© Kevin Julie



MINDSTORM is a Canadian hard-rock act fronted and lead by Winnipeg singer Travis Mitchell. The band is of particular interest to APRIL WINE fans as Mindstorm albums feature former AW guitarist Gary Moffet producing, as well as guesting on guitar. On the band's 1996 release Moffet played all the guitars, and Jerry Mercer also guested on a few tracks [including a cover of the 'Wine classic "Weeping Widow"]. Due to various unforeseen problems Travis didn't get out to fully promote the album til late '97, and I spoke with him early in '98 about it. "Mindstorm 3" is a decent hard-rock album with heavy guitars, drums, and big high pitched vocals. Here is the full transcript of my interview with Travis.
Q) What are you currently up to?
TM: We're hoping to do something in the near future, we are working on another album. But we're going to ride out on this one a little longer to see if we can get a little more happening.

Q) How has the response been to it?
TM: Not to bad. It's been a little slow in Canada. It's had a little spotted air-play here and there, but we did fairly well on the release in Europe, not great, but we've sold around 4000 albums in Europe.

Q) As far as Winnipeg goes, is it fairly successful?
TM: There's a bit of air-play here in the city on 92 FM, and I wouldn't say really successful - it's really rough in Canada to really get people behind you, especially in rock n roll. For the last while it's been mostly 'grunge' that's been getting air-play.

Q) Do you think your style, more of a metal / progressive type....
TM: I would like to call it more of rock n roll. I think on the earlier albums we did there was a little more edge to it, a little more metal thing, but that was happening at the time.

Q) What songs were singled out for air-play?
TM: The main song was "Days Gone By", And a bit of "Sweet Lovin".

Q) I have the bio which was done back in '96....
TM: Yeah, it's been a bit of time. Actually the European deal came to an end, and we were forced to decline from the Long Island agreement, the owner of the company died of cancer, so actually right now we're not signed in Europe. The album was released there in September of 1996, and it was out for a good 6 months, and the owner of the company died, and the company sort of went in to limbo, so they don't exist anymore. And then just when the album was released i was in a car accident, and it was like 9 months of rehabilitation, and i was basically laid up for most of that time, and we're just getting it together now after that set back.

Q) What did you do most of 1997?
TM: We tried to sort out this deal, and hammer out a new deal for Europe. We did have some interest , just nothing solidified at this time. But we're planning on going out and doing some dates in Canada right away.

Q) How did you get hooked up with Gary Moffet?
TM: There was a production company in Montreal that we were working with, and we were looking for a producer to do some tracks for the first album, and they turned us on to FCI Productions - which was Gary Moffet and Billy Szawolski, and they worked together on many April Wine albums.

Q) He actually got involved in the playing of the albums as well!?
TM: Gary started working with Mindstorm one year after April Wine broke up, and then on the first album he didn't do much playing, a little bit, but mostly arranging and producer stuff. And then he started playing more on the second album, and like you see he did everything on the third album, guitar-wise.

Q) He's got quite the guitar sound.
TM: Yeah, he's a great guitar player.

Q) I liked his production job, it gave it a heavy sound, yet a bit of a commercial edge as well, i thought.
TM: yeah, i think it's probably me that takes it in to the more heavier loops, and Gary tries to hold it back and commercialize it a bit for radio air-play.

Q) He's got a bit of that slickness of April Wine albums.
TM: Yeah, you can hear it coming through in a few places, like some of the solos and stuff where you can hear some of the same sort of style as the April Wine stuff.

Q: So, did he bring Jerry Mercer in as well?
TM: Yes, that was Gary's idea. We basically had almost the same line up as when they recorded "Weeping Widow" earlier. The only change was my voice instead of Jim's.

Q: Was it your idea to re-do that song or did Gary suggest it?
TM: It was something Gary had suggested.

Q: Were you familiar with the song?
TM: Yes, definitely! I've liked that song for years.

Q: April Wine fan?
TM: Definitely!

Q: What are some of your own influences, favorite singers, songwriters, - that sort of thing!?
TM: I've got many influences. Some of the bigger ones would be like John Lennon, I'm a big Beatles' fan. I love the melodies of John Lennon, and the words that he would write. And i love Mick Jagger, the staying power and the pisas that Mick has! And vocally, I'm a big Ian Gillan fan, and definitely Robert Plant.

Q: So you're big on the 70s stuff, arena rock!?
TM: Yes. That's exactly what i like. Big sounding rock n roll with loud guitars, screaming vocals, ha ha. Ozzy does a lot of stuff like that still, like with "Perry Mason" - that was good.

Q: So Deep Purple, UFO, Uriah Heep.....
TM: Definitely! And then in Canada there's like Rush and Triumph - i really like that stuff.

Q: What happened with your association with Aquarius?
TM: That was basically terminated in 1992. It sort of came to a point where we didn't see eye to eye, and i decided that i would be better off with another company, and then we opened up KAI Music - which is distributing the records here in Canada.

Q: Will Gary still be involved with the next album?
TM: Yes Gary's definitely interested in making more records. We do have a lot of songs already for the next record.

Interview Conducted January 1998.
Copyright Kevin J. Julie [Original edited version appeared in EXTREME magazine].