The unique saxophonist Albie Donnelly talks about Supercharge, Charles Brown, B.B.King, Queen & Lady Gaga

Albie Donnelly is a singer/saxophonist and bandleader began his career in London as a session musician playing on recordings by Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats, Graham Parker and many others. In 1973 he formed the now legendary band SUPERCHARGE. The band’s blend of R. ‘n’ B. and Funk plus their wild on- (and off!) stage-show made them a sensation on the British 70’s live- club scene.


In the 80’s the band signed with Virgin Records and toured extensively in GB and all over Europe with such names as Ray Charles, Fats Domino, B.B.King, Chuck Berry and Queen – culminating in the Hyde Park concert in front of more than 100,000 people.

From then on Albie has led successful tours all over Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France, Poland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland) and recently back home again in GB, confirming the bandleaders consistent popularity.

His soulful voice and unique horn-sound attest to his R‘n’B roots and his being steeped in the music of the all-time greats. 

Quote from B.B.King: “SUPERCHARGE is Europe’s finest Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Band.”

Since 1992 Albie is doing some solo records as well and published his first solo album „The Spirit In Me“ which contains a selection of some personal favourite songs.

This record is to be regarded kind of biographic. Beside his own songs one can find tunes of Albie’s favourite musicians like Charles Brown, Duke Ellington and more.

But that’s not all!

For more than 10 years a saxophone workshop book “Sax Tricks & Rock ’n’ Roll” written by Albie Donnelly is available. Aiming at the R&B sax-player it not only shows useful tricks and playing techniques but tells a lot of entertaining anecdotes of Albie Donnelly’s musical life.

In 1993 Albie recorded with the Supercharge horn-section a sampling CD/CD Rom for professional studio work. Worldwide distributed as “Albie Donnelly’s Killerhorns I&II” this sampler got the best reviews among experts

Of course Albie Donnelly is available as special guest to support other bands with his fantastic saxophone sound, too.

 

Interview by Michael Limnios

 

Albie,  when was your first desire to become involved in the music?

When I heard Elvis Presly

 

Who were your first idols?

Elvis, Benny Goodman ,Gene Vincent ,Frank Sinatra

 

Which artists have you worked with?

B.B.King, Queen, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, I Have recorded with Bob Geldof, Graham Parker, The Boomtown Rats, Helloween and some even stranger bands

 

Which of the people you have worked with do you consider the best?

Mutt Lange produced 3 Lp,s for Supercharge and I did many sessions for him, he is the most successful record producer ever so it doesn’t get much better than that

 

 Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

Best moment is to come, worst moment is when a gig gets cancelled

 

What does the BLUES mean to you?

Freedom not to work in a factory

 

Is “blues” a way of life?

I,m always pretty Happy and content to blow those blues away

 

Do you think the younger generations are interested in the blues?

Most of them buy dumb music made by dumb fools,and think Britney Spears Lives on the Moon,, so if they like Blues they are keeping it very Quiet

 

Which of your work would you consider to be the best?

The Next

 

Three words to describe your sound & your progress

Keep on Tryin

 

How is your relationship with BB King

Well, he,s the King and I,m one of his loyal subjects?

 

I wonder if you could tell me a few things about the story of the Hyde Park concert

Big Park, 100.000, 200.000 people, Queen, Kiki Dee, Steve Hillage, Supercharge, Played went down fantastic, left didn’t watch Queen got best critics ever in English music Press dropped by Virgin Records two weeks later, Funny old World


How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?

It’s a never ending love affair

 

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

NOW because I,m Still Not Dead, and so many, more than I can count Are

 

Did you help many artist in the meantime did you found any gratitude from them?

By nature I,ve always tried to help fellow musicians, and by nature most musicians forget everthing


Do you be live that as far as the blues are concerned, Europe has the “brains” and America has the “soul”?

Who say,s we got more brains, all Gods Chillen got soul

 

 

Why do you play SAX?

You don’t have to plug it in

 

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD musician?

Listening to good music

 

How do you want to be remembered?

Leaving behind a huge unpaid Tax Bill

 

What was the first gig you ever went to see?

Count Basie Fantastic

 

You have traveling all around the world. What are your conclusions about music?

It,s Great, But it doesn’t stop Wars, Sadly!!

 

Give one wish for the music

I wish People had more chance to hear it and all the so called Superstars would shut the fuck up !!!!

 

What is the “think” you miss most of the Chuck Berry & Ray Charles tour

Didn’t miss a note

 

Which of historical music personalities would you like to meet?

Jesus, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Ava Gardner, Jayne Mansfield, and the guy who invented The Hoola Hoop

 

What music would you have played at your home alone?

Amix of soul ,blues and jazz, definitely NO Coldplay or Whiteboy Indie Pop, Oasis or other so called Really great stuff...its all re-hashed Tripe

 

When did you last laughing and why?

Reading some these questions and looking at my answers

 

Why did he think that Supercharge continued to generate such a devoted following?

We aint no Popstars

 

Tell me about the beginning of the band. How did you get together and where did it start?

We started in my hometown Liverpool, we decided to play what we liked,and thankfully the public liked it too and that is how its stayed, no World domination, but I do what I like and that means more to me than being a member of some highly successful band of deluded spandex wearing clowns (Guns and Roses)

 

 

How did you choose this name?

I didn’t choose, I wanted to call the band HOT DICK

 

Do you agree BB King’s Comment: “SUPERCHARGE is Europe’s finest Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Band.”?

He was being very kind lots of good bands out there


What was your relationship the period when you were not all together?

I couldn’t find one foot and my head was hideing under the bedclothes

 

Describe the ideal band to you?

Me, Frank Zappa, Charlie Parker, Jaco Pastorius, Gene Krupa Louis Armstong, Billie Holliday, Jimmy Smith and Gene The Mighty Flea Connors

 

Has treatment made your life easier

No I still go to the Funny farm on a regular basis?

 

What does music offered you?

Free Beer and Chicken

 

What do you learn about yourself from music?

I was never meant to be a Policeman

 

Three words to describe  Supercharge

Damn Lets Jam

 

Tell me about meeting with Fats Domino

He cooked the pigs feet I ate them

 

What was the last record you bought?

Edmundo Ross

 

What would you ask of JT Brown?

To, Get Up

 

What made you want to work with Lady Gaga?

She gave me her nose flute

 

What musicians/songwriters have influenced you most as a songwriter?

Cole Porter not the Cole Porter a Coal Porter

 

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

ME

 

What’s you poison?

I drink like a fish

 

What turns you on?

Get outta here

 

What gift would you had given to Charles Brown

A Girl Friend ?

 

What would you had given to Louis Jordan?

My heartfelt Thanks

 

How has the music business changed over the years since you first started in music?

Its got worse, with bigger idiots in charge of dumber musicians playing second and third rate Dittys to an audience of bed wetters

 

What mistake of music you want to correct?

Get a real vocalist for the ROLLING STONES

 

Who are some of your favorite blues musician of today?

I prefer the ones of yesterday, Muddy, Albert, T-Bone, etc, etc

 

Who were your mentors in songwriting?

Don’t have any, I just make it up,maybe that’s why the songs sound a bit weird sometimes

 

What do you feel is the key to your success as a musician?

Being realistic

 

Do you have a message for the Greek fans?

Stay Hairy and eat more Garlic


Tell me a few things about your project with Greg Barrett

He sings and plays really well and I Help him out.

 

Albie Donnelly's Supercharge website

 

 


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