Maids have just released the album “Maid in Japan – Back to the Future World” through Frontiers Music. I had the opportunity to chat with Ronnie via Skype on 3rd June. We chatted about the recent Pretty Maids releases, his ongoing battle with lung cancer, the impact of Covid-19, his involvement in the Nordic Union project and more.

You can hear that interview on the Friday NI Rocks Show from 5th June which is now available from our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-ronnie-atkins-from-pretty-maids-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-5th-june-2020/

 

 

 

 


The interview will be transcribed and posted here later.

Playlist

SCREAMING EAGLES – Screaming Eagles

AXEL RUDI PELL – Wings of the Storm

THUNDERMOTHER – Driving in Style

BLACK STAR RIDERS – Candidate for Heartbreak

PRETTY MAIDS – SERPENTINE

Interview with Ronnie Atkins Pt1 (9 min)

PRETTY MAIDS – Future World (Live)

Interview with Ronnie Atkins Pt2 (6 min)

PRETTY MAIDS – Undress Your Madness

Interview with Ronnie Atkins Pt3 (6 min)

PRETTY MAIDS – Rodeo (Live)

NORDIC UNION – When Death Is Calling

AVANTASIA – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

BLACKWATER CONSPIRACY – Soul Revolutionaries

KRIS BARRAS BAND – What a Way To Go

SMACKBOUND – Those Who Burn

BLACK ROSE MAZE – In The Dark

ARTIC RAIN – Lost

KROKUS – Fire

SAXON – Big Teaser

WHITESNAKE – Child of Babylon

SHOTGUN MISTRESS – Save Me From Myself

RESTIVE NATION – Coma

WARKINGS – Warrior

PAT MCMANUS BAND – Belfast Boy

 

 

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NI ROCKS – Hi Ronnie. Thanks for taking some time to chat with us. Pretty Maids have just released a new live album, which we’ll talk about in a moment. However, we just played the track “Serpentine” from the band’s last studio album “Undress Your Madness”. That was my favourite track from last year. Can you tell us something about it?

RONNIE – Well, I can tell you that it was mine too! (laughs). That’s actually one of my favourite tracks from the “Undress Your Madness” album. What can I say? It pretty much represents what Pretty Maids has been about for at least the last ten years, or the last era of the band. A good song, good riff, good melodic hook and stuff like that. I think you’ve got all the ingredients that a good Pretty Maids song should have really.


NI ROCKS – It’s a great track and I absolutely love it! I mentioned that there was a new live album. “Maid in Japan – Back to the Future World” was released by Frontiers Music on 22nd May. Most of that album is a live performance of the “Future World” album. What was the thinking behind doing a live album at this point and why did you decide to record it in Japan?

RONNIE – First of all, it was originally meant to be recorded in the Spring of 2018 on the European tour; but I got sick back then in Switzerland. I was actually hospitalised for a couple of days and we had to cancel the last three gigs on the tour. So we had to have a Plan ‘B’ and that ended up being Japan, because we had never recorded any videos or DVDs down there. It was kind of an obvious choice and since Japan has been like a second home county for the last thirty years. Germany and Japan have always been big markets for us and that was like a tongue in cheek, natural choice I guess. The whole idea actually started in the Fall or Winter of 2017, which was actually the year that “Future World” had its 30th anniversary. We actually do these gigs in Denmark and Scandinavia every year in December – or used to – and just to do something else that year we decided why don’t we play the whole of “Future World”. Then some promoters from Germany and Japan and requested us to do the “Future World” album there as well. So it’s actually like the 31st anniversary (laughs) – anyway! But it was great doing it in Japan and we had a great night. We played for two nights and we swapped around – we played “Future World” in it’s entirely both nights and we swapped the other, different songs. It was really two great nights with a very enthusiastic audience as always in Japan.


NI ROCKS – You mentioned that there were other tracks. In addition to the nine tracks from “Future World”, there are five other live tracks on the new live album. Was there any particular rationale behind which tracks you added to the setlist?

RONNIE – We chose those songs on the first night, like “Kingmaker”, “Mother of All Lies” and “Bulls Eye” because they had never been released anywhere before. We hadn’t recorded those before that, so that was an obvious choice. On the second night we actually played some very different stuff, back from the 80’s and 90’s –stuff like that. I can’t remember exactly what songs we did; we just played some songs that we hadn’t played in forever. That was good fun and that motivates you a bit to do that. It’s always problematic to pick a set list because we might not always have the same opinion on what songs we should play. It calls for a bit of diplomacy sometimes! (laughs)


NI ROCKS – The drummer on the live album and on “Undress Your Madness” was Allan Sorensen, but he left the band last year. Has the band found a replacement for him yet?

RONNIE – Yeas, we actually got Allan Tschicaja back in - our original drummer. Not our original drummer, but the guy who has been drumming for us since 2005 I guess. He’s actually back in the band. He was just back in the band for a couple of gigs before I got sick, but he was supposed to stay in the band, and still is. I got sick and we had to cancel the whole European tour; all the gigs we had in December last year, and the rest is history. Then the damned corona virus came along and now everything is up in the air and everything so unpredictable. So when people ask me when are you going to go out live, I say ‘well, ask your government’! It’s as unpredictable for us as it is for everybody else, and on top of that we have this damn cancer that I have been dealing with; which is awful. It’s a pain in the arse, literally! So everything is a little unpredictable right now. But we never toured, we never played one single song from the “Undress Your Madness” album, so we’d love to go out and do that, absolutely! Let’s see what happens.


NI ROCKS – You kind of pre-empted my next question which was that normally when you do a new album you go out and tour, but we are in strange times. Are you probably looking at 2021 you reckon before you start touring again in all likelihood?

RONNIE – We’re not going to do any new material until we’ve been out promoting that album. We don’t have any plans for doing that – let’s put it that way. We speak now and then to each other, but we haven’t seen other since August last year, or the beginning of September. Let’s see what happens. We’ve a 40th anniversary coming up before too long and maybe we might do something or record something! I don’t know. We haven’t planned anything, but we’ve got......for us “Undress Your Madness” is still like a brand new album; we haven’t played a song from it live. I just hope we will at some point hopefully!


NI ROCKS -  You mentioned Covid 19 there. How have you been dealing with the lockdown?

RONNIE – Well for me it has just been horrible; as it has for everybody. At first I was in like six months isolation I felt, because I didn’t seen a lot of people. I went to all these treatments and stuff like that – radiation therapy and chemo and that crap. Then this corona thing came along and everyone was isolated. I was looking forward so much to going out and seeing people in the spring and summer for some of the festivals. So it’s been as bad an experience for me as for everybody else. I really feel sad for the whole rock n roll community. Not just for the musicians but for the fans and the crews. This is the time of the season when we make our money, because we might not make anything in October, November and December. For all the people behind the scene – the crews, the agencies etc – that is just a horrible situation and it’s hard to compensate for that. And for the fans, some people are looking forward all year to go to Glastonbury or Wacken or whatever – that’s their holiday, that’s their vacation – and it’s not going to happen in 2020. That’s something we’ve not had before.


NI ROCKS – It’s a strange situation! Some bands have been doing some live streaming and things like that. Have you given any thought to doing live streaming or Q&As or that kind of stuff?

RONNIE – We haven’t really thought about doing anything like that. We haven’t talked about it. I did participate in this thing that Chris Laney, our keyboard player and some of the old Pretty Maids members who aren’t in the band anymore, did called ‘At The Movies’. That was actually the first time that I got out of my house and back into a vocal booth. I did a cover of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner! That’s all I have been doing really. We haven’t talked about doing anything. These days people are starting to do these drive-in concerts, but that doesn’t move me.

NI ROCKS – No, it’s a strange concept!

RONNIE – It’s a concept and if some people can get some money out of it yeah! But I wouldn’t drive into somewhere and watch a concert. The thing about going to a concert is about being together – that’s rock n roll. Having a good time together. You can’t do that sitting in a car – it doesn’t appeal to me. Not at all!


NI ROCKS – We’ll play a track from the new live album now. Do you want to pick a track from that album to play – and tell us why.

RONNIE – I would probably pick the title track “Future World”. It’s probably one of my all time favourite Pretty Maids songs. That song in particular very much defined what the band is all about. To this day it’s one of the songs that I still enjoy playing – one of the songs from back then. You always have certain songs where you think ahh I’m going to do that tonight or ohh we’re going to do that again, but some songs you have to play because people expect you to play. “Future World” I still enjoy doing. There are other songs I enjoy doing, but that is probably my favourite track.


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Last Updated (Sunday, 22 November 2020 16:32)