Some nice solid, old-fashioned rock/metal pours forth from the Midlands courtesy of today’s soloist, Andy Blackburn…
I am from Shropshire in the United Kingdom. Shropshire is mainly rolling, beautiful countryside. It is also the birthplace of the industrial revolution and has the oldest cast iron bridge in the world. Birmingham city is only a few miles away which is famous for producing a band called Black Sabbath.
How long have you been playing as a solo act?
I have been making music as This Summit Fever since around March 2020. I had been writing a few riffs, messing around on the guitar for a few months prior but in March 2020 the UK entered a lock down meaning that I had a lot of spare time and I wasn’t able to see my friends. I tried to use my time productively to form my riffs into songs. I learned to play the drums and the bass guitar so that I could record my songs. I showed a few folks my work and felt encouraged to release my first song. My first single came out in June 2020 and is called Fury Pulled Me South. Since then I have released a new song every 6 weeks or so.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the name come from?
I have always been fascinated by the high mountains of the Himalayas and have read many stories of people that have tried and sometimes failed to summit mountains like Everest and K2. The lengths that some folks go to to achieve their dream of summiting Everest, all the training, the time, the fundraising to even get to base camp is massive. Often the reason people die up on Everest due to a thing called Summit Fever. It’s where the brain is not getting enough oxygen and essentially the mountaineer cannot make critical decisions anymore. They become obsessed with reaching the summit at all costs, even if that means losing their life. It’s a kind of craziness I suppose.
What are your influences?
I have to say that Black Sabbath are a huge influence on my songwriting and guitar playing. I love big riffs that get stuck in your head for days on end. Vocally I’d say that I am influenced by Black Sabbath of course, but also bands like Alice in Chains, The Smiths and The Stone Roses. Drum wise, I am hugely influenced by Queens Of The Stone Age. They have a real boogie to their rhythms and I also try to make my rhythms swing a bit too. I am not very technical on the drums but groove is important in music, so I put my effort in to laying down solid grooves.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I am a music lover. I listen to all kinds of music from classical, to jazz, to country, to blues, to pop to electronica, to the heaviest metal music there is. I gravitate towards guitar music and I feel most comfortable writing riffs with the distortion cranked up. I find playing stoner, doomy groovy riffs hugely satisfying, even therapeutic in a way. However I can’t listen to one style all the time. So i think it is natural that my love of blues and pop comes through even with the heaviest of riffs. It’d be fair to say that my music walks the high wire between, stoner rock, blues, pop and doom. Seems like a weird combination when I write it down, but have a listen. You might like it.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
I am interested in the human condition. Life is both beautiful and ugly. I write lyrics that talk about mental health, addiction, anger and madness. My last single (titled “Rumination State”) is about being stuck in a mental feedback loop, going over and over past events and the importance of trying to pick up the pieces and move on. “Fury Pulled Me South” (first single) is about not being able to control anger and how destructive that can be.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Well I haven’t played any gigs yet because there haven’t been any in the UK recently. I do have a drummer, 2nd guitarist and bass player lined up now though so I hope to be able to play some gigs in 2021.
What’s the wildest thing you have seen or done at a live show?
Seeing Pantera, Slayer, Foo Fighters, Ozzy and Black Sabbath all in one day in 1998 at Milton Keynes bowl was pretty wild. Pantera were on in the middle of the day and just absolutely rocked the place.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc?
I have a Gibson double cut Les Paul with P90 pickups and an Epiphone SG with EMG pickups, so they sound very different but compliment one another really well. I use an Orange valve amp which is the business. I love it!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
I release my final single of 2020 called “The Sorceress” on the 6th of November. The song is about overcoming addiction. I don’t think anyone ever intends to get hooked on anything but sometimes people self medicate to get themselves through difficult times. “The Sorceress” as a song is saying that there is a way out and if a person can sever their reliance on whatever they are addicted to, then life can be good again.
What are you plans for the next 6 months or so?
I will continue to write and record. I have been recording with a drummer in the past month and we have a couple of songs almost finished. So the aim is to put an EP out in the first quarter of 2021 with the hope of playing some gigs in the summer if the Covid situation permits it.
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? A chance to plug someone you have toured with, or a mates band we’ve not heard of before.
The perfect bill for me would be Mastodon headlining, This Summit Fever on second and a band from Finland called Fogteeth opening up.