DESMOND CHILD on Rock Overdose: “Get ready for a BIG spectacle under the Acropolis!”



Grammy Award-winning American songwriter and producer, DESMOND CHILD, talks on RockOverdose about his upcoming show at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus under the Holy Rock of the Acropolis, an once in a lifetime performance that would shine the global spotlight on Greece, and  also support the ongoing international campaign for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.


In our very friendly and cool conversation, Desmond Child, answers our questions frankly and describes in detail some of the best moments in his rich career that counts almost six decades!









Hello Desmond and welcome to!  It's an honor for us to have you in our webzine, and also a great pleasure to speak with you! How are you these days?




DESMOND CHILD: I’m having a fantastic time, I do rehearsals for the show “Desmond Child Rocks The Parthenon” on June 27th at the Odeon Herodes Atticus! This concert is dedicated to bring global attention to the return of the Parthenon sculptures in Greece!



RockOverdose: It’s a very interesting and great project, we will talk about during this interview of course! But first of all I'd like to ask you what inspired you to write music and generally get into the music industry. Was your mother an inspiration for you?





DESMOND CHILD: My mother was the Cuban songwriter Elena Casals, which she’s known now as “La Musa”, so I grew up in the music business. My uncle was a dancer at the Tropicana night club in Havana and he married Olga Guillot, the most famous Cuban bolero singer – I mean she invented the style of bolero!




RockOverdose: Which of your long list of songs was more difficult (emotionally or technically) to write and why?



DESMOND CHILD: Well, I don’t really have difficulties in writing songs…I have difficulties in other areas of my life… but music is always there! It’s ready to go! I don’t have a problem writing a song, because that’s the one place being a refugee and the fact that I know I can count on that by myself and other aspects of music you know you have to wait the record company to decide which is the right song, then you have the manager, the hairdresser, the boyfriend, the girlfriend… everybody waigning and deciding your fate. But when you sit down to write a song that’s in my own control. I don’t have to wait to write a song! I can write it right now!

I’m always inspired I don’t need an inspiration! When it’s time to work is there for me! If I was waiting for inspiration I would be nowhere… because inspiration is like the breeze, sometimes it’s blowing sometimes it’s not. To me it’s a different feeling; it’s not coming from somewhere it’s from knowing I have the confidence to find myself inside the song and so is for most of my collaborations with bands and solo artists.








RockOverdose: Your collaborations with various famous artists of all kinds of music genres are really astonishing! However, is there any artist/band you wish you've co-operate but haven't done so far?




DESMOND CHILD: My favorite bands from a certain period of time are the brit pop, from the 80’s – 90’s… So, I’ve waited my whole life to work with Duran Duran but they haven’t called me yet! I would love to work with them…
There’re so many… Pet Shop Boys, Tears For Fears ... I love everything that has to do with that period, because at that time I was writing the opposite music “hard rock”, “stadium rock”! I love the coolness of brit pop!





RockOverdose: Your song lyrics include some of your personal life experiences, how can you match which song suits a band or artist that can be performed the way you feel it?



DESMOND CHILD: Well it’s not going like that… My job is to feel what they feel. It’s not that my feeling puts on top of a band to express me. My job is to get inside the band and the fans as well, the culture, the world, the sound of the band that I’m working with. I become a member of the band for that period of time that I’m working with them. It’s like that for me, it’s not personal even though a lot of my personal life gets inside the songs but that’s what comes from collaboration. The people you collaborate bring their story and when it’s more than one person you have 3 or more stories that are reeving into each other.

It’s not like waiting for a feeling when I’m writing a song; I have in instant ability to empathize and when they tell me their story either if there’s laughing or crying within seconds I can tell “Ok! That’s it!”. Then everything grows out of it! But I think the most important thing is not for me to be feeling it, it’s for them to be feeling it! If the singer is not feeling what he is going to sing, while recording the song or when they’re on stage, no one will feel it! That’s because the emotion, the truth of what they’re saying has to be alive inside the sound. You can’t just make something up with the computer and decide “Oh! That’s a good feeling!”. That may work with dance music maybe where repetition is but with pop, rock, classical or any kind of music you have to be feeling it!






RockOverdose: Can you predict the success of a song? What's the secret recipe of success? 



DESMOND CHILD: You can’t predict that because there’re too many elements out of ones control. I can write the song and then once you finish the complication begins. Who’s going to demo it? How are we going to demo it? How we are going to make the record? Who is going to deliver it to the record company? Who is going to hear it? Are they in a good mood that day or are they in a bad mood? Will they decide to push the button and say “Yes! We ‘re going all the way with that!”? And then along the way… Will the radio stations play it? Will the program director make it his mission in life? e.g. “Living On A Prayer”, that should be the song of our time! And then the social media, the publicity person, the marketing person, the promotion person… look at how many people are involved and make it one hit! One hit! Not two! One!


So, all like in control is my creative experience in writing a song. Then all the problems begin. So the fact that I had so many hits for six decades is a miracle in a way but also I’ve always been a lucky person! And maybe because of my experience the songs that I’ve worked on are competitive and they may be better than a song that the co-writer might have found with another co-writer or wrote by themselves. Maybe the parts that I write help them more, so my songs are chosen more often. The same goes in the market, out of a sudden maybe a feeling inside a song will make people ask for the song. “Play this! Play this!” and that makes the hit!



So there’s no prediction of how it goes and for that reason is like life itself. Can you predict if this night if you’ll make it home? I mean, what can we predict? Almost nothing, except that the sun and the moon will be there but again maybe not, the sun yes, it will be there but the moon maybe suddenly something will blow it away!

That’s why music is an exciting business because it’s a reflection of life in many ways! You’re writing about life and then the way it precedes is like life! You can’t control everything. Every song has a journey of its own, sometimes that journey is to stay nowhere, in the back of a file somewhere and then 20 years later somebody is asking you for a song that has the same exact title to be the title of a movie so I find the song send it and if I’m lucky the song gets in the movie and that’s like life, you cannot predict what’s going to happen. That’s what makes it more exciting and that’s what makes it frustrating because all that work to do and not make it a hit! There are too many possibilities that could affect the outcome of one situation.







RockOverdose: Of course! So, about your upcoming live show here in Greece, together with all those great artists, for this special reason to support the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, is a real honor for us. How this great idea was created and finally is going to come true?




DESMOND CHILD: "Desmond Child Rocks The Parthenon" idea came from the Great Phoebus! We were sitting there with another great friend George Lembesis and they asked me "Desmond when will you come to Athens to sing your songs?" and I said "Bring me to Athens!"  And THEY DID! They organised everything, out of Spicy events all this came together! The idea was to play at the Herodium and that's a great honor! They told me more and more about the history  and thought that we should do this as a benefit to support the return of the Parthenon Sculptures! This would bring the worlds attention to the cause and  add our voices to it. So everyone got used to the idea and it just kept going. 

I'm so delighted that my guest stars like Alice Cooper, Bonnie Tyler, Rita Wilson, Sakis Rouvas, the great Finish band The Rasmus, Kip Winger .. All these people are coming together to help to bring this show to life! They are all sing songs that I collaborated, songs that I had a part of. Some times there'd be an artist who wasn't their song but they loved the song so they're singing it, you know... So we will have Bon Jovi songs, Aerosmith songs, Kiss songs, Rasmus songs... because I wrote and co-produced their album "Black Roses", there're songs from that and we just had a hit called "Jejabel" which won the Finnish Eurovision contest. Also Bonnie Tyler  - Oh my God! She's been singing my songs before I met her, with producer Jim Steinman and she sang a song of mine which came a hit "If you were a woman and I was a man" since then we continued working together so she has a segment of three songs she's going to sing, all of them I've done with her. So it goes like that. I have number one songs in six decades!





RockOverdose: Is there any artist that you've invited and couldn't join the event?



DESMOND CHILD: Well, a lot of artist are on tour so they were not available, couldn't fly you know ... But I'm very greatfull that those who participate could come. I think noone would be asking for their money back! I think that everyone would be happy to participate on that show!

Also the show is going to be directed by Fokas Evangelinos, and he has done a spectacle! He's building a special stage, the lights... everything is beyond! And it's getting me goosebumbs to think of how the show would be! It's not a show that somebody will sing that song, someone else another one, it's not like that but it will be something like a Broadway musical and it's not to be missed cause it's once in a life time and for one night only and we've been working it for 7 months!

It's very exciting because I've always wanted to be a star, but it was not my destiny, my destiny was to be a hit maker to the stars! I would not have had as many hits in my life if I've been a solo artist saving the songs for myself and waiting two years for a song to come out ... So, if you gather all of the hits, the records that I've sold and's almost 5 hundred million records, billions of streams...

Everytime I come to Athens and get into a taxi, every station plays my songs and I ask if the driver did that on purpose! But no, the hits play non stop! It's so great to be in a country that loves rock! That loves my music! And I love Phoebus as well, he is a genius and last summer we wrote a song together with Alice Cooper and Andreas Carlsson and we want to continue working together. We did it many years ago, as we co-produced and co-wrote an album for Sakis Rouvas called "Ola Kala", we are so happy we reunited and Sakis will come and sing!






RockOverdose:  Yes! Very famous song and it means "Everything is going to be good"! I suppose you know some greek words...




DESMOND CHILD: Yes but I can't say them on camera! (laughs) They start with an "m"... The most famous greek word! Like the one we have in the US we have the one that starts with "f" and ends in "-ed"...(laughs)




RockOverdose: Well...Would you like to reveal any other news of your next steps?




DESMOND CHILD: Yes! I'm working on my autobiography "Desmond Child - Living On A Prayer, Big Songs, Big Life" with David Ritz, my co-writer. We've been working on that I think for 6 years now... The thing is that I'm still active so everytime we turn around I have another thing to write about keep adding to the book and it just doesn't end! But finally I drew the line last year on my work with Barbara Streisand and it was thethrill of my life to get work with her and I hope to work for some more, I've been writing songs for her but she doesn't know it yet! I have like 6 songs to play for her ...when I get back!

You know ... when you work with somebody, I mean her career ... She started in 1962 and she signed to Colombia Records, so she's been there for a very long time, 60 years at the same record company, she has such an extraordinary work.

There are other people I'd love to work with them .... I'd like to work with Adele, I think I'm perfect for her, she sings some kind of soul music but I don't think she's aware for me... "Adele! Call me Please!"





RockOverdose: Before we close, would you like to leave a message to the Greek audience.




DESMOND CHILD: I just wanna let my fans and the people here in Greece know how much I love this country! My husband and my two sons Roman & Nyro,  we've been coming here for 15 years. This is our 15th trip to Greece and we don't come as tourists but as family, we stay don't just looking around. I love Greece and it's people and maybe next year we will come back and do a Rock Symposium! I keep talking Phoebus about that, we could do it for a week, we could have people come and talk about rock music and songwriting and production... I'd love to do that, it would be very special!

I'm also working on a documentary about my life, which is actually filming right now, the making of the show here all is beeing filmed and will be part of the documentary of my life. Nine years ago another documentary about my two sons was released it's called "Two: The Story Of Roman & Nyro", (he shows us the  tattoes he has with the names of his two sons)they were nine years old when we finished it and they are the narators of this documentary and it's very cute!

I want also to do Broadway shows, I've ideas and I've written one that took me 15years to write but then covid came and the progress stopped. It would be great to have a longer story than a short song and that's a challenge I'd love to achieve in my life.

There're are so many things to do! I keep doing what I do, and hope more opportunities are on my way. e.g to write a song for a movie, for an animated film.. Now that my sons are grown up I'm more free. I can travel and do more things...




RockOverdose: Well Desmond, I have to thank you very much for this interview. See you on Monday the 27th at this once in a lifetime show at the Herodium! I have to say that we've been waiting for it since Phoebus told me before 6 months, and finally comes true! 




DESMOND CHILD: Yeah! I love Phoebus, he is a real rocker and he's my brother here in Greece and I love doing things together! I encourage people to come at this show that would be an once in a lifetime experience!


Info : "Desmond Child Rocks The Parthenon"

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For RockOverdose, 

Zisis Petkanas

Edit/Transcript/Questions: Vivi Zapantiotou