Exclusive: Thunder talks ‘Please Remain Seated’

Thunder recently released a re-imaged album of their greatest hits called Please Remain Seated via BMG. They just wrapped a UK tour and are planning additional shows throughout the year. The group — consisting of vocalist Danny Bowes, guitarist Luke Morley, drummer Harry James, guitarist/keyboardist Ben Matthews and bassist Chris Childs — is known for power hits such as “Dirty Love,” “Love Walked In” and “She’s So Fine.”

Bowes spent a bit of time answering some questions I had for him following the tour via email. In that regard, some of the questions appear in future tense as they were submitted before the tour began, and make more sense sharing them as I sent them.

Please Remain Seated is a a re-worked album of past songs. Tell us how the idea came about.

DB: We’d been asked by hundreds of fans for a quieter version of “Love Walked In” over the years. They wanted it for their weddings, but were concerned it might blow their Grannies hair off if they played the original. We resisted the idea for years, as it’s a big power ballad, and it didn’t seem right to change it. In 2017 we were in the studio making some changes to another song, and had some time, so Luke played around with it. What he came up with was very different, with a change of key, instrumentation and arrangement. It changed the entire feel of the song, not better or worse, just different. That got us thinking that maybe we could do the same with other songs.

Were the songs re-worked in the studio while recording them or were they rehearsed beforehand?

DB: We made a list of 18 tunes, and went into the studio for 5 days, to throw ideas around and record each one as and when we agreed the arrangements. We had no preconceived ideas, so it was very interesting to go through the process. We did the same thing again with another 17 songs a few months later. From the total 35, we selected 21 that we felt were interesting and different. We went back into the studio last summer to re-record them all properly, with extra musicians and singers. We did it primarily live, and worked fast. We were into getting it feeling right, not perfect, just so the listener could feel like they were there.

Are there any songs that were omitted from the project or some that didn’t just didn’t work out re-imagined?

DB: We threw out 14 that we felt weren’t different enough, or merely quiet versions of the original. These won’t be finished or released.

The Please Remain Seated Tour kicks off in the UK next month. Are there any plans to hit other parts of the world, including the U.S.?

DB: We’ve just finished the UK tour at the time of writing, and it exceeded our expectations. With very few exceptions, the audience sat throughout the show (having spent 30 years making them jump up and down, we really didn’t expect that). They said it was because they wanted to concentrate on soaking it all up. It went so well, we’d love to do it again, if and when it’s appropriate. The great thing now is that we have 2 completely different live shows to choose from, and both work brilliantly.

The album is available in multiple configurations, including many physical options. How do you feel about the current state of physical media?

DB: It’s clear that physical formats are on the decline because of the rise in streaming. However, for music lovers of a certain age, physical formats are still very important, as they like the whole physical experience (holding it, playing it, looking at the pictures, reading the sleeve notes, etc). Our fans definitely fall into this category, and they like value for money and nice packaging, so we do our best to give them well produced albums, and a wide selection to choose from, so they can get what they want.

We reported earlier this month about the HMV bankruptcy rumors that impacted in store appearances and a limited edition orange vinyl. Any updates on where fans can pick up this exclusive edition?

DB: It’s a “retail only” version, but it was never exclusive to HMV, so it’s possible to buy or order it from all retail sellers. It’s limited in terms of copies produced, so it people want a copy they should get it while they can.

Any future plans you can discuss?

DB: We’ll be playing 9 shows in Europe in late March and early April. These will be “electric” shows, so we’ll be returning to the more familiar Thunder live experience. Luke is already writing songs for the next album, but I’m not giving away any details yet, except it won’t be “Please Remain Seated” Mk2. There may be a few more shows outside the UK and some outdoor shows in the summer, but that’s all I can tell you right now.

Thanks to Mr. Bowes for answering these questions. We look forward to reporting future Thunder news as it becomes available and hopefully catching a show should they come to the States.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.