Roye Albright - Nektar

September 20, 2004

You guys formed in 1970. You were more popular in Germany and in the U.S. than you were in England. Why was that?

That's right, yeah. Probably because the band first got together in Germany in 1969 and we only really went back to play in England I would guess in 1972 but only for a short time. We went back to Germany and became very popular in Germany. We toured the United States of course. We didn't really play a lot but when we did, a lot of quite big record companies came over from Europe to watch us. I guess that's the reason why we weren't so popular in England.

Did you gain any popularity in England after a while?

Well, it seems to have grown later in the years. In fact it became a kind of international band you might say. Our popularity grew then in England. Of course if you play the U.K. now, in London or whatever, then quite a few people come to see us. I think it's more lackadaisical than anything else. Also now that the remasters are out, some people are hearing the band they never knew existed before. I think weíre getting quite a bigger fanbase in the U.K. now as well.

You were in the band for a while and left in í76 and then you came back for a while. What caused the band to finally break up?

I think itís just a case of the musical direction that people were willing to listen to changed quite a lot and Nektar went down the flusher I guess with the other people. I wanted to go my way as well. We had been together for quite a few years already by that time. It wasnít anything to do with personal problems. It was just basically people wanted to do it, the musical direction was different, and I wanted to go somewhere else and do something else. When we had no record contract as of such to be renewed, it just basically fell apart really.

What did you do on your hiatus from the band?

When I left the band in Ď76, I went back to Germany. I was with a band called Snowball which which was the remains of a jazz/rock band from Germany called Klaus Doldingerís Passport. The drummer, the keyboard player, and myself and Dave King, the American bass player. We did an album together. It came out in the U.K. I got together with Quantum Jump, a group at the time most of which strangely enough, half of the band were old members of Caravan. That was pretty ironic really that we were all in a group together. After that I went back to America for a short time and hooked up with my old manager from the early 70ís named Miles Copeland and he had an idea. He put me together with the bass player from a band called Climax Blues Band who had also left his band. He sent me back over to the U.K. We got together and we made an album. The band was named Grand Alliance and we did that. Really, I didnít do much from then until 1985. I wasnít doing much at all. I made a solo album which got eventually big. Then I got my liver infection and after I got better again, I just thought Iíd like to get Nektar back together again and that was in 2002.

That had to be scary, being told you wouldnít live for very long.

Yeah, it was really but I actually had fantastic people around me that made sure that I did pull through. Iím honored to have those kind of friends.

What led to the decision of remastering the old CDs?

I was just browsing the Web one day and just punched in the name Nektar. I came up to a website solely for Nektar which was surprising really. The unofficial site that was. I was looking at all the comments that people were making about how badly Remember The Future had been remastered on CD which is why they will buy our original records that were made in Germany. When I got a copy and listened to it, it was dreadful. When I got it, it was absolutely awful. I jumped back into that and called up the label and said how can you release that. Itís just not representative at all of the way the album really sounded. They didnít really care. They said what? I said it isnít representative of what the album is supposed to sound like or even be like. While I was doing Prodigal Son over in England, I met with Mark Powell who is now our manager and he was a free lance writer. We got together and he became the manager. He said heíd like to remaster the entire Nektar catalogue because it deserves to be remastered properly. I said I was sure the fans would love to hear that. Thatís the way it came about.

I reviewed Journey To The Centre Of The Eye and I thought it was a magnificent album.

Itís a magnificent remaster as well especially if you listen to it in surround sound. Actually I didnít realize just how popular that first album was. I thought Remember The Future is the one everybody remembers. Throughout this tour we decided to put just a small part of Journey To The Centre Of The Eye into the set we play and the response has been unbelievable. I didn't think anybody over there in the United States knows of the album. The response has been magnificent. Of course we'd not played it before.

You reformed the original lineup but Derek Moore decided to leave.

Yes, Derek left for several reasons. Again, it's nothing to do with in-band troubles. Basically Derek's health isn't quite what it used to be and he has a huge business going for himself and a big family. He said if we could find a bass player to take his place, so be it. We were so lucky in finding Randy. If you close your eyes, he sounds like Mo. We're very lucky there.

He was a big fan of the band himself so it must be very cool to play in a band you were a fan of for so long.

We can't believe it. We went to rehearsals with Randy and I threw everything at him. I said okay, he thinks he knows everything. Try this. He note for note played it all. I was just amazed. He knew everything that we've ever done which was of course fantastically.

You guys have been touring the States. How long have you guys been touring?

Yeah, we're just about over halfway through the tour now. We've got about another week or eight days to go. We're nearly up to two weeks now so it'll be about three weeks by the time we finish.

What part of the country have you guys toured?

We started actually in Boston and worked our way down to New York and then down to Chicago. Last night was in Chicago and tonight is in Milwaukee. We'll work our way all the way around and we'll end up with the last show in Philadelphia which is another one of our favorite towns to play.

Are you guys planning on coming back and doing some other regions of the country?

Absolutely, yeah. Let's be straight about this. Nektar hasn't been around for many, many years and we weren't sure what kind of audience we would get. This has really been a test for us. Caravan has come along with us to help us out as well which is a very great band. Just to see what kind of response we get. The response we've received has been absolutely unbelievable especially in Syracuse. That was an incredible show. The fans were just amazing. It was a case of if the response wasn't very good we wouldn't do any more tours. With the response we received, we'll definitely do a Midwest to West coast tour early next year and of course come back to the East coast again later in the year. This time around we have to be very careful how many shows we do because obviously we're testing, but now everyone seems to be waking up saying hey these guys are back. Everybody's now becoming interested and then we want to do some more shows next year.

A lot of people enjoy progressive rock music.

Yeah, I know. You know yourself it went out of fashion for quite a long time. It now seems to be coming back into fashion again if you want to use that kind of term but it's great for us and it's great for a lot of bands that were around the same time that we were. People want to hear them again not only in the United States but in Japan. They want to hear this stuff that they missed so it's been an eye opener. The fact that people want to go out of their way. We expected that when we do the shows, we'd just get a lot of old hippies really but that's not been the case. Of course you've got your 50 to 55 year olds that remember us but you've got young people coming in as well which is fantastic and they're really enjoying it. Who knows, maybe Nektar can get back to as they were back in the '70s. Who knows? We hope so but I'm not expecting wonders. The response has been fantastic so it looks good for us.

Many people feel that the music scene in the States has rather dried up and now we're seeing an influx of bands like Nektar and The Darkness. People who like to play straight ahead rock and roll to rejuvenate things a bit.

Yeah, I feel myself that there is a change coming. Okay, The Darkness is a modern sort of straight ahead rock but bands like ourselves, people have wanted toned down rock and roll you might want to call it. You get the people there and they want to be part of the music but you can't be part of the music when you're searching for a band and looking at 20 musicians left. When you have four or five musicians on stage in front of you, as you say straight ahead, it's a completely different thing. Really, in the United Kingdom things are stranger than you think it is. There are youngsters there that have never seen a live band. Can you believe that? They have never seen a band live. They are 20 years old and have never gone to a club to see a band live. That's incredible. So yes, the doors are open again for our kind of music which we're taking advantage of.

Tell us a little about your new release.

It's out now. It's just been released. It's called Evolution. I believe it's being released internationally at the end of October. The CDs are available from the merchandiser at our shows. People always ask me this because each of Nektar's albums were always totally different from the other. I've been asked this question many times, what's the new album like. I would say if you put Recycled, Tab In The Ocean, and Remember The Future into one pot and stirred it around a bit, that's what you would get. You'd get a mixture of all those three albums.

Some folks complain when bands do albums that are different from each other. Then folks complain when bands do albums that are similar. It seems like you'll never make everybody happy but I think it's cool to do albums that differ from one another depending on the band because it's something fresh.

That's right. It would be very easy for us to go write another Remember The Future but why should we? Progressive music is exactly what it means. You progress on to something else and why not. Why should you stay with something that you know people enjoy? If we wrote another Remember The Future, they'd go "oh it's just another Remember The Future" so they'd complain about that as well. We sort of progress. If we want to do an album full of brass or do an acoustic album, why shouldn't we? This is how we feel at the time. We shouldn't hang tags on this kind of music. Progressive music means exactly what it says. Progressing on to the next stage. Unfortunately not all people think that way but we try to teach them.

Have the remasters been doing well?

Yeah, it's really fantastic. In St. Louis, we sold out completely of Recycled and I think we sold almost 100 copies of the new album. Remember The Future of course is the biggest seller of all. They just go like pancakes.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Thank you very, very much for your time.

Nektar