14. Rock Art - One Title Fits All
The autumn and winter of 1993 was used for renovations in the studio and for recording the first demos for the new album. Those were the three yet unrecorded songs, that were already in the live set and a fourth one called “Back In Your Arms Again“, a ballad.
A merchandising mail order service was set up in order to meet the fans' rising demand and Ashley Mortimer, a loyal follower of the band for many years, issued a fan magazine, “The Nitelight“.
The Zella Studios had meanwhile closed down due to problems with their landlord. Mark Stuart set up a new studio named “Mad Hat” together with Claire Swan, his business partner. Tony also contributed some equipment to help it get off the ground. Meanwhile the name has been changed to M2-Studios and Mark is the only owner. The new album was now recorded there, which took only three months.
It was called “Rock Art“ because Tony had seen a documentary about stone age paintings in Australian caves, which gave him the idea for the pun. It was released on 6th June 1994, but one day before that there was a little release event at the Virgin Megastore in London, where the band also played five out of eleven songs from the new album, which were: “We All Need To Be Loved“,“Hard Hearted Woman“, “Back In Your Arms Again“, “Rock Heavy“, “The Tall Ships“, “Tell Tale Eyes“, “Love's A Stranger“, “Hush-A-Bye Baby“, “Just This Side Of Heaven“, “I Will Decide Myself“ and “On Christmas Day“. Some background vocals were supplied by Mo Birch, Jacki Graham and P.J. Wright contributed some pedal steel guitar parts. The cover was a painting, but not by Rodney Matthews. A young artist called Eleanor Smith was responsible for the Indian Chief wearing war paint in front of a yellowish background that showed Indian patterns. The Magnum logo was the one that had been used in the “Vigilante“/ „Wings Of Heaven“ period.
Two singles were lifted from “Rock Art“. The first one, “The Tall Ships“ was a song about a clipper sailing from Hamburg to Rio de Janeiro around 1900. It was a mid-tempo song on which a steel guitar was used. As vinyl had meanwhile come out of fashion it only came out on CD, which featured an edit and the full version of the title track, “Hard Hearted Woman“ and a new song, “You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry“. The second single, which appeared about six weeks later, was the beautiful love song “Back In Your Arms Again“. It also contained “Hush-A-Bye Baby“ and two cover versions of old Rock'n'Roll hits, “Don't Start Me Talking“ and “Big Hunk Of Love“. Another outstanding song was “On Christmas Day“, which was not really a Christmas song. It was really an anti-war song around the idea that the soldiers in World War I interrupted fighting for Christmas and even played football together before the killing was resumed a few days later. Many years after that they would meet again and shake hands as veterans.
The release had been planned in April but was postponed to September due to record company politics and because the cover artwork and various other things couldn't be finished on time.
So the first leg of the tour started in April and May with a lot of material completely unknown to the fans “Intro“/ „We All Need To Be Loved“/ „Hard Hearted Woman“/ „Days Of No Trust“/ „Just This Side Of Heaven“/ „Love's A Stranger“/ „Les Morts Dansant“/ „Rock Heavy“/ „On Christmas Day“/ „How Far Jerusalem“/ „The Tall Ships“/ „The Spirit“/ „Vigilante“/ „Rockin' Chair“/ „Kingdom Of Madness“/ „Tell-Tale Eyes“/ „Sacred Hour“/ „Only In America“ and “Back In Your Arms Again“. The intro tape set the rhythm for “We All Need To Be Loved“. Tony used his acoustic guitar to replace the steel guitar in “The Tall Ships“. “Hard Hearted Woman“ was missing on the second leg of the tour, which took the band to Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and to the most important venues in Britain in September and October. The usual Christmas concert was staged in Wolverhampton on December 19th.
The band was supported by SHY and LIONSHEART in spring and by ROKO, BIG GUNS and LITTLE EGYPT in autumn/winter. The audiences were bigger than during the last tour and the album sold at least to No 83 in the German charts, but things were not quite as they seemed. Tony and Bob stated in some interviews that there was still a good climate in the band and a lot of optimism for the next projects, but Tony didn't really mean it.