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Interview: Bassist ROB DE LUCA from Spread Eagle, UFO, & Sebastian Bach

Rob De Luca is a bassist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer. He has toured the world over the past 11 years as the bassist in UFO and wrote songs and recorded on UFO’s 21st studio album “A Conspiracy Of Stars” in addition to   their self-produced 22nd studio album, “The Salentino Cuts”. De Luca has also been  the bassist in the SEBASTIAN BACH band for the past 13 years(. They toured as direct support for GUNS N’ ROSES on their “2006-2012 Chinese Democracy World Tours” ) . Rob is a founding member of SPREAD EAGLE and produced their third album, slated for an August 9, 2019 released on Frontiers SRL Records, “Subway to the Stars”.

Rob has also toured and/or recorded in: JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, HELMET (supporting GUNS N’ ROSES), GEORGE LYNCH (DOKKEN/LYNCH MOB), VINNIE MOORE, MIKE CHLASCIAK (ROB HALFORD) and OF EARTH. De Luca has recorded for Grammy-winning “Producer of the Year” STEVE LILLYWHITE, and for Grammy-winning “Album of the Year” engineer, TOM CAMUSO.

Finally, after talking about doing an interview for several years since I first met him in Belfast our respective stars finally aligned, and we sat down for the long-awaited conversation.


ANTIHERO: Glad we have been finally able to organise this. Are you having a rest at the moment?

Rob De Luca: I’m at home in New York City. Right. But we leave tomorrow for Germany with UFO.

ANTIHERO: Obviously, the tour was interrupted by the sad passing of Paul Raymond. I just wondered how that affected you both personally and as a band.

Rob De Luca: Well, I certainly got along with Paul really well, you know, I thought he was a cool guy and  he’s obviously a legendary musician, personally we were friends.

So, it was, it was shocking  , I mean, you feel bad  for him, for his family and for the fans. It also makes you think about mortality, you know,  death is a weird thing.The thing that was confusing, one of the things that was really confusing about it was it was only eight days after our last show.   Paul was totally kicking ass on that last show and the shows before that, it was sold out  in London. He seemed the opposite of someone who was going to pass away. You know, he was so full of energy and his girlfriend was there and  it was just  a  great way to end the tour.  It was almost unbelievable that he passed.

 He was older than us, I guess he was like 73-74, so he’s definitely  older than everyone. But I didn’t think that was going to happen. He was, there was something youthful about him. That’s what I was trying to say. You know, he looked amazing for his age. Yeah, musically I never played with any other rhythm guitarist, keyboard player in UFO. So,  , that’s very strange,  but Neil Carter was in the band in the 80s and, and he’s doing a really great job. He’s a really great musician. We’re working lucky to have him and he’s a really nice guy too. So,  we’re, carrying on, you know, just the only thing we can do.

ANTIHERO: I had just wondered regarding Neil, rejoining the band, was it a simple case of Phil had still been in touch with him over the years and he just, gave him a call? Alternatively, was suggested to you and the rest of the band? How did he come to step back into the band again?

Rob De Luca: Well, I’m, I wasn’t privy to that decision and I’m gonna assume that Phil made that decision. I mean ultimately, of course, he makes the final decision in all things relating to the band. I don’t know who originally thought about it. I don’t think that Phil and Neil have been in contact much in all those years he was gone, it was the right move because you have to if you’re going to continue on, even just to finish the tour, you have to make the fans happy. Yeah. You can’t totally freak the fans out with like, you know, just something that’s just really odd and confusing and out of place. So, Neil has a history with the band, so it made sense.

ANTIHERO: I actually went to the Manchester show. and in my opinion and other’s opinion, the band were absolutely incredible I mean I see the band at your peak. Is it really going to be the end? I mean, is there another album maybe from UFO?

Rob De Luca: I haven’t heard anything. Yeah, I would love to continue, with UFO. One of my favourite bands since I was a kid, I saw them when I was in high school. You know, I was one of the kids standing on my chair and move like with my fist in the air, you know, so the band means a lot to me. It’s not just a gig that I got, you know, that’s a good gig. You gotta take it cause it’s a good gig. It was a band   that I listened to since I was kid. So, it means a lot to me. I’d love to keep going for as long as, as Phil wants to, you know.I haven’t heard anything. We have a show next March on a cruise. that was booked before Paul passed.I haven’t heard anything else, but I’d be open for everything. Absolutely. A record would be fantastic, you know. Yeah, of course. Maybe a Live album, you know.

ANTIHERO: Returning to the reason we are chatting-There is finally a new Spread Eagle album, 13 years in the making. Why has it taken so long?

Rob De Luca: Well, there’s no good reason. , but I guess if you, if you want to go through it, what happened was   we got back together in 2006 and we went through a couple of guitarists who were good but not the perfect guitar fit for Spread Eagle. We tried to write with one of those guitar players, we wrote some songs that were good, but they weren’t quite good enough. kinda just, you know, we decided to do some shows and have some fun. Then we got our newest guitar player, Ziv Shalev who’s the perfect fit. We still  weren’t ready to, you know, cross that bridge yet of, of new songs. After we played in Germany and the UK in 2017, Frontier’s contacted me about doing a new record and I talked to the guys and I told them, if you’re going to wait 25 years, 26 years or whatever it is to release a record, it’s got to be a career-defining record.

It’s gotta be great. You know? And they said they were up to it. And we, along with the reviews and the responses we’re getting, I think we made that record  that we needed to.

ANTIHERO: What prompted the recording location? Apparently, it’s the same location as while you recorded your debut release.

Rob De Luca: well that’s, not quite accurate, that’s where we rehearsed it and wrote it. It’s just centrally located. I mean, , if you lived in Manhattan,  you would know it. Well, it’s an entire building of about, , 12 or 13 floors full of, of rehearsal spaces and in, Manhattan in this day and age, that’s pretty unheard of. It’s been around since the 60s and all anything like that’s been around in Manhattan is it’s changed to or has been converted to condos or Starbucks or whatever, you know, it’s h and m shopping, whatever.

So, this place, it’s, it’s been a rehearsal building since the 60s. It’s a famous place. Madonna lived there in her rehearsal room when she was a nobody, there’s no bathroom in the room. There’s a bathroom on each floor, but it’s pretty rough, you know? It’s a famous place. It’s not the only place to rehearse in the Manhattan area, but it’s the most legendary and it’s where I’ve rehearsed my whole, my whole life. So,  if  I know, what you’re alluding to is  the same place that we created  that magical first album. And I was, I had that in mind that, hey, this is cool. You know, we’ve come full circle and hopefully, it’ll give us back a little vibe of what you know of, of the band. And I think that place always does. It’s just a dirty, dirty rock and roll building, you know, so it’s hard not to  make good rock music in that building.

ANTIHERO: What about the songwriting process? Is it that Ray writes all the lyrics- all the vocals, or is it a fully a band process where everybody gets involved throughout in terms of music, vocals?

Rob De Luca: Yeah. As I said, we all write. I write a lot of lyrics, you know, and I’ll always have done in Spread Eagle to most other bands I’ve been in, so yeah, we all write-. it’s definitely a group effort.

ANTIHERO: Do you see, then, (obviously we have discussed the end possibly of UFO), but when the final tour is over do you think then that you’d be focusing primarily on Spread Eagle as your primary job. Will it be your sole focus?

Rob De Luca: I mean it’s that I’m, kinda crazy. Like, of course, you have to prioritize things in life, but as far as focus, I focus on everything  and the people who know me know   I’m crazy like that. So, I’ll do no matter what’s going on, I’ll get it done. So, but, as far as my day job, I’d like to turn it into my day job. You know, I’m also touring with Sebastian Bach for 13, 14 years, you know. So I have to pay the rent but, but yeah, that’s, that’s the plan.

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ANTIHERO: Personally, songs only really take wings when they are played live before an audience-I just wonder there in terms of Spread Eagle, do you have a touring schedule? What’s the plan? What’s the focus on promoting that new album?

Rob De Luca: I think in the fall we’re going to start and we’re going to continue through the year and into 2020 and we will tour as much as possible until we go into the studio to make our next record.

ANTIHERO: Any countries confirmed? I mean I’m thinking obviously Europe, and the UK will it feature or are the band going to focus primarily on America initially?

Rob De Luca: I think we’re going to try to get everywhere, but the fact that we’ve played in Germany and the UK before, we’re definitely going to be focused on those. You know, building our following there further. One thing about the UK is just, you know, I love touring there, UFO are a UK band and Spread Eagle has been there previously. Even back in the early nineties, we got really great press there. So, I think it’s the type of country that appreciates Spread Eagle, you know, so absolutely we want to get back to the UK.

ANTIHERO: Will those be headlining shows? Or are, you looking to get or secure a major tour support for those UK shows? I just wondering in terms of your standing as a band in the UK where you are right now

Rob De Luca:  we’d be open to anything, but, most likely they’d be in clubs. , and you know we have no ego. We just want to play because we think our music stands up for itself. So we’ll open for people, or people can open for us.  , that’s not a concern of ours. We’re focused on much bigger things than that. So, whatever it takes.

ANTIHERO: I’m thinking more in terms of finance because it’s getting increasingly more expensive for us bands s to come over to the UK and play Europe. So that’s where I’m going with that.

Rob De Luca: Absolutely. Yeah. And we would certainly have to take that into consideration. So you know, we just want to get our music exposed and especially our new album, Subway To The Stars. Yeah. We want to get that exposed. So we’ll pull whatever it takes, you know, we’ll make it work.

ANTIHERO: Okay. You’ve worked with many musicians, some music legends over the years. Probably it’s a bit unfair to pick the most influential that you’ve worked with.

Rob De Luca: UFO is the most legendary name that I’ve worked with. I mean, that’s not even picking favourites. It’s just logic, you know.

ANTIHERO: What about in terms of individual musicians that you feel personally taught you and helped you that you’ve worked with?

Rob De Luca: That’s a good question. Well, Vinnie Moore of course. Phil Mogg, of course, you know, Sebastian Bach, you know, it’s hard not to learn from watching Sebastian Bach. He’s just such a, an incredible frontman. And he’s the whole world of interviewing and, and meeting people. He’s, he’s just got it down to an art

Ray West is an incredible singer.  he’s been my friend, -the singer in Spread Eagle. He’s been my friend for almost 30 years. So it’s great making music with him mostly just because we like each other so much. You know, like, we’re true friends, Ziv Shalev-, the guitar player of Spread Eagle is very inspiring. he’s just such a monster musician and just knows so much about music. Spread Eagles drummer Rick De Luca is amazing to play with him. We spend most of the time together, he’s my cousin. like for instance, for this record, we did 15 to 20 rhythm section rehearsals before anyone else came in.

Just drums and bass. Just getting the rhythms and the feels, grooves and, the tempos, you know, we would try different tempos, different arrangements, and then Ziv came in and you know, it was very obvious what was working know, what was there, what was happening. So it would make it easier for them to come up with great arrangements. I worked very closely with Rick and that’s very inspiring of how just professional he is. And He’s also a multi-instrumentalist and fantastic drummer. So, a lot of inspiring musicians definitely. We opened up for Guns and Roses when I played with Sebastian. Guns and Roses on about, I’d say a hundred shows on the Chinese Democracy tours and just watching Axl Rose and hanging out with him was incredible. That guy is where he is for a reason.

He is not a normal human being. He’s like an Uber being, you can’t explain it, but I think if he was a plumber, he would be the most famous plumber. Like there’s something about that guy that is just so not normal. And I hung out with them on many occasions and he’s a very nice guy. Not anything like what the press portrays because the press doesn’t really know him. He’s very funny, very generous and very brilliant. But anyway, that was probably the most influential musician I’ve ever been around.

ANTIHERO: Do you still have career and life goals that remain unfulfilled?

Rob De Luca: I mean, I’d like to be financially stable from music, you know, that would be great. I’d like to keep rising up with my profile as you know as a musician and also personally. In bands as a bass player and also let’s say, as a songwriter So I’m always, I’m always hungry. I’m always looking to better myself and better my situation.

ANTIHERO: What in your life would you be most proud of?

Rob De Luca: My relationship with my woman. I say, you know, the songs I’ve written. Those things and being a good person actually all that stuff is just being a good person. I think people who know me know that I at least try to be good to everyone I meet.

ANTIHERO: Just a final one then. If the rules were reversed, who would you like to most sit down for an interview with you asking the questions?  maybe not even a musician. Somebody that’s inspired you-. A personal hero?

Rob De Luca:  I would say, Axl Rose, dead or alive? I’d say Malcolm Young, but yeah, dead definitely Malcolm Young or Rick Wright from Pink Floyd, and living probably Axl Rose.

ANTIHERO: Thank you very much. Love the album As I say, I would love to see you guys performing those songs and of course the other albums here in the UK.

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Mark Dean

I'm a 40+ music fan. Fond mostly of rock and metal - my staple musical food delights. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am now based in the UK-Manchester. I have a hectic musical existence with regular shows and interviews. Been writing freelance for five years now with several international websites. Passionate about what I do, I have been fortunate already to interview many of my all-time musical heroes. My music passion was first created by seeing Status Quo at the tender age of 15. While I still am passionate about my rock and metal, I have found that with age my taste has diversified so that now I am actually dipping into different musical genres and styles for the first time.

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