Podcast :: Under The Bridge #12: I Saw Chris Wollard In Ken’s Kebabs

“…it’s called, ‘My Bastard Child The Monkey’…and the band’s called Gorillaz” – Ian Critchley

After a few tech issues (there’s always something, isn’t there) Under The Bridge is back. Episode #12: I Saw Chris Wollard In Ken’s Kebabs – a subtitle inspired by an El Morgan Facebook status update from six months ago – is not the only offering we’ll be delivering unto you this festive season. As per usual it’s a show full of debauchery and everything should be taken in good humor and with a pinch of salt. This week we discussed how Rihanna hypnotizes her listeners, the awesomeness of the new Crazy Arm single and we took at look at our nominations for Album of the year.

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #12: I Saw Chris Wollard In Ken’s Kebabs (right click/ctrl + click to download or Subscribe for free on iTunes)


News

  • Sonisphere Lineup News
  • Biffy Clyro Talk X-Factor
  • Frank Turner Playing Intimate London Show
  • Earache Records Merch Shop Now Open
  • Coldplay Making Concept Album
  • Get Free Angels & Airwaves DVD With Macbeth Shoes Purchase
  • Sharks Signed By Rise Records
  • Gorillaz Bassist Hasn’t Had A Stroke
  • Pre-Order New Against Me! 7″
  • Ja Rule Arrested
  • Yo Gotti and OG Boo Dirty Involved In Brawl, Shooting

Main Topic

  • Album Of The Year

Interview :: Jason Black (Hot Water Music)

Jason Black – a man of very few words.

Just before the gig at the lovely Leeds Irish Centre, situated in the middle of fucking no-where, we got to have a wicked cool chin-wag with How Water Music bass player Jason Black. We asked him about touring, Against Me! and, Ian’s new best friend, George Rebelo.


Ian Critchley: First of all, how’s it going?

Jason Black: Good, well.

IC: Is the tour going good so far?

JB: Yeah!

IC: Is it good to be back in the U.K?

JB: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a long time. So we’re happy we could over here, we’ve been trying the last couple of times we came over to the mainland, but it just didn’t happen so it’s nice we could fit it in. For sure.

IC: Is there anything happening with the Draft?

JB: No.

IC: So that’s all done and dusted?

JB: Yeah.

IC: We spoke to George on the Against Me! tour, and he told us to say hi to you.

JB: Cool.

IC: Are you totally pissed off that he sold you guys out for AM?

JB: No, because we’ve all been doing other stuff for longer than he has, so it’s kinda like, you know.

IC: That’s actually one of our other questions, what are you doing at the moment, other than HWM?

JB: Oh, I play in this other band called Senses Fail.

IC: Oh! Do you play is Senses Fail?

JB: Yeah!

IC: Aww, no way, I never knew that! I read an article saying that you and George came up with the original style for HWM?

JB: Err, not really, I think it’s different for every song. It’s a pretty organic process, it just kinda depends on the song really. It could start anywhere or end up end where, it just depends on a whole number of things really. Kinda whoever has a good idea, we just take it and run with it.

Anthony Barlow: Speaking of song writing, how do you write the lyrics? Is it collectively?

JB: Nah, Chris and Chuck just handle that. I mean, they work together on stuff to make sure that it makes sense for both of them but I kinda leave that to them.

AB: Do you consider this a full HWM reunion or are you focussing on other projects more?

JB: Both ya know? I think everyone’s gonna keep doing as much other stuff as possible, but we’re gonna keep doing this too, so as much as we can. It’s complicated to get everyone’s schedules worked out but the more we’re doing, it’s starting to get a bit easier. I think we’re making a little bit of headway in figuring out how to do a few more things in the future hopefully.

IC: Are we going to have a new HWM record soon?

JB: Yeah for sure.

IC: Is there any material so far?

JB: There’s a little bit. Nothing that’s very far a long.

IC: So there’s nothing being played tonight?

JB: Oh no, no, no, no. No way. No way. We just really, in the past couple of months, decided we were going to make that happen and now were just in the stages of trying to figure out how to schedule that with everyone too.

AB: You’re playing the Irish Centre, but you were originally playing a different venue in Leeds, why was the venue changed?

JB: I think for size. We needed a bigger place I guess.

IC: How come there isn’t a Manchester date?

JB: We only had time for, originally three shows, then we added the Portsmouth gig on at the end because we were going back down into Europe.

IC: We spoke to Chuck last time, when he was on the tour with Frank Turner, and he said about a collaboration album with Brain Fallon from the Gaslight Anthem, how come you guys didn’t tour together, seeing as your tour schedules are pretty similar?

JB: We just kinda wanted to do our own shows, because we haven’t been over here yet. I think going out with other bands is something we’ll do more off when we get a new record out. Because right now, we’re not promoting anything new, we just kind of playing shows for the people who want songs.

AB: It just came out of the fact that, Chuck said he wanted to do a tour with Brian to promote their thing and then, when we found out you two were touring.

JB: We saw a couple of guys at the show in London, we’ve run into them a bunch of times so far.

AB: Frank was at the show last night wasn’t he?

JB: Yeah.

AB: Thought so.

IC: Has George officially left?

JB: No, no. He’s still 100% in the band.

IC: Is it the drummer out of Lagwagon whose playing with you?

JB: Yeah. Dave’s playing with us, he has been doing as far as we have it planned now, because Lagwagon doesn’t tour a whole awful lot.

IC: I think the last time they did a U.K tour was about four years ago.

JB: Yeah. I know they’re coming back over in July, but I don’t know if they’re coming up here or not. So he’s in a bunch of bands that don’t tour a ton, so it works out. So far it’s worked out well to where he’ll be able to do what George can’t do for the time.

IC: Is he better than George on drums?

JB: They’re both good. They’re both awesome and they’re both different so it’s been cool to play with a different drummer and I mean he’s definitely doing an awesome job and killing it. Everyone whose seen the show has said it’s totally awesome, no ones said that’s been weird or feels different.

IC: Leatherface (though I actually said Leatherhead like a fucking moron) are kinda like a major influence, is that the main influence for Hot Water Music?

JB: No, I think, we came into even a few years after we started the band. I mean, everyone listens to drastically different stuff. I think the whole kind of deal with our sound is that everyone’s coming from pretty different worlds, as far as our “go to” stuff is to listen to.

AB: A lot of bands say that Hot Water Music are an influence, how does that feel?

JB: It’s cool!

IC: There’s a band from near us that must be about 10, 20 years older than you but are totally influence by you. They’re called the Great St. Louis. Does it now feel weird influencing people older than you?

JB: Yeah, that’s a first I think!

AB: A lot of people say that your version of Radio is better than the Alkaline Trio version?

JB: I don’t know about that. I think their version is pretty good.

IC: Why was Till The Wheels Fall Off released on No idea and not Epitaph?

JB: We’re out of contract with Epitaph and we’d put most of that stuff out on No Idea over the course of the years so it was easier to kinda throw it together.

IC: Who does the artwork for Hot Water Music?

JB: Our friend Scott Sinclairs done all of them.

IC: Even on The New What Next because that’s kind of a different style

JB: Yeah, it’s the same guy though.

IC: Is he a just a friend of yours, is that how it came about?

JB: Yeah, we’ve known him for for a long time and he’s a super killer artist so it’s works out really well.

IC: Finally, we’ve got kind of like, a joke question.

JB: Okay!

IC: We ask everyone.

AB: It kind of ties in with what’s going on actually.

IC: If Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and shark had a fight, who would win?

JB: I think I’m gonna have to go with Rollins on that one.

IC: Really?!

JB: He’s straight edge! He’s definitely got the edge on everyone else.

AB: Is this some kind of Hot Water Music backlash on Chuck? You and George both said Rollins!

IC: This is mutiny!

JB: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s be a nasty fight, but I’m gonna to go with Rollins on that.

AB: You all secretly hate Chuck is what it is.

All: *Laughs*

IC: We’ve got two readers questions as well and then we’re done, a guy called Ralph said, what do you feel about Georges drumming on the new Against Me! record? Do you like it?

JB: I think it works really well with the songs. If he played that for us, I’d kill him! Like dude, spice it up a little bit! But I think that’s the nature of their band. It sounds great and it works really well with the songs and I know he worked really hard on it. I think they made a really good record and I’m stoked for him!

IC: A guy called Dan asks, are you playing any covers tonight?

JB: I don’t know. I haven’t seen the setlist yet, we do a little bit different every night.

IC: Well thank you very much!

JB: Yeah yeah! No problem!



Gig Review :: Hot Water Music – Irish Centre, Leeds – 22/06/10

Here’s one, of time passed…

We thought it would never happen, after break ups and semi-make ups, Hot Water Music have finally touched U.K shores and are blasting the hell out of some, or what seems like, some old mans social club in the middle of fuck knows where known only as, the Irish Centre. Okay, I’ll do a little run down first, because it’s me writing this and it’s never a straight forward day is it?


We started the day, met in Manchester, got the train to Leeds. My heart was broke at one point when a 5 or 6 year old girl on the train turns to her mother and says, “Mummy, I love you.” I’m such a sucker.

In Leeds, we meet up with the fourth member of our usually 2 strong team, Mr Joe Brownridge. So far we have Anthony Barlow, Danny Rayner, Mr. Joe and myself. Being the ultimate arsehole I am, I decide it’ll be a good idea to walk to the Irish Centre, with not an ounce of knowledge of where it is, after an hour or so of walking through Leeds council estates (big fun) we decide to rely on the bullshit technology that is the iPhone.

So we get to the Centre, eventually get an interview with the lovely Jason Black and as we return to the venue Milloy are part way through their set. They play with such intensity I have to take a moment to think back to when I saw a support band play so well, can’t think of any right now. Next up is the Magnificent, who supported the Lawrence Arms on their Leeds venture, the crowd do not seem interested in the bands songs or on stage banter, but I do not think they played bad. At the end of their set, Chuck Ragan joins them for a full band cover of Alkaline Trio’s “Bleeder” which frankly, was the perfect start to what everyone had been waiting for…

Hot Water Music take to the stage and the crowd, frankly, go ape shit. A brief introduction and we’re straight in there. They open with ‘A Flight And A Crash’ (check the title duh!) and the place explodes. Before anyone can take a breath we’re followed by ‘Remedy’, a fan favourite and the last single (to my knowledge) to be released by the boys. The set continues with other well known songs such as ‘Wayfarer’, ‘Giver’ and the song that gave the album ‘Caution’ it’s title ‘I Was On A Mountain’ (such a tune).

The intensity of the band cannot, or has not been matched by any band I have ever seen. Chuck Ragan’s hard rocking antics, Chris Wollard’s borderline cocky crowd smiles and the deep concentration of the face of one of punk rocks best bassists, Jason Black. I’d say it is unfortunate, and I guess it is, but due to joining Against Me! George Rebelo is not on the drum kit tonight, luckily, Lagwagon drummer Dave Raun, who does exceedingly well (Oh Mr. Kipling!), playing songs that he didn’t write.

The set is a brilliant blend of new and old, featuring old classics such as ‘Free Radio Gainesville’, ‘Just Don’t Say You Lost It’ and ‘Alachua’. After and intense non stop perpetual boner of a setlist, the band retire, leaving the crowd anxious and almost riot bent on just a few more songs, and like fuck they’re not gonna give them to us! The band return to stage, and give a shout out to their good friends, a band called “The Bouncing Souls,”  they tear into a rendition of “True Believers” (much to Sarah Hadfields regret as she was not there) which rivals the original in a way that I’m sure shocked a few BS fans.

A couple more songs, Kerrang! favorite, ‘Choked And Seperated’ and finally ‘Turnstyles’ and the best night of my life comes to a close. Well kind of….

We ring a taxi under the pseudonym  Sebastian DeBlanc, and head towards Santiago’s, the best pub in the world. A lot of Against Me!, Nofx and Black Flag and then a lovely train ride home. Fuck yeah!

Interview :: Chuck Ragan

Seriously, this interview doesn’t deserve to be on a music website. We’re off to work for Woodsmith Magazine!

Ian & Chuck

He might be best known for being a part of Hot Water Music, but Chuck Ragan is a man of many talents. He’s bringing his brand of Floridian country music to the UK in support of Frank Turner and, some might say, he’s outdoing the Winchestrian troubadour…just a little.


Ian Critchley: Because of Hot Water Music, I got into a lot of stuff. Charles Bukowski and Mark Twain just to name two. Is there anything, be it music literature or film that you’d like to recommend to the readers?

Chuck Ragan: Well, you named off a lot of categories there *laughs*. Theroux, he’s a brilliant author. That would definitely be a top choice. What else did you ask for? Music? What have I been listening to lately? There’s an incredible band called The Low Anthem, that’s fantastic. They’re from Rhode Island in the States. There’s another band I’ve just been starting to get into that’s pretty brilliant as well. The Devil Makes Three. Man honestly, since my wife and I have been doing the Revival Tour, I feel like the influx of music around our house has just quadrupled, because not only are we getting a lot of submissions from people who want to play it, but it’s kind of just the way the networking has come together it’s been so much easier to just find incredible music out there. It’s just constant around our house, but yeah those two are fantastic for sure.

IC: There’s this tour, then there’s the Hot Water Music tour is there ever gonna be a Rumbleseat tour or is that as the album implies?

CR: Is Dead. Yeah, but right now I’m writing a record with Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem and we’re planning. He may, most likely, do the Revival Tour in the States early in 2011 and our goal is to bring it over here to Europe and to the UK. I hope he could be on it. We’d love to play shows for the record and tour on the record as far as I know, but I don’t know how much or the extend of it all. Gaslight is putting out a new record in June, so they’re gonna be pretty busy.

IC: How did it come about, this new project?

CR: I just called him up and said “Hey, you wanna write some tunes?” *laughs*.

IC: What kind of stuff is it gonna be?

CR: Well, mostly it’s gonna be all acoustic and maybe along the lines of Gold Country, the last record. We’re recording it in the same studio and producing it ourselves. The songs are really relaxed and just a lot of fun. We’ve been sending them back and forth to each other for a little bit. We have ideas for some real good friends, and really talented artists, that we want to bring in and see what kinda sounds we get. Who knows, man? I just couldn’t be more excited about it.

Anthony Barlow: Just to go back for a second, you’re taking the Revival Tour to Australia this year aren’t you?

CR: Yeah, we are. In April. We’re gonna have Frank Turner on that one, Tim Barry from Avail and Ben Nichols from Lucero.

IC: It’s great. I really hope it does come over to the UK, because it’s basically like all my favorite artists in one place.

CR: You wouldn’t believe it too, the show’s so different from probably any show you’ve seen. It’s just non-stop music. It goes for three, three and a half hours, sometimes four hours long. It actually stays interesting all the way through, so it’s a good time.

AB: You’ve been doing a lot of charity work too?

CR: Not enough man, never enough. At the end of this tour I’m doing a Haiti relief benefit

IC: Is that the one with Jonah Matranga?

CR: Yeah, yeah. In Los Angeles, but we’re kind of in the works of trying to do a lot more with the Revival Tour. On the past two Revival Tour’s we’ve done little things like we bought a guitar and had a guitar raffle and all the proceeds went to an organization called Musicares. Years ago, I cut my hand really badly.

IC: Yeah, was it on a wine glass? I remember reading about that somewhere.

CR: Yeah, it was a broken glass. I was at a point where I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to use my hand again, but Musicares was an organization who we found. Man, they just really stepped up to the plate for us and helped out, along with my mother-in-law, with helping make the ends meet whilst I wasn’t able to work. I do two things to make a living, I play music or I do carpentry work and both I need my hands.

IC: That was actually one of our questions, we weren’t actually sure that you were a carpenter. I’d read it before, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve got a quote from you down here. I’m not quite sure whether I just made it up, or dreamt it, but there was something you said that went along the lines of: ‘There’s something amazing about writing a great song and playing it to a crowd, but there’s also something great about crafting a great piece of pine”. Words to that effect.

CR: *laughs* Yeah, I’m definitely not the best carpenter out there at all. I started working with wood when I was a young kid, building skateboard ramps with my brother and over the years, being in a band, it was always tough to hold down any secure job with any company. I’ve always been some kind of independent worker. We’re musicians, we do all kinds of stuff. Working from restaurants, to garbage, all different kinds of construction and I got into construction at a young age and just really kind of got interested in building and carpentry work from there. Once a family took me in when I was going through a tough time. He was just a brilliant, fine wood worker. I lived above their cabinet shop and I helped him build his home. At that point I’d only built a couple of homes before, but helped him build his home. We worked on it for about three years and did it the old school way. Most of the wood we milled ourselves. It was mostly, in those days, a lot of hand drives rather than using pneumatic tools. It’s just a once in a lifetime experience. People don’t build homes like that anymore, because it’s not cost efficient unless you want that look.

IC: It’s a lot more personal isn’t it

CR: Oh yeah, but after meeting him and building that home I got really into just, simple, fine wood working. Doors, windows. Like making custom doors and custom windows and that’s kinda how I made most of my living, doing carpentry work. Wood floors whatever, crown molding…

IC: Surely there’s a big contrast between your carpentry work and playing on stage?

CR: Yeah, but in all honesty, I’ve always had just as much passion and that’s probably what I was getting at with that…whatever I said *laughs*. I’ve always had just as much passion working with wood as I have writing a song, because to me they’re kinda one and the same. Whether I’m building for myself or I’ve been hired on to do a contracted job or whatnot. When you look at a space or whatever and you have to design something. That’s what I love about that kind of work, is doing design build stuff. When I sit down with someone, it’s like “ok, what do you want? How do you want to use it? What kind of material?” and you basically create this idea and then you source materials and then you materialize that idea and then you utilize that idea. To me, that’s the same as sitting down as sitting down with an inspiration for a song and writing a story, kind of mapping it out, coming up with parts and then writing that song, putting it together, going into a studio, putting it on tape, having that record materialized and then holding that and utilizing that, playing it.

IC: Is that why you self-produced Gold Country?

CR: Yeah, a little more fulfilling, but a lot of reason is for years all the sessions I’ve done have had a very strict time frame, budget, everything and it was like ‘go, go, go, go’. There was a lot of stress. It was just kinda chaotic and sometimes that’s good, because it kinda puts a fire under you and you just go right at it and whatever happens, happens. That’s great, but I just wanted to do a record that was more raw, stripped down and just kind of relax more doing it. Having control of the budget and the time frame, I was kind of able to space it out and go into the studio and just truly want to be there every time I was there working on it.

IC: How do you feel the response has been towards it?

CR: Oh, it’s been brilliant. I could never ask for more. Everything I’ve ever done, I feel like I’m just completely blessed to even be sitting here talking with you guys.

AB & IC: *laughs*

IC: That’s a bit…

CR: I mean, I’m just being honest with you. I mean, to have these opportunities. I never dreamed this as a young kid at all. I had no idea. Y’know, I just wanted to learn how to play some chords. Man, to me, I fulfilled everything that I’d ever dreamed a long, long time ago and I just feel like everything that has happened and everything that’s happening is just another blessing along the way and I don’t take it for granted.

IC: Do you feel playing solo is a more personal thing then and the full band thing is more, not fun, but more rowdy, if you know what I mean? A ‘guys in a band’ kind of thing?

CR: Yeah, yeah definitely. I mean, I’ve been bringing along some great musicians with me, doing my solo stuff and, definitely, a lot of the songs a lot more personal. A lot of that just comes from the writing. Not that they weren’t personal in Hot Water Music, it was just the fact that we wrote more all together. We would write individually, but we were also a collective. One person would bring a song in and we would just rip it apart and put it back together, where four of us would agree. There’s a lot of great things about that and then, at the same time, there’s pro’s and cons to both. Playing wise, I love it both. Even the acoustic stuff, it’s high energy, but my acoustic guitars are a lot lighter than old Les Paul’s, easier on the back.

IC: You’ve had your own custom guitar made haven’t you?

CR: Yeah, yeah.

IC: Was that exciting for you?

CR: Yeah *laughs*

IC: Does it make you feel like a true rock star?

CR: *laughs* I don’t know how it made me feel. I opened it up and I was pretty, like, “do I deserve this?”. It made me want to take more guitar lessons, to be honest. Yeah, that was a huge honor, a huge honor. Eastman has been very kind to us and have been very supportive of the Revival Tour. We had them donate the guitars that we raffled off for Musicares and also the Society Of Singers. Yeah, that was pretty insane. The first time I opened that up and saw it, wow.

IC: Well, we’re pretty much out of questions. Thank you

AB: Yeah, thanks a lot.

CR: Thanks so much for making it out.


Thanks a lot to Chuck and everyone who helped make this happen. However, I think there was one obvious question, what with all that carpentry talk, that we think was missing – “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. Then again, Chuck’s a big guy, we wouldn’t want to piss him off, would we.