Uber Rock at Steelhouse Festival 2014 - The Amorettes - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Sunday, 03 August 2014 03:40

The Amorettes


This year’s Steelhouse Festival really was full of surprises, and we're not just talking about the stunning weather here either. Take the delayed arrival of the Electric Boys into the UK which resulted in Scottish all girl trio The Amorettes effectively being thrown to the lions third on the bill on the Saturday evening line up. Thankfully Gill Montgomery (guitar and vocals), Hannah McKay (drums), and Heather McKay (bass) seem to enjoy surprises like this and showed true gallus grabbing the Hafod-Y-Dafal Farm crowd firmly by the collars and giving it a full on Scottish kiss on the bridge of the nose courtesy of a punk fuelled 30 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll that had some people around me declaring them as the second coming of Rock Goddess or perhaps even The Runaways.


I was intrigued to know more about them, so I caught up with the trio during a short gap between bands on the Sunday of Steelhouse 2014 just to find out what lies ahead for the band now they have been 'Haulin' Ass' around the UK promoting their debut record for the last 12 months or so. There was however only one place the interview could begin, and that is with the story behind their impromptu performance the previous evening.


So ladies what was it like just being thrown in at the deep so to speak last night.


Heather McKay (Heather): Oh it was brilliant. (all laughing)


Well you personally totally grasped the challenge making that stage very much your own.


Hannah McKay (Hannah); Well we’d literally driven here from Holmfirth where we’d supported Black Star Riders. It was a long drive, we kind of got randomly lost, but eventually found the place, tumbled out the van and were told “you’re on in 15 minutes”. It was all a bit stressful but the crew were really helpful with everything set up so quickly. It all just went too smoothly and it felt really good.


Heather I have to praise you on your fine choice of T Shirt (she is wearing a King Kobra Ready To Strike shirt)


Heather: Thank you, but why does your hat say Uber Rock Hates Your Band?


Ummmm….I guess it’s a slogan that is designed to provoke a reaction a bit like your T Shirt.


Heather: You know you’re not wrong there. Sebastian Bach loved this shirt, he was like “my God it’s King Kobra” when we bumped into him backstage last night. Which was a kind of cool introduction.




Talking of introductions I was wondering where and when you guys started The Amorettes.


Gill Montgomery (Gill): Well we started back probably about eight years ago or something like that, I met Hannah at college, we just had this thing about wanting to do an all-girl band, and it never really happened until about four years ago when Heather, who is Hannah’s sister, joined the band. For me it was all about listening to the guitar of Jimi Hendrix when I was at school, and I just wanted to do what he was doing. There were no new all-female rock bands out there, only like the legacy of great bands like The Runaways and Rock Goddess. But after that there’s just like this big gap, and personally its disappointing there are not more girls wanting to do this in the UK. For me there should be more women out there giving you the inspiration to just rock out you know.


Of course there are bands like The Ramonas, but it’s just so disappointing they don’t play their own stuff instead of just doing covers.


All: Oh they are brilliant…..


Hannah: It’s the curse of the girl band. It’s just so hard to get things off the ground and I guess you need a gimmick sometimes.


Gill: Curse of the girl band…I like that. Plus it’s so hard sometimes because girls just don’t get on, it’s so hard to settle on a line up where you all get on as friends. We have gone through so many singers and bass players it’s…..


Hannah: [Cutting In] Girls in general aren’t just willing to work hard and gig a lot and get really sweaty and stressed out. (much laughter)


You’ve mentioned Rock Goddess already, something I wasn’t going to necessarily do as that comparison is a bit obvious, but what is it like looking back at the music of the likes of Rock Goddess and Girlschool, who coincidently were the first band I ever saw live?


Gill: Wow, you know I would have loved to have seen Kelly Johnson play live, she is one of my biggest heroes, and it must have been amazing to have seen her. I’m just dying to see Rock Goddess though. Who knows hopefully we could get something together to tour?


Hannah: I’m getting excited because of all these photos appearing on Facebook of them, especially after the disappointment of them not playing Hard Rock Hell a few years back. I’m digging the new blonde look though. It’s all really exciting


Heather: Woo who!


Hannah: It does get a little scary the comparisons between Rock Goddess and The Amorettes, as there’s obviously two sisters and us being a trio too.


Heather: Which is really coincidental by the way, we didn’t set out to be like them, it just happened (laughing)


Hannah: But they were one of THE best all girl bands, and Jody she was/is such a bad ass with a fantastic voice.


Heather: She’s like Blackie Lawless but female. (mass laughter)




Who you have coincidently on the back of your leather jacket. So talking about Blackie’s generation of music, what is ‘Talk Nerdy To Me’, from your ‘Haulin’ Ass’ album, all about?


Gill: Well, that was one of the very first songs we wrote, and it was actually written by another girl who was in the band at that time, and it’s really just about kind of being attracted to nerds, that underdog guy.


Heather: We don’t want to go for the obvious you know. And it’s an obvious parody on the Poison song ‘Talk Dirty To Me’.


So for someone who’s never seen or heard you guys how would you describe The Amorettes sound to them?


Hannah: A lot of people of actually said its quite punky in attitude, because we play quite quickly and with a lot of attitude, but it’s really just raw rock music with straight ahead four four beats, full of good riffs and good lyrics.


Heather: Someone said earlier on that we are kind of like Airbourne with Joan Jett signing for them, and I think that is perhaps the closest to what we are really all about.


So you’ve played Steelhouse, you’ve played Hard Rock Hell, and you will shortly be playing Bloodstock and then Planet Rockstock in December which is all pretty full on metal...


Hannah: It’s male, it’s metal and it’s fierce. (laughing)


So what is that like for a female band to be entering that male dominated environment?


Hannah: It’s hard, and however much you pretend that it’s not it is intimidating. What you have to do though is just shut it out and get on with it. Just do what we do you know?


Gill: They normally come around pretty quickly and it’s like “oh wow you can actually play”.


Heather: The secret is to stop thinking about it being boys and girls and just go out there and do what you want to do which is entertain people, and make them happy with our music.


Which is exactly what you did here yesterday. With you Heather daring to leap over the monitors and run up the ego ramp set aside for the headliners, whilst Ricky Warwick was stood side stage watching you.


Hannah: They are such nice guys the Black Start Riders.


Heather: Scott Gorham is the loveliest man ever. He call us “his girls”.


Gill and Heather


So what is next for Scott Gorham’s girls now you’ve been picked up by Chic Talent?


Gill: Well we are getting our second album recorded. It’s be done by the end of the summer, finished and in the shops by the New Year. There’s been some names thrown about for who’ll be working with and one of those names is Chris Tsangarides, who of course worked with Thin Lizzy and Rock Goddess, and if that happens we reckon it will sound…


Hannah {jumping in} Beasting!


[Cue mass laughter.]


Well, I’d like to wish you all the best with album number two and thank you also for taking the time to talk with me this afternoon. It really has been great fun.


All: Thank You


It was at this point just as I was about to say “goodbye” to the girls that Hannah suddenly asks me what Cock Sparrer are all about on my T Shirt, and so for the next ten or fifteen minutes I tell them all about East London’s unsung heroes of street punk before we somehow also get around to talking about Heather’s favourite mulleted bass god Mr Johnny Rod.


I have to say It was genuinely refreshing to meet and chat with a band who are so open to learning about new music and as such The Amorettes have nothing but my utmost respect, and as you see from my review of the band’s live performance the previous day at Steelhouse 2014, they also pack one hell of a punch onstage too. 


Gill and Heather comp





[Photos by Russell Prothero]