Bass player Rob De Luca was one of the founding members of the band Spread Eagle back in 1989. The band’s self titled debut album in 1990 was highly praised, but by the time their second album was released in 1992 the rock music scene had changed and the band split not long after. In 2006 Spread Eagle reformed but it wasn’t until 9th August 2019 that a new album “Subway To The Stars” was released by Frontiers Music. In the interim Rob has also been part of Sebastian Bach’s band and plays bass for rock icons UFO.

 

I was fortunate enough to grab some time with Rob late on 25th August just before he headed off on a ten week tour across the USA; first of all with Sebastian Bach and then UFO. We chatted on the phone about the new Spread Eagle album, the history of the band, touring with Sebastian Bach, playing with UFO and his other band, Of Earth.


You can hear that interview on the Friday NI Rocks Show from 30th August which is now available from our MixCloud page – https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-rob-de-luca-from-spread-eagle-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-on-30th-august-2019/

 

The interview has been typed up and posted below.

 

 


 

Check out the Spread Eagle Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/spreadeaglenyc/ - and Rob’s page - https://www.facebook.com/robdeluca2012/


 

Playlist for the Show

SCREAMING EAGLES – Save Me

AIRBOURNE – Boneshaker

DEVILSKIN – All Fall Down

BLACK STAR RIDERS – Ain’t The End of the World

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS – Get The F*ck Out of Here

KOBURG – Warrior’s Blood

SNOW WHITE BLOOD – Lullaby for the Undead

BLACKRAIN – Hellfire

ROXY BLUE – Too Hot To Handle

SKID ROW – Midnight / Tornado

SPREAD EAGLE – Sound of Speed

Interview with ROB DE LUCA Part 1 (9 min)

SPREAD EAGLE – Dead Air

Interview with ROB DE LUCA Part 2 (9 min)

SPREAD EAGLE – More Wolf Than Lamb

Interview with ROB DE LUCA Part 3 (8 min)

SPREAD EAGLE – Cut Through

OF EARTH – Heart of the Hard Drive

UFO – King of the Hill

WEAPONS OF ANEW – Killshot

ARDOURS – The Mist

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS – Nothing Lasts Forever

BEYOND THE BLACK – Through The Mirror

KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD – Long Time Running

KRIS BARRAS BAND – What You Get

BLACKWATER CONSPIRACY – Roll The Dice

ROCKETT LOVE – Take Me Home


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NI ROCKS – Hi Rob, thanks for taking some time to talk to Rock Radio NI; I know things are quite hectic at the minute. We’ll talk more about the new Spread Eagle album in a moment. We just played the track “Sound of Speed”. What can you tell us about that track?

ROB – That track is pretty straight forward. We wanted to write songs that had a lot of momentum to them – just the way they sounded and felt. We were trying to write riffs like that and that one popped out. The whole song popped out really quickly actually. We thought it was a good choice for a first single, and luckily Frontiers came to the same decision without even discussing it. I guess it was pretty obvious. I knew pretty early on that that was the song that I thought would be really good to reintroduce the band after all that time.


NI ROCKS – The new album “Subway to the Stars” was released on 9th August by Frontiers Music. Where was the album recorded and who did the band work with?

ROB – We recorded it in Brooklyn, New York at Studio E, a place we call Grammylicious. I produced it along with Tom Camuso, who is a Grammy award winning engineer. I engineered it along with Tom and it was mixed by Daniel Brecher and mastered by Howie Weinberg.


NI ROCKS – The band reformed initially in 2006 for a few shows. What sparked the reunion at that stage and I believe Chris Caffery and John Macaluso were recruited into the band; how did they get involved?

ROB – Our tour manager at the time, Ray Freeman Jr, who is the brother of the singer of Last In Line, Andy Freeman; were all friends from New York. Ray was the tour manager and he felt that because we‘d had such a long break, he wanted everyone in the band to have somewhat of a name to ensure that it would get some attention and do well. John Macaluso was a great friend of mine for ages, because he played on the second album “Open to the Public”. Chris, we had known from the clubs in New York City, but I didn’t know him that well. I think Ray West knew him a little bit better than me, but Chris is good friends with our tour manager Ray Freeman Jr. So, Ray wanted names, as I’ve mentioned, people who had been in other bands, and so we went with it. But, we only did about two weeks together with that line-up.

 


NI ROCKS -  Had the intention been really to stay as a touring band, playing festivals etc, rather than going back into the studio at that stage?

ROB – It was something that we didn’t talk about a whole lot, but that was probably our intention; because it seems a little easier. Making a record is a huge mountain to climb and everyone knows how hard the music business is and the state of finances in the music business. It’s a mountain! We were just having fun playing shows, but when we got home from our UK and German shows I got an e-mail from Frontiers and the band was up for the challenge. And we’re really happy with how “Subway to the Stars” came out, so I think it was obviously the right move, we just had to commit to it and I guess we’re very non-committal people (laughs), but once we do I think we deliver.


NI ROCKS – That was actually my next question - what influenced the decision to finally record a new album? So it was Frontiers that approached you. Is that what sparked the decision?

ROB – Yeah, they didn’t push it. They just asked us if we were interested. We actually tried to write some songs with a previous guitar player and it was ok, but it wasn’t Spread Eagle, so we weren’t really thinking about it much. We’d had Ziv (Shalev) in the band for six years at that point and it really felt like Spread Eagle again with him, especially with going overseas and having fun. Spread Eagle hadn’t been overseas, even though I go there quite often. We just had some momentum and good morale going, and they (Frontiers) asked, and I asked the guys. I said this is no joke, it’s a lot of work and sometimes for not much glory; but everyone was up for it. Now we’re ecstatic that we did it. It was obviously the right move and our fans are re-invigorated and believe in us even more now. We were like this cult rumour that – these are my words, this great band that should have been that never was. Now, we’ve shown them that we can write as good or better than we used to. We’ve never stopped doing this and we’ve almost thirty years more experience; or maybe twenty six years more experience. I think it really invigorated our fan base and it is stretching our fan base or expanding it. And it’s a good feeling. We’re really happy with how the record came out and the reviews are really fantastic. Things are looking good.


NI ROCKS – There are eleven tracks on the new album. Were they all written over the last couple of years or are some dating back a bit longer?

ROB – Eight are brand new. They were written after Frontiers asked us if we wanted to do a record. Three are either old, or partially old. Those three are “Dead Air” which was completely written years ago. “Solitaire” was written by Ray West and Paul DiBartolo for the “Open to the Public” album, or at least the demos for that album, but we already had so many ballads and mid-tempo stuff for that record. It needed a bridge in my opinion and didn’t seem as strong as the songs that did make the record, so it just got put on the shelf. Ray reminded me of it – we had a really great ballad written for this album and Ray West reminded me of “Solitaire” and how much that song means to him. I listened to it and I was blown away by it. It really is a stunning, stunning piece of art, but it still needed a bridge in my opinion, so we wrote a new bridge and we re-arranged it. Ziv did an incredible job and Rik (De Luca) did a bunch of shakers and percussion and we added some real cellos by a guy named Yoed Nir who does a lot of big sessions in New York City and everywhere. So that was the second song that was not brand new; and parts of “Gutter Rhymes for Valentines” I had years ago and it was just a song that didn’t come together back then and I just had it sitting on my hard drive. But eight songs were brand new.


NI ROCKS – We’ll play another track from the new album now. Can you pick a track and tell us something about it?

ROB – Let’s play “Dead Air”. Something about it is very epic. Even though it sounds nothing like, it reminds me of “Broken City”, such an ambitious piece of music. It’s really just stunning to me – it’s like a little movie – and everyone seems really impressed with it.

 

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NI ROCKS – You’ve played in Sebastian Bach’s band now for almost fifteen years and in UFO for more than ten years. I know you’re about to head off on tour with Sebastian, but I noticed his tour dates clash with the UFO dates during October and November; how do you manage that?

ROB – Well, I’m going to have to have someone come in. I’m going to do Bach dates until Albuquerque, New Mexico and then I’m going to fly home, switch out basses and clothes and then meet UFO in San Francisco for rehearsal. So someone will come in take over for me.


NI ROCKS – You obviously have those tour commitments with Sebastian and UFO and Ray West continues to perform with his other band Weapons of Anew. Are we likely to see more Spread Eagle tour dates in the near future to support the album?

ROB – Absolutely. We plan on starting in November to support this record and go for as long as the demand is there. I think it will most likely be in pieces. Wherever we can go, whenever we can go. But we absolutely have every intention of touring this record and doing everything we can to break it. There was never a discussion like let’s put it out, it’s a project and we’ll just see what happens. We’re a band and we’re a hungry band and we really just want to do anything it takes to show people our music and our live show and have people listen to “Subway to the Stars” and share it with friends and watch our videos and everything – play us on Spotify. So we’re going to get out there and do what real bands do and just promote it.

NI ROCKS – You’d like to get back to Europe again then and the UK hopefully?

ROB – I hope so, I really hope so. We’re going to try our hardest, absolutely. The band has a world plan. A lot of bands just look at their city, or their region or their country. Because I travel so much I don’t look at the world regionally, I look at the whole thing and Spread Eagle is definitely plugging into that concept; or I’m plugging that concept into Spread Eagle – however you look at it. We definitely want to be known everywhere. We don’t want to just work in America; we want everybody to hear our music.


NI ROCKS – We mentioned that you’ve been part of Sebastian Bach’s band since around 2005, I believe it was. How did you hook up with him originally?

ROB – Well, Sebastian liked Spread Eagle back in the day – back in 1990. He said some really, really nice things about us in the press. Which was great for us, because everybody is trying to peek their head above the pack and get noticed. We did a show down by where he lived in New Jersey and he came on stage and sang “Broken City” with us back in 1990 or ’91. So we were acquaintances, friends but not close, and then a couple of years later he decided to do some solo tunes. I think he wanted to do a solo record and he wanted me to play bass on that. That was in New York City at Electric Lady which was Jimi Hendrix’s studio in the Village. We did some tunes, but I don’t think his band wanted him to go out on his own; I don’t think they were happy or comfortable with him going solo, or at least that’s what I heard. So I don’t think it ever came out – it was Sebastian singing, me on bass, Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks on guitar, Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks on backing vocals and saxophone and Baz’s drummer and our dear, friend Bam Bam McConnell on drums – rest in peace. I think that the plan that he had was to have a solo career on the side, while in was in Skid Row, but I don’t think it ever came out. So he liked Spread, and I did that with him, so we became friends and years later we got in contact and he told me that Steve Di Giorgio was leaving the band. That was 2005 – I started with a couple of rehearsals and then started doing shows as soon as Steve left.


NI ROCKS – Are you on his solo albums – the last three – did you play on them?

ROB – No, I’m just in his touring band. He usually has – most of the time the guitar player plays bass, but he’s had Duff McKagan play on some songs too.

NI ROCKS - Would you like the chance to actually do an album with him at some stage?

ROB – Yeah, I’m open to anything, absolutely. I don’t sit around wondering what could happen because I have so much that is happening. If it’s making music – I’m certainly interested in it. If it’s making good music – I’m certainly interested in it! That doesn’t just go for him – that’s for everyone and everything.


NI ROCKS – The Sebastian Bach tour sees the band playing the album “Skid Row” in its entirety to mark the 30th anniversary of that release. That probably means playing some tracks that you wouldn’t normally play as part of the live set. Any in particular that you’re looking forward to playing?

ROB – I’ve just learnt four of them and I’d never even heard them, because even though Skid Row were huge I was too busy with Spread Eagle that I wasn’t really focused on them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to try to lie to anyone that the band was ubiquitous, they were everywhere you know; but it was certain songs. You turned on MTV you saw “I Remember You”, you saw the obvious ones. Beyond those songs I didn’t really know the band that well. I liked what I saw on TV and I really respected the fact that Sebastian had said some nice things about us, but I didn’t know these songs. So I’m just hearing them for the first time, but to answer your question I think... clock strikes midnight.....I’m just learning them so I’m not even sure of the names...clock strikes midnight (“Midnight / Tornado”) is fun to play and “Makin’ A Mess” is really fun to play, And there are a couple more that I’m learning. So I’m looking forward to playing them.


NI ROCKS – It’ll be the 30th anniversary of the release of the “Spread Eagle” album in 2020...next year. The album has already been re-mastered and re-released in 2006, but are there any plans to mark the anniversary of the release?

ROB – No, but it would be nice to do a tour to commemorate it and continue promoting “Subway to the Stars”. It would be very appropriate and beneficial to just keep touring and lump it all together for the album, the anniversary and whatever. I hope to do that.


NI ROCKS – We’ll get back to the “Subway to the Stars” album now and play another track. Again would you pick a track and tell us something about it?

ROB – Let’s lay “More Wolf Than Lamb”. I just think this is such an incredible, heavy vocal performance by Ray West. I think it’s a really cool track and is basically something about when the hunted becomes the hunter.

NI ROCKS – We’ll play that one. I’m glad you picked that, it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album.

ROB – Yeah, it’s such a kick-ass song!


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NI ROCKS – You’ve been part of UFO for their last two studio albums and co-wrote a few tracks on “A Conspiracy of Stars” – what has it been like being part of such an iconic band over those years?

ROB – It’s amazing – I tell anyone that. Anyone would jump at that gig, as far as being a bass player and having the opportunity to play in UFO – anyone would jump at that. However, UFO was a big band for me when I was a kid. I saw them when I was in high school, at the Tower Theatre outside Philadelphia. So it wasn’t just a gig you know – it was a special band for me. To have the chance to play with them is just really amazing. To play songs like “Love to Love” every night and “Only You Can Rock Me”; that’s a fun way to go through life, so I’m very lucky. It’s been incredible. I joined in 2008 and it’s just been really, really great.


NI ROCKS – The death of Paul Raymond earlier this year must have hit the band hard?

ROB – Yeah, it’s so strange when something like that happens. There’s no good way for it to happen – somebody goes quick, they go slow – it’s all the same end result. It’s just strange and you’re left with all these questions. But the thing that was so shocking was that it was only eight days after our UK tour ended and he was completely kicking ass in London, on that last show, and all the shows. The last night there was no indication that anything like that would happen any time soon. As you know, Paul looked very young for his age and he acted very young for his age. Even though he was older than everyone else, you just didn’t see it coming. We just didn’t see us coming and it knocked the wind out of us; it certainly did.


NI ROCKS – It’s ironic almost that what could well be the last studio album from UFO was actually a covers album. Who was involved in picking the tracks for “The Salentino Cuts”?

ROB – That was a long, hilarious process; because on tour....we would talk about it through e-mails prior to tour, and we’d be like yeah we’ll finalise it on tour. Then we get on tour, and every night we would have some beers and talk about it and make a list, and then in the morning that list would end up in the trash (laughs) and we’d start over. So it was a long, hilarious and sometimes frustrating process, but eventually....ultimately Phil has to pick songs for his voice, that he feels he can make his own. I don’t think that is just for UFO, I think in most bands you have to set your singer up to sound great. Ultimately Phil was picking the songs, but we were all making our suggestions and I think it’s a really cool record. We had a lot of fun doing it and we recorded it in Germany. It was very low stress and very fun.


NI ROCKS – The other band that you’re involved in is Of Earth, a band that you’re the lead vocalist in and in which your cousin Rik from Spread Eagle is also involved with. What can you tell us about that band?

ROB – That band is something I do just to kind of stretch my wings. It’s very different. It’s a rock band, but it’s more a rock band in the style of 1970’s Pink Floyd. It’s got heavy guitars, Hammond organs and we record to tape and all that. It’s very different, it’s much more about space and atmosphere and moves and lyrics. It’s just something that I need to do to show a different side of myself and I really love that band. I’ve just been so busy and right now my focus is Spread Eagle and breaking the “Subway to the Stars” record.


NI ROCKS – There have been two Of Earth albums – the self titled debut in 2010 and “The Monarch” in 2013. We’ll play a track from the band later in the Show. Which track you like to play?

ROB – How about “Heart of the Hard Drive”. We had three songs picked as the ‘Song of the Week’ on ‘Classic Rock Magazine’ and this song is one of them.


NI ROCKS – “Subway to the Stars” has obviously just been released, but has there been any thought given to a follow-up album or what does the future hold for Spread Eagle?

ROB – We definitely want to make another record, which would be our fourth record, and Frontiers has an option to pick up another record. If they want to do it, we’re down because we like this relationship. Frontiers are obviously a label that understands rock and in the past we’ve had a problem with that on MCA Universal. It’s a big label and they had a strong history of rock music in the 70’s with The Who and Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they got away from it and around when they signed us was when they were just getting back into rock. They were like an urban pop label and they decided to get back into rock and a lot of the bands suffered because the staff was....they were just trying to hire staff that understood heavy rock music and it was a very new staff. So we had some critiques of being on a label that just didn’t get us totally and didn’t get our genre that much. Now we’re on a label that is all about rock and we’re loving that so it would be great to make another record with Frontiers, absolutely.

NI ROCKS – A couple of years down the line I presume?

ROB – Yeah, we haven’t even toured this one yet, and the writing process, so it’ll be a while.


NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions that I have but we’ll finish with another track from the new album. So again the same question – pick a track and tell us something about it?

ROB – Let’s play “Cut Through”. The first song written for the record was “Subway to the Stars” and I think that musically and lyrically gave an identify to the album in my eyes. “Cut Through” was the second song written for the album that popped out right after the “Subway to the Stars” song popped out. I just think it’s a cool tune with a really muscly verse and Ray sings great on it. I just think it’s a cool vibe with a really nice guitar solo. I really like it.

NI ROCKS – We’ll play that. Again Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I know you’ve been very busy, so thanks again for talking to us.

ROB – My pleasure Nigel, thank you for calling so late. I really appreciate you doing that.

NI ROCKS – No problem. Best of luck with the album and the upcoming tours.


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Last Updated (Sunday, 28 March 2021 08:19)