The first time I saw The Cadillac Three was some months ago... I'd never seen them live before and had only really just discovered them. I saw about three or four shows at that time. They were great, high energy shows that you could dance the night away to. Tonight, at The Lexington I got to see them again.
As soon as Jaren, Neil and Kelby stepped onto the stage and Jaren enthusiastically started playing the intro to 'I'm Southern' the crowd starting dancing instantly. The Cadillac Three do definitely bring an immediate air of excitement, the fans are always pleased to see them, and they are always pleased to see their fans. The energy bounces around the room as this undeniable force of music just ignites everyone into this rock and roll frenzy.
One thing I love about The C3 is the guys always jam it out, they don't prepare set lists and literally just go with the flow, which I think becomes evident in the crowd also. There is not one person standing still as they bang out 'The Sticks' and another high energy country soaked gem 'I'm Rockin', everyone is smiling, gettin' sweaty and rockin' out with one another... it's fantastic to see and be a part of.
'Tennesse Mojo' gets started with a cool drum jam from Neil, as soon as Jaren sruck the first guitar note, the crowd were wooo'ing, arms raised in the air.... Electric! The fun didn't stop there as everyone got their booty shakin' for 'Back It Up'.
A particular moment of the show touched me, I felt it was quite beautiful and explains just how at one everyone was with each other. Jaren strolls to the microphone tuning his guitar, speaking about playing a love song, and introducing the song. He started to sing “Sheeeee st...” The crowd took over “...stole, my, heart...”. Jaren jokingly says to the crowd with a grin on his face “You're ruining my story here...” and continued, and so did the crowd. They sang every word of 'White Lightning'. This song is musically beautiful, and touching enough on it's own, but to hear the crowd sing like that, myself included, was a really powerful thing. When the song ended, Jaren looked so humbled and just as I thought that he said “No-one's heard that song in the U.S, y'all are gonna make this redneck cry, man!” In that moment I really appreciated the beauty of music and the ability it has to bring people together. Again.
Since I laid ears on Rival Sons however many years ago, I have always been a fan of their eclectic blues driven groove. One of the many things I admire in the Rival Sons is their ability to constantly evolve. Never will you hear the same thing twice or even remotely similar. Their latest offering ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ is a delight to indulge in, each track bringing something different, and emotive.
True to typical Rival Sons style ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ was born in Nashville and written and recorded over a course of six weeks with producer Dave Cobb. From beginning to end ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ offers a variety of moods, colours and contrasts within the sounds used to create this ambiguous delight.
‘Electric Man’ is the first track, which instantly hits strong and heavy with definitive riffs from Scott and a nice rhythm from Miley on the skins. Where it may be lacking lyrically compared to Jay’s usual depth with words, the underlying groove definitely steps up and makes this a great track to shake your ass too.
‘Great Western Valkyrie’ to me is definitely an album of two halves. The first five tracks are undeniably filled with infectious melodies and beats fit to fill any dance floor.
‘Good Luck’ the second track on the album is probably one of my favourites; it lures me in and has me singing along in no time. I especially enjoy the accents Miley uses within the track.
‘Good Things’ the new single from the album has a very saucy swagger indeed. Scott’s tones on the guitar sound very psychedelic at times and a true treat to listen to. David Beste, the new bass man, has stepped in nicely and provides a great juicy bass line, combined with Miley’s tight beats there is a very slick rhythm section indeed.
‘Open my Eyes’ seems to be the palate cleanser of this delicious meal before the album sets into what I see as the second half of the album, which is more of a vast soundscape where the guys seem to stretch their legs a little more and explore their musicality. ‘Open My Eyes’ comes in with a good strong beat from Miley; forceful like a bouncer trying to break up a fight outside a club. Jay’s lyrics are descriptive and encourage great imagery. His tone gives a feeling of dominance which matches the strength of the song, while again Scott’s fuzz and riffs provide the perfect backdrop.
Ah, now we step into the luscious ‘Rich and Poor’ which saunters along hypnotically and lures you in like a mistress at midnight... ‘Belle Starr’ starts incredibly heavy before it takes you into an almost dream like state where Jay’s vocals are like a siren by the sea, calling out to the ships that pass by. Miley uses a very slow and steady beat during this time, filled with deep and bellowing tones that act as a great accent to this sensual journey which leads perfectly into the next track ‘Where I’ve Been’
This is probably another of my favourite tracks, Jay is a lyrical dream come true who always manages to make you feel every word and does exactly this during ‘Where I’ve Been’. I feel that Scott, Miley and Dave collectively provide an incredibly beautiful frame the words and tones of Jay’s voice. The guitar solo soars with a certain style and grace that only Scott can.
The final track ‘Destination on Course’ is haunting and at times almost hypnotic. There is a truly fantastic instrumental moment when Dave and Miley lay down a beast of a rhythm while Scott dances in and out with a diverse range of sounds and tones. This song is raw and adventurous and reminds me exactly why Rival Sons are one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands around today.
‘Great Western Valkyrie’ is a triumph, and very different to its predecessors and a reminder of the constant evolution Rival Sons demonstrate year after year.
Great Western Valkyrie will be released June 6th in Europe, and June 9th in the UK on Earache Records
See RIVAL SONS on tour at the following shows:
May 30 - Helsinki, Finland - Hartwall Arena (w/ AEROSMITH)
Jun. 01 - Stockholm, Sweden - Tele2 Arena (w/ AEROSMITH)
Jun. 04 - Nijmegen, Netherlands - Doornroosje
Jun. 05 - Berlin, Germany - C-Club
Jun. 06 - Nurburg, Germany - Rock Am Ring
Jun. 07 - Nuremburg, Germany - Rock Im Park
Jun. 09 - London, UK - Scala (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 10 - Birmingham, UK - Academy 2 (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 12 - Manchester, UK - Gorilla (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 13 - Castle Donington, UK - Download Festival
Jun. 14 - Isle of Wight, UK - Isle of Wight Festival
Jun. 16 - Edinburgh, UK - Liquid Rooms (SOLD OUT / date changed from June 11th)
Jun. 19 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
Jun. 20 - Sparta, IL - Copperhead Music Festival
Jun. 21 - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot
Jun. 24 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 27 - Saint-Ephrem, QC - Woodstock en Beauce
Jun. 28 - Kingston, ON - Ale House
Jul. 03 – Toronto, Canada – Virgin Mobile Mod Club
Jul. 04 - Barrie, ON - Ranch Concert Hall (w/ THE TEA PARTY)
Jul. 05 - Thunder Bay, ON - Thunder Bay Blues Festival
Jul. 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
Jul. 09 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
Jul. 11 - Denver, CO - Marquis Theatre
Jul. 12 - Telluride, CO - The Ride Festival
Jul. 31 - Notodden, Norway - Notodden Blues Festival
Aug. 01 - Andalsnes, Norway - Raumarock Festival
Aug. 02 - Ostersund, Sweden - Storsjoyran Festival
Aug. 07 - Skanderborg, Denmark - Smukfest
Aug. 09 - Oppikopi Festival, Limpopo, South Africa
Wille and The Bandits are on tour around the UK promoting their third album 'Grow'. I have listened to this album an obscene amount of times in the weeks since it first kissed my letterbox hello, so much so that I’d swear that I heard my neighbour singing one of their songs whilst putting out the bins. I went to The Islington, November 7th 2013, to hear it for real with my own ears and swoon under the intensity. Don’t worry Londoners if you missed their only London date, I’m sure they will be back. Have a look here for dates near you.
Supporting act were rumHoney a five piece from London who got pulses racing with their passionate grooves and breaks whilst rock/blues-ing us. The lead singer Sky Wood had all the moves and soul of a young Paul Rodgers and felt every beat and note change. It’s great to see a band playing and enjoying each other’s company through little glances, great guitar parts and travelling bass and if you weren’t aware of drum signatures, accents and time changes, the singer danced each one like a true conductor lost in his own love affair with music. Their track Geneva was a corker and another highlight was Secret Smile which they dedicated to Lisa Mckeown and the other people that had made the night such a success.
Wille and The Bandits play the music of my holidays. Long days surfing at Lizard Point and long nights listening to music and local bands. Lyrics expressing worries, hopes and fears, loves and losses through poetry and rhythm set in organic time signatures.
The band are Wille Edwards on guitar, Matt Brookes on bass and Andrew Naumann on drums. I underplayed that a bit, some kind of wizardry is involved. This three piece swap between instruments each having at least 2, accompanied with several techniques. Wille plays an electro acoustic, acoustic and an electric lap steel, sometimes he uses a slide and other times as held acoustic, often interspersing between two and regularly manipulating sounds with an array of pedals, achieving some seemingly impossible effects. If this wasn’t enough, he sings the most amazingly penned songs with a strong confidence and touching tone. Matt plays a body-less upright bass with every skill going and when nothing else will do, out comes the bow! He then has a six string electric bass which, on occasion, gets swung to the side so he can flip back to the upright. Ah man, you have to see them play live, it’s really mind blowing. So, behind sits Andrew looking like his arms and legs have nothing to do with him, effortlessly pounding out the most insane rhythms, breaks, grooves intensely, for time frames that anyone else would collapse under and then slow and shockingly powerful, in a crazy subtle drag. He plays his kit, adorned with a crocheted bass drum ‘curtain?’ with the band’s name on it. It all looks quite un-nefarious, but then a rhythm demon is awakened. Snares are swapped with djembe between numbers, beaters, sticks and hands (sometimes one stick, one hand) are used to reverberate skins and cymbals, it’s then the tongue drum comes in to play, adding a whole new dynamic to join the party.
The Islington is an intimate setting and after rumHoney, Wille and The Bandits took to the stage and jammed quite a blend, lulling us in to their style and changing the vibrations of the room, almost siren like, calling to the audience. Within a minute the place was packed and the notes flowed in to their opener of Keep Your Head Up from their first album ‘New Breed’. It’s quite an easy going number settling you in to the vibe with messages of “You got to get outside and see the beauty of this world, Live with love and love life and you’ll get through the troubled times”.
The scene was set. With his dreadlocks pulled through the busted out lid of his top hat (which ignites my ever glinting embers of love for Harpo Marx) Wille smiles through his mad staring eyes and captivates us all with a modest yet commanding welcome. Matt seems more shy yet confident through his musicality as a bass player and Andrew is just in the zone, ready for anything. They joke about how extortionate the parking charges are and then on to the next song.
Butterfly For A Day, the 5th track on ‘Grow’ is a song about not messing up the world, basically that we’re not here long and not to take everything, leaving the future empty. Their lyrics are profound but not preachy, the music and structure of every song is so upbeat and changeable that you really get lost in the tempo and chord sequences. The layers within this band are immeasurable. You can’t possibly watch all of them at the same time and I found myself staring at hands jiggling over fretboards and anticipating the moment the drummer would combust. Honestly this happened for 17 songs. Some songs are more serene than others such as Mammon, the incredibly astonishing and moving Under The Grove from their ‘Break Free’ album and of course Angel which is the first song I ever heard of theirs.
Angel was originally on their 6 track EP ‘Samsara’ which I managed to get on CD, as I believe it’s only available on digital download now, but this incredibly beautiful song is also on ‘Grow’ and my gosh, how they played it live! It has all the exquisite features that I first fell for when I heard Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac playing Albatross when I was a kid. It’s an epic instrumental feat, complete rolling drum patterns with beaters on cymbal atmospherics, unbelievable builds, mesmerising guitar parts with other worldly vocal harmonies and an ‘I think I just lost my soul’ bass circus event that I had to applaud. Thankfully I was not alone and the crowd went a bit wild cheering it. There’s a video of the event
There was a moment, as at a lot of gigs these days, when some people decide to have a little chat at the back, no, no no! The Bandits have got that one covered… invite the crowd to sing along. We full on drowned out the chatty people, one nil! Superb handling. I loved that.
I, as always, could write about every song they played, each with precision of every note, the slide, tapping, slapping, plucks and drags, pedal effects, rim shots, the whole gambit but you should see it for yourself. I’ve never seen a sound engineer seat dancing every beat as I did at this gig for both bands. It was that special. They will haunt you. The notes, the style, the lyrics.
They played two covers, which they totally made their own. The first was Black Magic Woman which they introduced as influenced by Santana and Peter Green beforehand. It was like some kind of voodoo mind trick, again you can look it up on youtube. The second cover was their encore, Dire Straits Money For Nothing. I still can’t quite get my head round what they did with it. The place went nuts and the temperature got even higher. What a great night!
To lubricate our cheered out voices and because no one wanted the night to end, most of the crowd packed out the bar afterwards to talk about the gig and drink with the band members. This is how it should be every time. Marvellous!
This genius has been appreciated by numerous festival goers across Europe and seen them welcomed on tour by Deep Purple, John Butler Trio, Joe Bonamassa, Status Quo, Eric Bibb, Roots Manuva and Finley Quaye, spreading the word far and gathering a following for the Plymouth trio.
What city people don't realise is that in the evenings, in small towns and villages, people gather on beaches and in little pubs or drive to a friend’s house with instruments to play and create music.
I'm not discounting my many friends who lug their weary souls and beloved instruments, amps and hardware after work to rehearsals, gigs and jams around the cities, but please be aware that it really shouldn't be this commercial or tiresome. Maybe, with all this city pressure, something of the content is lost, the beauty and message of what is truly important. Wille and The Bandits have it and they’ll show it to you.
Keep Your Head Up
Butterfly for a Day
Got To Do Better
Black Magic Woman
Trouble? Cornwall Knees Up
Son of the Gun
Why d’ya do it?
Still go Marching In
Under the Grove
Jack the Lad
Try to Be Yourself
Money For Nothing
From the first note to the last, I can't help but smile when I listen to Samuel Taylor's debut EP 'Some Nobody To Me' for a multitude of reasons. Primarily the insanely beautiful guitar work to the much loved harmonica that I adore the sound of. Not to mention Sam's voice that engulfs me in such an amazing state of calm. If you want to just shut your eyes and let this wonderfully sublime music wash over you then it's gotta be done.
The more I listen to Sam the more I discover that way off in the background there are always little hidden guitar parts that are ever so subtle and oh so effective. It's blissful. If you listen on 'Perfect Disguise', in between verses there are some radiant guitar notes that are the perfect frame for the song
The opening melody of 'Driving to Nowhere' instantly reflects the feeling of the song - vast and open. Sam has such a comforting voice and tone that portrays the helplessness of the lyrics. It's an incredibly gentle song, every note so soft, yet touching.
'The Morning' is the fourth track on the EP and has such a beautiful feel. The lyrics entice me to feel the pain behind the words 'It's not right that you might leave me, though you say, you'll always need me...So won't you save me from these tears of rain, save me if I fall again...” The guitar technique in the bridge is divine. Some great notes are bent with some luscious tones that really add to the flavour of the song.
Samuel Taylor to me is a folk artist that writes and performs some simple yet pure and stunning melodies so effortlessly. Combined with his lyrical story telling these songs are a scenic journey and an absolute delight to hear.
Title track 'Some Nobody To Me'
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of hittin’ the road with The Graveltones on a support tour with Rival Sons - yeah, mind blown right? Well, on top of that here I am in ‘Laynes’ - a coffee shop in Leeds which drummer and coffee connoisseur Mikey Sorbello introduced us to earlier.
All tour I have been talking with Mikey and Miley about gettin’ together and talkin’ drums, but, on the road is a crazy place and here on my last date of the tour I was beginning to think it may not happen. However, all was not lost when I get the call from Talita (RS PR) letting me know that they were in ‘Laynes’ with Miley and asking if it was possible to go now?. Grabbing the bull by the horns I hauled ass outta the hotel, grabbing Mikey on the way out as we walk down to the interview….
We walk in, and Miley, Robin Everhart and Talita were already enjoying the delicacies & chatting. As we joined them and got comfy - Miley was talking about his recent interview with Modern Drummer Magazine. Seeing as this was a drum chat, without saying anything I switch the Dictaphone on.
Miley continues… “And it kinda opened up this whole thing on Brazilian drumming, talking about Brazilian rhythm and how I went to Brazil and studied with Brazilians. I used to teach this Samba band. I went into this whole Brazil route, so it was like being asked intricate things, like what I do musically - 98% of people aren’t listening for ghost notes, the style of ghost notes that you’re playing. There’s like funk ghost notes, there’s rock ghost notes. There’s like nineties…I call ‘em nineties ghost notes…”
Mikey asked with intrigue and a smile “How does a nineties ghost note go?”
“Where you do like a double stroke roll on the high hat and the snare” Miley tells Mikey (he goes on to sound out the beat) as Mikey laughs and nods “yeah, yeah” Miley continues “That probably comes from the 70’s anyway, guys like Matt Cameron. Those dudes they really made that shit, anyway (he looks toward us) I was talking about the Modern Drummer interview and explaining it was nice to be asked specific questions about what you do. Somebody was like ‘Man, that shit you do on the toms, bending the pitches, did you listen to Art Blakey?’ And I was like ‘Fuck yeah! I listen to Art Blakey!’ You’re talking about your real influences. Of course we’ve all listened to Keith Moon and fuckin’ Tommy Lee or whatever. Let’s talk about Elvin Jones, let’s talk about Tony Williams, man.”
Now, anyone who went to the shows on this tour or who has watched the videos will be well aware of how much Miley has supported Mikey on this tour, but not only supported but admired, and to watch this has been pretty cool so I had to ask them - So, you guys have got quite the bromance going on I’ve noticed?
Miley looks at me “Is this going?”
Yep, it’s been going a while, I’ve been watching you guys on tour, and you are giving each other a tip of the hat every night during each of your sets, watching each other play… So what’s going on there? You guys have got so much admiration for each other.
Miley tells me “I think it’s rare, I was telling you guys before - it’s like a drummer after your own heart. We see drummers, we play, we do gigs, we do tours, you appreciate the other guys that are on the tour or whatever, but it’s seldom you’re on tour with somebody you would admire, or that you wanna bring up like a little brother like Mikey you know…”
Mikey laughs and is looking somewhat bashful.
Miley continues “My whole thing with drumming has always been from the gut. Visceral, you know it’s cliché to say animalistic or primal but drumming is. It’s a very primal thing and I try and tap into that, when I watch Mikey I feel like it’s 100% that…” He says with a massive smile as he starts to laugh, as do we all.
I laugh, yeah, I definitely do - The first time I saw Mikey play was at The Garage at Highbury Islington last year, they were supporting Stonerider and I just stood there hands on head - I’m a drummer too, I haven’t played for years but I know drumming when I see it, and man it was just...so powerful. (I turn to Mikey) Tell us about you; tell us about the styles that you use and what gives you that edge…
Mikey replies “Well I don’t know, it’s an interesting thing, I was a very weird kid, I was listening to acid jazz and weird stuff when I was 12. Bands like Nirvana and rock music - stuff like that, I always just shrugged off. My sisters were listening to it and I was just ‘I don’t get it, ah, I don’t get it’ and then I’d put on some of my favourite Australian, abstract acid jazz and for some reason I just really liked that and I continued on that path. When I was 15 I started playing congas in an Elvis show.”
Miley interjects “In a what show?”
“In an Elvis show” Mikey says as they both laugh “I had sideburns when I was 15, hella sideburns…” Miley erupts with laughter and Mikey continues “So people were like ‘Dude what’s with the Elvis kid, with the sideburns on congas?’…. So that’s kinda where I started playing professionally, and although playing congas never really ended up being my thing, I always remember the rhythms, I had a really nice Jamaican fellow show me the way around congas. So it kind of got the hands on, what I really liked about that was making your hands bleed and really getting your hands on the drums and manipulating sounds that way.”
There are so many different techniques aren’t there, with congas you can use the side of your hand, the tips of your fingers, your palm; it is very much about how you make use of your hands.
Mikey agrees “Yeah, yeah” Miley adds “Mute tones, open tones, palm tones, centre of the drum, and edge of the drum…”
Mikey continues “He was a dude, and from then I was always playing kit and one day I decided to kinda get a little bit more… I think playing with Jimmy has adapted my style a bit. I’ve always been a loud hitter and then I don’t know what happened. The first gig something tweaked and changed it was really weird.”
So how did you come up with…I’ve seen, you’ll like play and you get the stick and you kind of put the tip pointing down on the drum skin and move your hand rapidly down the stick to kinda….
“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuummmm” he laughs as he does the action and describes the sound.
I laugh so yeah, how did you discover that technique?”
Miley says “The Cuica technique” as he goes to demonstrate – Mikey points “Ah there it is, exactly like that, what’s it called?”
“The Cuica” Miley says “It’s Brazilian Cuica, It’s a wooden stick that is like stuck to the head underneath the drum, you wet a towel so you get some vibration, some…lubrication and move it up and down the wooden stick and it goes woo ooo woo ooo and then you bend the pitch and go woo, woo and it makes like a…” Mikey jumps in “a monkey sound…”
Miley continues “We were talking about Brazilian drumming… oh WAIT! That was on tape earlier.” We laugh and I agree. He continues “It’s my first love, I love Brazilian, when I was in college I was in a Samba band at school and when I first saw the whole carnival experience, have you ever seen it? When you see it in person like 50 to 100 drummers playing, I was in a marching band in high school and that shit’s boring compared to this. A Brazilian marching band is like Samba, uh, 1/54 on the metronome is like a really fast Samba, 1/48 is a little bit slower.
Mikey laughs and says with enthusiasm “YES! Wow, that’s so rad…” Miley continues “So back to Cuica… So you do your thing (demonstrates placing the stick tip down on the drum) Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvrrrrrrrrr it’s more of a vibrational, like a stick on a floor tom or whatever…”
Mikey replies “Yep that’s exactly what it is, there’s somethin’; I had a drum teacher in school and he was Canadian and he was a dude, he was perhaps 60 – 65 when I was in school. He played with Sammy Davis, he had some cool gigs. Supported Buddy Rich and stuff in the day, he showed me that trick actually and I remember when he’d do it, and he’d grab his hand at the top of the stick and go rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (as he glides his hand down) and then slap the stick into a rim shot, so he’d go Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap, Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap, He was the radest.”
“He had some great ideas, and he really encouraged me at school, so instead of taking one lesson off for like a drum lesson, he’d be like, ‘oh yeah, no no no, you stick around and help me with the uh, the other class’” He laughs “It was being in school, and when I look at American schools and marching bands, it’s like a culture…and that’s one thing I missed out on.”
Miley says “Me too, I missed out on it too. I did it for two football seasons in high school, I played football the first two years but then quit football to be a band geek, because when footballers saw band geeks over there, they steal the field at half time, there’s a stigma. I knew I wanted to be a drummer so when I sprained my ankle I was like ‘I’m gonna join the band’ and joined the jazz band, joined the marching band. It’s nerdy and dorky... It’s good to have the chops though.”
I imagine the technique that you learn in marching band is invaluable really.
“You can take it to the limit” Miley says “It’s good for showman stuff, a lot of that stuff is turned over, I never really learned that, I have probably like, one trick, I have a prayer… (Miley mimes throwing his stick in the air)...Sweet god.”
We all laugh and he continues “Showmanship is another reason why we might have a bromance. I love - I’ve always loved drummers who deliver what they’re doing, which to me is being a showman. It’s not about stick twirls and like Tommy Lee and wearing Speedos or something, but it kinda is, like when you see Tommy Lee or Terry Bozzio come out wearing Speedos and wrist bands, you’re like ‘Holy fuck this dude better be good.’” Mikey and I erupt with laughter “and then they come out and slay! I was never - no offence to anybody. I was never a Charlie Watts fan. I appreciated his groove, and that he laid simple grooves down for one of the greatest rock bands of all time. But when I was growing it up it was either Stones or Beatles. I was a Beatles guy, I was more into Ringo’s creative - he had more of a symphonic approach you know, where it’s not just like beats, beats, beats, it’s…”
Mikey jumps in “Melodies.” Miley continues “It’s melodies, and the fills actually have melodies to them (he starts tapping away) ‘Come Together’ is signature, the drumming on ‘Something in the way she moves’ is just like kick, snare, kick, snare, kick, snare, duh duh duh, doh doh doh, Psssshhhhh…. It’s like, they must have slowed it down, or I don’t know what they did but the delivery method is, to me it’s believability and my friend, my mentor growing up in my Long Beach days, Scott Devours, who is Roger Daltrey’s drummer now, he sat in with The Who on 6 dates in the U.S. – I really look up to him, when I got out of college he was the first drummer I saw who just like, pressed me up against a wall, punched me in the stomach, and erm, I think that feeling is a visceral gut feeling really, I got that the night when I watched him.” Miley points to Mikey beaming.
I remember, you came over and you were like “oooh I’ve just been in a fight” grabbing your stomach. Miley smiles “He just punched me in the stomach” We all laugh as Miley explains “You know when you get punched in the stomach and it’s just not pleasant. It’s that – believing. I wanna believe that any instrument - you know as a drummer I am biased, but I love when I see somebody really give it. When every cell in their body is like in that one hit, I’ve always tried to do that…”
Mikey adds quite passionately “Yeah!! Yeah damn straight you do… The first time I had that experience, I had a phone call, and a friend of mine was doing a thing. Anyway Donavon Frankenreiter came into town and Dean Butterworth was on drums, and Dean needed a drum kit for the night…”
Miley asked “Who was the artist?”
“Donavon Frankenreiter” Mikey answered “like a surfy kinda dude just after he was touring with Morrissey, then he came off and did this tour.”
“Is this after the Ben Harper days?” Miley asked with interest.
“I don’t know” Mikey pondered “oooh yeah, it is after the Ben Harper days - so I got a phone call. I was at work, from this guy, he was like ‘Man, I need a drum kit for tonight’ I was like ‘yeah sure man’ He was a good friend of mine so I didn’t really ask any questions and then I called him back as I was driving to the gig ‘I’m on my way to the gig, who’s the drum kit for?’ he was like ‘Oh for Dean Butterworth’ and I was like cool.
Miley interjects “I only got my CB700” Mikey laughs hysterically as Miley continues “With my Scimitar cymbals… ‘Fuck! I shoulda brought my Gretsch! My Ludwig!’”
Mikey composes himself “It was like that and seriously my drum kit was not very good at the time, it was just a small, a brought him a four piece, you know, whatever I just figured which at that time was a 10” and 14” Toms, when I look back at it now I think ‘what the hell’ If I tried to play a 10 and 14 I would be missing stuff, left right and centre. The bigger they are the better they are to hit, that show, it challenged me in a way that like the whole grabbing the bull by the horns. I was never brought up that way, I was never that person that took control of things, or played in a way like that and the way he just locked in and put on an amazing show, and played within his abilities so, so well, that’s one thing I have never really done, and something I need to work on is playing within’ my abilities more.
You’re so experimental with your stuff, you posted the other day “I am going to learn everything about drum”
Mikey smiles and replies “Yeah that’s the plan this year.”
As the interview continues I will have to save the rest for another time folks. Next time Mikey and Miley interview each other and discuss bass drum technique, timing, song writing within both bands and so much more.
Both bands are nominated for this years Classic Rock Awards, have your say here: http://awards.classicrockmagazine.com/
Little Brother Eli are all about the blues, and a whole lot more. There is many an influence to be heard here and I find Little Brother Eli both refreshing and invigorating. Instantly I am drawn in like a moth to a flame.
This EP meets us with 3 very different tracks that showcase this band brilliantly. The musicality that LBE display I find to be quite original. I can’t think of another band out there that sound quite like this. The first thing that strikes me about Little Brother Eli is their ability to tell a story. The lyrics in each track do just this and combined with the incredibly soulful, powerful vocals and musicianship LBE cannot go wrong.
‘Animal Fair’ the first track, is the song that got my attention with this band, but since hearing the EP it is actually my least favourite song. In my book, that sets the standard pretty high as it’s a great upbeat track with some fantastic musical punctuation, it’s something that LBE seem to feature heavily through their songs, as well as some delightful accents and tones that are always at just the right time.
The song that I really dig on this EP, ‘Awkward Positions’ saunters along with a sassy attitude that gently grabs you round the neck and pulls you closer. The guitar on this track is hauntingly seductive as it caresses you. Again the musical punctuation used here is so effective. For example, I love when the guitar stops and the drum beat plays as the lyrics continue “that’s all she thinks about, dressing up and dressing down, I heard she’s good on her knees...” as the vocals almost come to a subtle growl…. Delicious.
I gotta say though that Little Brother Eli have most definitely saved the best until last. ‘When She Sings’ is such a wonderful song that instantly makes you smile and the sun shine. I like the way the guitar notes are bent with a slightly dirty tone as the song swings into a gorgeous change of tempo. It is an uplifting song and definitely my song of the summer.
There seems to be no end to the talent of Little Brother Eli. I think that there is something incredibly special about these guys, I am just gutted that this EP is only 3 songs long. I am looking forward to hearing what LBE can cook up on a full length scale as I am sure it will be mesmerising. Until then, I will be headin’ to The Blues Kitchen in Camden to see what they have to offer live on the 9th July, I think you should do the same…. See ya down the front!!!
Imagine how I felt when this email dropped in to my inbox! I already had my ticket for their gig at The Roundhouse for June 24th and was experiencing uncontrollable levels of excitement… Then this…
JUNE 6, 2013
SPECIAL DANZIG 25th ANNIVERSARY LONDON SHOW ADDED
Just added. DANZIG 25th Anniversary with DOYLE to be Performing
Special Club Gig in London at the Garage on June 17th .
DANZIG had this to say:
"As a Thank You to all our London Fans, on this momentous DANZIG 25th Anniversary Tour, we will be doing a special club show at the Garage on Monday, June 17 for the measly sum of £6.66. While over the years DANZIG has occasionally played a Smaller Club Show for the Fans in LA and other cities in the US at an extremely low ticket price, I've never done one here in the UK. Lucky UK Fans will get to see DANZIG in a more personal setting and most assuredly have an Incredible Night to Remember."
As we went in we were told straight by the door staff that no pictures were allowed, including cell phones, even if I had taken a camera I would have forgotten to take any pictures. The only interruptions I had was a new drink handed to me.
There was no support band. Doors opened and in time the place filled up in this strange orderly manner almost like a tube commute. People came in and joined the crowd, they didn’t find a space to stand in and pose. This left room for all the other people coming in, in a common sense that is rarely found these days. Everyone was one, hyped up and saving their energy for the anticipated best night they’d have in a long time. I’d be shocked if anyone went away disappointed. Highly unlikely to be matched easily any time soon.
The techs did a little bit of torch work, last minute checks. Someone switched on a little touch of smoke machine. LIGHTS. THE BAND. All arms raised, a massive cheer went up, and we were SO ready… Enter Glenn and straight in to it, no messing about! In great voice he was rocking like a demon all the way through.
Crowd participation – Glenn let us choose the set, we voted on it, there was a democracy, and it was great. “Do you want to hear more from Danzig I or III?” People raised their arms holding their preferences high in the air. “Wait, wait, you all called at once” he said… “Danzig I?” ROAR… “Danzig III?” Some hearty cheering… First album won.
Crowd surfing, the audience jumped in unison, strangers danced with each other and capacity doubled as, raised above, all things not of this world happened, some outer body stuff, as people sang with their souls. Honestly it was an experience; people forgot mundane life for nearing 2 hours and got lost in their youth. As each second passed, only that moment mattered. I couldn’t help but cheer this one guy who, out of the blue did this amazing leap high in to the air like he was on springs, straight up and down, sheer adrenalin seriously about 7 foot in the air.
Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein appeared and The Misfits tracks came. He was shirtless, wearing white face paint, a leather collar with bolts and a superhero body. His sound was low, to be honest I couldn't really hear him, there were a couple of feedback moments, but when he came back on later, it was all sorted and the crowd appreciated the extra power.
Obviously I was looking forward to She Rides and Twist of Cain but enjoyed Glenn’s story about his little spell in Brixton Prison which resulted in his song London Dungeon which has got something that I just loved. I’m a sucker for a dirty bass line, tasty drum pattern and good quality punk.
“Are you, like me, sweating your balls off?” “Yeah” called back the low voices. “And girls you must be sweating your tits off eh… and if not, why the hell not?” Swoon! Oh he could have said anything through upturned microphone and we all would have gone along with it.
It was so hot, in every sense of the word, so use your imagination, but as the band, particularly Glenn, reached for another bottle of water, a swig would be taken and a glance out at the rammed crowd provoked either their own, or a new bottle launched out to the smouldering audience.
Anyone there on Monday night will never forget the feeling. Each person will have their own particular favourite track, and probably for all manner of good time memories linked, but the crowd calling for an encore was of the like I’ve never seen before.
The set finished, the guys walked off, everyone knew they’d be back, they knew they were just using calories, but what they didn’t know was the reaction they were about to get. “We are 138, we are 138, We Arrrrrrrrre 138” repeated over and over again getting louder and louder every time ‘til the whole audience sang in unison calling them back.
They walked back on one at a time, staring out in amazement at this bunch of nutters who would stay showing their love, singing with each other all night if they could. Glenn announced they had a new song that no one would know. Out rang the note and they stared to see if anyone knew what was going to happen. There were a lot of shoulders gripped, wide eyes and exhilarated cheers, again the note rang out, they were teasing us… What if it wasn’t? What if we had guessed wrong? Third time followed by the next 2 notes and we knew…. We were getting Mother! The place went mental, everyone sang, punched the air, jumped about and just freaked.
Okay, so they left again, we weren’t sure if it was all done, but, as before, the crowd sang “We are 138”, the techs checked the stage with their torches, people crept from backstage to record on their phones the reaction. A topless man was lifted up by the crowd he then conducted the audience in their singing. The band were off teaching the guitarist the chords to the Misfits number and out they marched and knocked us all bandy with ‘We Are 138’.
Everyone was spent, the band and the crowd. The cheers, raised drinks, clenched fists and applause continued on and on, for enough time for them to go off, come back, chuck out a few guitar pics, get a shot each, raise a drink to us all and knock them back.
At the end of the night people finally shuffled out in to the street really slowly. It was like a scene after some kind of disaster, people were sitting down on the pavement, a thousand cigarettes were sparked and people just looked at each other with that ‘Did that just happen?’ look and in return the wide eyed nod back. The traffic stopped as people just stood in the road, we were invincible, we were young, we were spaced out and shaking, we were fucking ALIVE! Magnificent!
Bloody hell! It was absolutely mesmerising: hot, sweaty, full on absolute wonderment. I completely LOVED EVERY SECOND! I cannot wait for the Roundhouse gig. If they are coming your way, check the link below to see if they’ve added any extra dates. You will thank yourself for listening.
DANZIG have decided to ensure that loyal fans are getting the first opportunity to buy tickets!!!! For these shows, tickets will be offered before they go on sale to the general public. Tickets will have reduced service charges compared to the usual ticket outlets. Pre-sales for the following shows are available here.
I didn’t know I was reviewing this gig, so I didn’t make a note of setlist order and as the band let us make it up as we went along, their actual setlist is of no use anyway. Here are the songs they played in no particular order and with thanks to my friends who helped me remember (plus some I don’t remember at all)
Okay the definite ones are:
Danzig 1988 album - Twist of Cain, Mother, She Rides, Am I Demon and Not of This World.
Danzig II: Lucifuge – Her Black Wings and Long Way Back From Hell.
Danzig III: How the Gods Kill – Dirty Black Summer.
And of course when Doyle was on stage:
The Misfits – Skulls, Vampira, Death Comes Ripping, Last Caress, London Dungeon, Astro Zombies, Die Die My Darling and We Are 138.
The ones that are more vague/ I don’t remember are
Bringer of Death, Do you Wear the Mark and I turned in to a Martian.
This amnesia comes from listening to too much music, drinking and I forget what else!
If you don’t know who Danzig are, then you should really treat yourself and find out, you’ve got 25 years to catch up on.
The band are:
Tommy Victor guitarist (Prong)
Johnny Kelly drummer (Type O Negative)
Steve Zing bass (Samhain)
Voodoo Six at The Garage, Highbury, North London. 09/05/2013
Thursday night of a four day week (thanks to the Bank Holiday) and we gather at The Garage, Highbury, North London to watch Voodoo Six play the last of their UK gigs before heading off on the summer road, supporting IRON MAIDEN around Europe.
Support from Fighting Wolves, (https://www.facebook.com/fightingwolves ) a London based rock band. I’d heard their track ‘One Minute More’ on the radio and it had grabbed me straight away, so I was glad to get to see them live.
The second support was from New City Kings (https://www.facebook.com/newcitykingsofficial?fref=ts) formerly the Suburbians, a four piece from Brentwood, Essex, this was their first gig under the new name. I have to say I was impressed by the bass lines and the frontman’s drum duet/duel.
VOODOO SIX take to the stage, no messing about, straight in to Like the Others Did from their album ‘Fluke?’ The performance is powerful full of energy, exactly what you want from a rock gig…seized by the first chord and held in its clutches for the next hour and a half.
I don’t really like making comparisons or indicating that a band sounds like another, but the influences, grooves and all round feel of this band spans so many styles, even genres in such a marvellous way it’s hard not to express similarities when trying to explain how good what you’re hearing is. Let’s just say if you like Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters, Clutch, Thin Lizzy, Hendrix, G’n’R and I even thought of Dire Straits at moments, you’ll probably like Voodoo Six. They have aspects of Blues, Classic Rock, Funk, Metal and some almost Prog intros. Honestly, I really enjoyed every minute, as did the rest of the crowd. True musicianship.
Each member is quality, there’s no other word. Voodoo Six are Tony Newton – Bass. Luke Purdie –Vocals. Matt Pearce – Guitar. Chris Jones – Guitar. Joe Lazarus –Drums.
Without showboating there is plenty of performance and the band absolutely interact with the audience throughout. I don’t know if they make a point of playing to and getting eye contact with every member of the crowd, but it certainly feels like it.
After the first number Luke Purdie welcomed everyone and announced “We’re here to have a good night” and bosh, straight in to No Friend (Feed My Soul) pounding with great rhythm an almost ‘Foxy’ riff, naughty little drum fills and a dragging swoop. As with all the tracks, the bass is charging and the vocals are strong.
I could quite easily write about every song, but I don’t have enough adjectives.
The guys played numbers spanning 3 albums. No Friend from ‘Feed My Soul’ 2006. Tracks from ‘Fluke?’ 2010 included Long Way From Home, Like the Others Did, Take Aim, Something for You, Take The Blame and then encored with Live Again. The rest of the gig we were treated to 9 new songs from the 11 track album ‘Songs To Invade Countries To’ 2013 with Waiting in Line, Falling Knives, Your Way, All That Glitters, Lead Me On, Sharp Sand, You Don’t Know, Sink Or Swim and Stop.
Basically, to keep me happy when listening to music I want to hear key changes, travelling bass lines section changes that catch you off guard just a little bit, scale drops, time breaks. I want building to crescendos, time changes and bringing the groove back down again. I want it to cut out with a pause that makes you want more. I want guitar fills, wailing and intricate work on the fretboard. I want to hear all the notes you’ve got in a clever order that makes me think wah! I want vocals that say “Here I am and this is what I’m saying”. Strong and assertive, I want to hear heartbreak, passion, love, friendship, anger and conviction in tones which are complimented by the melody. I want to see the band are enjoying it and that they’re playing off each other, accompanying one another and those special glinted eyes when they pass on stage. If you share my demands on any of these criteria then I’d recommend checking Voodoo Six live. I didn’t go home disappointed on Thursday night.
The Garage audience participation that night saw many pointed fingers during Take Aim over the sinister bass, wailing tickling magic of guitars alongside meaty riffs running scale ranges, hi-hat and tom work.
Sink or Swim’s driving rhythm was clapped in by the crowd, guitars wept and the audience rocked.
There was some call and response which (a bit like a Mexican Wave) I think everyone likes to be involved in sometimes?! AND on 2 occasions I Wooed out loud!! They were proper woos as well, some of Matt Pearce’s guitar work had an especially bluesy soulful kind of magic and I couldn’t help myself.
The most brilliant thing was how well they worked together. Tony Newton could smile for Britain whilst knocking out some mischievous solid, almost bouncy bass lines. The way Matt Pearce and Chris Jones don’t stick to ‘rhythm’ or ‘lead’ guitar roles really adds to the dynamic and you find yourself watching both sides of the stage at different times, marvelling at what each of them are up to. I was impressed at Joe Lazarus’ tom and cymbal work on the drums and loved how Luke Purdie made his way over to the kit regularly to feel the power and then back to the mic to belt out some more no nonsense vocals, sometimes accompanied by Matt on backing vocals. There were no dud performances. Each song was delivered with ultimate passion. Fantastic!
Reluctant to let the night end, the crowd called out for more and the Voodoo Six chaps provided an encore of Live Again and we were lead to a marching, driving, rocking end. Everyone was clapping and cheering and graciously they thanked the crowd and left the stage…. Watch out Europe you lucky, lucky people!
All the best to this great band. (See below for tour dates and album release information)
Setlist for The Garage 9/5/13
Like The Others Did
No Friend Of Mine
Take The Blame
Lead Me On
Sink Or Swim
Something For You
You Don't Know
All That Glitters
Waiting In Line
Long Way From Home
Encore: Live Again
The guys are on great form and more than ready to embark on a working holiday with Eddie. The tour kicks off on 27th May in Bilbao BEC, Spain. This date also sees the worldwide release of their new album ‘Songs to Invade Countries To’ (Spinefarm Records 2013) via Universal Music. Download the double A side single Your Way/ Sink or Swim here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/your-way-single/id641384250
“'Songs To Invade Countries To' will consist of 11 tracks mixed by Tony Newton & Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness, Enter Shikari, Therapy?) and mastered by Ade Emsley (Iron Maiden, Steve Harris).”
You can pre-order the new album from Amazon. Released 27th May 2013 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-To-Invade-Countries/dp/B00CG6G99M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367517410&sr=8-1&keywords=voodoo+six
Get the V6 mobile App here - BANDAPP.COM/VOODOOSIX
If you’re going to see Iron Maiden in the next few months, start the night right with Voodoo Six, they’ll get you in the mood for sure. These dates include Sonisphere Spain (Barcelona and Madrid), Sonisphere Italy, Sonisphere France, Graspop Metal Meeting (Belgium) and Download UK.
“This is a huge deal for us and an amazing opportunity to support arguably the most iconic band in metal history. We came up with the album title ‘Songs To Invade Countries To’ ages ago since we’ve been wanting to get our music across to European shores for a long time - but it’s been made a reality now that we’ve been chosen to support Iron Maiden on these dates. It’s going to be a very exciting year!” Luke Purdie
Tickets Here - http://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/voodoo-six-tickets
'Songs To Invade Countries To' Track-listing:
1. Falling Knives
2. All That Glitters
3. Lead Me On
4. Sink Or Swim
5. You Don’t Know
6. Your Way
7. Sharp Sand
9. Brick Wall
10. Waiting In Line
11. Higher Ground
Full list of Tour Dates:
Thu 9 UK, London The Garage
Mon 27 SPA, Bilbao BEC (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 29 POR, Lisbon Atlantico Pavilion (w/Iron Maiden)
Fri 31 SPA, Madrid Sonisphere
Sat 1 SPA, Barcelona Sonisphere
Thu 5 FRA, Paris Bercy (w/Iron Maiden)
Sat 8 ITA, Milan Fiera Open Air Arena Sonisphere
Sun 9 FRA, Amneville Snowparc Sonisphere
Tue 11 GER, Frankfurt Festhalle (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 12 GER, Frankfurt Festhalle (w/Iron Maiden)
Sat 15 ENG, Donington Park Download
Tue 18 GER, Berlin 02 World (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 19 GER, Hamburg 02 Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Fri 21 AUT, Graz Schwarzl Seerock
Sat 22 SWI, Zurich Hallenstadion (w/Iron Maiden)
Tue 25 HOL, Amsterdam Ziggo Dome (w/Iron Maiden)
Thu 27 SLO, Bratislava TopFest
Sat 29 GER, Singen-Aach Open Air Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Sun 30 BEL, Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting
Wed 3 POL, Lodz Atlas Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Thu 4 POL, Gdansk Ergo Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Sat 6 GER, Oberhausen Open Air Ko-Pi-Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 10 SWE, Malmo Stadium (w/Iron Maiden)
Sat 13 SWE, Stockholm Friends Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 24 ROM, Plata Constitutiei (w/Iron Maiden)
Fri 26 TUR, BJK Inonu Stadium (w/Iron Maiden)
Mon 29 CZE, Synot Tip Arena (w/Iron Maiden)
Wed 31 CRO, Zagreb (w/Iron Maiden)
On first listening to Ulysses on the Rival Sons tour last year – I thought they had groove but I wasn’t entirely sure that they were my thing. I guess that I wasn’t sure of what I was hearing. Was it pop? Was it rock? Was it psych? I think the answer to that is it was all of those things.
Ulysses, for me, would appear to be a big melting pot that has taken some of the best aspects of psychedelic pop/rock and fused them all together into an eclectic showcase of an album and right on!! It’s a joy to listen to.
I’ve had ‘Kill You Again’ on constantly of late and the reason for that is it is such an intricate album. There are so many influences, tones, accents and harmonies apparent here you can tell that some real thought has gone into the structure of these songs. Sure, some of them may not sound as raw as I would like in a band, and maybe a little too considered but each aspect highlights a little more of the track, shines a bit of extra light here and there, and really opens your ears to some different sounds and some great aspects of music. I know you won’t all agree and that’s cool.
The first track that really grabs me is ‘Strays’ the third track on the album. Shane’s rhythm hooks me with a kinda variation of a Calypso/Reggae beat. Once the first verse hits, the guitars spiral off into a very psychedelic journey for a few seconds as it comes back to a chorus of delicious harmonies and vocal tones. This song, along with ‘Mrs Drawnel’, to my ears have a very Sgt Pepper feel about them – infact you could say that about quite a few tracks on this record. Tom and Luke have got some brilliantly written and bold riffs throughout. Not always feeling the need for shredding solos each note has purpose.
The next track and title track from the album ‘Kill You Again’ is a more bass and rhythm section driven song with a slightly darker tone. However I am not sure if Luke and the guys have noticed but the rhythm of the lyrics on the second part of the verse of this song sounds quite similar to Katy Perry’s ‘I kissed a girl’ – Just something I noticed ;). Something I really appreciate in Ulysses is that during this track they seem to pull all resources as they trail into an instrumental jamming journey, with spectacular rhythm changes, explosions, maracas? Gunfire.... It’s a little crazy – and I like it.
I think without a doubt my favourite track is ‘French Japanese’. No matter how many times I listen to the album – this is the track that gets me... it heads into a very slow, sassy and more bluesy feel during the verse, which is definitely where my comfort zone is. Very sexy indeed. However like most Ulysses tracks as you get settled in they like to throw a little curve ball in there which changes the pace and always for the better and more interesting. Lots of little hooks to look forward to!
Is it possible that the boys from Ulysses although written off instantly by some, are in fact experimental music geniuses?? If you listened to that question and thought “Woah, that’s a bit bold” then I wouldn’t blame you. However I would ask you this – have you actually listened to the album? Well, I can tell you at least, that while Ulysses may intimidate most as they can’t really be thrown into a box like most bands, they do have an appeal all of their own and I like that.
I have had this on repeat for 4 days now and each day my favourite track changes as each time I hear something new amongst the very cleverly structured and written songs. It’s true that I think Ulysses are very different to my usual taste but they are a different band, a different machine and should be accepted as such. They are an absolute ray of light to listen to. Please don’t just put them on once and think “it’s not for me” put it on a few times and listen to the musicianship that has gone into creating this very psychedelic musical journey. Enjoy!
They’re no ‘Victims of success’.
The original bluesy glam rock ‘n’ rollers - The Dogs D’amour - are back in all their glory, not ‘Back on the Juice’ as one of their songs once told but back on tour and in the studio some twenty years on.
The Dogs D’Amour are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them – and if you hate them it’s probably because you haven’t taken the time to listen to their albums, possibly because you once judged them on their slightly camp name. The ‘Dads D’Amour’ as a friend of mine recently joked they must now be called in middle age, are arguably living legends of British rock history, and here’s why…
Back in the ‘80s we saw The Dogs D’Amour play live at London’s Marquee, spent weekends at record fairs collecting their vinyl and copying the artwork (just one of the reasons I failed A Level Art.) And now, thirty years since they began and over twenty years after they last played live, I found myself in London’s Borderline, at a reunion gig and damn it was a good night, quite unlike any other in so many ways.
What sets them apart
The Dogs D’Amour have come a long way in 30 years, from the time when Punk met Glam head-on after The New York Dolls had made way for Hanoi Rocks. A ‘guyliner’-wearing kick against the harshness of pure Punk and a wild and sexy alternative to the very tame New Romantics of the time. It was Blues meets Punk meets Rock - gloriously sleazy in its sound.
They were a central part of the 80s glam punk scene, with bluesy overtones and notable influences of the Rolling Stones and The Faces and yet a sound and a style all their own, with references in their lyrics to 60s and 70s comedy icons including Tony Hancock and Monty Python, and literary giants Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs. Theirs was a romantic and poetic lyrical style, quite unlike similar bands around at the time. They reached a certain amount of commercial success in their day, reaching no. 26 in the charts with Satellite Kid in 1989. Hell, they were on Top of the Pops!
In Wait Till I’m Dead, a song about Tony Hancock featuring the lyrics:
“Wait till I’m dead, and you will see, what all the fuss was about,
Wait till I’m dead, and you will see, what all the shouting’s about…”
The song goes on: “1968…” (the year Hancock committed suicide) and has an eery audio clip of his voice on the end, urging listeners to “Go on, buy the record, don’t mess about!” Like the best music, it does much more than entertain, it makes you think.
Indeed another layer to their cultural depth is the accomplished album artwork of lead singer Tyla, with its stylised caricatures of the band. No one could write them off as just another 80s rock band, there was always so much more to them, and there still is.
The rock n roll fundraiser – Cancer is a Cant
Lead singer, Tyla stepped away from his solo career to put the most famous line-up of Steve James, Jo and Bam back together, to raise funds for old friend Paul Hornby, the band’s former drummer, notably once compared to Keith Moon. Hornby played drums on the album The State We’re In and is now fighting stage 4 colorectal cancer… in some style, it has to be said. Dressed in a smart suit, bandana and hat, with his usual pirate style earrings and now a walking stick too, Hornby was there in the audience with his beautiful wife Catheryn, having flown over from their home in LA just days before.
I had got to know Paul through the rock ‘n roll radio show The Dark Heart of Camden and got in touch with him as I wanted to help raise awareness of the Cancer is a Cant fundraiser. He told me of how supportive his old friends had been and came over for the reunion.
The live show - The Borderline, London Fri 22nd Feb 2013
At their first live show of the latest tour the music was as gloriously high-energy as ever with all the old favourites including the wild and upbeat Last Bandit and the slower ballad of the Bullet Proof Poet plus a handful of new tracks including the memorable Flameboy. Tyla's thought-provoking lyrics and sexy ‘gravel on velvet’ voice was just like the old days.
Die-hard fans had flown in from all over the world to be there. I have never been to a gig where every person there knew every word of every song played – even the new ones. And what an atmosphere of community there was with founding members of fan clubs meeting up with like-minded online acquaintances for the first time. This was a long awaited reunion and the atmosphere was electric.
The set list also included: Last Bandit, Firework Girl, The Kid From Kensington and Wait Until I'm Dead and, of course, How Come It Never Rains.
The Dogs D’Amour are certainly not the Victims of Success they once sang about. Fans, old and new, are now looking forward to More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace with rumours of a new album and further touring a closely guarded secret. Watch this space… For more on the Dogs D’Amour please go to: https://www.facebook.com/thedogsdamour
Live show rating: 4/5
Interview response from lead singer: 0/5
The Kid From Kensington
Wait Until I'm Dead
Everything I Want
Billy Two Rivers
Bullet Proof Poet
Victims of Success
Trail of Tears
How Come It Never Rains
Drunk Like Me
Ballad of Jack
No Gypsy Blood
What You Do
I Don't Want You to Go
Please read more of Kate's writing at http://katethompson.webs.com/music
All articles are © Michelle Nevill