Thunder – Behind Closed Doors (1995)

FrontCover1.jpgBehind Closed Doors is the third studio album by English hard rock band Thunder. Recorded between May and August 1994 at various studios, primarily Southern Tracks in Atlanta, Georgia, it was produced the band’s lead guitarist Luke Morley and Mike Fraser, the latter of whom also mixed the album at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. The album was released on 23 January 1995 by EMI Records in Europe and Japan, and was not released in the United States.

Following the departure of the band’s original bassist Mark “Snake” Luckhurst in December 1992, Behind Closed Doors is the first (and only) Thunder album to feature his replacement Mikael “Micke” Höglund, who joined in February 1993. All five band members, as well as former producer Andy Taylor, contributed to the writing of the material on the album, which also featured a wide range of additional guest musicians. Behind Closed Doors peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart.

Behind Closed Doors was promoted on the Behind Closed Doors Tour beginning in April 1995, which included shows in the UK, Europe and Japan, as well as a number of festival dates. Three singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart – “Stand Up” peaked at number 23, “River of Pain” peaked at number 31 and “Castles in the Sand” peaked at number 30. All three singles also reached the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart top five.

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After recording some initial demos of new material in London,[1] Thunder began pre-production on their third studio album on 6 May 1994 at Stanbridge Studios in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.[2] Mike Fraser, who had previously mixed the band’s debut album Backstreet Symphony in 1990, returned as the main producer for Behind Closed Doors alongside the band’s lead guitarist and primary songwriter Luke Morley (Fraser also engineered and mixed the record). On 23 May, the band flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to begin recording of the new album at Southern Tracks. Speaking about the decision to record the album in the United States, Morley explained that it was “a last-ditch attempt to motivate Geffen”, the band’s American record label, who he claimed had failed to support previous release Laughing on Judgement Day. However, the band’s A&R representative John Kalodner later left Geffen for Sony Music Entertainment, and the album was ultimately not released in the US.

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Most of the recording for Behind Closed Doors was completed at Southern Tracks in Atlanta, although additional recording continued at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles, California throughout June and July. Bassist Mikael “Micke” Höglund, who had joined the band the previous year, recalls that “The drums and bass were supposed to be recorded at Southern Track Studios in Atlanta, but our guitar tech was a big dope smoker and completely useless. When I asked him to set up my bass to make it as easy to play as possible … he loosened the bolts that hold the neck to the body so that the strings and the fretboard were closer together”, which resulted in his instrument being out of tune for the sessions.[3] Guitarist and keyboardist Ben Matthews praised Höglund’s contributions to the album, suggesting that “His love of Geezer Butler and all things Black Sabbath was reflected in his playing and his songwriting contributions to Behind Closed Doors, giving it a darker and heavier feel.”

Recording of Behind Closed Doors was completed with additional sessions at Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey, Armoury Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Record Plant in Los Angeles. The album was later mixed by Fraser at the Record Plant in July 1994, and mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound in New York City, New York. Recording of Behind Closed Doors was completed by 12 August 1994, according to the album’s liner notes.

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“Stand Up” was released as the first single from Behind Closed Doors on 28 December 1994, accompanied by a music video filmed during a show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London three weeks earlier. The single debuted at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart and number 2 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart, behind Van Halen’s “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)”. “River of Pain” was issued as the album’s second single on 13 February 1995, debuting at number 31 on the UK Singles Chart and number 5 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart, and “Castles in the Sand” was released as the third and final single from the record on 24 April 1995, reaching number 30 on the UK Singles Chart and number 2 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart.

Behind Closed Doors was released on 23 January 1995 in Europe by EMI Records, and two days later in Japan by Toshiba EMI Prior to the album’s release, Thunder completed the short Stand Up and Be Counted Tour, which visited a number of UK cities in December 1994. The opening European leg of the Behind Closed Doors Tour began on 5 April 1995 in Hamburg, Germany and wrapped up on 12 May at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. The band supported Bon Jovi alongside acts including Van Halen and Slash’s Snakepit in June and July, and later toured Japan in late-August.

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Upon its release, Behind Closed Doors debuted at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, its peak position, and topped the UK Rock & Metal Albums Chart. It remained in the UK top 40 for three weeks and the top 100 for a total of six weeks, and later returned to the chart for two weeks in May. The album also reached the top 20 of the Scottish Albums Chart, peaking at number 18. Outside of the UK, Behind Closed Doors reached number 56 on the German Albums Chart, number 22 on the Swedish Albums Chart,[14] and number 44 on the Swiss Albums Chart. (by wikipedia)

Like soldiers marching towards certain doom, British hard rockers Thunder stared down the indomitable forces of grunge as they unsheathed their third studio long-player, Behind Closed Doors, in January 1995, never losing faith in the rightness of their musical cause. What choice did they have, anyway? Well, they could have just thrown on the flannel and attempted to infiltrate the enemy lines like so many cowardly, fluffy-haired Luke Morley.jpgcolleagues and make even bigger fools of themselves in the process, so give the quintet credit for sticking to their guns and facing down their fate like men. Needless to say, Thunder got themselves “killed” regardless, poor saps (everywhere but in their homeland the U.K., where this album reached a highly respectable number five), but at least they went down fighting behind every punchy, accessible, yet commendably earthy melodic rock nuggets like “River of Pain,” “Stand Up,” and “Ball and Chain.” Thunder also embraced slightly darker vibes with memorable results on portentous opener “Moth to the Flame” and “Preaching from a Chair”; got the funk out successfully (“Fly on the Wall”), and not so much (“Too Scared to Live”); and noticeably toned down over all pomp rock thresholds, particularly on the bluesy “I’ll Be Waiting” (boasting shades of ‘70s Whitesnake) and the folksy ballad “Til the River Runs Dry” (another weeper, “Castles in the Sand,” sounds like a virtual memorial to this dying breed of ‘80s rock). But what Thunder couldn’t do was carry on operating with confidence in their talents, as the alternative rock era continued to make mincemeat of their peers while swallowing up most of the media and any touring opportunities that had once been at their disposal. By the time Thunder got around to recording their fourth album, 1996’s sardonically named The Thrill of it All, both their hopes and inspiration had pretty much run themselves dry. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

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Personnel:
Danny Bowes (vocals)
Mikael Höglund (bass)
Gary “Harry” James (drums)
Ben Matthews (guitar, keyboards)
Luke Morley (guitar)
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Paul Baron (trumpet)
Derry Byrne (trumpet)
Denyse Nadeau Buffum (viola)
Bruce Dukov (violin)
Hazza Ling Hoi (percussion)
Suzie Katayama (cello)
Tom Keenlyside (saxophone)
Peter Lockett (percussion)
Bill Runge (saxophone)
Sheldon Sanov (violin)
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The Rattling Monk (percussion)
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background vocals:
The Suntan Sisters
Katie Kissoon (on 10.)
Tessa Niles (on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Moth To The Flame (Morley/Taylor/Höglund) 5.27
02. Fly On The Wall (Morley) 4.22
03. I’ll Be Waiting (Morley) 4.22
04. River Of Pain (Morley) 3.41
05. Future Train (Morley/James/Matthews/Höglund) 5.26
06. ‘Til The River Runs Dry (Morley/James) 4.20
07. Stand Up (Morley/James) 4.00
08. Preaching From A Chair (Morley) 6.17
09. Castles In The Sand (Morley) 4.44
10. Too Scared To Live (Morley) 4.24
11. Ball And Chain (Morley/Bowes/James/Matthews) 4.48
12. It Happened In This Town (Morley/James) 5.55

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