Mickey Lee Soule

After a few years on the club circuit, piano player Mickey Lee Soule joined The Electric Elves featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals. The Electric Elves became Elf and were soon discovered by Roger Glover and Ian Paice of Deep Purple, changing their lives forever. Before long Ritchie Blackmore took most of Elf to record Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Mick Burgess called up Mickey Lee Soule to talk about his early days in the clubs of New York to meeting Ronnie James Dio and playing in Elf and onto becoming part of Rainbow and what he went onto do after leaving the band as well talking about his current music projects and returning to the road, working with Deep Purple.

2020 is turning into something of a strange year for everyone around the world. How has Covid 19 impacted on you?

I’ve actually been very lucky where I live. Although it’s New York State, it is upstate and I live in Cortland County which has one of the lowest rates of infection in New York. We’ve done pretty well round here but now the college has just started and there’s been a few more cases at the college so there may be a couple of tough months ahead.

What were you doing before all of this first broke?

I work as bass tech for Roger Glover in Deep Purple and Purple had a show in Mexico City on March 17th I believe it was. I was all set to go for that. I’d been hearing about Covid 19 on the news but hadn’t really grasped the full extent of it. I had a doctor’s appointment on the very day I supposed to leave. When I called the doctor to rearrange the appointment and told her that I was travelling to Mexico City, she strongly advised me against travelling as I’m at a higher risk due to my age and I’ve had heart issues. I called up the band and told them that my doctor said I shouldn’t be going. They were fine and got somebody to cover for me. They did the show and didn’t have any problems but they got in and out just in time.

Has the downtime given you opportunities to do things that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to do?

Yes, but not really music things. I was speaking to Roger Glover the other day and said that you’d think it was the perfect time to be writing but it’s just not happening to me. There were just so many things around here and in my house that I’ve wanted to do for years that I haven’t been able to do as I’ve been travelling so much for years. I’m never here for the summer. I’ve actually had quite a good time and have been keeping busy doing things here. Hopefully I’ll have something musical down the line. I don’t make a career out of it any longer, it’s just something I do because I like to do it.

A few months back you put out a song on Bandcamp called “I’m Alright Now”. When did you write this?

I did that last year and it came out about July last year. I’m pretty proud of the video. My website mickeyleesoule.com has a couple of videos on. I had a lot of fun doing it and I thought it came out well.

Is this part of a wider project or is it just a song that you’d recently written and wanted to put it out?

No, it was just a one off. I did it here at home with a drummer. It’s a little different from what I normally do. I did a little experimentation with the sound of it.

It has a dark, Nick Cave type of feel to it. Is that an artist you’ve admired for a while?

I’ve heard Nick Cave but he’s not someone that’s really influenced me. A few people have said that the song is dark. I wasn’t trying to make something dark, it’s just what came out at that moment. I was going through some personal things so lyrically it might have come out that way but that’s not what I intended. I was just describing a dream world and made the music to match it.

The drum groove gives it a real contemporary feel. Did you give your drummer, Michael P. Starmer, a free reign to do that or did you specifically ask him to lay down such a groove?

It’s actually an amazing story how that came about. Michael came to my house where I have my studio and I asked him to come over as we were trying to tune the drums. He just sat down playing a few things. I was in the next rooms trying to get sounds and balance on the drums and wanted the drums tuned the correct way as I’m not a drummer. He was a big help and that was one of the pieces he played. After he left, I was messing around with my software and I played back his beat and just fell in love with it so the idea started to come around that. When I called him back to the studio, he was able to duplicate it.

There’s some orchestration on there too from The Royal Sympathetik Orchestra too. Is this a local orchestra to where you live?

I can’t really say much about that as they wish to remain anonymous.

Your previous recording was a song “Handsome Boy”. That was written by Roger Glover. Did he write it for you to perform?

He actually wrote that quite a few years ago. There was a time we were considering doing an album together as Roger and I are great friends, we go way back to the early 70s. The project didn’t really come together as he got very busy but that song was on a cassette tape he gave me. That song just stuck out to me and I asked him if he minded if I recorded it and he said go ahead. The song is actually about a cat he had called Handsome Boy and one day the cat went out and never came back. Roger had an acoustic guitar handy and he wrote a song about his cat. I knew the story but it resonated to me in different ways. It was not only losing a cat but losing anybody or anything. It was a metaphor. Everybody in the video that appears, is somebody who’s passed away who I had some kind of musical connection with.

Was it your idea to add Beverly Stearns to provide the haunting violin melody?

Beverly was a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in over 30 years and suddenly she appeared back in the area. I was about to do the song and I asked if she wanted to play on the song. She came over and we worked out the part she was going to play and ended up recording it. I was pretty pleased with the sound I’d got out of the violin as I’d never tried to record an acoustic instrument like that, acoustic guitar yes, but not a violin. You have to get it right or it’d end up sounding cheesy but I think between the two of us, it worked.

A couple of years prior to this you put out an EP by A Steaming Pile Of Mick called Pet Wounds. and you had a full band for this. Were these guys musicians you were working with at the time or did they come in on a session basis?

They were just good friends who lived in the area. That particular drummer, Dave Salce, I’d played locally with quite a few times. It started out as just the two of us and we talked about who we could get in to play bass and guitar. All of those people are actually local musicians who were friends of ours and we just asked if they’d come over and do it.

It’s a pretty diverse selection of music spread over a small number of songs. Were you just wanting to put out a variety of songs for different moods?

Nothing was really that intentional. If I was trying to make a career out of this I’d have put a little more thought into it. I just let the songs come out without much thought whether they related to each other in terms of an album or a sound so it comes out a little scattered. It’s just the way I work, I guess.

“We’re Livin’ (Gary’s Song)” is a very drum heavy piece delivered in a storytelling style. What is the song about?

Gary was the drummer in Elf and when we were together in that band, we were best friends. After the band turned into Rainbow and Gary left, I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. I was back home and I had the news on and I heard that he’d been murdered very brutally. It was quite an upsetting time for me. That song is pretty much about our relationship and I wanted to make a statement as we were always so close in the old days and that’s why the drums feature so prominently.

“Ronnie Sang The Blues” is a nice laid-back Bluesy number. Is this you looking back with a fondness for those early days playing music with your friends?

It’s actually about playing music with Ronnie James Dio. When we first started playing together was about 1968, a long time ago. We played together about four years before we got our first record deal and that was before he became an icon in Heavy Metal. I remember Ronnie especially back in the old days when we were doing more Bluesy music so that’s where the title came from. I actually think all of the songs on the EP are me looking back fondly for the most part?

“Fake Titties” is an up-tempo Jazzy song. What inspired you to write this one?

It’s just kind of a metaphor for fake people and “Fake News” or whatever. I was just trying to have a little fun with it.

When did you start playing the piano?

I had lessons when I was very young, about 6 or 7 years old but only for a couple of years. My mother made me take lessons but I hated to practice and I wanted to play baseball. Eventually I tried the trumpet but my teacher said my lips weren’t right for it and suggested the baritone instead but I didn’t want to play that. I thought the trumpet was cool not the baritone. I even took a couple of violin lessons at school but I really wasn’t into it at that age. When I first wanted to form bands at 13 or 14 years old, I was the only guy around that could actually play anything on the keyboard. We got this Wurlitzer electric piano with reeds in it and the reeds would go out of tune and they’d break. It was rough stuff. The Ray Charles song, “What I Say” was done on a Wurlitzer. It wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 that I started to learn the piano the way I play now. I knew a few chords and I went from there.

You mentioned Ray Charles. Was he one of your early influences?

Oh yeah. I never really sat down and tried to copy anybody and I’ve been asked before as to how I came up with my style, this kind of Honky Tonky style and I realised at some point where some of it came from. If you listen to Chuck Berry records and most people just hear his guitar riffs but listen in the background to the piano. When I listen to those songs now, I realised that it must have sunk into me somehow. I wasn’t even trying to learn it

When did you join your first band?

I think I was about 14 and I had a band called The Star Tones. and at that time, I had a paper route where I got on my bicycle with a big bag of papers and I had to deliver papers every afternoon to a couple of neighbourhoods. I was learning to play guitar at the time and I was walking out of a building with a guitar and someone came up to me and started talking to me and said that they were starting a band and asked if I’d come along. I went to their band practice and thought that I could do that, so I ended up dumping the papers so I lost my paper route but ended up joining this band. That band became The Persians then Mickey Lee and The Persians. Where the Mickey Lee came from was that I started out playing the guitar but I was the only one that could play the electric piano so I became the piano player so they started calling me Mickey Lee after Jerry Lee Lewis so after a while I just kept it.

So that’s not your real name?

No, my first name is Michael and my middle name is William but Mickey Lee just stuck ever since then.

When did you turn professional?

I was playing in bars when I was 16 but I managed to pass for 18 so I was making money from playing music when I was still in High School. When I got into Ronnie’s band in my early 20s they were working a lot on the college circuit, fraternity parties and clubs and we’d play four or five times a week.

What was Ronne’s band called at that point?

Ronnie’s bands went through a number of names. There was Ronnie and The Rumblers, Ronnie and the Prophets, Ronnie Dio and The Prophets and when I joined it was the Electric Elves.

How did you end up in Ronnie’s band?

Unfortunately, they had a terrible car accident and this is how I got into the band. Ronnie’s lead guitar player and song writing partner, Nick Pantas, was killed in this accident after being hit by a drunk driver. Their keyboard player almost lost his leg and was in hospital well over 6 months and during that time Ronnie wanted to start playing as much as he could. Everyone knew each other in the town and Ronnie called me up and asked if I wanted to be in the band. I didn’t have to audition or anything. I became their keyboard player while their original keyboard player was healing but luckily, he could play guitar so when he got out of hospital he re-joined the band as a fifth member so we had two guitarists and I played the keyboards. His name was Doug Thaler and he went on to be Motley Crue’s manager.

What did you think when you first heard Ronnie sing?

I just thought he had the most amazing voice. I looked up to him so much. He was pretty much the only band in town. There was another one about 20 miles away in Ithaca, New York called Bobby Comstock and The Counts, who had a couple of hits out, one called Tennessee Waltz. The only band that I knew from Portland was called Ronnie and the Rumblers. Ronnie was about four years ahead of me in High School so I looked up to Ronnie. He’s always had this amazing voice and determination and you can hear that in his voice.

The first album with Elf was produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover. How did Roger get involved with the band?

Elf had a manager who live in Connecticut and he’d book us a few gigs. He got a position with a major talent agency in New York. When he went there it turned out that this agency was booking Deep Purple. Meanwhile our manager had got us an audition with Clive Davis of Columbia Records and it just turned out that Roger and Ian Paice just happened to be in the office so our manager asked if they’d like to go along and see our band. So, they came along. We had no idea this was going to happen until we got to the audition place and Clive Davis came out with a few people and sat down in front of us. We did a few songs. I’m not sure what Clive Davis made of us but they did know who Deep Purple were and Roger and Ian really liked us. They joked about it because when we first walked out, everybody was so short, that they asked if we were a circus act. After we played, they thought it was great. From that audition we got the record deal and both Roger and Ian wanted to produce it. Within a couple of weeks we were in Atlanta, Georgia in the studio recording the album. We recorded the album in a couple of days.

What was it like working with Roger and Ian as a young musician at the time?

It was great was great having someone from both sides of the glass with a musician’s perspective. Up until that point, everyone that recorded us just didn’t have that. They were the same age as us too. Not only did they have the studio experience but they knew how we thought, how to talk to us. They could relate to us and it opened up all kinds of doors for us to do what we wanted.

You ended up touring with Deep Purple. That must have been a real eye opener for you. How did you react to playing in front of such large crowds?

Everything happened almost at once. Right after we recorded the album, Deep Purple asked if we’d be their support band. We started off in England and Europe opening their shows. It was at the time “Smoke On The Water” was getting a lot of airplay in The States so when we got over to The States, we were doing stadiums. Elf had gone from playing clubs to playing stadiums in a matter of weeks so it was quite exciting. I think we were actually the first band to ever play the Houston Astrodome as we were the first band on the bill. It was quite an incredible time.

The final Elf album, Trying To Burn the Sun really hit the mark with “Black Swampy Water”, “Prentice Wood” and “Wonderworld” being stand out tracks. Did you feel more the band were really gelling well on that album?

Sort of. Actually, the feeling in the band was always that the first one was the one that we preferred because it was just raw and the four of us and very few overdubs. We got a little more adventurous on the next two adding the girl singers and the strings and things. I’ve read that people have said that they could hear the beginnings of Rainbow but I never heard that. We were just kind of feeling our way and thought that as we were real recording artists, we could put some strings on there as well. I don’t regret it but at the time we didn’t think that we were forging new ground, it’s just what came out. Roger was a part of that as well when it came to the recording studio as he made suggestions. Some of them worked and some didn’t. “Prentice Wood” was actually Roger’s first house. We stayed there for a while and helped him paint it. He called it his Rockstar house with a swimming pool and tennis court and everything. It was his first house so we had this song and Ronnie wrote the lyrics about Roger’s house.

You played on Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball album. That was quite an elaborate concept album based on a poem. How did Roger pitch that to you?

Originally it was going to be a full-length cartoon feature. There’s a song called “Love Is All” that Ronnie sings and they did the cartoon video for that and I’ve seen it a few times on MTV over the years. Whoever was making the film ran out of money and they ended up making a movie, and I think Roger was a bit embarrassed by it, as there’s just the one animated part for “Love Is All” and there is some concert footage but the rest of it is people running around in animal costumes so it’s just ugh!!. We went to the premiere and didn’t know what to expect. Roger came out and was so disappointed.

You co-wrote a couple of songs “Harlequin Hare” and “Together Again” but you sang lead vocals on “No Solution”. Why didn’t you sing one of your songs?

Roger always said that he loved my voice but I’ve never really been a singer. I can carry a tune in my own style but I don’t have a great vocalist’s voice but he asked me if I’d sing one of these songs so I said yes. The song that I did, I was directed to keep it my mind that I was a cartoon character and they wanted me to sing it almost with a stutter. So, if you listen closely to some of the words, I try to stutter them. The whole idea when I recorded it, was that it was supposed to be a cartoon character but when I listen to it on the record I think “Oh, dear”. I don’t know if I like it or not. I didn’t sing the songs I wrote as it was Roger’s project and I did what he wanted. Me, Ronnie and Roger came up with a couple of the songs but my contribution to that was probably very small. My songs weren’t the ones he had in mind for me to sing.

Vincent Price was involved in the recording too. Did you get to meet him?

Yes, he actually came up to me as I had a wristband for my watch which had turquoise around it. He came up and showed me that he had one very similar and he said that our watches almost matched. He was very nice and very friendly with everyone. Twiggy was there too but she was a little more…….I didn’t get to speak to her as her entourage kept her away from people.

You performed a live Butterfly Ball show at the Royal Albert Hall too. How was that experience?

We did the charity show at the Royal Albert Hall and that was quite an experience as I screwed it up. They managed to edit it so it didn’t look so bad. Towards the end of the song I didn’t come in at the right spot and the band behind me fell apart. There was a split second where everybody looked at each other and thought “What just happened?” Well, it was me that just didn’t happen, I didn’t come in, in time but everybody covered really good and they edited it so it didn’t sound so bad but I was embarrassed by it.

It was around this time that Ritchie Blackmore was leaving Deep Purple. At what point did you realise you were going to be working with him?

We’d been touring with Deep Purple. He was the last one in the band we got to know. Ronnie came to me one day saying that Ritchie had a song he wanted to record as a solo artist and he asked Ronnie if we’d be his backing band. We were on tour and somewhere in the Mid-West we went into a studio and recorded a song, it wasn’t even one of Ritchie’s it was by a band called Quatermass called “Black Sheep Of The Family.” He was pleased with that and we did a second song for the B-Side, I think it was “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and we did the two songs thinking that was going to be the end of it but the next thing we knew things blew up between Ritchie and Deep Purple and Ronnie came to me and said that Ritchie was interested in forming a new band and he wanted us to be it. To tell you the truth I was the only one in the band to vote against it. We’d been a band for a long time and we’d worked our way up to a certain point and it’d take very little, just one great song and we could be at that level. That was what we’d been trying to do for all these years, Ronnie even longer, but I was out voted. Everybody else in the band thought I was crazy. So, Rainbow was formed.

Rainbow was his band; did he tell you exactly what he wanted from you or did you have some input into the creative process?

That was one of the reasons why I was disappointed at being in the band. We didn’t really have any creative input and I was used to that as I’d been Ronnie’s writing partner for quite a few years. It was one of many things that made me eventually leave the band. At the time Ronnie and Ritchie would get together and I believe it was Ritchie who suggested the lyrical content of the songs, to go in a mystical direction and that’s all Ronnie needed. On that first Rainbow album, Ronnie wrote the best lyrics that he’d written in his life. After that it changed but the first album, I thought was really good. I hate to say that it’s my favourite album because I played on it but it is my favourite Rainbow album and the songs are better.

Tracks like “Catch The Rainbow”, “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” are Rock classics. Did you realise how special these where while you were recording?

I had nothing against any of the songs, I thought they were all great. “Man On The Silver Mountain” was the one I thought should have been the single. I thought this was the one, it was good.

Did you only record the 9 songs that made the final album or were any others recorded but not used?

I don’t believe so. I could be wrong as it’s quite a few years ago.

How was it working with producer Martin Birch? How did he shape the sound of the album?

Martin had so much more to do with the sound of Deep Purple and Rainbow than he was given credit for. Not only was he great in the studio but he was just the nicest guy. He’d party with us when we were out of the studio. I worked with him a number of times with Rainbow and Elf and also the Ian Gillan Band. I hadn’t seen him in many years but when I saw he’d died I was shocked.

Blackmore literally took the whole of Elf to record the first Rainbow album. Only Steve Edwards was left out. It was obviously a huge opportunity for you but what did you feel about Steve being left behind?

I don’t really remember how that all came down but it was pretty obvious when we decided to form Rainbow that there’d be no room for Steve. I saw him a few years ago when he came to a Deep Purple show and we hung out for a while. He seems to be doing really well and he still plays. He doesn’t seem to hold any grudges about it. It was just one of those things. You learn after a while of being in the music business that everybody is replaceable.

Did you play any live shows with Rainbow?

No, I was only in the studio with Rainbow. We never did any live shows. We started rehearsals for live shows in Malibu but the first thing that happened was that Craig Gruber, the bass player, got fired. Ronnie came to me and Gary and said that Ritchie wanted to replace Craig and there wasn’t a lot we could do but let’s make a pact that the three of us would stick together. Next thing I knew, two days later, Ronnie came to me and said that Ritchie wanted to replace the drummer, Gary Driscoll. Gary had been playing drums for Ronnie for a few years before I joined the band. He said that there wasn’t much we could do about it and said that we should make a pact. He’d made a pact with Gary as well so the pact was just silly. I eventually ended up leaving on my own but I always qualify that by saying that I was probably going to be the next one to go.

Were you involved in any of the initial Rising song writing sessions?

No, we hadn’t started working on Rising but I was there for Cozy’s audition. He blew everybody away. He was great.

Did you ever see or speak to Ritchie after you’d left Rainbow?

I saw Ritchie briefly somewhere but I can’t remember where. It must’ve been a Rainbow event of some kind, I can’t imagine what else it could have been. But I remember being somewhat surprised that he was wearing a bright red shirt. Don’t know if I ever saw him in anything but black before. Anyway, he was quite nice that night. We always got along socially.

You toured with Ian Gillan for a while in the mid-’70s. Was that just as a stand in or were you intending to join his band as a permanent member?

It wasn’t long after leaving Rainbow that I joined the Ian Gillan Band. Elf had got a fifth member for a while called Mark Nauseef. He was a drummer but he played percussion too and of course, he didn’t come over to Rainbow either but he managed to get a gig with the Ian Gillan Band. Part of that band was Ray Fenwick and we was part of the Butterfly Ball band. They had a keyboard player and they had a tour booked in France but he couldn’t do the tour for whatever reason and Mark suggested me. I got the call and that was just the wildest thing I’ve ever been involved with, bar none. I became very close friends with everybody in the band. It was right at the height of everybody’s craziness, I guess. I was just with them for a couple of months for the tour of France but I did do some recording with them too. I was given the option at the end of it to stay in the band but I was trying to do my own thing at the time and it was getting a little too crazy for me so I said I’d pass on that. They already had a keyboard player who came back and did a fine job and they went on to make a couple of albums after that.

What did you do after the tour? Did you leave the music business for a while?

Roger was going to form a band so he called me up and he was doing an album called Elements, I’m sure Martin Birch was involved in it too. It turned out to be an all instrumental album. Roger was going to sing and started doing the parts in the studio but he threw up his hands and said that he couldn’t do it. He thought it was awful but everyone else thought he sounded pretty good. He wasn’t pleased with how he sounded as a singer. He had all this studio booked and said that he had to do something so he literally wrote the whole album over a couple of afternoons in the studio. The whole band thing fell apart when he realised that he wasn’t going to be the singer. After a while I just gave up the music business because I had a son who was only a couple of years old and I wanted be around him. I went back to school and got involved in theatre and did some acting. I ended up going to Graduate School and got a couple of credits and got an MFA in stage directing so I just went off and did other things but I eventually fell back into the music business but more at a local level.

You ended up a keyboard tech for Jon Lord and then bass tech for Roger Glover for a while from the mid-’90s. How did that happen?

At one point I was in Orlando Florida as that’s where my son lived at the time. His mother and I were divorced but I was down there as it was his final year at High School and I got word that Deep Purple were in Orlando recording. I showed up at the studio. This was about 1995, I hadn’t seen anyone in about 15 years. I walked in and everybody’s jaw just dropped. In the mornings they’d all get up and play tennis and they needed one more guy. They asked if I played and I said that I loved to play tennis. So, every morning I’d drive over to the play tennis with them and they’d go into the studio in the afternoon and I’d go in and hang out with them. After a while they asked if I wanted to come out on tour with them and they could find a spot for me. I hadn’t been on the road in a long time and I could use the money, it sounded good so I became the keyboard tech. I was Jon Lord’s keyboard tech until he retired. I retired as well and my mother came ill and I took care of her. When I was ready to come back my slot had been filled and Don Airey was in the band. I was on the phone to Roger and I said I’d love to come back but I realised there was no room for me. Next thing I know he’d gone to Steve Morse and asked if Steve would take his tech so he could take me. So, Roger called me up and asked if I wanted to be his tech and I said OK. I’m still doing that now.

There has been talk of Wendy Dio putting out some Elf material at some point. Would you like to be involved in putting an Elf boxed set together with live material, outtakes and demos?

I don’t know what sort of tapes there are of the material that we did so I don’t know whether there could be a box set or not but it would be interesting to hear some of that material again. A few years ago, there was talk about an Elf reunion. Ronnie and I spoke about it. Ronnie was quite willing to do it but I could see that he was only doing it because he thought it was something that I wanted to do. In my mind there could never be a proper Elf reunion without Gary. We talked about it one afternoon and never really talked about it again.

Did Ronnie ever call you up over the years and ask you to be part of his band or project he was involved in at the time?

Me and Ronnie did talk about doing something together in the early planning stages of Dio before he’d actually formed the band but I was in grad school doing my theatre work at the time so I turned him down. Also, I’m basically a Blues piano player and that’s what I like to play. Sure, I can doodle around on a Hammond or a synth, but they’re actually different instruments and not my passion. Ronnie knew this, it’s a big part of why I wasn’t happy in Rainbow. By this point in my life, I’d decided to stop making decisions based on career moves, and Ronnie knew this as well.

When was the last time you saw Ronnie before he passed away?

We did this tour with Deep Purple, Scorpions and Dio in 2002. It was a fabulous tour and one of my best tours. We had these themed parties and Ronnie’s was Hawaiian so everybody had to wear a Hawaiian shirt. There’s was a German themed party for the Scorpions. The whole tour was great and I got to hang out with Ronnie a lot. After he became ill, Ian Paice is a long-term friend of Wendy Dio, even before she met Ronnie, so he kept me updated on his condition. One day he pulled me aside and he said that it didn’t look like Ronnie was going to last much longer. I did manage to speak to him. I called him up and we got to speak for a while. I told him that I loved him. He told me that he was going to beat this and I said that I knew he would, but he didn’t. I can’t remember the last time I saw him but that was the last time I spoke to him.

What are your long-term plans. Are you looking to write more music? Will that be out on Bandcamp or might you put out an album?

I fully intend on doing some kind of music but I’ve put off even thinking about it over the summer so I’ll give it some thought over the winter. That’s how I tend to work and ideas have to come together at the back of my mind first so I’m not even aware of it until I actually sit down and things start coming out. If I sit down and try to force it out it doesn’t really happen for me.

What about guest appearances on records? Do you get asked to play on other people’s records?

Not really but I wouldn’t be against the idea if something came up. Session work is something of a clique and I’m not in that clique but if I was offered something interesting then I’d certainly think about it.

What have you lined up for the rest of the year?

I don’t really have anything planned which is why I think I’m enjoying it so much. I have friends who can’t be alone, they have to have people around them all the time and have activity going on. I’m kind of the opposite so I thrive when I’m alone. The lack of pressure is something I enjoy. I don’t have to do anything. I’ve spent my whole life with pressure, especially on the road, so it’s nice to just do what I want for a while with nothing in particular set out or planned.

For more on Mickey Lee Soule visit mickeyleesoule.com

Interview By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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