Podcast :: Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows”

“I’m going to write opinionated pieces about how much of a twat I am” – Ian Critchley

We were out of action for almost a month, but this week marks the return of Under The Bridge. This week’s a pretty good one, though it is marred by a few technical issues. We, again, recorded the show in the same room, something that seems unlikely to change any time soon. The change of scenery and increased alcohol consumption resulted in us calling up a few people we know. James Hull (Leagues Apart) makes a, half asleep, appearance on the show this week. His appearance was followed up by Great Cynics’ vocalist Giles Bidder, who was more than happy to accept our call and egg us on to call more people. However, because we called from a mobile, the interference is pretty bad. You can still make out what everyone’s saying but it’s pretty bad. Other than that, it’s a good show. Enjoy!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows” (stream/download/subscribe on iTunes)


Music – Great Cynics

  • Nightcaps
  • All The Time Every Time
  • Not Saying Sorry
  • Moorhen

News:

  • Frank Turner Minute
  • Menzingers’ short UK tour
  • Morrissey debuts new songs
  • American Idiot: The Movie
  • Riots at Against Me! show
  • Alkaline Trio debut new/old track
  • Members of Mastodon, The Mars Volta, Janes Addiction and Dillinger Escape Plan to form ‘supergroup’
  • Mariachi El Bronx to release second album
  • Great Cynics’ Don’t Need Much is out!

Outro:

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

The Podcast

Moon & Back

Review :: Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones

“I don’t think that time he had a gun pulled on him in a Bolton takeway would’ve really fit with the theme he was going for here…”

Two years after the release of his last full length, Frank Turner is back with England Keep My Bones. Poetry Of The Deed marked a change in style for Frank, and whilst it was still a folk record, he managed to create something bigger and bolder than what had gone before. This latest record is undoubtedly a folk record before anything else and, although The Sleeping Souls (Frank’s band) are back, England Keep My Bones is Frank’s most intimate and personal record to date.


The first thing I noticed about the album is that it feels a lot more ‘stripped down’ than it’s predecessor. The band are still present, but they play a slightly adapted role than on Poetry Of The Deed. For the most part they provide subtle instrumental accompaniment to Frank’s acoustic guitar and vocal but, every once in a while, they’ll bring out the big guns and hit you with everything they’ve got. Striking a the balance between the ‘one man and a guitar’ acoustic stuff and an energetic full-band experience. ‘If I Ever Stray’ is a perfect example of this: It opens with an acoustic guitar and Frank’s vocal, slowly building to crescendo (complete with brass band) before fading back down into a soft acoustic melody.

It’s the softer, more heartfelt, tracks that make this album so great. ‘Wessex Boy’ – which features, the excellently eccentric, Franz Nicolay – and ‘Rivers’ are just two examples that capture exactly what this album is about. Almost every track here sees Frank looking back at moments of his life and the places he’s been. Of course, there’s an element of ‘rose tinted glasses’ employed – I don’t think that time he had a gun pulled on him in a Bolton takeway would’ve really fit with the theme he was going for here – but it never feels contrived or overly nationalist in any way. If anything it feels like a very brave record for Frank. Like all of his stuff it’s very earnest, occasionally straying into realms of self deprecation.

Of course, it isn’t a perfect record by any means. On each of Frank’s albums there seems to be one track that just doesn’t seem to fit. It’s not a bad song, but ‘One Foot Before The Other’ caprtures exactly what talking about. Although it fits the album lyrically, it seems out of place on a musical level. It’s a very dark track, the darkest on the record, and the instrumentation certainly compliments that. It just feels a little too ‘hard’ in comparison to the rest of the album. Million Dead fans are in for a treat with that one though. The other track that feels like a bit of a ‘miss’ is ‘English Curse’.  Played live, it’s one of those songs that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. However, that power hasn’t transferred to the recording and it’s a real shame.

There’s very little wrong with England Keep My Bones. I’d go as far to say that Frank has perfected his craft with this album. It’s poignant and heartfelt, but manages to be fun and uplifting at the same time. If any album was going to propel Frank into the mainstream, it’s this one. Though I’m sure his ‘atheist anthem’ will piss a few people off.

Interview :: Austin Lucas

“If you’re fucking thirty and still listen to Goldfinger…”

It’s been a good while since Austin Lucas was last in the UK, so it was great to sit down with him for a chat in a lovely ‘green room’ provided by the staff at Santiago in Leeds. Austin’s got a big tour with Willie Nelson (fucking Willie Nelson!) coming up soon, so we talked a lot about that, the possibility of him moving back to Europe and had a bit of a rant about Ska.


Video shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions.

Going Underground :: Helen Chambers

Going Underground is back!! Holy SHIT! Back with a vengeance! ACTION! FIREWORKS! SLAP BASS SOLO! ….soft acoustic jams?

Okay, so for the return of the ever awesome Going Underground where I, Ian the king of life, talk about cool unknown acts and put embarrassing pictures of them as the article image I was going to do a little bit of words on the hard-hitting punk band Bangers. I didn’t. Instead, after watching two stella(r) performances by the lovely Helen Chambers, who doesn’t actually drink much whiskey, I decided to talk about her instead.


Helen Chambers music can only be described in one word, “awesomebeautifullovemusicoftrustlifeanddesire.” The songs themselves are not in any way overtly complex, using the standard folk open chord progression trip and sticking with a simple one guitar one singer (with a little self-backing,) so you won’t find anything here in the way of avant-garde experimentation. But hey! fuck Muse and their 52 guitar track song, right?

The strongest part of the Helen Chambers experience, what pulls these simple folk songs out from the mediocrity of a lot of acoustic music and gets them truly rooted inside your heart, becoming a constant pull on the strings with every listen, are the vocals. I know this is Going Underground and is in no way meant to get technical, but Helen’s unique voice implements a strange kind of vibrato which gives the melodies an almost haunting feel. This, paired with the stripped down instrumentation, gives Helen Chambers a sound that comes close to a modern day, female, Nick Drake.

Helen has recently played with Austin Lucas and took part in the second Under The Bridge gig where wine was drunk and lifelong friendships were made.

I’d recommend all of Helen Chambers songs but particularly “Paper and Glue” for a good old cry. It’s a song that, when played live, almost brought me to tears and I never cry. I’m a man. A man of steel with a heart of coal. Hell, if she can bring forth a passionate response in someone as emotionally bankrupt as myself, there must be something really special in those chords.

Helen Chambers can be found on Facebook and on Bandcamp so listen to her music, it’ll make you want to fall in love. Hopefully not with her though, her husband is fucking massive and will kill you.

Peace.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #19: “Soz, I Thought You Had Cat-Like Reflexes”

“Come down to hell and suck my red cock” – Ian Critchley/Satan

We tried and failed to get back to our regular bi-weekly schedule, but at least you have another podcast to listen to. This week’s podcast is a shorter one than the last few (we’re trying to keep them within an hour), but it’s still as insightful and offensive as ever. This week Ian makes sure you know the differences between ‘classical’ and ‘baroque’ music, we talk about the Jeff Buckley biopic and we answer a ton of questions. Music comes from Austin Lucas’ new album, A New Home In The Old World (buy it here!)

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #19: “Soz, I Thought You Had Cat-Like Reflexes” (Subscribe on iTunes)


Music – Austin Lucas

  • Thunder Rail
  • Somewhere A Light Shines
  • Keys
  • Nevada County Lines

News:

  • Frank Turner Minute
  • Bob Dylan Plays Vietnam
  • London’s ‘Supergig’ for Japan Is Canceled
  • Sonisphere Lineup Additions
  • Capdown UK Tour
  • Cynics’ New EP/UK Tour
  • White Stripes Final Show To Be Released On DVD
  • Jeff Buckley Biopic To Go Ahead

Main Topic

  • N/A

Outro
Questions/Emails

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

The Podcast

Moon & Back

Promo :: Austin Lucas UK/European Tour

After the release of A New Home In The Old World, Austin Lucas is heading out to tour the UK and Europe once again. I know for a fact that Austin loves playing European shows, so anyone who heads to one of these is in for a treat. Joining Austin on all of the below dates is Digger Barnes. A regular member of Chuck Ragan’s band, Barnes has also released his own solo material in the form of Time Has Come and a two 7″ records.

Having seen Austin live a couple of times, I know that you won’t walk away disappointed. So please go and check out a show if he’s playing near you. The UK dates are a little sparse, but I know he’d do more if he could. Check out the dates below.


May

3rd –  Hannover @ Chez Heinz
4th – Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof
5th – Aachen @ AZ
6th – Brighton @ Prince Albert
7th – Leeds @ Santiago’s
8th – Brixton @ Windmill
9th – Paris @ Espace B
10th –  Laussane, CH @ Espace Autogere
11th – Freiburg @ Swamp
12th – Stuttgart – Club Zwölfzehn
13th – Cologne @ Underground
14th –  Helsinki @ Bar Loose
15th – Berlin @ Lovelite
16th –  Schweinfurt @ Alter Stattbahnhof
17th –  Dresden @ Ostpol
18th –  A Vienna – Fluc Wanne
19th –  Budapest @ A38
20th – Prague @ Studio Rubin
21st – Chemnitz @ Pyro Catharsis
22nd – Bremen @ G18
23rd – Hamburg @ Molotow

It’ll be a shame if you can’t make it. If only he knew two awesome guys that could put together a little ‘tour documentary’ for those three UK dates…

Album Review :: Austin Lucas – A New Home In The Old World

“His ability to turn a phrase is such, that he could put David Lee Roth to shame”

Country music is a genre that, some would say, is based on past successes. Johnny Cash will always have a place in my heart and it’s great to see Willie Nelson still kicking it, but there’s a new ‘outlaw’ of country out there. His name? Austin Lucas. The Indiana-born singer/songwriter is back with his fourth record and, whilst his previous work has been a wholly acoustic affair, A New Home In The Old World sees Austin bringing something new and exciting to the table.


I’ve always loved the raw, stripped down nature of Austin’s music, so it really came as a surprise when I heard that electric guitar come in on ‘Thunder Rail’. I was slightly taken aback, because it was anything but out of place. It was vastly different to anything I’d heard him do before, but it had all the qualities that keep me listening to his music again and again. With this in mind, I was expecting radical changes and an album unlike anything we’d heard Austin do before. Whilst there’s quite a lot different about A New Home In The Old World, it’s still distinctly an Austin Lucas record. That’s what I love about it.

If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t take well to change, fear not, A New Home In The Old World still has some acoustic-only tracks to appease you. ‘Nevada County Lines’ and ‘Keys’ are tracks that immediately spring to mind. It’s great to see Austin delve a little into politics, as he talks about the harshness of war on ‘Keys’. The line “a man just ain’t a main until he’s dealt some death” will be with you for a while after listening. Nevada County Lines’ is my favorite track on the album. Anyone who can’t see how beautiful a this song is really needs to reevaluate their life. Austin’s soft singing (and that of, his sister, Chloe), combined with the slightest bit of guitar and the hum of a pedal steel makes for the most perfect of love songs. The same can be said for the album’s closer. ‘Somewhere A Light Shines’ marks a perfect end for the record and the introduction of a horn section makes for a nice surprise.

It’s tracks like that which made me an Austin Lucas fan. They stick with you long after you’ve listened and he’s always so ‘on point’. Not only that, but his ability to turn a phrase is such, that he could put David Lee Roth to shame and the amount of emotion poured into each song is incredible. It’s clear Austin has a passion for everything he’s singing about. This is something that’s missing from a lot of new music, and something which he’s managed to achieve on four full length records.

If you’re already an Austin Lucas fan who hasn’t bought this yet, I’m wondering why. It’s arguably his best work to date and deserves a place in anyone’s music collection. If you’re yet to experience his music yet, you might want to start here. This is definitely his most accessible record to date, but that’s no bad thing. Even if you’re not a country music fan, I implore you to check this out. I’m going to pour myself another whiskey and give it another spin.

Advanced Album Review :: Delta Maid – Outside Looking In

Prepare yourselves for the next big Blues thing


Delta Maid

Delta Maid

Having appeared here recently on Moon & Back Music with a unique and enchanting cover of The Black Keys’ “Tighten Up” the anthem of a thousand misspent hours on FIFA 11! She is, of course much more than simply a popularity jockey, much, much more. In fact she could very well be one of the biggest indie acts in Britain before the year is at an end.


The monumentally strong positive vibe around Delta Maid is something that is emphatically enjoyable and refreshing in the modern era of music. Hailing from the musically rich shores of the Mersey in Liverpool, there must be something in the water there, this young, blonde, blues-woman has been touring the length and breadth of the country with her vivaciously jolly, upbeat and most importantly traditional take on delta and blues rock.

So, with great pleasure, M&B can present an advanced preview of her upcoming debut album, Outside Looking In released on the 9th of May. Acting as what will surely be a massive springboard for the commercial success of this young artist, Outside Looking In is fine example of what, how, where, why and when a debut album of a musically conscious act should release in this topsy-turvy world of music.

A country and blues album first and foremost, the album debuts with “Broken Branches,” a softly spoken, lightly finger plucked blues based track that shines a wonderfully warm and welcoming summer’s glow on the rest of the album. The southpaw, southern charms of Delta continue through “Spend a Little Time,” “Running on Empty” and “All I Dreamed” each a masterfully crafted arc of mild bourbon flavoured country that can’t help but make even the hardest of listener’s foot tap gently.

The titular track acts as vague interval between the separate parts of the album, a track very much in the vein of Patsy Cline. By her own admission, Delta is heavily influenced by Cline and her ilk, a fact that is very prominent throughout the duration the album. Although many have attempted to recreate the soulfully rich and lamentably spiritual qualities of the rockabilly and honky-tonk queen, very few have ever succeeded. Of course it would be foolish to say that Delta Maid is the next in line to the throne but it would not be a far stretch of imagination to see it perhaps in the future.

A wonderful boiling pot of variance, both in tempo and genre, Outside Looking In is thirteen tracks of diverse, lovingly crafted songs that seemingly offers a great deal to a lot of people. From the high tempo, borderline indie pop tracks like “Of My Own” and “Back the Last Horse,” Pretenders fans will find great comfort and pleasure in these electrocuted, beat intensive tracks.

In comparison, Delta Maid breaks the hearts of the listeners, quite literally with the soul founded, almost scarring tragedies like “Dance With my Broken Heart.” “Footprints” also follows in this vein, her musical and vocal range abilities more than displayed and vaunted for the benefit of her audience.

In all Outside Looking In is an album of great depth and talent. This, in theory, should act as nothing more than accelerating catalysts for a young woman on the cusp of a fabulous career. As is often the case, however, this may not in fact BE the case. With the frankly tempest like atmosphere that surrounds the industry at the moment, a fine line exists between success and failure, regardless of ability. Let us all hope then that Delta Maid is a name that will be more than welcomed in venues radios and downloads for many years to come.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Outside Looking In is availible from the 9th of May, 2011. Check out Delta’s official site for furtehr details, touring dates etc : http://www.myspace.com/deltamaid

Video :: Delta Maid – Tighten Up (Black Keys cover)

Delta Maid is rapidly ascending the ranks on the contemporary country circuit.


Delta Maid

Citing some of the best guitarists and musicians ever as her inspiration, Delta Maid, the young, 25 year old Liverpudlian country singer has had a phenomenal twelve moths. With the likes of BB King, Stevie Ray Vauhan and Taj Mahal as heroes, she is certainly aiming high.

Here we have but a snippet of her undeniable talent. Covering the Black Keys’ seminal tune “Tighten Up” from their album Brothers (Reviewed by M&B) Delta makes a strong case not only for herself but budding young women breaking into the country scene. With a voice that cradles the listener in its softness and pronounced glory, Delta lends her talents to a song that has been igniting the mainstream charts for a considerable time now.

Eagle eared listeners may also recognise this from FIFA 11, although the sounds of anguish, frustration and down right anger at internet connectivity and various bugs may have drowned it out.


All of Delta’s information can be found on her personal website: http://www.myspace.com/deltamaid

Interview :: Chuck Ragan

If you didn’t know already, Chuck Ragan is the man.

Ahead of his final UK show with, Moon & Back ‘Album Of The Year’ winners, The Gaslight Anthem I had a chat with Chuck Ragan. Now, before we get to the interview, I’ve got to let you know that Chuck is one of the nicest, most humble people I’ve ever met. He’s such a good guy and I can’t wait for him to be back in October on The Revival Tour. We talked about upcoming solo projects, the stuff he and the rest of Hot Water Music had planned for the future and I even managed to get his opinion on kites (thanks to Jon Snodgrass).

Ian was on holiday in Spain when all this went down, but I had to call him up so he could deliver the results of our ‘signature question’. Despite flying solo for this one, there is a Critchley cameo.


Anthony Barlow: How’s it going Chuck?

Chuck Ragan: Good, man.

AB: We spoke in March last, how’ve you been since then?

CR: It’s been incredible. We’ve been working really hard. A lot of travel. I’ve been writing a lot lately though; I feel like I’ve been writing more this past year than I have my whole life. It’s been inspiring, I guess. It’s definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things. Writing songs to me has always been more of a necessity than something that I feel like I want to do. If that makes any sense? I mean, the only thing I can compare it to is, if anybody were to keep a journal or like a diary. Sometimes you don’t even know why you’re writing, you just have to do it. That’s kind of how song writing is for me. I think, in the event of getting songs out and actually putting them down, it helps me realise things about myself or determine what my direction is, what my intentions are, and it just simply clarifies my life, and my family, and my friends, and everything. A lot of it, even though I’ve been enjoying it and I’ve been writing new songs, there’s been a lot of awakenings, if that makes any sense?

AB: Yeah, definitely. Is this writing for a new solo record, or a new Hot Water Music record, or both?

CR: That and then some, really *laughs*. I’ve been writing a new record, and I’ve got loads of material, I plan on recording in January and February. We’re getting ready to do a tour with Social Distortion in the States, on the West Coast, and we’ll be recording before that tour and a little after. So we’re kinda shooting to have a new record out by next May, a new solo record. Hot Water’s been writing stuff as well. We’re getting ready, right after this tour, I don’t even go home ’til December 12th. I fly to Louisiana and meet up with my wife and we’re there for five days visiting my grandparents for thanksgiving. She brings my electric guitars, I give her my acoustic guitars, and then I fly straight to New Zealand to go on tour with Hot Water Music and The Bouncing Souls for a couple of weeks. So we’re moving quite a bit. Brian Fallon, from Gaslight, and I have been working on some songs and one really cool thing, I’m really excited about, is he just confirmed to do The Revival Tour over here, in the UK and Europe, in October.

AB: I was just going to ask what your plans were for bringing The Revival Tour over here. Is there anyone else you can confirm for that yet?

CR: Not just yet *laughs*. We’re going to try to get as many people as we can involved. Right now, it’s just Brian and I. It’s still a good ways away, so we’ll see what comes together. I can, pretty much, guarantee you’re not going to be disappointed.

AB: Are you going to try and keep with the usual US lineup or are you going to try and get a lot of UK acts in as well?

CR: I would like to get a lot of local acts, because there’s so much great music over here. Livers & Lungs, Sam Russo, Helen Chambers, Jimmy Islip. I’ve got a lot of good friends over here. Frankie Stubbs from Leatherface. A lot of people who are doing acoustic stuff. There’s a lot of other acts too, that I’ve always wanted to get. It might be a stretch, but I would love to see if Billy Bragg wants anything to do with it or Laura Marling. There’s so much.

AB: It sounds like it’s shaping up to be a really cool tour. This tour with Gaslight has been a pretty mad one, hasn’t it? You played in the UK for a bit, then went over to mainland Europe and now you’re back over here. What’s it been like for you?

CR: This tour has been so special, man. It’s been incredible. I’ve known a lot of these guys for a while, but this is the first time that we’ve ever actually got to sit down and get to know eachother, to spent time with eachother. John Gaunt is with me on this tour, we’re just playing as a two-piece: just acoustic guitar, singing and his fiddle. They [Gaslight] were gracious enough to let us ride with them on the bus. So we’re living with The Gaslight Anthem, and you never really know someone unless you’ve toured with them in that environment. There’s not much personal space, so you really have to get along with people for it to work. We knew it was gonna be cool, but you’re always a little bit apprehensive when you’ve never toured with someone and you’re just going, especially with it being such a long tour. I can honestly say, they’re just a big group of lovely, lovely people. There’s not a negative bone in the bunch. Everyone is extremely positive, they know what they’re doing, they’re happy to be here, they don’t take any of it for granted and they’ve earned all of this, they’ve truly earned it. To me, I’ve toured for a lot of years, and I’ve seen all kinds. They’re doing it for the right reasons, and I have all the respect in the world for that.

AB: You’ve said previously that you wanted a tour with Gaslight to come together so you and Brian [Fallon] could try out material from your new collaboration. Are we going to hear any of that tonight? I know you like to play with the other acts on a tour so…

CR: Yeah, we may. We might throw one out. Why not, y’know? We’re all here together. The Sharks have been a lot of fun on this tour. They’re a great, young band. I had a birthday on this tour and they said: “make sure you come out and watch us tonight, we have a present for you”. They went up and they started playing this song, and I didn’t even think anything of it. It was one of their songs, but they had enough thought to completely change all the lyrics into a Hot Water Music song. It was a Sharks song – ‘Glove In Hand’ – but they changed all the words to ‘Rooftops’. They’ve been playing that every once in a while and I’ll go out and sing it with them. They’re a bunch of special kids as well, they’re doing great.

AB: I expect there’s a lot of people coming here tonight to see you, as well as Gaslight…

CR: I don’t know about that man *laughs*

AB: Well, working on that assumption *laughs*, how have the crowds taken to your stuff?

CR: I’ve been, honestly, pretty amazed at the responses. It’s always tough to get out and do a support tour. For one it’s tough anyway, for any band supporting a headlining act, because no ones there to see you anyway. What we’re doing is, John and I are getting up and playing an acoustic guitar and a fiddle and we’re getting infront of a band who’s getting ready to blow the roof of the joint. So it’s rather intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve been absolutely amazed at the response, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Gaslight has really expanded their age groups over the past couple of years. There’s a lot of older folks at the shows, and I feel like they pick up on what we’re doing. They get it. I mean, younger kids too. I’ve been completely overwhelmed. I’m amazed by it.

AB: We talked a little about Hot Water Music before and the UK tour, what was it like being on the road with those guys again?

CR: It’s great. Nowadays we don’t tour that much as it is, and when we do tour it’s just kinda been short runs. When we come back together it’s kind of like a little family reunion. We’re not stuck in the machine like we used to be. Like Gaslight, or Against Me!, or some of these bands. You get into a cycle where you record a record, then you go on tour and you do a whole circuit. That’s Australia, Europe, UK, US, a couple of support tours, Festival gigs and usually a touring cycle can be a year and a half to two years long. Then you take a month off, you start writing and you record another record, and you start all over again. It’s great, it’s a wonderful thing, but it can definitely weigh heavy on you. For us, Hot Water toured so much as it was that it weighed us down quite a bit. Nowadays, now that we have all this time between these tours, it’s more relaxed. It’s not killing us, and it’s nice like that. We don’t have a record label right now, we don’t have any managers, we don’t have anybody telling us what to do. That’s why we’ve been enjoying writing again so much: There’s no stress, there’s no pressure, we just want to make new songs and do it when it feels right.

AB: Was it a shame that George [Rebelo] wasn’t on tour with you?

CR: Yeah, of course. We had Dave Raun with us, and we wouldn’t have done it without George’s blessing anyway. Dave’s been a good friend of all of us for years, and he’s an animal behind the drum set. It just made sense, y’know? We wanted to go and play these shows, and we even asked George, “what should we do?”, and he said get somebody else, man. We called Dave and we did it *laughs*. Yeah sure, we miss him. He’s gonna be on this Bouncing Souls tour – in Australia – that we’re doing. We’ll be back together soon.

AB: You’ve been playing a lot of charity shows recently too. How have those panned out?

CR: The one we did for the refugee children turned out fantastic. We didn’t really know what to expect and there wasn’t as much communication as we thought there was gonna be between us and them, and there were some language barriers. We just thought ‘well, we’ll just try and get the word out’. And the whole point was to benefit, not only the children themselves and the actual organization that schools, feeds and houses them, but to try and benefit their music and art program. So what we did is we invited people to come and play the show and we just said, beside the kids and the workers that are gonna be there we have room for fifty or sixty people, so you’re more than welcome to come to the show, but please either bring money to donate or bring an intstrument to donate. I can’t even tell you how many instruments showed up. We had a table, like this massive table, and it was just full of guitars and drums and amps and percussion stuff and everything. We raised a load of money for the organization as well, and it was a beautiful thing. All the kids were anywhere from three years old, up to fifteen years old, and we just passed out all the instruments and we played and we let them play along. It was just utter chaos *laughs*. They were banging on guitars and tambourines, and just loving every minute of it. It was a beautiful thing, and we’re definitely gonna be doing a lot more of that. I think it’s important, man. For any artist in the positions that we’re in to do something more than just show up, play a show, get paid and go to the next. There’s a lot to be done out there. We’re definitely going to be driving to do more of that down the road.

We did the interview in a pub, and a fan of Chuck’s comes over to talk to him…

AB: Do you get that a lot?

CR: No always, no.

AB: Do you like it?

CR: It’s overwhelming sometimes. To be so far away from home.

AB: You seemed to get good reception in here when you walked in.

CR: Good people, man. We were talking about the benefits…I just think, especially in Europe, it kinda clicked with me where we play a lot of these youth rec centers, and at night it turns into this big club. They’ve got shows and a bar and the adults come, and the people drink and whatever. We show up sometimes at twelve, one in the afternoon and they have a kindergarten and families there it’s like a proper youth rec center. Then they turn it over and it turns into the club. So I thought ‘we’re here, why not come during the day and play some shows for the kids’. Get the fans involved, get the families involved and try and benefit these local communities, and then play a show for the big kids in the evening *laughs*.

AB: It’s a nice idea, where did it originally come from?

CR: Man, I don’t know. I don’t know. Ever since we were all kids just growing up in the punk scene we would always do benefit shows, or food drives, or do something to give back to a local community. Over the years we’ve been invited into so many cool communities, it feels right to do something wherever we can to give back to all these communities that have been supporting us over the years. Because if it wasn’t for you folks, we wouldn’t be here to begin with.

AB: Yeah, definitely. We’re about done, but I do have a couple of reader questions. The first one comes from an anonymous email, it says: “You’ve worked with a lot of people on both your solo records and with Hot Water Music – guys like Matt Skiba and Austin Lucas – is there anyone you’d really like to work with again on new records?” I know Austin did a lot of backing vocals on Gold Country, didn’t he?

CR: Yeah, yeah. He came in. He passed by. He was just passing through town and I said “come on in”. There’s so many good friends and amazing artists out there that I highly respect and love that, not only am I a fan of, but I love them as people and as friends. I’m always up for [collaborating]. One of the the coolest things about music to me, is sharing it with the people around you.

AB: I noticed that. You’re records have got that kind of community, ‘everyone’s welcome’ kind of feel about them.

CR: That’s cool. Good.

AB: Jon Snodgrass wanted me to ask: “Do you like kites?” I assume this is some kind of ‘in’ joke.

CR: Kites? I love kites *laughs*. That’s not an in joke.

AB: Awesome. I hope Jon’s happy with himself, making me look like an idiot *laughs* . I don’t know if you remember, but last time we spoke, I had Ian with me. Unfortunately he’s in Spain and he’s gutted he couldn’t make it today. So I’m going to give him a call, if that’s ok? He just wants to ask you something.

CR: Spain’s not a bad place. Is he on holiday there?

AB: Yeah

CR: Well I’m sure he’ll be fine!

Ian Critchley: Hello

AB: You’re on with me and Chuck Ragan, how’s it going?

IC: Hi, how’s it going?

CR: Hey Ian, how’s Spain?

IC: It’s alright. It’s raining.

CR: Well you better keep your pants on, you don’t wanna get cold ***

IC: *laughs* I had a hangover, so I walked up a mountian

CR: *laughs*

IC: I thought it’d help me sweat the alcohol out, but now I’m just hungover and I smell

CR: *laughs*

AB: Ian, you’ve got some results to deliver to Chuck, have you not?

IC: Yeah, a while ago we started a tally – it was just after we interviewed you last time – we had a few beers and started thinking about who would win in a fight, you or Henry Rollins. After that we added a shark in as well, for fun, and we’ve been asking every band we’ve interviewed: ‘Who would win in a fight: You, Henry Rollins or a shark?”.

CR: *laughs* Wow.

AB: You won by a landslide. Everyone seemed to think you’d take them both *laughs*.

IC: The thing is, I asked George [Rebelo] and Jason [Black] and they both said Henry Rollins. So you might want to have words with them.

CR: *laughs* Yeah, I’ll have words with them. Maybe Henry Rollins and I will gang up on both of them, and the shark too.

IC: *laughs* Now that’s something I’d want to watch.

CR: I’ve lost a lot of fights to sharks though.

AB: We got some pretty good reasons from people about why they’d chosen you. A lot of people said about you being a good fisherman stuff like that. All of this factored in. We’ve retired that question now.

IC: Yeah, we’ll have to think of another one now, involving you, and we’ll give you the results next time.

CR: Well, for the record I have no bones to pick with Henry Rollins.

AB: That’s good. I’m glad there’s been no Hot Water Music/Rollins Band gang fights. I’m using Naomi’s phone, so I’m gonna have to let you go man.

IC: Alright. Have a good gig Chuck!

CR: Thanks man, and enjoy your holiday. We’ll see you soon!

AB: That’s about all I’ve got for you Chuck. Thanks for doing this and have a good show tonight.


*** This is a reference to Ian sending Chuck a message on Facebook earlier in the year. In his profile photo, Ian was pantsless and showing his arse to the camera.