Frontiers Music Srl proudly announces the release date of Kee Marcello’s new studio album Scaling Up on October 14th. With Scaling Up, Kee Marcello is using his past as a springboard to take a giant leap into the future! With the new music firmly grounded in the songwriting tradition that made him a multi-platinum rock star in the first place, Kee explores the boundaries of melodic hard rock with a contemporary performance that nods to his past and employs sizzling production. This is an album all his fans will have to pick their jaws up off the floor after hearing! Kee Marcello is a unique artist in the hard rock genre. He has never stopped evolving and growing as both a writer and a guitarist, and the new album illustrates how much he has managed to raise the bar yet again with both his guitar playing, singing, and writing. When Kee was in the UK recently, I had the opportunity to have a chat with him about a variety of topics from Europe to West Indian Voodoo!
Hi, and good afternoon Kee, pleasure to talk to you. You are currently here in the UK for your first time in quite some time. How has that been in terms of the shows played so far?
It’s been going fantastic, actually we the day before last we played at the Cavern in London. We did a surprise, secret gig for fans and tried out some new material. It was loads of fun. It was sweaty, hot, loud and everything that it should be. Yesterday we played in Wolverhampton at the Bilston Robin 2 and that was amazing. It was great to try out the new songs in front of a real audience. It went really well, it was fantastic and we are really looking forward to playing in Glasgow tonight.
Will the new album tracks be featuring a lot in the remaining UK shows?
Since this is actually a pre-album tour we cannot play all of the new material. There are three or four songs from the new album.
I was quite surprised that the new album utilizes two songs that have a long history. I am referring to “Wild Child” and “Don’t Know How to Love” which have been around since your days in Europe. What was special regarding those tracks that you have decided to rework them?
First of all, those were the direction that I wanted the band to go in in 2012. What happened was that the record company refused those songs. What you hear on the internet from Le Baron Boys is those songs. Under that name we actually played a sneaky gig at the Whisky a Go Go to try out new material. All those songs from Le Baron Boys are outtakes from Prisoners in Paradise. The record company thought that they were too heavy or they didn’t fit in to the idea that they had of us.
What musicians make up the Kee Marcello Band that are touring the UK currently? Are they the same players that are on the album?
Absolutely, that is the only band. There is Darby Todd playing the drums and Ken Sandin is playing the bass. The three of us are the actual Kee Marcello Band that is on tour. We also have a guitar player from Wales.
The album cover is quite eye catching and appears complex. Can you explain to me how it relates to the album title Scaling Up or some of the tracks on it?
What you see on the album cover is Papa Legba. This is kind of a weird story. When I moved to the West Indies in the nineties near to Haiti in the Dominican Republic, Voodoo is ever present. Papa Legba is one of the gods in that religion. He is the gatekeeper of the spiritual crossroads. It relates to the visions and all that. The song “Scaling Up” refers to the fact that I heard a lot of my colleagues talk about “cutting down” and almost semi-retiring. I was thinking to myself “that’s bullshit, I’m scaling up. I am going to go up from here you know. I am not going to cut down, I’m scaling up.” I just had this vision of having Papa Legba, the gatekeeper of the spiritual crossroads, climbing a ladder which is scaling up. He is in front of an apocalyptic forge that you see in the background. That is how it came about. I am really proud of the artwork by the way.
Kee, if we could just discuss your personal song-writing process. Do you have to take a different approach when writing for a solo album rather than writing for a band?
That’s a very good question. If there is a difference I guess I really thought of it as a band. As you can hear from this album it’s very band-orientated. Everything that we do is arranged to be performed as a band. I thought that I was doing that all the time but apparently not (Kee laughs). I am not the sort of guitar player that writes an instrumental album and just solos away. I want to write melodic songs, and have melodies in my music. That has always been the goal. This is quite possibly the best result that I have achieved.
You are renowned primarily for your guitar playing, but on listening to the album I was also very impressed with your vocals. That was quite a surprise to me.
Why thank you, not a lot of people know that I was always a singer. There were bands and then all of a sudden people have different roles in bands and it was arranged that I became the guitar player in Europe. For instance, for all the songs that I wrote for Easy Action and Europe I am singing the lead vocals. That is what I have been doing. It feels like second nature to me, and I think that I have got better at it. It’s like guitar playing – practice makes perfect. When you are touring a lot you get to practice and improve your abilities. I really enjoy doing both of those.
You seem to have a lot of different careers – musician, horse racing, and TV personality. You must be incredibly busy with so many roles?
I have to tell you that the most important for me right now is the Kee Marcello Band. That is what I want to focus on. The horse racing thing although I am a certified horse rider, it’s a long way from having a license and being a professional. The competition is fierce, and it is really tough. It is just my hobby because it gets me away from everything and is something completely different. Plus, my love of animals, that is something that I enjoy doing to cleanse my brain so to speak and my soul. I love it. The TV personality thing I have been doing that just because it’s fun. It’s been quite strange. It comes from me being a celebrity in Sweden. I don’t see that as a career. It’s just been a coincidence that I have just being doing a couple of things. I definitely prefer standing on stage with the Kee Marcello Band than being on TV.
Outside of your solo career and with Europe you have contributed to many musical projects over the years. Who has been the most inspiring musician that you have ever worked with?
Oh, that’s a good one. It is impossible to name just one. I would have to talk about the Kee Marcello Band again. This all started with the tour manager that booked the UK tour for us last year. We went all over England and did a one week UK tour with this band. I got a lot of the ideas for the music for the new album. I got inspiration from playing with these great musicians. That’s when the organic sound that we got on the album was created. For the first time in a long time it just felt like with this drummer and this bassist it would create this great sound. We didn’t have to do anything the studio except mix it. That’s what we did, we just booked the studio and did it old school.
Just to finish with a couple of questions. Looking back at your musical career how does it make you feel? Is it a case of a job well done, or just the beginning of a chapter?
Oh, I must say that I am extremely proud of my career. Absolutely. I have done amazing things that a lot of people will never experience. I am still so happy to see all the fans that come to the shows and contact me over social media. I am very proud of what I have done, but it’s not over yet. It’s just the beginning. This time is just all that we have time for, after this I go back to Sweden. Then the Kee Marcello Band starts up again in November, Finland and we continue in Scandinavia. We will be doing more touring around the rest of the world next year. The next time that we come back to the UK will probably be in a year.
What was your first introduction to music?
According to my mum, it was when I was three or four years old. I got a toy plastic electric guitar and I was playing in front of the telly to the Beatles. Standing in front of Paul McCartney and playing a plastic guitar-that was probably the first one.
Just to wrap it up, you have done many interviews, but who would you personally like to interview?
Wow, that’s a good question. Let me think for a second. I think that I would like to interview Bob Dylan, that would be cool. Probably to catch him on a good day. He might be a nice bloke. I have heard a lot of people say that he is a grumpy old guy but I would really like to speak to him about the way that he approaches lyric writing. That would be very interesting.