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This week has come around so quickly. More great music is in store, however, including your requests as well as a sprinkling of album tracks from LPs released this week back in the day from the likes of Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Extreme, Pantera, Europe, Poison, Kiss, Aerosmith and Coverdale Page.
We’ve also got the new single from Motor Sister who are fast becoming my fave band of Q1 2015, along with a homage to three musicians who passed away this past week…Mike Porcaro (Toto), Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet) and Andy Fraser (Free).
Join the listening rock party from 7pm GMT www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk
Thunder are to release their latest album ‘Wonder Days’ through earMUSIC on February 16th (UK/EU). Fans have had quite a wait for anything new to come out of the Thunder camp, but the wait was worth it. Judging by the reaction our listeners gave when they heard the single ‘Wonder Days’, it’s clear to anyone with a pulse that they are back with a belter of an album.
Recorded at the infamous Rockfield Studios, from start to finish, the songs on the album seem to have this ability to form an instant bond with the listener, grabbing your attention right from the opening riff, through to the dying notes. It’s this rare gift that has served them well, ever since the day they recorded as a band and in Luke Morley, us Brits have a songwriter we can be rightly proud of.
I sat down with Danny Bowes and Luke Morley at a studio in London to ask how ‘Wonder Days’ was put together. Always willing to fully answer any questions thrown at them, we began by asking after Ben Matthews’ health. Listening to their answers, you immediately sense that their ambition is as strong as ever it was and that they are proud, rightly so, of the way they have adapted to the new approach to recording an album and what they’ve achieved in the studio with ‘Wonder Days’.
There are very few rock bands out there, less than a handful in my experience, that can ignite such a positive reaction from listeners when played on ‘The Classic Rock Show’ as Thunder can…and I’d put them at the top of that list. ‘Wonder Days’ will only ensure they stay there for a long time to come.
This week’s show takes you on another trip down memory lane, back to the year 1983, with Part 4 of a series of shows celebrating Rock Music through the 80s, year-by-year. “Oh yeah….looking through those rose-tinted spectacles again, are we?”, but those of us fortunate enough to have lived through the early 80s can be forgiven for thinking it was an era where rock music, not for the first time, took on an energy all of its own, providing some notable highlights and in some case, breaking new ground.
Just look at a few of the bands we’ve lined up for you to rock out to in the first hour of the show! Motley Crue, Dio, Y&T, Quiet Riot, Yes, Genesis, Alcatrazz, Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore.
And if that’s not enough, we’ll be hearing from the likes of Queensrÿche, Metallica, Kiss, Molly Hatchet, Hanoi Rocks, Magnum, Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Rainbow, Journey, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Hawkwind, Marillion, Status Quo, Accept, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Slade, Def Leppard and ZZ Top.
Three hours of great music, anecdotes and news headlines from the year 1983 – 7pm Thursday, 12th February.
Listen links are on our homepage www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk
In an already jam-packed career Skarlett Riot have wowed audiences at Download (earning a 4K live review from Kerrang!) and Bloodstock, and have shared stages across the UK with the likes of Wednesday 13, D-A-D, Reckless Love, Heaven’s Basement, Periphery, Firewind, Black Spiders, Edguy, Taking Dawn, L.A Guns, Glamour Of The Kill, Crashdiet, Vains Of Jenna, Deaf Havana, Francesqa plus many more, including the prestigious Reading and Leeds festivals to their live resume.
The band’s debut EP, the critically acclaimed “Villain”, set the benchmark high and led to glowing praise within the rock community. In 2013, they released their first album ‘Tear Me Down’, once again, it was received well by press and fans. Now, they’re about to release another EP entitle ‘We Are The Brave’, a collection of songs with big riffs, and strong themes.
I recently got talking to Skarlett, the lead singer, about the EP and I began by asking her about the new video which has been circulating on Scuzz TV.
MJ: Skarlett…welcome to The Classic Rock Show. How are you doing?
S: Yeah, I’m good, thank you.
MJ: Busy time for you all. You’ve a new video out for the song “Rising”. It’s a track off your We Are The Brave EP which is out on February the 16th. Tell us about the video.
S: Basically, we filmed it about six months ago. And we wanted like something silhouette-y, so you can only see the band at the end of the video. So it’s all blacked out, and the idea of it is the song is called “Rising,” obviously, and the lyrics are about getting revenge on someone, saying you’ll be back again. Having power in the lyrics. So we wanted to keep it all silhouetted out, and then at the end have the world kind of exposed so it looks more powerful, at the end, I guess. So we just got it on Scuzz TV as well which we’re really excited about too.
MJ: How long has the We Are The Brave EP been in the making?
S: I would say about a year. We’ve just been writing as much as possible since the Turn Down album in 2013. We had been thinking of doing a second album, but we said no, let’s put the best of what we’ve written so far into one EP. So we wrote about 10 songs and we picked about five to go on the EP, which has brought us up until now, really.
S: All the tracks, apart from “Rising” are about living life to the full and not wasting any time. Like “Wake Up”, “Are you Alive?” and “Cascade”. The lyrics to “Cascade” are about time slipping through the hourglass and having no time to spare. You know, it’s the sand in the hourglass is never going to stop, just like time itself. So, the back message is live your life and enjoy it and don’t listen to what anyone else says…just do what makes you happy.
MJ: Last year, of course you were seen at a number of festivals and on tours. How is 2015 looking for Skarlett Riot?
S: Yeah, we’re continuing to raise our profile and get as many fans and people knowing the name as possible. We’re touring with Gus G in February and then we’ve a few headline dates. We’ve got a sold out show at the O2 Academy Islington with Kamelot and Gus G in March. We’ll be with Slam Cartel in April…and a couple festivals here and there…so far, so good.
MJ: Going back to the EP, the front of the EP is a depiction of a lion’s head, which has been hand-drawn. Is that Helen Hebenton‘s work again?
S: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve known Helen for quite a while and worked with her before, way back to the Villian EP cover and the Villain t-shirts. She’s also responsible for designing the band’s new logo. We wanted the style of the new EP cover have a vintage look, with black and gray artwork. Helen was a perfect choice. She did a great job with the EP, the cover. It was largely her idea to use the lion it would best represent power and strength. I think it has come across really well.
MJ: You’re obviously going to be pushing the tracks on the EP in your ‘live’ set?
S: Yeah, we’ve been practicing like crazy. It’ll be like three or four of the new EP tracks and then we’ll be mixing it in with a couple of the Tear Me Down tracks. So, they’ll be a lot of new material in there, but we’ll be putting in a couple of what we think are the best tracks from the Tear Me Down album as well.
S: Yeah, I think we’ll be releasing a couple more singles off of the back of the EP. We wanted this EP to last the full year. But in between that we’ll be writing some more while the EP is circulating. We’re hoping to be writing an album, too, but we’re not sure when that will be released yet. For the moment, we all feel that we need to have the right material in place first. Make sure it’s 100% and that we’re all 100% happy with it.
MJ: Any last little things that you want to get over to the fans?
S: Just thank you very much for supporting us. We had such a great response to the pre-order for We Are The Brave. You can order it on www.skarlettriot.bigcartel.com. Yeah, thanks for the support and we’ll see you on the road!
Huntress captured the hearts and minds of Metalheads with their ‘Starbound Beast’ album. On the back of it, the band have been regularly seen alongside top-line touring acts across the US and Europe, and have made a major impact on the festival circuit. They’re currently touring with Amon Amarth (w/ co-support act Savage Messiah), taking in the UK, France, Portugal and Spain to sold out shows. I caught up with guitarist Blake Meahl to chat about all that’s happened to them since their 2013 album release on Napalm Records, gaining some insight into how they’ve progressed as a band.
BM: Right on, thanks for having me.
MJ: You’re here in Colchester tonight. A town steeped in history.
BM: I hear it’s the oldest recorded town in your whole freaking island!
MJ: Absolutely, the Romans have been here. Boudica, Queen of the Iceni tribe took them out.
BM: I heard they got their asses kicked, right? Jill went bat-shit crazy when she heard all about her! [laughs]
MJ: Starbound Beast was received so very well in 2013, you’ve a new line-up as far as band members are concerned. It’s been a busy time for you guys. You’re currently touring with Amon Amarth on their ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’ tour and what a tour it’s been thus far! And such a cool story on how it worked out.
BM: Yeah! It’s a fitting tour for us, it’s been awesome. I mean, we’ve toured with a lot of incredible acts. We’ve just been so lucky and blessed to have so many crazy tour opportunities, but Amon Amarth has been on our list of, like, it would be so perfect. We first played with them on the Mayhem tour in the United States, which is like a month-long festival circuit. But before that we were at the Metal Hammer Awards out here because we were at Download for the first time and Amon Amarth was there also, and I run into Olavi and he’s like, “I know who you are!”. I was like, no way, what are you talking about…you’ve never heard us! And he’s like, “Oh yes I have! I have! You’ll see. I really like Huntress.” And sure enough he goes, “You’ll find out by the end of the tour. I did an interview and mentioned you”. And it turns out it was in Guitar World magazine and he’s was asked who are you looking forward to? And sure enough, he says it’s Huntress. And of course we don’t read it until after the Mayhem tour, and then we got to do a handful of one-off shows with them and here we are now! One of the things that I’d like to think we have in common is a really high priority of melody and songwriting. He was saying in that same interview, “People are always asking me like, what’s your secret? You wrote that song? Incredible. It’s not that hard! I just write songs. You know, I’m just writing melodies.” And when you see them and you see the crowd they are singing along to the guitar lines, just ‘whoa-ing’ away. And that’s all it comes down to is the fact that they’re not just trying to jerk themselves off like a little 12 year old kid trying to play as fast as he can. I’m actually going to make some music that people want to hear and remember. And that’s our goal also.
MJ: You’ve been in lots of bands prior to Huntress. Is there any difference in the way you write when you have a female vocalist as opposed to a male vocalist?
BM: Well, that’s an interesting question. In my former bands I was the vocalist, so I would probably just torture myself and put myself out of my range and try to scream my voice out and it would work out, maybe. I was trying to write stuff for myself and I was very inexperienced and I’ve never played at a professional level band like this before. It was always a hobby with my best friends. You already mentioned we’ve had some turnover in band members – our current drummer is my brother. We played together in high school and then we didn’t play together for about eight or ten years and only recently have reconnected with it, so all these bands I’ve been in have been such minor leagues. We never aspired for much, it was just we’re playing metal and we like to keep it weird and progressive and we always figured we would be in a van and just figured we would get some crappy label deal that we would be bound to for the rest of our lives and we didn’t care, that’s what we did. And as this band came together and we realized the potential of it and also our tastes and maturities changed, like a lot of the song writing has progressed not because of it being a female vocalist but because of what I realised I should have realised a long time ago, which is that the song is what’s important, not the riff. As much as I love riffs, and as important as they are, string 50 of them together as fast as you can is not a song. You know?
MJ: We just heard you play a new song, called ‘Flesh’. Yet to be recorded, I’m guessing.
BM: Basic tracks are done, but Jill has not done her vocals yet.
MJ: It sounds killer and it’s already one of my favourites of yours.
BM: Awesome, thank you. Really excited to hear that reaction. That song is one of the ones our producer is really excited about too. We’ve been playing four new ones in our set and that’s just one of them.
MJ: So tell us about the album. Has it got a name yet?
BM: Not that I’m allowed to reveal, but it’s going really well. It’s a strange process this time, because we stopped in the middle of it to come out here. And we stopped in the middle of our writing, our pre-production process to go on our last tour with Arch Enemy and Kreator in the States, so it’s been stop-start. It’s turning out really good though, and I’m very excited about it. As I said on a previous question, it’s focusing further and further on the songwriting and always knowing, Jill’s the vocalist. The vocals are what sticks with people and we can’t all be trying to compete for center stage and I feel like that’s one of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, one of the mistakes I’ve made as a guitar player…I’m just the fucking guitar player! As much as I love these lead guitar riffs and I’m going to have my space, you can’t always be competing, putting in double kick and a fast riff over a vocal. Metal bands sometimes get away with it, because there’s a lot of growling and all that. But when there’s too much melody fighting for center stage, it doesn’t really equate to a catchy song, you know? Or something that really sticks with people, and that’s the main goal here. So we’re just getting smarter and smarter about our songwriting and hope it’s going to open a lot of doors for us and that a lot of people are going to love it, and maybe some of the fans that have been with us for our extreme riffs and stuff, maybe they’ll long for that first album to be repeated here, but I think we’re making a much, much better product now as a result, you know?
MJ: You’re working with some incredibly experienced and talented people on this album. Where did you record the album?
BM: Well, it’s being done in Burbank with a production team, Jim Rota and Paul Fig. Jim has played in a band called Fireball Ministry and is now doing a lot of video production. He did the Sound City movie for Dave Grohl and this whole new Sonic Highways thing and is the producer of that stuff. Paul is a badass engineer. He just did the last two Alice in Chains albums, he did the new Ghost album, he works with Nick Raskulinecz all the time who does a lot of big production stuff. We’re in really good hands. It’s cool because we have this most incredible engineer who is capable of whatever we need and a guy that’s constantly making us sit back and think about the song, and remember that the big picture and what the sum of all parts is what is important, not what each individual instrument is doing.
MJ: You’re making space for all the musicians!
BM: Yeah, it’s so important, it seems like such a stupid, obvious thing but especially in the metal world it’s easily forgotten.
MJ: Well, Blake it’s been a real pleasure sitting with you talking about the tour, the new album, the music and the songwriting. We wish you well on the rest of the tour, and every success for 2015. We are really stoked to hear that we have a new Huntress album this year.
BM: Thanks man. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for supporting us over the years and playing our music. To the guys ‘n gals reading this who haven’t heard of us, go watch the Zenith video and then come back and talk to me. To our fans who come out to our shows, we so appreciate your support. Make sure you tune into to ‘The Classic Rock Show’!
So there you have it…by the sounds of it, we’ve one heck of an album to look forward to from Huntress later on this year.
Hello and welcome back!
Ok, back to tonight’s show. We’ve three hours of killer rock tuneage lined up for you, as many of the requests sent in this week as we can fit, plus single releases from Crobot, Blind Guardian, Skarlett Riot, Cancer Bats and a new band for us Empire of Fools.
As for the Classic Rock…we’ve lined up some beauties for you…Black Sabbath, Dio, Van Halen, Boston, Genesis, Bon Jovi, Triumph, Pantera, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Iron Maiden, Georgia Satellites and many more besides.