When I recently traveled to the fine city of Los Angeles, I had the luck and fortune of doing what for many remains a dream or a wish, I got to meet my musical idol. In the late 80s, with my big brother at my side, I was introduced to the world of martial arts cinema through the movie Bloodsport. In its own right the movie remains a cult classic and is a fine piece of motion picture history, but what became the most memorable part of Bloodsport to me were the songs featured at key scenes.
Those songs were sung by Stan Bush, a man most famous for his works on Transformers: The Movie, singing such classics as “The Touch” which is widely recognized as the unofficial Transformers anthem. But to say that was his only claim to fame would be wrong, dead wrong. Over his nearly 30 year career as a musician, Stan has won an Emmy, been featured in movies, TV shows, and toured extensively. Recently, he also entered the world of video games by supplying music to Transformers: War of Cybertron from Activision. I sat down with The Man to discuss his long and wonderful career, and got an insight into his views on music, friend Vince DiCola, his partnership with Chikara Pro and his future plans.
Join us as we sip our coffees and stroll down memory lane in our interview with the legendary Stan Bush!
OSV: Thank you so much for your time today Stan! As a lifelong fan, this is definitely a special moment for me having the chance to meet and interview you.
Stan Bush: Thanks, it’s my pleasure.
OSV: Now let’s start right at the beginning, you now live in California, but you’re not born and raised here, correct?
Stan Bush: Yeah I was actually born in Orlando, Florida in 1952 and pretty much spent my whole childhood and teens growing up in near Gainesville.
OSV: Ah I see. So when did you start taking an interest to music? Pretty early on?
Stan Bush: Well, yeah I loved music pretty much all my life. Let’s see, when I was around 10, yeah 10 years old I think it was, pretty much when The Beatles first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. That was a huge influence on me and my decision to go into music.
OSV: So The Beatles is one of your definite influences for going into music?
Stan Bush: Oh yeah, especially early on. My older brother played guitar, he started playing around that same time and he would teach me some stuff. I started picking stuff up on my own eventually and since then… oh, I also played trombone in junior high for a couple of years. But eventually I focused all my attention on guitar.
OSV: So it seems like you’ve been musically active for pretty much all your life.
Stan Bush: Yeah pretty much!
OSV: So once you got to high school, did you start performing in bands?
Stan Bush: Oh yeah! I was in a band throughout all of high school. We would play at fraternity parties, high school dances and stuff like that. And then as soon as I was done with high school we started playing night clubs and toured around.
OSV: Was it when you toured around and played night clubs that you started acquiring talents and material for your first album in 1983?
Stan Bush: The self titled?
OSV: Yep, that’s the one
Stan Bush: Yeah, what happened was as I was in various different bands and configurations and we played night clubs as I mentioned, there were some of the guys that I knew and played in some bands with, they had formed a recording group up in Colorado called Boulder. They asked me to join and that was when I left Florida for the first time. So then after like 2 and a half years in Colorado, we got signed and left for LA.
OSV: Ah, was this when you got signed with CBS Records?
Stan Bush: No, this one album was with Elektra in 1979.
OSV: So how did the self titled come about after this? What’re your memories of starting up your solo project?
Stan Bush: Well after Boulder broke up, I started working with one of the guys I knew at Elektra Records. We were doing like nights and weekends working on this secret project (laughs) and that project basically became sort of a demo album to show CBS. So those demos we recorded on those weekends got me the deal with CBS Records in the end.
OSV: So how was it working with CBS Records and doing your solo project?
Stan Bush: Oh it was really cool, though it was a slightly similar process. It was an example of when “politics” get in the way as the guy who signed me, he was the head of the A&R (artists and repertoire) at the time. Well, he no longer held that position by the time the album came out so it didn’t really get the…
OSV: Push you had been hoping for?
Stan Bush: Yeah, exactly.
OSV: Well that album was still fairly successful, and managed to get the word out on you. Eventually we would hear you in movies and on new albums.
Stan Bush: Yeah, and also a few years later I managed to land a deal with Scotti Brothers Records so I did a new album with them. That was the album on which “The Touch” was featured.
OSV: Yeah, and naturally we have to speak a bit about that song, though we’ll try to keep focus on your career as a whole rather than that one song since you certainly have had an interesting career beyond that song. “The Touch” was first recorded for the movie Cobra, right?
Stan Bush: Yeah, what happened there was that we recorded that song for Cobra in mind and submitted it. However my label Scotti Brothers submitted it for Transformers The Movie, the animated film instead. I found out pretty much after the fact that “Hey, this song is gonna be in Transformers” from them.
OSV: …And that turned out to be a blessing for you, eh?
Stan Bush: Big time!
OSV: And on this film you worked with Vince DiCola for the first time…
Stan Bush: Yep!
OSV: How was that experience?
Stan Bush: Oh, Vince was great! Just an extraordinary talent you know.
OSV: This was the first time you had met when working on this movie?
Stan Bush: Yeah, during that time was the very first time I met him.
OSV: So you recorded those songs together in the studio? You weren’t in separate locations?
Stan Bush: Yeah the producer of that soundtrack, Richie Wise, who was also the head of A&R at Scotti Brothers at the time, he brought Vince in to play on some of my stuff, so that was when I met him.
OSV: What was your first impressions of meeting him back then? Seeing him play and do his thing.
Stan Bush: Oh, like seeing this… genius, almost mad scientist like guy. I had heard people raving about him and saying incredible stuff and after seeing him I was like “Yeah!”.
OSV: That’s pretty much what everyone has said about him (laughs).
Stan Bush: (Laughs) Yeah, he’s incredible.
OSV: So did you and Vince write “Dare” together?
Stan Bush: Ah, no that song, Vince wrote that with another guy called Scott Shelley for the Transformers soundtrack. So after they wrote it they got me to sing it.
OSV: So that soundtrack pretty much skyrocketed your name out there, leading you to record music videos with Optimus Prime himself. Was that your first music video by the way?
Stan Bush: Yeah it was.
OSV: How was that, having robots flying around your head firing lasers?
Stan Bush: (Laughs) That was a trip! Obviously I was in front of a greenscreen so they put that stuff in later, but it was definitely a trip seeing the end results.
The Touch Music Video
OSV: So how sudden did you feel that change once Transformers was out and your songs being so popular. Transformers in general was so huge back then, it was unbelievable.
Stan Bush: Yeah, but also, it’s kinda funny because by that time Scotti Brothers had a lot of success with “Eye of The Tiger” by Survivor. I think by the time Transformers came out, it had become harder for Scotti Bros. to kinda get the push from the distributor, which was Epic, since they weren’t really taking their stuff as seriously anymore. In Europe however, it was a different story. Germany in particular, the affiliate there was Intercord Records, they got behind it on their own and really pushed my stuff. I went over to Germany for a promotional press tour at the time and I couldn’t believe it.
They had photographers and people coming up to interview me, I was flying into Berlin and the wall was still up then so I had to go to Frankfurt first. There were like 50 kids with my albums waiting for me to sign them, I couldn’t believe it, I hadn’t experienced anything like that before and didn’t expect it, and neither did they. The next day I was gonna be on TV with this famous personality over there, Thomas Gottschalk I think it was, (Editor’s Note: Gottschalk hosts the show Wetten Dass…? (Wanna bet…?) which Stan appeared on). so a lot of the German fans knew that. Even the teen mags over there like Bravo and Pop Rocky did multi-page pictorial spreads with me. It was like being Bon Jovi or something (Laughs).
OSV: So it was pretty big for you going over there?
Stan Bush: Oh yeah, amazing. So I opened up for Lou Gramm for a while, then went back and headlined, then I opened for Survivor, and another tour… anyway I did a new album with Intercord directly after that when I got out of my deal with Scotti Bros. Then once the 90s came rock music kinda went away in the US so I kept making albums through overseas deals mostly.
OSV: Well, rock went in a different direction…
Stan Bush: Yeah, exactly, different direction.
OSV: I’m interested in hearing what you think of that direction. The Grunge style. It seems to be sort of the opposite of your own style.
Stan Bush: Yeah the whole grunge thing and the Seattle thing. The stuff I was doing, the mainstream 80s rock, it went away in the US at that time, but was still alive in Europe and Japan.
OSV: You still have a loyal following in those places too.
Stan Bush: Yeah Germany, UK, Japan.
OSV: But yeah, did you enjoy the grunge movement?
Stan Bush: Well… it wasn’t my cup of tea exactly. I can kinda get it you know, but it’s more about the attitude than the musicality. There were still some bands that were doing the recycled Zeppelin stuff like Guns ‘n Roses and other blues based rock acts. But you know, things come around so just gotta stick with it.
OSV: So you never considered taking a more dark and depressive direction with your music at the time to tap into that style?
Stan Bush: No, not really, one thing I did do though was that during the 90s, I got into a more acoustic vibe. The album The Child Within especially, I really love some of the songs on that. If I ever had any complaints from my long time fans however, it would be that the style used on that album was a bit too soft, but I was experimenting (laughs).
OSV: Going back into the 80s a bit to cover some stuff. You did assemble a band called the Barrage and released the CD Stan Bush And The Barrage. It’s one of your biggest albums actually and very popular still to this day. What’s your own memories and thoughts on it?
Stan Bush: Oh, I think it’s great! That’s still one of my best records. You know the last 3 albums I’ve done, Shine, In This Life and Dream The Dream, I think they are all top notch. Especially In This Life, I think that’s my best album to date. Don’t get me wrong, my newest CD is high up there, but I just feel there is something special about In This Life.
OSV: I agree, but Barrage has some fan favorites like “Primitive Lover,” “Crank That Radio” and “Love Don’t Lie” which I never grow tired of.
Stan Bush: Thanks! That’s really wonderful to hear.
OSV: … and “Love Don’t Lie” was covered by House of Lords right?
Stan Bush: (laughs) Yeah! It’s good, It’s funny though, the very first line James Christian sings, he sounds exactly like me! When I heard it I was like “what is this?” (laughs).
OSV: He’s a great singer though.
Stan Bush: Oh, he’s great absolutely! We met and worked on some projects together later on. In fact I’m still in contact with the bass player, Chuck Wright, who also played with Quiet Riot.
OSV: So that was how Quiet Riot came to do your song.
Stan Bush: Yep, that was through Chuck.
OSV: Those songs were quite popular too, for having a lot of airplay on MTV.
Stan Bush: Yeah they were released as singles. You know fans would come up to me sometimes and be like, “Hey, why are you covering Quiet Riot songs suddenly?” (laughs). I was happy for them though.
OSV: But it’s interesting cause you’ve actually written songs for a lot of different things over the years.
Stan Bush: Yeah, for things like commercials, TV, movies…
OSV: Speaking of movies, let’s talk a bit about that. After the Barrage album, you were on the soundtracks to 2 of Jean Claude Van Damme’s blockbusters, Bloodsport and Kickboxer. This was when you worked with Paul Hertzog. How did you and him get together and start collaborating?
Stan Bush: Well, we had some mutual friends in the business. He was working with an artist named Shandi Cinnamon at the time… I’m trying to remember cause there was also a guitar player out of Colorado that we both knew. I can’t really remember how it all came about, but I was hired as a singer on those movies.
OSV: What’re your thoughts on those movies? That was how I was introduced to your music personally by watching Bloodsport as a kid and being a fan ever since.
Stan Bush: (Laughs) Yeah, I’ve seen them. They’re cool movies. I met Jean Claude Van Damme at the screening of those movies and he’s a really nice guy. I also saw him again a few years after that when he came to a club in Woodland Hills I was playing at. The bouncers there were giving him a hard time and I said “Let this guy in.” So he came over to thanked me and I told him “No problem. Oh, by the way I sang on your movie Bloodsport,” to which he said, “The music was better than the actual movie!” (Laughs). I dunno, I liked them a lot. It’s funny because at the time those movies came out, it looked like he was gonna become as big of a star as Arnold [Schwarzenegger] or Sylvester Stallone, but I guess it just didn’t work out for him that way.
OSV: Well, he probably was at one point but then personal problems got in the way.
Stan Bush: Yeah…
OSV: For Bloodsport you recorded “Fight To Survive” and “On My Own Alone” which are fantastic songs.
Stan Bush: Thanks!
OSV: While on Kickboxer you did “Streets of Siam” and…
Stan Bush: …”Never Surrender?”
OSV: That was it! How do you rank those songs nowadays?
Stan Bush: Well, “Never Surrender” is a really good song. It was written by Lenny [Macaluso], same guy I wrote “The Touch” with. We put that later on the Call To Action album.
OSV: That’s right.
Stan Bush: You know I was actually in touch with Hertzog very recently.
OSV: Ah, really?
Stan Bush: Yeah, because this past year they featured “Fight To Survive” on this animated show on Fox called Neighbors from Hell.
OSV: So Hertzog is still active then? He pretty much vanished after a few more movies.
Stan Bush: Actually, he’s teaching now, I’m not sure if he’s doing anything musically. I got in touch with him after Fox told me they were gonna use the song.
OSV: Actually not too long ago there was a company that released the Bloodsport and Kickboxer soundtracks officially for the first time (Editor Note: While these soundtracks were released on CD in the 80s, they were bootlegs and never officially licensed) which featured your full versions alongside Paul Delph’s recordings.
Stan Bush: I’ve actually never heard his versions of those songs. I was never involved with the releases of those soundtracks.
OSV: Oh, not even the new official release?
Stan Bush: Nope.
OSV: Wow, that’s pretty surprising!
Stan Bush: It’s a crazy business you know, what are you gonna do.
OSV: Does this happen often with you then? Your music pops up everywhere so it’s kinda interesting to hear about.
Stan Bush: Well you know, “The Touch,” for instance, is kinda all over the place, people have it as ringtones, it’s featured all over the Internet and such so it’s kinda hard to keep track of it. But whenever there’s a national TV show or a movie that wants to use it I hear from them. Like in Boogie Nights which was a pretty big movie.
OSV: What did you think of Mark Wahlberg’s interpretation? (laughs)
Stan Bush: (Laughs) It’s really funny. It’s meant to be tongue in cheek so I enjoyed it.
OSV: There was a time period where you weren’t releasing many albums. Were you just taking a break and writing material while doing some movie gigs at that time?
Stan Bush: What years exactly?
OSV: Around 1988 to 1991 I would say.
Stan Bush: Yeah I was writing material at that time, and I was also singing a lot of commercial jingles.
OSV: That’s right, and what kind of commercials were they?
Stan Bush: Toyota trucks, Coors beer. I was doing some pretty big commercial jingles and made a great living doing those. They pay really well. Then later in the 90s I had the Olympics use my song.
OSV: That was “Until I was Loved By You”?
Stan Bush: No, that was the same year though, but “Until I was Loved By You” won an Emmy award while “Capture The Dream” was used in the Olympics.
OSV: In 1992 though you came back with a new album, Every Beat of My Heart.
Stan Bush: Yeah, I was getting together with some new people. I wrote with Jonathan Cain from Journey and Jim Valance who worked with Bryan Adams. I was flying around a lot working with different people. Jonathan Cain and I had been toying with the idea of starting a new band together after Journey broke up. He wound up doing Bad English instead with John Waite, sort of a reunion between the members of The Babys.
OSV: And after that album you also worked with Wayne Cook (Steppenwolf) on Dial-818-888-8638. What’s your thoughts on Wayne?
Stan Bush: Oh, Wayne’s good, he’s really talented. He produced that album with me and it was a lot of fun.
OSV: And then you recorded your first Japanese only release, Higher Than Angels. Though this album turned into The Child Within for the US release.
Stan Bush: Yeah, and on that album I started working with Curt Cuomo, who worked with Kiss and Eddie Money.
OSV: And he still works with you to this very day, being part of your latest albums.
Stan Bush: That’s right. He’s a really good song writer.
OSV: So Higher Than Angels was only in Japan, did you actually ever go over there?
Stan Bush: Yeah, I did once, to record a commercial. I was in Tokyo for like 3 days. That was really cool, I enjoyed it.
OSV: Did you meet any fans at that time?
Stan Bush: Nope. I was there pretty much on my own, did the recording session, did some sightseeing and then flew back. It wasn’t a promotional tour or anything.
OSV: The reason I ask is because Transformers was originally a Japanese property, so I was curious if anyone had kinda made the connection and brought it up to you.
Stan Bush: No, not that I recall.
OSV: Apart from the exclusive message recorded for your Japanese fans, that album was worked into The Child Within as we mentioned. You also re-did some of the songs along with a few new ones, right?
Stan Bush: Yeah, that came about through a deal with BMG in Germany. We remixed some of the songs and we got a bass player and drummer. That was where the Emmy song was featured too, “Until I Was Loved By You.”
OSV: That was what I was gonna ask you next, actually, because this was the first time you released that song on an album, and it went on to win that Emmy in the Outstanding Original Song category after being featured in the soap opera Guiding Light. I imagine that was a pretty huge event for you?
Stan Bush: Oh gosh that was amazing. Gloria [Sklerov] (co-writer of the song) and I, she called me to let me know we were nominated. So we went to the Emmy’s. Of course we had no idea we were gonna win (laughs), so when it happened, I was walking up there on wobbly legs and said a few words, but it was amazing.
OSV: Did you get to meet any other musicians there that you had always been wanting to meet?
Stan Bush: Yeah, there was the one, he did the music for The Simpsons and such…
OSV: Oh, you mean Danny Elfman.
Stan Bush: Yes! He was there. And Mike Post, I met him there. It was pretty cool getting to meet some heavyweights.
OSV: You still got the Emmy at home?
Stan Bush: Of course! (laughs), still got it. It’s heavy (laughs). Could use it as a weapon.
OSV: Scary thought (laughs). You were also featured in the Olympics around this time as we briefly touched on. How did you manage to get your song featured in the event?
Stan Bush: Well I wrote that song with 2 other guys, Marc Ferrari and the keyboardist for Winger, Paul Taylor. What happened was that the US swimming team won a few gold medals, and so NBC put together a montage. They used “Capture The Dream” for that montage because it was a very inspirational piece.
OSV: It’s also interesting that if you look at your work during the 90s, you were really prominent and active, recording 5 albums and winning awards, yet some people seem to think you kinda stopped after the late 80s. Though it was very much an experimental time for you.
Stan Bush: Yeah, we wrote a lot of different songs then.
OSV: And in 1997, you attended a convention called BotCon, which is centered around Transformers. What’s your thoughts on meeting the hardcore Transformers fans face to face at BotCon?
Stan Bush: That was absolutely amazing. They brought me and Vince [DiCola] out there along with a keyboard player as well. They had us play a small intimate concert in front of the fans.
OSV: I actually have the VHS copy of that.
Stan Bush: Oh, do you? That’s great. Yeah I did some stuff unplugged there, it was really neat. I think that was the first BotCon where they had actual celebrity guests and such. The next one I went to was in 2007, 10 years later.
OSV: You released some albums at that convention too, Call To Action and Till All Are One. Call To Action was your action theme collection we touched on earlier, while Till All Are One was DiCola’s score and re-recordings of the Transformers score. How did you go about recording the new versions of “Dare” and “The Touch”?
Stan Bush: Well I believe we recorded the drum tracks at the old Scotti Brothers studios. Vince put those recording sessions together and I came in to sing. Call To Action was originally a Japan only release, though I brought it along to the convention for sale of course.
OSV: And it’s for sale on your website along with most your other albums too.
Stan Bush: Yep.
OSV: So you were happy to finally be singing in front of the Transformers audience with Vince? How was the reaction from them?
Stan Bush: Oh the reaction was amazing! It’s funny because we didn’t have a full band with a drummer and all that, it was 2 keyboard players, backing tracks and me on guitar and vocals. Most my stuff I played unplugged too. I’d been playing that way for the last 25 years so I can pull that off well. I went back in ’07 and ’09. In ’09 I actually played with Vince again, and I believe that concert will be released on DVD.
OSV: And you’re pretty comfortable playing in front of crowds.
Stan Bush: Yeah, naturally.
OSV: Also interesting is that on that Till All Are One there was an unreleased version of the “Transformers” theme song, which you sang on, while in the movie the theme song is performed by Lion instead. Do you know why your version wasn’t used in the movie?
Stan Bush: You know, I never really found out. I went down and sang that “Transfoooormeeeers!” song but they went with the Lion version. I guess the movie distributor felt it went more with the style of the movie.
OSV: Do you kinda wish they went with your version so the whole soundtrack would be just you and Vince in hindsight?
Stan Bush: Maybe yeah, that would have been better (laughs).
OSV: (Laughs) Well, at least it got released though.
Stan Bush: Yep, it’s all good.
OSV: And during the last part of the 90s, you went back to the name Barrage and released a new album called Heaven.
Stan Bush: Yeah, but it wasn’t really the band reunited. It was just sort of the name to get across the band image. But those tracks were actually all recorded during the late 80s to early 90s even though it was released much later, so some of those songs are really ballsy rock, like “Joanna.”
OSV: Have you ever actually thought of reforming the Barrage from the 80s?
Stan Bush: Hmm, well, I did play some gigs with the guitar player. But I think Rick, the keyboard player, lives in Nashville now, the bass player is up in Idaho, so being so far apart I’m not sure if it’s feasible to do you know.
OSV: You seem to still keep in touch with some of them at least.
Stan Bush: Yeah.
OSV: You also released a Christmas album, At Christmas. Was that a European only deal?
Stan Bush: Yeah, the funding came from Germany and they put that deal together. We got an LA producer to do the arrangements and we recorded it at his home studio. I actually have a funny story about that album.
I was down in Hollywood to get the money for that album and we met at Hard Rock Cafe… no, wait, it was House of Blues. And we met and they gave me money in cash. So it was like 2 in the morning, I had a few beers, I was in a weird part of Hollywood, with a flat tire and 10 grand in my pocket (laughs). Nothing happened luckily.
OSV: (Laughs) That’s good to hear. I wanna ask you about some random projects you did some time in the late 90s. You were featured on a Winnie The Pooh album with “That’s What Tiggers Do Best.”
Stan Bush: Gosh, you know my career better than I do! (Laughs)
OSV: (Laughs) Well, I’ve been a fan for a long time. You also did a song for the Japanese animation Sailor Moon around the same time.
Stan Bush: Yeah, “She’s Got The Power.”
OSV: These were just deals that you kinda stumbled upon through producers and contacts?
Stan Bush: Yeah, I was just called in as a singer on those. The Sailor Moon series, my friend Sherwood Ball sang on that series. But for some reason they couldn’t reach a deal with him so he didn’t appear on the soundtrack CD, so they called me and asked if I wanted to do it. It’s funny cause a few years ago I went to J-Con, a Japanese anime convention in Orlando, and there was obviously a lot of Sailor Moon fans there, and they knew that song. So they wanted me to perform it there so I did.
OSV: Are there any other projects during the 90s that you remember having some special thoughts on?
Stan Bush: Well, there probably were, but you know stuff like these, they were like a million small things in which some panned out, some didn’t. There were quite a few commercials airing at the time but I’m not sure if you would be familiar with them, seeing you were raised outside the US?
OSV: Yeah, you know, I first discovered you on Bloodsport, and from there the only way to get ahold of your CDs was magazine mail order. It’s easier now with YouTube to discover that you did all these kinds of small projects. Things like Sailor Moon were also dubbed into Swedish at my place so your song was translated and sung by someone else, unless you are fluent in Swedish without me knowing about it.
Stan Bush: (Laughs) No, sorry.
OSV: We also mentioned earlier, but you had somewhat of a return to form in 2001 with Language Of The Heart. And with this album you also went over to the UK to perform a few shows.
Stan Bush: Yeah at The Gods Festival.
OSV: Right. You performed with a group called Talon.
Stan Bush: Yeah, but I was there before that when I performed with Dante Fox.
OSV: Ah, really? Talon actually released a DVD of your concert, you knew about that, right?
Stan Bush: Yup!
OSV: Ah, good, What were your thoughts on them and them playing your songs?
Stan Bush: Oh, Talon were great guys, had lots of fun hanging out with them. That’s the joy about being a solo performer like I am. I can fly over there and they can put together whatever good band behind me and it will come out good, all they gotta do is learn the songs a bit ahead of time. In fact, I’m doing a show in Philadelphia in April…
OSV: Ah, with Chikara Pro?
Stan Bush: Gosh, you know everything!
Stan Bush performing with Talon in 2003
OSV: Did you ever go back to the UK after that show with Talon?
Stan Bush: I was supposed to go back a few years ago actually but due to some work visa issues that didn’t go through. We’re trying to get something together for this year though so stay posted on that.
OSV: So it took you 3 years but you finally released Shine in 2004.
Stan Bush: Yeah that was through Frontiers Records. The last 2 albums had been through a UK based label called Now and Then Records. Frontiers wound up contacting me directly and that became Shine.
OSV: How do you like working with Frontiers?
Stan Bush: It’s great, Serafino [Perugino] is a really good song guy, and he pushes me to get the absolute best out of me. He’s hard to please, which is good cause it drives me to do even better. The budgets aren’t always as big as you’d want them to be but it keeps you active and out there.
OSV: Well I think Shine was absolutely amazing and a great return for you. The production values were top notch and you worked with Curt again to make some amazing songs.
Stan Bush: Thank you so much. Yeah that album was really great. The writing, engineering, guitar work, I really felt proud of that album. And we kept it up as we started working on In This Life. That’s when I started working with Holger [Fath]. We had become friends a few years earlier and written some songs together, but this was when we really got to work together.
OSV: With Shine and In This Life, you seem to have something new in you, as if you were rejuvenated and inspired by something all new. Where did this inspiration come from, cause these songs are so strong that I assume there must be something driving behind it.
Stan Bush: Well, with In This Life, at that time I was going through a divorce, which is always good when it comes to writing songs (laughs). Not just that though, when you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, it’s like you don’t always write a good song, but you know when you have one, so it’s just a matter of pushing yourself until everything you have is great and not settling for less. I think my lyrics have gotten better too.
OSV: Well that’s the thing, they are always so inspirational.
Stan Bush: Yeah, well you know that “believe in yourself” theme, it started with “The Touch” and I kept doing it since. It might be a bit corny for some but I really love it.
OSV: Yeah, and also, it’s actually pretty hard to write lyrics that are truly inspirational. Anyone can complain and mostly everyone does these days.
Stan Bush: Yeah, it’s real easy to be cynical.
OSV: But you have a real talent to actually inspire people and write lyrics that truly cheer us up which is much harder than writing depressive lyrics.
Stan Bush: Thank you so much, that’s really a high compliment.
OSV: In This Life had 2 versions right? Cause I remember seeing one that had fewer tracks than the copy that I own.
Stan Bush: Yep, the US release had 2 bonus tracks, “The Touch 2007” and “Till All Are One” which was the BotCon Transformers theme that year.
OSV: Now those 2 songs in particular were actually pitched to be in the live action Transformers movie that was released around that time. Why didn’t that come about?
Stan Bush: I really don’t know, you know, “The Touch” was actually set to be in the first Transformers live action film, and the deal was inked. But then for some reason, just 2 weeks before release, Michael Bay ordered the song to be taken out, and I really don’t know why. Which I think is a shame because it was something the fans were asking for, not me. At least he used Peter Cullen as the voice of Prime.
OSV: Have you met Cullen?
Stan Bush: Yeah, really good guy.
OSV: Even though the songs weren’t used in the movie though, that new version of “The Touch” found its way onto Guitar Hero: World Tour. How did this come about?
Stan Bush: Well, they contacted me from Activision. What had happened was that Mike Fahey submitted a post to Digg.com about an interview with me where he asked me if I would like to see “The Touch” in Guitar Hero and I said yeah. What happened then was that all the Transformers websites, blogs, video game sites, they all suddenly reported that “Stan Bush wants The Touch in Guitar Hero” and so the fans started requesting it. Kotaku was pretty instrumental in getting that deal up and running.
OSV: And you continued working in games with Transformers: War For Cybertron.
Stan Bush: Yeah, that was released last year. They used “Till All Are One” on the credits of that game.
OSV: That was your full on entry into the world of videogames. Did you ever play games when you were younger or anything?
Stan Bush: Not a lot, but my kids played them all the time. They were really into the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64.
OSV: So you don’t really have any specific memory of any videogame? Just Super Mario Bros. and the likes?
Stan Bush: Yeah that was mainly it, my kids loved that.
OSV: Videogames seem to be a really good fit for you too.
Stan Bush: Yeah, with the whole action angle going.
OSV: Yeah, so if you got the call to do something videogame related outside of Transformers, would you do it?
Stan Bush: Oh absolutely! I just submitted a new song called “Heat Of The Battle” for the new Transformers game, which I hope they end up using. But I would definitely love to do more videogame related projects of any kind. “The Touch” and “Till All Are One” are also available on the Rock Band Network now.
OSV: When did the process begin for your newest album, Dream The Dream? Was it soon after In This Life was released?
Stan Bush: We began writing for the Dream the Dream album about a year after the In This Life album was released.
OSV: What was some of the early ideas you had for this album in particular? What did you want to do in this album that you might not have gotten to do with Shine and In This Life?
Stan Bush Most of the songs on the Shine album were co-written with Curt Cuomo. The songs for In This Life album were mostly co-written with the producer Holger Fath. The Dream the Dream album has songs I wrote with all of them, plus writers I worked with on my earlier albums, like Lenny Macaluso, and Bobby Barth, who I wrote with during the early 90s. I even wrote with my old friend Edward Tree, who co-wrote songs for my debut album.
OSV: The songs on Dream The Dream seems to have a somewhat self reflecting angle to them, especially the song “If This Is All There Is” which is my personal favorite on the album. Do you feel with this album that you can look back and feel that you truly achieved so much in your long career?
Stan Bush: Thanks for the kind words. Yes, “If This Is All There Is” is a special song for me. I think all of us spend our lives searching for meaning.
OSV: Not so long ago, you were actually featured in an article over at CNN about vinyl and its loyal fans and collectors. What are some of the notable albums you have in your vinyl collection?
Stan Bush: I have a lot of cool vinyl albums, like Led Zeppelin IV and early albums from Cream and Jimi Hendrix.
OSV: Would you ever consider releasing some of your newer albums on a collector’s vinyl version?
Stan Bush: If the demand was there, I would definitely consider doing that. I really like the sound quality of vinyl.
OSV:You also recently worked with Chikara Pro, which is actually a wrestling company based in Philadelphia. While again a good fit for your music, it’s a pretty surprising partnership.
Stan Bush: Yeah, I got in touch with Mike [Quackenbush] through him contacting me after reading a press release of mine, and he’s been helping me out since then. They are having a big event called The King of Trios on April 15th, and I will perform a live concert at their fan event the day after.
OSV: Finally, what can you tell us about any future projects you have coming up? Even if you can’t comment much on it, can you confirm you are working on material for a new album or other music projects?
Stan Bush: Yes, I’m in the early stages of writing for a new album. I just released a single called “Heat of the Battle,” and I’m working on other songs. I also have a couple of live shows coming up this spring and summer. One thing I’ve learned is that I have to push myself to keep creative ideas coming, but it’s better not to get in a hurry.
For more info on Chikara and tickets to their shows, check out ChikaraPro.com.Tags: Activision, Bloodsport, Guitar Hero, Interviews, Kickboxer, Rock Band, Stan Bush, Transformers, Transformers The Movie, Vince DiCola, Wrestling