Published on April 9th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Bernard Fowler On Working With The Rolling Stones & “Quench” Author Dana G. Cohen, M.D.
Steadily working as a singer and multi-instrumentalist since the 1970s, few performers have as many high-level credits as Bernard Fowler. Beyond singing with The Rolling Stones since the late 1980s, among Fowler’s collaborations over the years have been Duran Duran, Alice Cooper, Herbie Hancock, Yoko Ono and Public Image Ltd. Meanwhile, as a solo artist, Fowler is gearing up to release a new album — titled Inside Out — this month via the Hoboken, NJ-based Rhyme & Reason Records.
When speaking with Quency author Dana G. Cohen, M.D., I learned that Bernard Fowler had been a patient of hers. Dr. Cohen kindly connected me to Fowler for some Q&A about his past, present and future as a performer, which clearly ties in her Dr. Cohen’s approach to keeping one’s body well-hydrated. More on Bernard Fowler can be found online at www.bernardfowler.com, while more on Quench and Dr. Dana Cohen is officially on the web at www.drdanacohen.com.
How did you and Dr. Dana Cohen first get in touch?
Bernard Fowler: I met Dana through Michele Clarke, my manager.
When did you first become aware of the importance of keeping hydrated?
Bernard Fowler: After a long night of drinking, probably. I was a jock growing up, so I was always hearing to drink lots of water, but I found out later that it was more to just drinking water.
Do you keep a different diet on the road than you do off the road?
Bernard Fowler: Yes, I’m a bit more disciplined on the road about what I eat. A bad gut and singing just doesn’t not go together.
As far as I know, you’ve been singing professionally since the mid-1970s. Has your vocal care and preparation changed over the years?
Bernard Fowler: Oh yes, it’s changed a lot. First, there was not a lot of emphasis on warming up or hydration. Being young and care-free doesn’t allow a lot of thought on the importance of vocal care. Back then it was nothing to wake up and walk out in a stage and sing. Now there’s a lot of care, like sleep, which is probably one of the most important things, and I’m always conscious of not talking too much. I’m also aware of keeping my hands clean and a safe distance from people. There is also warming up before the show and keeping hydrated is also very important.
Hydration aside, what are you currently working on? Stones touring, I would assume, upon Mick’s recovery?
Bernard Fowler: I’m currently doing interviews and slowly promoting my new LP called Inside Out on Rhyme & Reason Records, due to be released in April. I was to start rehearsal with the Stones, but as you know, it’s been postponed due to Mick’s health issue. But I think we’ll start in the near-future as Mick is so healthy. I expect a speedy recovery.
Stones aside, I would imagine you’re the only artist to have contributed to recordings by Yoko Ono, Duran Duran, Bootsy Collins and Alice Cooper. When did you realize that you could have a viable career as a sideman?
Bernard Fowler: I still don’t know. (laughs) Just kidding. Most of the projects I’ve been involved with, I’m the frontman. I’ve done a lot of sessions for many different people as you know, but I’ve only really toured with the Stones as a background vocalist. I guess the answer to that would probably be when the Stones made me a part of the family, and they kept asking me to tour with them, but growing up it was for long time something I dreamed of doing and I always wanted to be in a band. Making solo records was not part of the plan at first. I was able to sing with them all because I love music and not just one type and that appreciation allows me to move almost seamlessly from one genre to the next.
Is there a career accomplishment you are most proud of?
Bernard Fowler: There’s isn’t just one, there are a few of them. Believe it or not, being one of the most sampled voices in music is one of them kind of. If they paid for all the uses, I’d take “kind of” out. Being able to share the stage and studio singing with all of these great artists is something that I’m very proud of.
Finally, Bernard, any last words for the kids?
Bernard Fowler: The voice is a precious instrument. There are no strings or skins or keys to replace. It’s flesh and blood and it needs constant care, and that care starts with sleep and hydration. Reading Quench made me see and is teaching me ways to better replace minerals and how to hydrate with more than just water. Also listen to the whole song and not just the samples you’ll thank me for it later.