Band of the Day: Big River

A band which don’t just hail from a town, they hail from a pub. That’s a new one…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We’re all based in South East UK. Our home base is Gravesend in Kent & our spiritual home is Leo’s Red Lion in the town which has over 30 years of music history soaked in its walls.

How did you meet?

Through local connections, it was right place, right time, the original four members got together in a local studio and our sound was born.

How long have you been playing as a band?

Big River are now in their third year, Joe Martin took over on the drum throne from original member Luke Calvert around 18 months ago.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

Our home base is situated next to the River Thames & our rehearsal studio is next to a River, it was meant to be! Ha Ha.

What are your influences?

Clutch, Chris Cornell, Free, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons, Black Keys, Vintage Trouble, Weather Report, Rush, Thunder, Rag n Bone Man.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

It’s Heavy Blues Rock that grooves, played from the soul & every song tells a very real story. We’re different from other bands in our genre in that we just be ourselves, we never try & be something we’re not and we are constantly evolving and maturing as a band.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Our lyrics are from the heart and soul of Adam Bartholomew (lead vocals), he tells great stories and they’re based on his own life experiences & observations.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

We’ve been told watching one of our shows is like being transported back to the early 70’s and the heady days of Free and Led Zeppelin, for a four piece band we have a huge sound. We totally immerse ourselves into the music and enjoy every minute we’re on the stage. We’ve played close to 100 shows in our 3 years of being on the road.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

We’re not what you’d call a “wild” band, we prefer to let our music do the talking & not rely on stage antics. However our Guitarist Damo has said the wildest thing he saw was a WASP show back in the days when Blackie Lawless would spray the audience with offal & pigs blood, nice!

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

We are lucky to be endorsed by Fret King & Vintage guitars, Blackstar amps & Rotosound strings so our guitar player Damo plays those, his main live rig is a Vintage V100 JBM through a Blackstar HT Stage 60. FX wise he uses Wah, Delay, Chorus, Tremelo & a clean boost for solos.

Adam our Singer doesn’t have preferences gear wise, but he knows what sounds good and his voice is his instrument!

Joe plays Yamaha Oak Custom, sizes 10, 14 and 22 kick, heads are Remo Pinstripe on the batter side. He augments this with an 18″ Yamaha Recording Custom 40th Anniversary Floor Tom. Snares used are a 12 x 5.5 Mapex Maple Black Panther or 14 x 5.5 Mapex Steel Black Panther Blade snare, batter heads are Evans Reverse Dot Level 360. Cymbals are 20″ Paiste 2002 Medium Ride, 17″ Paiste 2002 Crash, 15″ Paiste Dark Energy Full Crash and hats are 14” Zildjian Mastersound Custom A’s. Hardware is Yamaha 665 range. Kickdrum pedal and stool are Mapex.

Ant plays:

  • TC Electronic RH750 head
  • 2 x TC Electronic 4×10 cabs
  • Audio Evidence cables
  • Electro Harmonix envelope filter
  • Electro Harmonix octaver
  • Boss Tuner
  • 1989 Warwick Thumb Bass
  • 1991 Warwick Streamer
  • Fender Jazz bass
  • Fender Precision Tony Franklin signature fretless

What are your plans for what remains of 2019?

New songs, we’re writing for our next release, could be an EP, could be an album. Planning our dates for 2020, exciting times ahead.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you?

I think we would love to open for Bad Company, that would be the ultimate, or someone like Lynyrd Skynyrd, although we did open for Little Caesar last year and they were awesome, so we’d love to do that again. On a three band bill it would have to be another band from our neck of the woods, Stonewire, if you’ve not heard them, check them out.

Big River: facebook | twitter | bandcamp

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