|Bigelf, Gary Numan, Skunk Anansie, cKy, Fear Factory, Voodoo Six and Skindred - Interview Exclusives|
|Written by Tazz Stander|
|Saturday, 14 August 2010 06:00|
After the fantastic feedback we'd received from Über Röckers and bands alike following our recent Ten Minutes with Tazz interviews at the High Voltage Festival, we'd have been fools not to let here loose in another field full of bands wouldn't we? So with Sonisphere only seven days later it was the perfect opportunity for seconds out and round two of "Ten minutes with...."
Bigelf - Damon Fox
Wonka Metal or Prog Rock ... what genre do you classify Bigelf as?
I think its Wonka Metal (laughs).
It's often said that most bands lose their stride after 5 - 8 years but Bigelf has managed to stay focussed and in form for 19 years now. You've managed to stretch your sound but not lose momentum. Just how much further are you willing to stretch your sound and explore new ideas within Prog Rock?
As far as it takes to reach more fans. I think we are going to be the musical equivalent of a cockroach (both laughing), so we are going to have to outdo Aerosmith are going to be gone and Bigelf is still going to exist.
(Laughing) You've got a long way to go still.
I can do it though. I've got some back time logged up already.
What are the fundamental differences between Bigelf and a 19-year-old male?
Beard, hair and the desire to look like Arthur Brown I guess. These days though, 19 is probably a good age right now because I know a lot of 19 year olds in LA. The 16 - 19 year old musicians are actually really cool these days. Those kids grew up with Rage, Radiohead and System Of A Down, maybe a little bit of Nirvana, but now they've discovered The Beatles and King Crimson, The Doors and Hendrix. Also, because of the Internet they get to explore all this amazing music very quickly and they can process it very quickly with this modern mind. My mind is more archaic compared to 16 year olds. My son was saying the other day, "Oh with the tech now Dad", just the way he said it I thought, "Yeah, I'm getting older". Younger musicians can look at things in a much more technical way as far as learning. That middle point between me and a 19 year old is not too promising though, no. I didn't enjoy the past 15 - 20 years of music, I think it's been really bleak.
It's what I like to call, "The The Bands". It's not so prominent in our genre of music but in commercial music it's really prominent.
The The Bands?
The Kooks, The Raconteurs, The Ting Tings - The The Bands - rip-off's of the originals basically.
Metal seems to be a common stride and force that has kept connected to itself. It kind of went underground when bands like Metallica went commercial. It went low for a while but I think now it's as big as ever, Slayer, all of them are just as big as ever. It's kind of a good thing and now Prog Rock has finally - you don't need to look over your shoulder whenever you talk about it. At the beginning of Bigelf, I didn't realise it was such a taboo environment and once we started to do what we were doing with the Top hats, the arrangements and the beards, people decided what we were doing wasn't good.
Talking of technology, musically we are aware of your dislike of it. Just how damaging is digital technology in your opinion?
Well, it has its up side, which would be like being able to carry your record collection in your pocket - that was the greatest invention in the last 30 years in my opinion, it was fantastic. Another up side is that you can cut a record on tape or on pro-tools, you can pick your favourite takes of songs and you can mix them together very easily. I can even do it whereas before you would have to have an engineer. These are definitely upsides and lots of bonuses if you look at technology as a tool. When digital technology becomes the mainframe and format, as a hub, I think things get way out of whack. I think technology has spawned far too many bands and the cream doesn't rise to the top anymore. There is too much of a glutinous product - there is too much out there and I think it's very hard, at this point - not that an A&R person or label (laughing) could be a good judge of it, but they did do a pretty good job from the 60's up until the 90's. There was always a Queen, a Zeppelin, a Nirvana and a Rage, there is Duran Duran, all kinds of bands had their moments but now it just seems like everything is just relevant but it isn't relevant I don't think. I just think there are too many people releasing music. I think there is a bonus to that because it's very cool to be able to just record something and release it but there are down sides to it.
We've managed to do away with tape cassettes and it seems like CD's are almost redundant too. Do you think we would be able to have a producer-free industry one day?
I think that bands that are self-produced are usually a guy that is a producer, which is myself. Jimmy Page is the producer but he is also the guy that writes songs. I think some bands, like us on the next record we do, I would like to work with someone who I can respect and who can understand me. Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, if he could just clone himself perhaps that person could produce the band. It's hard to produce and play - it's like directing a movie and acting in it, you're going to miss something's. I think a producer is always necessary as they are going to pull the best out of you. The problem with digital sales and the lack of people buying music is that musicians just can't afford to do this. Radiohead and Green Day can, U2 and Muse can but when you're right in the middle of your career, it gets tough because you're not getting any sales. I mean, we've just been on tour with Dream Theater for a year, if we had done that 10 years ago, we would be a national act right now. That is the equation that worked for years. You go on tour with a band like that and you play for a quarter of a million people - career, that's career time, you will have a career because you've just lock in to a quarter of a million people. These days, people don't buy CD's, they listen on LastFM or MySpace or they buy one song or a couple of songs so it's damaging. I'm not against the digital format but nobody has found a solution to it yet.
So many have tried to digitally code CD's so they can only be played on a CD player but ...
I don't think that ripping off music is the key. People just need to realise that they need to support groups. That is the key. You need to go and buy a T Shirt and the bands that you love, like the old days, you need to go to the shows and support them because the bands really need it now more than ever. What we really need is to have someone market my top hat (laughing), we could have a sea of top hats and finally become the CEO [said like seaeo] of top hats, just bypass Slash with one swift stroke (laughing). Nobody has done it yet, trust me, I'm going to be the first. Slash doesn't care anymore, he's got guitar hero.
Do you think there is a potential for a band like Bigelf to still attract a young audience seeing as though most kids today are attracted to what they see on MTV and the likes?
I definitely think Bigelf is a young band, we have something very potent that we haven't been able to expose. I think we can appeal to older crowds as well as a young crowd. Older crowds completely relate to us because we remind them of Rooster, King Crimson and even The Beatles and Roy Wood. Younger fans listen to it because it's weird and different, it's theatrical and not like anything else. I think kids are really exploring vintage music now, they are totally over the new stuff and are exploring the past. There is such a wealth of music in the past. The fucking doors, I mean discover the Doors and tell me you give a shit about some of the new bands. There is no comparison to me.
You've cited Ozzy Osbourne as an inspiration. In what way has he inspired you?
Musically I was always very keen on the fact that Sabbath never had any chorus's. I thought that his melodies were so fantastic that they just had a verse and the guitar breakdown would be the chorus. He had this way of bringing an importance just to the verse and it worked. That is one thing that has always been baffling to me about Sabbath is that they don't have choruses except for 'Changes'. The other thing I love about Ozzy is that he is a people jester, a common man's hero. It was one of his greatest attributes. I also don't think that he knew he was like that but he is somebody that every man can look at and say, "Fucking Ozzy, he's one of the people". He's not like a snob.
Which of the 10 Commandments do you break most regularly?
I don't even know the 10 Commandments [Yes, I was very prepared and had a list of them]. Reading them out] These are them? That's 2 that I've broken then. "You shall have no other God before me" - I don't have a God. The only God is my family. "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" - I never break that (laughing). I always remember the Sabbath [Turning to his son], we listened to the Sabbath today (laughing). Remember the Sabbath, that's not real.
It really is.
Fucking A, really? [Reading on] These are just ridiculous. I think it would have to be the first on, "You shall have no other God before me". It's good for everyone else but they're not for me. Roy Wood is my God that is what I should have said.
Finally, what in your opinion are the 3 most over and under rated bands of all time?
That's not too hard. I'm going to go with the under rated ones because those are easy. The Move, The Pretty Things and because 3 of them are dead, 2 by suicide, I would say Badfinger. Over rated, I always thought The Stooges - these aren't bands that I don't like, they don't suck, I think they are good but over rated. Lou Reed and if I have to cut to something a little newer, I would say Radiohead is a little over rated. I would still love to open for them though. (Laughing) Courtney Love said that we were 'The Radiohead of Metal'.
Damon, thank you very much for talking with me and Uber Rock, I've had so much fun.
Me too Tazz, thanks.
One of the founding fathers of what people term 'synth pop', along with the likes of Kraftwerk, Devo, The Human League and Ultravox, Gary Numan's influences in the music of today extend far beyond his hits of the late seventies like 'Cars' and 'Are Friends Electric'. Even after the first wave of new wave had petered out, Numan's impact continued to make itself felt. For his part, Numan just kept on recording, and by the late '90s, he'd suddenly become a hip name to drop and prominent alt-rock bands covered his hits live and on record, and a goth-flavoured brand of industrial dance music christened darkwave looked to him as its mentor. So how does he feel now, 30 years down the line and an hour before taking on the Apollo stage at Sonisphere?
Sonisphere day one, how are you doing?
Yeah, good actually. We got here last night - we did a gig in Brighton last night so we drove up after that.
A pre- Sonisphere warm up?
A bit of a practice really. We've got a new bass player so it was his first gig with us last night and we've got a new soundman that we're working with so it was more to get them ready before we came here really.
How do you feel about being an 80's Icon when you're still very relevant as a musician today?
It's something that I fight against quite a lot. Anytime that an era is attached to you, I think it creates a bad impression of you for a long, long time. I get asked to go on TV shows like the big breakfast show, big shows where I could have done with the publicity but they always want me to sing one of my old songs.
Yeah, and I just can't do that. All the time that you allow them to associate you with an era, you will stay stuck in that era.
Say that the, would you say that 'Cars' was a blessing or a curse to your career?
It's both really. I think at the moment, it's a blessing because it's seemed to evolve into something that people have a fond memory of, even if they didn't like it at the time. There have been many times that's it's been a [muttering under his breath] fucking curse (both laughing). I think I've learnt to be proud of it and I think that most people that write songs, would like to write a song that everyone of most people are aware of all over the world. It's a very cool thing to have done and so I have learnt to appreciate that. (Laughing) I tend to wish that it had been a different song is all.
How do you estimate your role in modern pop music?
Non-existent really. I have nothing to do with pop music anymore.
So many pop people cite you as their main inspiration though.
There are a lot of people in it that talk about me being an influence to them like Little Boots so I guess I'm kind of represented by that then but in terms of my own output and music, not at all and I haven't been for a long, long time.
On the rock and metal scene scores of bands, including Marilyn Manson and The Foo Fighters have covered your tracks. What relevance does that hold for you as an artist?
I think when anyone does something like that, they do a cover version or they talk about you as an influence, it sends out ripples. First of all, the media notice, then their own fans notice. Hopefully, there is a good chance then for some of their fans to check you out and that some of them might even like it. It helps you spread your fan base by them saying something nice about you. It introduces your music to other people, which is always very helpful. I think other bands also take notice of it. It has an effect and can help to make you credible when perhaps you had no credibility whatsoever. It might just depend more though on who is saying it. I've been very lucky in that some of the people that have talked about me are very important.
Speaking of which, collaborating chums, Fear Factory are playing at Sonisphere too. Word on the street is that you're in collaboration talks with Trent Reznor [NIN]. Can you update me on this?
When he played the O2 last year I got invited along to do a song or two there. Trent then invited us to do all the American shows with him - we could do them all though, but we did 4 shows with him in Los Angeles which was truly amazing, including his last show ever and it was a bit sad really.
I saw him playing Sonisphere last year...
Yeah but you know he did all the slow songs, do you know why?
I tried to tell him, but anyway. The last time they had played a gig with Metallica, they got such a hard time from Metallica's fans that they decided to deliberately. Trent said, "I'm going to bum them out". He was expecting the crowd to give him a hard time and I think he totally misread it. It's such a shame. The O2 shows and the shows he did in Los Angeles were the most ferocious brilliant gigs I've ever fucking seen.
Admittedly, he did look like he had gone into complete meltdown when he played Sonisphere last year.
He was just expecting the worst and went up there with that attitude. The last Nine Inch Nails show here should have just ripped your head off and it could have done.
So you did all the LA shows, where are we now in the collaboration talks of Numan and Reznor?
He's just finished an album with his wife so that's taken up a bit of his time. I'm going back over to tour in October where we will spend a bit of time in Los Angeles and I will be meeting up with him then. Whether anything happens with that, I don't know.
Can we be expecting a song, an album or will we be getting a duet of Reznor and Numan?
An album would be great. Time wise, I don't know how long he's got to offer though. I'm totally leaving it to him to push it. I've got 3 kids and I'm lazy so I've got all the time in the world (laughs). He is a very driven man so always has something going on. I met him many years ago when he came over here and played and then he said we should do something together. I think it needs one of us to be a little more pushy.
Email him (laughs), call him up and tell him to do it.
Our relationship is now much better at being in touch than it was previously. We talk manager wise and we talk to each other so it feels a bit more likely this time.
With the music industry imploding and only pop music being overly promoted, what suggestions do you have for other genres to get a look in?
(Laughing) That's a great question. I honestly don't know but the thing that gives me confidence is that you have festivals like this which are massive, hugely successful - predominately new bands really which keeps it going for young and coming up bands, but then again, there are almost too many festivals. I played one last year or the year before and there were 3 major festivals in the South East on the same day - it's killing each other. It has to be a little bit more worked out than that. As far as some kind of ongoing business strategy, I honestly don't know. The problem is, it's a commercially driven business so record companies, as it gets tighter, will take the safer, safer, safer bet every time. Anything that isn't definitely radio friendly isn't going to get a look in. What is radio friendly tends to be bland and boring. No disrespect to the Kylies and that sort of thing, there is nothing wrong with it, generally speaking, but it is limiting. I think it's a problem that has been going for a long, long time. I remember going around and doing radio interviews 20 / 25 years ago on local radio stations and asking them why they weren't playing any local bands. Their play list was exactly the same as Radio 1. They had to be commercial to survive.
Do you think if we had a Simon Cowell of the rock world some bands would get a look in?
(Laughing) It's possible.
What do you personally see as your legacy in the industry?
I don't know actually. I get a lot of credit for things that I don't actually deserve. I often see things that refer to me as the founding father of electro. I was there but it's unfair because there were plenty of others there too. I was lucky enough to be the first person to have a big single and album with that sort of music but there were plenty of other people doing it at the same time. It really was down to luck as to who stumbled across it so any legacy that I might have, feels slightly unjustified. I think there are a number of good bands, the Nine Inch Nails and so on, they stated that I was an important part of them getting together and going in the direction they went. I guess if there was any legacy to be left that would have to be it that was a pretty cool thing to have done for a band.
You've always had a really solid fan base - you've got the Numanoids - I don't think you get Nailers though?
(Laughing) That is great. It's a battle because when you've been around a long time, when you get to a certain age, they have kids and start to fall off the end. You need to keep new people coming in just to stand still. It's like being a salmon (both laughing) swimming in one place and getting nowhere. "Fucking hell, I'm working my bollocks off and getting nowhere (laughing) the same fishermen are still there trying to hook me out", it feels like that so progress is slow and painful. I'm 52 and to even still be here, like I said, it's some kind of a major achievement.
Finally, do any of your earlier songs seem dated or obsolete?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, loads of them but it has been 30 years. The thing that I'm surprised about is that some of them don't. Some of the songs I wrote 30 years ago could have been written today. I'm cool with that but some of it sounds horrifically dated (laughing). I would be surprised if it didn't.
Gary, thank you so very much for talking with Uber Rock.
That's all right, it was a pleasure.
Who would have thought that watching a move in the mid 90's called 'Strange Days' would change my life so radically? Perhaps it wasn't the movie that was so life altering more than introducing me to a band called Skunk Anansie via their song 'Selling Jesus', but it's safe to say that I followed them through 5 fantastic years and a trio of top notch, heart pounding, emotional roller-coastering songs. For another 10 years, I keep listening to their songs diligently, then I become a fan of Skin's solo work and constantly made it be known that this was the only female fronted band that still gets me off.
Fast-forward through the band reforming and the good news that we can expect 'Wonderlustre' to land in our laps in less than a month's time, and I'm standing in front of not only Skin but the whole of Skunk - A - Fucking- 'nansie. I've got to be honest at this point and say that I actually shook for the first time in an interview, not through nerves or anything like that; no it was through pure excitement! Here is a woman who I know intimately through her lyrics, who has sung me to sleep for many years, drying my tears, turning my grey areas into bright colours and sometimes even turning my bright colours black with her intensity as a lyricist. I expected her to be a lot taller and a lot louder than she was, yet this only confirms that her personality on an album is palpable. Credit has to of course go to her amazing band too, for without them Skunk Anansie would not be alive kicking the shit out of every other band! I could go on forever about Skin and Skunk Anansie but I'm going to let these down to earth, real, honest musicians tell you a few things instead!
With the imminent release of 'Wonderlustre', what have been the fundamental steps in progression between 'Paranoid and Sunburnt' in 1995 and now?
Skin: I think none. Basically we finished the era of 'Paranoid and Sunburnt' when we did 'Smashes and Trashes' and for us, that kind of finishes of an end of an era. With 'Wonderlustre' we wiped the slate clean and started all over again. It's going to be a Skunk sound because it's the 4 of us, original members and all that. We just went for something different, we started writing and the sound is what we evolved into.
Music that conveys to a mass audience on an emotional level isn't always achievable. When you release an album, is it even possible to comprehend the way people what interpret what you've done?
(All laughing and one of the band say's 'fuck me, those are some very long and intelligent words - Cass takes my notes to re-read the question)
Mark: Sometimes before you release an album, you go out and you test the songs by playing them live - when you are a band and up and running. We didn't have that luxury this time, we have just taken the bull by the horns and gone with it.
Skin: I think you can't be a musical Nazi, you can't write an album and say that we want people to feel like this or we want people to think that. Doing any art form is open to interpretation, you put it out there and people come back to us and say, "Wow, when you wrote that song about that", and we're like, "What are you talking about?" (Laughs). I love that really.
I know what 'Secretly' does for me so I've always wondered if you were aware of the listener's perception.
Skin: (Laughing) We don't sit there and say, "Ooh, aren't we fabulous?" We do the music, we're out there and then we're onto the next thing.
Mark: We can't work out every possible connotation.
If you compare lyrics in 'Intellectualise My Blackness' to lyrics found on any of your new tracks, what do you think fans will notice as a lyrical change in you?
Skin: I think all bands develop lyrically. I just don't write in the same way that I used to. It's 15 years on since that song ['Secretly'] - 1994 I wrote the lyrics to that song but I think as a song writer, I now get to the point more ... it's more succinct, more simple. In those years, there was much more discovery of how to do things - a lot more trial and error and experimentation. Now we're just bam, we know what we're doing and we just do it.
Coining the phrase "Clit Rock" in the 90's against "Brit Pop" was ingenious. Years on, you still can't be boxed into a multitude of genres. What would you call yourself now if you were pushed for a title?
Skin: Knackered (everyone laughs). Clit rock was really a joke. Everything was Brit Pop, Brit Pop, Brit Pop and we were not part of it. We were complete outsiders, we couldn't have been part of it even if we wanted to, and they were not interested in us. I decided we would be called "Clit Rock" and I put it on my forehead in tippex and it was just a joke. Even that comes back to us all the time. It does show the quality of the joke seeing as though it's been coming back to us for so long. There wasn't a scene of "Clit Rock" or anything like that. There was one interview and one comment.
Finally, of all your tracks, which is your favourite and why?
Skin: We all have such individual tastes but mine is off the new album, 'My Love Will Fall'. I also like 'Tear The Place Up'.
Cass: 'Sweetest Thing' is mine.
Skin: New track.
Mark: 'Out Of Love' would be mine off the new album.
Ace: I'm going with 'Tear The Place Up' because it's my favourite live song to play.
Skin: [Singing] "You're too expensive for me ... ". The song is called 'Over the Love' not 'Out of Love' (everyone laughs)
Thank you very much Skunk Anansie.
SA: Thank you!
Camp Kill Yourself, Kill Yourself or cKy, as it now stands have roots that stretch back to 1992, and you might be forgiven for thinking they might be something of 'the shopping trolley' band or simply Jackass's movie music. But these guys are very real, have some brilliant songs and are a completely separate entity to simply being background music for skateboarding or blowing dad's out of their beds at 3 in the morning.
Plagued with enough issues to kill even the strongest of bands without trying to kill each other, cKy have supported Guns 'n' Roses and done some really epic shows of their own. I'm with CIG aka Chad I. Ginsburg and I'm hoping he's going to sort out a few pressing issues that I have - does he actually sort them out? Transcribing this back, it's the first time that I've ever actually hoped that a band reads an interview that they've done. Chad, if you're reading this, take note on the your answer for when your next album will come out - that is the producers job - find a producer and let them do all the hard work!
Chad I Ginsburg - cKy
Looking back over cKy's career, would you say that 'Carver City' could one day be the defining album of your career?
I think every last album is the defining album of our career. If we happen to perish in a plane crash on our way to New Zealand in 2 days time (laughs) it would be our last workmanship.
By defining I meant that it was the first one that you're all clean - no more alcohol, drugs and band fights.
(Laughing) Is that what they told you? No it was great, really great to make. 'Carver City' was by far our personal album, we took it back in time with the way we were working and really knew what we wanted to do with that record. We did it at my studio which was totally different as well, we had unlimited time which drove me nuts (laughs) but creatively we got everything we wanted.
Not working with a producer keeps your finger on the button so to speak. Have you ever been curious as to the sound that some of the amazing producers in the industry could achieve?
I definitely have been curious but I haven't had any offers made by anybody, especially somebody great to do it. I would feel probably that I could do it better. I'm afraid that if we started that I would have to say no to them and then we would have to make another enemy (laughs).
Do you think that Jackass is a blessing or a curse to cKy's career?
A total blessing. We actually have a new song in the new movie Jackass 3 that comes out in late October.
Where do you think cKy fit's into rock history?
In its perfectly good own place. I think we've defined our own abilities and made a statement that if there is a place in rock history, or if anyone ever cares about rock history, since we're living in it, it might not be far enough from the future yet to know so .... (laughs)
Technically it took you 4 years between 'An Answer Could Have Been Found' in 2005 and 'Carver City' in 2009. What's the verdict on the time elapse for your next record?
When we decide how we are going to release music, which we still are as well, for example, the first song we recorded, which could be on the new record, we happen to give to the Jackass movies. We're doing first song bases, maybe shorter vinyl releases, just feeling out where it is. We want to be as productive as possible and it takes a long time to assemble 10 songs. To make them all fit together is a whole extra thing which kind of detracts from our ability to create new things and put them all together.
Thank you so much, Chad.
Uber Rock 'n' Roll with Tazz, thanks.
Evile and Enforcer got moved out of the Gibson Bus. 1 of only 5 busses in the World so that I could interview Fear Factory in the comfort of snacks, drinks and amazing black leather seats. It's all a little surreal with a big plasma screen showing AC/DC and all I can see is Brian Johnson's camel hoof when Burton says, "Let's make a Tazz Sandwich" and they squeeze me in between them. As you know, neither of them are small lads, Burton is a pretty intense man where Byron is very quiet and I've got some really pressing questions to ask. Their Press Officer is standing at the entrance to the exit of the bus and for a second I wonder if this is where the end of the road lies for me as a journalist, let alone a living human being.
We're all aware of the issues that have been and gone and still are very current in this camp of musicians so with this in mind and initially being told that I'm interviewing Burton and Dino [Cavares], I set out to ask questions that I know are prying but warranted when literally half an hour before I'm due to sit down with them, the band's Agent calls me and tells me that things have changed. I've now got Burton and Byron and I'm to focus more on their new band, City of Fire. After a hasty scrabble around computers in the press area that have no internet connection, I have my first every interaction with an iPad and all I can find is a release on Blabbermouth.net saying that some of the members of Fear Factory are starting a new band ... armed with this empty insight, I decide to go ahead with what I've worked out already and it there's time, City of Fire would get a mention! Balls? Yes, they are massive!
Fear Factory - Burton C Bell and Byron Stroud.
It's been said that Dino refuses to play any of the tracks off 'Archetype' or 'Transgression'. Does that then render these 2 albums obsolete?
Burton: (Laughing) At the moment he... wishes not to play that. At the moment but there is still years to come.
Byron: I think he will change his mind, he talks about it occasionally.
Burton: There are good songs on both records, more so on 'Archetype'. I mean 'Transgression' is Fear Factory's rock record but there are a couple of good tracks on there. Never say never.
So fans don't have to worry just yet?
Burton: No, I'm hopeful.
I read somewhere that Christian and Raymond tried to stop the release of 'Mechanize' but that a financial payoff too place. If this is the case, where does Fear Factory stand on the grounds that 'Arkae's' [Christian and Raymond's new band] 1st album consists mostly of songs that were written for Fear Factory's next album?
Burton: Wow, you really did your homework. I would rather not get into the legalities of this but that was a bold statement and I think the fans spoke up and that's all I've got to say.
Would there ever be any consideration in changing Fear Factory's name to something else?
Byron: We're here today playing as Fear Factory.
Burton: With Dino and I working together, its Fear Factory. Guess who's been in Fear Factory all the time? (Laughs). Fear Factory has had a lot of line-up changes and the original members are Dino, Raymond and Me. Christian didn't come in until several years later, he's not even our original bass player, he is actually our 5th bass player who just happened to be on one of our most popular albums and so with the band being accustomed to changing, I liken it to a sports franchise where, for the team to be continually successful, you have to have players that are active and are worth playing in the team. Dino and I got over our differences. it was stupidity really, ego's that drove us apart and it was years and water under the bridge that brought us back together.
Excitingly enough, both of you have formed another band, City of Fire with an album coming out soon I hear.
Burton: August 24th.
Touring plans around it?
Byron: October we will be in the UK.
What are the fundamental differences going to be between Fear Factory and City of Fire on a musical level?
Burton: Tons.... because City of Fire is a completely different animal. It has a different vibe and tone. If a fan is interested in listening to City of Fire, do not expect to hear Fear Factory and do not expect to hear Strapping Young Lad. We have those bands and we don't need to try and emulate something that we already have. We are intentionally going down a different path, exploring different sounds that we've never been able to. Byron and I are exploring sounds that we have always wanted to explore. This is where our major influences in music come from. This type of sound, a very classic 70's hard rock, 80's hard rock and even early 90's hard rock. All 3 of those decades of sound come into play in this band - it has a psychedelic aspect, a post-punk aspect and it has a very melodic groove. We are both experimenting with both of our talents.
Awesome, I'm looking forward to hearing it now. So with such a vast difference in styles, there can never be any writing sessions where you write for City of Fire and think it sounds more like Fear Factory?
No it's completely different. With Fear Factory and my lyrics, I have a specific theme that I like to work within. When it comes to City of Fire, there is no theme, there is no concept, it is complete lyrical freedom - it's free prose really. I actually work with Terry "Sho" Murray who is a producer and guitar player, writing lyrics and we just keep it simple. As musicians and producers in this industry for 20 years, this is something that we have learnt about really good rock - it's simple.
Finally, any messages to Fear Factory / City of Fire fans?
Byron: Check out the record. City of Fire record comes out August 24th and we will be touring the UK in October like we said. See you all there.
Burton: Fear Factory is a project that is still very deep in my heart and we will continue, we will make more records and do more touring. City of Fire as a new band is inspiring Byron and I right now and we want City OF Fire to succeed as well as Fear Factory.
Good luck guys, thank you very much.
Byron: (Laughing) Thank you for the Tazz sandwich.
I bet my bottom dollar that none of you would have ever dreamt of reading Bruce Forsythe's name on Uber Rock... Well for the purpose of this interview I'm actually sitting in the Sonisphere garden with his grandson, vocalist Luke Purdie and along for the ride also is Tony Newton, the mouth gaping bass player from the same band
Voodoo Six are a group of guys who don't feel the need to play every venue in London town. That's the first noticeable aspect of this tight knit 5 piece. Touring with some really big Classic Rock bands in the past 6 months and seeing them literally have the crowd eating out their hands, singing every word of their songs made me realise that London does finally have something to offer us musically by way of a stable, hard working outfit.
Voodoo Six - Luke Purdie and Tony Newton
What preparation went into the 'Six' camp before a storming set at Sonisphere?
Tony: When you play a festival, you can't just turn up and hope that you're going to get a crowd. We've got an album release coming up through Powerage records which is tied into Classic Rock magazine so they helped set up a lot of this press. We've also got an online forum that all got mailed out details. We're gearing up for the release and making sure we had the right company to do it with us.
I'm sure the epic touring schedule that you've just completed has also loaned a hand in tightening up your live show. Apart from The Union, who else were you on tour with?
Tony: It was great to play with them. We also got to see them play High Voltage last week.
You mentioned your release through Powerage. When can we expect to hear the all-new Voodoo Six?
Tony: September and on the back of that, we will be heading out on a headline tour in October.
A UK only tour?
Tony: Yeah, UK tour. Tied in with the Powerage deal is Europe too but we have to see how the album gets released first. There is no real point in going out on the road if nobody knows you so we might just jump on the back of another support tour.
Luke, entertainment heritage runs in your family - are you comfortable yet in letting fans know who you are and what family you belong to yet?
Luke: Are you talking about my granddad?
(Laughing) I've heard you didn't want your heritage to come out in the press but you're granddad [Bruce Forsythe] has mentioned your role in Voodoo Six, so we can talk about it now right?
Luke: (Laughing) How did you find that out?
(Laughing) I've done my homework and I read girly magazines and watch TV Documentaries.
Luke: Oh, ok. We're very different but I guess it's the same thing, it's all entertainment. I would say that I was a better singer than him though (everyone laughs).
Can you dance like he dances?
Luke: (Laughing) No, NO! I can't play the piano either.
What's Bruce's take on Voodoo Six's music?
Luke: To him it's all noise. He's too old, I mean, he is 82 and rock music doesn't ... I thought he would get some bits but he just sees it as a bit too full on for him. I get his stuff but he doesn't really get my stuff.
After all the touring, what's next on the cards for Voodoo Six?
Tony: Back to London and the album release. We actually played the whole set today, as in this line-up's music [Luke is fairly new in the band and replaced Henry]. Obviously when we play other gig's we will use some of our older material. We have moved forward to the point where it feels like a different band to the last album for a number of reasons.
I've lost track of how many gigs you've done with Luke now but I was at your very first one with this line-up, at the Borderline and I must say you guys are so much tighter than you were then.
Tony: We all read your review from that gig up on Uber Rock, thank you very much.
It's a pleasure.
Tony: We are really enjoying playing together it's great.
Any final words to add?
Thanks to everyone that came. We haven't played a festival for 2 years now and it's quite worrying when you see the band before you play and then the tent empties and you think, "shit", it soon filled up again so a big thanks to everyone who came to watch us.
Thanks both so much from all of us at Uber Rock.
Thank you, thank you.
If you believe what it says up on iTunes regarding Skindred's music then it's a blend of reggae and dancehall with searing thrash and punk influences for a striking take on heavy metal hybridism. Which if you ask me, isn't a million miles of the mark. Emerging from Wales in 1998, after the dissolution of vocalist Benji Webbe's previous band, Dub War. I had previously caught up with Benji at the inaugural Sonisphere, so given the chance this year I literally grabbed him backstage, shoved a microphone in his beaming face (this was after he had just slayed 40 000 fans in the best way I've ever seen a slaying done!) and fired off some pretty rapid questions... I bet the silver jacket toting sunglassed Skindred is still smiling to himself as he owned me in this interview, just like he owned all his fans an hour or so previously in that field!
Skindred- Benji Webbe
(Laughing) Look who I've just run into, Tom Jones' brother from another mother Benji!
(Laughing) That's right, what are you doing here Tazz?
Let me close my eyes, Benji, keep talking, you're just like Tom (Laughing). Ok, seriously, what's been happening in Skindred in the last year, apart from setting the stage on fire earlier?
Did you see the show today?
Did you enjoy it?
Hold on, whose asking the questions here?
(Laughing) Did you enjoy it?
I did, every minute of it.
We had a blast, it was fun. We said, well, we've been invited back and we can't just get up there and put the backdrop up with the army logo and just go out there so I said, "It's Sonisphere, it's like a stratosphere, let's get spacy with this". So we got some silver suits and destroyed the show. The set was good, we mixed it up a little bit, told a couple of stories about the kebab shop and people neighbours.
After last year's album ...
Yeah, we're working on an album right now, as we speak. I mean, it's in little bits and pieces on the floor at the moment, it ain't in no solid shape but what I'm doing vocally and what the guys are doing musically, I'm quite excited by it and I know a lot of people are going to dig it. The good thing about it is that it's not an 8 track ... it's going to have at least 12 songs on the album. It's exciting, very exciting.
Musically does it lean towards 'Shark Bites and Dog Fights' or 'Roots Rock Riot'?
We're just doing it as it comes, we still sound Skindredy . One thing I've got to add is that ... we've always recorded in America you know, the last 3 albums have been recorded there but this time around, we're going to try and step out of that and do it on British soil.
Do you always record in America because of your Bieler Brother connection?
Yeah we do but we've said no, no, no, we're going to try this a little different now, record in England and put the horns up, put the flags on.
Destroy yeah (said in a death metal voice).
When can we be expecting the album to drop?
We're going to try and get it out for May next year. We're going to get a big package tour going, invite some British bands and some American bands to come out with us and just do it man - April or May, get on the road and do it all again.
Doing it all again - Sonisphere third year in a row?
Who knows? There are a few festivals out there; people have had their fill of Skindred at Sonisphere.
No dude, not at all.
No, I saw you own that crowd today; they definitely want a bit more of your ass (laughing)
(Laughing) They were digging it right?
More than digging it! Last thing before I go and harass someone else, you're best Jamaican chat up line?
Wha hapen girl, where yo do no? I wan yo to com wid me, maybe I sho you some tings, I have tings to sho you innit, yeah yeah, you don nowit com yeah no.
[That is the hardest transcription I have ever had to do!]
(Laughing) Oh Benji, that was fucking great.
(Laughing) You like that one?
Thank you so much.
(Laughing) It didn't work then? Thanks Tazz.
And there the weekend of Sonisphere had to end for Ten Minutes with Tazz this time around. This is a feature that will no doubt run and run in the months to come, just like the band's when they see me coming at them microphone at the ready.
Photo kudos - PG Brunelli
except Voodoo Six photos by Marty Moffatt