The former ‘Timotei Twins’ play a one-off in Nottingham in October.
Twin sons of rock’n’roll star Ricky Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson found fame during the hair-metal explosion of the 90s. Gunnar checks in ahead of a rare appearance in the UK for Nelson, at the Rockingham Festival in Nottingham.
Can you describe what it felt like to have a multimillionselling debut album, After
The Rain, and a No.1 hit single, (Can’t Live Without Your) Love
Getting a phone call from our manager on your twenty-second birthday saying: “Congratulations, you’re the number-one band in the world right now”, is actually quite scary. We were lucky, we were able to maintain our run for about eighteen months, until Nirvana arrived and everything changed.
Did it rankle that Kerrang! christened you and Matthew the Timotei Twins?
Not at all. We took a gift of a beautiful vibrator to Alison Joy, one of our biggest detractors at Kerrang!, with a note that said: “Thanks for the kind words, mind you don’t chip your teeth”. We ended up having a great relationship with her and the magazine.
Back then, darker times were ahead, and Geffen Records refused to release the intended follow-up, Imaginator. Do you still harbour a grudge towards their A&R man John Kalodner? [Sounding horrified] Oh no. And I know he feels the same about me. We’re both very opinionated men. I appreciate that good art cannot be made by committee. It’s the same with our friends at Frontiers Records [who released the band’s most recent records]. I can take criticism, but there’s a point where if my name’s going onto something then I must be happy with it.
Why was 2015’s Peace Out Nelson’s final album?
Unlike so many of our contemporaries I refuse to ‘phone it in’ when making a record. We used to give away the live show to sell the record, and now it’s the other way around. Kids believe that music is free, so why should I spend years creating something that no longer has value? I tried to explain that to Frontiers, who wanted everything yesterday, and they just didn’t get it.
Do you feel confined within the so-called AOR niche?
I little, I guess. We were never followers. Growing up under our father’s roof we were raised on the super-melodic folk-rock from Southern California. George Harrison lived next door. Bob
Dylan was always at the house. That and the arena rock of the 1970s is where Nelson came from.
“We took a gift of a vibrator to one of our biggest detractors.”
Like its forerunner the Firefest, at which Nelson played in
2010, Rockingham is a fan-run celebration of that genre.
Yeah. Headlining the Firefest was such an emotional thing for my brother and I. It was almost surreal. So we can’t wait to come back for Rockingham. DL
Rockingham takes place over the weekend of October 19-21.