An Interview with Robin McAuley of Black Swan & The Michael Schenker Group

Header image courtesy of Robin McAuley Facebook (official)

By Andrew Daly
andrew@vinylwriter.com

Image credit: Raiding The Rock Vault

Recently, I dug in for a quick chat with veteran frontman, Robin McAuley regarding Black Swan’s latest effort, Generation Mind. Among other things, we touch on how Black Swab is kicking off 2022, Robin’s formative years and influences, the formation of Black Swan, the group’s innate chemistry, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Black Swan and their new record, Generation Mind, the link to the band’s Facebook is here. Once you’ve checked that out, dig into this interview with Robin. Cheers.

Andrew:
Robin, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Robin:
 Doing great. Recorded and released the second Black Swan record Generation Mind on April 8th. Billboard Charts and amazing reviews to date.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Robin:
I always wanted to be a drummer and saw Thin Lizzy when I was twelve years old. I listened a lot to Motown and just loved the melodies and the great and memorable hook lines and lyrics. I guess I just hoped that one day I might also be able to make good music.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Robin:
Definitely, the sound of Motown was a huge influence on me. I then discovered Paul Rodgers and Free, and from there I was hooked on hard rock music. I try to listen to a good cross-section of music from Irish traditional to classical, Zepplin, etc. to whatever sounds good. It is, of course, subjective but ultimately I love strong melodies and big choruses.

Image courtesy of Black Swan Facebook (official)

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events. Take me through the writing and recording of Black Swan’s latest effort.

Robin:
Jeff [Pilson] and Reb [Beach] got together and began the writing process after which they’d send the music to me for lyrics and melodies. I would take my ideas to Jeff and after some pre-production, we’d just start recording. Generation Mind was born out of the collaboration between Jeff, Reb, and myself.

Andrew:
Given the fact that most “supergroups” don’t last long, what is it about Black Swan that has allowed the group to not only stay together but flourish?

Robin:
Shake the World was a great first record from Black Swan, and I don’t think any of us likes the supergroup reference attached to the lineup. We set out to write some great music together. Music that we enjoy playing and listening to. On Generation Mind, I think we achieved that cohesive band sound that is very Black Swan, and the production reflects that very much. It’s fresh sounding, high energy, and fun. We’re not caught up in having to sound a particular way because the label [Frontiers] put us together. This is who we are as a band.

Image courtesy of Robin McAuley Facebook (official)

Andrew:
You’re no stranger to writing with fantastic guitarists. Your work with Michael Schenker can attest to that. Speak on your songwriting relationship with Reb Beach.

Robin:
One word….Amazing!!!!! Reb is such an incredibly talented guitarist. Full of melody and technique, and on this record he really shines in a way that easily puts him up there with the best. He influences my writing in so many ways.

Andrew:
Black Swan’s rhythm section of Jeff Pilson and Matt Starr is formidable. What intangibles do they bring to the band?

Robin:
Well, all you have to do is listen to these two powerhouses together and you’ll hear what is going down. Jeff is an amazing bass player, an amazing producer/engineer, and a singer-songwriter. Matt brings the Thunder. He listens to the song and always plays just what is needed. Together they are a very powerful rhythm section.

Image courtesy of Black Swan Facebook (official)

Andrew:
The soundscape on this record is crisp. What more can you tell us regarding the production and engineering side of things?

Robin:
This is Jeff Pilson doing what Jeff Pilson does. He’s an amazing engineer and producer. He hears things so that you the listener can also hear them. Alessandro Del Vecchio also does a masterful job mixing, just like he did on Shake the World.

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next on your docket, Robin?

Robin:
Next up is Michael Schenker’s 50th Anniversary European Tour. The first show in Helsinki on April 27th, ending in Rome on May 15th. Then, it’s back home to LA to begin recording my sophomore solo record. Standing On The Edge was so well received that it’s time to make another record. Stay tuned for more!

Image credit: The Music Room

Interested in learning more about Black Swan? Hit the link below:

Be sure to check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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