Sharp teeth and rock ‘n’ roll: talking Yorkshire Rats with Don Mercy

YR_RingMaster Review

March sees the release of the Trouble City EP, another rousing and provocative slice of punk infused rock ‘n’ roll from UK band Yorkshire Rats. The successor to last year’s outstanding debut album, Sea of Souls, the new three-track release is further confirmation of a band with anthemic punk ‘n’ roll flowing through their creative veins and a hunger to push themselves and their creative adventure with every song and release. Ahead of the EP’s unveiling; we gratefully took some of band founder Don Mercy’s time to dig into the origins, history, and new phase of the Yorkshire Rats increasing impact on the British rock scene.

Hi Don and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You formed the band back in 2004; what was the spark bringing Yorkshire Rats to life and was there a particular idea for the band?

No problem! Fuck! 12 years ago, I must say I didn’t think we’d be back rolling around, not after we pulled the plug in 2007, I think it was.

Originally it was me and a good friend of mine called Sean Brewin who came up with the idea for the band. We used to hang out together, go skateboarding drink cider, the usual teenage shit. I’d played in various bands before with friends from school but wanted to do something a bit different. I was massively into the punk rock thing but not many of the guys in my school were. Sean was from another school local to me and there were loads of guys who we grew up with that we’re big Fat Wreck, Green Day, Rancid fans. I think we were around 17 when we started the Rats. There was an old pub in our home town of Pontefract called the Counting House. All the local alternative folks used to go in there and they had live bands on every Tuesday night. We’d been drinking in there from the age of 14 and we ended up meeting a few other musicians who were into our idea to start a band. I’d write the songs and we’d kind of share lead vocals. We learnt a few covers and got into a practice room.

I think we wrote our first EP in about a month, recorded it and sold DIY copies to our pals. We played our first shows in the Counting House and they were always great. A lot of people really liked what the band was about, we sang about miners and the working class’ history of struggle in the area.

There wasn’t any big plan involved, we just wanted to have fun and play some music, cliché I know…

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

You had previously played in Abrasive Wheels and Billy No Mates; how did those experiences impact on how you wanted Yorkshire Rats to be, sound like, and differ?

I actually only did one tour with Billy No Mates, I wasn’t a permanent member, I just filled in for one of their guitarists. We had the same manager at the time and they had a European tour booked.

I was 18 and had never been to Germany or Italy. I got a call from our manager, then a call from Duncan. I had a week to get a passport and learn 18 songs; we never even had a rehearsal, we just went straight to Berlin and played a show. It was amazing! It was my first real tour and I learnt so much about how it all works. To be honest I don’t think I would have progressed any further without doing that tour, there’s only so many times you can read about it before you have to grab it by the balls and get out there. I seized that chance and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

I’m not sure how much it influenced my band’s sound…..

I was in Abrasive wheels for a couple of years; this was before I started the rats back up. It was ok; I was playing with some really great musicians in that band so it definitely raised my standards in terms of what kind of musicians I would want to have in the new incarnation of the rats. I wouldn’t be happy with just anyone now. I’ve always been a big fan of the early 80s UK punk thing so playing with them was fun for a while. They just didn’t tour enough for me and they all had 20 plus years on me ha-ha

The members of Yorkshire Rats were all known to each other before the band was formed; before and post break?

This is a completely new line up from the original. Me and our other guitarist Matty went to school together from the very beginning, good Catholic boys, well once upon a time anyways.

We had to get a new drummer and bass player since we released Sea of Souls because the other guys couldn’t commit to serious touring. So we got Chris on drums and then Josh on bass. We found both of those guys just before German tours. I’d suggest that anyone stuck for band members, book a German tour! You’ll find whoever you need…. eventually.

It was a strong couple of years first time around seeing a well-received single and EP released and the supporting of Rancid live amongst numerous successful shows. Then the band went on a hiatus. What primarily brought that about?

I think we all had different agendas; it went from being fun to being a drug fuelled mess. We’d had various line-up changes because people couldn’t commit and it just seemed no matter what I did, we just kept going round in circles. We were young, maybe we thought that because we had management, a label, and had done some higher profile shows that things were just going to fall into place on their own. I now know that’s not how it works, getting higher profile shows means the band is moving forward and that’s precisely the time to put extra pressure on.

And the biggest spark to the return of the band?album art_RingMaster Review

Obviously Brewins isn’t here on lead vocals, but the plan was for him to be the singer again when we reformed. He’d joined the Army after the band split and I hadn’t seen him for a while, but we met up at a Bad Religion show in Manchester. It seemed just like the old days so we agreed to give it another shot with a new line up of people we could trust to help us do it right. His Army career was supposed to be winding down so we set to work on new songs and rehearsing but it turned out that it wasn’t going to work out so we agreed that I would take over all the vocal duties.

Was it easier in many ways to return to a keenly waiting and expectant fan base than when starting out originally or vice versa?

I didn’t really give it much thought to be honest. I knew that I wanted to keep some key parts of the old band, anthemic songs, big guitars etc., but I also knew that I wanted to bring everything up to date and move forward. There’s always going to be people that say you’re doing things wrong but I usually don’t pay much attention to those guys.

Would you say that anything specifically changed within you for the band through that period away? In sound, the drive of personal etc.?

I think the sound of the band has definitely progressed. We pulled back on the hi gain guitars and it’s all about the rhythm section. I just try to write good songs. I think a good song will always win. I guess in terms of sound we have a classic rock n roll type sound; I don’t think we’re really that stylised. My songs always start on an acoustic guitar then we beef them up in the rehearsal room.

I never write a song with a particular sound or genre in mind. I don’t know whether that’s a curse right now. It’s almost like if you don’t sound like Nirvana no one cares. But then again when we first started unless you sounded like Arctic Monkeys no one cared ha-ha

Debut album, Sea of Souls marked your return in potent style with its acclaimed release in 2015. Fair to say it poked stronger and broader spotlights your way?

I think it made people take us seriously for sure. I’m not one for doing what everyone else is doing, maybe having a different sound made the album stand out.

It’s still a hard slog and we do as much of the work as we can on our own. Getting the CJ Ramone tour was a big deal for us, and now he’s a fan of ours which is really surreal. I’m a huge Ramones fan so to have someone like that telling us that we’re doing something right is a real boost. We’re hoping to play some more shows together in the near future but nothing is confirmed yet, we’ll have to wait and see.

Now you are poised to uncage its successor in the shape of the Trouble City EP this March. How would you say the two differ in their punk ‘n’ roll sounds and how you approached each in the writing and recording?

I guess both Sea of Souls and Trouble City had the same approach in terms of writing and recording. Sea of Souls has some old revamped songs from back in the day that never came out.

A lot of the songs for the rats seem to write themselves. I dick about with a guitar for a while and sing some nonsense and things seem to come together pretty quickly. That being said I don’t let any old shit through, if a song isn’t working I just throw it away and move on. I think the sound has become more mature since Sea of Souls. It’s the same kind of vibe but it feels and sounds like a band that’s been playing consistently together for a good few tours.

Trouble City art_RingMaster ReviewI believe the Trouble City EP was recorded in Berlin late last year whilst you were on tour in Germany? Was that always the aim to record the tracks over there or more making use of opportunities?

That’s right. It wasn’t part of the plan to start with, but we had a couple of shows that fell through on our last German run so had 4 days off in Berlin. A good friend of mine suggested a great studio; it was an old telecom building or something, every wall in the live room was filled with patch bays. You can just imagine loads of German phone operators flying round on their office chairs transferring calls backwards and forwards. A pretty cool vibe and the place sounded great, we plan to finish the second album there. We’ll just add some more studio time onto the back end of a German tour or something.

Give us some idea to the inspiration to the EP’s tracks and character.

We wanted to lay down some balls to the wall, riff driven tracks. I guess you can hear some Social D, Stiff Little Fingers, Ramones, Springsteen. Me, and our other guitarist Matty are really dynamic players so I wanted to enhance that on these recordings. We don’t have super hi gain amps, they’re relatively clean in all honesty, it sounds great but it makes you have to play better and play with a bit more thought into chord voicing etc.. Anything that makes us better is a good idea in my eyes.

What things and situations spark your lyrics more than most?

90% of my lyrics are true to life. Usually come from people I meet, or conversations I overhear. Trouble City is the start of a story about a prostitute called Amy that I met on tour once. We sat and drank some beers and talked shit for a while, you couldn’t make up most of the stuff she was telling me so that seemed like a good place to start with Trouble City.

Tell about the new video for the EP’s title track which you made with one of the UK’s best and brightest film makers, Chalkman Video.

Carl’s a great guy and he did a great job on the new vid. We didn’t have much time with it so we just got into our rehearsal space, he set up some lights and off we went.

Looks pretty cool I think. We spent 4 hours or so filming it then he had it finished 3 days later, he doesn’t mess around.

The EP is going to be the spark for another hectic year, live wise?

I hope so, we’re working on loads of UK dates throughout the year and heading back to Germany in October, there’s a couple of other things in the works that I can’t mention yet but yeah, we’re trying to keep as busy as we can.

YR Promo 2_RingMaster Review

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

What has the band already got in place as 2016 evolves in other news?

We managed to nail down a show with Snuff which should be fun, I haven’t seen Duncan for a while….

We’ve also confirmed a show with The Dictators.

More releases in the pipeline?

Of course! But probably not this year. Who knows.

Once again many thanks for chatting with us Don. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

No problem, I guess if people could just keep supporting us like they did last year that would be awesome, we really appreciate it.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

RamonesPleasant Dreams, Stiff Little FingersGuitar and Drum, Green DayNimrod, Drag the RiverYou Can’t Live This Way, Ryan AdamsHeartbreaker.

I love all these records; you can probably hear these influences in the rat’s songs. I guess my songs start as simple folk songs then turn into anthems when the band gets hold of ‘em.

Read our review of the Trouble City EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/yorkshire-rats-trouble-city-ep/

http://www.YorkshireRats.com/    https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerats

Pete RingMaster

RingMaster Review 19/02/2016

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The Sick Side – Born to Kill

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Bracingly raw and with an attitude and character as mischievous as it is antagonistic, Born To Kill the debut album from Spanish rockers The Sick Side, is like one of those companions you know you should not hang out with as they will only get you into trouble but you just cannot resist the anarchic and brazen seduction. A brawl of hard rock and heavy metal with a very healthy fuelling of punk rock, the release is a potential soaked riot of fun, unclean rock ‘n’ roll from a band which breeding a keen appetite for is very easy.

Storming out of Montblanc, a town in the Catalonian province of Tarragona, the quartet of Xavi Granados (vocals /guitar), Xavi Nuez (vocals /guitar), Sergio Martinez (bass), and Joan Pérez (drums) equip their album with a middle finger driven sound and adventure which demands and commands attention. Formed in 2012 and conducting their first rehearsals and song writing exploits in a garage right next to a cemetery, the perfect landscape for the creation of their devilish brew of sound it is easy to suggest, The Sick Side spent the following year working towards and on Born to Kill. Recorded at the Más Allá Studios in Valls, the album is an instant ear grabbing and furious incitement of energy and tenacity. As mentioned it is a raw and rough around the gills encounter but one we suggest fans of filthy punk and rock ‘n’ roll will get a real kick out of.

The album’s first track Looking For quickly lays down a tasty indication of what is in store within Born to Kill. Though not the strongest track on the release, its snarling vocal led weave of sonic enterprise and thumping rhythms within a caustic wall of riffs is a flavoursome appetiser for bigger things. Essences of Judas Priest like metal, Motorhead bred antagonism, and melodic toxicity collude from within the song to add further bait to the not remarkable but solid opening, an entrance backed forcibly by the Turbonegro like She Is A Whore which follows. As the first song, the craft and imagination of the band is captivating bait within the caustic rock ’n’ roll shaping the proposition, but there is a brighter spark of energy to it which sets up ears and appetite perfectly for the next step forward which comes in the fiery shape of Hanging Around.

The album’s third track has feet and emotions hooked from its opening lure of bass and a swiftly aligning roll of beats. Both Granados and Nuez share the vocal lead across the album, a mix and variety which only adds to the unpredictable nature and adventure of songs, and as shown here when those vocals come in hand in hand with a spicy blaze of guitar sculpted sonic design it works a treat. The hints of punk which whisper in the opening pair of songs is a broader and louder anthemic roar here too giving a great simplistic balance to the skilled and inventive veining of guitar endeavour alongside. Ramones meets Crashdiet; the track is a contagious stomp pushing the album up yet another notch with ease.

Both the heavy rhythmic stride and imposing presence of Jenny and the tangy blues shading of Alice hold ears and appetite firmly bound in catchy intriguing persuasion. The first of the two has a more serious nature to its character, parading a less rebellious and slightly more composed weight to its presence whilst its successor toys the senses with a blues garage rock spicing, both adding variety and fresh adventure to the album. Each also has glimpses of a more Billy Idol like glam punk spicing at their hearts, just whispers but proving more colouring to their resourceful and pleasing offerings.

Things continue to grip body and thoughts as Lights Are Always Bright romps with pop punk devilment, well pop punk caked in scowling vocals and riffs which collude with unpolished barbed littered hooks. It results in a tightly grabbing contagion which is emulated by a song called Track 1, where again heavy rock and melodic punk unite to create an abrasing confrontation with searing heavy metal veining alongside attention holding craft from the band. Both tracks keep things moving along enjoyably before the devilry of A Crime Against Humanity with its distinctive vocal delivery and addictive rhythms, steps up to forge another peak in the presence of Born To Kill, a new level reinforced by the album’s title track and the outstanding War. With a touch of hardcore punk teasing in the first, and heavy metal rabidity colouring the brilliance of the second of the three, the band leave the third to add the juiciest onslaught of the album. War is a belligerence of riffs and rapier like beats from its first breath, the band uniting them and the subsequent roar of vocals and bass predation in a thrash inspired stalking of the senses with a nice feel of Testament to its voracious heavy rock tempest.

   The final two songs of Lady Pheromon and The Sick Side impressively and easily ensures Born To Kill ends of a high. The first is an addiction forging slice of punk rock with another chorus to swiftly succumb to whilst the latter stomps around with stirring attitude and a punk metal swagger helped along by another excellent dark bassline courting a potent weave of riffs, hooks, and acidic grooves.

The two tracks make an enjoyable and ruggedly persuasive end to an outstanding introduction to The Sick Side. The album is unpolished and hostile, organic and ready to tear your head off, exactly as all dirt smothered rock ‘n’ roll should be from a band which can only grow and develop an even more striking and dangerous nature…something to eagerly anticipate on the evidence of Born to Kill.

Born To Kill is available now as a name your price download @ http://thesickside.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sick-Side/535224796532994

RingMaster 19/01/2015

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Lost Gravity – Self Titled

Lost Gravity Online Promo Shot

Though it would be wrong to claim that the self-titled debut album from UK based Lost Gravity set a fire in ears straight away, it certainly left a smouldering lure and attraction which over time has inspired a very healthy appetite for the band’s brand of heavy melodic rock. Consisting of ten skilfully accomplished and contagious tracks which make up for what they lack in originality with passion, the release is a potential fuelled introduction to a highly enjoyable proposition in the London based band.

Lost Gravity was formed in 2007 by Brazilian born vocalist/guitarist Breno Val. Taking influences from the likes of AC/DC, Megadeth, Ramones, Chroma Key, Metallica, Alice in Chains and more into their songwriting and sound, the band started out as a quartet but with a flux of line-up changes eventually emerged as a trio in 2012 with drummer Giuliano Kolling joining the band around the same time. Completed live by bassist Chris K, but not involved with the album, Lost Gravity now makes a powerful play for attention with their first full- length. It follows a trio of earlier well-received EPs in Anywhere But Home (2008), Selfish (2009), and Lost Gravity III (2012), all released as the album on Val’s own label Priston Records. The new release is a bold encounter openly wearing its inspirations which arguably defuses its originality, but for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll, the pair of Val and Kolling has unleashed a thoroughly satisfying incitement.

The album opens on the bulging presence and might of What Goes Around Comes Around, a melodic lure leading ears into a wall of vivacious riffs and thumping rhythms. It is an instantly potent persuasion of grunge and hard rock PromoImagewith spicy grooves and strong vocals combining to swiftly wake the imagination and appetite up for the rest of the album. The gnarly tone of the bass adds to the impressive bait of the song, as does the sonic enterprise of Val’s guitar which is as flavoursome in straight rock ‘n’ roll riffery as it is in sonic endeavour. It all adds up for an anthemic and magnetic start to the release soon matched by the bluesy laced Changes. There is not quite the striking touch and unique flame to the second song in comparison to the first, but again the duo provide a skilled and easily accessible slice of heavy melodic rock to convince body and emotions. An excellent relaxation into mellower scenery adds a welcome twist to the song too as Lost Gravity reveals more fluidity and invention to their songwriting.

Both Back Where You Belong and Alone keeps the thick lures and persuasion coming, the first a grooved flame of sonic and melodic intensity which seems bred in the fire of an Audioslave or Stone Temple Pilots. It is a song which evolves across its length, entwining stoner-esque grooves and alternative metal seeded ingenuity within a sultry climate. It is a riveting encounter, one of the peaks of the album which its successor does not quite rival in impact but with its sinew crafted balladry afloat with evocative melodies and vocal expression it is an endearing offering which grows in stature with every listen.

Anywhere But Home comes next and opens on a delicious transfixing hook which is arguably never matched in success by the rest of the song, though it pleasingly bristles and roars with fresh creativity not previously explored by the album. That initial lure is never far from the surface of the song either but somewhere there is a missing spark to push a certainly great song into sensational realms. To be fair though, it is hard to tear away from the track as you almost urge it to greater success and it certainly enslaves a hungry appetite over time.

The infectious swagger and flirtation of Friendly Fire sets up feet and ears for a sizeable pleasure next, its Foo Fighters like tenacity flirting with rock pop vivacity before the more heavyweight and moody presence of Selfish takes over to ignite the senses with sonic spicery and melodic intrigue. The track is structured similarly to Anywhere But Home, and also breeds an enthralling presence with a potential not quite realised. This applies to the whole of the album really, so many great things exploring and playing across its appealing body but not quite finding the missing piece to truly catch alight. Song and release though does breed real anticipation for when the band make that transition at some point ahead.

All the Same looks at an alternative/punk pop infused landscape for the placing of its skilled and bracing temptation whilst the following Venom In Vial parades a raw antagonistic breath and attitude in its muscular confrontation. The pair are further sides to the sound and invention of the band, each a firmly pleasing offering before the might of the closing Walk On. With a blues tinge to the opening groove and a ferociously rumbling torrent of rhythms, the track makes a dramatic and thrilling entrance which it subsequently accentuates with a punk rock agitation to its blues kissed charge of dirty rock ‘n’ roll. It is an impressive end to an attention grabbing encounter, an album which makes a hefty persuasion to the promise and skills of Lost Gravity and a feisty suggestion of even bigger and better things ahead.

Lost Gravity is available now digitally and on CD via Priston Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-gravity/id901847667

http://www.lostgravity.co.uk/

RingMaster 13/10/2014

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Gaz Patterson – Dodging Bullets

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Following up his impressive and thoroughly enjoyable debut album King Of You, UK one man pop punk/power pop protagonist Gaz Patterson returns with Dodging Bullets, an eleven track romp to light up ears. Bred from the same stock as its successor but showing a new strength of maturity amongst the riot of hooks and cast of melodic temptation, the new release pushes the already strong emergence of the man up numerous notches.

Hailing from Bedlington in Northumberland, Patterson again keeps within existing boundaries with Dodging Bullets. As with the last album, songs hold a familiarity which ensures they make friends long before their hearts are fully spilled. Once more it is hard to avoid making comparisons to modern Green Day and Blink 182, but at times there is a strong Ramones seeding to songs which offers a vibrant and anthemic lure. As the first album, Dodging Bullets is not without a few things which need honing, but for richly pleasing, feet grabbing pop infused punk songs, it fills all needs.

The release opens with Into The Sun and a sparkling of keys swiftly joined by hefty swipes of guitar and rhythms. It is a potent start which takes little time before settling into a wide gaited stride of thumping beats and enticing riffs speared by a similarly alluring tidy hook. The track is an anthemic beast, guitars and bass sculpting a frame for imagination and emotions to latch onto whilst the punctuation of drum swipes just intensifies the bait on offer. It is not a majorly dramatic start or song but one which hits the sweet spot persistently, especially with the tempting melodic enterprise streaming with variation from Patterson’s guitar. With the man providing every aspect of the album, it is easy to see and eagerly appreciate his skills and talent, as well as his ability to write ridiculously catchy songs.

The first track does offer the first hint of the only element which off and on just misses the mark though, the vocals. It is not Patterson’s lead attack, that only recruiting ears and attention with ease but the production around his voice which leads to questions, it bringing a hollow resonance to the delivery which does not fit easily in the arms of the sounds. It is a niggle more than an issue but something may be worth thinking about as is the additional backing vocals and harmonies behind the man which are a little hit and miss across the album and often do not need to be there such the power of his lead. Nevertheless it does not stop the opener from lighting an appetite for the album into which the following Devil Girl sparks a wave of greed. The track is a gem, vocals and riffs immediately rubbing invitingly on ears before the song bursts into a boisterous rampage. Guitars and drums lead the way with an irresistible revelry whilst the bass adds a throaty depth to the mix but it is when keys suddenly rein things in for a brief melodic breath that the songwriting of Patterson shows its growing confidence and potency.

Both Bitter Sweet and Hold On keep things rocking, the first pulling on the reins of urgency compared to the last song but still cantering with keen endeavour and tempting riffs aligned to infectious hooks whilst the second adds a caress of acoustic guitar to a key sculpted melodic swagger with appealing touches of discord. Neither matches the strength and pull of the first pair of songs but easily bind ears in an appealing and imaginative hold before the might of the title track takes over. Thrusting a flame of hard core inspired rock ‘n’ roll into power pop contagion, the track makes a gripping start with a strong coaxing which only increases as guitars slip into intriguing grooves and melodic twists whilst rhythms emerge with an unpredictable nature to make the song an enthralling and fascinating charge.

The acoustic balladry at the core of the next up Barely Believe is a decent proposition but lacks the spark of other songs, though the strings bring a great evocative croon to the song, whilst Nothing Sacred from a blaze of riffs and sonic suasion shapes another anthem of searing melodies and barbed hooks to snare thoughts and emotions. The drums roam around with agitated enterprise whilst the bass for arguably the first time finds the growl and potency which graced the first album. The vocal production does the song no favours it has to be said but cannot prevent it igniting passions with its storm of stirring sounds and impressive musicianship. As so many of the songs it is like meeting an old buddy, familiar and unsurprising but very, very welcome.

Our Movie is another which just misses heights set, but again it is that production element which defuses its sinewed driven stroll of addictive hooks and enticing riffs aligned to exhausting incendiary rhythms; a mix in a different less intensive guise which marks out the next in line, Too Far From The Truth. Featuring excellent guest backing vocals from Sam Gibson and a great sultry twang to the melodic persuasion of the guitar, the song is a striking and increasingly virulent slice of potent pop rock. Of all the songs on the album, it is the one which from a strong start just seems to get better and linger longer; simply a vivacious song to heat up the summer.

The album closes with firstly the senses cradling Promises Into Yesterday with its emotive weave of acoustic guitar and shadowed basslines within a heated web of guitar passion and synth expression, and lastly We Are We Are. The closer is the anthem of the album, vocals immediately filling ears and imagination before a gentle but energetic shuffle of devilish rhythms, roving basslines, and melodic toxicity combine for a richly pleasing conclusion.

     Dodging Bullets probably does not realise all of the potential found in Patterson’s first album but certainly it brings a potent evolution of plenty that was offered there whilst adding further exciting twists and promise to the mix. For imaginative but enjoyably undemanding pop punk, Patterson and his album is a recommended romp.

Dodging Bullets is out on the 1st July.

http://gazpatterson.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/GazPattersonMusic

8/10

RingMaster 27/06/2014

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Calabrese – Born with a Scorpion’s Touch

 

CALABRESE  2 (Born With A Scorpion's Touch) 2013

    Calabrese has continued to steal the passions of psychobillies and horror punks worldwide since stepping forward in 2003. Album after album, song after song, show after show, they have been a persistent magnet for those infected by their distinct sound and riotous b-movie inspired presence, and we stand amongst the legion infected. So it was with relish we dived into the band’s fifth album Born with a Scorpion’s Touch which receives its UK uncaging this month. Each of the band’s previous albums has impressed and pushed the band’s adventure but with the new contagion, the trio of blood brothers, Bobby, Davey, and Jimmy Calabrese has unlocked a maturity and exploratory enterprise which opens up a new chapter for the band in songwriting and presence. The trademark Calabrese sound is still the potent lure but it is graced and veined with a greater expanse of styles and ingenuity to create quite possibly the pinnacle of the band’s exploits to date.

     The band has always built their sound on the influential breaths of bands such as The Misfits, Black Flag, Samhain, The Damned, Black Sabbath, Danzig, and Ramones, and there is certainly no deviation from that potent well upon Born with a Scorpion’s Touch either but it is infused with a rich incitement of varied metallic and heavy rock essences within their individual sound. It emerges from this dramatic brew as an enthralling and unpredictable encounter, one which continues to make Calabrese a major force and provocation in underground rock ‘n’ roll. Now though they might just become a well-known incitement for world attention thanks to Born with a Scorpion’s Touch.

    Released via Spookshow Records, the album opens with the brief American Rebel Death Riders, a primarily instrumental Calabrese Born With A Scorpion's Touch Album Covertrack which fires up the energy of album and listener with its mix of groove and thrash metal within a juggernaut of rock ‘n’ roll voraciousness. The track rampages down the ears highway igniting imagination and emotions before departing for the following title track. From the first of expected film samples which has always coloured the band’s releases, a ravenous groove breaks free from within a blaze of riffs and thumping rhythms. It is irresistible toxic bait from which the band swings their hooks and infectious chorus to predictably irresistible effect. It is fair to say there is not many bands who can breed the virulence to their barbs and calls as the Phoenix threesome and no chance that the band will lose their lethal touch, as proven by the second track. Again there is a broader hard rock stroke to the song without removing itself from the masterful walls of psychobilly and horror rock.

     I Wanna Be a Vigilante continues the impressive start, its opening wind swept beach reminding a little of the classic Shangri-las’ song, is soon welcoming the croon of Bobby and Jimmy’s vocals and an emotively honed blaze of melodic punk spawned pop balladry with a definite Ramones like aspect to its expanding walls and lures. There is also an element which reminds of The Damned, a gothic glaze that only adds to the depths of the track’s drama. From its commanding presence the snarling bass of Jimmy welcomes in the next up At Night I Am the Warmest, a track which launches at the ears with a feverish appetite and energy once into its full charge. The rhythms from Davey thump and pummel with intimidation whilst grooves and hooks engage and seduce the senses, all held under the rein of the excellent vocal persuasion singularly and dually of Bobby and Jimmy. As epidemically commanding as a voracious fever, the track leaves appetite and emotions aflame before they are taken on another inflammatory ride by the sonic surges and hunger of Loner at Heart. The track burns and sears the sense with a predatory gait and intensity to its antagonism but tempers it with a delicious weave of melodic and addiction forging enterprise.

     Both Mindwarp and Danger leave lingering fingerprints on passions and memory, the first an almost brawling stomp of rock pop with horror rock provocation and its successor a rhythmically menacing encounter courted by sonic beauty and a cache of insidiously compelling barbed grooves and anthemic toxins. It is a brilliant trap living up to its name with ease. Its might is as good as matched by the tarmac smelling heat of Ride with the Living Dead, the song just another which sparks imagery and creative thoughts as powerfully as it does the ardour which only increases its rapture for the release.

    Only the Dead Know My Name moves in on the imagination next, another ambient setting the veil for a track which seduces with more swerves and curvy temptations than a lap dance and just as unhealthily captivating as reality fades away once up against the claws and grip of the song. It is a stylish and impossibly alluring dance with riffs and hooks instinctive protagonists to give full submission to, as are those unleashed by the brilliant I Ride Alone, though brilliance can be draped over every song on this exceptional inspiration as a trait. As with all the songs, there is a wider, richer colour and fermentation to the band’s songwriting and sound which simultaneously feeds all wants and desires for a Calabrese release whilst exceeding those needs with even greater challenging adventure.

   Closing with the rigorously catchy There’s an Evil Inside, a more singularly rockabilly cast treat, Born with a Scorpion’s Touch is a magnificent slab of resourceful and inventive rock ‘n’ roll, one unafraid to push its and the band’s formerly perceived boundaries, though they have never stood still in pressuring limits to be fair. We suggested that the album was possibly the pinnacle of the band’s creativity until now, listening to it again as this is written let us amend that by omitting possibly.

http://www.calabreserock.com/

10/10

RingMaster 17/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Snarling with varied weaponry: an interview with John Robb of Goldblade

Goldblade 1

Punk has been treated to some exceptional albums so far this year and none any better than the new album from UK giants Goldblade. Their sixth album, The Terror Of Modern Life, is a masterful, openly diverse, and ferocious strike of irresistible and inciting riots of invention and enterprise. One of the most thrilling releases to unleash its triumph upon 2013 so far, the thirteen track brawl snarls and provokes thoughts and senses with pure imaginative craft. Seizing the opportunity to talk with band founder and vocalist, John Robb, we charged up our questions to ask one of the genre’s biggest creators about the album, punk itself, and his own history.

Hi John and welcome to the site, thank you for sharing time to chat with us.

Album six, The Terror Of Modern Life, has just unleashed its confrontation on the world; does the feel, thrill, and anticipation change from release to release?

Of course…and it gets to be a bigger thrill.  It’s a mixture of thank fuck we are still doing this and surviving in the collapsing music business and still have enough inspiration to still want to make music!

With this album we felt really excited. We knew we were onto something good with this record a long time ago. We got the sound we wanted from the start and we worked hard to get the songs right. We wanted a variation of styles- from fast kinda hardcore rushes to anthemic punk to dark tribal stuff to droning post black metal apocalyptic pieces. It’s like a collection of all the various strands of punk and its off shoots – we wanted something people could dance to at gigs, something full of hooks but also fuck with things a bit as well. We wanted to make a record that reflected the underlying darkness and unease of these times, times where the word ‘terror’ is the key word like the word ‘clash’ was the key word in the punk times and caused the classic band to name themselves.

We immersed ourselves in the album and pushed ourselves to the brink. We then made the sound the way we wanted, in a way we never got close to before. We wanted something darker and heavier- we wanted the bass to sound right- I had reformed my old band The Membranes for a few gigs and played bass again and it reminded me of the fundamental power of that instrument if you stick it though a rat pedal and play it with a direct venom- this cross pollinated into Goldblade and infected the album and it really places us back into the place we wanted to be- that twisted end of punk occupied by Killing Joke, Dead Kennedys, Stranglers, Black Flag, whilst continuing the great quest of the Clash but updated to a 21st century feel because we have never stopped listening to new music.

The year has already seen the outstanding new UK Subs album XXIV provoke and impress and now your scintillating encounter, it feels like the ‘old brigade’ is still driving and leading UK punk, does it feel like that for you?

There are great younger bands around- Dirt Box Disco album is stuffed full of great songs- I think it’s a case of older bands not giving up in their dotage- with discipline and concentration you can make the best and most urgent history of your history. Punk, by its nature, doesn’t have leaders- we just operate in our own space! The UK Subs album is great and Charlie is an inspiration to anyone, there have also been great albums from Killing Joke, the Stranglers and other bands from that generation- it’s like those bands have found their teeth again- maybe they also feel the urgency of these times…

The Terror Of Modern Life is as with your previous albums a collection of songs which steer through, challenge, and stand eye to Goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life-296x300eye with injustices and social wrongs, but your most potent and venomous yet?

I think things are getting a bit helter skelter out there and it’s hard not to reflect this, the last ten years has seen things get very unsteady in the world and that’s bound to get into the music- we have no interest in lecturing people, we just reflect what’s happening- people can make their own minds up or just dance to the music- it does not concern us what people think of the words, the world seems to be in a fast forward towards several different conclusions and out album reflects this tension.

Do you feel the impact of politically fuelled songs whether on the personal, social, or world level is still as strong as it used to be within not only punk but music as a whole? Do people and especially the latest generation of young people listen to songs and music the same way as those before them?

To be honest the impact has lessened in some ways and yet in others it’s got stronger- music, the music discourse is no longer driven by the counter culture and there are many strands of thought out there, but that’s inevitable because people don’t have the time and the impact of being a political song is less than when it first came about in modern culture. I don’t think young people are less political than they were years ago- that’s a bit of a myth. Not all of punk was political and it didn’t have to be- punk was many things- it could be comic book like the Ramones or political like Crass and both were genius for me. I think people sometimes feel overawed by the world these days and feel detached from the political process and that’s creating dangerous vacuums. We don’t claim to have all the answers but we have definitely have all the questions.

You obviously grew up with and were inspired by the birth of punk and the bands sculpting its first mighty wave; do you still see and feel the same essences politically and musically in today’s punk bands outside of yourselves and the still provocative bands from back then?

First wave was important for me but I don’t wallow in there for ever- those records always sound magical and powerful but I love lots of new music as well even it affects me in a different kind of way. Modern punk bands are as varied musically and politically as any bands were back then, it has changed in many ways as well- even if it was a business then as well it seemed to be a bit more haphazard and suicidal- now it’s a long term operation and band’s gigs are very different. In some ways punk has become a tradition like jazz or blues and a way of making music or dressing- and that’s understandable – the music and the style are very attractive and create a cool- the only danger is getting trapped which is a contradiction of the punk spirit!

For those unaware of your intensive history within music could you give us the history of John Robb between say ’77 and the emergence of Goldblade?

Wow, that’s long and complex!

Born in Blackpool, formed The Membranes in the punk period and also started a fanzine called Rox. The Membranes became a big underground band with noisy records inspired by the dark zone in the middle of punk and post punk- we toured the world and were critic and John Peel faves. At the same time I started writing for Zig Zag and then Sounds and covered all the fallout of the punk generation from the goth to grunge scene to Madchester to baggy to punk itself- being the first person to interview Nirvana and also coining the phrase Britpop, formed Goldblade in the mid-nineties to fly the flag for rock n roll in the middle of the non-rock n roll decade! Wrote books on punk and the Stone Roses and the eighties underground scene as well as doing TV and radio stuff…and that all continues now with Goldblade playing all over the world etc…

As you mentioned your writing, something you are renowned, has that experience and aspect of your life impacted or brought a view upon your music lyrically and in regard to creating sounds which brings something different to Goldblade, something other bands might lack?

Of course, even for the simple reason that I hear lots of music and it also keeps me fully engaged in the culture and keeps me interested and investigating everything. I’m a compulsively creative person who keeps making, creating and writing stuff. Apart from hearing so much stuff I think the impact on Goldblade is more minimal as that is a very instinctive thing, we make the music that entertains us and the songs are kicked about in the rehearsal room till they sound and feel right to us and not to fit in with anybody, anywhere!

Listening to The Terror Of Modern Life alone, one has the sense inspirations are far wider than just the early days and sounds of punk. What does give you food for thought musically?

You got it- some people think we operate only within punk but we have a far wider listening base than that- even punk was originally about dub and other musics- it’s good to mess with things but keep the focus and the energy- sometimes it’s great to switch to fast and furious punk rushes just to get that adrenalin fix, sometimes it’s good to find a different rhythm or atmosphere- it could be from black metal or from dub reggae but it must always be put through the Goldblade mangle and made to sound like us.

Goldblade 5Did you approach the new album any differently to your previous releases?

We wanted something a bit more extreme, more heavier, and rawer; we felt the last album had been too tame and too much click track and production- we wanted the record to sound live and if the songs speeded up towards the end then great! Because they speeded up with excitement- ‘rock n roll should speed up’ as Guy Stevens told the Clash during London Calling recordings…we had to record the album twice because of a fallout with the label but the second time we recorded it in two days flat and mixed it in 2 days- the urgency was vital to the album, it gives it an edge and we are addicted to the edge…

The songs on the album strike hard lyrically and deliver them with some of the most deviously addictive hooks and grooves, which comes first in your songs as a generalisation?

It can be either- we can have songs and bash them out in the rehearsal room and work out a vocal melody or it can be a phrase or some lyrics that come with a tune and we build the song around it- it’s a very varying process.

Is there any particular moment on The Terror Of Modern Life which gives you the strongest satisfaction?

I think the playing by the band is amazing, brother Pete’s guitar is fantastic- every time I listen I hear something new, even on the songs I mainly wrote! And getting the bass sound the way I wanted it to be- as heavy and raw as it should be- that made a big difference- when we finished the album we were really happy with it, I listened to it over and over- normally you feel a bit down when it’s finished but this time I could actually listen to this as an album and felt really excited by the sound and the reaction we have got so far with all the great reviews has proved this.

And anything you would have changed or like to have evolved further in hindsight?

That’s for the next album!

I would change the way people consume music- I think it’s getting almost impossible for people to record and release music now unless they are rich- the download thing has killed it for small underground labels and studios and everyone is really struggling out there- this is our first release where most of the people listening will have not bought the record but downloaded it from the internet and from the pirates- it doesn’t make me angry as technology is part of music- but it may mean that making another album may be almost impossible for us and lots of other bands. We will have to think of other ways of making and releasing music in the future.

The late seventies and punk gave freedom and realisation to bands and people that they could make music as they wanted, on their own terms. Do you think that freedom or realisation is still as potent, has the internet and the digital world given back that belief?

In some ways yes- you can get heard more now and the consumer has the power which we love- cult bands can be heard now and don’t have to grovel to the mainstream media for attention- that’s been very important to the underground and made a real difference- this is coupled with the real problems that many studios, labels and shops are having because of the pirate thing- we felt that if you want to give your music away for free that’s up to you and not someone else but we realise that there is nothing we can do about it- the internet is young and its effect on culture cannot be measured yet- at the moment its chaos out there and like the wild west- and as punks we love that aspect of it but we are not so servile that we want people we don’t know to make money out of us!

There has always been a unity and kinship between punk bands, certainly in its origins, do you still think it exists, can you feel that Gold Blade Smallunity now?

Yes we all know each other, some bands are more friendly than others but there is a unity- I think we all face the same problems!

You have just come off a tour with the Misfits, and a band we love and feature constantly on our podcasts The Bone Orchard and The Ringmaster Review, Dirt Box Disco who you mentioned earlier. How was the tour and did you have to put those punk n roll freaks from DBD in their place😉

DBD are good people and a great band and there songs are killer- I think they will be one of the biggest bands on the scene by the end of the year and we can then go and support them. It was great to tour with them and I had to chuckle when we played with them at the Manchester Ritz when their stomach problems were quite loud back stage.:)

You have toured all over the world it seems, any particular places other than the usual countries which you enjoyed and surprised you with their knowledge of your sounds?

Algeria was amazing- we were the first band to play there for 20 years and yet people knew our songs – that’s the power of YouTube for you- the songs that were on YouTube they were singing along- we have played all over- we have played Russia a few times and there is talk of going to China…

Once more a big thanks John for talking with us, anything you would like to add?

Join our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/goldbladeband

Review the review of The Terror Of Modern Life @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Delicious horrors: an interview with The Monster Ones

-The Monster Ones-

From within the heart of the Palma de Mallorca region of Spain there has stirred in the past couple of years, a fresh and exciting storm of graveyard rock n roll. It comes in the thrilling shape of The Monster Ones, a band which collects the essential essences of various styles and flavours to create a fusion which leaves all fans from psychobilly and rockabilly to punk and horror rock, an energised limb casting explosion of energy. The quintet is a force on the rise and one we wanted to know much more about and find what drives their obvious hunger. So we had the band tell us all.

Hi, welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Firstly would you please introduce the members of The Monster Ones?

The Monster Ones are:

-Carpi Malone: Guitar and Back Vocals

-V: Guitar and Back Vocals

-Cecile The Beast: Lead Vocals

-Maf: Drums and Back Vocals

-Elvis Lugosi: Bass and Back Vocals

When and how did the band come about?

In 2008, Carpi and Cecile started the band, along with Bukake Kid (bass) and the help of some friend drummers; we collaborated with them in the early shows as we still did not have an official drummer in the band.

It was so fun! In just 15 days after getting a place to rehearse, we gave our first concert. We had no idea how to play, but had a great time, and from the beginning we have had the support of our family and friends who have encouraged us to learn and evolve day by day.

Your music is a great hybrid of punk, horror rock, glam, rockabilly and more. How do you describe it when asked?

Good question! hahaha! We used to call it Horror-Glam-Punk-Rock Band.

It’s just what you say … A mixture of many things we love, and we will not spare any of them. Rock ‘n’ Roll is beautiful in all its aspects, and we love to play with them all.

From your varied and flavoursome sound one imagines your influences too are wide. Who are the major ones to Cecile The Beastimpact your sound and invention?

Many, many influences, yes! We are 5 members in the band that have musical tastes in common as: Misfits, Ramones, Cramps … But each of us, individually, brings his/her own influences too.

I am right in thinking the band has evolved from initially playing cover songs to the all original composition making group it is today?

Yes, our first show lasted only 20 minutes, and consisted solely of covers of some of our idols (Misfits, Ramones, Turbonegro, Iggy Pop  …). But immediately after, we started to compose our own songs.

Tell us about the early times of the band and how easy or difficult it was to find a place in Spanish rock music.

Well, from the beginning we have this eagerness and enthusiasm to work; we believe that’s fundamental to make a site in the rock scene anywhere. Stay there, no matter what happens … And the harder it is, the more effort we put.

Is there a vibrant rockabilly/garage/horror rock scene in your homeland?

In our home, Mallorca Island … If you rely only on the local music magazines, the predominance is for Indie Pop

But really, if you visit the rehearsal rooms or go out to see concerts, you can see that there are great bands of Punk Rock, Metal, Rockabilly and Garage.

You released the Transilvania Rock City EP in 2010 and last year the excellent I Wanna Be A Teenage Monster!! EP. How would you say the band has evolved between the two in the aspect of songwriting and the sound itself?

In “Transylvania Rock City”, we recorded with a different formation to the present and served as our first experience in a recording studio.

Now, together with the current members, we feel our sound and compositions much more defined and worked.

In 2012 we decided to start experimenting with home recordings made by Maf (drummer). We recorded our songs in his living room, it was very useful to carefully analyse our music, and in this way we can improve.

From these recordings is where “I Wanna be a Teenage Monster!!” was born. It contains four of the most simple and direct compositions of The Monster Ones, of which we feel very proud.

 How does the songwriting work within the band?

In our band we are five songwriters. We all love to create, and we always do it together in the rehearsal room. It’s fun to see how each of us brings something different than expected, but which engages perfectly with the final composition.

The Monster OnesThe songs are steeped in horror, sci-fi, and comic book imagery and essences. Are these areas the major inspirations for your lyrical imagination or do you take the ‘horror’ of every day as a provocative factor too?

Horror, sci-fi, and comics are the main inspiration. Also very useful are the dreams and nightmares.

Tell us about your live shows, I hear they are an event few forget once tasted :)

Thanks, it’s the best we can hear about our shows!:)

In our live shows, we forget the boring real world and focus on the fun.

Yes, we like to dress and make-up for every performance … It is a form of expression, and also a way to carry over our audience with us to this imaginary world of horror and Rock ‘n’ Roll. We want them to get into the story and feel part of it.

Tell us about Zombie Walk and Zombie’s Party in Mallorca which I believe you helped found in 2010. Is this now an annual event and what do they comprise of?

Yes, it is an annual event that takes place every summer, thanks to our friend Adrian Garcia, who makes the hardest work of organizing this. Each year come more zombies, surpassing the 400 undead in the 2012 edition. The route of the Zombie Walk ends with a Zombie’s Party, where we give a show, along with other friend bands, varying in each edition.

Soon we’ll begin preparations for the 2013

With the internet have you found a widespread fanbase around the world growing for your sounds?V

Yes, we have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Monster-Ones/117290895817

and also our official website: www.themonsterones.com

Both updated with latest events and news from the band.

How do you feel about the internet and its part in the rise and arguably demise of the chance of success for new emerging bands?

It is a very useful tool, both for the bands and for music fans.

Where do you hope to find The Monster Ones in five years?

Evolved, full of good experiences, with several albums behind us, and many others to record. Stay there and keep rocking!

What is next from the band and plans for 2013?

In mid-February we’ll get into the studio to record our first LP.

Of course, we will continue writing new songs, and we fervently wish to tour outside our home.

Carpi MaloneThanks so much for sharing time with us, any last thoughts for the readers and fans?

Thank you, Pete. It was a pleasure!

To all our friends and fans: Thanks for your support, you’re great! Keep rocking with us, guys!

And lastly give us five moments which shaped the destiny of your musical direction personally or within The Monster Ones.

1. – The entry of V (Monster-Guitar). Great composer, and gives better shape to existing songs adorning them with his riffs, and Maf, (Monster-Drummer), perfectionist to the limit, which always encourages us to improve ourselves.

2. – The entry of Goatboy (bassist during a year in the band in 2011). He provided great ideas and recorded with us on I Wanna be a Teenage Monster.

3.-The entry of Elvis Lugosi (Monster-Bass), now bringing his forceful and elaborate riffs

4.- Our video clip “Teenage Ramone”, by which we were chosen “COOLEST SONG OF THE WEEK” in New York’s Radio Show Little Steven’s Underground Garage. This has made known our music in many more places around the world. Thanks so much, Steve Van Zandt!!!

5. – And at the end of last year was carried out the voting for “THE COOLEST IN THE WORLD 2012”, among the 50 songs of very great bands. We got to the No. 5, we see it as a great achievement and an honor. This has also been a great help to make our music known to the world.

The RingMaster Review 23/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

THE MONSTER ONES – TEENAGE RAMONE (official video)