Rock Eyez Webzine
Rock Eyez
Rock Eyez Webzine


Interview with Richard Black
(Vocals - Shark Island)

Richard Black

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: August 13th, 2006

Hello Richard and welcome to First, I would like to congratulate you on the new release and how well it is packaged.
Thanks Brian, and thank you for the very kind review of “Gathering of the Faithful”.

Just some fun questions to start: What was the first record you listened to or bought?
I remember quite clearly. First of all, my sister used to listen to a lot of music, so I would “borrow” her records. I listened to everything from The Beatles to The Stones, to Joni Mitchell, to Carole King to Cream, Bob Dylan… but the first album I bought for myself was T. Rex’s “Electric Warrior.” It was great then and it’s great now, not to mention one of the best covers ever. Isn’t that Slash on the cover? {kidding)

What was the first concert you attended?
The first concert was Alice Cooper. I remember that because I went with my sister’s friend, she was older, quite hot and I had a crush on her-great first concert for a virgin.

What kind of kid was Richard Black growing up through high school?
Very shy, quiet, and introverted. I think I used the music to jump beyond myself. I think it worked.

And what was your favorite club you played?
I believe my favorite club was The Starwood. It’s long since gone. It was in Hollywood and it was sort of a cross between The Whisky and The Roxy, but much bigger with lots of rooms, great location.  I played there many times.

I am not going to go into a lot of your past, because how many times can you answer those same questions? I want to focus more on Richard Black now and in the future.
That’s a good strategy Brian, and I am glad you feel that way. Your questions are very good.

One question I would like to know the answer to: I heard that much of the Shark Island material has been bootlegged or stolen. Have you found the person who has been doing it?
You’re right, many have been bootlegged, but we are not the only ones that suffer from this dishonest hobby. Between internet pirating and the all-out bootlegging, it’s a wonder why some bother recording at all. We have never found out who released our demos without our consent, and probably never will. The sad part is, it was done by someone close to Shark Island, who also had access to our material. To this day, no one has stepped up and claimed responsibility, but they know who they are and will have to live with that. I think it’s also a social issue. People ought to realize the world owes you nothing and you need to pay to own things.

It’s hard enough to break into music and I find it repulsive that the ole mighty buck rules over integrity. Our site has demos and full CD’s that were given to us and asked not to be released, but could be reviewed and have never been released to date. So what are your feelings about people who are benefiting from your personal work?
This is more of what I am talking about. Integrity? It appears that many don’t know the meaning of the word. Music is unique in that the medium itself is often synonymous with leisure and partying: many feel it does not adhere to the laws as other “products”. Well surprise, every record has behind it a person or a group of people that have their heart and soul into it, and they hope to make a living from it. So what should you think or feel when someone steals it? Today we are into instant gratification, and what’s in it for me, too bad, but I’ll tell you music quality will suffer in the long run because of it.

What have you been doing since you left music, in the early years?
Disgusted and disillusioned, I walked away, took a couple years off and started doing metal sculpture. It was sort of a hobby that grew out of my days of building and fooling with cars. A few times I dabbled with bands, but nothing serious.

Who beside Shark Island was a good LA band that never got signed?
Two come to mind; one was called Exiter that was with George Lynch on guitar prior to Dokken, they were fantastic. The other band was A La Carte; both were among the tightest bands I have ever seen. I worried when we played with them.

Who was the best band you liked to play with in the glam era?
You know I can’t recall a favorite one; there were many years and many nights. Rarely did we ever play with the same band twice.  Most often, I never saw the other bands. During our most popular years, it was hard enough getting me into the venue without creating a scene, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to be smuggled into the building inside an equipment case or enter through an unmarked entrance in disguise. With all that going on, it was hard to pay much attention to what band is opening up for you.

The new CD “Gathering of the Faithful” is, simply put, amazing. Did you have a hand in the packaging or was that all record company work?
Yes and thank you, I had the overall concept for the “Gathering”, and I supplied the photography. The final design was a challenge to a most talented designer named Doni from Left Hand Design. I brought him the materials and asked him to make it work together. He rose to the occasion and we have a very beautiful and original creation (If I do say so myself).

You worked with Jake E. Lee in the band Bourgeois Pigs. Why did that band fizzle? And how was it working with Lee?
Jake is a bit of an enigma. The Bourgeois Pigs was a bit of an experiment. The driving force Michael Guy (ex Shark Island) had some ideas and a different approach. I more or less followed along and one day Michael just vanished, no really he just disappeared and the project screeched to a halt. It was interesting and I learned a few things.

Is it true some of the material that was written for Bourgeois Pigs for the “Gathering” CD?
No, but maybe for the next CD parts may be utilized.

Which songs were they and did you actually record them with Jake E. Lee?
I don’t know which songs. Jake recorded on several.

Did you think about asking any high profile musicians to play on the CD?
I don’t think so, I very much respect the players in Shark Island and the relationship we have as a band is just right. Bringing someone else in would only be for a contribution we could not handle.

Did you film any of the working in the studio for “Gathering”?
Yes we filmed a lot, I don’t know how it came out but we’ll see if we could edit something interesting out of it.

Is Shark Island now only going to be a studio band or will you play live dates?
Right now we need to do some “spade work” for the creation of the next CD, but there is talk of playing in Europe before the studio recording begins.

Do you have other projects in the works right now and what are they?
No other projects, one is quite enough for me thank you. I believe you should focus as close to 100% on one thing at a time. That was the trouble with the other bands I dabbled with: everyone was spread too thin with side gigs.

Tell me a little about your photography work. When did you start, what kind of camera do you use and do you have a website for your art?
I have been a hack photographer for as long as I can remember. On all my travels I took pictures. I have a great collection of churches and graveyards (my favorite). That is where one sees the nuances of societies and culture. I have used many different cameras for varied effects, now I am into the digital thing.

Let’s do some word / answer referrals?
Record Company - Business

80’s Glam - Sex

God - Is

War - Evil

Friend - Trust

Family - There

Hate - Fear

Free Time - What?

Bandmates - Gifted

Shark Island - Music

Success - Perpetual

One last question before we finish. If you had a sum of money and donated it, who would you donate to?
The forgotten elderly, holders of the wisdom of life and the world.

Richard, Rockeyez appreciates that you took the time to answer our questions. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Thanks for your time, I hope your readers will take the time to have a listen or three to “Gathering of the Faithful” and let us know what they think. The fans can also visit us at or on our official Shark Island MySpace. Take care and cheers to all!

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