The Answer

Sonisphere UK 2011 Interview: The Answer – Micky Waters

The Answer, the award-winning Irish rockers whose emotive music and fearsome live reputation have won them a dedicated international following, will release their latest studio album in September 2011 via Spinefarm Records/Universal.

Titled ‘Revival’ and produced by the Grammy-nominated Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith, with mixing handled by Chris Sheldon, this is the third studio album released by the Downpatrick quartet since first coming together a decade ago.

Says singer Cormac Neeson:-

“The studio we used was on a ranch in the middle of a pecan orchard near El Paso, next to the Mexican border – a wonderful place for creating music, with that whole Wild West vibe, and ‘Frenchie’ was always encouraging us to dream that bit bigger and rock that bit harder. We had a lot of fun, and the experience was a positive one from start to finish…”

To co-incide with this new album, The Answer have announced their first UK tour since December 2009; the band spent the previous 18 months on the road with AC/DC on the latter’s record-breaking ‘Black Ice’ world tour – the full story of which has been documented on The Answer’s recently released DVD/CD set, ‘412 Days Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, also available via Spinefarm.

I managed to catch up with bassist Micky Waters at Sonisphere to find out if he was bored of touring yet, what it was like performing beside the worlds biggest rock n’ roll band AC/DC and to find out about their new album ‘Revival’.

Catch the band on the ‘Revival’ tour, first leg, runs as follows:-

September
30th – Limerick, Dolans

October
1st – Dublin, Whelans
2nd – Galway, Roisin Dubh
3rd – Cork, Cyprus Avenue
5th – Ballymena, Diamond Rock Club
7th – Derry, Nerve Centre
8th – Warrenpoint, Hideout
10th – Leicester,Academy
11th – Exeter, Cavern
13th – Bristol, Thekla
14th – Ebbw Vale, Steelhouse
15th – Sheffield, Academy
17th – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
19th – Birmingham, Academy
20th – York, The Duchess
21st – Glasgow, King Tut’s
22nd – Aberdeen, Tunnels
24th – Manchester, Academy III
25th – Norwich, Waterfront
27th – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
28th – London, Garage

Download the bands brand new song ‘Piece By Piece’ right here – http://zaphod.uk.vvhp.net/reg/reg.pl?id=6213-178437 and be sure check out the band at their official websites:

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | MySpace | YouTube

Rock N Roll Outlaw

EspyRock: How you doing man?

Micky Waters: Very good thanks.

Are you looking forward to playing tomorrow?

Yes I am, we’re playing over there in the Bohemia stage. It’s just great to be playing again as we spent the guts of a year there writing and recording our new record [‘Revival’]. We put everything we have into it and it’s definitely by far our best work to date and we’re excited about getting it out and to finally play again. We’ve done a few shows this summer, one in Holland last night, Sonisphere now and then another few festivals as we get warmed up for our tour in September or October it is.

I have written as September as I was going to ask you about that tour as it is a small tour, well not small, I’m putting this wrong, it is an intimate tour in small venues.

We really want to start from the grassroots up again. We want to get back into clubs, well they’re not really clubs as it’s not a toilet tour like we used to do but you know.

I know the Glasgow date is at the King Tuts.

That’s a great venue.

And in there it really is as intimate as you could want from a proper gig venue with a decent number of people in the crowd.

I think The Answer are sometimes at their best when it’s just 500 people in a club going at it [laughs].

Are you not getting fed up at all with touring?

[laughs] Well by the time that tour ended [AC/DC Black Ice world tour] we had been on the road for the guts of four to five years as we only had a short break to record our second album which was like three months and even then we were playing shows in Ireland to keep us tight and showcase new tunes. After the four to five years of touring I was suffering from exhaustion at the end of it and I lost around two weeks of my because of it.

I think two weeks seems pretty light after that touring schedule you had, I was expecting the band to possibly take an extended break just to get back to normal life before returning to the studio.

That particular Christmas when I slowed down that was me. I definitely lost some days from my life out of it, days that I just can’t remember and I wasn’t even drinking…I don’t think [laughs].

What was your highlight of that tour now that we know what the worst part of it was?

Probably touring America. I know it’s a cliché but jumping in a tour bus and going coast to coast in America is just the fucking time of your life. Playing the biggest rock show with the biggest band in the world and then the next night playing a club in Cleveland or New York or something, just the contrast on the tour was crazy. It was such a good time and the DVD [412 Days Of Rock ‘N’ Roll] we have out now shows that.

The Answer Band (c) Paul Harries

The Answer Band (c) Paul Harries

I wanted to ask you of course about the DVD and sort of on that point but firstly have you had the chance to watch it back?

We edited the full thing as it was very much our own project because we took all of the footage, days and days of footage, which we had and we wanted to edit it to the final product.

So for people who didn’t see you perform on those shows, do you think they will get the same feeling as you did on the tour and from watching it back?

It does yeah. Watching it back just brings back a lot of memories as we’re a bunch of lads from Northern Ireland who like to have some fun and a good time on the road and I think it comes across on the DVD. It’s pretty honest [laughs].

The Answer have been around for what now, ten/eleven years? So performing alongside and becoming friends with the guys from AC/DC, considering their experience, were you able to learn anything from them which you think will benefit not just yourself but The Answer in the future?

Ah yeah for sure, when you watch a band like them 130 times or whatever it was, performing every night, and they are probably my favourite band as well, just getting to know the guys and hang out with them was really cool. And yeah of course you do [learn things from AC/DC] when you’re watching Angus Young give it everything, and who performs like Angus Young, no-one performs like Angus Young, but when you watch a guy like that every night who is in his fifties now and he’s doing that, there’s no way you can watch any young band and see them complain about anything. Tough ass rock n’ roll and I definitely think it helped our ambition to strive harder, to play harder and more often, to be better and write better songs. So they definitely helped us to embrace that side of ourselves.

Moving on to the new album now, how long had the band been working on the writing and recording of ‘Revival’.

We took out about a year actually. As soon as we came off tour we started writing the new that Christmas really. It took us a year to get about forty odd songs together and we took nineteen songs into the studio; it was a very creative time for the band and we’ve definitely done our best work so far.

How would you compare it then to ‘Everyday Demons’ considering now you had a lot experience from the tour with AC/DC, did you start looking at songs from a new direction?

Yeah you know the blues-rock vibe is definitely back in the band and it has more of a party rock feel as well so you’ll be smiling by the time it’s over, it’s that kind of record. I think our second record [‘Everyday Demons’] was a bit darker but this is just fuck it, we love being in a rock n’ roll band and this is what we do.

The first single is ‘Piece By Piece’.

Yeah ‘Piece By Piece’ is the first song we released.

What can you tell us about that song?

‘Piece By Piece’ is eh, fuck forgot the lyrics to that one, need to ask Cormac [Neeson], I just wrote the riff [laughs].

Well from your angle of ‘Piece By Piece’ then what we were you looking to get out of it when you wrote your part?

Just high energy. A lot of our songs happen in the practice room when we’re all just playing off each other and recording all of the riffs then we go back and listen to them and say ‘oh that’s make something with that or something with that’ and eventually piece it together and Cormac takes it away to write words to it. That is how to tends to work and we gave them one away for free on the Sonisphere website and our own website TheAnswer.ie as a little taster of what the album is like.

And I have to ask about the video you chose to put it to as it is quite a famous video on YouTube.

[laughs] I really have no idea. I didn’t think it would get much of a reaction, we just threw it up there [laughs].

Unofficial ‘Piece By Piece’ music video

When I was reading the initial press release about the album the focus was on the title and how ‘Revival’ was all about reviving the grassroots of rock n’ roll.

That’s what Cormac said yeah.

Is that what you believe rock n’ roll needs right now, a revival?

I just see it [‘Revival’] as a really great rock n’ roll record and I don’t think there is enough of that around right now.

Do you see any main issues that need reviving?

We just want to get out and play live and show people that you can come to a rock show and there is a band who actually wants to play and wants to have fun and wants you to have fun and they care about that and that’s what we do and plan to keep doing. There’s not enough of that out there right now.

Who else do you feel is doing that same kind of thing and reviving rock ‘n’ roll?

There are definitely a couple of bands like these guys Rival Sons seem pretty cool and a band called Saint Jude, they are a good band who I’ve seen. There a few bands in Ireland and there was one in Scotland but I can’t remember the name.

Being pushed to finish up now so one last question and one I’ve been asking every band. If you could go back in time with your knowledge of the industry, touring and all that, and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you give yourself?

Don’t drink so much and take days off [laughs]. You drink before the day off, not on the day off [laughs]. It should really be called the day off from drinking because you just suffer far too much [laughs].

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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