Fireworks Magazine

Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Tokyo Motor Fist

TOKYO MOTOR FIST

Interview by Paul Woodward

So, what do you get if you put Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley and Trixter axeman Steve Brown in the same room? Tokyo Motor Fist, that's what! The combination of these two extremely popular Melodic Rock musicians has many fans anticipating what should be a stunning genre album! Fireworks speaks to Steve Brown...


Tokyo-Motor-Fist


I suppose my first question has to be about the name! It has already caused much discussion in some circles. So how did you and Ted come up with Tokyo Motor Fist?

Oh Yeah, everyone loves it! A true legendary band name. You have The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, AC/DC, Motorhead, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Bon Jovi and now the world has Tokyo Motor Fist. All Hail THE FIST!

I have to admit you teaming up with Ted Poley came out of the blue, so how did you come to be working together on TMF?

It all started about a year and a half ago. Serafino from Frontiers asked me if I'd do a project with Ted. It was very easy to say yes because Ted and I have been friends for close to thirty years. We both grew up in northern New Jersey, very close to each other; we have that Jersey Brotherhood thing. The guys in Trixter and Danger Danger came up in the Tri State area music scene around the same time so there is plenty of history. After Ted signed up I knew exactly who I wanted for the rhythm section: Greg Smith on bass (Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Ted Nugent) and Chuck Burgi on drums (Rainbow, Billy Joel). These guys are incredible people.
What's working with Ted like? He's well known to be quite jovial and energetic?

Ted was fantastic to work with and produce. He is very professional so it makes my job easier. He would drive up to my studio once a week and we would track three or four songs in a session. We drank a lot of coffee and told a lot of bad jokes.

Who writes the songs for Tokyo Motor Fist and what was the song writing process like on this album?

I wrote, produced, mixed and engineered the whole CD. The song writing process is the same I've been doing for years. I usually start with a cool riff on guitar or a killer melody idea. I'm really proud of this album, I think it's some of my best work to date.

Obviously taking two well-known Melodic Rock musicians from two beloved genre bands, did you feel pressure for the songs to combine elements of both Danger Danger and Trixter – or did you write songs free of direction?

I knew it had to be a combination of all the bands we ever played with. I think we accomplished that and even went to places musically that some people wouldn't expect. There was no pressure at all because the sonic vision and the songs were in place before we started recording.

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Can you tell me about some of the songs, are there any tracks with specific stories or meanings behind them that you think fans would be intrigued by?

'Pickin' Up The Pieces' is a mid-tempo rocker that is about someone who helps another person try to see the good in life, even though they are surrounded by darkness. 'Love Me Insane' is a slamming fast rocker that tells the story of a volatile relationship. 'Shameless' is a feel-good song about living life with no regrets. 'Love' has a Def Lep 'Hysteria' vibe to it and the message is simple...give some love to everyone. 'Black And Blue' is about wanting somebody very badly but not getting there without some bumps and bruises. 'You're My Revolution' has incredible drumming from Chuck Burgi, a slamming rocker that deals with someone's undying devotion to another.
'Don't Let Me Go' is a dark ballad that features a stellar vocal by Ted. The song is about someone who is in a bad state of mind and is needing help. 'Put Me To Shame' is a classic 80s style hard rocker and one of my favourites on the CD.

'Done To Me' is a slow pounding rocker that sings of desire. 'Get You Off My Mind' is a song about how hard it can be getting over a relationship that has ended and 'Fallin' Apart' is an upbeat rocker that sings about losing a best friend and the after effects.

Are TMF a studio band or is there any chance of live shows?

Right now, we are just a studio Supergroup but we all have agreed to do some shows if it's the right situation. We have talked about doing about half the Tokyo Motor Fist album and add in hits by Danger Danger, Trixter, Rainbow and Ted Nugent – we would kick ass live! I hope we get some offers.
Is Tokyo Motor Fist an ongoing collaboration between you and Ted or is this a one-off album?

I'm not sure. Right now we are waiting on the release of the CD. Let's see what the fans think and maybe we will make another album.

With you working with Ted it made me think of other potential 'dream team' collaborations. Is there anybody from the '86-'92 era you'd love to work with in the future, and why?

I'd love to produce and write with Jon Bon Jovi. I think we would create some incredible music in the style of the 'Slippery When Wet' era. Our fans would love that. Always cool to dream!

Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with House Of Lords

HOUSE OF LORDS

Interview with James Christian by Steven Reid

Melodic Rock masters House Of Lords may have a history that stretches back to the late eighties, but with their output since the turn of the decade being just as strong as their classic-era albums, this is one band refusing to live off past glories. Their latest offering, the enigmatically titled 'Saint Of The Lost Souls', is the perfect bridge between the band's early keyboard heavy sound and the guitar led approach recent albums have been built on. What has never changed though, is the unmistakable voice that has always been the House Of Lords calling card. Fireworks speaks to the man behind the mic, James Christian...


House-Of-Lords


Although they've always evolved from album to album, House Of Lords have, with one notable exception, always stayed true to the core Melodic Hard Rock sound that their fans love. However, with their new album, 'Saint Of The Lost Souls', there's a stronger focus on keyboards than there's been for quite some time in the band's catalogue. "The return to a more keyboard leaning sound, was not intentional but just a way to mix it up," the band's lone original member, James Christian, explains. "We have a fabulous guitar player in Jimi Bell so there is no shortage of choices, but the songs this time around all seem to be complimented by having keys on them. I have always loved the sound of keyboards on songs, but it is not always necessary to have them so prominent in the mix. After the amount of CDs we have released, nothing is etched in stone. I am open to moving in the direction that the song takes us. I'm not concerned about staying within any guidelines just to keep the sound consistent to what people expect. That's not writing, that's calculated writing," the singer continues, giving an insight many bands would do well to take heed of. "We have in the past been reviewed where the person reviewing the CD will always compare it to the last or first CD we have done. What a crock of shit. Each CD should be different. We feel we are in a good place to write what we feel is keeping us motivated."

As you'd expect, the keyboards on the album are excellent, the only surprise being that for some time now House Of Lords haven't had an official keyboard player in their ranks. Internet chatter has suggested that Jeff Batter, who James worked with previously in both Arc Angel and Cannata, has been involved, but we all know how reliable the internet is... "Actually Jeff did not do keys on this CD," James reveals, dispelling the rumour. "But he is and always will be one of my favourite keyboard players. The guest keyboard players are Michele Luppi (Whitesnake) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Frontiers perennial go to guy). The rest were done by yours truly. I am not a monster keyboard player but I hear what I want and I am able to get that across thanks to working with such great players such as Greg Giuffria and Jeff Batter." And there isn't a better example of the album's keyboard prowess than the excellent, and dare we say it, Progressive song, 'Reign Of Fire'. It's also one of the standout moments on a thoroughly excellent album. As James reveals, the song was part natural evolution, part cunning masterplan. "This song took on so many forms before being finished. When I received the track from Jimi it was more of an AC/DC type track. As much as I loved what he did I could not bring myself to a chorus which moved me. So I rewrote a few chords to the chorus which I was only intending to use as a tail to the end of the original. Somehow I was able to come up with a melody in the chorus of just two chords that made the whole thing work. Sometimes accidents happen and this was really a welcome one. The mini Moog on the chorus however was completely intentional. I grew up on that mighty sound and wanted it somewhere on the CD. This was the perfect song."

However, with all this focus on keyboards, we're being hugely unfair to guitarist Jimi Bell, who has really outdone himself on this album. Something James completely agrees on. "Jimi is a force on guitar," he says, proud of the talent House Of Lords has it their disposal. "I sometimes look to my right on stage and realise how much sound he covers on stage. He has a guitar in his hand even when he is not on stage. Always playing, always working on the next great riff to be made into an HOL song."
Aside from James and Jimi, the band has had a really solid line-up for quite some time, so it's been a bit of a surprise that bassist Chris McCarvill is now no longer in House of Lords... "The parting of ways was because Chris had an offer to work with Dokken and he also wanted to concentrate more on his Maxx Explosion project," the singer explains, talking about the outfit that both his ex and current bandmates Chris McCarvill, Jimi Bell and drummer BJ Zampa rather excellently fill their non-HOL time with. "We wish Chris the best as he was an important part in the rebirth of House Of Lords."

However, as one Chris waves farewell, so another is introduced to the House Of Lords faithful in the shape of new bassist Chris Tristram. "Chris is a seasoned musician from the same 'School of Rock' we came from," James says of his new bandmate. "His last project was working with Jack Russell's Great White! He is an easy going guy, which fits perfectly in our family."

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music


And another part of that family is James' writing partner on this new album. "I teamed up again with Richard Hymas who also was my co-writer on 'Precious Metal' and 'Indestructible'," James adds. "He is amazing to work with and a no stress type of guy."

Long a band with a fearsome live reputation, if there's one question their fans will want to know the answer to, it's whether House Of Lords will be hitting the road in support of their new release. "Yes," the frontman says enthusiastically. "Our first show will be in August at the Hair Metal Heaven Festival in Hull UK. Hope we see everyone come out and support this awesome lineup of bands," and with the likes of Vain, TNT, Disneyland After Dark, Treat and Danger Danger also on the bill, he's not wrong.
For the band's many British fans it will be too good an opportunity to pass up, especially when you remember that House Of Lords had to cancel some of their UK dates a few years back. "You know things happen in life that you really have no control over," the singer mentions honestly. "We can only hope that fans in UK know that we were more disappointed than anyone, we don't like backing out of shows and I hope we never have to again."

Key to the success of two House Of Lords albums, 'World Upside Down' and 'Come To My Kingdom', the keyboard playing and songwriting of Jeff Kent touched the life of many Melodic Rock fans and beyond. However, as James remembers, the one-time HOL man, who sadly died last year, also played an important role in his musical life. "Jeff Kent will always be remembered in my life. Jeff was one of the first guys to hire me as a session singer before I was even in House Of Lords and together we recorded some my songs, that one day I will release. He was an extraordinary person and artist. I Love him and miss him dearly."

Much though House Of Lords is always James' main focus, over the years he's also released some excellent albums outside of the band. Something we can, thankfully, expect to continue in the shape of a future solo album. "Yes, I am working on one now," he confirms. "It is my passion to write and record as much as I can while I can still do it." Although don't expect the prolific singer and songwriter to pop up on one of the countless 'project albums' that make up a huge number of Melodic Rock offerings every year. "One offs are not my thing," the singer says by way of explaining why one of the biggest names in the genre hasn't appeared on this type of release. "I don't mind doing a a song on a CD but one offs rarely do anything but fill some time. I like being part of a band. Working together and knowing the guys who you record with. I'm a creature of habit that way."

Never a band to simply slap a name on their albums for the sake of it, House Of Lords always look to give their fans something to mull over and as their leader confirms, 'Saint Of The Lost Souls', an album that's set to be one of 2017 most enthusiastically received releases, is no different. "The title has deep meaning to me because of the message; St Jude is the saint of lost souls, the saint of hopeless cases, in your hour of need it is this saint that you will call out to," James explains of a topic clearly close to his heart. "If you are someone who has faith it can be reassuring to know he is listening."

House Of Lords will be appearing at Hair Metal Heaven in Hull over the weekend of August 25th, 26th & 27th and their latest album 'Saint Of The Lost Souls' will be released on March 24th through Frontiers Records.

Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Battle Beast

BATTLE BEAST

Interview by Dave Scott

Battle Beast is a Female-Fronted six-piece Power Metal band hailing from Finland. The band has so far released three albums since their formation in 2008, the last two with Noora Louhimo as vocalist. 2017 sees Battle Beast return with their fourth album and Fireworks sat down for a chat with their charismatic singer to discuss the new record and recent changes in the band's line-up.


Battlebeast


Since your last album there's been a major change in band personnel with the departure of Anton Kabanen (the main song-writer). Can you explain why this change occurred?

One important thing to point out is that he didn't leave the band, we actually had to remove him. The reason for this was because, long story short, we had a lot of artistic and personal issues as well as disagreements and even though we tried for a very long time to fix our relationship, it just didn't get any better. It was the only solution for continuing Battle Beast, otherwise the whole band would have just broken up. Of course, everybody was considering different stuff but the point was that we wanted to stick together because other members came along and we got on very well. We considered this for a very long time before we made a final decision. We considered if we'd be able to do songs for Battle Beast, and when we made the final decision we were ready for the challenge. Of course, we were really sad but we were also relieved and felt the freedom, because we want to do this as a band and make the decisions together and not have them made by just one person.

Kabanen has since been replaced by new guitarist Joona Björkroth; did you have him fill in straight away?

Actually, it wasn't clear from the beginning who was going to be the new guitar player. First we had two extra guitarists who were filling in during the 2015 shows. At the end of the year we had to decide who was going to be the next member because we wanted that person to equally participate in the process of the new album. So when we approached that time we decided together that we were going to ask Joona Björkroth and he agreed. It was really good because I feel like our chemistry works very well in both work and personal situations. He is the little brother of our keyboard player and has been watching us from the beginning so he knew everything about us, ha-ha.

You have a new album out called 'Bringer Of Pain'. Was this always planned to be the title, given some might assume it relates to the difficult recent past, or did you have any other ideas beforehand?

That was actually pretty much one of the last decisions we made. We considered other options too but that was, in the end, we felt a really good name for an album. It's got the right kind of punch in it.

I know the writing process was very much Kabanen's for the previous albums. How has his departure changed the song-writing aspect within the band?

For this album we all participated in the song-writing but the major work was done by Janne and Joona Björkroth. We could see that they are a talented couple when making music as well as being very productive; they put together a lot of songs in a little amount of time. Of course we all did some songs and did some drafts and gave our ideas and input in other ways. For example, most of my input was during the recording sessions when we changed some stuff like melodies, or the rhythm of the lyrics if they didn't work with me, or fit my style.

Who wrote the majority of the lyrics?

Mostly it went along the lines of the one who wrote the song was writing the lyrics also. So when I wrote '...Pain' with Joona Björkroth, he did the music and I did the melody and the lyrics for that song.

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I am guessing the new way of doing things was both a breath of fresh air, yet something that also created new pressures. Did you like having that added responsibility?

I think that this was the right decision and I feel like now that we all can give input and use everybody's potential, that it is much better than just one person doing it or having just one person's perspective. Battle Beast is a band and not someone's solo project. I think this works very well and now everyone is giving their input, you can hear that we have developed that Battle Beast signature sound and the music has moved forward compared to what it was before.

What themes have you explored lyrically on the new release?

Janne Björkroth wrote 'King For A Day' and 'Familiar Hell' so he knows much more about the content but what I can tell you is that they really are about human nature and also about how we can be manipulated. For example, in '...Hell', how you can be manipulated by the media and how you act because of that. '...Day', it is about power and how you can use it, some people use that power wrong and then they get judged by Battle Beast, ha-ha. As for the title track that Joona Björkroth and I wrote, I had this idea about this new fantasy world called "The Glow" and '...Pain' is a female character in that world, a female soldier who is kicking everybody's ass. I will most probably do some more songs about that world because I got really interested in creating something that is not real that no one else has created already; something totally new. That is very intriguing for me and I will definitely continue that story. I can reveal to you that '...Pain' is going to be the third music video coming out and it is going to be a little bit of an opening about the world I have created for the character.

You have already released videos for '...Day' and '...Hell'; did you enjoy doing them as I read that you weren't happy with the overall outcome for the 'Madness' video from the previous album?

Ha-ha... yeah I wasn't. Totally not. That is one thing that I, and we, have learned. Never do a music video without planning it well first. Of course, the situation with Kabanen was going on back then when we were doing that...
'...Day' and '...Hell' were a lot of fun. There was a really good crew making the videos and we had a lot of different ideas for them but in the end the filming company who did them made the final scripts and production designs for them.

I take it with you now having more of an input and those problems now gone, you were much more able to get what you wanted from those videos?

Yes, definitely. I was in touch with the editor and the guys shooting the materials for these music videos so I could give my ideas. The final cut was, of course, made by the director as he is the artist there but he took Janne Björkroth's and my ideas in and made it the best way he could see it. I really enjoyed doing these new videos because I could do a little bit more acting and I do enjoy that, ha-ha.

Are you looking forward to hitting the road to promote the new album?

I am so excited, you can't imagine how excited I am. I love touring and being on the road. Being at home is nice for a while but then the tour bug bites me and I am like "I need to get on the road". The British people have always taken us very warmly in their embrace so I am really excited about "bringing the pain", bringing the new show and the new songs to the UK. It is going to be awesome. I am just excited to meet our fans again and hopefully get some news ones. I just can't wait to "release the beast". What I am looking forward to is helping people to release their own beast. They can let themselves free at our shows, even though they are not drunk or whatever, you can still let yourself free and scream, shout and bang your head. That is always the goal for me, I want to make sure everyone is screaming, jumping and banging their head by the end.

With regards to touring, has anything changed with Kabanen not being there?

It's totally different because now we have a really relaxed, laid back atmosphere. Everyone has a sense of humour, which is really needed. It is hard work and you have to be together twenty-four/seven in the bus for weeks, maybe months, so the most important thing is that we get along. Joona Björkroth has become a really good friend for me as well as a workmate and I think he fits very well in this band. His work ethics are very high, he rehearses a lot, he does music a lot but then he also has this goofy side to him... joking around. We are going to release some "making of" videos and you will see his personality there and how funny he is.

What have you learnt about yourselves and how have you grown in that period?

The most important thing we learned was that you should never give up if you believe in something. Of course we learnt that no matter how much you sometimes try to fix some relationships with someone, if the other party isn't willing to make any change to make it better then you have to know when to give up. As for growth, I feel like we have grown a lot more together in the last two years than before and especially now we have finished and worked on this new album. This has pulled us together. When some doors close, other doors open.

Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Eclipse

ECLIPSE

Interview By Brent Rusche

Founding member and principle songwriter for the massively successful Eclipse from Sweden, Erik Mårtensson is a jack-of-all-trades capable of writing, recording, playing and singing on everything he pens. Eclipse's latest album, entitled 'Monumentum,' shows he has absolutely no plans of slowing down. The album features eleven high-octane tracks which possess all of the characteristics that fans have come to expect from the band: intense rhythms, massive hooks, world-class production and lyrics which promote a positive message. Sitting down half a world away in NYC, Fireworks had the pleasure to speak with one of Melodic Rock's shining stars.


Eclipse


Congratulations on being chosen to open up for Aerosmith and Alter Bridge when they play Madrid this summer. How did you manage to secure such a coveted opening spot?

The whole thing started with fans in Barcelona, Spain. We had been playing in Barcelona for quite a few years and each year we played, our audience grew. Last year, the fans in Barcelona asked the promoter responsible for the Barcelona Rock Festival to book us over, over and over again until he simply couldn't say no. He booked us for the event in 2016 and the gig was a huge success. The agent responsible for hosting the entire festival ultimately booked us on the Aerosmith gig as well.

That gig stands to be the largest audience you will have played to date. With such massive exposure, will the band prepare any differently for such a high profile gig or will you use the same conventions as when preparing for any other show?

It would be the same preparation that we would make for any show. It is to go out there and do the best that you can possibly do. Under the circumstances that you have to work with, you have to perform the best that you can do while having a good time. If you think too much about it, then I think you are screwed! [Laughs]

I have always loved the immense energy and fast paced flow of each Eclipse album and 'Monumentum' is no exception. Besides 'Hurt,' which is really a power ballad, do you consciously refrain from bringing a softer side to Eclipse and save those softer moments for other projects?

No, not really. When I write for others I am focusing more on making just a great song. Like the Nordic Union album...you can of course hear the Eclipse references because I composed almost every song but I am always trying to do something different. I don't want to sound like Eclipse when working with other artists. Eclipse is expressing my personal taste in music and the style I want to do. We always write for ourselves and don't think how people will react.

Who are few songwriters that you have admired that you would say have influenced your writing?

For main influences as far as writing goes, they are bands and not necessarily individuals. I'm a "band" guy but if I needed to pick individuals then I would say David Coverdale since he has been the main songwriter for Whitesnake, the Young brothers from AC/DC and Bryan Adams have all been huge influences. Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P is also a great influence. I've also been getting a lot of inspiration from Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. It may seem far from what I'm doing but is not that weird when you think about it. The guitar work of Dave, the melody and chords from Blackie and the "cock and balls" singing style and attitude of Whitesnake combined with melodies that I like. I think it actually makes some sense.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music


As the lead singer, what frontmen have been inspirational to your vocals and stage presence?

For the voice, it would be Joey Tempest (Europe) and Eric Martin (Mr. Big). For the stage presence it is without question David Coverdale.

If you do not want to comment, I completely understand. How has the passing of your father changed you both as a person and as a musician? What life lessons did he impart to you that informs every decision that you make?

I am going to give a cliché answer to that and the reason it is a cliché answer is because it is probably the way everyone thinks when people lose someone or if they have an illness themselves. You need to enjoy life. Life is now. Make the changes you want to change. For me, one radical decision we took was moving our family from Stockholm, where it didn't feel like home, and back to the village where I grew up in the countryside. Before he passed away, we had all of these reasons why we shouldn't do it. Where we were, there were all the cinemas, the restaurants and the people. When something like that happens, it takes away all of those small, silly things that really don't mean anything and you start to focus on the big picture of what's important. Family, enjoying life, doing what you want and stop being so cowardly about making big changes. Musically, I don't know if it has changed anything but I don't think that I am as scared about anything anymore. You go for the big thing and you go for the stuff that you know is really important.

Since you always seem to have your hands in multiple projects simultaneously, what other artists are you currently writing for and/or in collaboration with?

At the moment I'm currently mixing the new Ammunition album. I am mixing a Swedish band this week and next week I am mixing a band from Spain. There will be a lot of touring with Eclipse coming up and there are also some really interesting productions coming up but nothing is official yet so I cannot say which ones they are. Three or four really interesting projects are on the horizon. My plate is full until late 2018 or the beginning of 2019.

Being booked out for the next year to year and a half is a wonderful accomplishment.

When you are in the middle of it all you really don't enjoy it since you are so stressed and think it is too much. But it is truly a privilege to be able to do this. I've be fighting for it for so many years and I know there are so many other people out there who are also fighting every day to make a living in this music business. For me to make a good living out of doing it is truly a privilege and I'm fully aware of that fact.

Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Monster Truck

MONSTER TRUCK hit the road

Interview by Carl Buxton

Monster Truck have been touring again throughout February and the beginning of March in their Canadian home country as support to Billy Talent and, just as this issue of Fireworks hits the shelves, will be bringing their show over to the UK and Ireland before continuing across Europe. A very hard working band, the amount of touring is paying off as their profile is ever increasing, culminating in the prestigious opening slot on Nickelback's arena tour last year. The latest album, 'Sittin' Heavy' came out a year or so ago now, so Fireworks was invited to talk to guitarist Jeremy Widerman about how well all this touring malarkey is going.


Monster-Truck


Definitely very well, yeah. Trying to follow up 'Furiosity', which has opened the door for us in the UK and Europe, was going to be a bit of an undertaking but we kind of ran the same game plan with 'Sittin' Heavy' as we did with 'Furiosity', knowing full well that the process we had before worked for us and we kept the dream rolling with the follow up.

I was watching some videos of you guys touring Germany, with the video blogs, and I must admit they're quite amusing in some places. There was one backstage where you were saying one of the worst things about touring is having to do interviews, so let's wrap this up in the next five minutes...

Yeah, chaining together six or seven of them in a row where you're getting asked the same question in each one and making sure that you still sound enthused the fifth time that you're getting asked that question... I much prefer doing them piecemeal like this where I'm only doing one a day, and typically for some reason or another, you don't seem to get the same question over and over again when you do them like this. I don't know why that is.

I guess the shows in Canada will pretty much sell out because you guys have got such a high profile now?

Yeah, although at the end of the day we're opening for Billy Talent and they're the main draw on the tour, so that will enable us to go into those arena size venues because we aren't quite there yet in Canada. But yeah, we're definitely going to be helping the bill and adding a draw to those shows.

Prior to the Billy Talent tour you did the arena shows with Nickelback – how did that go?

Fantastic! Yeah, really a lot of fun and kind of a real introduction to us as far as getting used to playing on the arena stages on a consistent basis, which is something we've only done in small doses before. Just kind of learning what worked for us on those big stages, and interacting with the crowd and taking the show that we're used to doing in the clubs, and putting it into that arena scenario which was something that was a little weird for us - took us about a week and a half or two weeks to get it really working well. Now we've kind of gotten the feel, we've got that. It was actually really nice to be able to do that now and bring it back to Canada where we feel pretty comfortable in those bigger arenas and it's not going to be such a shell-shock when we come out on that first stage on the upcoming tour with Billy Talent.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music


With the European tour, and watching some of those tour blog videos of your escapades, I was wondering how much down time you had between the shows to go out and visit the city you were playing in?

With Nickelback we had loads of time because due to the size of the stages they were putting together and the massive amount of trucks that they had travelling to build their set up we were given usually about a day off after every show. So those of us in the band that didn't want to explore and see different sights in the city that we were in, we were able to see that set-building because there was all this downtime between each show. So there was a lot, a lot more than we were used to in fact on this tour. To the point where I think some of us even felt it was a little too much because we like to be in that groove playing back to back to back so that we can get some kind of momentum building. So it was also an experience for us too, to be able to just do the one show and to have a day off and then another show and finding alternate ways of keeping that momentum flowing and keeping the vibe of a live show up.

You got sick with a throat problem during the German leg of the tour several years ago? How did you cope with that?

What you're hitting on there is really kind of an example of what I've been able to avoid, based on the experiences I gained from those tours. Being in those foreign countries, being in the cold in those tough conditions, and in that case, me getting strep throat on a really long European run. That's something that was a horrible experience and something, when I got home from that tour and started to investigate why that happened and why it took so long to get over, I kind of modified my diet and my lifestyle a little bit to ensure that it didn't happen again. It was like the removal of a lot of sweets, generally taking care of myself a lot more, which is something that I've been able to do in the last year or two and it's kind of minimised those sicknesses and allowed me to stay at the top of my game for the tours. Which is obviously extremely important when you're doing runs with Nickelback in arenas.

Exactly, and would that same attention to detail apply to Jon (Harvey), Brandon (Bliss) and Steve (Kiely) as well I take it?

Yeah, I mean everyone's gotta find their own way, right? For me I was finding that I didn't realise that sugar was having such a massive impact on my immune system and kind of causing me to get sick and stay sick for a lot longer than the average person. For other people, maybe drinking less, for others, exercising more. Our singer Jon, he's just lucky enough that he can keep doing the same thing he's always done and he stays as healthy as an ox. Everyone's got their own kind of method to their madness and it allows us to kind of learn from our experiences and find ways to keep our crew and everybody as healthy as possible.

The new European tour is in March and April. You have five dates in England, one in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland, including one in Eire but none in Wales – any particular reason or was it down to promoters?

A lot of those little one-offs over there, outside of the UK and the German runs was a lot to do with what we saw kind of happening on the Nickelback run, where we had a better reaction in some places than others, and it was up to us to kind of bust the timeline down into a way that makes the most efficient use of our travel time and our expenses. So that was just kind of our hunches that we had, based on the reactions that we were getting on those previous opening slots, and making sure that we returned to the places that gave us the best responses so that we can maximise the exposure and efficiency of the touring.

The UK tour starts in Bristol on March 15th with many dates selling out fast.

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