SILVER R.I.S.C Interview

«Once a band, always a BAND.»

Never say never! I originally prepared and sent this interview to the band 9 years ago! Back then they were getting ready for their first reunion live shows. Time have passed! And many things have changed since then, well except one: our passion for music! So SILVER R.I.S.C return back in action, this time for good and well I am still here interviewing the bands I love! Yes it is the passion for music that makes all these still possible, "this is our Karma", as Spiros Fousekis the band's guitarist would say. Ladies and gentlemen, SILVER R.I.S.C: one of Greece's finest Melodic Hard Rock bands are hitting the stage again. Their 25th, May, 2019, show @ CROW Club - Athens Greece, marks the beginning of a new era for the band! So Spiros Fousekis is kind enough to finally answer all my questions about the past, present and future! Enjoy!

Ok lets get back in time and discover some SILVER R.I.S.C magic. When and where the band was created? Who were the founders and under what circumstances you guys got together to start your saga?

Τhe band was created in 1989 by Spiros Foussekis & Dimitris Gasparatos friends from childhood, as usually happens our connection was lost through out the years but an advertisement of Dimitris to a magazine( Agori) looking for fellow guitarist to make a band made me curious so I answered it and to our surprise we discovered each other again , and this is how it started. Our first rehearsal was at my parents living room on August 1989. We played some covers from Cinderella, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, UFO and the chemistry was perfect , the rest is history.

What is the concept behind the band name?

While looking for something unique, we made a list of names that would fit. We tried to avoid cliché names and decided to put some color in it, so we concluded to SILVER (Purity – Innocence – Pride) and RISK (risk for Life – adventure – music and personal development)

As far as I know you were first called Silver Risk changing it later to Silver R.I.S.C? Why this?

After a while it was obvious that were trying to step in to the next level and the name had to be professional and mysterious in order to avoid a mare meaning (risk) and create more dimensions in meaning.

In various posters of the era I have noticed the name Silver R.I.S.K. with the dots and Silver Risk without the dots. Was it a typo or again a name change?

I suppose that was a typo during transition period from RISK to R.I.S.C perhaps a misunderstanding while the posters were prepared.

So what are the hidden words behind the “R.I.S.C”  letters?

Rapidly Intruding Sexual Companions.

What was the first stable line up of the band. And in this question please mention all the lie up changes of the band through the years in order to have them all gathered in one informative paragraph.

1989-1992
First Line-up: Phoebus Dokos- Vocals / Dimitri Gasparato – Guitar / Spiros Fousekis – Guitars / Panos Gasparatos – Bass / Antony Venieris – Drums

1992-1994
Second Line-Up: Dimitri Gasparato – Guitar, Lead Vocals / Spiros Fousekis – Guitars / Dimitris Markopoulos – Bass / Antony Venieris – Drums

In the first days did you play covers or originals? Can you remember the name of the very first song that the band composed?

The first days we were playing covers and tried to find the sound that suited us. The very first track that was composed was “The Scream”.

What was the very first important step that the band ever made? Many bands mention their first live show as their first important step… can you remember your own very first live show?

With no doubt our first important step was our first live in Ampelokipi in a club named Phycho. Of course, all of us had a stage fright, but a couple of beers surely helped the situation. I remember the place packed from all our friends from school that came to support us, and it was clear to us that we wanted to do it again and again.

There was a small wave in Greece back in the early 90s with many bands sharing the dream under the Melodic Hard Rock moniker. Velvet Gang, Beauty & The Beast, Raw Silk etc. Was Silver R.I.S.C inspired by this wave of bands and fans back in the early 90s? Can we say that this very special Melodic Rock style you delivered was somehow driven by this movement or it was just your personal choice and you would continue to play it if you were the only band in the whole country doing that stuff?

I would say that Raw Silk motivated us since they were the first to be signed in EMI, while we started together with Velvet Gang (Their drummer was our first drummer), on the other hand we were very exited and determined to our cause and concentrated to our music. But truth is that we acted like a gang being very close as persons and all this bonded the band towards the same direction.

In general which bands, artists and genres can we point as SR influences?

Many can be referred but the main are: Whitesnake, Van Halen, Mr. Big, Rory Gallagher, Bon Jovi, Keziah Jones, Eric Clapton.

What people are totally unaware of is that prior to the full length the band has recorded a demo right? Can you give us any possible information about this tape please? When and where it was recorded? In how many copies was it released? Was it only for record labels or for fans as well? Also which songs were included in this demo? Were the versions of the songs the same as the versions in the album? Please spread any light you can about this tape…

In 1991 we decided that it was time for some demo recordings, in the way that we should have a tryout in the procedure, Dimitris Gasparatos coordinated it and the we recorded it at his home with the use of a Tascam recording unit. Actually, the demo was for us and our friends it was never distributed. We recorded “Shadows of the night”, “The Scream”, “Away from Home” and “Trapped under ice”. The first versions I would say that they were not very different that the final recordings, but in general had a raw approach.

How you get in touch with Molon Lave Records?

This can only be credited to Phoebus Dokos our singer who at that time was working as a graphist next door to Molon Lave, so he reached George Osmak and introduced the band to him. Primarily the plan was that SR would record 2 tracks for a vinyl compilation with other bands, in the summer of 1990 we started the procedure and finished but the compilation was not released, but we had our first tryout in the studio.

The next step was your full length. So lets start with the basics? What was the albums title? How many songs it contained?

The title of the release was “Anything she does” and it contained 10 original tracks.

When and where was it recorded? In how many days / weeks? Have you got anything special to remember for the recording sessions?

It took us 2 months for the recordings and 2-3 months for the mixing and mastering, depended of the availability of the studio. We spend most of the nights of the summer recording and live it to the maximum until the morning light. You know at that time the technology was not like today and if something was wrong the player had to record the track again and again till it was perfect. It surely helped us in the long term on performing.

What kind of deal have you signed with the label? Have they paid for the recordings or the vinyl pressing or for both?

The deal was quite simple the band would finance the recordings with a fixed fee, having unlimited hours of recordings -mixing -mastering, while the label would have the obligation for distribution, marketing, advertising of the release plus our participation in festivals and other lives that would be organized.

As far as I know the front cover and the artwork that finally appeared on the final album release, were not the ones that meant to be used. Please give us all the information about the original front cover and artwork and why this stuff finally remained unused?

The main idea was a picture of a gorgeous girl to match with the Album Title- Anything she does. That girl was Evi Adam the well-known model who was friend of us. The photos were taken in a bar at Holargos and the result was awesome, but when the files were sent for processing and printing, the full colors were processed as black and white by mistake and the result was ruined it was blurred. Due to the fact that we had the pressure of time and no extra budget we decided to keep it simple and Silver…. 😊.. Many years later when Phoebus moved to USA he re-released the album there on CD form some copies with the original front cover with Evi, for us and old times sake. I own one or two myself.

The album has also been re-released on CD in Greece back in 2001. Are you aware of it? Have you got any more info about this edition?. Back on the day there were many re issues on CDs by many Greek Metal bands, some of them mentioned as legal ones and some others mentioned as bootlegs as they have been done without bands permission. So what is the case about the Silver R.I.S.C. album?

In our case we were asked and gave the permission, we thought that it was a good idea for the band not be forgotten and to be distributed to old and new fans. After all music is composed to make people happy.

Are there plans for another re issue of the album by the band after so many years. Can you give us some more info on this?

I think that what is done is done, surely some things could be corrected if remastered but we prefer to keep this release as it is. Its part of our history that we will not touch we keep our eyes to the future

Back on the glory days. I guess that live shows was a very important part o the band’s saga. Can you mention some shows that really have stuck on your memory and some bands that you have shared the stage with? Did you do any covers on stage?

I believe that the most memorable show was the one at the stadium of peace and friendship (SEF) along with Velvet Gang and Divorce. The place was packed with 10000 fans of hard rock. That night the band proved its capabilities and established as a live act, at the end of it I dropped my guitar and kicked it (hahaha). I still feel very emotional when I remember the event and the crowd shouting our name. We did covers mostly when we were headliners and have more time to perform, mostly from Whitesnake, Van Halen, Mr Big, Warrant.

Mentioning the live shows, I want a special reference about your participation, on the famous Molon Lave Records Festival. When and where did it happen? Which other bands took part and what do you have to remember from that event?

You are referring to the 10 days festival at Rodon on October 1991. It was our first wide opening to the audience, we have worked very hard for it although we did not achieve the performance that we desired mainly on our lack of experience, but in generally it was ok. We shared the stage with Speedfire, Trademark, Wild Side, Fire Vanadium

Was the fest a way for the band’s of the Molon Lave label to be promoted or it was a way for the label to grab new unsigned bands as well? My info says that there were many unsigned bands playing as well? Is it true?

Most of the bands were unsigned like us. Yes, it was the first step for SR to get signed.

Speaking of Molon Lave Records, this was a really important label in the local Hard Rock and Metal discography as they have signed many important bands releasing their stuff. As part of the label what do you have to remember about your co operation?

The label had the vision of setting the base of the hard rock – metal scene and gather the bands that would be promising since at that time there was not something similar. That was achieved until some point, the staff was friendly and professional and really helped in many ways, they started somewhere in1989 if I remember well.

It is said that the label went bankrupt and that the owner George Osmak unexpectedly left Greece? Do you know anything about this? Have you managed to get tin touch with him one way or another? Do you know where is he now?

I don’t know many details about it but surely things did not go as it was expected at the end. George and Joanna are now in the US and raise a beautiful family, we see each other often in Facebook

What other bands were around in that era sharing that Melodic Hard Rock style, I have already mentioned some of them but can you also mention bands that you may know and remember and point us what was the relationship of your band with all those groups?

In general we had good relations with everyone, but we were closer with Velvet Gang, Beauty and the beast, Divorce, Who knows and Power, We used to organize lives together since we had almost the same fan base.

After the album release what was the band’s next step, back on the day -90s-? My info says that you have started to work on a second album but the band’s split came first. Correct or wrong?

That is correct when the “Anything she does” was released we had already started working on new material, not necessarily in the same pattern, I could say more matured as we were evolving as musicians and composers. Funny thing is also that we recorded it even though was never mixed.

In general, is there any unreleased material that have been recorded prior to the band’s split?

There were 10 tracks some of them fully recorded and some other with pending recordings. But all of them were not mixed or mastered.

So why did the band split -90s-? What were the main reasons and when did this happened?

There is no straight answer about the split, as life turns in circles it looked like the end had come. It was in the Autumn of 1994 I could say that this period was a crossroad for everyone independently and had to decide for his professional future while the army period was approaching for all of us.

After the saga finished what have the members done? Are they still active in music? Are you still in touch of them?

All of us are active and truth is that never stopped interacting with each other musically. Gasparatos & Venieris made a project with Greek lyrics as a different approach, some years later Gasparatos -Markopoulos- Venieris made a band named RAINMAKER playing hard rock. Me and Venieris played together on DANGER ANGEL and released together the debut album of the band. On my current band FLYING MERCURY, I invited Gasparatos to record the acoustical guitars in the release. And to go a step further Dimitris is the guitar teacher of my son, so as you can understand all we were always in touch with one way or another.

Now lets focus now on the SR reunions. First of all we noticed a small re-activity around the back back on 2010. Can you refer on this period?

That’s something that lasted only for 3 lives, the band was consisted by me and Phoebus on vocals and other musicians not the original members. It was a misty period and there is nothing to say for this.

Late 2018 and SR are rising again. There is a show booked on May 2019. Can you give some info about this second rise?

The second coming was always in our mind individually, two years ago in a live of Gasparatos & Markopoulos the 4 of us joined forces of a cover of “I Wanna know” and it looked like there were some sparks in the ashes. From summer of 2018 we started talking about it and we finally decided it on December 2018. The reunion show is on the 25th of May 2019 at the CROW Club (Athens – Greece), we are looking for new adventures 😊

Two reunion attempts or should we say that the band never actually split?

The band never actually split, we all were in other ‘s life musically and actually, as mentioned above, Rainmaker- Danger Angel- Flying Mercury ALL have a common factor SILVER R.I.S.C. from were everything has begun.

What is the thing that you are missing the most from the glory days of the band?

What I personally miss is the independence of youth and the feeling of being free of daily routine to create music, today life is different with tons of obligations, but we all still have the courage to carry on

Apart from Silver R.I.S.C. It seems that you were active helping many other bands in many creative ways. Can you please tell us something about your other activities.

In 2006 I decided that I wanted to involve again with music since it was always my alter ego, so I founded with Ethan Snow, DANGER ANGEL a band that gained a worldwide contract with Perris records and had a release in which Jeff Scot Sotto sang a track that I wrote the lyrics and Ethan the music. I departed in 2010 but the band is still very active and has an international career, I am very proud of them. Later the band FLYING MERCURY asked me to join them and we still play together, we released the debut cd named Love is a Mystery- pure hard Rock. At this time, I am on the process of composing (music & lyrics) the new material for our new release. On the other hand, I play live with friends in musical events from time to time in order to be in touch.

What the future will bring for SR, what are the plans?

This is a question that can’t be answered easily, what was always in our mind is to re record the 2nd album that was never released, but as I said this is just an option. Or maybe we should write new material, there are lots of factors that will determine the next step.

Man I want to personally thank you for your time and effort in this interview. It was a pleasure for me doing this. The last message belongs to you.

My friend Chris, thank you for your support and loyalty throughout the years, I want to thank all the friends and fans that kept the faith to SILVER R.I.S.C. We will try our best to fill your loyalty and expectations from the band. I send my greetings to our friends in Mercury Radio and to SYROS island a destination that we would be more than happy to visit and play live, so until we meet again, be safe be strong and ROCK ON!!!