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MARK CROSS INTERVIEW (By Roman Gaydukov) 1) Tainted Nation released their debut album, called “F.E.A.R.”,



Tainted Nation released their debut album, called “F.E.A.R.”, some weeks ago. Tell us, what can expect the fans from this album?

A very strong and solid sounding rock album of today! With “today” I mean perhaps a bit modern, but that has nothing to do with opera or death metal or power metal as so many people would expect. it’s simply based on a very groovy and hard hitting foundation with amazing guitars and fine melodic vocal lines. It is an album you can’t easily place into one category, which I believe gives it exactly the identity it deserves and exactly what we wanted. There are still people out there who wish to call it AOR, but I believe it’s not knowing, that it actually could be called “Rock 2013”. The rules are simple. Turn it up real loud and run it up twice.


How did born the band? And why did you name it “Tainted Nation”?

Pete Newdeck, our singer (also drummer of Eden’s Curse) and I met on the Firewind/Stratovarius tour in the UK in 2009, when he was supporting us with Edens Curse and he had to struggle playing on my drum kit We actually became very good friends and in 2010 he called me up one day showing some new demos he had written with Ian Nash, guitar player of the Steve Grimmett family, Lionsheart, Grim Reaper. I was blown away and asked who the singer was! To my surprise it was Pete himself and didn’t know, that he was such a charismatic singer. His voice is something else! As we carried on talking, he actually asked me if I wanted to play the drums when the album was done. I was really surprised, because I thought he would record them, but Pete explained that he had plans for a band. For me it was more a project, since I was committed to other duties, but when Firewind was put on ice because Gus was busy with Ozzy, I felt the desperate need to move on and do other things I enjoyed more and starting working with Pete and Ian on the album. Soon Pontus Egberg of Swedish Rock sensation “The Poodles” was added to the line up and honestly created a mind blasting band.

Tainted Nation. We live in tainted times, in a tainted world or nation. A tainted nation, a state of corrupt politicians, thieves, bankers and programmers, who have fucked up our lives trying to control us and everything around us. That is what we call a “Tainted Nation”. The revolution has begun!


The first single you released was “Loser”, which includes a video clip. It’s a solid song in my opinion, do you think it reflects the whole album idea or it’s just a little taste.

It is actually a cover of a song called “Bimbo” of Swedish band Lambretta. It was a massive

hit in Sweden and we just thought it was a great tune and changed it to Loser. You know, we fancied to do a video with a different approach, with actors and storyboard

etc and get away from that typical cliché concept of metal videos. We also wanted it all a bit “not so usual”, commercial or I don’t know what.

I don’t know if it reflects the album, all songs have something to say, but maybe it was the most straight forward song that pointed out to be an immediate hit and ideal to represend the bands image.


Do you think it is worth to record video clips to promote an album? I mean, it’s hard to see songs like “Loser” on music TV channels, at least in South America.

A video clip has always been of great importance to promote a band. You know, with a video the fan sees the band and gets into it and we love to see our noses on the screen, haha. No, seriously, a video clip is the best advertising tool for a band! Why is it hard to see songs like “Loser” on South American Television? Do we have to break the ice here? I don’t understand. It’s been great fun acting in it and also reflects the humor in this band.


What do you think about download music from Internet? Knowing that a lot of teenagers download lots of music from blogs, and other pages…

I think it’s shit and very unfair to the artist and songwriter. As an artist I can say that because of increased downloading of our music for free, we have lost a lot of money. You know, writing, recording and promoting an album is costy and takes some time, that effort has to be repaid. We are happy to be on the road making some cash, which is not always enough to cover the cost of making an album. Even a record company who sells the album, doesn’t make enough back from sales to pay the band or the financial support for their next tour. So, if you ask me why we don’t come to South America, it can be because of that, the cost is too high and no one in your country has actually bought our album.


You released two great albums with hard rock band Outloud, and both of them gained tremendous reviews from the world pressWill you continue playing with Outloud?

Yes, it was great fun and back then a thorn in someone’s eye, haha. Someone wasn’t really happy that Bob and I did something else. Hello?

I am so busy with other things and Tainted Nation, that I don’t really see the point in working with Outloud in the future. I don’t really know what they want to do.

7) You played on the Greek singer George Gakis’ album “Too much ain't never enough”, featuring great musicians like Joe Lynn Turner, Greg Smith, Yannis Spathas, among others. Did you shared the records sessions with any of them? What do you think about that album?

I really enjoyed doing this. George is an old friend and a very talented Musician. He made a lot of friends in his career and it was an honour to play alongside with him and everyone else

involved. I played the drums on all the songs, except for two where Bobby and James took over. It’s an awesome classic rock album with fantastic songs and a great production, which was master pieced by no other than genius Kip Winger! I say genius, because he really is a mastermind in Music. I just love how he mixed it.


Before Outloud, you played in Firewind, recording three great albums, why did you decided to quit the band?

Captain Murtaugh in the movies “Leathal weapon” always said…. I’m too old for this shit!! The last thing I remember in Firewind was, that I was asked if I could handle GG’s fame!! Huh, what??? …. !!! I took the next plane home


Why did you stay only for an album in At Vance?

Well, basically the label thought it was cool promotion to add my name to the album, since I was doing the tour, but I never really played a single note on that album, it’s programmed. I

was never happy with that decision, especially after because it was the worst tour of my life working with that asshole! Some people have no clue what it really means to be on the road and that idiot should have never been on a tour bus.

I think he never toured again after that and it was hard for him to find quality musicians. No wonder if you take the piss out of everyone and owe people money

10) After you joined Helloween, and begun the recording sessions for “Rabbit Don’t Come Easy”, you were diagnosed with mononucleosis. How did you recover from that virus and what did you do during that year?

Well, it was probably the hardest time in my life. Not only did I lose the position of being in one of the greatest metal bands in the world, but also not knowing how long it would take to be back on the tracks! It took me exactly 10.5 months to recover. After a heavy battle to get back in shape to finish the album, I gave up and landed with only two songs on the album. It was a tough time, for nearly 7 months I basically did nothing apart from eating healthy food, no alcohol and slept for two lifetimes. Honestly, I could sleep for 10-12 hours easily. That is very unusual for me. But that is all in the past and I am kicking ass, better than ever.

11) How it was the experience of playing with Ian Gillan, one of the greatest vocalists in the rock history?

I guess I earned a little part of that history as well. It was amazing, because I always admired Deep Purple. I grew up with their Music and Ian Paice was probably one of the main reasons

I became a drummer. 1972 Made in Japan slipped into my hands and blew my mind. What I

heard and what I felt I can’t describe, it was magic!!

I was really proud that I made it that far and worked with Ian Gillan. Lovely guy, we’re still in touch.

12) During your long career, you played a lot of styles, since pop oriented music, passing by classic and hard rock, and reaching powerful metal style. It was a positive experience?

Absolutely! It opened my mind and gave me the abilities to play anything! That is something

not every Musician has. Of course you will find your ways, what you love most and what you can play best, but to be able to fit in everywhere is a unique gift. I also heard and practiced a lot of jazz rock and fusion in my early years and I can still hear these technical moments in my playing.

I was always a powerful player and my heart and attitude always tended more to rock music,

especially classic rock. I am old school, the typical groovy hard hitter that learned on the way to play faster. But the groove is the groove baby!!

13) You have a unique double bass drum sound, what’s your secret?

Riding my bicycle But there is a little secret. Many years ago I noticed that especially in metal, sound engineers always liked to EQ the bass drum adding highs and use condenser microphones to point out the clicking effect, but that sometimes was not enough and I gave it a little help.

Kick pads at the time were still soft and didn’t really do the trick, but maybe just save the skin. I tried something else. I was looking for the biggest coins in different countries and found 100 Greek Drachmas brass coins, which I glued under Kick pads and hit those with a wooden drum beater. The effect was unbelievable. Everyone thought I triggered the bass drums and they all had to decrease the highs from the EQ’s. Triggers, I hate triggs and honestly, I never used triggs in my life unlike so many others!! The thing is, that the low end of the bass drum sound remains and the actual punch and sound is right in your face. In 2001 I ordered thin custom made metal plates and sliced enough wooden drum beaters to upset Tama drums and make them wonder how I could break so many.

I never really talked about this and you really are the second to know what lies behind that

insane sound, especially live!! After so many years I am used to play like that, but when I first started, I must admit, it was very difficult playing those kicks and especially fast hitting on metal plates.

14) One of your trade marks is the cymbals in the shape of Iron Crosses, what’s the difference between them and the ordinary cymbals?

They have a strange flanging tone, but very unique and ideal for percussion. They are not really made for rock playing, but I always find a way to make their sound point out!!

15) What are your influences like drummer?

Ian Paice, Jon “Bonzo” Bonham, Billy Cobham and Neil Peart where my first steps into drumming. A while later I studied the genius and master of the groove Steve Gadd and thought that Peter Criss looked actually cooler, haha. But luckily Nicko McBrain and Cozy Powell set me back on the right path and kept me away from wearing make up until I joined Metalium in 2000. Years later I found a huge interest in Simon Philips’ playing and his sound. He matched Jazz with Rock nicely. And not to forget Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, it was amazing to watch never seen vids on youtube. Watching Buddy play is something you will never forget. He is Bruce Lee on drums. He is the one and only!

16) And the last one, do you have plans to tour South America promoting the first Tainted Nation’s album “F.E.A.R.”?

That would be awesome. We plan a UK tour in April and then do festivals in the summer. We have a lot of preparations for the show. I will run a smaller drum kit, but will add electronic drums and pads to run sequences and sounds. We didn’t want any kind of backing tracks and decided to work it out live 100%. The vocal parts, the keyboards, the programming, the sounds etc. That gave me the opportunity to look into the technical side of things, which will keep me quite busy on stage. You know, I love it. I’ve always fancied that, but many bands just didn’t like the idea for whatever reason.

We’d love to play in South America and who knows, now doing the promo hopefully some of your promoters will want us down there. Make this album popular, play it loud, play the video and we’ll be there to kick your ass and show you what a TN show is about!!

Thank you very much for your time, Mark!

I thank you and I hope to see you all soon!!

to see you all soon!!