Mike Levine, bassist for Canadian rock legends Triumph, is featured in a fantastic new interview with Jeb Wright at Classic Rock Revisited discussing the 30th Anniversary of the Allied Forces album. Check it out below:
Jeb: Allied Forces really skyrocketed the band into new popularity. I loved Just a Game and I liked the next album, Progression of Power, but a lot of other people did not like that one. I will admit it was not as good as the bookends on each side of it. I would guess Progressions of Power did not sell as well.
Mike: That album could have been a career killer. I love the album but it was not what it should have been. We had no time to make that record and that was the problem. We were told we had to have an album out by such and such a date or else. The quality was just okay and the songs were just okay. The best song was “I Live For the Weekend.” The others were okay tunes but it just didn’t come out the way it should have.
Allied Forces was the one that brought it home. We got to make that album at our own studio, Metalworks. The only thing we had to worry about was the delivery date.
Jeb: You guys must have been under a lot of pressure to deliver a hit.
Mike: We were under big pressure. The University of Toronto has an archive of Triumph material, as we donated all of our stuff to the University. I was looking for the tapes for Allied Forces for the 30th anniversary, limited edition, vinyl version we are putting out. We sent an entire semi of stuff to the University, and while it was all boxed up and fairly documented, it still took a lot of searching to find the tapes. In looking for the tapes, I found all of these threatening letters from the record company saying we needed to do this, or do that, and I was sitting there reading these letters, after all these years, and I was getting pretty pissed off about it. I had to stop reading them.
Jeb: Gil was known for the stage show and the light show, Rik was the most musical and you were the businessman and producer. Did you buffer the band from that kind of news, or did they know it was do or die?
Mike: It was well known. It was all full disclosure. In general, I had to go to war with the record company and I needed their blessing, because it could have all blown up.
We knew we had to make a great record this time out. Just a Game had set us up and Progressions of Power had kept us level but knew in our heart of hearts, that we had to make a great record. The record company told us, in no uncertain terms, that we had to make a great record. I told them to stay out of our faces and that we would deliver a great record.
We recorded the album in late 1980. We had the pressure of touring and everything else. The pressure was unbelievable. Back then we were supposed to deliver two albums a year, which was crazy. We were fighting all of these legal battles. Reading those letters again really make me angry.
Read the entire interview here: www.classicrockrevisited.com