#INTERVIEW Chris Jericho is super excited to be back touring the UK w/ Fozzy

12249991_10153564533056195_6823627561173379878_nAmerican rock band Fozzy are back in the UK, beginning a string of dates tonight (24th November) at the Sub89 in Reading. The band continue to enjoy increasing success following the release of their sixth album ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ in 2014 on Century Media Records. A good number of tracks from that album have become fan-favourites, being included in their ‘live’ set. You just have to see this band perform on stage to ‘get’ what they do. Chris Jericho, their lead vocalist, is no stranger to taking center stage of course, yet he forms just one part of the whole Fozzy experience. With the anticipation and excitement of hitting the studios in early ’16, now is as good a time as any to catch a Fozzy show and witness what this band can throw down on stage.

I caught up with Chris Jericho and began by asking about the reception Fozzy’s last album got.

TCRS: The last time we spoke was back in April 2013, when you were on a co-headline tour with Drowning Pool. Since then of course, we saw the release of “Do You Wanna Start A War” in July last year. Do you still get goose bumps over well that record went down with the fans?

11221799_10153313536736195_4112683198520037471_oChris Jericho: Yeah, I mean it’s pretty cool. Obviously, it’s been over a year now, but when you spend a lot of time on a new record especially when, well I’m not going to say there was a different style of music on the records, but it was very diverse. There were a couple of opportunities that were taken and you know we wanted to really expand on what the Fozzy sound is, and basically just kind of go on the Queen route, where it doesn’t matter if a song is a rock song or a metal song or a pop song or whatever it may be. Either it’s a good song or it’s a bad song and that’s something I always loved to go dance like Queen or Led Zeppelin or the Beatles, or even Guns N Roses! There’s a lot of diversity in that sound, but it’s still and always was those bands. But there was no kind of box that they had to put themselves into. So the fact that there was a song that I like to go out on it was just almost like, you know, that old dance club tone and have it become the biggest hit of our career was very goose bump inducing shall we say. And the fact that I think we do 7 of those songs ‘live’, it makes up a lions share of our set and every song people love and every song people are into. It does show that you know this experiment, this chance that we took really paid off. So it was really really cool boost in momentum, definitely the biggest selling record of our career, the most currently acclaimed and the most popular. So it’s a great place to be as we start writing materials for our next record and kind of finish off this tour cycle over in UK and in Europe in November, December.

TCRS: We’ll come to your plans for the new record in a moment. But, since the album was released, Fozzy has been on numerous tours as well as the festival circuit which you seem to have all enjoyed. Tell us about some of the highlights.

Chris Jericho: Well, I mean you know, obviously Download is always a highlight. We kind of kicked off the tour right before the record came out at Download, it was the first time we ever played the mainstage. So that was the highlight for us. I think we did a lot of touring whether it was the Theory of a Dead Man or Texas Hippie Coalition and that was a lot of fun. I think that those were my two favourite tours and one of them as hasn’t happened yet, but it’s about to. But I love the short run we did with Slash back in May, that was a real great mix of two killer Rock and Roll bands. We got along really well as people and as peers. I would love to be more with that band in the future, because it was a great mix and it was a really good tour for us. It was a lot of fun, you know you have Slash watching our show ever night and kind of commenting positively about the band. You know, it’s always cool to get that from people touring with us. But obviously when you’re touring with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and it’s your icon like Slash it was just…I don’t know, I’m not going to say it’s a moral boost, but it’s just really cool to know that other people feel the same way about the way we do about the band, that are in such high high lofty positions.

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TCRS: And you went on the Kiss Kruise just recently?

Chris Jericho: Well yeah, yeah! You know my hero is Paul Stanley. Not only were we there with Kiss, we were hanging out with one of my best friends that I’ve made over the last year or so and it was a blast. I mean what more do you want right? Playing rock and roll with one of the biggest bands of all time on a f*****g cruise ship. I mean if that doesn’t tell you that you’ve made it then nothing else does!?

TCRS: Fozzy begins a 12-date tour of the UK on 24th November, starting at Reading’s Sub89, how does it feel to be coming back to the UK?

Chris Jericho: Oh man, we’re super-stoked to be coming back! You know, the UK has always been so good to us. The energy that the British crowd brings is unlike any other. We really can’t wait to play for you.

TCRS: You’re bringing along two bands with you, Nonpoint for whom it’ll be their first time in the UK, and Sumo Cyco.

Chris Jericho: Nonpoint and Sumo Cyco…they’re both the perfect type of bands for us to bring over, because we want to expand that audience. You have to put together the best package possible and not just for the people who buy tickets to see those bands, but also people who come and don’t care who the opening bands are . We still want to give them the best show possible so that when they leave they maybe have some appreciation for a new band as well. So we love Nonpoint, we think that they are a great band. And as you said, they’ve never really been to the UK, it’s a perfect time for them to come out with us on this tour.

WINTER ROCKS 2015 e flyer-2TCRS: Two of the 12 dates are Festival appearances, the Winter Rocks Festival at The Corporation in Sheffield, where I’ll be seeing you, and at Planet Rockstock in Wales.

Chris Jericho: Yeah! So we’re ending off with two great shows, we are the show, it’s just about high energy entertaining rock and roll show so I’m looking forward to that and like you said it’s a great way to end off the two cool festivals.

TCRS: Before we finish up Chris, just tell us about what you’ve got planned for the new album scheduled for 2016?

Chris Jericho: Yeah that’s kind of the plan you know, we want to have the album ready for summer 2016. I was just talking to Rich (Ward) the other day and he was just finishing up a new Stuck Mojo record. He’s got lots of Fozzy ideas, continuing in the same vein, let’s just be Fozzy and not worry about it. Is it too heavy, is it too poppy, would you dance it, would you rock and roll, just make a bunch of great songs and see what happens because, like it says, doing something like ‘Lights Go Out’, ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ that have generally been really huge for us, we’re going to continue to go down that route. What kind of songs do we want to write and try and see some different things? I’m actually writing a song right now, I’m not going to say with who, but if it turns out good, it’s going to be a mind blower. It is not somebody you would expect Fozzy to write a song with, and vice versa, on his end and if it turns out great, it could be kind of starting another new type of genre, like ‘Lights Go Out’ was a dance club metal song. I think this song, if it works out, could be something completely different again, kind of mashing two genre’s together and why not?! You know, what I mean that is one thing I loved about, like you say, I mentioned The Beatles before, everyone says that they are the greatest rock and roll band of all time and never made the same album twice, it’s always something different, always something pushing the boundaries and outside the box. That’s kind of the direction we’re going in, because it’s the only chance we have to continue to build the band. We can’t be like anybody else, we aren’t like everybody else, we never have been, we never will be, so let’s just be ourselves and just see what happens. I think that’s one thing that our fans appreciate about us, and I think it’s one thing that makes the band very exciting right now in a world where there’s a lot of copy cats, you know, I’m not saying that in a bad way but that’s kind of the way that the music business goes. If something is hot, there’s a 100 bands trying to copy it and I don’t want to copy anybody, I just want to be ourselves and what does that mean, we sell one record, we sell 1 million records as long as we can be ourselves, I know that the band will continue to grow.

TCRS: Well you pretty much answered my next question, Chris, because I was going to say how did you sort of continue as you hopped on consistently as a band, continue to turn heads and turn people on to follow you is an amazing effort.

Chris Jericho: Well, like you said, I mean, the one thing that, at this point in time, there is very few people that are still hung up on the fact that I have another job. I figured this point, Fozzy is a great band, but there is always still people that we have to work twice as hard to get respect from. I mean, we still have never done shows in Japan or South America or places like that, that I know we do huge business in, but I takes a while for people to accept the band because I’m in it. And that’s okay, I mean we don’t care, we’ve been coming to the UK for 10 years now. People know what’s up when they see Fozzy on the bill and the only way to continue to expand that and kind of open those doors is just to continue to be ourselves, whether it’s word of mouth or whatever it is we’re not in any rush. We’ll just continue to do what we do and it’s been working for us so far, so we expect that to continue to grow for us.

TCRS: I’m certainly looking forward to seeing you guys on stage again in the UK, along with a lot of our listeners.

Chris Jericho: Well I can say we’re looking forward to it and we always consider the UK to be our second home. We always have great shows and great tours and we’re super excited and looking forward to coming back. See you all down the front!

  • 24.11.15 (UK) Reading – Sub89

  • 25.11.15 (UK) Tunbridge Wells – The Forum

  • 26.11.15 (UK) London – Islington Academy

  • 27.11.15 (UK) Manchester – Sound Control

  • 28.11.15 (UK) Chester – The Live Rooms

  • 29.11.15 (UK) Southampton – Engine Rooms

  • 01.12.15 (UK) Birmingham – The Rainbow

  • 02.12.15 (UK) Cambridge – Junction

  • 03.12.15 (UK) Newcastle – Riverside

  • 04.12.15 (UK) Nottingham – Rescue Rooms

  • 05.12.15 (UK) Sheffield – Winter Rocks Festival, The Corporation, Sheffield

  • 06.12.15 (UK) Trecco Bay – Planet Rockstock

For ticket info, head over to the Fozzy website:

FOZZY online:
http://fozzyrock.com/
http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock
http://twitter.com/FozzyRock

Century Media Records online:
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.youtube.com/centurymedia
http://www.twitter.com/centurymediaeu
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia
http://www.instagram.com/centurymediaeu

 

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group:www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#TONIGHT Who are the movers and shakers on tonight’s show? Tune in from 7pm BST

TCRS tonightHello again!

Following last week’s celebration of all things 1987 in ‘Back To The 80s’, we are back to some sense of normality (ahem) this week. Your requests, some prime choices of our own as well as some new music are brought together for three hours of non-stop, commercial-free rock indulgence.

Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Meat Loaf, The Rolling Stones, Montrose, Boston, Kiss, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Pat Travers, Mountain, Nazareth, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band are represented. We’ve also got some new music from Skindred and Crossfaith who are on a UK tour together in November, Crobot, plus the latest from Coheed & Cambria, Electric Six, Buck & Evans, I.C.O.N., Voodoo Vegas, Zebrahead, Antimatter, From Ashes To New, Lamb Of God, Metal Allegiance, Amorphis and the new single taken from the forthcoming album ‘White Bear’ by The Temperance Movement.

TuneIn: http://ow.ly/Qi6Rc  

See you later.

Cheers!

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#INTERVIEW Joel Hoekstra on ‘Snake and recording with a stellar line-up for his new album ‘Dying To Live’

joelh5Joel Hoekstra has announced the release of his new melodic hard rock studio album “Dying To Live” from his electrifying new side project, Joel Hoekstra’s 13. Hoekstra is best known to rock fans as the current guitarist for Whitesnake, and also known for his work with Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the show Rock of Ages.

Dying To Live focuses on struggles, potential pitfalls and the art of overcoming obstacles in life to “finally arrive where we are meant to be”. Featuring an all-star cast of rockers including Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Russell Allen (vocals), Tony Franklin (bass), Vinny Appice (drums), and Derek Sherinian (keyboards), it will be available via Frontiers Music SRL on Friday, October 16. Hoekstra took charge of the creative process by handling the production, song writing and arranging (music and lyrics).

Dying To Live was conceived before Hoekstra joined Whitesnake. David Coverdale gave the album his full blessing. Excited how the new album turned out, Hoekstra is looking forward to the overall reaction from fans and media. The Classic Rock Show recently caught up with him for a chat:

TCRS: 12 months ago, it was announced that you were Whitesnake’s new guitarist, how has it been going since?

Joel: It’s been great! I mean my experience with Whitesnake so far has been awesome. The honeymoon hasn’t ended yet. I’m still really enjoying working with David. The opening leg of the tour here in the States went really fantastic.  There wasn’t a single bad review. The band has great chemistry and has a great line up right now with Tommy Aldridge and Reb Beach, of course David and our bass player Michael Devin and we’ve got this kick ass keyboard player from Italy name Michele Luppi, who just sings amazing background vocals and is a great guy. So yeah, we’ve been having a great time and the tour’s gone great. It was a lot of fun making the Purple album…all’s good!

TCRS: And you’ve been touring with a band from the British Isles, The Answer, a band that’s hugely popular on The Classic Rock Show. Tell us about how that worked out.

Joel: Those guys kick ass man. What a great rock band. They’re just a delight to work with, honestly man. They just come in, there’s no Rock-Star attitude. No pretentiousness, nothing weird happening, just a bunch of good guys who love to rock out and kick ass. They really won over all the crowds. I just wish those guys nothing but the best moving forward. I think they are a great band and I think they’ve got a bright future.

TCRS: You’re gonna be hitting the UK later this year. Touring with Def Leppard. Black Star Riders are also on the bill. What’s not to like?

Joel: Yeah absolutely! Sounds like a solid night of rock to me, right?!

TCRS: Back to the present, you’ve released a handful of solos up to this point, which offer the listener quite an insight into the various guitar styles of yours, but you’ve now about to release a fully fledged self-produced album as Joel Hoekstra 13 called ‘Dying To Live’. Let me begin by offering up a massive high five as it’s a kick-ass album, one which is most definitely another landmark in your established career.

Joel: Well, thank you very much. I think it’s been a real labor of love for me; it was a struggle with everybody’s schedules and everything. But it was years ago I put out three primarily instrumental guitar records that kinda just showcased my playing ability and ‘Dying To Live’ is a record that people have been asking me to do now for years. Friends that have followed me with Night Ranger or Trans Siberian Orchestra or the show Rock of Ages and now Whitesnake, everybody said how come you don’t put out an album just like cool rock songs and blah blah blah. And it sounded like a great idea, I just didn’t necessarily always have the time. But this is finally that album! For me it just was really cool, I got to do all the writing, all the lyrics. I feel very emotionally connected to it and I basically called in favors from a lots of my favorites in the music business. I didn’t really set out to have an all-star band thing, but I really just picked out my favorite guys. And they were all cool enough to play me on this for me and I can’t thank them enough. I think the end result it’s melodic hard rock a genre I’m known for these days or best known for and I would describe the album as Dio-ish at its heaviest and Foreigner-ish at its lightest. joelh2

TCRS: You’ve brought together, as you mentioned, a bunch of musicians and they’ve certainly delivered for you in their performances. The performances are simply stellar. Tell us about who appears alongside you. J

Joel: Yeah, well it all started with Tony Franklin from Blue Murder and The Firm, a great bass player. We had just worked on another project the other called VHF that was completely different than this, like psychedelic instrumental rock you know. So uhm I asked Tony hey man lets just do a rock album. Lets just write some cool vocals songs and he was into it and I said what drummer would you want to use. And he said Vinny Appice would be killer and I was like that would be super cool man. It’s like instantly having a Black Sabbath type or Dio-ish rhythm section sounded very appealing to me. And then when it came time to find a singer Russell Allen from Symphony X and Adrenaline Mob had just signed up to do the Trans Siberian Orchestra tour that I do. Now that guy is just freakin’ killer! I have got to be honest, I hadn’t really listened to Symphony X and I didn’t know what I was missing with this guy. He’s one of the best singers in rock and so I got him on the front half of the album and I called in a favour from Jeff Scott Soto, who most people know, obviously he’s one of the best singers out there, but he’s also a nice enough guy to agree to sing background on tracks for me, just cause we’re friends and we go way back. He’s obviously overqualified for such a duty but he was so great and I was like “dude, you got to sing the back half of the album, we’re going to have two singers on this”. I mean just too great to have two of the best singers in Rock today on this thing. So Jeff sang on it and then I still felt that after leering a lot of guitars there was room for some textures and to fill the gaps though. I thought it still needs keyboards and I decided to start at the top and ask Derek Sherinian if he was willing to play on it and he was amazingly enough despite the fact Derek is overqualified too; there’s only, I think, two solos for him on the album and so a lot of it was really tasteful playing on his part. I just can’t thank these guys enough for helping bring these songs to life and I think we did something cool in avoiding the whole wank-age thing there’s no real long guitar solo, no big drum solos or bass solos or anything of that nature. It was just cool songs, tastefully played by great musicians!

TCRS: Sounds like it was a fun project?

Joel: It certainly it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge to make with everybody’s schedules and I wasn’t exactly sure throughout the process what it was going to be. Like  I said in the early going I was kind of interested in having co writers on it  and with everybody’s schedules I just thought man i need to move this along. I’m just going to do all the writing. And so it kind of became what it was as it went. You know which was fun. It was fun to watch it grow and I’m very very excited about the album. Very proud about how it came out and i hope people will give it a shot.

TCRS: What was it like for you being producing your own work and what was, what did you go, what did you do in pre-production with the other  musicians and Engineers?

Joel: Well, the way I did it for the most part on this was I would lay down scratch guitar to a click and I would write the vocal melodies.  And in most cases when I write I would write a song chorus out. Like I’ll write  a cool chorus with words and everything and then I’ll just kinda come up with the melodies for the time being for the verse until i can you know have proper time to think of lyrics and what not. So I guess to cut to the chase lay down scratch guitars with my guitar also playing the vocal melodies and harmonies. And then that would go to Vinny Appice he would lay down his stuff. Tony played his parts to Vinny and scratch guitars and from there everything else just kinda fell into place basically at the same time from there. My real guitars went on, vocals went on, background vocals and keyboards. So all that kind of stuff would happen simultaneously. That’s the general gist of how it all got done. And my production style with the guys  all of them was pretty much to  let do their thing with it and say hey look here’s the frame work but play the way you want to place so Vinny Appice in particular took a bunch of these songs in completely different directions than I would have expected but that’s part of the fun because then you have to go with him and take the song in that direction. I just respond that the best production style let people play the way they would play and not micromanage that stuff. And then just your job is to roll with them on it.

TCRS: I was gonna say you’ve recorded with some of the best producers in the business over the years. Who do you look up to in getting the very best out of the artiste in this project and how did that help you when you went about recording?

Joel: Ah man, I honestly don’t have an answer in terms of like a producer necessarily that i look up to. I mean David was great to work with on the Purple album with that  in terms of getting his players to put their stamp on it. He wasn’t stressed and didn’t worry despite the fact that we were recording these deep purple song that we obviously were going to face a lot  of scrutiny and so he was great and chill about that and I just tried to be that way  with this whole thing  in terms of what people would play and then rolling with it. And I mean nowadays in the end you have pro-tools don’t you? So its like if anything really needs to be changed you could  probably change it but its a lot of fun to go with what people come up with.

TCRS: What have been the challenges you know I mentioned the scheduling challenges that putting it together what were the challenges for you as you progress in completing the album?

Joel: Well  a lot of it for me it was coming down to crunch time while I was just out with Whitesnake. So that was difficult! A lot of times I’m getting through a day off or I just feel like chilling but I spent 12 hours  not being there. A lot of the stuff nowadays is  done obviously digitally as i getting mixes from the mix engineer. He’s sending over links to them I listen give notes and type them back to them. In the old days I would have been sitting  in the studio telling them exactly what I wanted, which I think moves things along a little bit. So a lot of it is just the challenge of dealing with the technological end of the way things get done these days. Which I mean in a way it speeds it along, because i wouldn’t have been able to  probably do the mixes for the entire time I was out with the tour but it also slows down the process of getting changing some of the things that you want to change. If that makes sense. joelh4-hrTCRS: How easy was it for you to put the album to bed, so to speak?

Joel: I still haven’t, man. I struggle with stuff like that. Its really difficult for me to listen to without wanting to change things. And I probably with stay that way the rest of my life when i hear the album honestly. I guess its just who I am. I think I’m proud of it and everything. I really am, but I just always hear, I hear stuff that probably wouldn’t matter to many people and me i just feel like changing. And in the end you abandon mixes right? Isn’t that the common phrase these days? You never really finish a mix you abandon it.

TCRS: The songs will be personal Joel to you, of course, having written all of them, but are there some that are very close and personal. And if so, which would you like to tell us a little bit more about?

Joel: I don’t know that there is any one in particular, but the album kinda it has a theme. The album is essentially about overcoming obstacles in your life till you are finally  meant to be. I think all off us are kinda struggling with some things in our lives to be the person we want to be whether its our relationship at home, or whatever a vice or some people are overeating. Some people aren’t exercising. Whatever. All the things you want to do to get where you want to be and be the person you want to be. And so a lot of the  songs on the album are sung from  the standpoint of those obstacles and a lot of the songs are about overcoming them or singing anthems to overcome them. So that’s the general theme. Just the struggles in life and hence the title “Dying To Live” which is basically about doing whatever you can to be where you want to be. joelh3

TCRS: Are there any designs on a few more videos to accompany the album tracks?

Joel: Yeah, with the first one I’m not sure, I second guessed whether that should have just been a static screen or a lyric video. I felt like giving people some kind of visual to accompany was better than a static screen, but in the end sometimes you get criticized for the visual that’s there. So you go “Well was that a good idea or not?”  I’m kinda learning as I go with this stuff, but they are gonna be  a couple videos with the musicians in them coming. And I have to make decisions on a couple more as to what to release them as just audio, or with lyric videos.

TCRS: So, is Joel Hoekstra’s 13 something that we’re gonna be seeing more of in future?

Joel: Well, I think the sky would be the limit for this. I mean obviously for me this doesn’t sound like a solo album. It doesn’t sound like a guitar album. You’d kinda be expecting to hear a ton of solos and a ton of fancy guitar work. When really to me this just sounds very band-ish, but it’s not to call it a band to those guys. I did all the writing and it’s very much my music, so I thought a project name was the most appropriate thing for now – Joel Hoekstra 13. Obviously, if this was successful and it sure would be fun to hear what this lineup would come up with everybody writing together and collaborating on it as well. Potentially turning it into that, I’d certainly be open to that idea and I’m open to supporting it anyway possible with any form of live shows should they be able to be organized.

TCRS: Congratulations on the album, once again Joel. Its a stellar album with a stellar lineup and you should be rightly proud of what you’ve achieved.

Joel: Thank you I really appreciate that. Its very early in the game so I haven’t much feedback from people yet. So its good to hear man, it really is.

TCRS: Before we go, what would you like to say to your fans out there? Joel: Oh, well, I kinda come from a pretty modest upbringing and I feel pretty lucky to be as far into the game as I am here with this whole thing. So, I just appreciate the support that everyone if giving me. I appreciate the opportunity to make a living laying rock guitar and I hope people come along for the ride. And let’s just see where this all goes.

jh13 coverThe Musicians:

Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) – Guitars, Backing Vocals Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob, Symphony X) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) – Drums Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) – Bass

Special Guest Musicians: Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) – Keyboards Chloe Lowery (Trans Siberian Orchestra) – Vocals Toby Hitchcock (Pride of Lions) – Additional Backing Vocals Charlie Zeleny (Joe Lynn Turner) – Percussion Dave Eggar (Amy Lee, Coldplay) – Cello

Joel Hoekstra: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. We really like Joel Hoekstra’s album ‘Dying To Live’ and recommend it to anyone who likes melodic hard rock. Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk Twitter: @ClassicRockShow Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#INTERVIEW Extensive interview with Michael Wilton of Queensryche

queensryche logoAgainst the formidable obstacles of an ever-changing cultural landscape, the rise and fall of various musical trends, and the near collapse of the record industry itself, Queensrÿche secured a triumphant legacy as one of hard rock’s most respected and celebrated acts, selling 30 million albums around the world across a 30-plus-year career.

The much-anticipated new offering, ‘Condition Hüman’, sees LaTorre deliver the performance of a lifetime on what is now his sophomore recording effort with the band. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary) in the band’s native Washington, Condition Hüman is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.

The band’s name is uttered in the same breath as many of the groups they looked to as influences and others who arose as peers. Queensrÿche built a dedicated legion of fans traveling the globe on tour with fellow rock giants like Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. In recent years, they’ve consistently delivered high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. Even with eleven gold and platinum plaques and a several Top 10 hard rock anthems woven into the very fiber of the genre, Queensrÿche won’t relent. In fact, they’re in the throes of a jaw-dropping creative resurgence.

Michael WiltonThe band is currently touring across North America with the Scorpions (Sept 10th to Oct 9th). We caught up with founding member and lead guitarist, Michael Wilton, soon after their Wacken Festival debut.

TCRS: You’re on a break now, following your recent tour of the UK and Europe?

Michael: Yes we just finished 21 shows in 23 days. Blitzed through Europe and the UK, and now I’m just in Germany then I’m heading back to the States before we start the next tour.

TCRS: You took in a few festivals including Wacken Festival. I believe that’s a first for the band, if I’m not mistaken. How was it?

Michael: Yeah! It’s really amazing that we never played that festival and Wacken is such a huge event. It’s just, it’s mind blowing you know. How that little town just turns into this metal Mecca you know and just the crowds. I mean that was one of the biggest crowds I’ve performed in a very long time and it’s well organized and wow!, you know? And I met the owner, he’s just so down to earth and such a cool guy. And you know hopefully we’ll be able to attend and play that one again sometime.

TCRS: Before we get into the big stuff about the band and the new album, may I just take you back to 1984, when I believe it was the first that you came to the UK, as tour support for Dio on the ‘Last in Line Tour’. Am I right with that?

Dio Last In Line tourMichael: That’s right! Wow!

TCRS: I saw you at the Hammersmith Odeon [now Hammersmith Apollo]. I recall drinking with friends in the bar, as you do, anyway we heard you guys light up and we’re looking at each other and we’re like “Hey, this sound is something we’ve not heard before!”, and we all trailed into the auditorium and were all just blown away by you guys. What are your memories of that time?

Michael: Oh well, thank you. I mean that was, what ’84? A long time ago…and for us that was such a monumental tour. We were so grateful you know to be on tour and you know Ronnie was the consummate gentleman. He kinda of showed us the ropes in a lot of areas and just such a great person and all the guys in the band were great. And so accommodating to us because we were just getting our legs for touring the world. I’ve got an interesting thing: I had never had Indian food before. Ronnie had a chef out there and he invited us to eat Indian food. That was the first time I ever had Indian food.

TCRS: Was it the last?

Michael: No! I kinda like it. You know, as long as my stomach can handle it.

TCRS: Perhaps not something you recommend on tour maybe, certainly not on a tour bus anyway.

Michael: Yeah exactly! [laughs]

Queensryche line upTCRS: Jumping back to the present day, how is the band finding its way around on stage since singer Todd Le Torre joined?

Michael: It really going excellent. You know we’ve been touring on the previous recording of 2013 you know for two years now Todd is comfortable with singing a song. His voice is getting stronger and he’s just more comfortable being on stage and singing these songs. These are not easy songs for anybody to sing. So, he’s really done a great job and he’s definitely acclimated to the road life and being out here. So, everything is kind of settled in a way so we’re doing quite well.

TCRS: And I guess he brings another amount of experience to the party as well.

Michael: Well he does especially over here in Europe. You know he’s got a reputation with Crimson Glory and now he’s with Queensrÿche, he brings a whole new dimension to the live performance. He is so energetic and so passionate about the music. There’s a new energy on stage with the band and everybody is just really just having a great time and having fun again.

TCRS: The audience are certainly feeding of that energy and that gives you something to feed off.

Michael: Oh yeah. It definitely does. Especially like you know when you’re playing in front of 65,000 people, it’s just unbelievable the energy. The support we’re getting from the crowd…well, it’s just kinda like the old days.

queensryche condition human album art

TCRS: The new album, Condition Hüman, is out on Century Media October 2nd. Produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris, who’s known for recording with Hatebreed, Soulfly, Whitechapel and has been working on the new Rob Zombie album, how did that arrangement come about with Zeuss?

Michael: We already had a few songs, but didn’t want a repeat of the last album. We wanted to evolve from it and I think this was a very important record that we needed to establish, you know, that we are the roots Queensrÿche as well as a current band. Zeuss was introduced to us by the A&R guy at Century Media. I had looked at his portfolio and it’s like, wow, you’ve done some heavy bands! When I first talked to him, he goes “Let me just tell you, I’m not about changing Queensrÿche, I’m about bringing that band magic that happened on those early records, and finding that and bringing that back out in your performances to record. I’m gonna mix this so it’s current…you’re a current band!. You know, that’s kind of how we started and we met and then it was just the whole thing of scheduling and finding somebody that was flexible. He was flexible. He had just finished the Rob Zombie album and he had a certain amount of time allotted that he could do with us. So, basically he had I believe six weeks to record 15 songs, Queensrÿche songs that is. It was a lot of hours and he is a workhorse. He got so much accomplished and it was just 16 hour days for the guy. He actually even traveled on the road. We had a couple weekend shows that we had to do and he actually traveled with us and set up in a hotel room and we recorded the guitars in that kind of a setting just to keep on schedule. So we basically finished with all the music in six weeks. We then needed a couple more weeks for Todd to finish up vocals, so he had to talk to Rob Zombie and see if we could you know borrow a couple of his weeks. Rob Zombie was very cool and let us finish the album – I just want to say that. Then it was just off to the mixing and the mastering. We’ve been just very, very busy, you know; touring, recording and like I said things have been a little more settled. There’s not too many distractions anymore and we’re just on our mark for fertile grounds of creativity. There’s going to be no stifling of that.

unnamed (2)TCRS: Sounds like you guys really do have a game plan now.

Michael: Exactly! Like I said, things are settled. We have our management. We have a proper booking agent in the Europe and the UK now. We’ve got proper booking agents in the US. We’ve got PR people in the US. PR in Europe and the UK. And Century Media  is totally behind us. They exercised their second option on the recording contract, which I might add that hasn’t happened since EMI!

TCRS: Congratulations! Just going back to Zeuss, if I may, what was he able to bring out of each of you in the recording studio?

Michael: I think he got us out of that way of thinking that everything had to be kind of structured and a pop song format arrangement. He got us out of that traditional way of thinking and you know we kind of brought the spirit of Rage for Order, The Warning, MindCrime and just let’s do things a little bit different. Let’s do some tempo changes, some key changes, some fake endings, some extended endings, some segues that come out of nowhere. He was like “Let’s just have some fun with these, so that they’re more unique and they sound more in the spirit of how you guys are”. And he really brought that out in everybody. I mean most notably Ed Jackson (bass). I mean the bass used to be so prevalent in our old recordings and Zeuss was adamant at making sure  that Eddie’s bass was featured and you could hear it on every song. And you know more of just playing with the Kick drums playing. Let’s get the old Ed Jackson back into this. And you know so  and that’s just one example. I mean he did that with everybody. He got just amazing performances out of everybody.

TCRS: You never stop learning in this business do you?

Michael: Me, personally, no. I’m constantly learning and relearning and relearning what I’ve relearned. You know it’s a never ending process and that’s what makes it so fun. You know it’s just I have such a burning desire to do what I do that I just, I can’t stop it. I’m just insane about it so it’s just I love what I do and I love the fact that I can keep learning from it definitely and I think I can say that for everybody else in the band as well. That we’re just a bunch of guys that can co-habit together.

TCRS: That’s great to hear, Michael. We played the lead single ‘Arrow Of Time’ on the show the other week and it went down a storm with Queensrÿche fans and, let me tell you, now you’ve won some new fans over as well.

Michael: Thanks for playing it! We’re really proud of that song, and that’s what it’s about, you know, we’re also a current band. The audiences are so varied and different and if we can influence  new listeners to check out what we’re doing, that’s just great! We’ve played that song every night as an added bonus, so the fans got to hear a live version of a song that’s not even out yet.

TCRS: When are fans likely to hear more of the new album in your live sets?

Michael: Well, hopefully, you know the release is October 2nd and I know we’ve got another single [Guardian] and we have some videos coming through the pipelines, so yeah we’ll be able to bring those into the set. I don’t know if we’ll do that on the Scorpion’s run, but we’ll be able to do that maybe on our own shows in between those Scorpion shows.

TCRS: What are you looking forward to most touring with the Scorpions?

Michael: Well, you know I’m a big Scorpions fan, so obviously the music is something I’m looking forward to, but it’s just the opportunity to finally properly play with the Scorpions and play the United States and Canada with it all. They’re playing in some pretty big places that we haven’t played in a long time. So I’m really looking forward to that and I just think it’s going to be awesome. I love these guys and I have all their albums, so it’s kind of a double dream come true.

TCRS: What rig are you taking around these days?

Michael: Well, what I take around with me is called a Kemper Profiler and it’s kind of a self contained amp that I can just plug into a rented speaker cabinet and all my sounds are in that along with a wireless system and my trusty ESP Signature guitars. Oh, and a foot pedal, that’s about it.

TCRS: The ESPs loaded with Seymour Duncan’s, I guess?

Michael: Oh Yeah. Love the Seymour Duncan’s! One of my guitars is a Custom ESP that they made for me and the other one a Signature ESP and that’s what I travel with.

TCRS: Have you ever done a rig rundown on YouTube, I don’t think I have seen one?

Michael: No, I never have. I think it would probably disappoint a lot of people as it’s all in this little box. All stored on a thumb drive, a little 1GB thumb drive! [laughs]

TCRS: I don’t think it will disappoint anybody. Okay, Michael, so what is the future looking like now for Queensrÿche?

Michael: We’ve got a plan that we’ve been sticking to and we’re just going to continue on with that plan. We’re gonna tour, of course, and after the Scorpions tour we go into November and December doing a few gigs in the US. In January, we start up again and we go all the way through March. We’re booking more shows and I think another summer tour over in Europe is on the cards.

TCRS: Good luck with the new album. If ‘Arrow of Time’ [and Guardian] is anything to go by, Queensrÿche have another belter of an album in ‘Condition Hüman’.

Michael: I think any Queensrÿche fan is gonna just love this recording. And if you’re not a fan, well, check it out anyway. It’s a very cool, eclectic, semi-progressive, semi-metal, semi-hard rock album. Queensrÿche is back with a vengeance!

‘Condition Hüman’ will be released 2nd October via Century Media Records. ‘Arrow Of Time’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Hellfire’ and ‘Bulletproof’ are destined to take their place among Queensrÿche’s most beloved songs. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary), ‘Condition Hüman’ is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.

Queensrÿche is: Todd La Torre – Vocals | Michael Wilton – Guitar | Eddie Jackson – Bass | Scott Rockenfield – Drums | Parker Lundgren – Guitar

Queensrÿche: www.queensrycheofficial.com | www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial | www.twitter.com/queensryche

Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. Make sure you check out the new album…it’s killer!

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#NEWS Biters release ‘Restless Hearts’ video following brush with police

biters_electricbloodAtlanta rock ‘n’ roll punks BITERS have released their edgy new music video for the track “Restless Hearts”, which appears on their forthcoming debut album, ‘Electric Blood’.

Filmed with director Video Rahim (MASTODON) on location in their hometown, the video for “Restless Hearts” sees BITERS pushing the limits of rock ‘n’ roll excess with a wild keg party, cruising the streets of Atlanta in a stolen police cruiser, and frontman Tuk surfing on the boot of a car whilst tearing down the road at 50mph.

Watch the extreme, uncensored video for “Restless Hearts”:

UK fans should also keep an eye on Kerrang! TV to see the video running in the Fresh Blood segment from today onwards.

Director Video Rahim discusses the band’s run in with the law: “During the shoot, we mounted a camera to the front of a car to capture footage of Tuk and the band.  They drove off with the camera and shortly thereafter I received a call from Tuk saying he had been pulled over and thought he was going to jail.  I had to rush down and talk to the police officers to keep Tuk from being arrested.”

“Standing on the trunk of a ’70s Cadillac at 3am going 45-50mph and lip-synching while wearing Cuban heel boots was the best idea I’ve had in a long time,” adds BITERS frontman Tuk.

BITERS‘ eagerly-anticipated debut album, ‘Electric Blood’, is due to be released on August 7th worldwide.  Pre-order the album now on CD and limited edition coloured vinyl at http://www.earache.com/biters

The album is also available to pre-order on iTunes with an exclusive bonus track as well as instant downloads of “Restless Hearts”, “Low Lives in Hi Definition” and “Heart Fulla Rock ‘n’ Roll”.  Pre-order ‘Electric Blood’now on iTunes at http://bit.ly/electricblood-itunes

Don’t miss BITERS‘ debut UK tour starting this September:

biters_uk_2015Sep. 25 – London, UK – Jubilee Club
Sep. 26 – Nottingham, UK – Rock City
Sep. 27 – Southampton, UK – Joiners
Sep. 28 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
Sep. 29 – Norwich, UK – Waterfront Studio
Oct. 02 – Leeds, UK – Key Club
Oct. 03 – Glasgow, UK – Stereo
Oct. 05 – Newcastle, UK – Think Tank
Oct. 06 – London, UK – Borderline
Oct. 07 – Wolverhampton, UK – Slade Rooms
Oct. 08 – Manchester, UK – Ruby Lounge
Oct. 09 – Sheffield, UK – Corporation

 

Tickets are on sale now from box offices, all usual agents and online at http://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/biters-tickets or http://www.seetickets.com/tour/biters

Get more BITERS news and info via Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BITERS and Twitter – http://twitter.com/TheBiters

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

NEWS: W.A.S.P. announce ten date tour of UK and Ireland in September! New album ‘GOLGOTHA’ due in August!

W.A.S.P. have announced a ten date tour of the UK and Ireland which kicks off at The Troxy in London on September 11, 2015 to promote their highly anticipated and long awaited new album Golgotha due on Napalm Records in August.

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Catch them here:

11.09.2015 UK – London / Troxy
12.09.2015 UK – Leeds / O2 Academy
13.09.2015 UK – Newscastle / O2 Academy
14.09.2015 UK – Manchester / Ritz
16.09.2015 IRL – Dublin / Academy
17.09.2015 IRL – Belfast / Limelight
18.09.2015 UK – Glasgow / O2 Academy
19.09.2015 UK – Nottingham / Rock City
21.09.2015 UK – Wolverhampton / Wulfrun Hall
22.09.2015 UK – Bristol / Motion

Tickets go on general sale at 11am on May 1 (Friday) via NMC Live.

Almost six years have passed since the world saw a new studio album from Metal Icons W.A.S.P. That is about to change as W.A.S.P. has signed a new worldwide record deal with Austria’s Napalm Records.W.A.S.P. will release their 15th studio album titled Golgotha this August.

Golgotha2

W.A.S.P. came out of the Los Angeles Metal scene in 1982 gaining notoriety for their shock rock antics. With a career spanning over 3 decades, 17 world tours, and now their 15th studio album, they are a metal band that has evolved in maturity without having lost their signature sound, unlike many of their peers from their origins. Golgotha will continue down the path that 2007’s Dominator and 2009’s Babylon started on, both in production style and theme. Six years in the making, Golgotha will undoubtedly lead the listeners on the emotionally epic undertaking that W.A.S.P. has become acclaimed for!

For More Info Visit:
www.waspnation.com
www.facebook.com/W.A.S.P.Nation
twitter.com/WASPOfficial
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

INTERVIEW: Fynn and Philipp of The Picturebooks

thepicturebooks-614x521The Picturebooks are a blues-soaked German duo consisting of Fynn Claus Grabke (vocals/guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (drums). Recently signed to the highly regarded LA psych/stoner imprint Riding Easy,they released their first album for the label, entitled ‘Imaginary Horse’, in late 2014 in the US and are currently on an extensive UK tour with The Answer to promote the forthcoming UK release of the record.

TPB-Cover-1400-pxRecorded in the same garage where they regularly refurbish and repair motorcycles and choppers (both are enthusiastic bikers), ‘Imaginary Horse’ captures a raw, rich and real energy befitting the room’s natural reverb, industrial aura and spiritual spark. More importantly, it has begun to rev up the boys’ career.

The video for the first single from the album, ‘Your Kisses Burn Like Fire’ is a sweaty, boot-stomping affair featuring a growling Grabke, a driving backbone via Mirtschink….and some beautiful scenery. It can be seen here:

It was at Chinnery’s, Southend-On-Sea, where I managed to sit down and have a face-to-face chat with Fynn and Philipp following a 30 minute set that left those who witnessed the performance breathless, hot and sweaty.

MJ: Boys, what a tremendous show you put down for us here at Chinnery’s . I’ve gotta start with Phil firstly because it looked as though you injured your hand during that set because you were sort of shaking it and holding it and, tell us what went on there.

Phil: Ah, pretty simple, I just hit the rim of my floor tom and it hurt, so… and then it’s probably not the first time, it happens every time, you know. I’m used to it.

10645213_10152717153075775_7388073654010946158_nMJ: I’ve not seen anyone hit the drums so hard since I saw Tommy Aldridge with Ozzy Osbourne!

Phil: Thank you.

Fynn: Ya. I don’t call him a drummer, he’s a destroyer!

MJ: We were talking earlier Fynn about your start to the set, and it wasn’t the first time you tell me you broke a string. Not just one but two.

Fynn: Ya two on this, the other night I had three strings, and once… I don’t know. I, well we change the strings all the time, and they were really fresh, I don’t know what’s, something’s wrong this tour with the strings. I’ve gotta check what’s going on there. I don’t know, ya it broke I think the second chord I played.

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MJ: But hey, that’s live rock and roll.

Fynn: It is, it is, you know, our saying is always a broken cable or a broken string is half of the show you know, sometimes.

MJ: Now let’s just talk a little while about your album Imaginary Horse. What is an Imaginary Horse?

Fynn: It’s a funny story. When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend, an imaginary horse called Ponpon, and that’s what the song is about. The version that’s on the album is a very short version of it. There’s a longer version, but we decided to take a little, that version a little shorter one because it just made more sense, it was much cooler to do it that way. It’s just clapping and me singing to it, and kinda get intimate, I guess that’s the right word, intimative feeling.

RidingEasylogoMJ: And the album, which is out on…?

Fynn: Our international label is RidingEasy Records, they’re in California, Los Angeles, California. And it’s licensed to Noisolution Records in Berlin for Germany, Austria, Switzerland.

MJ: Talking of things International, I hear that you picked up an American tour through your Instagram feed?

Fynn: This happens so much lately. Our first American tour we just got through Instagram, basically, because Cedric Bixler from At The Drive-in and Mars Volta, he just liked our pictures a lot, and he became a fan of the band just through the pictures. And he contacted us, he was like just the pictures look so amazing, I wanna hear something from this band. And we send him some stuff that was unreleased, it was like… two years ago now? So he got like very early recordings of our album, and he loved it so much, and he booked us like two shows in Los Angeles, and we just went there without the right visa, and it was a big fuckup, and they tried to send us back. And it was weird, they showed us private emails, it was crazy. And after these two shows, we were booked out for two months, because they were just the right people. I think Cedric must have done something, I don’t know. And ya, it was a big success.

MJ: So Phil, where are you based, because you got German heritage obviously, but are you Europe based or are you US based?

Phil: No, we are based in Europe, ya. I’m from a small town, Gütersloh in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, right in the belly button of Germany. We got the British air force in our hometown. So half of our hometown is Brit. So we grew up with Brits, that’s where, you know, we got our English from.

MJ: Going back to the album Imaginary Horse, it’s got a very raw and real edge to it. How did you put that album together?

Fynn: Ya well, let’s start at the beginning. My dad has a professional studio in Gütersloh where we live. It’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s like on a farm, there’s just like a forest around it. And we always hung out there and we had a practice room next door, and a motorcycle garage where we build choppers and stuff like that. And Philipp and I wrote the whole album in there and we always loved the sound. And when we went next doors in the real studio to record it, the sound just became… ya, the whole song became clean is one word, but well but not clean as in like not distorted, but normal. And we thought we wanna hear it the way we heard it in the practice room, you know, so we tried to find how we could do this. It took us a long time of course but then we found out a technique that was in our garage, we put everything out there that we could so we get more roomy sound of it, so we cut out the carpet and stuff like that, and we put two microphones twelve feet away from us and recorded everything live, and no artificial reverb on anything, this is the real reverb that was made in that room. You know, so, that was the idea.

MJ: Was the video for ‘PCH Diamond’ shot in that same garage or was that elsewhere?

Fynn: No that wasn’t in that garage; that was in Glory Motorcycles in Los Angeles. A very good friend of ours, Justin Kell, he does all the bikes for all the movies. Funny fact, he did the bike for Indiana Jones, stuff like that, and some, he does all the bikes for Tom Cruise, stuff like that. He’s the real deal but he’s a really cool dude. He skates and stuff like that, so we know him through skateboarding.

picturebooksskate

MJ: Skateboarding, that’s a big thing with you guys.

Fynn: Ya well, I grew up with my dad being a professional skateboarder since the 80s. So we always had friends from all around the world coming to us, and me coming with them to all these places where he went to contests, stuff like that. So, I guess that’s where my American accent comes from, because we’ve always been in the States a lot. And ya that was always a good thing.

And then, when he started doing music, he was super successful doing music. He had super big bands that toured the States and all over Europe. One band was called Thumb, and the other band was called All-Stars, and he had bands back then, Eight Days, that was like in all the skate videos. So he’s always been into music. So I basically grew up in skate parks, and in a tour van. Basically in a tour bus. He always brought me on tour. And ya, and then Philipp and I met, we met in this… you go…

MJ: Over to Phil.

Phil: That like ten years ago or so we just met in our local skate park, just hanging around and whatever, skated all day, and ya. That’s our skating background I think right?

Fynn: Ya well we still do, we still skate all the time and we just try to find something to do after we’ve skated, you know? We became best friends, and then we were like what do we do now? We skated till darkness, what do we do now? So first it was like go into the pub, but then it was like getting boring at some point. And then we started getting into my attic where all the equipment that my dad still had in there, because he used to have a studio in the attic. It used to be called Cloud Scrap, or wait was it called Upstairs Studio? Because it was all up there. So there was still some equipment lying around, an old Sonor drum set, and some guitars, and that’s how it all started.

MJ: And what are the, I guess you brought your boards out over here?

Both: No.

MJ: So you’re having withdrawal symptoms?!

Phil: To be honest, when you’re on tour you’re always afraid of like, when you go skate are you gonna break your bone or whatever, so… don’t do that.

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Fynn: Ya, the show suffered from it, you know, and that, that was like the worst case scenario because at the end of the day this is what we’re doing, you know? And skating is something that’s fun and it’s cool. That’s something I learned after being sponsored, you know? I was sponsored at one point and I lost all the fun of skateboarding because I had to be at contests and stuff like that, and I quit doing that and just do it for fun, and that’s the thing.

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Phil: We don’t want to get hurt on tour.

MJ: I wanna come to the instruments that you’re using. What have you got, what’s your setup Phil on the drums?

Phil: I’ve got a Ludwig kit, with a twenty six inch kick, a bass drum, I guess ya. An eighteen inch floor tom, and I just, how do you say, rebuilt my old drum set. I used the old bass drum kit and whatever, kick drum ya. I used the old kick drum and turned it into a floor drum, the big one on the right side, it’s a twenty four inch, and I have two snares and that’s pretty much it.

Fynn: And a bell, and the bell…

Phil: And the bell, ya of course.

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MJ: And any effects on that?

Phil: Ya you listened to our record right? So all the sounds you hear live are the same sounds we used in the studio, you know? It’s live recorded, and we try to, how do you say it, we try to…

Fynn: Get that sound on stage?

Phil: Get that sound on stage there, and I have that same feeling…

Fynn: Reuse, re-reuse…

Phil: We use some triggers to get the real bass from the recording in the studio, to get the real snare sound, to get the real chain, chim, chim, what is it called…percussion.

Fynn: Ya you know we, for Philipp said, all the instruments and something you hear on the album is something that Philipp and I always work out together. It’s not like it’s just him drumming, it’s not just me playing guitar, it feels like we’re both playing it. And so we built these pits, just go into the music store and buying normal, traditional tambourines and stuff like that, just bored us at one point. And it felt like, this sounds like every other shit that’s already out there. So we started building our own percussion instruments you know, because we’ve always been inspired by Native American music and all the tribal stuff, and it never sounded like something you could buy in a music store, you know? So we were really creative…

Phil: You can do that but it’s fuckin expensive to do that so…

Fynn: Ya, you can do it, it’s expensive first of all and it’s, again the easy way to do it. So we build them ourselves.

In the beginning, it was weird because it felt like cheating, and it was like it’s not the real thing but you have to hit it hard if you want to sound it big you know? The album was recorded in a motorcycle garage, and we used the actual reverb, and just recorded the entire album with two microphones. Not like everyone else would, close mic-ing it and then all these mix tricks that everyone has. Then when you wanna put it on a stage you realise a bass drum on a stage all of a sudden isn’t in a motorcycle garage anymore, so you get the typical bass drum sound, and it didn’t sound like what we had recorded. So to be able to do that we have a trigger that actually triggers the bass drum and snare sound to sound like that, that’s all.

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MJ: It’s an awesome sound. Sounds really cool. Fynn tell us about the rig that you’ve got set up.

Fynn: Ya well, um, I tried out so many guitars and, like, from no-name stuff to all the good stuff that’s out there, and I always try to get like newer guitars because it’s not like that complicated and you can get them everywhere, and some of them are really cheap. But they always sound very plastic to me, like, I just didn’t like it. So what I did was try out all the old stuff, and it started out with the old Gibson my dad had.

We were hanging out in Los Angeles while we were recording the, and still writing the album, and I bought this very old Gibson ES125, which is an old cut-away and almost looks like an acoustic guitar. I think it’s like from the early sixties, and I bought it for super cheap from this awesome guitar store in the middle of nowhere. Like it was in Los Angeles in this street called Santa Nella, and this dude, he was a great dude, he was the weirdest dude ever. It was a funny story behind it. Anyway, I bought it for super super cheap, and basically that’s the whole sound of the album is that guitar, a very very cheap preamp, and through a custom made amp I made. It’s actually a Marshall amp that I put into an old Jennings, which basically is Vox combo, ya.

pbMJ: And, you’ve got some stomp boxes as well which you tend to tinker around with to your heart’s content.

Fynn: Ya well the thing is on the album I really just use that, but you always have to re-create it for live, you know, because our set is very dynamic, and if you just use that setup it doesn’t come across like that, it always feels like one, it’s the same loudness, you know, the whole set. So I’ve got two of these preamps to get a one louder one, and one for the other guitar because it sounds a little different. And then I have a delay where I do funny stuff with, I got a fuzz to get it much more fuzzier, what else do I have… it’s a funny thing, it’s a handmade, like a handmade preamp too. It’s a booster, it’s called the Moon Booster from a company called Redson Effects. I wanna mention this because they’re… I just found out about these and they’re super good. I got that one in my set now. I got a Fender… ya he made it for me. That’s another thing, ya he made it for me, which is… I love when it’s custom made for someone’s stuff. I got a Fender reverb, it’s like a remake of a big old Fender reverb, with like a small pedal. And then I have another thing that’s like re-creating the roomy sound that I always have, that’s over everything. Ya it just has a little room sound to it.

Another thing I’d like to mention is for this album we forbid ourselves to listen to music for two years so we don’t get wrong influence, you know? Because it happens so fast today that you listen to something new, that’s like a new band, and you’re like oh wow that’s awesome, and you end up in the practice room sounding just like that. And to not have that we forbid each other to listen to music. So all we had was Katie Perry and Lady Gaga for like two years.

And then what happened is like, so the thing why we did it, we wanted to get the raw, raw’s always a good word, a raw sound out of it. Like, what’s us without the influence of other bands, just like from now on. And we got inspired by so many other stuff that has nothing to do with music, just being in the desert in California or stuff like that, you know. That’s why sounds like PCH Diamond happened. PCH is the Pacific Coast Highway that goes along the whole Pacific coast, and stuff like that. So that was a cool experience. I just wanted to say that.

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MJ: I take it that the tour your has been going really well?

Fynn: It’s going really well, The Answer are super cool dudes, and became really close friends with them. And ya, the other band, Bad Touch too, shout out to them, ‘cos they work really hard too. So ya, it’s a cool tour.

MJ: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time, and all the very best for the rest of the tour with The Answer.

Fynn: Well, to everybody that doesn’t know us yet here in the UK, everybody that knows us and hasn’t seen us, would be rad, we’re coming back for sure on our own tour in May!

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Cheers

MJx

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