Feature: Chris Dale

January 2001

Chris' first recording band was an outfit called Atom Seed who released a couple of singles and an album in the early 90's. He then joined Bruce for the "Balls to picasso" tour and stuck with him for the subsequent "Alive in Studio A"-album, the "Skunkworks"-project and then left when Skunkworks was disbanded after their summer-tour of 1996.

While still in Bruce's band he had been working on a project on his own which was called Sack Trick. In 1997 he finished the first album (Music from) The Mystery Rabbits together with the rest of the Skunkworks guys (sans Bruce) and some friends. The album sounds like a mix between Faith no More, Primus and Monty Python and the live shows are weird affairs with strange costumes, the occasional Kiss-cover and, of course, the Sack Trick-lineup of the week.

In 2000 Sack Trick released the "musical" Penguins on the moon which is a concept album about penguins travelling to the moon. In 2004 they released the weird Kiss tribute "Sheep in Kiss make-up" and are currently working on new material for the next album of original material. More info can be found at www.sacktrick.com

Anyway, here follows the Chris Dale Q & A:

Name and instrument:
Chris Dale, bass guitar
What had you been doing before you started working with Bruce?
I'd been playing bass in a band called Atom Seed who I did a bunch of touring with and a couple of albums. Then I met Alex Elena in a short lived band called Machine. We weren't really enjoying the band so we teamed up to audition for Bruce.
How did you come to work with Bruce?
I read an interview in Kerrang! Where Bruce said he was looking for a rhythm section. So me and Alex Elena sent a tape to Sanctuary Management with all the usual CV and photo stuff as well as recommendations from Myke Gray and Jannick Gers both of whom I'd known for a while. That was enough to get him to audition only us. It turned out he'd only received half a dozen tapes from people, mostly either just bassists or drummers not pairs and not very well done. So the lesson for all aspiring musicians is that when you hear someone's left a band it's no use thinking "Oh, I bet thousands of brilliant people are going for that". It's always worth finding their management's or record company's phone number form directory enquiries and sending a well presented tape/CD, photo and CV, there's probably less than ten people running for it.
Do you remember your first meeting with him?
I first met him at the studio where we auditioned. I was quite impressed when he helped me carry my heavy bass cabinets into the studio. I thought he'd leave that kind of thing to his roadies. Not many millionaires put their back into lifting things.
What was the reason for you parting company with him?
Bruce had decided to ditch the Skunkworks project which hadn't proved as popular with fans as we'd originally hoped. He wanted to go back to good old Heavy Metal and realised that if anything Alex, Alex and me were going more alternative in our playing and tastes. So he naturally renewed friendships instead with Adrian and Roy. In retrospect I can see that he was also probably quite tired of our constantly childish behaviour and our drinking and smoking habits, fair enough. He was very nice about it all with us and it was quite expected on our part so there aren't any hard feelings either way. In fact he's been really supportive of my new band Sack Trick.
What have you been up to since?
I've expanded on my childish behaviour with my new band Sack Trick. We rock but we're also quite silly, anyone who's heard the b-sides I wrote for Bruce on the Back from the Edge single will know where I'm going. We've got two albums out so far "(Music from) the Mystery Rabbits" and "Penguins on the Moon". Check out our website at www.sacktrick.fsnet.co.uk. Bruce had us supporting him for a couple of dates on the Chemical Wedding tour, which was nice.
Do you have any fun Bruce anecdotes to share with us?
Loads obviously, but here's one you can print. We had some Skunkworks rubber ink stamps made up with the logo on. They were cool for stamping fan club letters and similar stuff. While on tour in Berlin, Bruce in a mischievous mood stamped our logo all over the venue's toilet areas. Unfortunately the venue noticed and weren't too pleased. In the end Bruce owned up to it and they gave him a sponge and bucket of soapy water to clean it up. The ex-Iron Maiden singer was reduced to toilet janitor for the afternoon. He saw the funny side and quite enjoyed his temporary change of job.
Are you in contact with Bruce nowadays?
I've not seen him for a while- he's quite busy with his new band you know. We spoke to each other's answer machines at Christmas. Unfortunately I woke up and found myself in Finland on the night of Maiden's Earls Court show so I've not had a chance to catch up with him.
What do you think of his latest albums?
They're good heavy metal albums, far better than what Maiden was doing at the time.
Chris' own question to himself:
What do you think of the Skunkworks album?
I'm really proud of it. I think it was a great chance for Bruce to show his voice in a different light. It's a shame it didn't sell better but it's also kind of cool to have played on the album that was to Bruce, what the Elder was to Kiss.

Chris Dale Discography:

Atom Seed:
12" EP 'I don't want to talk about it'
LP 'Get in Line'
EP 'Rebel'
EP 'Get in Line'

Dead Happy EP 

Balance of Power:
LP "When The World Falls Down"
LP "Book of Secrets"
LP "Ten more Tales"

Seven Days:
EP "Ride"
EP "Double A side"

LP "Consume and Die"
EP "Hey, Let's Get it on"

Sack Trick:
LP (Music from) The mystery rabbits
LP Penguins on the moon