Peter Hook To Play New Order And Joy Division Substance (Flashback 2016)

PETER HOOK

PETER HOOK plays “Substance” at The Wiltern Sep 24; photo James Christopher

Flashback: PETER HOOK / JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER 2016 interview.

New Order and Joy Division bassist, Peter Hook, returns to SoCal, this time playing The Wiltern Sep. 24 with Peter Hook and The Light. The lengthy set will cover both the Joy Division and New Order albums Substance.

This is a reprint of the Concert Guide Live interview with Peter Hook conducted on a previous tour through SoCal.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Peter Hook and The Light are in the midst of a pretty massive worldwide tour, what do you like about playing live?
PETER HOOK: I love playing live and I always have done. To me, touring is really exciting because I love to travel and I love to meet fans from all over the world who have been touched by our music. We are touring a lot this year, which is great.

CGL: Who is in the band with you?
PH: The Light is made up of 4 excellent musicians. First we have David Potts on guitar and vocals who first played with me in my side project REVENGE in the early 1990s, and later went on to become my song-writing partner in another band of mine, Monaco. Then on drums and keyboards we have Paul Kehoe and Andy Poole, both of whom were also a part of Monaco. Then to round out the line up we have my son, Jack, playing bass alongside me. I must say with the 2 bass guitars it really creates a unique sound.

CGL: Considering all of the material you can pull from, what is one of your favourite songs to play live?
PH: Off the top of my head, and because we just played it at rehearsals, I would say that “Subculture” is one of my favourites to play live. It showcases the goth-pop aspect of New Order and is also great fun to play because it shines a spotlight on each individual instrument. For example, towards the end there are 2 different live bass lines being played as well as synth bass and a keyboard line, while the guitar remains solid and funky throughout and the drums have a nice, loose feel about them. It is a track from New Order’s third album, “Low-Life.”

CGL: How did it come about that your son took up the bass, as well?
PH: I did not pressure him into doing it, he just began to develop an interest in my bass guitars aged around 11 or 12 and then went from there. I got him his first bass when he was 13 and he developed into a really great bass player.

CGL: When you first went on tour together, what surprised you about him?
PH: When we first went on tour he had never done anything like this before but he took to it really well, which was nice. He was not overawed by the occasion yet also kept his feet on the ground and it is important to find that balance. I am very proud of him and we continue to have a great time.

PETER HOOK

Peter Hook; photo James Christopher

CGL: What was it like when you first decided to take on lead vocal duties?
PH: It was very daunting at first. I had not planned to do it, I just sort of fell into it. But concentrating on the vocals forced me to draft in my son on second bass which is now one of the hallmarks of our group, so that was a fantastic thing to have happen. I was very nervous at first because I had never been in that ‘frontman’ role before, and it was the Joy Division material we played first and Ian Curtis of course has very big shoes to fill. I am aware I will never fill them, but I just try and do the best job I can. When we moved on to doing the New Order material, let’s just say that Bernard’s shoes did not feel as big!

CGL: Your bass tone and playing style have always been unique in that it’s reminiscent of guitar playing. Was that a conscious effort and what drove you to choose to play the bass?
PH: I chose to play the bass simply because when me and Bernard saw the Sex Pistols, we were blown away by the gig and decided then and there to form a band, he already had a guitar. So I just went out on a whim and bought a bass. The guy did not have a case for it so I took it home in a bin bag! My playing style developed partly by accident! Bernard’s equipment was so loud and gnarly back then that I had to play high in order to hear what I was doing, and it was Ian that told me that it actually sounded good, and that later went on to become one of my trademarks.

CGL: What is your favourite bass guitar and why? How important are the type/brand of amps to you and to the sound you like to get?
PH: My favourite bass guitar is my ‘VIKING’ bass guitar, which I play live. It was custom built to my specifications by Chris Eccleshall in the UK who is a very gifted guitar maker. I really like the tone it gives and it is also very durable which makes it a good one to take on the road. When it comes to amps I tend to favour Hi-Watts, which I have used since as long as I can remember as well as other gear by Trace Elliott, which is also always very good.

CGL: You’re playing three shows around Los Angeles this time, each one with a different set. But the “Low-Life” / “Brotherhood” set will be the new one. Assuming that you haven’t played most of those songs for some time, which song was the most challenging to “re-learn”?
PH: Yes. We are playing 3 times in LA this year, 6 different albums. I must be crazy! We also have some very special guests lined up to join us, which is always exciting. The “Low-Life” and “Brotherhood” show is the newest one like you mentioned, it has been a challenge but is such an enjoyable set to play live. I’d say the most challenging to get right was probably “The Perfect Kiss” simply because that is such a complex song with so many different layers, but we pulled it off and it sounds great, complete with cowbell and frog noises!

CGL: Is there anything you’d like to add?
PH: Not much, other than I am really excited to be coming back and I will see everybody very soon!

Dramarama Does ‘Anything, Anything’ To Rock HOB (2013 Remembered)

Dramarama

Dramarama opens for Berlin at the House of Blues Anaheim Sat., April 13th

JOHN EASDALE / DRAMARAMA 2013 interview remembered… This was one of the very first interviews for Concert Guide Live!

Alternative rock group, Dramarama may have formed in New Jersey, but they call Southern California home and Orange County their base of operations. They will be playing with Berlin at the House of Blues in Anaheim on April 13.

Since this is a co-headlining show, Dramarama won’t be able to do their “Grateful Dead four hour marathon jam” according to vocalist John Easdale. “Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until we have a show all by ourselves.”

They still promise to do an entertaining mix of old and new.

Dramarama have been recording a much anticipated new album for the last couple of years. It will be ready to go after some final mastering and artwork touches. “We’re hoping to get it out before the end of the year but we were hoping that last year, too,” Easdale said.

With the internet, many artists self-release their material. “There’s always that option, “said Easdale,
“We’ve been doing it ourselves since our first 45 in 1982.”

“There are a thousand bands selling a million records and a million bands selling a thousand records,” he added.

The mid-80s radio hit “Anything, Anything” seems to have defied time becoming a “classic rock” song in its own right. “It is truly gratifying and rewarding. I wish that every song I wrote had that kind of impact and that people accepted it in the same way,” Easdale said. “My purpose with every song is what happened with that song.”

Three of the original Dramarama members Peter Wood, Mark Englert, and John Easdale continue to be in the band. The other two members bassist, Mike Davis, and drummer Tony Snow, have been part of the group for over fifteen years.

As a final thought, Easdale mentioned, “We hope that the people from the audience have as much fun as we do!”

Sun Worship With Allah-Las (2017 Remembered)

ALLAH-LAS

ALLAH-LAS play Music Box Oct. 18 and The Regent Oct. 21; photo James Christopher

ALLAH-LAS 2017 interview remembered…

Local scenesters Allah-Las play their unique, psychedelic, dream pop at Music Box Oct. 18 and The Regent Oct. 21. The group is known for playing their interpretation of retro 60s rock a la The Troggs, The Standells and The Grass Roots, full of catchy choruses and guitar hooks.

Now with three albums under their belt, the songwriting continues to evolve while hinting at previous influences. Songs such as “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind” and “Don’t You Forget It” are crowd favorites from their self-titled 2012 debut, while newer tracks “Could Be You” and “Famous Phone Figure” are quickly catching on.

Although notoriously a band of few words, Concert Guide Live managed to get a few words out of them in a previous interview prior to the release of Worship The Sun and this is what they had to say:

CGL: It looks like you have a handful of dates lined up so far this year. What else is in the works?
A-L: We’re working on finishing our second record, new songs etc.

CGL: Is there a particular song the band looks forward to playing live and why?
A-L: Yeah. We have some new ones we’re excited to try out live. See how they change and adapt as we play them for an audience.

CGL: How did everyone in the band meet, did some of you meet while working at Amoeba Records?
A-L: Matt (Correia, drums) Miles (Michaud, vocals/guitar), and Spencer (Dunham, bass) went to high school together in Los Angeles. Later on Matt, Spencer and Pedrum (Siadatian, guitar) all worked together at Amoeba. We had a lot of interest in various types of music back then, working at Amoeba allowed us to spend time digging for more.

CGL: What is everyone listening to these days?
A-L: Aww lots of stuff. The search never ends.

CGL: Working with Nick Waterhouse sure seems to be a good fit for your sound. Do you record your songs then give them to him to produce, or do you all collaborate on the production?
A-L: We always work together. I’m sure it’s annoying for Nick to have to listen to us argue our points on the mix but he’s patient. He’s an amazing producer and a great friend.

CGL: What is the status of a new album?
A-L: Should be coming out on a Tuesday sometime.

CGL: it seems like you play quite a bit and all over the place, any good road
stories you can share?
A-L: Nothing to mention really.

CGL: Is there a particular song the band looks forward to playing live and why?
A-L: Yeah. We have some new ones we’re excited to try out live. See how they change and adapt as we play them for an audience.

CGL: How would you describe Allah-Las to someone who isn’t familiar with your music?
A-L: Aww well. I try my best to avoid it and let people decide. We get some pretty funny comparisons though.

Flashback 2015: Front 242 To Play Classics At Rare Avalon Show

FRONT 242

FRONT 242 play Avalon Sep 27

Flashback: PATRICK CODENYS / FRONT 242 interview from 2015…

Front 242 is playing a handful of dates in the U.S. this September, including one at Avalon Hollywood on Sep. 27.

“Los Angeles is a particular place which has always had a strong ‘dark’ community,” said long-time member, Patrick Codenys. “To me, it is such a contradiction to the image most people have of the city: cinema, plastic body culture, glam and fake, etc.

“As a matter of fact, there is a real creative underground scene far from those stereotypes. You just need to know where to look to enjoy it.”

Although the band no longer tours, they enjoy working with people who are willing to bring them to the U.S. under good conditions.

“This allows us a more relaxing time and even a chance to meet fans and friends,” Codenys said. “Besides, I like Avalon, it is a beautiful venue.”

Their live performance will consist of playing a sort of “best of” set with the classics. While some versions of the songs have been changed and modernized, each will be represented graphically.

“Sound-wise we are back to analogue sounds, close to our early albums,” Codenys said. “The new technology allows us to be more sharp and precise with our sound without betraying the spirit of the time. The show remains purely physical with projections and clips for each song. Bringing back the aesthetic of the 242 album covers and imaginary world. We worked close with people to design the graphics and stage costumes.”

Front 242 began creating their brand of pre-computer electronic music in Belgium in the mid-80’s. This meant finding creative ways to recreate music live that sometimes lead to unexpected mishaps while performing.

“In the very early 80’s, sequencers were not stable and any variation in the electric stream could make you lose your programming,” Codenys said.

“Also, clubs in the U.S. have a tradition of rock/jazz/country/blues bands and were not ready for electronic music. People working in a club would say, ‘Place your drum on the riser.’ We would answer, ‘We have no drums.’ Then they would show us where we could place our guitar stack and we would say, ‘We have no guitar.’ Finally they would say, ‘You are not a band.’ It was very difficult to change the mentalities at the time.”

When Front 242 first started to use samples, soundtracks, speeches, etc. they weren’t copyright-protected like they are now. They would use tape recorders to align the voices onto a track.

“Around the 90’s we needed to ‘mask’ the origin of our vocal samples by using effects, cuts, plugs, etc.,” Codenys said. “As for the sound samples, we always designed our own sounds – sometimes sampling synth sounds to restructure, filter and reshape into a sampler.”

For example, the track “Welcome To Paradise” includes lines of sampled lyrics such as, “Hey poor, you don’t need to be poor anymore. Jesus is here (don’t tell the devil).”

“‘Welcome to Paradise’ is an ambiguous track as some people took it first degree and others found it cynical,” Codenys said. “Of course, it is more of a joke if you listen to the message; but what is the real interest of that song is the way words are singing. We started from that preacher’s speech/singing and built the track around it. Generally, it goes the other way around, first music then lyrics.”

Today, as in times past, a live Front 242 performance is a way for them to experiment with all the facets of their music through mixing different technologies.

“But what remains the most important is the emotional communion that we experience with our audience during the show,” Codenys said.

UFO Sighting In San Juan Capistrano Not To Be Missed (Flashback 2016)

UFO

UFO play The Coach House Mar. 20

Flashback: VINNIE MOORE with UFO 2016 interview:

UFO will be greeted with a sold out show at The Coach House Mar. 20 as they return to the local venue they’ve played numerous times over the years.

“We love the antique shops and also some of the bars and restaurants in the area. Ha!” guitarist Vinnie Moore quipped. “We always seem to have a packed house full of energetic fans which makes it a pleasure. And it’s a great sounding room.”

Following the release of their 21st album last year, A Conspiracy Of Stars, the English hard rock band is adding a few of the newer tracks to their set list of greatly-anticipated songs.

“Of course we try to keep in as many of the classics as possible, and also play a couple from the 80’s era of the band,” Moore said.

“As far as new stuff, I love playing ‘Messiah of Love’ and ‘Rollin’ Rollin’. ‘Venus’ (from the album Covenant) is always a blast to play, but really I enjoy everything.”

Moore became the permanent lead guitarist with UFO in 2003, began touring with the band and first appeared on You Are Here as well as each of the following albums.

“When I was a teenager learning to play guitar I was a UFO fan,” Moore acknowledged. “I never would have dreamed that someday I would be in the band.

“I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s so I was into all the classic stuff like The Beatles, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Queen, Rainbow, etc.”

Some of the classic UFO songs and fan favorites were during the Michael Schenker era in the 70’s. Songs such as “Doctor, Doctor,” “Lights Out,” “Too Hot To Handle” and “Rock Bottom” have been performed untold times by the group but may vary slightly depending on the audience and the venue.

“A lot of my soloing is improvised so it is different from night to night,” Moore said. “This keeps it fresh and exciting for me and keeps me on my toes and in the moment.

“It’s a little like a pro sports game. There are certain guidelines that you know about in advance, but everyone watches because no one knows what the outcome is going to be on that particular day. And this is why it’s exciting.”

While there have been numerous personnel changes over years, vocalist Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker have worked together since the inception of the group. What’s the secret?

“Probably copious amounts of booze,” Moore teased.

If you’re in a band starting out today, Moore suggests doing it “Because you love it and have a passion for it.” To, “Follow your love and become great at what you do.

“At that point, try to create and seize any opportunities that already exist or that you can dream up. Then let me know.”

As the California leg of their U.S. tour approaches, Moore added, “We look forward to seeing the fans at The Coach House.

“Thanks for your continued support.”

Featured Video – The Dirty Knobs “Lockdown II”

Crazy Energy Of Dream Wife (2018 Looking Back)

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10, Casbah Oct. 12 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

DREAM WIFE / ALICE GO 2018 interview, looking back…

Listening to Dream Wife’s self-titled debut album, it sounds like they’re having a ton of fun, which guitarist Alice Go enthusiastically confirmed. Looking at their tour schedule, it seems there’s no rest for the wicked!

“It’s true, it’s true,” Go declared. “It was like straight after we released our album in January this year we went straight out to play Laneway Festival in Australia. And kind of since then pretty much this year has been nonstop. So, yea, it’s going to be great to come out and do a headline tour to the U.S.”

And playing live is what it’s all about, the live show being the truest part of their whole project, one that started a few years back when they all met at art school in England.

“It’s where the energy, where the soul comes from, it’s basically jamming in the practice room, it’s the way we interact with our friends and family, it’s a crazy chemistry in Dream Wife, it’s always such a great energy on stage, and we hope that translates to the crowd and I think actually as a band we try to break the ice… it’s the way we play…and have a good time ourselves,” Go explained.

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

It’s interesting how Dream Wife has both playful and serious songs that make you stop and think one moment, then let loose and be silly the next.

“It’s always a really special part of the set when we play our song “Somebody”,” Go mused. “I think it’s when everyone actually is respecting everyone else around them and it brings the focal of attention to that.

“Then coming from that song later in the set to “F.U.U” where it’s everyone screaming “bitch” together as a crowd … I think it’s the major extremes in the set that hopefully everyone can enjoy themselves and everyone can take something from it.”

Vocalist Rakel Mjöll, writes the lyrics, weaving together stories from conversations between the band members or their friends, keeping it true to heart, with the possible exception of “F.U.U” which may or may not have evolved from jamming the theme song from the Fresh Prince.

“There’s a couple of original stories at this point,” Go laughed. “I think we were just jamming around with the theme tune for the Fresh Prince and it just escalated… I think that playful nature comes across in the way we like to write. At this point I’m not even sure what the origin story is!”

Bella Podpadec plays bass and while they used to work with a drum machine, they currently play with a live drummer, Alex Paveley.

“He’s amazing,” Go said. “I think having live percussion brings a lot of energy. That backbeat is really important to this band and the sound.”

Dream Wife; album art

Dream Wife; album art

But, back when the three women started this project, they wanted to figure out amongst themselves what their terms were, what they wanted from the band and how they wanted to navigate the music industry.

“You want to figure out what your project is on your own terms before someone else comes along and tells you how it is, so we were very wary of that sort of stuff,” Go explained.

“At the moment I think we have an amazing indie label – Lucky Number – based in London, they’re very supportive, and we really trust them to enable us to take this project in a way that we see fit…we can do some things we were never able to do before… but it still feels like a project that is in our control in terms of vision, content, message, where we want to go musically… I feel very lucky about the position we’re in.”

While Go feels a lot has changed in the male dominated music industry, she also feels women need to band together, in a sense, too.

“I think yes, a lot has changed in that it’s a conversation in a more open way with diversity and equality in the music business,” Go said. “I have a sense that ultimately it’s still a conversation that needs to be pushed and we can’t lax on that otherwise things stay stagnant and don’t change. It’s about continuing the conversation.”

For decades women in music have often been viewed as a novelty or a manufactured thing. One or the other. There weren’t many women in rock that were role models.

“Yea, yea, totally, totally, totally,” Go enthused. “It’s either a unicorn in the traditional sense or it’s a kind of no control situation… a manufactured situation or a fake situation.

“It’s like the Spice Girls were so exciting as a kid and girl power … I think there’s something empowering about that feeling now and reclaiming that as well as reclaiming the place in music where we’re more serious as musicians…yea, yea, it’s kind of complicated, isn’t it?

Be a part of the wild energy and catch Dream Wife Oct. 13 at Constellation Room.

Rival Sons Play Rock-N-Roll Like It’s Meant To Be (Flashback 2016)

RIVAL SONS

RIVAL SONS play The Forum Feb. 11 and The Observatory Feb. 12 photo: Ross Halfin

Flashback RIVAL SONS 2016 interview…

Long Beach rock-n-roll band, Rival Sons, on tour with Black Sabbath, will make a stop in Santa Ana to headline their own show on Feb. 12.

“I hope to see everybody there, it’s going to be a big show,” drummer Michael Miley said. “And, listen to local rock radio, call KLOS tell them you want the Long Beach band, Rival Sons played on their station.”

The opportunity to travel the world and play music may be many musicians’ ultimate goal, but having your local rock radio station embrace you is icing on the cake.

“Our roots are strong so it’s going to be a packed show, a beautiful show, and it’s going to be sponsored by KLOS, a station I grew up listening to,” Miley confirmed. “It’s pretty much a dream.”

Rival Sons success in Europe is light years ahead of their success in the U.S. Although they have toured with many well-known, classic bands such as Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Alice Cooper people in the U.S. have been slower to catch on.

“The music business here does not embrace rock-n-roll or support it or give money to it. And rock radio is an uphill battle for what we do,” Miley explained. “Most Americans need to be spoon fed what to like, unless you’re a person who likes to seek out new music.

“We’re basically an R & B band just like The Who or Zeppelin. All the British Invasion bands were white boys who tried to play black music and turned it up real loud. That’s originally what rock-n-roll was, right?

“People think Foo Fighters are rock-n-roll. I love the Foo Fighters but that’s not rock-n-roll. Rock-n-roll is music that has blues in it. When the blues left rock-n-roll it became rock.

“We’re definitely lone wolves in a densely packed forest of nothing.”

RIVAL SONS

Michael Miley photo: James Christopher

Currently on tour with Black Sabbath in the US and Canada, Rival Sons will have the opportunity to reach many new fans.

“We have this crazy opportunity to be personally invited by Ozzy to be on this tour,” Miley said. “It’s pretty nostalgic and I can’t really put it into words.

“When (Tony) Iommi walks out and plays “Iron Man” I get shivers thinking back to when I was a kid and my older brother used to scare me playing Black Sabbath. It was the scariest thing. Ozzy was like a monster. My earliest memories of Sabbath, not that they’re bad, Sabbath were doing their job, was scaring the shit out of me! So, it’s pretty nostalgic.”

It’s been a few years since the last album Great Western Valkyrie but their fifth album is due sometime around May, also on Earache and distributed through Warner Bros. Like their previous album, it was recorded in Nashville with producer, Dave Cobb.

“Yep, we have a new record coming out in 2016, baby! Not sure I can say the name of it, yet,” Miley teased. “We’re really excited. It took us 3 weeks like all of our other records.

“We like to go in and over three weeks force ourselves to write songs in the studio. Nothing is pre-rehearsed or anything. I’ve never heard the songs. It’s a good way to get a human element into your recording. Forced, non-rehearsed music.”

Whether you catch them opening for Black Sabbath at The Forum, or headlining The Observatory, the Rival Sons always play hard, treating every concert as if it was their last show on earth.

“When I talk about rock I mean rock-n-roll.”

The Cult Live In The Moment Stop At Grove (Flashback 2016)

THE CULT

THE CULT play Grove of Anaheim Jun. 3; photo Tim Cadiente

Flashback: IAN ASTBURY / THE CULT 2016 interview…

The Cult return to Southern California following several months on the road, the release of a fresh new album, Hidden City, and more live dates on the horizon, indicating 2016 to be another busy year.

“We’ve been increasing our productivity in terms of performing and touring,” singer Ian Astbury said.

“We haven’t really stepped away from it too long.”

Not a band to rest on their laurels, The Cult continue to evolve and move forward, including the recent addition of Damon Fox playing both rhythm guitar and keyboards.

“We’ve got a great live band, right now. It’s sonically much different. I mean, anybody who’s seen us hasn’t seen this band with a keyboard player. The band right now is very connected and the set list we’re working with, as a narrative, works very well.”

Performing live is more or less second nature to Astbury, citing that pretty much everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong at shows, so they just roll with the punches.

“Something alchemical happens when you walk on that stage. You can’t really explain it or articulate it, you just have to experience it.”

Hidden City marks The Cult’s tenth studio album and lyrically, it contains Astbury’s observations and interpretations of life.

“Travel’s really important to me,” Astbury noted.

“It kind of gets me out of my environment. You know, instead of just taking impressions of media or printed material. That’s definitely a part of it, as well, but I find that travel has the most profound influence, for me.

“Hidden City really refers to our internal lives, our intimate lives. I mean, you could say, spiritual lives, intuition. Information that comes in through the heart is usually good information. It might be negative information coming in but it’s still authentic in the way you interpret it. Once it gets caught in your cognitive process then it becomes distorted or whatever…

“I think our intimate experiences are what really forms our characters. Every individual has a different life path and they’re all valid. But I was really referring to the heart, intuition as being the core theme of the title. And I could expand upon that but we’d be here forever.”

Each song is multi-layered with possibilities of meaning and thoughts to provoke or inspire further contemplation.

“There’s no right way or wrong way to perceive this record,” Astbury said.

“I mean, I have my perspective on it. But there’s also contradiction. You could have a completely different conversation with me tomorrow. Depends where I’m at.”

Forming in 1983, The Cult hit the ground running in terms of putting songs together so they could start playing live, with Astbury and guitarist, Billy Duffy collaborating since its inception, forming the cornerstone to the band’s longevity.

“We were in a live music scene,” Astbury recalled.

“Basically, you just got your songs together as quickly as possible so you could get out and play. We were very impulsive.

“But over the years you develop a desire to want to craft songs and give them a little more time to gestate.

“There’s so many points of reference that’s woven into the record, sonically woven in, in terms of textures. For example, on this record one of the instruments we started out early on with was piano. A lot of people see The Cult as being purely a guitar driven band.”

It’s been loosely suggested that Hidden City is the third album in a trilogy, beginning with 2007’s Born Into This, followed by 2012’s Choice Of Weapon.

“The birth of The Cult in the 21st century really begins, to me at least, with Born Into This which was a really impulsive record,” Astbury said.

“We made it like we did when we first started. We made that record in like 30 days, from beginning to mixing.

“We demoed and wrote for 21 days then we jumped in and did 15 days in the studio, Britannia Row Studio, in London, which is Pink Floyd’s studio and with a producer called Youth who’s produced everybody from The Byrds to Primal Scream.

“Choice of Weapon was started in the high desert with Chris Goss, in the Joshua Tree area. And that was a lot more immersive, working with Chris. That’s why we went to the desert, to begin that record, a more ethereal way of working, a more intuitive way of working.

“And then Bob Rock came in and kind of guided it home, and we finished the record.

“In conversations with Bob at the end of Choice Of Weapon he said ‘I’d love to be involved at the very beginning at the genesis of the next record’.

“You know, all the time we were against the clock in terms of touring obligations or release date obligations. I mean, when you’re working with a label it’s sort of like, ‘ok, here’s the release date’ and you know you’ve got to be done by a certain period and that can sort of force your hand. But with this record (Hidden City) we wanted to take our time. “

The album evolved over two years with the band alternating between working on it for two or three weeks, then touring for six weeks, going back and forth.

“It gave a chance for the body of work to develop and evolve. There’s a lot in Hidden City. There’s a lot of layers, so many layers that we haven’t even gotten to with this record. It just keeps unfolding.”

Needless to say, over the course of their career, there have been numerous changes in the music industry and the world in general. All of it lingers in some way, possibly creeping in to a lyric on Hidden City or possibly an as yet unwritten song. When asking Astbury what changes he’s noticed many things jumped immediately to mind.

“Watching our human impact on environment over the decades.

“Experiencing the focus away from the best and the brightest to the celebration of celebrity culture. We celebrate ignorance, for the most part.

“Moving into realms of science that we’ve never been into before – the quantum level.

“There’s a spiritual revolution going on. There’s an existential crisis of like, you know, the meaning of life.

“So we’re rearranging our whole psyche in terms of what it means to be human, what are our fears and dreams, our aspirations, where are we heading? I think that’s why we’re in this sort of crisis right now where people are turning to distraction and escapism.

“It’s all in this record and if you’re prepared to look, if you’re prepared to stick with it, and listen to it, live with it, more shall be revealed.”

Astbury also perceived that there’s some amazing art being created simultaneously as a counterpoint.

“Even the new Star Wars movie grabbed me,” Astbury laughed.

“The themes are archetypal, these are global themes – the rise of the young heroine who goes to discover her father. The search for the father, the search for the mother, these are archetypal themes that I think we can all relate to as humans and I think they did an amazing job with that film.

“So, not to mourn the past, there is a great revival, though, in people questing for all kinds of lifestyle choices and we live in a much more mixed, cultural community now. We’re way more integrated and that’s great. And if we keep moving forward that’s a beautiful thing. That’s something I definitely embrace.”

The Cult will be performing songs from throughout their extensive catalogue including some new sure-to-become-favorites at the Grove of Anaheim on June 3.

“We always try to create a set that people coming through the door want to hear, songs that are familiar to them,” Astbury said.

“I like to leave everything on the stage, I like to come off the stage feeling depleted. It takes time to reconstitute that every day but that’s what we’re there to do.”

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band Rock SoCal (2017 Remembered)

IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND

IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND play Teragram Ballroom Sep 12 and The Coach House Sep 13; press photo

IAN HUNTER / MOTT THE HOOPLE / THE RANT BAND 2017 interview remembered…

Ian Hunter, the once glam rocker of Mott the Hoople who evolved into a phenomenal solo artist penning radio hits such as “Cleveland Rocks” and “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, continues to tour and write interesting albums such as last years’ Fingers Crossed.

He will be performing with The Rant Band at Teragram Ballroom Sep. 12 and The Coach House Sep. 13, a venue he has played a few times including when he and Mick Ronson played after a week-long stint recording 1979’s live album Welcome To the Club at The Roxy.
The group has put together an amalgamation of songs covering 48 years of music to perform.

“You’ve got to please the casuals that means you’ve got to do a bit of the old stuff,” Hunter explained. “Then you’ve got to please the other half that means you’ve got to do a bit of the stuff no one’s heard, then you’ve got to do some solo stuff. And it all sort of melds in somehow.”

Naturally there should be a couple of songs from Fingers Crossed such as the recently released single, “Ghost” that has a delightfully soulful chorus complimenting Hunter’s rough around the edges vocals. As well as “Dandy” which is a nod to David Bowie who passed while Hunter was having difficulty writing a completely different song called “Lady” that he turned into “Dandy”.

“I only knew him for about a year that was around the Hunky Dory, Ziggy period,” Hunter recalled. “I kind of wrote the song from a fan’s point of view from that period.

“Because when he came in, everything was kind of drab, it was kind of like watching a black and white movie. Then, all of a sudden, David came in and everything went technicolor.”

One of the lyrics, “the last bus home” shows up throughout the song and refers to the end of a good night out.

“We used to go and see gigs and they were magic then you would come out and you really didn’t like your own existence,” Hunter chuckled. “It’s the same as when you came out of a movie and it’s ‘oh Jesus, here I am again’. That’s the whole idea of it.”

Not one to write and tour at the same time, Hunter prefers to focus on one or the other. He’s been touring since last year on the recent record and will most likely begin writing the next one in January.

“I just write when I want to make a new record,” Hunter noted. “I’m not one of those people, I can’t really work on the next one when I’m on the road. If I started on it now, it would be a bit dated by the time I did it.”

Being a rhythm guitarist and not a lead guitarist, Hunter prefers Martins, but also uses Gibsons and RainSongs.

“I have two other guitar players in the band so I stay acoustic,” Hunter said. “RainSongs is kind of a unique guitar because it’s not wood so it has a little edge to it. It’s kind of like halfway between an acoustic and an electric. I use it for open tuning.”

He keeps some of his guitars in Europe and some in the States so he doesn’t have to deal with transporting them as often.

“When we depart here, we go to Germany, then England and you don’t want to be carting stuff all over the place so we generally leave stuff in different countries,” Hunter explained. “You can pick them up when you’re there and it saves a lot of aggravation on the plane.
“It’s something you learn over the years. I never would have thought of it years ago.”

Something else he has learned over the years is that you have quite an advantage if you are passionate about what you choose to do in life.

“And if music’s your passion, more luck to you, but get a lawyer,” Hunter laughed. “If you haven’t got one in the family, get one.

“Usually with musicians, one side of the brain’s not working. They need somebody to compensate for the side of the brain that’s not working.

“I mean, I could never understand at school why you had to be good at arts and sciences. Usually you find arts people aren’t very good at math and vice versa.”

One other thing he laughingly mentioned he’s picked up over the years is that he likes to have a drink prior to going on stage.

“It’s a ritual that starts about 30 minutes before we go on. It gets you in the mood.”