Dusk is falling on Glasgow. Straddling that fine line of winding down for the day yet coming to life as people head to various places to enjoy their evening and start their weekend. I’m introduced to Stephen who in turn introduces me to Mickey, The Answer’s bass guitarist. Incredibly laidback with the air of someone looking forward to tonight’s show, and with Raise a Little Hell in tow, looking forward to showing off some new songs for a familiar crowd.
First of all, welcome back to Glasgow, I understand it’s been a while. And you’re back with a new album which I understand is getting a great reception.
It is, you know, it’s been…it actually hasn’t been as long as previous times. We were here about a year ago. So I think we got this album out a lot quicker than in-between our first four which was the whole thing about this one. We came off the last tour and I have to say, we felt pretty inspired to just get straight to work and we had a bunch of material as soon as we got off that tour. We got together in the summer, went over to Spain and recorded it in a month and it all seemed to happen very quickly. There wasn’t much thought put into it, it was really just a “do what you wanna do” vibe. We didn’t have any agendas about trying to write any particular kind of record. We just did what we wanted for a change.
And you did it via PledgeMusic as more artists are doing nowadays. What was your experience with that?
One of the main reasons for doing it was because it gives you the opportunity to knock out cool as fuck products and we love vinyl and we love all the different formats. We love doing B-sides. We do B-sides in our own little rehearsal room. We’ve got…it’s nothing fancy; it’s just a few half-decent mics through a small rig. So we love doing that and adding that material to different formats so Pledge was really an excuse for us to do that. It’s not like we were making money out of it or anything. It was purely to offer punters some different products. I collect vinyl myself and I love getting the CD and all the rest. And we believe these days, you really need to make an effort if you’re going to sell CDs and vinyl, you need to do something cool to encourage people to buy it. And you know what? It’s worked, it’s definitely worked this time.
You’re just at the start of a rather lengthy tour of the UK. Most bands just hit the major cities, what encouraged you to be out on the road for so long?
We’ve always traditionally done this and it’s all we really know, to be honest. We’ve never done just the London, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, maybe Southampton or Bristol. We’ve never done that, we’ve always done fourteen to twenty shows in the UK. I can see the merits in both but for us, especially at the start of a campaign, it takes us two weeks to get right. I think it takes us a bunch of shows to get it right and get what we’re doing, to get in the right frame of mind to be on the road. You forget about all the shit going on at home, you just focus on what you’re doing here.
How has the reception been to the new songs so far?
I don’t know why we continue to do it but we always open our tour in Belfast; hometown show which is 1,000 crazy rockers. It’s up close and personal, not unlike Glasgow, actually. Belfast and Glasgow, I think are very, very close for rock audiences. They loved it! We were blown away by it because it was our first show, we were a bit nervous. We played seven new songs and we weren’t playing what our fans would call “old classics”; “Preachin’” and “Under the Sky” and stuff. We weren’t playing any of those. They were always get out of jail free cards for us and we scrapped those for this tour because we wanted to refresh everything. We’re having fun playing this new stuff and I think it’s pretty inspired material so we’re really happy with it.
I had read on a forum that you weren’t playing some of the regular songs but if you did, you’d be doing three hour shows.
In Aberdeen last night, I was very happy to hear from a fan, he said to me: “I’m glad you didn’t play Preachin’ and Under the Sky. I’m glad because it’s about time you boys changed things up”. That’s exactly the attitude we had going into this. I’m hoping more people will have that attitude.
A few years ago you opened for AC/DC for their last tour. That must have been a great experience.
I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Every day there was a story to write about, there was just something every day. It’s a bit much now, looking back how crazy it was. But one of the best things about it was when you rolled into any city whether it was Winnipeg in Canada or Prague or Glasgow, that gig took over the entire city. For radio, for traffic, for advertising. And to be in the background, watching it all work, it’s pretty cool.
Would you do something like that again?
Of course you would. If Angus picked up the phone again and asked us to play, of course we would. He’s still a big supporter of the band, they all wished us luck and they love the new album. It’s good to hear encouragement from them. If they said yes then of course, we would. We don’t want to fall into the trap of being the eternal support band. We want to do our own thing; we can play for a couple of hours no problem. We can do our own thing and keep the audience entertained. We’re really happy doing our own shows.
Should we expect you at any festivals this summer or maybe a shorter tour later in the year?
Maybe. We finish this UK tour, hit Europe and that goes right into the middle of May. We do festivals in Europe from the end of May. We’re doing Hellfest which, in my opinion, is the best festival in the world. We’ve played it before and it’s an awesome festival. Who would have thought France is the place, it’s unbelievable.
My first time seeing the band was at Download last year as we were waiting for the Temeperance Movement. I only knew a couple of your songs but once I got home, I checked out everything on Spotify.
That was the good start of a run, I thought. Us, Temperance Movement, Rival Sons. Zakk Wylde was on too. There was some cool stuff going on. White Zombie as well. That was a good day, I really enjoyed it. No matter what Gene Simmons says, there’s a lot of good rock acts out there right now; Rival Sons, Black Stone, Temperance Movement. There’s a lot of good rock acts in the world, young acts. Festivals though, not Download this year, probably next year as we’re busy playing other festivals.