IF YOU love your music with a bit of a bite, you’ll love Vampires Rock at St David’s Hall on Wednesday 13 February.
Get ready for relentless riffs and soaring solos featuring some of the greatest guitar anthems of the 80s from the likes of Queen, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC and Bon Jovi – all with the amps cranked up to 11!
Plus, this year’s special guest is none other than 2013 X Factor winner, Sam Bailey!
Neil Collins chats with Vampires Rock creator Steve Steinman (Baron Von Rockula) and Sam Bailey (The Vampire Queen) about this year’s fang-tastic show.
How did the collaboration between the two of you come about?
STEVE: It’s been a few years since I had a special guest join me on the tour, and I had seen Sam on The X Factor and thought her voice was incredible and she would be great as the Vampire Queen…so I picked up the phone and the rest is history!
Sam, you step into the shoes of Toyah Willcox, who performed for two years and over 200 shows. How are you finding the experience?
SAM: Yes, big shoes to fill! I love Toyah, she’s such a great entertainer and personality. I’m loving the show Steve puts on, it’s the most incredible production for a touring one-night show.
The stage set and cast are the best in the country for sure and the live band onstage – well what can I say but ladies you will love the band and they don’t play too bad either! No, but seriously the band are so good and over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to play with some of the best musicians in the country and these guys are up there with the best. It took some getting used to singing and talking with the fangs, but I think I’ve mastered it now!
Steve, having performed as Baron Von Rockula for so long now, do you ever look at your reflection and expect the fangs still to be there?! I realise that real vampires don’t have reflections…
STEVE: Ha, yes! I’ve been wearing the fangs now for over 17 years so I’m just about used to them. I don’t think I’ve ever left them in, and my reflection is still there thank goodness!
You appeal to a really broad demographic from heavy rockers to Rocky Horror-type musical theatre fans and younger vampire lovers who are into Twilight and True Blood. Do you see a lot of familiar faces coming back at venues across the country?
STEVE: We have such a great following. We’re very lucky and have fans who come to the shows over and over, so we see the same faces in the front row lots. The audience – to be truthful – are just theatre-going people, who have a love for good classic rock and who love to be entertained. My last words of every show are “Have we made you smile, have we made you laugh, have you sung your heart out?” My answer is “Well I’ve done my job then!”
Some of your support are a tad obsessive and have even gone to the extreme of getting your likeness inked onto their bodies. What is your reaction to these tattoo tributes?
STEVE: Yes, we have many fans over the years who have had tattoos of the show’s logo or characters from the show. I think the imagery of the show is so great and they just love it so much they get ink put on them for life. I guess it’s a compliment, and we love to see the fans getting into the show to that extent.
Steve, many people’s first encounter of you was in the 90s with your appearance on popular ITV programme Stars in Their Eyes as Meat Loaf. Tell us about that experience. Was it a springboard for your future career in rock?
STEVE: I was the owner of a small restaurant before I took to show business, and this is where I got a taste for performing. I would have cabaret nights in the function room, and on many occasions I would get up and sing with the professional acts. It was one of these acts that sent a tape of me singing a Meat Loaf song to Granada Studios without me knowing. I received a call asking would I like to come down to do an audition, so I thought “what the hell I’ve nothing to lose – sounds like fun!” It was a funny moment as I walked into the waiting room at Granada to be faced with a room full of lookalikes all in costume – Michael Jackson, Boy George – then I walk in Joe Bloggs, jeans and a T-shirt looking nothing like Meat Loaf!
I did the audition and got through the TV show. I guess they liked that I didn’t look like Meat Loaf and they could make me look like him. The show was great fun, and a few years on I made the move and became a full-time entertainer and toured the world with my act.
My show Bat Symphony was an idea to tour with a full orchestra and perform the album Bat Out of Hell. This was amazing I loved every minute and hope to do this again someday. My next big tour is with special guest Lorraine Crosby, the lady who sang with Meat Loaf on the Grammy Award-winning song I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) – exciting times ahead!
Sam, you also had huge success on a TV series as winner of The X Factor in 2013. Describe that moment when you realised you had won! You must’ve been pinching yourself to subsequently get the Christmas No.1 slot with Skyscraper and support Beyoncé!
SAM: It was unbelievable, words can’t describe the feeling! On the night of the show it was like a dream and ‘Has this really happened to me?!” Getting a No.1 was the cherry on the cake, and it’s been non-stop ever since!
What were your earliest rock influences?
STEVE: AC/DC for me.
SAM: Mine would have to be Fleetwood Mac – can we call that rock? I just love Stevie Nicks!
Steve, as a lifelong rocker it must’ve been amazing to have Twisted Sister guitarist Eddie Ojeda touring with you? Tell us about some of the artists you’ve worked with over the years.
STEVE: Eddie was great! I met him when I was in Las Vegas trying to get the show there. He’s a friend of Paul Crook, the guitarist for Meat Loaf, and I was there staying with Paul for a few days. Eddie had just finished a tour with Twisted Sister, so the timing was right. Great tour and great guitarist to work with. I’m lucky to be working with some of the best musicians in the country at the moment. My long-time friend, Henry Bird is joining me for this tour and is a well-known guitarist in the industry.
There have been many movie interpretations including Interview with the Vampire, From Dusk till Dawn, Nosferatu, Twilight and the various versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. What have been your favourites, and do you incorporate any of these characters into your stage persona?
STEVE: I love Interview with the Vampire, what a great movie! I suppose there are elements of some of the films, but nothing I did consciously I don’t think.
There’s obviously a huge 80s rock element to the show, but is there also an influence from more theatrical-type rockers like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie?
STEVE: I think there are parts of all these singers in the show, and they are all massive characters. I find them all funny, and you can take pieces of them all with a hint of pantomime. Throw it all in a bowl mix it up and you get Vampires Rock.
Sam, you memorably sang Jennifer Rush’s The Power of Love on The X Factor, which became the opening track on your debut album. You must love belting out the power ballads and rock anthems?
Yes, I have some great power ballads in the show. Steve has made sure he makes the most of my vocal range, and by all accounts the audience are loving the songs. My favourite is Alone by Heart.
Steve, after creating Vampires Rock in 2004, did you ever dream you would still be here 15 years later selling out venues with more than 3,000 performances and over one million tickets sold?
STEVE: I never even thought about it really, but I don’t think anyone could have foreseen this. It took on a life of its own and I’m very proud of the fact that the show hasn’t come from a movie or uses anyone’s name to sell the show other than its own title. As long as the fans want to see the show, I will keep producing it and keeping it fresh for the next generation of fans to enjoy it.
PLEASE NOTE: Strobe lighting and pyrotechnics are used in this show.
Stalls, Tier 1, 2 & 8 £31.50
Tiers 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 £29.50
Plus an optional £1 postage fee.
For Hynt tickets, please call Box Office on 029 2087 8444.
To book your seats, please visit www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk
or call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444