The news that Mike Oldfield has recorded a rock album again should be a good one for many of his fans. After all, his last work with simple vocals, "Heaven's Open", was twenty-three years ago. And the Englishman, once known for his shyness and unwillingness to talk to journalists, also willingly gives information about studio album number 25. But this doesn't necessarily seem to be the starting signal for an activity offensive of Oldfield. For some time now, the 60-year-old has been leading the comfortable life of an early retired rock star in the Bahamas, who only does what really suits him. And this definitely does not include tours, as he reiterates to eclipsed. The old demons haven't quite left him yet either.
eclipsed: "Man On The Rocks is a surprise. How come you now made a rock album in the style of your eighties records?
Mike Oldfield: Well, I just wanted to do something completely different again, and I also love rock. I experimented with open G tuning on the Fender Telecaster, just like the Rolling Stones did on many of their tracks. The first piece of the album that came out of this was [the Stones-like] "Irene". The demo I sang myself was good, and so many more followed. My record company found these demos quite interesting, and together with producer Stephen Lipson we decided to record the whole thing with a live band. I asked John Robinson, the drummer who had played on Tubular Bells II, to put together his ideal session band in Los Angeles.
eclipsed: How did all this work across three continents?
Oldfield: Steve went to Los Angeles, and he also monitored everything from his control room in London. I didn't even have to leave my comfortable semi-retirement home and my studio here in Nassau on the Bahamas. We did everything over the Internet. I was connected to several Skype cameras. It worked the same way with [singer] Luke Spiller in London.
eclipsed: You used to have several singers on one album.
Oldfield: My record company had suggested it. Yes, there was a lot of discussion about whether he should sing all the songs or a mix of male and female voices wouldn't be better. I also listened to other singers, but Luke has the necessary vocal range and rock sound, and he hits the really high notes.