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Ian Parry

Ian Parry

Ian Parry best known as vocalist with Vengeance, Elegy and his solo work expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.

Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?

I actually started in my first village band near Chester back in 1976 as a drummer and I used to borrow my Dad’s Premier drumkit (without his permission). The guitarist was a student and had money to buy newly released LPs such as “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” with Ronnie James Dio and one of our friends had Deep Purple’s “Fireball” album, which blew my mind how incredible Ian Paice performed his drums. We also played covers from Free and Bad Company. By accident after our singer couldn’t make rehearsals my brother stood in on drums and I got behind the microphone. Shortly after our guitarist called a band meeting in the local bus shelter and told me my brother would be the new drummer and I would be the new singer and the old singer would be the rhythm guitarist. So being a Paul Rodgers fan Paul’s rock vocal style was my biggest influence at 17 years old and then later a mix between Dio and Coverdale and the best of British and American Rock back in the 70s.

Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?

I auditioned for my first band in London back in 1981 featuring Zak Starkey called Mono Pacific at Tittenhurst Park (John Lennon’s old mansion house) on the day Zak’s Dad Ringo Starr got married to Barbara Bach (Actress in the James Bond Film “The Spy Who Loved Me”), who was a fabulous lady. Later in 1983 an audition with Dutch hard rock band Hammerhead. 1990 a rehearsal audition with Vengeance (featuring Arjen (Ayreon) Lucassen and I actually auditioned for Elegy in 1996. Drummer Dirk Bruinenberg called me and said they needed a new singer and would I like to join, but I said I would prefer to audition and if the band felt that my voice suited their songs which Eduard Hovinga sung so incredibly well, then I would join.

You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?

I guess I have recorded approx. 30 full albums and guested on another 10 or 15, but for me it has to be two albums. Elegy’s “State of mind” because of the unexpected worldwide success we had back in 1997, touring in Europe and Japan, and Elegy’s “Manifestation of Fear” for the incredible production thanks to German producer Tommy Newton (Helloween, “Keeper of the Seven keys”). Not only did we write incredibly powerful songs in a concept story I wrote based on our own personal family experiences, but my voice was at its strongest in my career in my late 30s. We all played some memorable performances. Martin’s killer bass, Dirk’s powerful progressive drums, and Henk’s phenomenal guitar makes this an all-time classic Prog Metal album.

Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?

Absolutely more so now than ever knowing I can still deliver a believable vocal performance at 62 years old and putting a smile on people’s faces and seeing them happy after the show. As long as I have a decent vocal range I will “Rock until I drop” [laughs]

Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?

Stay off the alcohol. Jogging for the lung power, and during tours no coffee which creates flem which can get trapped in-between the vocal chords. I only gargle with salt if I have a sore throat. Another killer for the voice is a lack of sleep. The only thing which recently messed me up was getting covid just before I went on tour with Martin Helmantel and Headless as support in Europe for Geoff Tate. Fortunately covid only lasted 11 days, but the persistent flem in the throat was a challenge.

Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?

Queen, Journey and Deep Purple [laughs]. But they all have great singers. I would love to sing on a song with Paul Rodgers one time, but I am glad I met him in Amsterdam back in the 90s.

Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days in the bands you’ve been involved with that could be released?

All the songs I recorded in 1981 with Zak Starkey & Mono Pacific at John Lennon’s studio he had built at Tittenhurst park (which Ringo bought in the early 80’s). This was the very first time I ever recorded in a professional studio and I only realized after seeing a documentary about John Lennon, that I recorded my vocals with the same microphone Lennon used for his hit “Imagine” and Whitesnake’s “Come ‘n Get it” album. I managed to transfer these recordings from ¼ inch analogue tape into my pro-tools digital recording system plus a number of songs we recorded at Gary Newton’s studio at Shepperton Film Studios. Sadly Zak does not want any of these early recordings to be officially released. My opinion is we should be proud of what we did in our music career’s regardless of whether or not we feel it could have been done better and let the fans worldwide have the chance to hear how we all started our careers and how we developed as recording artists . Who knows in honour of the guitarist Rodger Lewis and Martin Jowers whom are sadly no longer with us, maybe Zak will change his mind? Only time will tell.

Do you have any plans to release another solo album?

Since Elegy decided to reform the band I have put all my plans for a third and final Rock Emporium album on hold to concentrate entirely on the Reunion tour 2023/2024 and songs for a new Elegy album.

I see you have hooked up with Elegy for a reunion tour, how did that come about?

Yes this came as a big surprise to me when Martin called me back in January explaining Henk wanted to reform the band. The idea was to perform a Reunion Tour with original singer Eduard Hovinga and me together, but Eduard said he is happy for us but wishes to concentrate on his own band. Fair enough, so already offers are coming in for live shows in Europe, Japan and the USA. So we are all really excited what the future has in store for Elegy.

You appear to have been very busy throughout your career. What do you enjoy doing on your downtime?

Watching Sci-fi movies, and when my wife and I get the chance go snorkeling on holiday.

With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?

I am sure Elegy will finally get to perform in the UK during the Reunion Tour. We are now working with two big promoters, “Eternal Rock Agency” in the Netherlands and “Nine Lives” In Germany. So if there are any festivals or UK promoters reading this please contact Eternal Rock Agency directly, thank you!

You appear to be very versatile at singing various styles of music such as Hard Rock, Progressive, AOR and Symphonic…etc, do you have a particular favourite style of singing?

My all-time favourite is Rock in the style of Paul Rodgers (Bad Company). Another is Deep Purple (Ian Gillian) which I am performing this year helping out my colleagues from the Dutch Deep Purple Tribute “Purple Strangers” while their singer recovers from a serious illness.

Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?

There is a second album I recorded at the end of last year from Swedish band “Von Baltzer”, which I hope gets finished soon, and a guest performance I did for an Italian band. Anyway the exciting adventure for me begins with the creation of the first new Elegy song after 25 years. This is gonna be amazing…! Fireworks magazine and Stuart I just wanna say thanks for this opportunity to share some stories with your readers…stay tuned and stay safe, Ian.


Interview by Stuart Dryden.


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