The BIG Über Rock Interview - Stevie Pearce Print
Written by Dom Daley   
Sunday, 24 September 2017 04:20

Recently, Über Rock tried to catch Stevie Pearce for a face to face interview at a festival – but, for one reason or another, it didn't happen… So, I did the only reasonable thing and rounded him up and sat him still for five minutes to answer some questions about himself and why he's just released a solo record with some Hooligans, as well as what his thoughts on his rock ‘n’ roll journey have been like so far. 


Über Rockers, I give you the talented Stevie Pierce – and we start off by talking about when he first picked up a guitar and who inspired him in his formative years…


Stevie PearcePHOTO CREDIT: Jason Miller


I was very young, There were always guitars lying around when I was a kid, that belonged to my father- usually acoustics with strings missing, I would listen to him attempting to play ‘Apache’ by Hank Marvin/The shadows when I was in bed... I remember HAVING to learn ‘Apache’:  it was one of the first things I ever learned, along with ‘Duelling Banjos’.


It wasn't until one Christmas when I was nine that I got my first electric guitar - a Strat copy - that things really took a back slide ha ha ha... I was obsessed.  Firstly I started to learn mainly Hank Marvin songs - that's basically all my father knew how to play, so he would try and show me the few things he learned by ear. I would urge anyone to do the same who is just starting to play: learn Hank - it covers all basics, picking notes, staying in key, accenting, chords… the works. This was way before the internet obviously and all I knew of was the records my father had: as well as Hank - The Small Faces, Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison, James Last, The Beatles and the Stones. My main favourite was the Beach Boys.


Lessons never really did much for me; I've never done too well with instruction, However, I did embark on a few lessons with a guy called Tony, with my best friend from primary school - it was there where he had us listen to Deep Purple and all this other crazy shit - MIND BLOWN. (I’ll point out that particular school friend is now Martin Fowler in Eastenders). I remember hearing Brian May for the first time, then Stevie Ray Vaughan changed my life totally.


When I was of an age to go into town alone and buy albums and magazines, I just couldn't believe how much amazing stuff in the world. Obviously, I went down the generic Guns n Roses, Metallica, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Queen, Motley Crue route. At that time, bands like Warrior Soul and Love/Hate were opening their tours and on the covers of the magazines. I had no idea what all that would lead to! So I guess all of those wound up into one big weird ball [and] inspired me to play in those early years...


From a songwriting point of view, I think Donnie Vie is probably one of the greatest there is. It was when I started listening to all those Enuff Z'Nuff songs that weren't ‘Fly High Michelle’ and ‘New Thing’. Not discounting what the world perceives as the greatest - Lennon, Elton John etc: for me it's DV. Hands down my favourite band.


You've played in some great bands. The first time we crossed paths was when you were out playing with Mr. Castle, and you’ve played with Kory (Clarke) and more recently Jizzy (Pearl): they're all big personalities… what was it about those guys that interested you and what did you offer them musically?


I think when you grow up listening to and watching a certain type of band - as I did - you understand that there's a way of doing things, there's a work ethic. I can’t say that I necessarily believe that exists 100 per cent anymore in all the newer upstarts, certainly not in this ‘silver spoon’ type culture we have now. It's mainly an ethos of “let's go out and crack skulls” - and I think if you do that with conviction, people will listen: they believe it.


When I met Rob Castle, we had both been bobbing around in bands but both wanted something more. It wasn't a manifesto or anything; but, him being the way he is - a born front guy- and with the same agenda as each other... It made those first couple Black Bullets years as killer as they were... It spilled across into the music. I loved working with that enthusiasm… total disregard for the norm. It was exciting.


Then when my path crossed with Kory Clarke, it was the real deal. In my opinion, KC wrote a huge chunk of the book entitled ‘How To Be A Complete Mother Fucker’! A genuinely unique vision and view on the world and an agenda. Being on board with Warrior soul for two years, and operating in that hell for leather way, is what excited me about it. I think when I can connect with the music in that way, it comes across live. I suited it and I think that's why he stuck with me. It's easy for me to deliver the music.


Warrior SoulPHOTO CREDIT: Alex Ruffini


Playing for Jizzy was a little different - mainly the technicalities of Love/Hate's music. I guess to some it's just the four chords of Blackout... But it's by far the most challenging music that I've come across. That's what appealed to me most about it: it pushes my boundaries. Trying to replicate or even get near Jon E Love’s guitar work is nigh on impossible... I've had to make it more my own and I think that's worked with Jizzy's current line-up. Jizzy has the same outlook on things: let's go rock, and do it the best we possibly can. There are no half measures with it; it's that professionalism that I aspire to.  It does seem strange to be stood on the same stage as these guys sometimes... I must admit ha, ha... but I'm grateful for every shot. I've learned something from everyone I've played with.


Were you always going to release a solo record or a record carrying your name with a backing band? 


I always knew I had enough material for one or maybe even two solid albums. This latest release was initially a ‘Young Lust’ album, but in the end I found that, for a band environment to work, all four guys have to be pulling in the same direction - whereas in reality, everything had to revolve around my commitments to Warrior Soul, Love/Hate, my private life and work… When that's the case, it leaves little manoeuvre for anyone else's input.


It's a hard thing getting 4/5 guys in one place at the same time, so we drew a line under Young Lust. It was old and done, it had had 1000 line-up changes over the years and it was just done with. It's just dragging a name on for the sake of it... we took some of its songs we love – ‘Bish Bash Bosh’, ‘The Hooligans Ahoy’ -  and finally recorded them under my name. This format seems to work fine and everyone is happy....


What encouragement did you have from the likes of Jizzy and Kory, if any?


Stevie Pearce at HRHPHOTO CREDIT: The Dark Queen


KC has been busy doing the new Warrior Soul record, and I think he's been aware I've been working on mine. Likewise Jizzy has been doing his. Having been on the road with him recently, we compared notes on how hard the whole process is. Being the treasurer, time manager - and actually writing the songs! At any level, when you take on a project like this, it is no easy feat. So far his review of my album is the best: “It sounds great, apart from the guitar and the vocals”!


What’s the difference writing for your own record as opposed to collaborating with those other guys?


We have jammed at length in Warrior Soul, and bits and pieces have been thrown back and forth, in an organic way. But like with any Warrior Soul record, it takes the direction KC wants it to go. They are all killer albums, they all have something to say. He's taken the new Warrior Soul album in a slightly different direction and is using some of the guys from The Last Vegas and some other guys in the US. I think the fans are looking forward to the end result.


Jizzy disappeared to the desert for a couple of weeks and wrote his, and in a similar vein that's how I did mine, apart from the earlier Young Lust songs: it was mainly just me writing about stuff that had happened to me and seeing what I had in the vault musically to add to it. When you have a band that lives miles apart, it's the only way ha, ha, ha - but they get to put their stamp on it eventually. Personally, I love to stand in a room with everyone and thrash out some songs and add the lyrics later. The early Bullets were proficient at that: usually four Strongbows and seven minutes of head scratching later we have written ‘Too Loaded’.


There has been some great press about the release (not least here on Über Rock): does it all seem worthwhile when people are on board with what it is you're doing?


It takes it to a different place.


These songs were very much a release for me in a lot of different ways. I had to vent about a lot of things that have happened along the way. The plan was always to release it - but I've been so focused on getting the tracks recorded, then mixed, then mastered, then the artwork, then launching it and booking shows, then getting merch done and all this other crap, I never actually realised 'til a few days before it was released that “Oh shit, people are actually going to listen to this… What if it sucks?”


It's such early days but the response has been amazing. It's an added massive bonus. We've worked hard to get it right live too. It's DIY at its best. I have such a minimal budget for this stuff... I can’t buy myself the success, or a good PR company or anything. It's very vulnerable doing it in this small way, particularly with who else I'm associated with, but I believe in the strength of the songs.


Doing both (running your own band and being in an already established band) isn't something every musician can do.  Do you learn different skills doing both? Is there less pressure being part of Warrior Soul or Love/Hate?


I never stop learning. I've probably picked up as many bad habits as I have good skills ha, ha... but, as far as I'm concerned I'm learning from the best there is. I've run bands since 2004, but actually being part of the fully functioning bands I've been associated with recently… you see how things should be done. I set about my work a lot differently than I used to.


I'd say there's more pressure doing my own thing. Playing for other bands, you are there to do a job: you have to learn 30 odd songs and go out and slay, with maybe one or two rehearsals. Once the daunting first couple of shows are done, it's pretty plain sailing - although more than once I've felt the pressure of Jizzy's size 10 Dr Marten boot when I've fucked up the intro to ‘Angel’ in front of a packed Bannermans crowd, Similarly, I've dodged more than one of KC's flailing mic stands. (Christian) Kimmett [Warrior Soul bassist] also likes to hurl abuse at me 90 per cent of the time!


Like them, running your own band you have to take care of the months of work before you can even set a foot on the stage. Having no agent or management or PR, when we make it out onto the road on our own headline tour, if something goes wrong or doesn't work out, that lands on me. So, you have to ensure you've done all you can. I see many bands do one Facebook post, call that promotion then moan about low attendance...


Whats next for you and the Hooligans?  Is there a plan?


Stevie R Pearce And The Hooligans


I've never had a plan... That's probably why I've landed me in this mess ha ha ha. In all seriousness... I aspire to do good things, as far as music will let me. I've spent this first set of dates getting the boys and I ready...and I couldn't be happier with Dave, Rich and Lewis: they are the Best and have been with me a long time. There may be a couple of changes every now and then, when not all can commit to the regime – [but that’s] the beauty of the Hooligans!


I've got some more great shows lined up, but this time we are going to play with some of our buddies - like The Senton Bombs and The Molotov Souls - and hit some new areas. Then I want to go toe to toe with a few of today's more “prominent bands on the scene” and see who I can scalp: that is getting a bit lively… you know, go and throw some punches in the gutter and see what happens ha ha - but in the best possible way..


There are plenty of styles on the album. Is there a particular style you'd like to pursue further on the next album? Acoustic for instance?


I think that, as long as I'm writing, the songs will have that kind of differing edge. An amalgamation of all my influences. But I think the next album will show the more recent side of the album - songs like ‘Nobody Loves You’ and ‘Something Better Comes Along’, with ‘Can’t Turn Your Back On Blood’ being the last one written. I'm not going to start experimenting with disco - like that H.E.A.T band seems to have failed at miserably - but the use of piano and strings is something that will become more prominent. I seem to have a knack for that!


Are you writing all the time?  What if someone like Kory wanted to use a particular track you had planned for your solo record? Would you have, say, guest slots on the next release? Was there a temptation to use some of your friends on this record to help get an instant audience? Or was that something you avoided?   


I did originally have a thought to use a lot of people I admire - not like Slash or Prince ha, ha: people I've known for a while from certain bands. But the more I looked into that, the more of a pain in the ass it would have been. I’d love to one day be on something with KC and Jizzy. This record was in the making before they came along, so It didn't really present itself for me to ask. I have something floating around all the time.


I never sit down and say “I'm going to write a song now”: I'm not one of those guys. But, sometimes it will just hit me - like ‘Something Better Comes Along’.


‘Stevie R. Pearce And The Hooligans’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


Stevie R. Pearce And The Hooligans play the following live dates:


Saturday 14 October - Basingstoke Beer Festival (one-off acoustic)

Thursday 16 November – Coventry, The Arches

Friday 17 November – Blackpool, The Waterloo 

Saturday 18 November – Camden, Proud (with HCBP, At The Sun and Foreign Flag)

Saturday 25 November – London, Archway


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