Artist of the month for August is harmonica master and slide guitar extraordinaire, Mr. Jonny Halifax. Over the last couple of years, Jonny’s been producing music both as a one-man-band with his solo project Honkeyfinger, as well as in Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth, where he brings a second guitarist and drummer with him on stage. Similar for the two, is that is straight down and dirty filthy blues, with screeching slide guitar and blazing harmonica, with Jonny howling and preaching on top.
As well as working on his own music in his own bands, Jonny’s been involved with various other bands and artists over the years such as London stoner legends Orange Goblin where he was asked to play slide guitar and harmonica on their 2007 track ‘Beginners guide to suicide’, as well as, and maybe even more surprising, Nottingham noise connoisseur HECK, where he’s appeared live on stage with the band on several occasions.
“I first came across Jonny’s music as a teenager rummaging through a record store in my hometown. I picked out Invocation of the Demon Other because I thought the packaging was really cool and just bought it on a whim that really paid off! When I stuck it on my player I was absolutely blown away, it was the best thing I’d ever fucking heard. The album stuck with me as one of my firm favourites (as it still is). A few years down the line I took a chance and reached out to Jonny to book him for a gig, to my amazement and awe he said “yes” and the next thing I know he was pulling up to my bar in this awesome tricked out campervan to play one hell of a show. Me and Jonny have stayed close friends ever since. He even played some harmonica on my band HECK’s debut album, for which he went above and beyond the call of duty. I remember he sent us over like 30 different takes to pick from, each one so incredible that it made it near impossible to pick a winner. I’ve had chance to collaborate and play live with Jonny a few times now and it is absolutely never anything less than an honour. He is a genius and a gentleman.” Matt Reynolds, HECK & HCBP
“I first met Jonny at a venue in Shoreditch in 2006 when I went to see his one man band ‘Honkeyfinger’ supporting Scott H Biram. As soon as he started I was blown away by his unique brand of dirty, southern blues and knew right away that I had to talk to him and ask him to play slide guitar and blues harmonica on the Orange Goblin song ‘Beginners Guide To Suicide’, that we were working on at the time. We struck up an instant friendship and have remained close to this day. I am still a big fan of what he does and I admire the way he always ploughs his own furrow. Such a talented, handsome bastard!” Ben Ward, Orange Goblin.
As Prong tour the UK leading up to the release of their 12th studio album “Zero Days”, we meet up with frontman and founder Tommy Victor in the dark and dingy basement of Camden’s Underworld before their show later that evening.
You’ve been keeping Prong going for nearly three decades, and on the 28th of July you released your fifth studio album in five years – how do you find the time?
I have no idea, it’s a nightmare. For some reason, when somebody gives me a deadline and tells me to do something by a certain time, because I’m such a narcissistic ego maniac, I HAVE to do it by that time, I have to much pride not to. So, I bust my ass and put these jigsaw pieces together to try and make a record while gaining multitudes of gray hair while doing so. There was a long time where there weren’t any Prong records, when I was working with other people on theirs, like Glenn (Danzig), until I was all like «You know? Fuck this, I’m gonna start focusing on Prong again! I’ve got a record deal and I’m gonna take advantage of it, put out records consistently, and put Prong back on the map again!»
So I’ve had a listen to your new record «Zero Days» which is an absolute great album, how would you describe it yourself?
Well, I think it’s the best Prong record ever, it’s really strong, it’s got 13 bangers, anthems… Every song is well constructed. We went in with full focus, and I’ve never been in a Prong recording session like this, the sense of urgency was at the utmost, so it was no fooling around. When recording back in the day we’d be like ‘Yeah man, let’s go in the studio and get a bunch of beers, we’ll bring some chicks down, bla bla bla’ – that doesn’t happen anymore. I mean, we don’t even take food breaks anymore, it’s full on in order to get it done in time, that’s what modern records are, you don’t fool around, you go in and get this shit done.
You mentioned working with Glenn Danzig as well, how do you balance the two?
Glenn’s been working around my schedule, he’s also slowed down a little bit, or we’ve been doing less shows than we used to, so it’s been easy. There’s been periods where I’m all like «Holy shit, maybe he’s gonna fire me cause I wont be able to do this or that…» you know, and to be fair, he’s fired me before so nothing new there.
Before starting Prong, you worked as a sound engineer at CBGB’s, how would you say working with all those punk bands and being a part of that scene influenced you as a musician?
Prong was never really a part of any scene, we were a bit all over the place, we had friends that were art rockers, like the dudes from Rob Zombie – we never had our own sub culture around us. As far as the music goes, I saw some really good bands there. I had been going to the club since I was a little kid, and the first time I ever went, I saw the Ramones. I also saw The Damned, Dead Boys, The Cramps, Suicide, Sheer Terror… I was there a lot, so I guess that played a part in what Prong became, I was raised in and on CBGB.
The Devil and the Almighty Blues is quite mysterious in the way that there’s very little, pretty much none information to be find about them online, so we had a chat to them to find out a bit more about the bands influences and how they got together in the first place.
There’s not a lot of information about you guys online, can you tell us a bit about how it all started? DATAB: We’ve been hanging out together both in front of and behind bars, stages, festivals and studios in Oslo since the early 2000s. Individually, we were involved in everything from punk, americana, garage rock, metal and psych. Kim was in The Good, The Bad, and the Zugly, Kenneth had Shit City and The Dogs, Petter and Arnt in The Goo Men and Torgeir Waldemar doing his own thing.
When the five of you got together, did you have a mutual understanding of the music you wanted to make, or is that a result of all of the above clashing together? DATAB: We met up in the studio with the aim to play heavy, repetitive, gooey blues. What we all had in common is our mutual love for the electric revolution that happened in the early 70s, when Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac with the song Green Manalishi, ZZ Top fully loaded with Marshall stacks and the king himself, Muddy Waters, released the album Electric Mud. All floating around in this blues soup is also heroes like Jimi, Free, Canned Heat, Clutch and Endless Boogie – to name a few. The playlist we put together will give you an idea of what inspired us when forming The Devil and the Almighty Blues.
As far as albums go, I think you’ve killed it with both of them, and find it pretty impossible to pick a favourite amongst the two. How do you feel yourself that you’ve developed from recording the first record? DATAB: We’re slightly more patient now, and allow ourselves, even more so than on our debut album, for the song to take as much time as it needs to be completed.
How do you work together as a band, do you meet up on a regular basis to work on new material and maintain the old one? DATAB: We meet up in the studio when we’ve got work to do, whether that is working on new songs or improve the ones we’ve got before an upcoming tour. Besides that we bump into each other on a regular basis on the road with various bands.
As an Oslo based band, how would you describe the Oslo music scene? Is there any other Norwegian bands we should look into? DATAB: The music scene in Oslo’s kick-ass! When it comes to other Norwegian bands, check out Kosmik Boogie Tribe, Lonely Kamel, Spectral Haze, Electric Eye, and our label friends Heave Blood & Die, Monumentum and Reptile Master from Blues For The Red Sun.
You’re hitting the road with Blues Pills later this year, how’s the expectations towards that? And is there any chance of the five of you maybe swinging by London at some point? DATAB: Playing live is one of our favourite things to do, and to be able to travel around with Blues Pills while doing so is just an added bonus. Good venues and good people, what more could you want? Ah, London though, that would be awesome. We’re trying to get some more dates together for winter, and hope London and the UK will be a part of that.
While getting ready for this years Bloodstock, we had a chat to bassist Jimmy from progressive sludge metal band Everest Queen who’ll be playing the Jaegermeister stage on the Sunday. Now, it’s pretty likely that many, and maybe even most of us will be nursing some pretty heavy hangovers by this point, but if like us you’re a sucker for big riffs, then we suggest dragging your hungover ass there to check them out
So, first of all, can we get the lowdown on Everest Queen and how you guys all met? Adam (vocals and guitar) and I met outside our local venue in 2013 and have been playing together ever since. I approached him because he had a Venom shirt on, and just got chatting about metal. Our mutual friend pointed out that we both wanted to start a sludge or doom band, so I took his number, played it cool, and waited for three days before calling. A week later he turned up at mine with his guitar. We jammed a little and it worked way too well to not pursue it. Adam suggested the name Everest Queen and I thought it was sick because it seemed mystical and not trying to be macho. I had already written our song ‘Catacombs’, and then by the second time he came over he’d written and recorded on a CD what we later ended up calling ‘Curse of the Everest Queen’. I listened to that song for weeks, even taking my bass to work with me and practicing along to it in my car at lunchtimes! Adam knew Brad (Drums, vocals) from one of his old bands at secondary school when he was like 14, and remembered them both saying on a drunken night they should start a stoner band, so he asked Brad and we’ve been blessed / cursed with him ever since. Our first gig was in 2016 just after releasing the EP, supporting Countless Skies.
You released your self titled EP early last year, how did you experience the the process of doing so? We recorded drums at The Practice Roomz in Stevenage, and guitar, bass and vocals at Adam’s home studio. Recording the bass was quite cool as my pregnant wife would come by and see it all happen. It was incredible watching Brad do the drums as I really got to take in everything he does more than when I play with him, his approach is like a culmination of tribal and jazz drumming, and we love getting the quirky yet subtle rhythms in there with each other. Adam’s a whirlwind man, that dude seems to know everything when it comes to guitar, pedals and recording. He made recording fun and he really gees you up to knock it out of the park. Listening back to that EP now still sounds fresh to me and we’re all still in love with the artwork which was done by the very talented Bvrzerk Iam whose work is just mint.
As the EP now’s a while away, have you got any new releases coming up, or maybe even an album? An album is in the works, but there will be something special happening for Bloodstock, should everything go according to plan, which so far, touch wood, it is. The songs are there and structurally complete, we just need the time to record as we are all incredibly busy even though we still practice at least once a week on average. We will get recording once we have had the honour of setting foot on the Jager Stage at Bloodstock 2017. We had planned to begin recording several months ago but gig offers just kept coming in, in addition to a mini tour with Zhora and Morag Tong, as well as advancing through Metal 2 the Masses. The mini tour, Metal 2 the Masses and other gigs further afield helped us improve as a band as we’ve had the opportunity to play with some high grade bands that we are fans of, we feel this’ll help us achieve our goals when recording the debut album. We’ve got some great ideas on how to follow up the debut album as well, we’ve always got something up our collective sleeve, and whilst we appreciate the wait for the album has felt long, it’s gonna be worth it.
So – Bloodstock! What’s your expectations for this years festival? Are you staying for the whole weekend? It would be a foul smelling lie to try and be all calm about playing Bloodstock, it’s always consistent in the lineups and it won’t bow to mainstream trends like other festivals have in the past. Fuck those guys man, they know who they are. Expectation wise – we are going to embrace playing the biggest and best metal festival in the UK whilst bringing the riffs. Big, surly, epic riffs that people are going to walk away remembering and craving more of. We always like making new friends, checking out new bands and showing why we are worthy to play this hallowed ground. Sadly, I think we’re gonna miss the Thursday due to Brad and I starting new jobs that week, but I’ll be checking them out regardless via youtube, bandcamp, whatever – why wouldn’t you at least check out new music when it is right at your fingertips these days?
Who are you guys most excited about seeing at this years festival? Ohhms, Zhora, Mist, Bossk, Inquistion, Corpsing, Iron Rat, Hundred Year Old Man, Ba’al, Atragon, Hatebreed mainly because the song ‘Destroy Everything’ makes me think of my 2 year old son being let loose in our nearest Lidl. Biggus Riffus and Hanowar look like they will feed the need for some epic riffs and classic metal.
What’s your relationship to the festival, have you been or played before? I went in 2008, and then again in 2012 for my stag weekend where I was lucky enough to be allowed on stage whilst Grand Magus performed. Cool guys who managed to cross Bathory and Dio, both bands that I love.
What’s your festival essentials? This year it will be our instruments and music gear but normally ear plugs, wet wipes, toilet roll, water and sun cream. Oh and steamed hams. We’re all about the steamed hams.
We’re back at Bloodstock Festival this year and we couldn’t be more excited about it! We’ll be in the Serpents Lair for all VIP’ers to get their hands on our jewellery, as well as out and about enjoying the music. To get ready and in the mood, we’ve put together a playlist featuring the bands and artists playing the festival. You’ve got six and a half hours with pre-Bloodstock entertainment, so turn in up to 11 while packing your bags, and we’ll see you in the pit!
July’s ‘Band of the Month’ is hailing all the way from the land of ice and snow; They’re The Devil and the Almighty Blues, and they’re from Norway – no way, you might say, surely Norway’s only black metal and 80’s pop icons A-ha? Nope, Norway’s got a booming and blooming music scene that’s somewhat overshadowed by it’s brother in the east, Sweden, so let dive into the deepest forests, climb their highest mountains, fall into dive bars and caves (Bergen’s actually got a music venue in a cave in the mountains called ‘Hulen’) and indulge on everything our Viking friends in the North has to offer.
Since the birth of The Devil and the Almighty blues they’ve released two records; Their self titled 2015 debut album which received critical acclaim due to it’s heavy, slow raw and bluesy sound, followed by the equally excellent second album fittingly named ‘II’, both released on Norwegian fuzzy blues, dirty stoner and muddy doom label ‘Blues For The Red Sun‘.
On the bands Bandcamp page you’ll find nothing but stellar reviews for both of their albums;
“I just sold my soul to the Almighty Blues. Again.It’s dense, it’s alive, true and authentinc. I feel like I am in a god forsaken pub for the bikers in the middle of Norway. It’s 4 a.m. I am so hangovered I wish to die, but I keep conteplating on life over yet another beer.”
“Authentic to the last letter and the final note, The Devil and the Almighty Blues does exactly what it says on the timeworn, nicotine ‘n’ whiskey stained tin. For ‘II’ does indeed contain the mightiest blues to be found across any of the Devil’s domains.”
“It’s no secret that to master the blues one would have to sell their soul to the Devil. Well, these Norse sure know their way around it!”
There’s different ways to describe this band, their influences, and their personal take on slow, Norwegian, raw 70’s influenced blues, and the best description I’ve seen and heard so far, you’ll find on the band’s own Facebook page;
“When the 60’s turned into the 70’s there was a musical crossroads. The American blues had had it’s run with teens on both sides of the Atlantic long enough so that the blues-offspring named rock’n’roll had to expand or die. It did not die, it expanded in all kinds of directions! And right there in the crossroads between blues-based rock and all the world’s other sub-genres of rock, something happened to the blues. The format got experimented with, expanded and almost made unrecognizable. But at the same time the roots to the original ’real’ blues was never lost. Where Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1970 with the track «Green Manalishi», where Johnny Winter stretched his musical legs, where ZZ Top bought Marshall full stacks and shot from the hip, and last but not least where the legend himself, Muddy Waters, stretched the limits of that was ’legal’ with the album «Electric Mud». And not to forget Hendrix, Free, Canned Heat and the rest of the gang from the Woodstock-era. The result was a highly electric musical revolution, where e.g. the newly born genre hard rock walked hand in hand with traditional delta blues.
It is out from this musical mud The Devil and the Almighty Blues have found their inspiration. Their music is slow, heavy, melodic and raw, all without losing the almighty blues out of sight.”
23 year old Daisy is somewhat experienced within the music industry, as she entered the scene as teen pop icon ‘Daisy Dares You’ nearly a decade ago. Years later, she’s ventured down the dark path of rock ’n’ roll, and is currently co-fronting her own band ‘Clever Thing’ with former ‘Bad for Lazarus’ frontman Rich Fownes. We had a chat with the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist about her current musical projects, and what the future holds next for her.
You first entered the UK music scene at quite a young age as ‘Daisy Dares You’ playing pop music, which is pretty far from the music you’re currently making – at what point did you decide to change direction and genres? I think the transition musically and personally birthed just as Daisy Dares You came in to fruition. It began in a genuine place, just writing silly pop songs that, in the brain of an early teen, i never imagined or even understood what it meant to be defined by those things. So when it came out in to the public domain, all my instincts rejected the opportunity. Emotionally and creatively. Not only was the pressure unquantifiable, i really evolved to dislike the music i was releasing. And i predict the culture surrounding it contributed to that feeling, the disposable, fast food nature of the music industry is not for the faint hearted. So I quickly retreated and went back to basics. Taught myself to play the drums, explored my instruments and bought a little tascam 8 track, which gave me a new lease of life, totally liberated of the rollercoaster i’d just jumped off.
So you clearly started writing at a young age, do you come from a musical family? I grew up with the unwritten law that music is essential to all life, my parents totally expressed their emotions with music, both listening to it and writing it, so it was easy to tap into that language. They loved different things but in my memory they all amalgamated quite harmoniously. I’d say my childhood soundtrack courtesy of my folks ranged from Siouxie and The Banshees to Madness to Neil Young to Nirvana, and the list goes on.. Commercially eclectic and generally really fun.
I first came across you a few years back fronting Pink Lizards and playing guitar, before you later that night took the stage on keys with Bad For Lazarus, do yo prefer to share your time between different instruments or are you more drawn to a specific one? My default is guitar because it’s where I write the bulk of my ideas, then piano occasionally to get a different perspective on ideas when I’m feeling in a rut. But all my adrenaline goes nuts for drums! It’s usually circumstance that dictates how much time I spend on each instrument. If I had a drum kit in my room it would probably be a different story.
From the ashes of Bad for Lazarus and Pink Lizards we got Clever Thing, how would you describe the band, your sound, and how it all came about? At The Drive In meets Phil Spector, Black Flag meets Billie Holliday, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion meets The Andrews Sisters.. We are trying to mess with the parameters. More then anything its supposed to be really cheeky and fun. And these contrast references are supposed to represent Rich and Me i guess. I listen to a hell of a lot of 20s,30s swing and jazz and Rich grew up on punk and people fucking shit up for the sake of it. Without denying our blatant individual personalities, both of us are completely attracted to the opposites we bring to the table. They work well together because however it’s been executed, all our heroes have been coming from the same place. Completely surrendering to the art. Genuine is the tie that binds.
You released your EP ‘Fixer Upper’ earlier this year, have you got an album planned? We are aiming to record something substantial by the end of this year with Rich’s teen crush Alex Newport (At the Drive In, The Icarus Line, Tigercub) Which we are all totally ecstatic to be doing. In the meantime we’ll be releasing something special we’ve already recorded with our musical Godfather Ally Jowett…
I know you’ve got some solo projects as well as Clever Thing, how’s the rest of the year looking for you? Doing as much as humanly possible! As well as Clever Thing i’d like to release some of my own stuff, but we will see… Time flies when you’re having fun!
“This playlist is a tribute to my childhood and acts like a tranquilizer after to getting my ears blasted off by heavy metal at home and at work.”
When I first started working at The Great Frog in 2011, Paterson Riley (the Founder of The Great Frog) used to have his very impressive record collection by his bench in our workshop. I spent a lot of my early 20’s with him after hours listening to his records and speaking to him about music. About 4 years ago we renovated the workshop to allow for more jewellery benches, alas, the records had to be relocated. In mourning, he spent an entire day writing down every record he had down there in alphabetical order for me in a little red notepad. Most of the tracks on this playlist come from that book and from cassettes my parents had given to me as a child.
At a young age, Jorma Vik heard John Bonham play, and the damage was done. Decades later, he’s been in various bands playing everything from latin percussion to punk, toured the world excessively with The Bronx and as of last year, joined Eagles of Death Metal. We had a little chat with him to find out more about his musical background and how he’s finding life in one of the funnest rock ‘n’ roll bands there is.
How was your relationship to music growing up, has it always had a big part in your life? I grew up in a very musical family. There was always music playing in the house. As a child I gravitated towards the drums and my parents were extremely supportive and encouraging. I remember being maybe 5 years old listening to The Police, who were the hot shit pop band at the time, and playing air drums along with Stewart Copeland. A few years later my grandfather gave me a drum kit, my parents turned me onto John Bonham and that was it. It was all I could think about. I sat in a cabin in the woods playing along to Zeppelin records for 7 years, moved to LA to further pursue music and here I am now – broke, bitter and pushing 40 (kidding).
Can you give us the lowdown on a few things you’ve been up to between the cabin and now? My parents musical taste was very broad and so became mine. The first group I played with when I was young was a Latin percussion ensemble, which strangely enough would prove to be extremely helpful later in my life. I played in various bar bands doing blues standards, having to wait outside till the band went on because I was underage. I had a punk band in high school that played basement parties in and around the Seattle area. Then I moved to LA when I was 17 and started a band called Death On Wednesday which did some touring and was fairly popular in Southern California.
When I was 22 I started a punk band called The Bronx and toured the world with that for 14 years. During that time we also started a mariachi band, Mariachi El Bronx which is where the knowledge of traditional Latin and Afro/Cuban rhythms from my past were very useful. In my off time I record and tour with other artists and bands in various styles of music. If you’re looking to become a career musician I can’t stress enough how important it is to “diversify your portfolio”. Open your ears and familiarize yourself with shit you haven’t heard before. The more things your brain has to reference, the more interesting and unique your playing becomes.
Latin percussion, blues, mariachi and punk, you really do have a broad taste in music – when you’re not playing yourself, what are you currently listening to? We’re currently scoring the movie Super Troopers 2 so I’ve been listening to a lot of soundtracks recently. The ones Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are doing are fantastic. Another one of my favorites is the soundtrack to a Jim Jarmusch movie called Dead Man that Neil Young did.
You joined Eagles of Death Metal not too long ago, how did that come about? There’s a popular club in Hollywood called Jumbos at which on any given night of the week you can find women performing interpretive dance in various stages of undress. I was there celebrating the birth of one of the performers when I met Eden who plays guitar in EODM. We shot the breeze for a bit and he invited me to a party at Jesse’s house later that evening. So I get to Jesse’s house and we start sizing each other up – like two dogs circling each other, sniffing each others asses – then got into talking about music and quickly hit it off. Jesse is absolutely hilarious and has this kinetic energy and excitement about him that is really fun and we had a great hang. First thing the next day I called Josh, who I knew was busy touring the Iggy Pop record which made him unavailable to play drums with eagles, to toss it out that I was available and would love to play drums with them should the position become available. One rehearsal later I was in Sao Paolo, Brazil playing in front of 50,000 people on a stage of musicians I hardly knew but would quickly grow to love and have since become some of my greatest friends.
With the bands history and what terrible things they’ve had happen to them, have you ever been afraid to get on stage and play? Before the events in Paris my own personal safety while performing didn’t often cross my mind. I had the fortune of growing up in a time and as part of a society where we’re not often faced with such heinous atrocities so an act like this was almost unfathomable. It’s very easy to slip into this mindset on tour wherein you’re living inside this bubble without a whole lot of concern about what’s happening on the outside. I think the attack was a sobering wake up call for a lot of musicians. Not to be scared but to be aware and present in the world we live.
Stepping into Homme’s shoes is pretty brave and you’re doing one hell of a job at it, how’s it all been? Baby Duck is one of the most uniquely gifted musicians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He’s one of those dudes where you can hear a track he’s played on and know right off the bat that it’s him playing, regardless of what instrument he’s on. To me that’s the biggest compliment you can give a musician. His particular stylistic approach to drumming is something I really enjoyed about Eagles’ music and is part of what makes it so overtly horny to the ear. I try to stay as true to that as possible. It’s got a swagger to it that you can’t help but shake your ass to and the songs are fun as shit to play.
Eagles of Death Metal is pretty much always touring and gigging, what do you do to unwind when you get away from the busy life on the road? I get an over-abundance of social activity on tour so when I get home the first thing I do is grab some camping gear, jump on my motorcycle and get lost out in the middle of nowhere. I’ve found riding a motorcycle extremely therapeutic. It evokes an almost meditative state by demanding so much focus that all the other noise in and around the periphery of your head disappears.
Any last words of wisdom? If you’re an aspiring musician reading this – strive to create your own voice. Get experimental and inventive. Turn shit on its ear. Fuck shit up. Actually I suppose that applies to most things in life.
We asked Jorma to put together a playlist with some of his favourite songs, and this is what he came up with; ‘A playlist of some punky, garage what-have-yous.’
It may only be Tuesday, but we’re already getting ready for the weekend and Camden Rocks festival this upcoming Saturday 3rd of June. The festival stretches out over most of Camden, and will take over venues such as KOKO, The Black Heart, Electric Ballroom, Dingwalls, The Dev, The Monarch and more. Now, it ain’t easy wrapping your head around the concept of 250 bands playing in a day, as you’re likely to miss out on some good ones. To lighten your burden just a little bit, we’ve put together a few of the bands we’re determined to catch while we’re at it. You might find this helpful, or not helpful at all as we might just add a few more bands to your ‘go-see’ list, either way, it’ll be one hell of a day.
There’s no secret that we’re all about heavy riffs at The Great Frog, so there’s no way we’re missing out on stoner legends Orange Goblin when they take the stage at Electric Ballroom at 7.30pm. It’ll be loud and rowdy, and an absolute must of the day.
Filthy and fuzzy heavy blues rock with Nottingham two piece HCBP, half of HECK rising quickly for stardom. We had these guys play our Halloween party last year and they killed it. They’ll be headlining The Black Heart at 10.15pm, don’t miss out.
The Damned ‘Legend’ isn’t a word we use lightly, but it seems fitting when talking about a band like The Damned. Four decades in the industry and the guys are still going strong. Catch them at Electric Ballroom at 9pm.
Carl Barât and The Jackals From the ashes of The Libertines, rises Carl Barât and The Jackals. Classic London rock ‘n’ roll, reckon it’ll be a good one. 5.15pm at KOKO.
Your truly last saw Turbowolf in 2012, and the crowd got so wild bodies were flying everywhere. Five years older but not a lot wiser, so time to yet again throw that body into the pit, see what happens. They’re playing Underworld at 6pm.
The Urban Voodoo Machine The Urban Voodoo Machine plays Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’N’Stroll, what’s not to love about that? They’re playing Electric Ballroom at 1.45pm
Pulled Apart by Horses There’s been a bit of a fuzz around Pulled Apart by Horses the last couple of years, and we’re quite keen to see what the fuzz is all about. Guess we’ll find out at 6.30 at Electric Ballroom.
Frauds Yet another two piece with Croydon band Frauds. They first had us at their single ‘Fuck Fuck Goose’ a few years back, so we’re excited to hear what they’ve come up with since then. Get there early to check them out at Dublin Castle at 1pm.
As part of The Great Frog Music, we’re getting behind ‘The Jonesing Jams’, a new live music concept in London where individual musicians get hand picked as members of a one night only supergroup who’ll perform an improv jam in front of an audience. The first one, ‘Worlds Collide’ was held at London’s 93 Feet East, and featured singer and guitarist Matt Reynolds of HECK and HCBP, GNOB and Sonic Mass bassist Ben Kenobi-Marflar, Jonny Halifax of Honkeyfinger and The Howling Truth on lapsteel and harmonica, and Swedish Death Candy drummer Marco Ninni. Support came all the way from the land of ice and snow, in the form of Bergen based psych band Shaman Elephant.
Outtake from Simon Shoulders’ review for ‘Rock at Night‘: “The evening’s entertainment begins as Bergen’s Shaman Elephant take to the stage clad in a suite of Elephant shirts freshly acquired in the markets of Camden for this very gig. Their sound is firmly rooted in 60’s and 70’s prog and psychedelic rock with which the stylised representations of members of the order Proboscidea adorning the band’s clothes, the lead singer’s bandanna and the spiralling kaleidoscopic visuals lighting the band fit perfectly. The solid combination of Jard Hole’s drumming and Ole-Andreas Sæbø Jensen rolling and mesmeric bass guitar playing forms a rock-hard, groove-laden bastion from which the keys of Jonas Særsten and guitar of frontman and volcalist Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen sally forth through the haze with some truly blistering solos. There’s a freshness to Shaman Elephant’s sound that the performance is both compelling and a pleasure to watch.
Then we’re on to the main event, finding out whether there’ll be magic when four musicians from really quite different backgrounds come together to jam live. The smiles between guitarist and vocalist Matt Reynolds from the pure noise that is Heck and the rock’n’roll two piece HCBP and Jonny Halifax from the alt-blues bands Honkyfinger and Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth on harmonica, lap steel and vocals hint at a palpable and growing chemistry that builds and really begins to spark as the jam continues. Marco Ninni, drummer from experimental psych rock band Swedish Death Candy drives the bands’s beat at ferocious pace which seems to be the perfect starting point for bassist Ben-“Kenobi”-Marflar from eastern inspired psych band GNOB, to lay down some suitable filthy and darkly funk-laden bass rhythms upon creating a cohesive and compelling foundation upon which Matt and Jonny could freestyle and explore each others sound.
This hand-picked supergroup works and you can’t help but be swept along with them. You can see the pure joy of creating something new the band experience from from every twist and turn of the jam. So, did The Jonesing Jams “Worlds Collide” deliver? As far as the crowd was concerned, the answer to this question is a resounding “Yes!”. This is partly a tribute to the quality and talent of the musicians themselves but perhaps more of a salute to the sprit they shared in being the first to rise to the challenge of jamming live in front of an audience creating a spectacular and ephemeral sound you’ll only ever have the chance to hear once…”
Since the formation of Graveyard in 2006, they have been at the front of a massive 70’s influenced rock revival. With four albums under their belt, they were rising for stardom, when they all of a sudden announced the disbanding of the band in late 2016, following their hugely successful record ‘Innocence & Decadence.’ Fans were left shocked and in disbelief, before they all of a sudden announced their return earlier this year, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. We spoke to bassist Truls Mörck about the reformation of the band, as well as his own solo projects and how he fell into 70’s rock as a 13 year old boy working in a record store in Gothenburg.
You recently announced the return of Graveyard, how has that been received?
It’s actually been quite overwhelming. We’ve gone through some tough times, so hearing from so many people how much it means to them for us to come back is amazing and incredibly motivating. It’s easy to lose touch with reality when you gig and tour as much as we’ve been doing over the last couple of years, but this has really been an eye opener and made us see things for what they really are. The sounds we make seem to resonate with a lot of peoples feelings and thoughts, and it feels important to keep making that happen, it’s a very positive and constructive thing. Was it always part of the plan to make a comeback? No, we went through some dark times, but as they say, «the darkest hour is right before the dawn.» That might not always be the case, but here I feel it’s pretty spot on. Wow, come to think of it, this past winter was probably one of the worst ones I’ve ever had, Graveyard means so fucking much to me. Even the years I didn’t play with them, they still did. I think it’s quite a unique band, even if we play classic rock and aren’t exactly known to develop and reinvent music history I feel like there’s something unusual and beautiful in what we do. And I can speak from both the bands and a member of the audiences perspective as I’ve been a part of both. Of course, that’s my personal opinion, but that’s just how I feel about it.
What were you up to when Graveyard was laying low? Did you focus on your solo work or did you get involved with other projects? Or did you take a well deserved break? I did a bit of everything, I recorded a fair bit of my upcoming solo record where I let my interest for vintage synthesizers blossom. I don’t know where it’ll end up, but at the moment it sounds very cosmic and electronic. I was quite sick and tired of touring last year, and I kind of had the sound of drums, bass and guitars up to my neck, which led me to being drawn to other instruments and traditions, other types of music. I think it did me really well, and it wasn’t long before new Graveyard songs or riffs started popping up in my head again, so I’ve ended up writing quite a few new Graveyard songs as well. Besides that, I did some stuff with a band I used to be in. My old friend Edvard Härnevik is releasing a record this autumn, so I played on that as well. He was the one that originally got me into playing guitar and listen to old rock, I’m excited to hear that record. I’ve also done some work with Graveyard’s old drummer Axel Sjöberg’s new band Big Kizz.
You mention having worked on songs for both your solo record as well as new Graveyard songs, have you started a follow up to Graveyard’s 2015 album ‘Innocence & Decadence’ ?Yeah, they’re both en route. I’m prioritizing Graveyard and focus my energy on our next record along side the other guys in the band, but yeah, I’m still working on a follow up to my solo record when I find the time. I get a bit bored if I only work on one project at a time, so it suits me well to have two records to write and record at the same time. Especially since they’re so different from each other and I have quite a lot of time on my hands these days. It’s never too much to wrap my head around as the two ways of expression complete each other and even each other out. I’ve got a feeling the next Graveyard record will be fucking amazing, it’s something about what we’ve gone through that’s made us more aware of what we’re doing and what we’re good at. And we’re all good at what we do.
You say yourself how different your solo stuff is from what you do with Graveyard, so what kind of music did you grow up listening to, and is that what you’re still into today?
When I was 13 I had a summer job at a record store in Gothenburg, a really good record store with tens of thousands of records, and instead of money they’d pay me in gift vouchers I could use in store. I remember rummaging through the stock room one day and found this re-print of a poster for ‘Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music’ from 1970, at the time I was really into old, American folk music. Anyway, for some reason which I cant quite remember, that poster just had something to it that I really loved. If you looked closer at it, you’d see all these faces and hidden characters, which I thought was absolutely amazing, so I decided to check out all the bands on there. I ended up coming home with records from bands such as Canned Heat, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Dr. John the Night Tripper. After that, I started buying records pretty much based on how the covers looked like. I guess I got the feeling of how good music was illustrated, and I’d end up getting all these different records from different genres without really any connection except for the fact that I was obsessed by when they were released, which would be ’65 to circa ’71, and that they all had great covers.
Later on, I got into Swedish music from that same era, Träd, Gräs och Stenar, Harvester, Kebnekasje and Bo Hansson all became huge sources of inspiration. My dad had quite a few records from San Francisco in the 60’s that he made me listen to as well, like Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane. Stoner rock swiftly followed, and Sabbath, Captain Beyond and Sleep were the best soundtracks for smoking, but I’m not much of a pot head anymore.
Today I’m not so sure what I listen to, everything that’s got an honesty to it. I think of music as a universal language with different dialects, like in a book where the language can be more interesting than the story, or the story can be adequately interesting, but the language not good enough. Obviously the best way is when the story and the language works really well together and become one. I’m not too bothered about different genres, I look for something else, something that makes me want to keep playing and make my own music, but I’m still not quite sure what that is. But you just know when you hear it, you know? That’s the most important thing. The urge to play, and if any kind of music makes me feel that way, then I love it.
It’s clear that you spend most of your time making or listening to music, but on those rare occasions that you’re not, how do you spend your time?
I do try to make music every day, but I also like to travel, and I spend a fair amount of time traveling back and fourth between America and Sweden. Most of everything I love slacking off, and I spend a lot of time just staring out the window, letting my thoughts wander. I’m not a very social person, and I can go a long time without seeing other people. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but that’s how I live my life these days, how I write. If I don’t have an instrument in my hands, I can write songs from just looking out, or being outside in nature, staring at the trees, the skies or whatever. When I’m not with the one I love, I make, or attempt to make music, and that’s pretty much it. Tragic or magic? I don’t know.
You seem to have a lot on your plate at the moment, what’s next?
Graveyard’s got quite a few gigs this summer, so it will be quite a lot of traveling, but also time to stay at home, make music and unwind, that’s what it’s all about for me, make music, have someone to love, and be at one with nature. I hope to spend a lot of time under water, that’s where the best thoughts are thought. At the bottom of the ocean.