11. Sleepwalking? Far From That!
The album had taken six months to record and was finished a long time before the band could get a new record deal. Music For Nations would distribute it in Great Britain, Polydor would still cover Sweden and EMI got the rights for Germany and the rest of Europe.
”Sleepwalking“ came out on the 12th of October 1992 and went up to Nr. 27 in Britain. The new album had been recorded in Tony's Zella-studios within six months, twice the usual time. It was the first self-produced one since “Eleventh Hour“, a collection of eleven songs which were: “Stormy Weather“, “Too Much To Ask“, “You're The One“, “The Flood“, “Broken Wheel“, “Just One More Heartbreak“, “Every Woman, Every Man“, “Only In America“, “Sleepwalking“, “Prayer For A Stranger“ and “The Long Ride“. “The Flood“ was a song about the futile struggle for the Red Indian's independence in America, “Broken Wheel” was inspired by the book “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”.
“Sleepwalking“ was an autobiographical song of Tony’s in which he reflects several things he has witnessed in his life, e.g. the end of the cold war. Nuns caring for wounded soldiers on a battlefield were the subject of “Prayer For A Stranger“. Tony had hired an Indian tabla player, Pritam Singh, who gave that song a very special flair. EMI and Music For Nations published “Only In America“ as a CD single, which also featured “Sleepwalking“ and two tracks that hadn't made the album, “Just A Little Bit“ and “Caught In Love“. The 12“ contained the same tracks, but the 7“ left out “Caught In Love“. There was also a video of “Only In America“, that combined scenes of everyday life in the U.S.A. with some pictures of MAGNUM on and behind the stage during the “Spirit“-tour. A second single ,“You're The One“ was announced to contain even more bonus tracks, but due to poor sales figures of the first single it was cancelled. There is, however, one more song which was presumably recorded to be one of these bonus tracks. EMI published a mini-album with six songs in December 1992 called “Metal Morphosis” which contained six Christmas songs of different bands. One of these songs was “On Christmas Day” by MAGNUM and had been recorded on 27.11.1992 in Munich (in one take, as stated on the cover sticker). This mini-album was not sold but given away as a Christmas gift of the record company. It is therefore hard to find these days.
The cover was indeed the reason for finally calling the album “Sleepwalking“. There was an alternative title, “Nightwatch“, which was discussed because a Stephen King film called “Sleepwalkers“ was successful at the cinema right at that time. However, Tony had already asked Rodney Matthews to do the cover again and he had designed it according to the original title. It shows an untidy bedroom, but on taking a second look you can find many lovely MAGNUM details. The bed is engraved with a unicorn, a half moon and the Sword of Chaos, which also appears on the hands of the huge clock and on the blanket. The carpet on the floor shows the cover of the “Spirit“-album. The “Wings of Heaven“ and the “Magnum II“-covers are lying on the carpet (Matthews had meanwhile designed new covers for “Kingdom of Madness“ and “Magnum II“, when they were reissued by FM Records). Tony's head is looking at you from inside a mirror, whereas his old haircut is dangling from a stand on a dressing table. The covers of “On A Storyteller's Night“ and two compilations decorate the walls alongside parts of the “Eleventh Hour“-cover. The “Chase The Dragon“-dragon is sitting next to the window; the drawer handles of the dressing table are MAGNUM-“M“s. Some “Wings Of Heaven“-birds are hanging down from the ceiling. The Storyteller’s walking stick and the little sack are standing between the dressing table and the big clock can be found on the “On A Storyteller's Night“-cover, too. In the corner there is a little black toy car that was on Matthew's original cover design for “Vigilante“ which was not realized. The books on the shelf carry the song titles of the album. Finally there are some coins and cards flying through the room and a jack-in -the-box in the foreground, which was to become the symbol of this album. Matthews also designed a new MAGNUM-logo that differed very much from those of the last years. So the message was clear: back to the roots!
There was a serious misprint in the booklet, though. The lyrics of “The Flood“ were scattered over several pages and partly even included in other songs!
Another connection between Tony And Rodney Matthews was that Tony agreed to play on a little music project that Rodney recorded with Rudi Dobson that year. It was a three-track-CD inspired by three of Rodney’s paintings for his 1993 calendar. The CD was Called “The House On The Rock” and contained the tracks “Sanctuary”, “Almost Home” and the title track “The House On The Rock”. Rudi played the keyboards, Rodney the drums and Tony the guitar. The CD was recorded in the Zella-Studios (where else!) and is a nice collector’s item today.
Bob and Tony stated in several interviews that this was “a typical MAGNUM album“, a return to the good old (and successful) style. The press didn't like the album particularly, though. Most critics wrote that MAGNUM's style had become too pop-rock like and foretold hard times for the band.
The first warm-up gigs for the next tour were in Russia as part of a big open air festival in St Petersburg and in Latvia with MARILLION. In October the real tour started, which led them from the UK, supported by MAMA’S BOYS, to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland (home to the second support act, GOTTHARD), France, Spain, Scandinavia, Ireland and back to England, where they also performed a special Christmas show. The show in Bremen/Germany was featured on TV in an MTV MAGNUM special, in which Bob and Tony were also interviewed.
On the tour the band performed the following songs: “Intro“/ „The Flood“/ „All England's Eyes“/
”Vigilante“/ „Sleepwalking“/ „Pray For The Day“/Les Morts Dansant“/ „You're The One“/ „On A Storyteller's Night“/ „Only In America“/ „Rockin' Chair“/ „How Far Jerusalem“/ „The Spirit/“Days Of No Trust“/ „Kingdom Of Madness“/ „Drum Solo“/ „Midnight“/ „When The World Comes Down“/
“Sacred Hour“/ „The Last Dance“. Occasionally, they also played “Stormy Weather“ or “Too Much To Ask“. The venues were mostly smaller now as the band had definitely lost the “Wings Of Heaven“ superstar status. The equipment couldn't match the last ones either, but the band tried to make up for that by giving their best on stage. While they played “Kingdom Of Madness“ Bob had himself carried round the audience on the shoulders of Big Shawn, Tony's guitar roadie.
The band then parted company with their manager Keith Baker, reportedly because he had meanwhile been mainly managing himself and his purse instead of the band. It is said that he still gets a lot of money from the band's back catalogue whereas the musicians earn hardly anything with that. After a short time with a professional management company Mark took over most of the band's managing work.
The Christmas show in Birmingham was very special and started off a tradition to make all Christmas shows like that from now on. In addition to the normal set the band played “Stormy Weather“ and the brand new song “On Christmas Day“. Mark's wife, Mo Birch, did some background vocals, Mickey's son Spike joined his father for the drum solo and Bob's younger daughter Robyn spoke the prayer in the intro of “On A Storyteller's Night“
After the show the fans were taken to a club where they were treated to free beer, a MAGNUM key ring and an autographed Christmas card. The band played a little acoustic set of some Buddy Holly songs and “Just Like An Arrow“. About half of the Christmas show in Birmingham was broadcast on Central TV which finally came out on DVD (MAGNUM’s first) entitled “A Winter’s Tale“ in 2003. It was reissued in 2004, this time as a digital 5.1 remix under the title “Live Legends” containing two bonus tracks, the “Winter”-clip of Vigilante and a TV-performance of “Lonely Night” from 1986. In 2005 a third version of the DVD turned up which did not contain all the songs but instead there was an interview with the band about the making of the 2004 album “Brand New Morning”.