Archive for the Interview Category

The Treatment | Talk 2 Tickets

Posted in Interview, Music, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2014 by Tickets There

Described as one of the most exciting bands to emerge from England in years, The Treatment are five guys who love rock ‘n’ roll. They released their debut album, This Might Hurt, in 2011 and its follow up, Running with the Dogs, earlier this year to massive critical acclaim. They’ve supported some of the biggest names in music and every year that passes brings nothing but new success. If you haven’t heard them yet, now is your chance to make amends as they’re coming to Dublin this week to play their first Irish headlining show and you don’t want to miss out.

Tickets There was fortunate enough to speak with The Treatment’s guitarist, Tag Grey and find out a little about the origins of the band, their touring experiences over the past few years and what it means to have Tommy Lee coordinate your birthday celebrations backstage.

Tickets There: Hi Tag, how are things going in the Treatment camp at the moment?

TG: It’s going great man. All the fans and all the press as well. And since Kerrang started picking up the last one, things have just been brilliant. It’s done a lot more than we dreamed it could have done. Really happy about it.

Tickets There: Running with the Dogs seems to be picking up a lot of new fans with previous critics highlighting it sounds far more accomplished than your debut, This Might Hurt. Do you feel this album is a stronger representation of the band?

TG: Ah yeah. I think Dhan (Mansworth – drums) was around fifteen or sixteen when he started writing and recording This Might Hurt. We’ve all grown so much as players and musicians that there’s no way you could compare the two.  We were so proud with what we did with the first one but by the second one it was even better, you know? We changed loads of things during the recording – the guitars, the amps and the way we were recording. We were really happy with how it came out. It definitely captured another side of the band.

1606221_759009914126507_1314872328_oTickets There: A lot of bands have great difficulty writing and recording their second albums. Did you feel any pressure after the success of This Might Hurt?

TG: We didn’t really think, but looking back we were so happy with the way it came out. There’s no comparison between the two and it’s all just gone in the direction we wanted it to. I don’t think we ever thought about having a problem with the second one, we just got on really. I mean we constantly toured since This Might Hurt came out so we were always recording and writing little bits and bobs.

Tickets There: That’s probably the best way to avoid the pressure.

TG: It’s brilliant actually, we all live with Dhan and our manager Laurie (Mansworth) has his own studio so we could just record whenever which was a massive help for the band.

Tickets There: Were you worried at all that the delay between Running with the Dogs and This Might Hurt might risk losing some of the momentum you’d created?

TG: This Might Hurt came out twice actually. It came out originally on Powerage and when we were picked up by Universal we re-released it with a bonus track so although it was released a long time ago, since the re-release it hasn’t been that long and we’ve just been on the road constantly. We wanted to make sure we had the album completely right. It wasn’t an intentional thing. We weren’t looking to get it out asap, we just wanted to stay on the road touring really. We’re definitely more of a live band.

Tickets There: Since the release of Running with the Dogs, have you noticed an increase in interest in the band?

TG: Oh massive. The first major tour we had was with Alice Cooper, which was a great tour to start with, but everything since just seems to take a step up. Lamb of God in America was the last big tour we did before recording the new album which was just insane. With this tour the first one we did was our own headlining tour which is just incredible. We went out and hundreds of people were turning up to see us which, for us is just an amazing feeling. We did the Islington in London, which has been a venue where we’ve seen so many of our favourite bands and you don’t realize what you’re doing until you’re standing on stage and all these people turn up. It’s just been amazing.

Tickets There: It sounds like things are really starting to get going for ye.

TG: (laughs) yeah, it’s been great. And now we’re going out and doing all the European festivals – it just keeps getting bigger and better. I can’t wait.

1510552_741165082577657_2039737956_nTickets There: So let’s go back a little. How did the band get together?

TG: It was Dhan basically. He wanted to put a band together and his dad Laurie, he’s been in the music business and was in a couple of bands in the eighties so he knows everything. So they started looking around the country for musicians and that’s how we got the line-up.

We all moved in to Laurie’s house so it became a pretty wild one. Myself and Rick Newman (aka Swoggle) were living in a tent down the end and Dhan was still going to school every day. We started jamming in the shed and it’s just grown since then. We recorded the album and started touring.

Tickets There: It couldn’t have just happened that easily, right?

TG: Well, in the beginning it was quite hard as we couldn’t get into any venues. We were all under eighteen and they’d always kick us out. That’s how young we were when we started.

Tickets There: So none of you were close friends when you started the band?

TG: Me and Rick were the only ones, we went to school together. Dan found Rick and Rick knew me from School and that’s how I got the part. Matt (Jones, vocals) was on MySpace, do you remember? He found him and the original guitar player was from a music college and now we have Fabien who’s over from Germany.

Tickets There: It must have been strange all of ye moving in together at the time. Did ye drive each other crazy?

TG: Oh no, we’ve lived together for seven years so there’s no way we could do it if we didn’t get along. Of course it’s beyond argument; you can’t stick six guys together without the odd one. But as friends we’re as close as it gets. We don’t let anyone fuck with us man.

Tickets There: When you came together, did you know the type of band you wanted to be or did the style fall into place when ye met?

TG: It came together really as a group. We’d all grown up on similar styles of music so it just happened really. We didn’t decide on it, it just came together.

Tickets There: Would you credit Def Leppard or AC/DC more as the influence for the band? Be warned, I’m a Leppard fan…

TG: (laughs) Both of them I’d say. If there’s one band we all have total love for it’s the DC. I remember one year we all went to see them play Download and sitting there, watching a band you all completely fucking love was just amazing. But Def Leppard as well, they are a great, great band.

Tickets There: Hmmm, ok I’ll accept that. So how long did you stay practicing for before you started doing shows?

TG: For the first year of the band Dan was still going to school every day so the idea of touring was impossible. We spent the first year or two in the garage rehearsing, playing a few local shows. The first big one we got was opening for Black Stone Cherry and pretty much straight from that was Sonisphere and then straight onto Alice Cooper and Steel Panther after that. Then we played with Thin Lizzy, Slash and Status Quo, the list goes on man.

Tickets There: It certainly does. In your time together you’ve also supported Lamb of God, Motley Crue, KISS and many others. In fact, isn’t it true that Nikki Sixx personally got you onto their tour with KISS?

TG: Yeah, he did. He asked us to do it. That was three or four amazing months across America.

10291702_814791535215011_2317816580079786614_nTickets There: Nikki Sixx asking your band to open for them and KISS is pretty much a dream come true for any rocker. Can I ask how that came about?

TG: He’s just into young bands and listens out. We were on the Steel Panther tour and it was about 2 in the morning and a friend asked us if we’d twitter and none of us had. So we checked it and he had announced us for the whole tour.

Tickets There: And what’s it like, as a young band to go out there and play side by side with your heroes like that? Did you find yourself learning from them at all?

TG: Oh of course. We’ve learnt so much about how to work a crowd, how to play – how to do everything. You learn from your heroes don’t you, so to be able to support ‘em was such an experience and not only for ourselves, but the live experience as well is fucking great. You also learn from the best when it comes to partying as well (laughs).

Tickets There: Now that’s one, I heard a rumour that in your early years together you had a strict no partying rule on tour. How’s that holding up these days?

TG: (laughs) Yeah, when we first started we had a no drinking rule on tour. It was right place, right time but as we’ve gotten older… Number one is the gig, that’s all we care about. So long as that’s good, we’re good. But, I mean drinking-wise we have more of a laugh now. We’re always up and ready for a show and that’s what matters to us but I think it’s best to say we’ve gotten a little more relaxed (laughs.. Ed. – Laughs because he’s partied with bands like Motley Crue, KISS, Alice Cooper, Lamb of God and many others! – Legend!)

Tickets There: Phew, I was worried there you might shatter my dreams of the rock ‘n’ roll touring life.

TG: Well that was the problem for us as well (laughs)

Tickets There: Do you think allowing yourselves to relax more on the road helped fuel material for Running with the Dogs at all?

TG: Ah yeah, that comes from all the experiences we’ve had. It was Matt’s 21st when we toured with KISS and Motley Crue and Tommy Lee had him backstage and strippers were whipping him, he had a bottle of vodka poured all over his head – I mean how can you have a normal sensible lifestyle while those sorts of things are going on. It definitely helped come up with a few of the ideas.

Tickets There: And what’s it like touring with bands on the level of Motley Crue and KISS? You hear some awful things about support bands can be treated. Did you have any negative experiences?

TG: Everyone, not just Motley Crue, every single person I have toured with has gone beyond what they should have done to help us. The crews as well, every single person and every single band members just made a giant effort to make us feel welcome. Even small things like just someone like that saying hi to you – it makes you feel like it’s worth being on tour just for that.

Tickets There: So, you’re on the road again. Have you got many headlining shows on this leg or are you mostly playing festivals for the summer?

TG: We’ve got the two in Ireland – our first heading shows there actually and then our first headline show in Paris. They’re all going to be wicked. The rest are all festivals and then we have quite a few support slots in between. We’re opening for ZZ Top, Buckcherry and Alterbridge so it’s going to be pretty cool. We have a massive mixture of different places and hopefully later in the year there’ll be lots more coming on.

Tickets There: Is there anywhere in Europe you’re really looking forward to?

TG: Well the last time we went to Dublin we had the wildest time ever. It was great because we did two shows there so we had a night off and had a wild time. Also Italy, for me I love Italy and it’s going to right in the middle of summer so it’ll be buzzing. Everywhere though brings something new.

Tickets There: From the list of festivals you have, you play to a lot of different crowds. How are the reactions when you to play, say Graspop compared to supporting Status Quo?

TG: We’ve done Hammerfest a few times when we’re on with Feed the Rhino – really heavy band and we go down incredibly. I think we have an energy where we just want to go out there and cause absolute chaos by playing classic rock tunes. So we can fit in on any bill.

The response we’ve had from different bands has been incredible. Like recently we went out and support Airbourne and their crowd was just up for it, they wanted to cause a riot. Then we can go on with Quo who are older and more musical and we can go out and have a great show as well.

Tickets There: Is there anyone left that you’d love to go out and support on tour (Apart from Def Leppard and AC/DC of course)?

TG: If Guns N’ Roses get back together (laughs). Could be waiting a bit though.

Tickets There: I better let you head off and get ready for the tour. Just before I do, do you have any plans to tour outside of Europe this year? Just in case your friends on other continents are reading.

TG: It’s something that hasn’t been planned yet, but if something came up we definitely would. We haven’t toured Europe in such a long time and we want to get something big across here. With the record being out here we want to get on the road and support it. If something came up tomorrow, we wouldn’t complain though. Sit around and do nothing or tour? It’s not a question is it (laughs)

The Treatment play Dublin’s Academy 2 this Wednesday, June 18th. Tickets are on sale now from priced €15. Stone Trigger will support on the night.

Or, you could try and win your tickets by clicking here 🙂



Vivian Campbell | Talks 2Tickets

Posted in Interview, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2014 by Tickets There




For more than thirty years, Vivian Campbell has been a well-established figure in the world of heavy metal and hard rock. Since cutting his teeth with the influential Sweet Savage in the late seventies, Vivian has continuously worked with some of the genre’s finest artists. Firstly with the iconic DIO, where he wrote and contributed to the band’s first three solo albums, before a falling out with Ronnie led to his departure from the group. However, Vivian quickly landed on his feet when he joined Whitesnake to play on their 1987/88 ‘Whitesnake tour. But it wasn’t until 1992 that he finally found his home with eighties goliaths, Def Leppard and for the past twenty two years he has enjoyed every, high, low, success and challenge that the music world and life can possibly dish out – and he still goes back asking for more. Aside from Def Leppard, Vivian has also found time to release a solo album, play in various side projects, reunite with the original DIO line-up and spend a year with his all-time heroes, Thin Lizzy.

Last year, Vivian was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma but still continued to play with Last In Line and tour with Leppard around the US and Europe without ever missing a show, despite having to travel back and forth between tour dates to Los Angeles for treatment.

With Def Leppard currently camped in Dublin to work on new material, Vivian was good enough to take time out of the studio to talk with Tickets There about their new material, the recent re-issue of their Slang album, ballads, touring, Last In Line and enjoying the experience of short hair for the first time in his life.

Tickets There: Vivian, let’s start with the most recent Leppard release. What made you decide to release Slang ahead of some of the band’s better received albums?

VC: We released Slang firstly because we were able to and more importantly perhaps, because we really didn’t feel it got a fair shake when it came out in 1996. In the middle of the grunge era, it was a really difficult time for bands that represented the eighties, like Def Leppard. So even though we made a record in Slang that sounded of the times, it still really fell on deaf ears (no pun intended). So we decided to re-master and repackage it with all the material from around those times, all the bonus tracks and demo versions..etc. and put it out there in the hope that people will give it a more objective hearing in 2014 than it got in 1996.

Tickets There: At the time Slang was extremely well received by critics, but that still didn’t help it repeat the success of it’s immediate predecessors with the general public. Why do you think that was?

VC: Well, a good example of that was the first single in America, a song called ‘Work It Out’ which was actually my first writing contribution with the band I remember I was very excited about that prospect that my first song with the band would be the leadoff single then. That enthusiasm was very quickly dampened a few weeks after, when someone from our management called me to say the radio stations, like rock stations in America had loved the track and said it would totally fit their format but they just can’t play it because they can’t go on air and announce that was Def Leppard. You know they were playing The Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and stuff like that – you know and they just couldn’t fit Def Leppard into that format – regardless of how good or how bad the music sounded.

So we were between a rock and a hard place you know, it was really a lose-lose situation for us so we really don’t feel that people outside of the really hard-core Leppard fans got a chance to hear this record the first time around.

38223Tickets There: The re-issue has been out now for a few weeks, have you seen much feedback from fans who’ve turned around on their original opinion?

VC: A little bit. It did tend to polarize our traditional fan base and we kind of knew that going into it and that was the chance we took at the time. You know we knew there were people that just hated the sound of the nineties and just wanted Def Leppard to be Def Leppard, but we felt that the onus was on us more to respond to the musical movements of the time and to be influenced more by that than our traditional sound. The most traditional sounding Leppard we’ve made since then was the one that immediately followed Slang, Euphoria – the title of the record has an ‘IA’ like Pyromania and Hysteria. Even the cover and the art-work – everything about it yells a traditional Leppard record. That came out in 1999 when we felt it was ok to be ourselves again. We really were a band in crisis in 1996.

Tickets There: When you started making Slang, what was the goal of the band?

VC: We didn’t really know what we were doing but we knew what we couldn’t do. So we collectively decided that it was best for us not to make a record that sounded too much like Def Leppard and we had to deal with the lyrical content of rock music at the time was very dark and that’s obviously a 180 from songs like ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ and stuff like that. So we knew we had to adapt to that and write darker lyrical themes and stylistically make a record that sonically sounded of the times. We knew we’d step on somebody’s toes by doing it, but it just felt right at the time.

Tickets There: And when you listen back on it now 18 years later, how do you think it’s held up over these two decades?

VC: To be honest I haven’t listened to it yet – well not the repackaged version. I have a tendency not to listen to Def Leppard music..

Tickets There: (Laughs) I don’t think I’ll print that

VC: Well you know whatever anyone does for a living, I doubt they go home and do it again. For me it’s the same with Leppard. I actually don’t listen to a lot of music in general.

What I remember about the original recording of Slang was that it always had a vibrancy about it. I do think it’s one of Leppard’s better sounding records, to use a word not commonly associated with Leppard, but it’s a more organic sounding record. Just in the way we recorded the drums, Rick (Allen) played acoustic drums and for the guitars we went old school – putting mics in front of cabinets instead of taking directs, which is mostly the way Leppard records. It does have a bit more air in the sonics which gives it a bit more depth as a result. I always remember it being my favourite record sonically from the band.

1992%20-%20Have%20You%20Ever%20back%20cover%20picTickets There: Looking back to those times, what was it like coming from bands like Whitesnake and DIO and coming into Leppard, one of the biggest bands of the nineteen eighties just at the beginning of this big change. Was it what you expected when you joined the band or were things very different than you’d imagined?

VC: Certainly by the time we got to Slang it was all off kilter. At the time, when I joined my biggest concern wasn’t the changing musical trends, because I don’t think any of us had registered that by early 92. My bigger concern was whether I really wanted to join another band and it didn’t matter who it was. I’d been in and out of so many bands at that stage and I didn’t have a good track record. So I’d basically given up on bands at that time and I was under contract to Sony records and I was writing with co-writers and cutting demos with an eye to make a solo record. So I was searching for a music direction of my own at the time and basically given up on trying to make a band, but obviously when the opportunity came to join Def Leppard it was different. I mean, there’s bands and then there’s bands and Leppard are a massive, massive band and a group that I’d always been a fan off. Furthermore I knew Joe (Elliott) socially and I knew the kind of guy he was and even if I didn’t know the other guys in the band, I kind of figured if they’re anything like Joe its probably a different kind of proposition to DIO or Whitesnake.

So both parties had to think long and hard whether it was the right arrangement. Joe felt I was perfect for the band but the guys in Leppard, who didn’t know me [personally] only knew me by reputation and that I could play guitar. The things they didn’t know was A, I could actually sing a bit too and B, that I’m actually not the guy who can’t keep a job (laughs). It’s possible they probably thought that, given my reputation of being hired and fired x2 in DIO and Whitesnake. So we basically went through a courtship that lasted a couple of months over this. It was nothing really to do with the music, it was all about the personalities and whether or not we can make it work. It’s been twenty two years so its definitely working out.

Tickets There: Yes, I don’t think you’re in much danger of losing this gig.

VC: No (laughs), you know people think ‘He must be an asshole to work with because he keeps getting fired’, but there’s a lot more to it than that. DIO and Whitesnake were never real bands and that’s the big difference between them and Leppard. I mean Leppard really is a democratic band. It’s five guys and creatively it is very open. And it’s not sunshine and roses all the time, but we respect each other and we do get along. Whereas DIO, no matter how Ronnie tried to portray it and despite the fact that Jimmy Bain wrote most of the music it was never a real band, it was always Ronnie’s call at the end of the day. Whitesnake as well, history has spoken on behalf of that. There’s been dozens of, and I’m not kidding, that’s not an exaggeration; different musicians through the doors of Whitesnake over the years and the only constant has been Coverdale, so it’s obviously his band you know.

VivianwTickets There: So you’re currently in Dublin with the rest of the band working on new material. How have things been going?

VC: It’s actually going very well. We’ve got about nine things on the go currently, although most of them aren’t finished as, there’s a load of top melodies and lyrics to be written yet. The way the band works is very bizarre and I won’t even begin to try and explain that to you now, but for us this is great progress. especially considering we only started three weeks ago.

Tickets There: These sessions took everyone a little by surprise. Did you intend on coming out with a new album?

VC: When we came here we weren’t sure if we were going to make a full album or try and get a few songs to put out this year, but as things progressed, and they progressed rapidly and very well so we decided to do a full length album. Our goal is to have it done by this time next year and get it released by spring 2015 and to tour extensively on that next year. This year we will be doing a summer tour but it’ll only be the states most likely. We’ll also be coming back to Dublin in May, I wouldn’t say to finish up the record but to do a second instalment. There will need to be a third, possibly fourth instalment to get it finished, but it is progressing very well.

Tickets There: And has the re-issue of Slang changed the way the band is setting up this time at all?

VC: We did set up for the first time since the Slang record to record together, the five of us in real time because we don’t normally do that. We generally build a track up bit by bit and it’s always one guy working and its thoroughly, thoroughly tedious. So it was exciting to actually get in there and play and try to capture some of the dynamics we have as a live band. In the first week we actually got four rock tracks together and that was also  a concern of ours coming into this. We wanted to make sure, even though we want to make a very comprehensive, modern Leppard sounding record, we did want to make sure we had the rock element covered and we actually  for that out of the way like it was no-one’s business in the first week. This is what happens when you play together as a band, you tend to write rock songs as opposed to when you do it individually and you tend to get drawn into doing mid-tempo, little dirgy ballady type stuff. So it’s good that we got to play together and somewhat collaborate with each other on the stuff. Still a lot of it has to be determined, but so far we’ve got the rock element covered and we’re getting into some more studio crafted songs here at the moment and we’ll be wrapping up here in the next couple of days and pick it up again in May.

Tickets There: You’ve made references in the past to your lack of enthusiasm towards ballads. Would you prefer to make an all rock Leppard album?

VC:I’m not against the ballad side of it, but I’ve seen how we get drawn into that a little bit too much at the expense of our rock tracks. If you think that first and foremost the band was a rock band we all come from that rock element and it’s something we needed to address. I don’t think it would be right for the band to go out and make a High ‘N’ Dry style album where every song is pretty much hard rock. I don’t think that’s where we are and I don’t think that’s representative of us as fifty year old men. Having said that, we’re a great, great live band and we can certainly still rock so it was important that a considerable percentage of any album we’re doing is leaning towards rock.

Tickets There: Def Leppard is sometimes seen by fans as a band that’s split on the issue of social media. How do you feel about the changes in the music over the past few years and the move towards releasing music online and moving away from traditional formats?

VC:I personally have done that 100% and have felt that way for several years, but that’s just my personal opinion, that’s not the opinion of the band necessarily. Again it depends who you ask in the band. I think a couple of the guys would be with me on that and a couple of others might be vehemently against it. It is what it is. I’m not saying I embrace it because I think it’s the better thing, but you can’t ignore the facts when they’re staring you in the face. We live in a very rapidly changing world. I’m not personally a fan of social media, I don’t use it for my personal life, but I do enjoy the ability it’s given me to connect to Def Leppard fans and I found it a useful tool to gauge what people are thinking and what [Def Leppard] fans are thinking with regard to us. Like I say  I don’t have a personal Facebook page where I go back and forth with my family, I still believe in more traditional means of communication, but the record business and the whole music business has changed dramatically and anyone who denies it is beyond a  luddite (laughs). Its Darwin’s theory, you evolve or you die.


Copyright – Sexy Tickets There

Tickets There: You mentioned Leppard are going to tour this year and there’s a tasty rumour going around that it may involve KISS and Poison. Can you shed any light on what’s going to be announced?

VC: I’d say you’d be half right there, but only half right and half wrong (laughs). There will be an announcement of our tour imminently, we’re talking a matter of days. It has to be announced  because we’re almost at summertime.

Tickets There: Do you think fans outside America will see you in 2014?

VC: Not at this point, but never say never. Something might come up at the last moment where we get a great offer to do a European show and upon that we could add a few others, but I would be very surprised. Most likely if we get this record finished for next spring that would see us doing a world tour of sorts, whatever that means nowadays. Certainty Europe, Australia and Japan would be our hope.

Tickets There: Last year, Def Leppard played a massive successful residency in Las Vegas that focused on the Hysteria Album. Does it look likely we’ll see a Viva Pyromania residency soon?

VC: We have a standing invitation to do that again whenever it suits us. It’s just a question of how long we end up touring this summer versus our desire to get this record finished. Personally I’d be surprised if that happened in 2014, but I wouldn’t be shocked it happened in early 2015.

Tickets There: That sounds better, I think I could afford it by then.

VC:  (Laughs)

Tickets There: I just want to talk a little bit, if you have time about your work with Last In Line

VC: Absolutely, I’ve always got time to talk about that (laughs). I’m really passionate about (L.I.L.). I really enjoy playing with Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain again.

Tickets There: Can you tell us how you started playing with the guys after so many years apart?

VC: I blame Thin Lizzy for it. That’s where it happened again that I got a few months touring Europe and the States with Lizzy in 2011 as a stunt guitar player and that really reignited my passion for the instrument. Thin Lizzy were such an influential band to me growing up and playing those songs, playing ‘Black Rose’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Emerald’ and ‘Don’t Believe a Word’, playing all those great songs that I knew inside out onstage with Brian Downey and Scott Gorham, it brought me back to being fifteen again and reminded me of why it is I love playing Guitar.

1004657_497593280335574_1518072312_nAs soon as I came of that tour I called Vinny and I called Jimmy and we just got together, into a rehearsal room and that’s all it was. I just wanted to play with them again, play some rock and it just sounded so great. We hadn’t played together in twenty seven years and it literally sounded like it had only been twenty seven minutes. The chemistry was just there, it had never gone away and it’s so tight just to play with those guys.

Then one thing led to another. Vinny said he knew this singer called Andrew Freeman so he invited Andy down that day. Andy came down and knew the songs so started singing. Then we talked, jokingly that we should do a gig or two. One thing led to another and we ended up doing a handful of shows last year despite a lot of setbacks and we managed to get the ball rolling on it. We started with a few local shows in Southern California, Las Vegas and what not. Now we’re actually going in to record some new music, even though that was never our intention. It just seemed the next logical step after we’d done some shows, it just seemed right to take it a stage further and try to create a sound that’s ours, not just trying to recreate the DIO sound.

Tickets There: You mentioned earlier that the DIO was such a major factor of the original band, how is the new music sounding and how can you avoid DIO’s legacy hanging over it?

VC: It’s obviously always going to sound a bit like DIO, We’re playing those songs that we wrote and recorded. The difference is that Andy doesn’t sound anything like Ronnie and that’s actually what motivated me to go out and do some gigs. If he’d come in there being a Ronnie clone I’d have been very disinclined to go any further with it because I don’t want it to just be a tribute to Ronnie’s voice. Furthermore I think that Ronnie is a really, really tough act to try and duplicate. He had such a unique sounding voice. So the fact that Andy didn’t sound anything like him really appealed to me. The reason for that was that it put the focus on the songs and the original band. The focus goes to the guitar, the bass and the drums and therefore the guys that made the records. Not only did we make those records, but what a lot of people don’t even realize is that we wrote the songs […] obviously including Ronnie’s input which was monumental but there was a real sound that we had, the fact that Andy didn’t sound like Ronnie somehow resonated with me that it was ok to go out and play those songs and have the focus somewhere else.

1013077_497595363668699_1603434518_nPeople then started asking me, ‘are you going to start making new music’. At first I said no because it was never on my field of thought, but then it became more apparent that for Last In Line to move forward and to be taken to that next level, that’s what we needed to do. Furthermore we got into the studio just a few weeks ago, in early January and started writing. Just Jimmy, Vinnie and myself and it was so effortless that way we came across new music it just fell out of us like it did on the first record, on Holy Diver. It was so easy for us to come up with musical ideas. We act as great springboards for each other. Like when I play something for the guys, they instinctively know where to go and vice versa. We came up with a half a dozen song ideas in a matter of days. Then Andy came in and we exchanged vocal and melody ideas and we’re kind of kicking around in the middle stage between now and April 20th when we’re going into the studio to start recording. Hopefully it’ll finally gel and that final 5/10% will come into place. It really is an exciting thing for me, but it’s a very different way to the way Def Leppard writes and records which is also equally invigorating.   

Tickets There: And will you be letting any ballads through on the Last In Line album?

VC: Fuck no (laughs)

Tickets There: As if Def Leppard and Last In Line wasn’t enough, there’s also reports that you’re planning a second solo album. Have you found time to work on that at all?

VC: That’s kind of open ended for me. There’s no actual agenda for it. Obviously the Leppard thing is what it is and I’ve told you the schedule or the proposed schedule for that. With Last In Line I would hope to have a record done at some point this year. As regards my record I’ve already gone in and started on six tracks. I’ve six backing tracks completed and I’ve got the songs written, I’ve got the lyrics and melodies or them. I will at some point this summer get those six finished. My only real concerns with regards to that is if I can physically sing all of them. There might be one or two of them that are out of my range and out of my comfort zone as a singer.

I won’t really know till I try how it happens, but I may have to bring in a guest singer. At this stage it’s my intention to do it all on my own and it’s going to be very much be rock record. That’s not to say there might not be a ballad on that (laughs), but my focus is on making a rock record. There’ll be a lot of guitar, riff oriented songs. On the tracks I’ve cut so far I used some of the guys from a bar band I play with back in Los Angeles occasionally, all stellar musicians.

Tickets There: Moving back to last year, you went through a very traumatizing experience and I believe you were forced to cut your hair for the first time since you were eleven?

vivian4VC: (Laughs) That was actually one of the benefits. Long hair, I let that identify me. It becomes so much part of your identity when you have your hair long your whole adult life. Then there’s this fear of letting go of it. I would never, or at least very, very reluctantly ever have had my hair cut. Of course then when you have chemo you don’t have a choice, it just falls out. I was kind of forced into the issue and I’m actually very thankful for it because I’m enjoying life with short hair and the convenience of it. A lot of people have actually said it makes me look younger so I’m fine with it (laughs).

Tickets There: And how has recovery been going?

VC: I completed around six months of chemo and so far so good. Although truth be told I have to go in and do another biopsy when I get back to LA in two weeks as my last scan wasn’t very clean. It might be nothing or it might be that it hasn’t all gone away yet, in which case I’m really not that concerned about it. It’s a process that you just have to go through and it’s one of the most curable forms of cancer and I’m very fortunate that mine was caught very, very early in its progression. I’m not very worried about it, but it’s an inconvenience to go through the process.

Tickets There: Rather than back down or let it affect you, you went out last year and did a massive amount of work and touring with Leppard and Last In Line. How were you able to put yourself though all that and still deliver every day?

VC: Well actually I was very thankful that I could. I think it would have been physically and mentally more difficult to go through for me if I didn’t have my work to do. I actually wished that Leppard had some more shows last summer. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I was physically very strong going into it all. Even before I was diagnosed I was relatively fit, being vegetarian for thirty years or so. I work out a lot, play football a lot and run a lot and I’ve been working with a trainer regularly for years. Then when I was diagnosed I ramped up my training and built up a lot of muscle mass as I knew I was going to lose a lot through chemo. With cancer there’s all sorts of different levels and of course people personal pain management threshold and tolerance levels so either my chemo wasn’t as severe as I have just enough stubborn Irish tolerance that I was able to keep going (laughs).

Tickets There would like to wish Vivian many, many thanks for participating in this interview and we wish you well with your treatment, the Last In Line album and of course the next sessions with Leppard.

INTERVIEW: Mark Hamilton (ASH)

Posted in Interview, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2011 by Tickets There

© Phil O'Kane -

Since forming nearly two decades ago, ASH have become the brightest champions of alternative / pop / punk rock to emerge from Northern Ireland. Their career is practically one long repertoire of greatest hits and there’s no sings of stopping them, especially since they’re all at least ten years younger than any other band with similar life spans. In 2009 they embarked on the extremely adventurous challenge of releasing 26 singles within the space of 12 months, working out at a new single every fortnight. This was done to combat the boredom they had begun to encounter while strapped into the machine that is, the music business. Titled the A-Z singles, the project proved to be a massive success and not only showed that Ash could more than hold their own in the ever changing landscape of releasing music, but it also added a healthy new dose of incredible music for fans to enjoy.

2011 sees the band gearing up for a summer tour that’ll take in dates across mainland Europe, Japan the UK and Eire, including dates in Dublin, Portrush, Belfast, Sligo and Cork. We managed to catch bassist Mark Hamilton for a quick chat while the band were camped in London rehearsing (or ‘messing around’ in Mark’s words), to discuss the success and challenges of the A-Z project, the forthcoming tour, band changes, grotesque videos, debauchery filled documentaries and parenthood…not in that order.

TT:       So the tour kicks off this weekend, are you looking forward to it?

Mark:   Ah yeah, obviously there’s a lot of things to get ready. Number one we haven’t played in six months and number two we’ve got a new drummer, or a stand in drummer for this tour because Rick’s (McMurray) about to become a da.

TT:       Really? I hadn’t heard. When is the baby due?

Mark:   It’s overdue now so he’s waiting with bated breath for the baby to arrive and we’ve got in Alan (Lynn) from LaFaro, who are friends of ours from Belfast. Rick’s at home with his feet up, having his last few days of freedom before the baby arrives. I’ve got a two year old and he does not know what’s about to hit him (laughs).

TT:       Speaking of bringing in other musicians, Last year you roped in Russell Lissack from Bloc Party for your live shows. Will he be joining you for this tour?

Mark:   Russell’s got some other things he’s got to do for the next couple of weeks so unfortunately he won’t be with us for June, but he will be back in July. We’ll just be a three piece in June and then Rick and Russell will be back in July so the four of us will be back again, just in time for the show in Cork.

TT:       Before you hired Russell, did you have anyone else in mind for the spot?

Ehm, he was the first person we thought of. We knew that Bloc Party were taking a bit of a break, cause Kele (Okereke) was doing his solo album, so we’d met Russell on tour in the past and he seemed like an obvious fit. We knew that he’d played in an Ash covers band when he was younger so it seemed like such an obvious person to ask and it worked out really well. We didn’t really think of anyone else, it was just perfect. So, the answer to that’s no (laughs). The first person we thought of worked out.

TT:       You’ve mentioned before that you miss Charlotte in the band and that having another person on stage helps add layers to your live sound. Would you ever consider recruiting another musician full time or do ye want to remain a three piece?

Mark:   I think it works in the studio and creatively and stuff to just be a three piece, but it’s been fun having Russell around on tour and it’s certainly worth while having another guitar. A lot of the songs have more than one guitar and have dual guitar parts so it works live. Going forward Russell will go back to Bloc Party whenever they start up again. I don’t know, we haven’t really looked that far ahead yet.

TT:       Going back to the tour, Any hints about the set-list you’re planning or will it change from date to date?

Mark:   Ah we’re just working that out. Obviously all the core singles that people expect to hear will be in there and then we’ll mix in some of the new A-Z songs and I guess a selection of albums tracks from all the years. We’ve essentially got eight albums worth of material to choose from so…

TT:       You’re not stuck for a few tunes?

Mark:   We’re not no (laughs), everyone’s going to hear what they want. We’ll go up and play for an hour and half and hopefully everyone will be happy enough.

TT:       Have you ever considered doing a full tour of every A-Z single?

We talked about doing that once, but then we just thought it would be too much new music for people. I don’t know, we talked about it very briefly and maybe it’s something we could look at again, but I’m not sure. It would be a pretty long show (laughs). Would anyone have an attention span to listen to like, three and half hours of new music? (laughs).

TT:       Speaking of the A-Z, A few years ago you publicly announced that you would stop using conventional album formats to release your music and soon after you released the A-Z single series. Now that it’s all over, are you happy with the decision you made?

Mark:   Well, I think we said that knowing what we were going to do next, well having an idea of what we wanted to do next with the A-Z and it was the biggest artistic challenge and project we’ve ever worked on. I don’t know if we’ll every try to do something that big again because it’s essentially four albums worth of music when you count all the tracks that we didn’t use, because we recorded something like 56 songs.

It was the biggest creative challenge that we’ve ever undertaken but we’ll try to do something inventive and something different again, but maybe not quite as BIG (exhausted sounding). I don’t know how we’ll go about doing that yet. You have to come up with new ideas and the idea of releasing another 12 track album just doesn’t sound very appealing. The A-Z idea was a very daunting idea and that fact that we were going to be making it up as we were going along was quite exciting as well.

TT:       You didn’t have all the songs written in advance?

Mark:   No, not all of them all. We certainly had a bunch of then but not all. We were still writing them as they were being released.

TT:       Did you find it harder to promote the series compared to an album?

Mark:   Well the art work was very generic, it was basically just a colour and a letter (laughs). That was the thing that tied everything together. For videos we kind of picked 5 main singles and we allocated small budgets for each one. It was funded from our own pockets so there were only low budgets allocated for those (few singles) and you can’t afford to make 26 videos.

They were mostly pitched on-line and that’s the way we did it. Most of the things we did were on Facebook or social media on the net. We released through our own Atomic Heart label so we didn’t have the big machine of the record company advertising campaign behind us with back pages of the NME advertising our album ya know? It just wasn’t there any more so it was more streamlined, a different kettle of fish altogether.

TT:       You  mention that you wrote almost 50 songs for the release. Did you hold back at all for future projects or are you working on all fresh material for the next release?

Mark:   Ah no as most of them have been released in some shape or form. A lot of them have been used as bonus tracks in different ways. Some were given away as bonus tracks in Japan, a lot of them were given away as bonus tracks to subscribers on the website. Some were also given away on ITunes and websites, so they all ended up getting used inevitably. There’s probably a handful that are still left but they will get used, probably not on a new project but they’ll get used as bonus tracks in some shape of form in the future.

TT:       Did you worry at all about trying to keep people’s attention for the year while you were doing the project?

Mark:   It was much more low key because of the very nature of it, but I think our fans were very engaged with it because they had new music coming every two weeks and they had something to look forward to and that was quite exciting. Obviously we didn’t have the big public profile around the whole thing but, the core fan base were very engaged throughout. It was interesting to see how it played out.

TT:      Over the past few years you’ve been filming footage for your very own ‘slasher’ flick and last year finally saw some of this footage appear. The one question of everyone’s mind is what happens next and when do we get to see it?

Mark:   Oh yeah, there’s more. We kind of did a bit on the Binary video, but there’s a good bit more. I don’t know when it’ll drop it though, but we probably won’t wait too long. There’s a lot of the Coldplay boys in it so we’re kind of holding it until they come back with new material. Whenever their profiles back up it’ll come out (laughs).

TT:       The question of adventurous music videos has come up in the past with the video for ‘Carnal Love’ being an excellent example. Have you ever entertained the notion of exploring further into the film field?

Mark:   Carnal love, the weird food fetish one (laughs), very strange. I guess, when you start a band you don’t do it to make videos let’s say, but it’s one of those things you end up having to do. Whenever we started we thought they were really annoying, ‘oh you’ve got to make videos, you’ve got to enjoy making them and look the way the director’s making you look’. They kind of annoyed us to start with and then after a while we realized we should probably get a bit more involved in them and start, you know, have a bit of fun with them. So over time we got more involved and have more fun making them. The Carnal Love video is quite twisted (laughs).

TT: ASH fans are always speculating about another notorious video you made during the making if 1977. Any chance that’ll ever see the light of day?

Mark:   Yes actually, we had a meeting about that this morning. It was a tour documentary filmed over a year and a half  after 1977 came out and It’s been hidden away in a vault for almost fifteen years. We’ve always been wondering when we’re going to release this thing and I think we’ve worked out a way how that’s going to be done. It’ll probably be released before the end of the year.

TT:       Are the rumours about the bands various ‘Dionysian’ escapades true?

Mark:   Well, as you say at the time we didn’t want it to be released because we didn’t want out parents to disown us (laughs).

TT:       For nearly twenty years Ash’s core line up of yourself, Rick and Tim have survived massive success, line-up changes in one form or another, major label backing, DIY creativeness, constantly changing styles of popular music, all the while never losing your energy or ending up in court suing each other. What’s the ASH secret that as alluded so many other popular bands?

Mark:   Ah, I don’t know. We’re basically just mates from school. I guess it’s become like a second family and families have fights and feuds or whatever but you always get over it. When you’re younger you can be a lot more precious about your music and more stubborn and not willing to bend or try new things out. Now we’re older and we try to change and experiment more and try things out that we wouldn’t have when we were younger. For example, ‘Twilight of Innocents’ or ‘White Rabbit’, are maybe not what you’d call ‘classic Ash’.

TT:       A few years ago you set up your own record label to release music through. Have you enjoyed the freedom this has brought you?

Mark:   Oh yeah, you can do exactly what you want you know? We didn’t have to answer to anybody so in that way it was nice (laughs).

TT:       Have you found it any harder getting your name out there without the record company backing and Do you think things have changed a lot since when you first started out?

Mark:   To some degree you’ve got a prejudice there, or preconceptions of who you are. You know, we’re not a new band so we’re not going to get that media hype around us because we’ve essentially got two decades of what people think we are. So, even if we come out with new material which sounds like nothing we’ve done in the past, people will still think ‘oh it’s Ash’. To some degree you’re always going to be fighting against that, but you also have to respect that. We just have to go out there and try to think of clever ways to catch peoples imagination and that’s what we’ll keep trying to do.

The A-Z single Vol. I & II or on sale now. Catch ASH on tour in 2011 at the following dates.

03/06/11 – Rock im Park Festival, Germany
04/06/11 – Rock am Ring Festival, Germany
06/06/11 – Dublin Whelans, Ireland
07/06/11 – Portrush Playhouse, N. Ireland
08/06/11 – Belfast Empire, N. Ireland
10/06/11 – Temple House Festival, Ireland
11/06/11 – Pinkpop Festival, Holland
12/06/11 – Breda Club Mezz, Holland
14/06/11 – Abart Zurich, Switzerland
16/06/11 – Roma Vintage, Italy
17/06/11 – Rock Planet in Pinarella di Cervia, Italy
18/06/11 – Trouble Festival, Italy
16/07/11 – Naon-Mugen Festival, Japan
24/07/11 – Sheffield Tramlines Festival, UK
25/07/11 – York The Duchess, UK
27/07/11 – Coventry Kasbah, UK
28/07/11 – Bath Komedia, UK
29/07/11 – Southend Chinnery’s, UK
30/07/11 – Indiependence Festival, Ireland

Interview with Liz Is Evil’s Jay Bagnall

Posted in General Tickets There Blog, Interview, Music with tags , , on May 28, 2011 by ticketssteve

Jay Bagnall is fast becoming one of the most respected drummers in Ireland.  Best known for his part in Punk rockers Liz Is Evil, and for reclaiming the drum solo. Liz Is Evil’s debut album ‘Failed Philosophy’ appeared in Dan Hegarty’s list of Top Irish Albums of 2010. While more recently they have opened for  The Beat.  We caught up with him to talk about all things Evil, and all things drum.

TT: What attracted you to the drums in the first place?

JB: “When I was younger, I was just attracted to the idea of hitting things, didn’t matter what it was. Chairs, tables, trees….I just hit them. When I saw a drum kit for the first time, I was just astounded at how big they were, I didn’t even know what each drum was called……I was just allowed to hit them. From then on, I knew I wanted to play drums.”

TT: How old where you when you first picked up the sticks?

JB: “I was probably 6, or 7 when I got my first drum kit for Christmas. I remember before I had my first kit, being allowed into a friends’ house to play drums after school every so often. It was great, I couldn’t even reach the kick pedal at the time! I’m glad I got to start young, it helped immensely.”

TT: Did it come naturally to you?

JB: “I remember being able to play the intro to “Paradise City” fairly good when I picked up sticks for the first time. As I said, I used to hit and tap things all the time, so rhythm came naturally to me. I used to dance alot when I was a kid too, so that probably helped my overall sense of timing, and rhythm in general. My Mam and Dad got me a bigger kit two weeks after they got me my first one, so I must have been doing something right!”

TT: Who were your original influences?

JB: “When I was younger, my Mam and Dad used to play all sorts of music in the house. From pop, to rock, to punk, to dance music. So musically, I had a mixed bag of influences to start off with. The first drummer I remember being truly inspired by was Animal from The Muppets. I remember watching an episode, and just being awestruck that a puppet could play drums! Seriously though, the first drummer that inspired me would probably have been Steven Adler from G’n’R. I loved the sound of the drums on Appetite, even as a kid who hadn’t a clue about sound, or drumming in general. I remember just drumming along to anything I could when I was younger. I used to do a lot of air drumming too, which helped. Later influences when I got a little older would have been John Otto, Chad Smith, Dave Silveria and most of the rock and metal drummers of the 90’s. Now that I’m a little older, I listen to all sorts of music, so drummers like Buddy Rich, Steve Smith, Tony Williams, and Neil Peart have really opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

TT: What was the first album/song you bought was it purely for the drumming?

JB: “I remember buying Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish album when I started getting pocket money….I was blown away by their drummer John Otto and what he could do. That was the first album I’d bought, and owned, when I was around 13 or 14. I didn’t really need to buy a lot of music when I was younger, my folks had tonnes of music in the house for me to listen to. I’d just go through what they had, pop it on, and drum all day.”

TT: What was the first gig you attended?

JB: “My Mam used to sing in a band when she was younger. I used to get to go to her gigs, which was great, because I was allowed to mess around on the drums when they weren’t playing. But the first gig I attended, on my own, was Ozzfest back in ’02. It was such an amazing experience, to see all of my favourite bands and drummers in one huge, big festival. That gig showed me how loud, and proud you could play drums.”

TT: What was the name of your first band and were you any good?

JB: “Wow….The first band I formed was a band called Alloy’d when I was around 12. It was a metal band. It was me, and my friend Chris on guitar. We thought we were amazing, I remember having decent chops back then, but not enough to play really heavy metal, which is what I was beginning to get into at that age. We eventually let my brother Lee in to play. We got progressively better once we started jamming more frequently. I still play in that band to this day. We’ve come a long way since rehearsing in my bedroom all those years ago.”

TT: When and where did you play your first gig?

JB: “I was asked by a friend of mine’s older brother to join a band with him. They used to do cover songs, and a few originals. My first gig with them was when I was maybe…..13 or 14, in Eamonn Dorans. That was around 11 years ago now. I started gigging when I was younger, I was lucky to be asked to join bands that had musicians that were older than me. I remember doing a drum solo at one of my Mams gigs’ when I was really young too. Can’t remember how old I was though.”

TT: Was there a eureka moment when you said this is what I want to do for a living?

JB: “When I used to rehearse in my bedroom as a kid, I used to play as loud as I could so everyone on the road could hear me. I used to hope that someone would hear me and think I was good enough to join a band, so there was never really a eureka moment. The desire has always been there, ever since I had my first kit. I wanted to be a drummer, making a living from it or not, I knew I just wanted to do it.”

TT: How many bands have you been in before and how many are you currently in?

JB: “I honestly can’t put a number on how many bands I’ve been in. I’ve been very lucky in that so many people have asked me to play in bands with them. I’ve always been juggling bands since I started gigging, I prefer it that way. If you’re not busy, you’re bored, as far as I’m concerned. Currently, I’m playing in 5 bands, Liz Is Evil, IAmACarCrash, Alloy’d, The Nom Nom Noms, and one unnamed covers band. Some rehearse and gig more than others, so it’s not too bad juggling between them. I enjoy drumming, so any chance I get to play, I’m all over it.”

TT: Are you a drum whore then?

JB: “That’s something I’ve been called many, many times, among other things……”

TT: What did you learn from each of the experiences?

JB: “In each band I’ve been in, I’ve taken something from it. Whether it’s how to play odd time signatures, how to hit harder (or softer….), or even the business side of the music industry, I’ve taken something away from each and every gig, rehearsal, and experience with a band. I’m like a sponge, I just soak up as much information as I possibly can when I’m drumming, or watching another drummer, or musician, play.”

TT: Do you drum in your sleep or have drumming dreams?

JB: “People always tell me to stop drumming, or tapping when I’m not behind a kit….it’s infectious. It’s a serious problem that I have, I can’t help it. I have had some weird drumming dreams, and woken up saying ‘Damn……I need help!’. Drumming is such a huge part of my life, that I’d be a little worried if I didn’t have dreams about it now and then.”

TT: What is your favourite drum beat and why?

JB: “I absolutely love the simplicity of Come Together by The Beatles, but then again love the ferociousness and complexity of Danny Carey’s drum solo in Forty Six and Two, by Tool. My favourite though, would have to be John Otto’s drumming on Re-Arranged by Limp Bizkit. His feel, and pocket on that song are unparallelled in my opinion. He throws ghost notes all over the place, displaces the beat here and there. To this day I’m still awestruck by it. There are plenty of other beats that I love, but I would honestly be all day talking about them.”

TT: Who is your favourite drummer and why?

JB: “John Otto, without a doubt. He’s been a huge inspiration on me. I love other drummers like Gavin Harrison, Joey Jordison, Stewart Copeland……I listen to any drummer who can play well, and knows what they’re doing, even if I don’t particularly like the song.”

TT: Do you play and other instruments?

JB: “I’m learning how to play guitar, and bass at the moment. I can play a tiny bit of keyboard too. I have a good understanding of chords, and scales, I just haven’t been able to put them into practice yet. I do a little singing too.”

TT: Are you a frustrated songwriter?

JB: “Absolutely. I have so many ideas in my head, but can’t quite communicate them just yet. Someday, I’ll be able to write, and perform my own song.”

TT: Will we ever see you do a Dave Grohl and front a band or solo project?

JB: “That is something I’d be very interested in doing. I love Dave Grohl, and his approach to music, and drumming. He’s fantastic. One of my biggest inspirations, also.”

TT: Why is drumming dismissed by the mass media when it is one of most important components in popular music?

JB: “I think drummers get a bad wrap because in some regards we’re still considered ‘just the drummer’. I’m very lucky, in that I rarely get treated that way. If you think about it, songs like Sunday, Bloody Sunday, or Give It Away Now wouldn’t be the songs they are without those memorable drum intro’s. I think the drums in a song are just as important as the melody. You dance, and tap along to a song just as much as you would hum, or sing it. I hate the idea that good drumming doesn’t get as much respect as a really catchy hook. I love catchy lyrics, and great melodies, but when people tell me that the drums in a song aren’t nearly as important as everything else, it gets on my nerves. Drummers don’t get treated as bad now though, I guess. There’s plenty of drummers out there fronting bands now, I love knowing that the front man of a band is a drummer, or that the drummer is the focus of a band. That being said, I don’t think drumming is the only part of music I love, I just don’t like when people disregard it as something that can be done by a machine, or that anyone can play drums.”

TT: Have you done much session work and are you available for session work?

JB: “I’ve done a few sessions here and there, and I most certainly am available for work. I get called on to do live gigs, or reherse with bands, and help with arrangements of songs. I’d love to do more recording work though.”

TT: Who would you like to work with then?

JB: “Anyone who’ll have me. That’s the honest to God’s truth.”

TT: What advice would you give any budding drummers?

JB: “Stay fit is one priority I can’t stress enough, especially if you’re a rock drummer. If you don’t have the stamina to play then you’re leaving yourself short, because you can’t devote your full energy into the music. Practice, practice, practice! The great thing about drumming is that you can literally practice anywhere, anytime. Don’t listen when people tell you to stop tapping. Build your drumming repertoire by listening to as much music as you can, and bring it into your style. Just be yourself when you play, don’t try and play like anyone else, because you aren’t them, you’re you. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t play a particular song, or beat, always know that you will eventually be able to do it, it just takes time. I could go on all day talking about this, but one thing that I’d say to anyone who wants to play drums – LISTEN to the musicians around you, and don’t let your ego get in the way of the music. Oh, and look after your ears, believe me……”

TT: Whats happening next with Liz is Evil?

JB: “At the moment, we’re promoting our album ‘Failed Philosophy’ which is available in stores, and on iTunes now. We have a few gigs lined up for March, and April. Check out our Facebook page for dates, and venues. Hope to see you there!” for further details

Ryan Sheridan (Interview 11th May 2011)

Posted in Interview, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by goodgutterpress

With a debut album ‘The Day You Live Forever’ in the bag, Ryan Sheridan brings his brand of high temp acoustic rock to Set Theatre, Kilkenny tonight. With single ‘Jigsaw’ getting loads of airplay and supporting slots with The Script recently in the O2 the Monaghan man is set for big things. Tickets There caught up with Sheridan before the gig to talk about the new record, living inNew York and Riverdance.  

Tickets There: Firstly, how’s the tour going so far?

Ryan: The tour is going brilliant so far. It’s full crowds every night, you know we’ve had a great response. People already know some of the songs from the album so I’m over the moon about that. Yeah it’s going really really well.

Tickets There: “The day you live forever” was released on Friday. Can you tell me a little bit about it? For example, how would you describe the album?

Ryan: It has been along time coming – this album. I think it’s a bit of a storyboard of my life that started years ago. There are some songs in there that were conceived in New York and then I started writing for the album so it’s a bit of a storyboard. There’s a bit of everything for everybody kind of thing.

Tickets There: You left Ireland in your teens and went to the US to perform with Riverdance. With so much time spent over there are there many American influences on the record?

Ryan: I got immersed in bluegrass in a big way because I’ve a bit of a traditional head so I would have to say I was drawn to that and that comes out on the album. Also Jeff Buckley was very influential around that time and Tom Waits.

Tickets There: Has performing as a dancer for Riverdance influenced your musical style?

Ryan: Yeah it definitely has. I was away since I was fifteen years old until I was twenty-two so its definitely influenced the live shows. Plus I was a fiddle player at one stage so that influenced my style as well.

Tickets There: In 2004 you moved from New York to Glasgow. What brought you to Scotland?

Ryan: I came back to New York after being a way for a little bit but I didn’t fancy it at the time so a friend of mine was playing music in Glasgow and that’s when I moved over there and decided to start a band. I felt I wanted to expand a bit. I was kind of a singer songwriter on the acoustic guitar and then I went to Glasgow and that was more of a band sense there. And I think there things were a little bit more experimental. I was trying to get a few things out of my head. You know I was working on guitar riffs and I was trying to develop a bigger sound.

Tickets There: And did you find it easy to make that progression from being a dancer with Riverdance to writing songs?

Ryan: Yeah it was, but it was also exciting and it was new. It all started in New York doing the pubs and clubs. But when I was in New York I was living on my own for a long time as well so you have to channel it some ways and song writing seemed to do that and so Glasgow took things further again. It was more instrumental and I wanted a bigger sound

Tickets There: What brought you back home to Ireland?

Ryan: I was sick of partying in Glasgow and so I decided to come back and try out Dublin for a while and I was looking for a drummer and I got on the internet and I found Artur my percussionist and that’s how we met for the first time.

Tickets There: I went to see you play on the weekend and it was great, I really enjoyed it. It was obvious to me that there is a strong musical relationship between you and Artur. You seem to have formed a tight unit, which for some acts takes years.

Ryan: Yeah it’s kind of strange. You know a fellow from Poland and a fellow form Monaghan playing together. But we started busking and jamming and it blended together really well. He’s hard to listen to sometimes and musically he’s alright [laughs].

Tickets There: You were first noticed by the manager of the Olympia theatre – Brian Whitehead. Can you tell me a little bit about how that happened?

Ryan: We were busking just last year in Temple Bar and lucky enough we got moved a few times by the Guards and then we said we try this one more spot. We started playing there and then I got a business card thrown into the guitar case. And then at the end of the day I was looking at it and I was thinking I know that name so I gave him a ring and it all just took off from there. A year later the album is out and I’m touring around the country. It was just meant to be.

Tickets There: The album is out on Rubyworks who also has the likes of Gavin Friday Sinead O’Connor and Fight Like Apes on their roster. What are they like as label?

Ryan:  Rubyworks are great. They’re very hands on. It’s a small independent label so. It’s possible a lot of the time to be a small fish in a small pond

Tickets There: Joe Chester produced the album. What was he like to work with?

Ryan: He was brilliant I have to say. He took us through our paces. He told us when to start and stop and helped us get what we needed out of our heads. And I’d say he helped to bring a very organic feel to it.

Tickets There: You played Oxygen last year and you are playing again this year. What is it like to play the festival circuit compared to smaller venues?

Ryan: I have to say I love the festivals. It’s just a totally different atmosphere. Everyone there for the music you know and people are tipsy all day and having the craic. Plus I think the songs sound great on the bigger stages. The bigger the better I say. 

Sweet Jane (Interview)

Posted in Interview, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , on April 30, 2010 by Tickets There

Formed over three years ago, Dublin four piece Sweet Jane have developed from a mistaken chat up line into one of the independents scenes highest hopes for 2010 and beyond. Originally formed by well known Dublin guitarist Danda and the soulful Lydia Des Dolles, they’ve been working overtime for the last three years carving out their own unique take on sixties psychedelic rock mixed with modern indie originated traits.

Most recently the band have been readying their debut album, Sugar For My Soul and playing shows throughout Ireland and getting people ready for their next favorite band. Tickets There was fortunate enough to get a chance to ask the wonderful, soon to be style icon Lydia Des Dolles a few questions about the bands origins, progress on their debut album and their plans for the future.

Tickets There – Sweet Jane started life in early 2007, how does it feel entering your third year as a group?

Lydia – I have a hard time answering this question normally, simply because the band has had so many stages, it was Christmas 07 / 08 when I first met Danda and we started recording on a 10-track in my apartment, and it took us quiet some time to take it into our studio and develop it into a full-time band, so this last year has felt like our first in the sense that everything seem to fall into place and we got serious.

Tickets There – In the beginning you went through several line-up changes. Would it be fair to say that Ruairi and Donagh are as much a part of Sweet Jane as yourself and Danda now?

Lydia – um, well with Ruairi he’s been in Sweet Jane since the beginning, he played guitar and we had a different bass player, it was by default that he started to play bass, we were on tour and the last date was a festival in Cork, but our bassist couldn’t play it, so Ruairi had to learn play bass, and we just stuck to it, being a four piece suited us alot better than have a stage full of people playing y’know? And with Donagh, I guess its fair to say he completed us, in the sense that we always had drummers that played with us but their heart wasn’t in it, and I cant tell you how much that sucks, Donagh came from nowhere, knew none of us, just really like our band.

Tickets There – This April see’s the release of your debut album, Sugar For My Soul. You must be thrilled after all the hard work put in that it’s finally ready to go?

Lydia It was originally scheduled for April, but we had some file problems sending the parts to our producer in LA, so instead of being rushed into an April release we chose to take our time and just put it out when its ready so, now its scheduled for June, the second week in June. But we have a single out around the end of April, to give everyone a taster of the record.

Tickets There – The albums release has been made possible by your signing to Reekus Records last November, how have they been treating you?

Lydia – Umm, I don’t think its that fair to say that it was made possible because of the record, we would have put it out independently had there have been no contract y’know, but having them on board with us has been such a blessing, its weird, because you work so hard and you fight for your place and then overnight someone else is fighting your corner for you, so its definitely a nice feeling.

Tickets There – Have you any plans for a single to coincide? And if so, what track have you picked?

Lydia – Yeah, the first single is going to be ”Close your Eyes”, it was so hard to pick a single, for us the record is all singles, but you obviously have to consider alot more when all these people are behind you now, y’know, we all had different singles, but at the end when we heard the final cut of the record, we all settled on ”Close your Eyes”.

Tickets There – Your first EP, Blackboots & Blackhearts was produced by Ryan Van Kriedt (Asteroid #4, ZAZA, Sunsplit, The Dead Skeletons), Did you rope him in again for the album or did you work with new people?

Lydia – We recorded we different people this time, but we always knew in our hearts that we’d have Ryan come back on board with us, when we done the ”Blackboots & Blackhearts EP” we could only afford to record 5 songs, had we have had the money to be in the studio for a full record we would have done it back then, but things work out for the best in the end, I guess. Ryan is hands-down a genius when it comes to mixing, he knew from the start exactly our sound, how we wanted each vocal or guitar part down, he’s a very dear friend to our band.

Tickets There – In the past you’ve mentioned there’s buzz around the band from America and Europe. Are there any plans set in stone to tour abroad?

Lydia – Nothing set in stone, its all about the record right now, we are in the UK in May for a little bit and then home for the release, then your into festivals for the summer, I think the itinerary is getting the record out in as many territories as possible, so naturally when that happens, we’ll tour around it.

Tickets There – Your lead guitarist, Danda has long been credited as the bands chief song writer. Has this changed at all for Sugar For My Soul?

Lydia No, it hasn’t, it’s kind of text book at this stage y’know? How we write our songs is done the same way every time, Danda has the initial concept, we’ll work it out together on an acoustic guitar, and then we go into the studio and he’ll show the guys a rough bass-line or drum beat and we jam it out until it works. For this record, I was living with Danda for a little bit while I was moving house, so we really submerged ourselves into writing, and recording all our ideas onto a 10-track again, y’know, 3am in the morning ”Wake up, what do you think about this vocal”….

Tickets There – We’ve read through alot of old interviews with you and your sound’s constantly being compared to bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground. Has this started to become frustrating at all considering you’ve worked so hard to carve out your own identity?

Lydia Yeah I know, Kind of boring right? I mean not really boring.. because I can think of alot worse bands, but it bores me personally, y’know when you go to do another interview and someone just hasn’t researched our band at all, its just ”so you all love the velvet underground?” I don’t like it because it was one or two people that put that tag on us and it stuck, sometimes it embarrasses me because I’m terrified someone will interview me about a VU record, and I wont have a clue how to answer them [laughs] But when you mention working hard to create our own identity, I don’t think its relevant for a band to carve their identity, I don’t think you get to choose that ownership, I think you just be, y’know, you be the best band that you can and your identity will naturally get carved for you.

Tickets There – If you had to pick one musical influence that made you want to become a professional singer, who would it be?

Lydia – Considering I was born in the mid-eighties, I was pretty late on the ”cool” rock bands train, so I grew up on a pure-pop music, I think the Spice Girls gave me my edge, and I mean all kids grow up on their parents music too right? My mom owned one record, Rod Stewart, not even the Faces, just Rod Stewart in his cruise-liner days, [laughs] my Dada was a little cooler, he had lots of records from bands like The Pogues, Dexy’s, The Eagles, I have a deep rooted obsession with Billy Joel, Roberta Flack, and Linda Rondstadt because of him, god bless him. Actually here’s a funny story when I was a kid he used to sing ”Lydia” by Dean Friedman to me, I posted it on twitter and THE actually Dean Friedman tweeted me back!!!! I died, I swear. But , umm, to answer your question, I don’t think a ”Professional Singer” was ever what I wanted, I just really wanted to be in a rock & roll band, if had to give you an answer on who could have influence me, I guess, y’know those really charismatic front men, who just command your attention… Phil Anselmo, Liam Gallagher..Bono.

Sugar For My Soul is coming out in June folks, pay attention and catch Sweet Jane around the UK and Ireland this summer! (and Don’t forget to check out their MySpace)

[UK Tour Date] The Windmill Brixton, UK, UK 09-May-10
[IRL Tour Date] Bray Music Video Festival The Harbour Bar, Bray, IE 15-May-10
[IRL Tour Date] Antics! [Late Show] Crawdaddy, Dublin, IE 19-May-10
[IRL Tour Date] Electric Avenue Waterford, Ireland, IE 18-Jun-10
[IRL Tour Date] Crane Lane Crane Lane, Cork, IE 19-Jun-10
[UK Tour Date] Spring & Airbrake Belfast, Northern Ireland, GB 25-Jun-10
[IRL festival Date] Spraoi Festival [31st On The Plaza] The Quay, Waterford, IE 30-Jul-10
The Plaza [On The Quay] Waterford, n/a 31-Jul-10
[IRL Festival Tour Date] Indie-Pendance Festival Mitchelstown, Co, Cork, IE 01-Aug-10
[UK Tour Date] Death Disco London Notting Hill Arts Club, London, GB 15-Sep-10
[UK Tour Date] Death Disco London Notting Hill Arts Club, London, GB 10-Nov-10

The Funniest Interview ever?? KISS (Gene Simmons) interviewed by Terry Gross

Posted in Interview, Music with tags , , , , on October 18, 2009 by Tickets There

Is this the funniest interview ever? Probably not but it’s bloody close. Fair play Gene, you’re a fucking legend!


Posted in General Tickets There Blog, Interview, Music on June 3, 2009 by Tickets There


After months and months of pestering different publications and E-Zines to do an interview with us, we finally had to lie…and it worked. None other that Trebor Harrington from Rolling Stone magazine, agreed to meet us over the phone and conduct a short but published interview (take that Enya!). Read on..

Hated by the mainstream, loathed by the independents and feared by newer bands, Tickets There has climbed it’s way from being a gag MySpace into the supremo of the Irish music journalism market‘…at least that’s what the press release they handed me says. I find myself taken aback by this interview. After spending the last year and a half working hard to become a semi-decent music journalist, my path seems to have taken several steps back. Not only had I never heard of the so called ‘God Blog’, (Tickets There), but after I looked though some posts, I still didn’t get it. What I see is spelling and grammar mistakes, hastily put together images using characters from animations, repeated claims of ‘Championing‘ Irish music and ten times as many posts damning every Irish band under the sun except for a half a dozen or so. So, despite my lack of interest, the unresponsive nature with the lads behind Tickets There and the smell hanging in the air when I meet them (Ed – You had a phone interview Trebor. Please do not add insult to injury), I decided to go through with the interview.

According to the rest of the press release, Tickets There was started in 2007 by two of Ireland’s pioneering live entertainment promoters and sales representatives, as a voice for unsigned and local acts who weren’t getting the support they deserve or need from the Irish media. However, according to the lads, it was all originally started as a joke.

“When we started Tickets There, it waz only because we were fucking bored, ya know. Eyebrowy had based these two lads on us and we tried suing em, but they told us to fuck off. Den we realized they hadn’t gotten the rites to da MoiSpace so..Score!”

Rolling Stone: And what was your original purpose with the site when you started it?

Tickets There: We didn’t really know at first. Anto came up with the idea of adding some of the eyebrowy clips n dat to the page, let people know who we are and wat we’re up ta and shit. Then a few months went by and we started heading into some of the shows we were ehm, promoting and realized ders all these fucking deadly bands in the country ya never hear off”

Rolling Stone: But surely if they’re good, they will be heard of eventually?

Tickets There: Listen bud, your in Ireland now. Just because something’s fucking deadly doesn’t mean people are gonna like it or even hear about it. Don’t forget, we’ve had Home and Away and Pat Kenny on our screens for years and they wont go away”

Rolling Stone: What about the accusations that you illegally sell tickets for concerts?

Tickets There: Ah no, that’s shite. I mean, we used to all right but haven’t done that in weeks. Ever since the site took off in a big way, there’s been no point. Between the dole and advertising, we’re bringing in over four hundred euros a week between us. No need to sell the tickets any more. But if you’re asking, I could get yaz Slane Tickets?

Rolling Stone: No its fine, thanks. So tell me a little about how Tickets There developed. You claim it to be Ireland’s leading music blog. Quite a strong statement to make, considering the number of ones out there, how do you justify it?

Tickets There: Just look at da bleeding stats man, they’re of the fucking charts. Some days we could get up to ten hits from all over the county. That’s fucking success ya can’t measure bud.

Rolling Stone: Well, our website gets up to ten thousand hits a day.

Tickets There: Again man, you’re in fucking Ireland now. No site in dis country gets dat many fucking hits, except maybe, and that’s probably in Holland or somewhere now. It’s all politics, ya no what I mean?. The main stream doesn’t want us to succeed so they fabricate all this nonsense bout us and the site.

Rolling Stone: What are you talking about, how does that affect your blog statistics?

Tickets There: I don’t know, you’ve lost me.

Rolling Stone: Ok, moving on. I’ve read your manifesto and you claim Tickets There! to be a champion of Irish talent. Yet when I read your MySpace Review blogs, they seemed to focus more on slating the bands in Ireland and pulling them apart for bothering to get of the couch and make an effort at creating music. Don’t these ideals clash?

Tickets There: Bollocks. We don’t go out looking for bands to tear apart, they just seem to keep popping up. Da MoiSpace reviews were originally started to find random Irish bands and give them a bit of unbiased exposure rather than harping on about the select few we already like. It wasn’t meant to be about ripping every bands songs apart for our readers entertainment. It’s meant to be a real search for good Irish acts.

Rolling Stone: Was finding so many bad acts the reason you took a break from writing the reviews earlier this year?

Tickets There: Ya, we were becoming so frustrated and demoralized that there didn’t seem any point doing any more. We almost always choose acts we hadn’t heard or seen before so there wouldn’t be anything but their music to praise or criticize but after so many bands like Grand Pocket Orchestra, Fight Like Apes, Bats, We Should Be Dead..etc. Der didn’t seem any reason to continue. We did manage to find a few good ones like A Lazarus Soul, One Day International, Mass Extinction and Le Galaxie but then there just seemed to be so many we refused to go through with (Such as The Script) and the reviews ended.

Rolling Stone: Does it look likely that you’ll start doing them again soon?

Tickets There: Since we’re getting near the 100th post on the site, we decided to hurry things along a little and we did a couple of special reviews which included Bell X1’s new tracks and the new ASH single. They turned out to be fucking wicked.

Rolling Stone: Those are very well established acts in this country, don’t you think you should have given the space to a more unheard of act like the others?

Tickets There: No.

Rolling Stone: So, you’re now in your second year of running Tickets There. Have you got anything special lined up for the future?

Tickets There: Well, the main thing is our Turn History Blog which will be fully published on July 16th, the third anniversary of their split. We have a lot of surprises in store for that one including a competition to win an original 2000 copy of Antisocial and the Beretta 7″, and possibly, exclusive comments from the band. But all that’s under wraps at da moment and we’re still working everything out. Hopefully we’ll have all the details posted soon and we’ll start previewing extracts from the blog when the final copy is finished. Currently it’s over five and a half thousand words so be prepared.

Rolling Stone: Have you any plans to bring back your monthly ‘Wall of Shows’ and gig calendar?

Tickets There: We only ever really did dat when there was a good pile of shows on and this years been shite. But it will return wither this month or June. Also, the fucking Moispace calendar keeps acting the bollocks on us and deleting it’s self every bleeding time we sit down for three hours, looking through hundreds of bands for up and coming shows and that’s gets a bit tiresome.

Rolling Stone: One final question, we only know one of your names, can I ask the other?

Tickets There: Anto.

Tickets There will continue celebrating it’s 100th post with more MySpace reviews, previews from the Turn history and more in the coming weeks. Find out more @

Words: Trebor Harrington.

Photo: and Tickets There Studios Inc.

Concerto for Constantine Interview – Rock returns to Ireland

Posted in Interview, Music with tags on March 14, 2008 by Tickets There

If ever there was a night in my life I should have been prepared for, this was it. An exclusive interview with one of Irelands newest and most exciting groups ‘Concerto for Constantine’ and (as I discovered later), their first since forming last August. The band comprises of Mark Greaney (Vocals, Guitar and formally of JJ72), Gavin Fox (Bass and formally of Turn, Idlewild and Vega4) and Paul ‘Binzer’ Brennan who was played drums for Mundy, The Frames and BellX1 among many other’s. To say the prospect of sitting down with Concerto, at such an early stage of their career, is exciting would be an understatement and topped with it being their first interview (Minus Binzer) made it all the more special.

However, half way through the dart journey into town, I discovered that the trusted blank tape in my recorder, that was supposedly sitting idle for the last eight or nine months, was missing. The notion of doing this interview by shorthand did not sound appealing, so once in town I went on the search for these relics of the 80’s and 90’s. After several unsuccessful attempts I finally found MoJo records in temple bar, was open. I managed to purchase a very rare album entitled ‘Goodbye Diana, I’m tired of climbing mountains’. I’m sure this album was very special to someone at some stage and will soon be on the crest of a new wave that will forever change music as we know it, tonight however, It would serve as the first official introduction to Ireland’s newest hope for an Rock N’ Roll, When I finally arrived, ‘Goodbye Diana’ ready to go, Mark informed me that Gav was running late, so we ordered drinks and had a chat. After awhile Mark told me Concerto had been given the support spot for the Smashing Pumpkins Dublin and Belfast shows. ‘A dream come true’ in Mark’s words, who came very close to supporting Zwan when they toured Europe, however faith stood in the way, only to give him his chance again.

Once Gavin arrived, we settled in for a night of rock stories, memories that all revolved around Def Leppard, types of wood and Walkers crisps. Not to mention a few questions thrown into the mix.


· How did Concerto for Constantine come about?

Mark – Myself and Gavin have known each since for years and we were always saying ‘Oh we have to form this band or that band’ basically that we had to play music at some stage together.

Gavin – Even, Mark at one stage hinted that I might join JJ72 and play guitar on tour with them, but at the time Turn had just formed and were kicking off and JJ72 worked well as a three piece. Eventually the chance came up when I left Vega4. Mark was in New York working on his solo album and I gave him a call and said ‘Let’s do this, lets form a rock band now’.

Mark – Gavin got Binzer to come down to the first rehearsal and I had never met him but I knew as soon as I heard him play he was right, perfect for the band.

· Are any of you working on anything else at the moment or, are all your energies invested into this group?

Mark – Well I was working in New York last summer on my solo material when I got the call from Gav. I was doing a lot of writing and trying to capture a different sound from rock but at the same time, not appearing like a singer songwriter. When Gavin called and said he was freed up, I thought ‘well, my solo material will always be there and I should do this now while there’s a chance.

Gavin – I had left Vega4 just a few months before I called Mark. Binzer is still working with Mundy, BellX1, The Frames and loads more, but a lot of them aren’t touring at the moment so he had the time to start this with us.

· What do you want to achieve from this group, are you aiming for the top, or do you just want to and enjoy yourself without any pressures?

Mark – I think we’re realistic in what we expect to achieve from this group. Off course we want to be a big band, but our main aim is to play in front of a lot of people. To get out there to the biggest crowds we can. I see a lot of bands out there and think stage presence has begun to slip away from newer groups. When I go to a show, I want to rock out and get blown away by a live performance. We are playing music I’ve always loved and I want to play that music for big crowds.

Gavin – I don’t know if what we do is capable of hitting the type of masses it used to, but you see acts like Queens of the Stone Age and they’ve managed to keep growing in popularity despite very little involvement with the ‘mainstream’. It shows that it is possible. I’d just hope we do get as much out of this as we can.

· Mark, you originally found fame with JJ72, Binzer has played with almost every established band in Ireland like Bell X1, The Frames and Mundy, and Gavin, you started your career 10 years ago in Turn, before moving onto Idlewild and then Vega4. Would it be unjust to call Concerto for Constantine an Irish indie Super Group?

Gavin – Yeah, because it’s kind of embarrassing. When you look at super groups out there you notice that in general, they don’t come close to the quality of their original bands. This can lead to bad name for the band before they get a chance to show what they have to offer. We’ve all been in bands, but not on the level of Rage Against the Machine merging with Soundgarden. Almost all musicians play in loads of groups before hitting it big.

· Concerto for Constantine recently went out on the road around the country to play your first shows on the ‘2FM 2MOROR 2OUR’. How did you go down with the crowd?

Gavin – The first show in the Sky Venue, Portlaois, was a bit shaky. It was our first live performance together and it didn’t come together on the night. After that everything started to get better and the people at the shows seemed to really like us and the type of music we’re doing.

Mark – I think the really satisfying thing about it, is that we are doing something that was really unexpected, Rock bands aren’t really out there any more, (and As the tour went on) You could see the crowd’s faces just go Huh! Really surprised looks and then they would get really into it. There was this feeling of ‘Brilliant an Irish Rock band’

· Which do you think was the best show?

Gavin – Ballyshannon (Co. Donegal and birthplace of Rory Gallagher) was pretty special.

Mark – Ballyshannon was mad, really great. We played in this converted cinema and it was great fun.

· I have to ask this, but how did you come up with the name of the band?

Gavin – Well, we needed a name really quickly because we had been offered a place on the 2FM 2MORO 2OUR.

Mark – We were confirming the details and they asked ‘what’s the name of the band’ because they were doing up posters for the tour, so I said yeah it’s ready…I’ll call ya back in a couple of Hours’.

Gavin – So I started looking through I Tunes at names of songs for some ideas. Eventually I came to the classical section and I saw a title ‘Concerto for…’ It sounded cool, so I told Mark and he completed it using a name from a dream his mother had just a week previously. So Concerto for Constantine was born.

· Obviously you guys are in early stages with this group and you’re still finding your feet, but have you any immediate plans for 2008? Will we see material released or will you spend some time collecting a fan base first?

Gavin – Well we have some shows coming up in February. We’re supporting the Smashing Pumpkins in Dublin and Belfast, the Futureheads in Sligo and we’re playing our own show in Fibber McGee’s on the 22nd February. Hopefully those shows will attract some new fans and some industry attention.

· Are you going to try and release a single or an EP at all?

Gavin – We’re recording a song at the moment and we’re going to do it to a really high quality and release that as a single and make a video for it. At the moment there’s nothing out there for us with regard to radio, apart from a session we did for 2FM.

Mark – We want to make a record as soon as we can. If a label steps in and offers a producer that we want to work with, it’ll just make things move along faster.

· So what is your opinion of the current state of Irish Music? Do you feel the music you guys are writing is still relevant today?

Mark – I think the thing about bands that do something special is, initially their not relevant to the whole ‘what makes a band good’ definition of their time. I personally feel really exhilarated doing this, from our very first rehearsal I thought, that this was something different, something special that I haven’t heard in Irish bands in a long time.

Gavin – There was a scene in Dublin in the 90’s, like now, where every band is following one major influence. You can’t blame anyone for this because it’s those influences that inspire people to start bands in the first place. We were into bands like Nirvana and the Pixies and we started bands because of that. The difference is, we’re still into that music and haven’t been as inspired by the newer groups in the same way as The Pixies.

It’s also great to look around at other bands and think ‘Wow, we’re the only ones doing this’.

· You both come from very successful groups who have played all around the world. Between you, you have toured with The Rolling Stones, The Pixes, R.E.M and countless others. Is it hard adjusting from that life style back to basics?

Gavin – Not really, I miss it, I want to record and tour all the time. When I left Vega4 I started to get withdrawals from not being on the road and that was hard but then we started up Concerto and its building back up again and it’s something to look forward to and get excited about.

Mark – I really miss the extent of touring I did when I was in the JJ’s. The feeling of being so young and walking down the street in Osaka, Japan and 20 girls start following you down the street was incredible but, anytime I’m playing makes it for me. When you can’t do that anymore, when you cant give people the best version of yourself it gets very hard. During the summer some girls, who were about 14 years old, came up to me in the street and started going on abut JJ72 and it turned out, one of their older sisters had given them a JJ72 album and they had gotten into us. That when it’s worth while, when you know you can affect people like that.

Be sure to catch Concerto for Constantine at their up and coming shows around the country,

17th March – Fibber Magee’s

18th March – London – Dublin Castle

19th March – London – Club 328

15th April – Whelan’s