Tag Archives: Stampede Press

Review – Matt Mitchell and The Coldhearts

MM&TC album cover

Well, it’s always better late than never and although I’m a somewhat tardy arrival to this particular party, this album has been on repeat ever since I received it.

You may know British singer and guitar player Matt Mitchell’s name from the ashes of bands such as Pride, Furyon and Colour of Noise; this solo project is the latest weapon in Matt’s armory to continue a steady trajectory to the rock and roll hall of fame. Due out at the end of this month, the eponymously titled debut has had an army of support from the likes of Planet Rock, who took ‘Black Diamonds‘ to their hearts for their ‘A’ playlist on heavy rotation.

That song is the first of twelve on the album and it started off with a sexy little lick, a strong, rhythmic beat and some cowbell; couple that with some sweet, gravelly vocals and a bluesy, classic rock feel and you have a winning formula for a banging track.

Third track, ‘On and On’, felt a little bit more pop rock to me than other tracks on the album, but I liked the easy flow to the song and the vocal harmonies deployed on the chorus.  In fact, quite a few of the tracks on the album were more pop rock/indie than bluesy rock; not usually my sort of genre, really, but I liked Matt’s unpretentious vocals and dare I say it, the easy listening quality.  The vocals are interesting, the melodies are striking and it has that sort of quality to it that, when you’re listening, you feel like you’re part of something bigger, that you could go anywhere and do anything you want to – that’s hard to explain, but certain songs and albums have that effect on me.

MM&TC Matt pic

Tracks such as ‘Unavailable‘ and ‘Do You Wanna Be My God‘ had a compelling, bouncy time signature to them and the big choruses will have you up and dancing around.  Equally, the more chilled out tracks were uplifting, such as the laid back ‘Old Enough and Ugly Enough’ and ‘Keep Me Safe’.

This is the sort of album that you can put on to get ready to go out, or to end a great night out, or to have a chilled out night at home.  It’s versatile, professional and a bit of a triumph.  The production is spot on, as you would expect, being recorded at Rockfield’s Quadrangle Studio with Nick Brine (Stereophonics, The Darkness and Thunder) at the helm. Matt writes songs about everyday life and sometimes, “Just for the love of rock and roll.” I can’t argue with that.

I really enjoyed listening to this album; it’s a great debut and I would thoroughly recommend that you give it a go.  Let me know what you think!

You can catch Matt Mitchell and the Coldhearts live: –

  • May 11 – Corporation, Sheffield – supporting Cats In Space
  • May 24 – O2 Academy, Islington – supporting Hollowstar
  • May 31 – Star and Garter, Manchester – supporting Hollowstar
  • June 3 – Cambridge Junction – supporting Hollowstar
  • December 6 – Trecco Bay, Wales – Planet Rockstock

Track listing: –

1. Black Diamonds
2. Home
3. On & On
4. Dare You To Watch
5. Kings & Queens
6. Unavailable
7. Do You Wanna Be My God
8. Old Enough & Ugly Enough
9. Wave Goodbye
10. Everything To You
11. Keep Me Safe
12. Waiting For The Sun

Released on 31 May via MMRecording Works – you can pre-order the album and merch here

Matt Mitchell and The Coldhearts: –

  • Matt Mitchell – vocals and guitars
  • Mauro Laconi – guitars
  • Dom Ladd – bass
  • Matt Cherry – drums
  • Stevie Watts – keys
  • Queen of Rock rating – 8.5 / 10
  • Stand out tracks – Black Diamonds; Dare You To Watch; Kings and Queens; Keep Me Safe
All text is the property of Vikkie Richmond, a.k.a Queen of Rock.  No part of this review must be reproduced, either in part or in full, without the explicit permission to do so. Failure to observe this will result in a report to the relevant authorities for breach of intellectual property rights.

 

Advertisements

News: Lightning In A Bottle – new music consultation agency launches

lightning in a bittle lofo

It’s been a just over three weeks since the new music consultation agency, Lightning In A Bottle (LIAB) launched.  The project is the brainchild of Wayward Sons and ex-Little Angels front man, Toby Jepson and former Panic Cell bassist and Stampede Press owner, Rob Town.

With over 30 years of combined music industry experience between them, Toby and Rob wanted to create a ‘one-stop shop’ where musicians and bands could obtain advice and guidance about the industry; they offer consultation packages, PR and marketing advice, workshops and music production and songwriting.  In addition, they offer mentoring and education services, giving the benefit of their experience, both on stage and behind the scenes.

LIAB’s ethos is ‘The Art is the Heart’; they believe that everything comes back to great songwriting, especially in these times of saturated social media, where the pressure to get music out to an ever widening audience can result in a lack of purpose and proper planning for artists and bands.

In just under a month, LIAB has been gathering momentum and support from across the industry; several interviews have emerged with high profile rock radio shows, including Great Music Stories with Guy Bellamy on Meridian FM.

LIAB toby and rob

Rob Town and Toby Jepson, founders of Lightning In A Bottle

The vision for LIAB is to be a support platform for musicians, to help inform, encourage and support and empower them, and to bring a real, honest approach to the issues and challenges that many bands and music artists face on a daily basis.

For more information, you can get in touch with Rob and Toby on info@lightninginabottlemusic.com or see the links below:

Website

twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LIAB’s ‘High Voltage’ Spotify playlist

Guy Bellamy’s Great Music Stories interview – July 26 2018

 

 

 

Review – Into The Fire EP, ‘Into The Fire’

So, regular readers will remember that I recently introduced you to Into The Fire; a super-group featuring members of SOiL, Evanescence and The Union Underground.  I’ve got my grubby paws on a copy of their self titled EP as promised and here I review it, for your pleasure!

into-the-fire-release-pic

First track ‘Spit You Out’ (also the first video from the band) kicks us straight into the fray and at first listen it sounds pretty modern.  Although Into The Fire have a style all of their own, this is unmistakably a ‘now’ sound. It’s catchy, high on riffage and overall, it’s aurally pleasing.  It’s a good length song that proves to be a good opener for the EP.

Second track ‘From The Medicine’ starts off all atmospheric and moody, however it morphs into a solid modern rock track with some nice vocals and some competent musicianship behind it.  The third and last track is an alternate version of ‘Spit You Out’.

If I’m honest, I would have liked to see a couple more songs on this EP.  The band has a great sound and it’s commercially appealing to a crossover audience; it’s not so heavy that it’s going to alienate a less ‘rock’ audience, however I can see these tracks going over well in rock clubs across the board.  It certainly made me want to get up and dance …

Into The Fire EP pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Spit You Out’ video is scheduled to be released as part of a special EP bundle, due out on 30 September 2016 through Pavement Entertainment. Bryan Scott engineered, produced and mixed both tracks, with James Murphy having mastered them.  The EP is described as a ‘raw and stripped down rock sound with modern elements’.

Check out the EP trailer here

  • For fans of  – Theory Of A Deadman, Sixx:AM
  • Review score – 8/10

Website

Facebook

Twitter

NEWS – Into The Fire release eponymous debut EP

What do you get if you take one part The Union Underground, two parts SOiL and one part Evanescence and blend it all up in one big musical melting pot?  Well, you get something pretty awesome, let me tell you.

Into The Fire band pic

The concept of Into The Fire was the 2013 brainchild of SOiL’s bassist Tim King, The Union Underground vocalist Bryan Scott and guitarist Adam Zadel, also from SOiL.  Friend and stick man, Will Hunt (Evanescence) completed the line up.

“I was sitting around with Adam one day talking about who would be great to jam with”, states bassist Tim King. “I shot Bryan Scott a text message and Into The Fire was born a day later.”

As Bryan puts it “As soon as Tim sent me the material, I immediately had ideas and started putting vocals down.  The music had the perfect vibe for what I wanted to do.”

Into The Fire EP pic

The first video from the American hard rock quartet, ‘Spit You Out’ is scheduled to be released as part of a special EP bundle, due out on 30 September 2016 through Pavement Entertainment. Bryan Scott engineered, produced and mixed that track, as well as the second release from the EP, ‘From The Medicine’.  Both tracks were mastered by James Murphy and are described as a ‘raw and stripped down rock sound with modern elements’.

Check out the EP trailer here and be sure to keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be reviewing Into The Fire for your pleasure in the not too distant future!

Social media links: –

For media enquiries, contact Rob Town at Stampede Press or visit Stampede Press

Interview with Scott Sharp of Blackwolf

It’s been a bit of a year for Bristol rockers Blackwolf; what with touring, being nominated for the Classic Rock ‘Best New Band’ award, releasing their debut album … you would think that singer Scott Sharp would be above talking to a lowly blogger like me, right?  Wrong.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a more humble rock star and it was a real pleasure to chat with him for half an hour following a belter of a show at the Dome in London this month.  Enjoy …

Blackwolf band pic

Blackwolf was recently nominated for Classic Rock Magazine’s ‘Best New Band’ award.  How did it feel to see all of the support that you were getting?

We got a lot more support than we perhaps would have thought, really but Cadillac Three are a great band; I’m a big fan and I would love to get out on the road with them – it was well deserved.  To be honest, when Classic Rock nominated us, it hit us for six.  We had no idea and we were very, very chuffed, just blown away, to be honest.  We’ve been together for just over two years and the support that we’ve had has been insane.  We wrote the EP literally in my audition for the band and we recorded it a week later.  From that we got the Union tour, then The Answer and Winger tours.  One thing has kind of led into the other really, which is great.  We pledged for the debut album, ‘The Hunt’ and we did that just after our first tour.  It was a case of, we want to record an album, let’s just see what happens and sincerely did not expect to meet the target, but I think it took nine days and it just kept coming.

You’ve had some great, positive articles and reviews from the big magazines, Powerplay, Classic Rock etc., – do you enjoy doing press and publicity?

It’s a massively important thing because success for us is sharing what we’re doing with as many people as possible and magazines, radio stations and all the rest of it, they’re one of the prime ways (apart from live shows) to do that, so we relish it and we love talking to people.  It’s all fun!

I don’t like pigeon-holing bands, but if I had to put you into a genre, I would say you fit into the Southern rock genre.  Do you think it’s a genre that’s getting over-saturated?

It’s weird because everyone seems to call what we do something different, so some would say southern rock, some would say classic rock or modern hard rock.  To us, it’s rock and roll and that’s what we play, how we think it should sound today and we don’t forget what’s gone before us because rock and roll has such a rich bloodline which you can’t escape and we’re by no means interested in imitating or pretending that we’re in an era that we’re not.  That’s nothing against bands that do that, some bands do it amazingly, but every time we write or every time we do a show, we try and just take a step forward.

A lot of people say they hear grunge influences and that kind of stuff, which could be a little bit of me as I’m a huge Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains fan, all that kind of stuff.   I’m also a fan of people like Aretha Franklin, Big Mama Thornton, and all those kinds of blues and soul singers as well.   The influences do literally go from the beginning of rock and roll; Jason is very into Chuck Berry and our influences go right back to Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, all the way up to Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry and what’s happening now.  There are all kinds of stuff in there.  I tend not to listen to our stuff much because I’m a huge perfectionist and I tend to pull everything apart; it’s good when you’re writing new stuff and I do hear the odd kind of metal slant it has and that soul edge.  I suppose it all kind of hovers around that blues rock and roll sound.

You’ve already mentioned your debut album, ‘The Hunt’.  Was it well received?

It was, shockingly so.  We got in the studio; our supporters paid for it all and got us in there and it was fantastic, in all honesty it was a real kind of intimate thing with us and the people that are following us and funding it all.  We did loads of blogs and video diaries, Q&A’s, stuff like that.  It was a very close relationship with the fans on that album and all we were really thinking about was making sure they were happy with it.  We weren’t thinking about magazines, or about how we were going to go down live.  When we released it, the magazines starting picking it up and for us it went insane because we expected it to get lost in the void as there’s so much good music out there.  We’ve been very fortunate with all the support that’s come out for us.

4-Panel-CD-DigiPak-with-Tunnel-Pocket-Template

How does your writing process work? 

It’s really important for us all to be there together.  Because our influences are so vast, it’s important to us that we all feed off of each other, but it will always initially start with a riff, or, like with ‘Moving Mountains’, I had a melody in my head  and I whipped out my phone and recorded it.  I took it to Ben, who’s like our riff-master and he just whacked something out straightaway and it fit perfectly.  That was on the way to rehearsals and we just jammed it out and it came to life – that’s pretty much how it always happens.  It normally ends when we’ve played it live a little bit – although we’ve recorded the album, we’re still writing the songs, they change constantly and continue to breathe.

Do you find it easy to engage with your fans?  You have over 5,000 likers on Facebook and you seem to be on twitter quite a bit … are fans that have been with you since the beginning?

Yeah, there are lots, we hang out with some of them.  In all honesty, I find it easy to talk to them because – and I mean this from the bottom of my heart – if it wasn’t for them, we would be five guys playing to an empty room and making stuff that nobody’s listening to, which is a bit pointless and just a bit of an ego massage.

With regard to Facebook, probably about two thousand of those people are also on my own FB account and we’ve got street teams, as well as a twitter group who spread the word for us.  In Birmingham we had a lock in with fans who came and saw us and a whole heap of them followed us to Hard Rock Hell and some stayed in our caravan with us!  It’s a lot of fun and they’re like family to us because that’s how much they mean to us – it might sound cheesy, but it’s crucial for us and anything we can do to encourage them to fall more in love with what we’re doing, we’ll do it.  There is so much great music out there and so many great bands, that I think it’s important to make that personal connection if you can.  Every show, we hang out at the merch table, whether it’s headline or support – we just want to meet as many people as possible.

But you won’t be able to do that for much longer, surely …

I don’t care, if the Gods look down on us and eventually took us to an arena or something like that, we’d still be doing it.  When we stop doing that, we’ll stop playing because there’s no point.  If you’re not playing your music for the people that want to listen to it, why are you doing it?

If you’re hanging out with fans all the time, do you get people coming on to you?

Sometimes, I suppose – it always freaks me out a little bit.  I’m quite shy when it comes to things like that, and I’m so over-the-top focussed on the music and what I’m singing!

Blackwolf B&W pic

You mentioned earlier that you’ll be starting work on a new album soon, are there any particular producers that you have lined up or anyone that you would really like to work with?

We’ve got a small list of producers that we’re meeting in December and there are a couple of people who we would love to work with, including Toby Jepson (Little Angels) and Jeff Rose (formerly of Skindred).

Who’s the biggest pain in the arse on tour?

It’s not really someone, it’s something, i.e., tiredness.  I don’t know if the other guys struggle with it, but vocally, I get tired and it’s constantly just keeping up my voice and what we’re doing. That’s probably the hardest part of touring.  I’m such a perfectionist that I hate it if I can’t reach 110% on every show.

I notice that there’s no alcohol in here either …

No, the guys do drink a little bit but I don’t touch the stuff until the last date, so I’ll probably have a drink tonight but whilst we’ve got shows I won’t touch it.  It messes with my vocal cords and people are coming out to pay to see us and we want to make new friends – I don’t want to let them down.

What are the best and worst things about doing this?

The best thing is looking out and seeing people, well for me anyway, and shaking their heads or grinning like a Cheshire cat.  The worst thing is looking out and seeing a straight face.  For me, if I see a straight face, I just want to get them smiling.  I don’t want to create anything weird between me and that person, but I do kind of keep coming back to them and obsess a little bit.

I’m very much a homebody, quite a rooted person and if we go on a long tour, sometimes I get a bit homesick, but that’s nothing, really.  It is something that I think about for later on, when we’re out on the road for eight, nine months at a time; we were talking to the Blues Pills and they’ve had four weeks off in the last twelve months or something insane and although we can’t wait to get to that point, and there is half of me that loves doing that, I’m a big family guy and I love being at home with my family.  It’s a double edged sword because we’ll come out and meet loads of new people and I love all of them too, that’s kind of what ‘Sleepwalking’ was about.

If the world was to end here in one hour, what would you do?

That’s deep … I would go and see as many of my friends and family as possible and try and get in a show with the people that want to come and see us.  If anyone out there wanted to come and spend their last few hours with us then that would be awesome!

What’s been the biggest highlight so far for the band?

It’s hard to say because every time we do something, something else happens that tops it!

A semi-serious question for you that I ask every band that I interview … given that rock is allegedly ‘dead’, where do you see the music industry as we know it heading?

I kind of get irritated when people say rock is dead, it’s absolute bullshit to be honest.  I think what people are on about when they say rock is dead is that the money in rock and roll is dead.  As long as people look at this type of music like that, it won’t make any money because it’s not about how much cash you’re making.  When it went down that route, it was the death of that element of it, because it became about something it was never meant to be.  If you go back to the original roots of rock and roll, it was deep, they played and sang about stuff that meant a lot to them.  As long as bands are still doing that then rock will still be alive.  People like Royal Blood, I think what they’ve done is fucking fantastic because they’ve gone out and they’ve shown that with the right support and backing and marketing plan, just two lads, they can do a lot of shit.  We just need to hijack their marketing plan!

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

We just want to share what we do with as many people as possible.  Playing arenas would be fantastic, if we can do that in 5 years I would die a very happy man.  Next year it would be good to get some more backing, like an agency and maybe a label.  It’s very intimate the way we work; we’ve literally got a manager and an agent and then us.  We have people coming out and crewing for us but it’s very small so more support in that kind of business element would be great.  As we grow as a band, hopefully we’ll get bigger and the quantity of people following us will grow.

Vix and Scott of Blackwolf

I would like to thank Scott for his time – it was awesome to chat to him and the guys in Blackwolf and it’s not very often that someone’s so happy to answer questions!  If you haven’t yet bought ‘The Hunt’, you can find it on iTunes.  check out the video for ‘Moving Mountains’ here – http://youtu.be/XayXsQIgImU and new single ‘Kiss The Fire’ here – http://youtu.be/M9TMwrxtkqg

www.ukblackwolf.com

www.facebook.com/ukblackwolf

Review – Soil plus supports, Weymouth Pavilion, 28.10.14

Soil band pic

It’s not every day that you get to see four bands of the calibre of the line up on the current Soil tour, especially in a sleepy seaside location such as Weymouth, so it’s no surprise that the good metal fans of the town turned out in force for this extravaganza. I’m not sure if it was sold out, but it was certainly a respectable number for a Tuesday night.

First on the bill were Canadian metallers, Wolfborne, who did an admirable job of warming up a growing crowd. I hadn’t really heard much of their material beforehand, so it’s always great to discover a new band and I hope I’ll get to see more of them.

Next up came rock/punk/rap outfit (Hed)P.E, who from the first note inspired a mosh pit down at the front, with the eager crowd singing the lyrics back to vocalist Jahred.   They belted out classic tracks such as ‘No Turning Back’, ‘Bartender’ and ‘Renegade’, as the temperature rose along with the energy. Jahred was out into the crowd at the front and general chaos ensued; his engagement with the fans was pretty awesome – a real lesson in how to be an excellent front man that many bands could learn from. They ended a manic set with a one-off cover of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ which went down a storm.

I was a little disappointed with third band American Head Charge’s set, but then (Hed)P.E were a hard act to follow. Indeed, I think many of the crowd felt the same as the number of bodies at the front thinned out as their set went on. I found it to be a bit plodding, although more people came back when they speeded things up a bit. It seems that louder isn’t always necessarily better.

Soil tour poster

Last but certainly not least, came the mighty American band Soil, who have been one of my favourites for many years and it was a real pleasure to be able to have a quick chat with singer Ryan McCombs before the gig. The lights were down as Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ rang out across the room as an intro and suddenly, bathed in blue light, there they were in all their glory. Kicking off with ‘Loaded Gun’, Soil stormed through a killer set, with the crowd loving it and getting involved from the off. We were treated to such favourites as ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Deny Me’, ‘Way Gone’ and of course the epic ‘Breaking Me Down’. The penultimate song was the massive track ‘Halo’, before a finale of ‘Shine On’ brought the house down.

I’m so glad to have finally seen Soil, they gave an awesome performance and it was also a treat to be able to cross (Hed)P.E off of my must-see list. A fantastic night of metal in a good little venue, so a big well done to the organisers Advanced Promotions for another amazing gig!

Soil set list: –

  1. Loaded Gun
  2. Two Skins
  3. The Hate Song
  4. Deny Me
  5. Need to Feel
  6. The One
  7. Way Gone
  8. Redefine
  9. Unreal
  10. Breaking Me Down
  11. Halo
  12. Shine On

www.soiltheband.com

www.headcharge.com

www.hedperocks.com

www.wolfborne.com

 

Interview – Ryan McCombs of Soil, 28.10.14

Four bands.  One soggy night in sleepy Weymouth.  It could only be the mighty American stalwarts of the metal scene (and one of my all-time favourite bands), Soil, bringing their headline tour to the South coast.  I was very, very lucky to catch up with front man and all round top bloke, Ryan McCombs before the gig. Here’s what he had to say

Soil band pic

So, how’s it been so far, touring with American Head Charge and (Hed)P.E?

I can’t complain, we did the European shows first and then came over for the UK, which is the opposite of what we usually do.  There are certain European markets that we expected to be good and they were great and there were certain markets that we were questioning, that ended up surpassing our hopes.  Here in the UK there have been a lot of sold-out shows so there are no complaints.  We’ve done two different tours in the US with (Hed)P.E so we know those guys really well and the guys, while I was over in Drowning Pool, they did a tour over here with AHC, so they all know each other really well and the first band Wolfborne.  It’s really cool when you get people coming to the VIP meet and greets and they’re talking about the first band; that band gets a lot of attention when they’re really good and surprise a lot of people, so they’re a great package.

What’s your favourite aspect of touring – what do you enjoy most about it?

It’s that time on stage.  Soil-wise, we’ve been doing this now for 18 years, so I think everybody thinks it’s cool until they come out here and experience a little bit – they realise just how much time you’re waiting.  Band members wake up, wait, sound check, wait, do the show, wait and leave.  Your pay off for being out here is that time you get on stage, so that’s definitely the highlight of the day, each day.

So, for someone that’s never seen you before, what can they expect from your show – how would you describe an average gig?

We’re just who we are, we always have been.  I would like to think that the show comes across as honest as the music does, I don’t know, I’ve never sat and watched us – I hate watching videos of live shows, I will leave the room as soon as it’s turned on.  I probably should watch, critique myself sometime and decide what I want to do differently, but I hope at least that the show comes across as honest as the music does and reflects that it’s just us.

Soil tour poster

Are you quite harsh with yourselves, i.e., do you beat yourselves up if you feel that you perhaps haven’t had the greatest show?

Absolutely, especially being a vocalist.  There are some days where, if the voice starts to turn on you, especially if you’ve been a little under the weather which happens out here on the road when you’re stuck in a vessel with a bunch of other people, it only takes one person to get sick and the next thing you know everybody is catching it at some point so the voice can turn on you.  Just the other night, the singer from one of the other bands (although I believe he’s over it now from what I heard in sound check tonight) you could hear that he was under the weather and my heart went out to him backstage because I’ve been up there when you just open your mouth and it’s not working; you get off the stage on those nights and you just want to crawl into a hole because there’s nothing you can do about it.  There are different nights where maybe you feel like you didn’t just grab that crowd like you should have and you over-analyse how the night went and what you could have done or said differently.

I’m sure nobody else over notices?  I’ve spoken to bands where they feel they haven’t given a great performance, but to us in the crowd it still sounded awesome …

I hear that a lot.  It’s also different for the other members up on stage – the guitar player, bass player and drummer; if we get off stage and they had an individually good show, then they had a good show and I think as a singer, you’re really more in tune with the reception that you’re getting from the eyes and the expressions on the people out there.

Talking of being on stage, if you could share a bill with any band, alive or dead, who would you pick and why?

I would say it would be Alice in Chains with the original line up, although I am the last person in the world that should talk about original line ups, but Alice in Chains was the first band that I kind of grabbed a hold of as ‘my’ band.  Growing up there was always music in my house between my Dad and my brother, but they were ‘mine’, so the original line up would be pretty awesome.

Good choice.  From what I’ve heard, UK and European audiences are very different to American crowds – have you found that?

To a large degree, although we have fans in the States that have been there since day one.  We did a tour last year with AHC who have a younger crowd than us and there were kids coming up to us like “Oh, are you guys new?”  After you get over the desire to slap the shit out of them, you thank them and let them know you’ve had a couple of records out there, spanning a few years!  We’re gaining more and more over there still which, having been around so long, is weird, but it’s cool, it’s what you need to maintain.  So there are the diehards over there, but it seems like from day one, especially in the UK, we were embraced and it’s having these shows that represent that – they’ve always stuck by us and it’s been more of a home than home to us sometimes.  I think there is that commercial mentality over there (USA) that it seems like a lot of people’s taste in everything, including music, changes with what they are told is ‘in’ right now.  Over here, I feel like a rock and metal fan is a rock and metal fan when they’re born and they die a rock and metal fan.  I don’t get that in the wider spectrum back home as I do here and in a lot of the countries in Europe.

Ryan live

Let me mention ‘Scars’ (the best-selling album from 2001) which is arguably the most “famous” album that the band have done.  Obviously ‘Halo’ is a massive track, it always has been.  Does it bother you that it’s how a lot of people discover you?

It’s definitely why we’re still here.   I don’t care, as long as they’re here.  At this point in my career, I don’t care if it was ‘Halo’ or another Soil song, or a song I did when I was with Drowning Pool, as long as they’re here and they’re allowing me a job – that’s what gives me a job is them coming out to the shows, buying a CD and just giving us the time of day.  I don’t care what got them here; if they’re here, it’s awesome.

Your sixth album ‘Whole’ has done well – can we expect a seventh album from Soil?

I don’t know, there’s been no talk of a seventh album at all.  I think when you get to the stage we’re at, no talk is the best talk – a lot of times we can go full circle and talk ourselves out of something if we talk too much.  We didn’t expect to do this one – we did the anniversary tour for ‘Scars’ over here and I went back home and I was feeling the drag of the business, as I had before I walked away from it. It took quite a while of talking again before we decided to do ‘Whole’.  So, there hasn’t been any talk as to whether we’ll do another Soil record, or if we’ll go and do something else but right now, I’m in the middle of two different  books and I’m finishing one that I’ve been working on for about seven years now; I’m supposed to have it done and ready for editing for when I get home in less than a week.  I’m concentrating on that as it’s supposed to be released the beginning of next year.

Wow.  An autobiography?

Yeah, it’s my stupid way of looking and laughing at my experiences getting to and through the music industry – as I want the title to reflect, it’s kind of the lessons learned on the path to rock star mediocrity!

Well, I’ll be first in line for that one!  Is there any particular producer that you would really like to work with?

I’ve had some great opportunities already, so nobody in particular.  Every time I go into a new situation I’m always a little leery because you want to be comfortable in the studio, but I’ve always been made to feel that way – I can’t look at any producers I’ve worked with and regret it.  On ‘Whole’ we worked with Ulrich Wilde and I’d never worked with him before so, again I was going into it nervous but he was wonderful to work with.  He’s an amazing guy and he just makes you feel at home – but I think also this experience would be so unfair for anybody to say anything bad about because for the first time, it was our call.  We didn’t have to worry about pleasing some stuffed shirt behind a desk in New York or something, what we decided to do was what we decided to do and I think it was great, really refreshing, it gave a feeling of freedom.  I think Ulrich loved the fact that he didn’t have to send something somewhere and wait for a response and see if we needed to change anything or go in a different direction.

You mentioned line-up changes earlier – obviously you’ve come and gone with the band and you’ve had some changes over the years.  What’s the secret?  You’re still enjoying it, even though you have other things going on as well.  What drives you to keep coming back?

I get restless every seven years … I don’t know.   I was very much a small town kid and I still have that small town kid mentality; I come from a very small town in Indiana and things move at a certain pace and people think a certain way; you open the door for people and you say “Yes, ma’am” and “No sir”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome” and all that stuff.  This music industry just chews on you a little bit so after seven years of Soil, I just had my fill and I walked away, ended up joining Drowning Pool nine months later and did seven years with that too.  I may have a hang up though, because I was also married for seven years and the relationship I was in for that was seven years!  That’s why it’s so important for me on this album to do things on our own because dealing with certain types of people in the industry just sickened me.  It’s nice to be able to go into an album and hand-pick the people that we wanted to work with and that was very important for this record.

Do you have any festivals in the pipeline for next year?

Supposedly we have an offer on the table that will bring us back here next year for one of the festivals, but without being written in stone yet, I really can’t say anything.

(Well done Ryan, despite some serious pushing, he wasn’t giving anything up …) How do you amuse yourself whilst you’re on the road?

Back in the day on my original run with Soil I didn’t drink – I didn’t start drinking until I was in my thirties, so I was the guy locked up in the back lounge of the bus with his Playstation and all day long, leading up to show-time, I’d be back there playing football and all night afterwards until I went to sleep I’d be doing the same thing while everybody else was doing the partying.   Then I found this thing called ‘rum’ …so now typically we just have a few drinks leading up to show-time and typically a few drinks after the show.  I’m still an avid American football freak, so I’m keeping up with that and I’m writing a lot right now.  For me, I’ve found out that the things that I need to be able to keep my head straight is just to talk to home.  Before the show, after the show, we all talk to home and to know that that’s still there, everything’s still running good and there’s still happiness to come home to – that’s what keeps me running out here right now at this point in time in my career.

Good for you.  Do you watch any English football, or soccer, as you guys call it?

No, I don’t – I’ve never gotten into it.  My nephews got into it and I’ve seen it played but I don’t get it!

That’s fine.  I don’t get American football either!  Back to music, what’s been the biggest highlight so far, since you started out?

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a lot of experiences.  To be really simple, during my time with Drowning Pool we did a lot of USO (United Service Organisation) tours; going over to Iraq and Kuwait during the war in 05/06 and having that experience of feeling like you’re taking a piece of home to the men and women over there who are just doing their job at the end of the day – just looking out and seeing their faces that they’re not getting shot at for a couple of hours whilst you’re on stage – that was a very humbling experience.  We always stayed after a show until everybody had everything signed that they wanted, the shortest time we were there was two and a half hours, the latest time was six and a half hours.  We had men and women coming back from a mission – they had seen the show, went out for a mission and came back and we were still there signing and they were so thankful that they didn’t miss the chance to meet us. We got to do USO shows in South Korea and Guantanamo Bay and being able to go over there (and it was never about supporting war, it was always about supporting the men and women who were doing their jobs) was a humbling experience.

So, what’s next for Soil?

I don’t know.  I know there are people that would definitely like to see another Soil record and there’s people that would like to see me go off and do something on my own.  I have no idea, to be completely honest, as to what’s next.  I love writing with Adam and Tim so another Soil record could definitely be in the future, but there are other people out that that I’ve shared a stage with who I would like to write with.  There’s that part of me that would like to go home and focus on writing and go to bed in my own room every night.  So, I don’t know what’s in store, but I’m going to have fun doing it, I’m going to do whatever I can while people let me do it, that’s all I know.

Well, that’s all we can do whilst we’re on this earth, is have fun doing what we choose to do! Thanks, Ryan (even though you reduced me to a gibbering wreck with that sexy voice), best of luck for the future!  The gig review should be coming to a screen near you via www.domoremag.com very soon!

Ryan mccombs and vikkie

UPDATE – Since this interview took place, it has been reported that Ryan was taken ill last Sunday evening – I would like to wish him the very best of luck for a speedy and full recovery. 

www.soiltheband.com 

www.twitter.com/soiltheband

Interview with Buffalo Summer, 07.10.14

So, only Fools and Horses, Orange Goblin, Space Raiders (of the crisp variety) and Game of Thrones … these are just some of the things that are currently powering Welsh southern-rockers Buffalo Summer around the British Isles.  The European leg of the tour may have been indefinitely postponed by headliners The Treatment, but our wonders of Wales are quite happy as long as they’ve got a TV and some potato-based snacks.  Bassist Darren King tore himself away from the google-box long enough to have a quick chat …

Buffalo Summer band pic

– You’ve had some epic shows this year with the likes of Skid Row, Buckcherry and Phil Campbell. Do any of those shows particularly stand out for you and why?

We enjoy all the shows! Madrid with Buckcherry & Skid Row was a definite highlight on that tour though. It’s the second time we’d played there and it was amazing to see Buffalo t-shirts in the crowd!

– How did it feel to be sharing a bill with the mighty Black Sabbath in Hyde Park?

There are no words to describe it! We had a blast throughout the day and got to hang out with Motörhead and Soundgarden for a bit … unreal! A big tick for the bucket list there.

– The new tour with The Treatment and Massive kicks off tomorrow, are you excited for it?

Hell yeah! We’ve been good buds with The Treatment boys for a few years, but we’ve never toured together. When the opportunity arose we jumped at the chance.

 – Any places you’re particularly looking forward to visiting?

We always look forward to places we’ve never played, which on this tour is only Northampton and Rotterdam! That being said we always look forward to Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield as we’ve always had an awesome reception there. The same could be said for most places though!

– What are you listening to on the road? Any new music we should check out?

The new Orange Goblin album is decimating my ears as I type! Surely got to be one the albums of the year and it only came out yesterday! The new Mastodon record has been getting pretty heavy spinnage in the van over the summer too and the States And Empires album – It’s Neil from The Phil Campbell All Starr Band’s new project!

– How do you chill out during your downtime? Is the travelling harmonious and do you all get on?

It’s about as un-rock and roll as you’d think! We usually mooch about watching films and TV shoes. We’re all really into Game of Thrones and stuff.  Can’t go wrong with a bit of Only Fools & Horses on a rainy afternoon in Hamburg though!

Because we’ve all known each other since childhood more-or-less, we all have the measure of each other and it makes being cooped up together that much easier. There’s minimal feuding going on … unless someone’s gone and polished off the last packet of Space Raiders!

Buffalo%20Summer%20album%20cover

– Who or what do you draw influence from when you’re writing new material?

Lyrically a lot of Andrew’s influence comes directly from our current circumstances. The perils and pit-falls of life on the road, with the overwhelming love of doing it. He’s also really ecologically conscious so there’s some stuff come from that angle too. Musically, we just write really organically.

In the first instance we don’t put much though into it – it just happens. Once we have a rough song floating about, then we’ll get the microscopes out and really scrutinise the parts. Everything gets refined from there.

– Is a new album in the pipeline?  If so, when might we expect it and what can we expect from it?

The new album is done! We’re in the process of getting it mix and mastered and hopefully it’ll be out at the beginning of next year!

– If you had to pick two songs to introduce a new fan to Buffalo Summer, which would you pick and why?

I would say the songs ‘Down To The River’ and ‘A Horse Called Freedom’. With ‘River’, it’s already one of our signature songs and displays our unashamed love of all things Southern. With ‘Horse, it’s one of the first songs we wrote and it has a bit more hoof to it, with a big sing-a-long chorus. Those two are fan favourites for sure.

– You are playing HRH in Wales in November which you must be looking forward to. Any festivals  in the pipeline for next year?

It’s early days yet, so we can’t say much … the new record will be out though so we should have some extra momentum!

– What’s your take on the current state of the music industry and do you feel that rock music as we know it is a dying genre?

It’s a difficult place to do business, that’s for sure. Then again – everyone and their Nana knows this. So when I see bands complaining about it I think “Did no one tell you? Did you not get the memo?” You have to have a fundamental and deep rooted love of living this life otherwise it’ll break you.  Of course, over time it becomes hard enough to break the best of them. There’s two sides to everything. Personally, I think rock is in a more diverse and vibrant place than it has been for a really long time. It’s as alive as it ever was!

– Biggest Buffalo Summer highlight so far?

Playing Download last year was indescribable. Our agent was there and he said “If there’s 200/300 people out there, I’ll be happy”. We walked out to a sea of Buffalo Summer tees and like, 2000 people. Shame I was so hung-over I can’t remember much else!  I blame Iron Maiden.

– What’s next for the band?

We’re on the road for a month now then we head back to Wales to get the album sorted and ready to roll. Also, we need to buy a new van!  Dear Santa …

You can catch Buffalo Summer on the rest of their UK tour with The Treatment and Massive, dates below: –

B Summer tour poster

October –

16th – London, Underworld

17th – Colchester, Arts Centre

19th – Norwich, Studio

20th – Southampton, Joiners

21st – Exeter, Cavern

23rd – Brighton, Audio

www.buffalosummer.net

www.facebook.com/buffalosummer

Planet Rock presents UK showcase featuring Blackwolf, The Brew and Fire Red Empress

Planet Rock Blackwolf poster

Classic Rock Magazine’s ‘Best New Band’ nominee, Blackwolf, will be appearing alongside fellow British bands The Brew and Fire Red Empress on a mini-tour of the UK in September.  Dates as below:

Fri 12th – MANCHESTER – The Roadhouse
Sat 13th – OXFORD – The Bullingdon (Art Bar)
Thu 18th – SHEFFIELD – The Corporation
Fri 19th – BRISTOL – The Exchange
Sun 21st – LONDON – The Barfly* – date change (originally Sat 20th September)

Bristol-based Blackwolf have already toured with the likes of The Temperance Movement and The Answer so far this year and their debut album, ‘The Hunt’, went down a storm.  Following the release of new single ‘Moving Mountains’, they also appeared at Wales’ Steelhouse Festival.  With a nomination for ‘Best New Band’, alongside the likes of Blues Pills and The Cadillac Three, these guys are not to be missed whilst you can still catch them in a fairly intimate setting.  You can watch ‘Moving Mountains’ here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XayXsQIgImU

Blackwolf

Blues-infused rockers The Brew have been busy, with lots of headline shows under their belt, as well as support slots to rock royalty such as ZZ Top, Joe Bonamassa and Lynyrd Skynyrd. With an album produced by Toby Jepson, The Brew are set to perform at Hard Rock Hell VII later this year, so this will be the perfect warm up for them!  Watch their ‘Repeat‘ video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhOIbj92wKs

The Brew band pic

New boys on the block, Fire Red Empress are picking up followers at a rate of knots with their own particular brand of melodic rock and their EP, ‘Paint Me The Devil’, is gaining critical acclaim from music press.  You can catch them in the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine.  Watch their video for ‘Left Unspoken’ here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxmphhvoN8Q

Fire Red Empress logo pic

Tickets for this epic, energy-infused mini-tour can be found here

http://www.ukblackwolf.com

www.facbook.com/ukblackwolf

http://www.the-brew.net

www.facebook.com/thebrewofficial

http://www.fireredempress.com/

www.facebook.com/fireredempress