When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
My older brother, Matt, was really into Metallica, and I didn’t get it at first. Over time they grew on me and I became hooked. When I saw their live footage (Live Sh*t etc) I 100% wanted to do what they do; I think it’s the same for a lot of people in Metal.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
Metallica were the band that made me love music and pick up a guitar. Jeff Waters of Annihilator made me really want to learn how to do what he does on guitar. Alex Skolnick of Testament also really pushed me into learning the instrument more. Other than that bands like Yes and Gentle Giant, Sepultura, The Beatles; I listened to a lot of different genres for inspiration.
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
I’m a great shot with a gun, I love Frank Sinatra, and… I can unhook a bra with one hand?
What song of yours best describes you and why?
That’s hard to say as a lot of our songs (and Metal songs in general) are from a fantasy/fiction POV. We do have songs that are more personal, like “In Memoriam” which was written for our late bassist, Mike. I wrote the lyrics to it while on tour in North America, and that song sums up my grief and understanding of what happened, so I guess that could describe me in some way.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
It’s hard to pick just one as we’ve done so many shows since 1999 when we started as a cover band. One that stands out is Download Festival 2010 or 2011. The Pepsi tent was packed to the back that they weren’t letting any more people in. The response was great and the vibe was brilliant. The only downside was I was massively hungover and could barely play. My guitar sounded like shit for 4 of the 5 songs, and it wasn’t until I went to turn my wah pedal on that I noticed I’d had my wah pedal on the whole time.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
I’d love to go back to Brixton Academy in London. We played there with Megadeth years ago, and our late bassist, Mike Alexander, saw Pantera there when he was younger. I remember looking over and seeing him the happiest I’d ever seen him, as he was standing exactly where he saw Dimebag Darrell standing. Such a great show.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
I think the fact that we’re still able to play live and do what we love is an achievement. We don’t really do this for accolades. We started out just jamming in a room, which turned into “if we can break even we’re happy.” Now, if we can make enough money to cover the fact we’re away from home/jobs/family, we’re happy. For the future I’d hope we can continue to do this, physically and financially.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
This one time everyone was sat on their phones not talking to each other. When we played the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, NYC we were sat in the dressing room watching the news, and we saw a helicopter circling a van. We then noticed it was in NYC just outside the venue we were in. The entire area was evacuated and no one was allowed in or out of the venue. We asked the Police if we could go to McDonalds and they said yes. We got to walk around Times Square with 0 people in it; it was like a zombie film. It turned out it was just some chemicals that’d been left in a van.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
Being able to travel the world and play music to people. I get to go to places I would never otherwise get to see if it weren’t for music, and the energy exchange between us and the crowd while performing is such a great thing to be able to do.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
I’ll be completely honest and say the music is not my job; it’s a hobby. I work full-time and the music on the side. It’s just how it has to be now for the majority of us, especially in Metal. So I guess the answer is, if I wasn’t doing the job I’m doing now it would be doing music/Evile.
What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan and can you tell us about it?
I held out seeing Metallica at festivals until they played indoors again and that was their Death Magnetic tour at the o2 Arena (at the time) in London. That was my first time seeing them and they blew me away; the sound was the best I’d ever heard at a gig (no doubt thanks to Big Mick). Other than that Lady GaGa was way better than I was expecting. I went with our old manager, Julie Weir as we went to meet our friend Lady Starlight who was DJing in between acts. The stage was a castle and she came out in this Xenomorph type alien device and it was genuinely amazing.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
Sepultura reunion headliner, and higher up billing for newer/lesser known bands. I think festivals need to start giving smaller bands a bigger chance, and put funds into paying the lower down bands.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
To speak my mind and put myself first more.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
My kids make me happy, and my kids annoy me haha. Playing music live and seeing my family happy makes me happy. People annoy me; people’s selfishness and people who have 0 compassion or empathy.
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
We have 2 kids so most of my time is spent with family these days. I love watching films and streaming on Twitch (though that is music related, too).
What can we expect from your tour dates? What routines do you have before and after going on stage and what does playing live mean to you?
Seeing as I’m the “new vocalist” we’ll be spanning our entire discography, and since taking vocal lessons with Melissa Cross, my voice has come a long way since Hell Unleashed, and I want to show people I can actually sing, not just bark like most people now think. Before we go on stage I start warming up about an hour before, make sure I’m hydrated, and just play/listen to some of my favourite music to get me in the zone. After I get into the dressing room (hopefully there’s just us 4 in there) and have a good old sit down. We don’t drink/party until the show is done and everything is finished. Playing live is what it’s all about to me; I love it. It’s what makes the other 23 hours of touring bearable.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
Yes and no. It’s great for reaching around the globe and getting your music heard, but it’s devalued music and musicians. Everyone can get their music relatively free now, and most people think by buying a gig ticket/merch, they’re helping the artist. They are in one way (petrol etc), but the problem is the money that went into making the music/album is more often than not recouped solely via the sale of the product (cd/vinyl).
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
I don’t really care. As long as our arses aren’t hanging out and we don’t have barbeque sauce on our face I don’t care. Of course there’s the unspoken “black shirts rule” for metal photoshoots, but that’s about it.
Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?
I have a pentagram on my left forearm (I’m not at all into satanism etc) in memory of our late bassist, Mike. I had it done in the states by my friend Danny Garcia who was just starting out at the time. While I was showing him who the tattoo is for we noticed he had the exact same tattoo in the same place, and I genuinely didn’t realise until then. That tattoo means a lot to me as whenever we play it’s a reminder of everything we did with him, and that he’s still with us in some way.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
Pay artists a fair streaming royalty share.
What would your ideal day consist of?
In the Maldives with no wifi or phone reception just reading a book. I’m incredibly Rock and Roll, sorry.
What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?
Covid was a blessing for me musically. With the delay and inevitable departure of my brother from the band, it forced the writing time further into 2020, which - because of Covid - gave us so much time to reevaluate all the songs for Hell Unleashed before hitting the studio. Personally, we welcomed our 2nd daughter during lockdown, so that was a bizarre experience, and also a strange experience for both daughters; not being able to go anywhere or do anything. It obviously affected us professionally as musicians as there was 0 work. When we were recording the album only Ben and I could be in the studio for the most part, and we couldn’t really go anywhere and have a few drinks like usual. All very bizarre.
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
Firstly, thank you for the continued support. Secondly, I’d just stress how important it is for fans of artists to BUY their favourite artists’ music. We are getting crippled in the streaming age, so the purchase of a CD/Vinyl/Digital Download helps in ways most people don’t know. It’s a completely different animal than buying merch or gig tickets.
How would you answer the question Who are EVILE and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music ?
Evile are just 4 regular guys playing the music they love. We aren’t - and never try to be - anything more than that; no gimmicks. Away from music we are pretty much the same as we are in the band, though 3 of us are old, and one of us is young.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
The first album I bought with my own money was NOW That’s What I Call Music 32 in 1995. The one with the Simply Red song on it where the video was a… rollercoaster? I got that because at the time/age I was I thought that’s the music you’re supposed to like. There was some absolutely dog**** on there but I didn’t know any better. It did have Gangsta’s Paradise on it, though.
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Don’t. Haha, only joking. Or am I? I’d say just make sure your intentions are from the right place. If you are doing it because of your passion for the music and you NEED to do it, then go for it. If you’re doing it to get famous and make money and have it become your career, really think if it is worth the huge gamble. Have a plan B and understand it’s a very small percentage of artists who get to a point where they can stop calling it a hobby and make a living from it. Being very wary of who you trust in the industry aswell. Also don’t sign away your publishing.
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
There’s so many. Max Cavalera, Dave Mustaine, Steve Vai, James Hetfield, Mikael from Opeth, Paul McCartney, Jeff Waters. I could go on forever.
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Bohemian Rhapsody, because my bank account would be way less terrifying to check.
Interview questions… haha. People in my personal space/getting too close makes me uncomfortable. I’ve not had it too often but sometimes fans take a few liberties and get way too “familiar”.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
It would be filled with huge gaps in my memory like Memento and make no sense. If I really worked on it it would just be stories about touring, recording, and music. I’ve dedicated most of my life to the guitar, writing, and gigging. I would have to leave out the R-rated stories (R = resting).
What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
We’re in the process of writing Evile’s 6th album so I’m hoping we can get into the studio in 2022, and by a huge stretch, hopefully release the album this year too; though It’s now looking more likely to be released in 2023.