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“Mikhail Gorbachev was up the road having lunch and expressed an interest in coming down to have a drink with us.There he was, this businessman so well-dressed and genteel but obviously a guy of great strength.Having overcome years of back problems Burdon is releasing his first album in six years, has formed a new band and is gearing up for a European tour.“I’ve also got a new house and a new car,” he chortles in Geordie tones, only lightly tweaked by more than four decades of living in America.A legal dispute a few years back over the use of the name in the UK leaves him estranged from the band’s modern line-up.Not that he should worry – at the age of 71, and in the year of The Animals’ 50th anniversary, he has made a clean start.I thought, what does he know that I would like to know, and can he give me a hint?So I said what’s going to be the next big world crisis – and he leant over and said: ‘Water’.” DESPITE having spent more than half his life in the US Burdon has not abandoned his roots.
I never pay the so called "professional critics" any attention.In the world of stage performance that’s a long time.” The Animals name lives on in Britain where it is under the custody of original drummer John Steel. “I’m still recovering from the Eighties’ reunion, which was one of the worst years of my life.Animals & Friends – also featuring Mickey Gallagher, a mainstay of Ian Dury’s Blockheads, who was a temporary replacement for Alan Price in the early Sixties – tour incessantly in the UK and Europe. It was the last thing that I wanted to do but I was emotionally blackmailed into it.” Burdon is aware that he’s running out of time. “OK, I’ve had a life of sort of success, some people know who I am but a lot of people don’t.“Meanwhile in the West End of London a little-known band called The Animals went into a studio and recorded Rising Sun, in one take! The story goes that Dylan heard the irrepressible energy and was never the same again. “They were a revelation, the first records of full-blown class consciousness I ever heard,” he said recently.Springsteen even asked to produce a Burdon album – but the latter said no. “I was carrying that weight around for a long time – America’s greatest rock personality and I turned him down.