Interview with Westworld's Tony Harnell
is an exciting new Rock group. With the recent release of
their self-titled CD they are ready to Rock your senses with their fiery
brand of Rock and Roll. Tony Harnell is the exquisite lead vocalist that
helps to put the whole thing together. Tony took the time to talk with
me for awhile about music, the group and his life. MuzikMan 9/28/99
your range is incredible. Did you ever have any formal training before
you became a full time performer?
Thank you.....Not really, I have always been singing since a very young
age, later I did get some training to keep my stamina on long tours.
noticed a real good chemistry on the CD. Do you feel that it's a spontaneous
thing or it's always something that's been there from the start?
this is a new group and we really didn't know how it was going to work
at all since it was an experiment of sorts. It seems to have worked out
all right though, we're happy with the results.
you decided which direction you were going to go in when choosing a particular
genre or style what came into play in that decision making process?
all the members have been part of the hard rock scene for most of our careers
in our respective bands so it was natural for us to go for a hard edged
I understand that you were brought up in family that encouraged singing.
Can you tell the readers a little bit about your background and upbringing?
Major adult influences? Major musical influences as you were growing up?
my Mom was an Opera singer and I was always hanging around backstage and
soaking up the madness of that world. I grew up in California mostly, lived
in Belgium for a while as a kid and pretty much traveled through my childhood
with my Mom's career. Influences that still hold from my childhood
be Paul McCartney, Beatles, Eagles, Bowie, Elton, Beach Boys, Aerosmith,
Zeppelin, Three Dog Night and the list goes on. Currently I'm listening
to everything I can get my hands on, I like a lot of artists that are out
there today.....Francis Dunnery, Alanis, Radiohead, Chris Cornell just
to name a few.
did the group come up with the name Westworld? What's it's significance
to the group?
wanted something American sounding and I liked the cult film from the 70's
starring Yul Brynner.
you ever been driven to play an instrument opposed to using your voice
as an instrument?
yes, but not too successful so far, I play a bit of guitar, badly, but
I hope to get better as time goes on. That's what guitar heroes are for,
to play with singers!!
it difficult to work out shifts and changes in the music with your singing?
I have always felt it must take a tremendous amount of talent to work out
a song with any rapid or abrupt changes. Do your vocal cords pay
the price from going from real high to a few steps down from that level
so quickly and precisely? Do the same principles apply when holding on
to an extreme high for an extended amount of time? I remember reading
about Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant drinking tea & lemon, is that
still a good remedy for a raw throat?
is a long question! I think the more you do something the less you think
about how you're doing it and I think that is where I'm at with singing.
Sometimes when touring it can be a strain when you're singing real high
and real low throughout the night cause your voice doesn't know where it
wants to settle down to, but usually if you sing properly as I try to do
it works itself out along the way. Yes, tea is still great but I just drink
a ton of water which is really the best thing.
have some excellent musicians behind you driving each number. Do they andrenalize
you and push you to limits you thought were once unattainable as a singer?
live band behind you is always going to push you harder for sure and these
guys definitely do their job very well.
plans in the immediate future for the group as far as touring and recording?
are starting the second Westworld album now and plan to be recording in
a few weeks, I think a tour will follow the second one. This first album
has been out in Japan and Europe since January so we've already been working
on new songs for a month or so.
any of the group members into solo projects or outside endeavors involving
play in a group called TNT which has released six studio albums, the first
five were on major labels, and have toured the world with them several
times. Mark Reale plays in a band called Riot which has released many albums
with majors and enjoyed great success over the last twenty years, Bruno
the band Danger Danger which was also very successful in the late eighties
and John O'Reilly plays with everyone but is best known for his work in
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
do you think are the top groups in Rock right now?
like Chris Cornell's new album quite a lot and always Alanis. There are
some cool bands coming out of England right now like Sterophonics and a
host of cool trance, loop type things that I really dig. Some good American
hard rock as well like Sevendust, Filter, Powerman 5000. Overall I think
rock is back and will be back on the top of the charts by next year!
you had one night to hand pick the people you could play with, a dream
night, who would the people be that you would like to front?
remaining members of Queen.
are your thoughts on the Internet? Is everyone an avid cyber surfer?
myself and Bruno. I think it's great for indie artists like myself, it
really opens the door to more fans that you could never be in contact with
closing thoughts or anything that you would like to say to your audience?
was originally intended as a one off side project and we never thought
it would be received as well as it has been. The critics have been very
kind and that has translated into new fans and a new four album recording
deal. I just want to say that I look forward to touring with this
band and seeing everyone out on the road real soon.