I was lucky enough to catch up with rock’s hot new band, Stone Broken, before their set on the last day of Planet Rock’s Winter’s End Festival. Read on to find out what they think of Black Stone Cherry, their fans and their incredible journey so far.
Picture courtesy of Chris White, Dirty Rock Photography
Queen of Rock: We can’t pick up a magazine or turn on the radio these days without hearing about Stone Broken! How have you suddenly taken the music world by storm?
Rich: Well, we’ve been a band for about four years but in January 2016 we released our debut album, ‘All In Time‘. About three months before that we released our first single from it and it took off from there. Planet Rock have grabbed every single that we’ve had and they’ve run with it, it’s been phenomenal and that’s been one of the major players in the rise of us, really. That’s then led on to other things and we got booked for bigger shows and festivals, so it’s been very organic. We haven’t got a massive PR company behind us; we went in to it with the hope that someone might pick it up.
Chris: We were hoping that word of mouth would do it.
QoR: Well, you’ve done that alright! People are certainly talking about you. You mentioned festivals … any festival appearances that you’re allowed to talk about?
Rich: We’ve been confirmed for Download and we’re doing Steelhouse Festival. We’re also doing a couple of newer ones. We’re doing Summer in the City, which we’re headlining and also Subterranean Festival in Cambridge. We’re also doing Camden Rocks, but that’s all we can talk about. There are a few others that are in the pipeline and on the way, so do keep an eye out for those (NOTE: Since the interview took place, they have also been confirmed for Ramblin’ Man, Helsfest and Warton Festivals).
QoR – Well, that will do to start with! Have you been here at Winter’s End all weekend?
Rich: We just got off tour with Glenn Hughes and we drove from the Netherlands directly to here on Friday. We got in fairly late, but we caught most of Toseland and a little bit of Bernie [Marsden] as well. We’ve been trying to catch as many bands, but we came here to speak to fans and we just love talking!
QoR: I’ve seen lots of fan pics up on twitter, you seem really amenable to fans doing selfies.
Rich: At the end of the day, the fans are the people that help grow the band; if you didn’t have any fans, you wouldn’t be able to do any of this. We try and give back as much as we can and it’s nothing to go and speak to people, it doesn’t cost us anything. We get a lot of people say, “Thank you for letting us come up and have a chat with you, it’s been a great fifteen minutes” and I’m thinking to myself well no, we appreciate it. We love speaking to the fans and it’s a two-way street.
QoR: That’s good to hear because a lot of bands don’t think like that. You said you’ve been touring with Glenn Hughes, which is massive. What was that like?
All: It was amazing, yeah.
Kieron: He nicknamed us ‘kids’.
Chris: We called him Papa Glenn, although it changed to Uncle Glenn.
Rich: As soon as we walked into the first show – it was Newcastle – and we had just loaded our gear into the venue and they were sound checking. He just turns around and he says, “Hi kids.” We all just waved, you know! He just said, glad to have you on board and that kind of set the tone for the whole tour. He gave us a few pearls of wisdom and he’s a human being … he’s a legendary human being, but a human being and backstage you get to see that side of him. There was emotional times because of things that had happened and there was some awesome times when he was just on point and had an amazing show. Every show was amazing, but sometimes you could just feel the energy when he came off stage. The one thing that he said a lot was music is the healer and love is the answer; he actually put that into his performance and it was brilliant. It’s given us the knowledge and the tools to go and do more things like that – it was a masterclass of how to tour, going on the road with those guys and they looked after us.
Robyn: We all got on like a house on fire, didn’t we? Then there was the crew and everybody else, we just all had a great time.
Chris: You [was] having drum battles with Glenn’s drummer!
Robyn: Yeah! He was like, “You get on my kit and I’ll get on yours.” This lanky giant just sat behind my kit and was going for it! It was awesome, just crazy.
Rich: They would ask us for favours, like tools or spare guitar strings and vice versa. I had an issue with the neck on my guitar and their guitar tech just fixed it up. It was great.
Robyn live at Winter’s End Fest, courtesy of Chris White, Dirty Rock Photography
QoR: You couldn’t ask for a better experience, by the sounds of it! You’ve had an EP and album out, is there any new stuff in the pipeline?
Rich: We’ve got another show with Black Star Riders and after that we’re locking ourselves out from the world and we’re nailing down the next album. We’ve been road testing a few songs on the tour and they’ve gone down great, so that’s encouraging. We’re probably at our creative peak at the moment; we’ve done six solid weeks of pure music, so we’re going to get back and harvest that creativity and create the new album.
QoR: What would be your favourite Stone Broken song to play live?
Robyn: ‘Not Your Enemy’.
Chris: Yeah, ‘Not Your Enemy’ for me.
Rich: Okay, I’ll go for a different one … I would say ‘Wait For You’ just because, especially at our own shows, I don’t have to sing the chorus – the audience just take over.
QoR: If you had to pick one or two tracks to introduce a new fan to your music, which would you pick?
Kieron: ‘Wait For You’ and ‘Not Your Enemy’.
Robyn: ‘Not your Enemy’ is right in your face; it’s what we’re all about.
Rich: It’s the first track on the album and there’s a reason we chose it. It’s got a bit of everything.
QoR: Do you prefer playing live to being in the studio?
Rich: I do, I love playing live because you just get the buzz off of the audience, especially when they’re hyped up; it’s like an adrenaline shot.
Kieron: Especially when you’re on tour, because you get to do it every night.
Robyn: We’ve had two days off here and already we want to get back on stage, we can’t wait.
Rich: So glad that we’re playing tonight! Also, on the other side of that, I love seeing the record come together and in the studio, it’s the only place that you can actually see it all come together.
Chris: It’s completely different when you’re making a record, you get to try out new ideas. Live, you have one take and if it doesn’t work, you don’t do it in the next show!
Rich: To summarise that, I think we just love being in a band … we love every part of it.
QoR: What inspires you when you’re writing?
Rich: For me personally, its life, that’s the inspiration. Everyone’s life is different which is why you get different bands, they’ve all had their own experiences. I get inspired by listening to different kinds of music as well. Lyrically, I’m inspired by different situations that I’ve either been in or that you can see happening elsewhere. Even if you just want to get a message across; we’ve got a song called ‘Better’ and that’s all about being positive and just don’t let anything hold you back. ‘This Life’ is again just about going out there and doing what you love doing. I just draw on feelings, emotions and life.
QoR: You were runners-up in the Planet Rock awards for Best New Band last year, sum up for us how that made you feel.
Chris: Shocked! We knew we were being put forward, but we just thought we would be towards the back, but coming second …
Rich: At first, we didn’t know that we were being nominated, so that was a shock in itself. We put a few posts out to our fans saying that we had been nominated and – we have the best fans in the world – they just jumped on it, sharing it and that. We all got up to listen to the results and they announced the third band and we thought we hadn’t got anything. When they said the runner-up was Stone Broken …
Robyn: We couldn’t believe it.
Rich: It was such a mix of emotions, like ecstatic, surprised, shocked.
Kieron: We still see ourselves as a small band, so for us to have that type of impact is mind-blowing.
Rich: We’ve had a lot of guys saying how good the exposure has been, but we haven’t caught up with it because we’re just doing it, but we’re landing bigger and better shows, so we know something is happening! Sometimes I do say to the guys to cast their minds back twelve months ago; did you think that we would be here having breakfast with Paul Anthony? It’s mad and it’s crazy, but we love it.
QoR: What has been the highlight of the Stone Broken journey so far?
Kieron: Touring Europe, that was definitely a big highlight for me.
Chris: Listening to your song on the radio without expecting it.
Rich: When you get put on to a lot of the unsigned shows, they tell you [when] you’re going to be played. I was at work and I had a message come through telling me we’d just been played on Planet Rock and then more messages came through and I was like, ‘Oh my God’. It’s one thing having your songs played on the radio and you’re aware of it, it’s another thing to have it just come on when you’re not expecting it.
Robyn: the highlight for me is I’ve basically become friends with John Fred Young from Black Stone Cherry, well we all have, to be fair. We played Ramblin’ Man last year and we met him, thanks to Paul Anthony and we met up with them again at Rockstock. I was literally stood right next to John Fred on stage and he was talking to me all through the set. It was just amazing.
Rich: They’re the most down to earth, humble guys. They’re an inspiration to us because they’re probably the band that we’ve been able to get closest to at that level. You just get so many different experiences, that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t in a band, so the highlight is just being able to do it.
QoR: So, what’s next?
Robyn: Writing the new album and then hitting festival season.
Rich: We’ve got some things for the back-end of the year which aren’t finalised yet.
Chris: It’s just keeping the foot on the pedal and going forward.
QoR: What would be your ultimate, though? If you had the chance to do anything or play with anyone, or go anywhere, what would it be?
Chris: I think it’s the States, getting over to America.
Robyn: Getting on the Carnival of Madness tour.
Rich: That would be awesome, I mean even just to play a few of the festivals over there.
Robyn: As a band, you want to play everywhere; you don’t want to leave anywhere out and you just want to go and travel the whole world and see everything.
Rich: You know what, we just want to play shows.
Chris, Rich, Me, Robyn and Kieron at Winter’s End Festival, Feb 2017
Catch the official ‘All In Time’ album commentary video here
Thanks to Peter Keevil of TMR Band Management and also to tour manager Fliss.