*** The InbetweenTheScreams 2016 ALBUM OF THE YEAR – THOSE DAMN CROWS – MURDER AND THE MOTIVE ***
I will state this right from the start: you will not hear a better album than Murder and the Motive this year. Wait, let me emphasise that statement. If all is fair and right in the rock music world, Murder and The Motive by Those Damn Crows will be the 2016 Rock album of the year. In fact I will go as far as to say that this is the finest, most complete, honest rock debut album since Appetite for Destruction. Yes, it is THAT good.
From the opening riff of Don’t Give a Damn, the albums frenzied inceptive statement of intent to the fading note of the closing track Tonight Tonight, this album screams in your face that rock is not only alive, it’s mighty pissed off at being ignored and is out to address that. This album isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is, a no-nonsense, straight ahead rock album superbly written by a band that knows what they like, a band that GETS rock and can write songs that clearly demonstrate their love of everything rock, a band that is more than capable of holding their own in the midst of any rock arena, against any other band out there.
This album has it all, from radio-friendly instant hooks such as the current single, Blink of an Eye, with its rousing chorus, through to the high octane, full-on rock classics in the making, such as Red Light, The Fighter, I’ll Be Coming Home and the anthemic Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead, the latter being a song that has festival sing-along written all over it. This album will shake the foundations of what to expect from a debut album in this day and age and doesn’t let you pause for breath for a moment. Every song pulls you instantly in and doesn’t let go of you until it is done with you.
And all this from a band most of you will never have heard of. That will definitely change after this album’s release.
The result is an album that stands defiantly, fist aloft, heart beating strong and quite rightly deserves the InbetweenTheScreams ultimate ROCK accolade, a Jim Marshall pleasing, 11 out of 10 score. A first on here – a review that goes all the way up to 11.
Yes – that’s right.
Those Damn Crows: Murder and The Motive 11/10
Seriously, if you only ever buy one more album, make it this one. You will not regret it!!
And with the album still ringing around the office, InbetweenTheScreams went in search of an interview with Those Damn Crows to find all about the band and found them in great form.
Hey guys, thanks for agreeing to do an interview with InbetweenTheScreams. I have to say, I have been really looking forward to this from about ten seconds into Don’t Give A Damn (the albums brutal opening track). You must be bouncing off the walls waiting for the album to finally be uncaged. I know I have written a lot of words about how much of a totally unexpected experience listening to your debut album has been and hopefully this will be just the start of InbetweenTheScreams chronicling your rampant success on the back of the album but I think it just needs re-iterating: I fucking love the fact that five relatively unknown guys from Wales are on the cusp of delivering an album of such intensity that it has opened my eyes to possibilities and simultaneously sharpened my view on what is currently being delivered and I cannot wait to see and hear the reaction to the album. I just hope it gets every bit of acclaim it deserves because it truly is a special album.
I’m not having a go at any band in particular but the music industry is killing itself slowly by suffocating its outlets with bands that are years away from being ready, that are over-hyped and overplayed on the airwaves and if brutally honest do not deserve the exposure. Your debut album is like a defiant statement of fact – WHO SAID ROCK n ROLL IS DEAD?!!! It’s my new mantra and I think it will be a philosophy adopted by a lot of people on hearing Murder and the Motive. It’s an album that is deceptively multi-layered. I love the whole first-listen intensity, its no-nonsense, straight-ahead ROCK stance but listen again and I think it’s an incredibly cleverly written album. Peel away the sublime layers and there’s some mightily impressive work going on in all departments, which I will come to later, but I think that it is fair to say that this album is made all the more forceful by the presence of Shane and THAT VOICE! Man, now there is man with a voice that deserves to go down in rock history as being up there with the very best this planet has seen.
InbetweenTheScreams (ITS): The album has such a confident feel to it, almost like you guys have been together for decades. It feels so natural and unforced with a technical musical competence and understanding of how to write a real rock song that you definitely wouldn’t expect from a debut album. Tell us about what each of you bring to the band from your musical past, for those new to the Those Damn Crows world. What’s your musical history, how and when did you first get into bands and what eventually brought you to TDC?
Shane: Thank you Gary……At the time, there’s no question we were going into the studio excited and extremely confident about the record…not only because of the people we had on board recording us, the studio itself etc, but above all, we were confident that the songs were very strong individually, which in turn made the album (as a collective) one that had literally a bit of everything on there, in our eyes..making it an extremely versatile, and extremely strong album! There are big chorus’s, there are big riffs, there’s balls out rock n roll and there’s commercial hit potential radio friendly tunes on the record too. We knew this before we’d even arrived at Rockfield.
What’s really interesting about the band is that we all love the same bands, across the board…. all LOVE Rock music, but each of us have a slightly different take on it, genres that make our take on rock music a real mix. Grunge was huge when we were kids.
Shiner loves the grunge, punk, era! You can see it in his playing when he really gives Lucille a really good hiding!! ha! He’s heavy handed, he hits the strings harder than Ronnie hits the snare at times…well nearly.
Loyd’s the youngest in the band but loves rock from the likes of Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, etc you can see it when he plays live… he puts on a show, he has a ‘front man’ persona that plays bass!
Dave has the bluesy rock riffs in abundance, he loves the classic side of rock but like myself, Shiner and Ronnie grew up listening to grunge etc
Ronnie, the loudest drummer in the world, again…has a very wide range of music…but loves Classic Rock from the likes of Motorhead, Black Sabbath, AC/DC etc, but also loves the Southern style of Rock with the likes of Black Stone Cherry. He’s also a Massive Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl fan….who isn’t!
As for me… I come from a background where from a very young age ‘old school’ Country and the story tellers of music, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen etc where played around the house, as my father used to sing/play guitar constantly… In my teens Nirvana, Green day, Early Foo Fighters were HUGE influential bands growing up.
Myself and Ronnie have known each other since the age of five or six? We went to the same schools all our lives and played music together as early as I can remember. It was when we hit Comprehensive school that we met Shiner and formed a band… When we were kids, we travelled to London many a time taking coaches of family/friends, anyone who wanted to come along.
There was a long period were I didn’t see the boys as the band split when we were around eighteen or nineteen and our musical journey/lives took us on different paths…temporarily.
Ronnie and Shiner formed a female fronted band and spent many years touring across the country with ‘Miss Conduct’.
When that came to an end Ronnie and Shiner started writing demos and they got Lloyd in to record some bass for them as their path’s crossed when Lloyd wanted a tattoo and called into Ronnie’s Tattoo studio and got talking.
At this time I had been writing my own music and had signed a small publishing deal, writing at my home studio etc. I hadn’t seen Ronnie or Shiner for years but in a space of a few weeks I kept bumping into Ronnie in our home town, Bridgend. We talked about music and what we were doing etc, I needed drums on a track I was doing and asked if he could lay them down for me? He said of course, he said he was writing too, and that I could return the favour by singing on his demos when he needs them. There was no talk of becoming a band etc, it was totally just from a songwriting/ demo perspective to build up a song library.
A week later Ronnie put some drums down on my track, then I asked, ‘lets hear what you guys are working on’… they showed me a demo, one in particular stood out….which would later become ‘Blink Of An Eye’, (Ed: the second single to be taken from Murder and The Motive and another with a stunning video by Dark Fable Media).
Let’s take a look.
Shane continues: I said let me have a crack at putting some vocals down on it. They said yes, then they sent two more demos… Ronnie gave me freedom and said do whatever you want with it, lets see where you can take it …so put my stamp on it, lyrics, melody, vocals etc. I had been out of the ‘rock band’ scene for a long time, so wasn’t sure if it was what the boys were looking for but a phone call from Ronnie a few days later after showing ‘Ginge’ the demo, confirmed that they wanted me on board and that we were gonna give the rollercoaster high’s and lows of ‘Band life’ another shot! Myself, Ronnie, Shiner and Lloyd were now a four piece rock band but with no name!
Dave came on board a year later, as we found we needed a bigger punch when playing live. It wasn’t about finding someone/something that was missing, that the band didn’t have already but more of an adding/bringing something extra, a bigger Live sound to the band and Dave was just that!
Ronnie adds: Growing up I was surrounded by music , my dad was a session drummer so Musicals , Pantomimes and Jazz sessions was most of my childhood . From a young age watching Queen on TV got me air drumming but its when an old friend showed me a band called Greenday, the album was Dookie , and as soon as F.O.D on my Walkman had finished I built a drum kit out of pillows and started learning ‘Burnout’. Moose (BFMV Drummer and Shiner’s brother) was a guitarist back then in school and invited me up for a jam with his band. The grunge scene was huge in Wales at this point, it was my first band, it was exciting and I was hooked! Sadly my Dad didn’t approve of the music or to follow in his footsteps behind a kit and he regretfully made life difficult for an aspiring 13/14year old Rocker. I still jammed in school; myself and Shane used to spend hours in the music room. I started college at 16, Shane and Shiner approached me to start a band and this led to us playing up London thanks to Phil Jones, who was our teacher (Front man of S.E.X). This was yet another large step in the right direction, playing Covent Garden and Camden, learning more about the industry. Many years later and sadly a few bands too, myself and Shiner were still together and finally found some success with a band called Miss Conduct, signing to Visible Noise back in 2007. TDC to me is over 10 years of being strayed off and on the path of Happiness. Anyone can easily get caught up being so hungry for success, forgetting what makes you tick and losing your value as a musician and band member. It’s so important to enjoy what your doing in life! That to me is the true meaning of making it.
ITS: From the outside and watching the documentary on the making of the album, it almost seems like a band mentality that is the sum of past experiences and maybe a determination to productively use the past disappointments, a band maybe that has taken the best lessons on what hasn’t worked in the past and built the foundations of something that is so positive it is unshakeable?
Ronnie: We are all a little older, wiser and we surround ourselves with the right people. With all that said I’m sure we will still make mistakes along the way. That’s life!
ITS: I think there’s a justifiable heightened expectation with a bands debut album in that you have had your whole musical past to hone the songs prior to recording and some may have been kicking around for a long, long time in one form or another but you can still usually tell a band is still trying to find its feet and perhaps more relevantly, even its direction. Sometimes debut albums can be a sum of many musical phases the whole writing process has gone through over the period of writing and as a result a lot of debut albums leave the listener unclear of what type of band it really is. This album is in my opinion possibly the most complete, most confident and most obvious pure rock debut album since GnR’s Appetite for Destruction. Has it been an organic process ‘becoming’ TDC as a band or did Ronnie and Shiner come to the table with a definite idea of what they wanted, with a sound, a roadmap?
Shane: When three out of the four of you in the band went to the same school, grew up together, kick a football around, get pissed, live and breath music together, it’s amazing how you take that for granted…I know I did. I know when I went off and did my own thing I was always thinking back to how much potential we had, ‘if only we had stuck together, imagine where we’d be now’ etc. Sometimes you’ve got to go astray to realise just how good you had it. It took longer than we thought but thankfully we found our way back to this point and in the many years apart, the lessons you learn whilst being in a band aren’t about music, funny enough but are more about the compatibility and friendship more than anything else. Add to that a bass player who’s as mad as a hatter, a second guitarist who’s sense of humour is like no other I’ve ever come across and you have a pretty awesome and never a dull moment five piece rock band! It’s amazing to think that we’ve come full circle to realise that the best band we’ve ever been in was right on our doorstep!
Ronnie: Myself and Shiner were always honest from the start explaining what had made us unhappy through our past experiences. Instantly everyone was on the same page sharing opinions and similar stories, was nice to see everyone becoming transparent, we communicate a lot which is important and everyone is equal, how it should be. Shane and Lloyd came into the fold with ease, not trying to steer away from what was created but to add and move it forward together.
Shiner: Yeah me and Ronnie have 20 years together or something like that. But over that time Shane and Lloyd have been involved. Through different bands along the way. So it wasn’t hard at all as we have a history together musically and they have and always will be my mates. As for Dave he just fitted in like he has always belonged. So I’m excited of whats next for the Crows along the road of rock n roll.
ITS: Were all of the demos written before Shane, Lloyd and David joined or has it been a collaborative band experience writing the album? How much have those initially ideas been shaped into what we hear today once TDC became a true band?
Shane: The age old question that destroys bands across the globe; who did what? who wrote what? who gets the bigger cut? Haha! We’re not in to that…Truth is this…. it would be very easy for me to sit here and tell you what I did on the album, what Ronnie did or anybody else did for that matter…There were songs started from scratch, as a four piece, there were demo’s that Ronnie and Shiner did that needed little work, there were demo’s that needed a whole lot more. There were demo’s that needed changes, demo’s that had some lyrics, demos that had none, with no melody line at all…The truth is, they were demo’s, a platform yes, but not TDC songs. The songs you hear today would not be the same if you took one Crow out of the line up. They became songs, more importantly TDC Songs, when the four of us collectively brought our ideas/strengths/talent to our studios and rehearsal room.
Shane continues: We’re already well on the way into writing our second album and Dave has made a great impact with bringing ideas and riffs to the table, as we all remain to do. This band has so many layers. Just because Ronnie plays drums doesn’t mean he can’t write a song from scratch, he can. Just because you only see me singing doesn’t mean I can’t play an instrument, I play many. Just cause Lloyd plays bass doesn’t mean he can’t write a kick ass guitar riff… he can..he did, it’s on the album.…It’s more important what we do collectively than what we do individually. That’s why I believe the future and potential for TDC is BIG!
ITS: Let’s talk about the recording of the album itself and obviously you can’t ignore the significance of the studio itself! Rockfield Studio, the worlds first residential recording studio and studio of choice at some juncture for some of the biggest names in rock, from Sabbath to Queen, Rush to Motorhead amongst a veritable who’s who of rock and obviously it is a mecca for Welsh bands, nestling in some typically stunning Welsh countryside. How did Rockfield come about? Was it always your intentions to record there? Obviously there’s family history with Moose and the Bullet For My Valentine recordings there. Is that where the knowledge and exposure to Rockfield came from or have any of you recorded there before?
Shane: It was the first time any of us had recorded there. It was Ginge and Padge (BFMV guitarist) that suggested Rockfield at the time…. so glad they did! Just to say that we have recorded there with the likes of Queen, Sabbath.. I mean the list is ridiculous!! It was just incredible, the feeling and buzz we all had around the place was just something else! While we were there the boys from Royal Blood were there with their producer (Tim Dalgety) finishing their album. We all know how HUGE that album became! We’d see record producer Nick Brine who worked on the Oasis albums, every day. He’d stop by to have a chat, ask us ‘how’s it going’ etc. Kingsley, the owner would stop by to tell us stories of Ozzy and Sabbath. Jamming till the early hours of the morning etc… I mean it was just an experience we all know, we will never forget.
(ITS: Nick Brine was a tea boy at 16 in Rockfield and has returned to his Welsh homeland to help up n coming bands.)
ITS: You started recording almost two years ago to the day. How much time did you actually spend in Rockfield. The album is self-funded, yes? How close an eye were you spending on the budget?
Shane: Not long enough!!! Haha! We would’ve stayed longer if we could’ve just for the hell of it! Ronnie did the drums in five days but literally could’ve done in two, he was flying! But we took our time and really soaked up the experience, whiskey!! Haha! The second session at Rockfield lasted four days, where I laid down the vocals.We then decided to put two brand new tracks on the album, as we had recently written these two bad boys….’The Fighter’ and ‘Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead!’ and thought they needed to be on the album, so in we went to recorded them with Romesh at Longwave Studios, Cardiff. Romesh was great! (ITS: Romesh Dodangoda is a highly sought after Rock/Metal producer/mixer who has worked with the likes of Motorhead, BMTH, Funeral For A friend, BFMV, Bury Tomorrow)
Shane: The album is self funded and has cost us the same amount as a small villa in the south of France! Ha! We were keeping an eye on the cost but it was more important to us all that we get it right and to get it as close to as we wanted it at the time.
ITS: So what was the highlight of recording for each of you?
Ronnie: I think I speak for us all ….staying at Rockfield, being at both studios and listening to all the stories.
ITS: Anything you look back on and wish you had done differently in there, anything you hear and think – damn?
Shane: Yip!! But that’s just because we’re all perfectionists and we’ve improved and evolved as a band but that’s what albums are… a recording of time and at that time, in that moment, that’s who we were… I think most bands will look back at their work and say we could’ve done this or that to make it better!
Ronnie agrees: I think most bands do the same
ITS: After such a high of a recording experience, the low you feel when the euphoria of putting it all down has subdued a little is hard to get over. How was it, coming back to normality while you handed over your baby to others for them to produce the finished product? How long did you have to wait to get that first listen and what were you initial thoughts?
Shane: It was a bit of a strange one yes! It wasn’t long though a few weeks i think, Romesh did a great job mixing it, but we did go down as a band and sit in on the mixing/producing side of it too, as we needed to tweek a few things. Not just a band that perform see….We have good ears too!
ITS: You MUST have realised you had produced something pretty special though? It grabs you by the throat and screams in your face, FUCKING LISTEN TO US, WE ARE THE REAL FUCKING THING from the outset. What has reaction been like so far?
Shane: Well…People have been so supportive of the tracks that they’ve heard so far..the two singles ‘Fear of The Broken’ and ‘Blink Of An Eye’. I just want everyone to hear the album in it’s entirety because i think it ticks a few boxes across the board really. It’s been a long time coming for us….that’s for sure!
ITS: So here you are, two years on and a matter of days away from the album release; you must look back at the whole experience and think that whatever it took to get to this point, whatever cost emotionally, financially and any toll it has taken on sanity has been well and truly worth it from the first second you hear Murder and the Motive explode into life.?
Shane: Yeah! I think we’re pretty happy with the outcome. When you spend that amount of time and effort into something and hearing those songs over and over again for months and months you’ve almost got to have a break and come back to it with fresh ears to fully appreciate what you’ve captured, recording wise. There was definitely a big deep breath with a huge exhale and a ‘Glad that’s done’ sense of feeling too! It’s down to the public if they like it or not…but we can be proud of what we’ve achieved, experienced and created!
ITS: Favourite song on the album for each of you and why? For me it’s I’ll Be Coming Home. From 1.51 in it kicks up a gear from an intense headrush of a rock song into a snarling monster. Those stops!! And then you get that sublime rush from 2.16 of Lloyd’s pacing bass line and Ronnie’s pounding beat and a lush layer of twin overdriven guitar and it’s the stunning foil for an epic lyric sung with a totally honest vocal delivery from someone who deserves the spotlight as one of the finest rock vocalists out there. Perfect!!
Shane: Tough to single out one, I can’t…Ha!. It would be a toss up between ‘Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead’ or ’Someone Someday’ as i really enjoy singing these 2 in particular.
Ronnie: I honestly can’t pick a favourite, I enjoy playing everything we create. ‘I’ll Be Coming Home’ is special to me as it was one of the first songs myself and Shiner wrote on our own, it was the first time I had the chance to write lyrics and lay down melody’s for a demo. I sent it to Lloyd who instantly fell in love with the vision, eventually leaving his band to become part of what we were looking to build on. We all felt this was the direction of TDC even then. There was one part in the song i was never happy with, when Shane came on board he rang me and said he had been having a play around with melody and changed the flow of the verse. Instantly I felt he was on point!!!. The way he sang ‘Run before the damage is done’ hit all the right spots and got me ringing Shiner, then my wife, whilst running through Bridgend with excitement.
Shiner: ‘Red Light’ because it’s full of riffs and has that kick ass chorus!
Lloyd: Purely because it’s fun to play and I love the chorus with the repeated lyric, I’ll have to say ‘I’ll be coming home’
Dave: For me it’s ‘One Of These Nights’ because of it’s simplicity which reminds me of an old grunge classic with a soaring chorus!
And now time to get the musician geek on with Those Damn Crows….
ITS: To all…Main musical influences…
Shane: The Beatles, Nirvana, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Johnny Cash, Queen, Pearl Jam, Muse
Ronnie: Nirvana, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Iron Maiden, 3 Colours Red.
Shiner: Nirvana, Sex Pistols,
Lloyd: Aerosmith, G&R, Bon Jovi, Motely Crue
Dave: I’ve grown up being lucky enough to be surrounded my all kinds of music. I don’t necessarily have favourite bands because I listen to so much, but I do tend to ‘binge’ on certain bands or artists for lengths of time. I think I am really a “song” man. If someone can write a good song then they are for me. I stared playing an instrument more because of the people I was surrounded by than the music I was listening to.
ITS: What song that first got you into rock?
Shane: Nirvana – Something In The Way, even though its not a rock song. It was the first time i heard a rock star singing in that way
Ronnie: Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
Shiner: Iron Maiden – Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter
Lloyd: Aerosmith – Walk This Way
Dave: Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
ITS: And what song that first got you into the instrument you play?
Shane: Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
Ronnie: Greenday – Burnout
Shiner: Nirvana – Come As You Are
Lloyd: Bon Jovi – Keep The Faith
Dave: The Beatles – Help
ITS: Come on,we all have them.What’s your guilty music secret?
Shane: Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson.. Funky bass…
Ronnie: I’m likely to clear the dance floors after a few shandy’s to anything 80’s and Disco.
Shiner: Pink and Country Music
Lloyd: Beautiful South
Dave: Avril Lavigne (All about that) wink wink, and 90’s Dance Music.
AHEM…………..And now quickly distancing ourselves from that…..
Nope I think we still need a bit more.
ok I think we lost it!
ITS: You don’t create such a stunning musically monstrous album without being a craftsman with an appreciation of the finer things in rock so, with that in mind…. Shiner, Lucille (ITS:the BB King ES335 based Gibson that Shiner punishes as weapon of choice) … she’s a beauty. I love the depth that a semi gives (ITS- alright at the back, calm down… it’s a guitarist thing!!) Treat her right and she’s purring….wind her up and you can really make her scream.
Shiner: Cheers dude she’s a great guitar. Yeah the depth is great, it has no f-holes, which in my opinion helps and I don’t get that uncontrollable feedback when using high gain amps. The only original parts left on it are the neck and body. It’s had a new bridge, new machine heads, new wiring and a Zack Wylde set of EMG picks up; 81 in the bridge and 85 at the neck. I changed them just to get more bite and attack from the guitar. The original Gibson picks ups sounded great too, which I still have!.. They’ll have a new home in another guitar soon.
ITS: Best guitar you have ever owned? Is she the mainstay?
Shiner: Well I like all of my guitars so it’s hard to pick a favorite. They all sound a little different from each other, but for the Crows tone it’s the Gibson Lucille. So yeah she here to stay or until I cant play her no more as she weighs a ton! hahaha!
ITS: What else is lurking off stage waiting for a chance to shine?
Shiner: In my rack of back ups lives a red Gibson Les Paul jr, which is small compared to Lucille. I also have a black Gibson SG which I’ve had for 16 years or so… my tribute to Angus Young.
ITS: You are a Marshall man, right? JCM800/900’s or have you started modelling, so to speak?
Shiner: I still own a Marshall jcm 2000 which I used for years and still sounds great! My first ever amp was a Marshall jcm 900 which I sold…god knows why! At the moment I am using a Mesa Boogie Dual Rec multi watt with Marshall 1960a cabs. I love them cabs but I do also love the Mesa oversized cabs which sound amazing with the Marshall head. Mmmmm modelling, well I used a Kemper to record the demos for this album witch was great for my little studio BUT… for live and recording the album,…NO WAY! In my opinion a valve amp mic’d up will destroy a modelling profiler every time. Rock n roll should be made using gear that has always made great rock songs and we have the evidence to show this but modeling does a job for some just not me.
ITS: Anything you tried out in the studio that is on the shopping list?
Shiner: My shopping list…..maybe a Gibson Les Paul Standard at some point or an ESP Eclipse 2. My Lucille has and always will be my studio guitar too.
ITS: Tell us about working with Padge – presumably you guys know each other well. How much did he push you?
Shiner: Yeah I’ve known Padge since we was kids growing up in the same little valley. Working with him was great, no stress, it was just ‘shall we try this’ and if it didn’t work it didn’t stay.. It was all about what’s best for the song. As I say in the docrowmentry, with all his knowledge and experience at recording it was a no brainer when I had the offer to work with him. He pushed me, the days I needed pushing but for the majority he just let me play! I’m sure if you ask most guitarists what they would want, it’ll be…“ just let me play man “ ha!
ITS: You have a great tone and there’s some monumental riffs in there that only come from someone who has a wide point of reference for influences and appreciation. Is that a Pistols inspired riff in Blink of An Eye out of the bridge?
Shiner: Cheers again dude, yeah when it comes to the tone of my guitar.. I just want it to sound like me and hopefully I do. I can’t tell you how I get it cause then id have to kill you hahaha. But it’s very simple really; three pedals, an amp, a guitar and a pair of ears. Less is more… honest! ha! Riffs are where its at for me. I do have to restrain myself at times, as I said before it’s about the song. Thanks again for the kind words about the riffs it means the world. I do have a wide range of musical references I just love good music from any genres but there is music out there I don’t have anytime for but that’s a whole other question. When you listen to music it should make you feel something from a riff to a beat to a vocal line. What would the world be without music? A sad, sad place I think! I love the Sex Pistols – one of the best albums ever made. Funny you should say that about coming out of the bridge in Blink as the night before I was watching the Pistols live at Brixton on TV, so yeah no doubt it was in my back of my head somewhere. Never a bad point for reference. If in doubt “Pistols” it out!…yeah! Ha! (ITS – best quote ever, right there!)
Shiner: Lastly from me thank you for your kind words about Those Damn Crows.
ITS: Thanks for restoring my faith in Rock!! Roll on album number two and more mental riffs!!
ITS: Ronnie, I think it takes a very, very good drummer to sit behind a stripped down kit and pull together such brutal foundations of the bands sound without being shown lacking. You do it with such an ease that I think a lot of drummers could learn a lot from it. You make what you are doing look simple when there is such a lot of complexity in there but man there some real Bonhamesque power in that delivery. Working with Ginge on the album I think was inspired. He obviously is a drummers dream but how much did he push you to deliver what you are obviously capable of delivering? I absolutely love the fact that he has such an ear for what you are playing that he has pulled every stroke into the sweet spot in the mix but not at the detriment of any other element. ‘The Fighter’ to me is the epitome of why getting in someone who knows their craft to record a powerful rock drummer is important but even more so with someone who only plays with four drums. The cymbal work is sublime, sections where he has pulled out some quick piece of work on a cymbal that then gets folded into the rhythm. That’s what contributes to making this album special.
Ronnie: Thank you! I’m a strong believer that less is more. My main influences are Bonham, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Roger Taylor and of course Stuart Copeland. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the best drummer in the world, although I’ve been told by many I could be a contender for the loudest. My approach is very old-school and not theory based. I love listening or writing melodies and rhythms, seeing how the drums can compliment rather than compete. I’ve known Ginge for years so he knows how to push me and get the best results plus we are on the same page knowing the song is the most important end result, having someone so technical and with decades of experience at hand can be a blessing. ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Rock And Roll Aint Dead’ was a new challenge for me, we ended up adding these tracks to the album and working with Romesh Dodangoda at Longwave Studios, was my first time working with Romesh, even though I had met him several times in the past. I did enjoy the fresh approach, he seemed to channel in and highlight simple subtleties while recording these tracks.
ITS: Lloyd, there’s such a strong rhythm section in this band and there’s some phenomenal bass runs on this album. Do you and Ronnie inspire each
other to pull out the stops or are you each fighting for dominance and that is what fuels the incredible bassist/drummer attack? Are you trying to
outdrive each other?
Lloyd: Firstly thank you for complimenting myself on my playing and effort on this album. Right, lets get down to business. There will always seem to be a fine line between dominance and inspiration between a bass player and a drummer. In my eyes the answer is simple. In a loud, aggressive rock band the bass player is always inspired by the beats that get laid out in front of him. It is full of dominance but not in the way that we battle each other, but in the way that we become one and locked into each other.
ITS: What’s your top three bass lines from your peers?
Lloyd: If I was to choose my top three signature bass lines of all time then in my eyes we would have to kick this off with Aerosmiths , Sweet Emotion (Ed- YES!!!) . Secondly I’ve always been a big Duff Mckagen fan and his performance on “Its So Easy” was just great and finally “Dancing in the Moonlight” by the mighty Thin Lizzy! That Bass line is outstanding! (Ed- Again…YES!!!)
ITS: David, David, David – owner of THE rock god holy grail – the white Les Paul Custom; deliverer of evil that is the balls-out, no-nonsense, in your face rock guitar. Tell us, how young were you when you were possessed by the demon that is the realisation that only one guitar could ever really be THE ONE and what six-string pretenders have fallen by the wayside in your journey to your spiritual six-string home?
David: I actually didn’t start out as a guitarist, the first ten years of my career were as a bass player. When I transitioned I religiously used Moded Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters for many years until I saw Billy Duffy (guitarist of The Cult) playing a white Gibson Les Paul Custom, which not only looked the part but sounded insanely beautiful. A turn of events in my life, namely being left by a girlfriend of seven years, presented me with an opportunity….. a fistful of spare cash!! which was initially being kept aside for ‘marriage type things’. Obviously the next logical step in my life was to purchase two Gibson Les Paul guitars. One being the white custom that you asked me about, the other being a black traditional which I recently sold to a dealer in Barcelona (whom I visited last summer).
ITS: If you could have written one solo from guitar history, what would it be and why?
David: The guitar solo I wish I had written would have to be David Gilmour’s solo at the end of Pink Floyd’s track ‘Comfortably Numb’. The reason being is that a lot of guitarists think you have to play fast and use a lot of notes to give you the best solos, but I disagree. I think you can say more with less notes and more phrasing and feel and this track is a perfect example of this. It sends the hairs up on the back of my neck.
ITS: Shane, I think there is one question that a lot of people will want to know the answer to: Where the fuck has Shane Greenhall been hiding all this time? You have a serious talent my friend. Singing is obviously in the Welsh genes generally (my formative childhood has a soundtrack provided by the Rhos Male Voice Choir). Were you brought up singing or was it a discovery later in life? If you could have written one song in history purely for it’s music not for it’s revenue, what would have been? Who came up with the anthemic ‘Who said rock n roll is dead?’ line? That has some serious implications in terms of the whole album in the current state of the music industry that on the back of this album could turn out to be prophetic.
Shane: Ah, that’s very nice of you to say so Gary! I guess I owe a lot to my father who, whether I wanted to hear it or not, was always playing his guitar and singing on top of his voice! Now he had a great voice! See…… talking about myself in this way doesn’t really come natural haha!, but from a very young age I always had a knack when it came to music! I would hear a song and immediately be able to play it, don’t know how as I had no lessons but I obviously grasped pitch very early on. There’s cassette tapes somewhere of me and my father singing on them when I was three or four years old, but It was when I started playing songs by ear on my grandfathers old two-tier keyboarded organ that my family started to realise that I had a real passion and talent for Music. My family would make a game of it to try and catch me out, they would pluck songs out of the air..play this, play that.. and as long as I had heard of the song I could play the song. I would play guitar and sing along with my dad daily, singing all those Country songs by Legends like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Don Williams. They were my foundations musically and as I grew older, I then explored all types of music but guitar based bands like…
The Beatles, Oasis, Nirvana, Greenday, Foo Fighters, really inspired me, made me realise that music is a huge part of who i am, and for me, making music was like nothing else.
ITS: I think there’s a difference between a good singer and a great one. A great one emotes every word, tells a story with such a believable intensity you are truly sold that it is their experience. I think you have that in abundance, Shane. But on top of that you write lyrics that are intelligent, articulate and completely absorbing. Are you a student of lyrics? If so what’s the best lyric you have heard and what’s the one you are most proud of?
Shane: Early on…when I would write songs, the music/melody/feel of a song always came first, then the lyrics would describe that feeling but it was always harder to write lyrics than write/compose the music… that for me was the easy bit! So I definitely, over the years have had to work on the lyrical side of songwriting.
ITS: Who came up with the anthemic ‘Who said rock n roll is dead?’ line? That has some serious implications in terms of the whole album in the current state of the music industry that on the back of this album could turn out to be prophetic.
Shane: When it came to writing for the album, the songs I penned have certain subject matter.. the idea for ’Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead’ for example came about when I had a job which consisted of driving around all day, extremely boring and the radio was all I had to pass the time away, but listening to the ‘popular’ pre-set radio stations on the car stereo, very little played rock music, new rock music!! Also… the music industry today is not as it once was,..technology has made music so accessible but also unprofitable, so even if your music is playing on a radio station doesn’t mean you’re filthy rich and that you’ve made it!! So that’s where the lyrics and concept for ‘RARAD’ came from.
ITS:Does the writing come easy or something that keeps you up at night?
Shane: Writing and creating is a very therapeutic but exhausting process, well it is for me anyway, it is like a drug… I need it, can’t be without it but when I do it…. it literally consumes me and all my energy, But for me personally there is NO better feeling of accomplishment.
ITS: Are you a student of lyrics? If so what’s the best lyric you have heard and what’s the one you are most proud of?
Shane: One of my favourite songs ever is a song called ‘Hurt’ written by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). The lyrics are brilliant and made even more poignant by the performance of Johnny Cash days before he died. ‘I hurt myself today, to see if i still feel……You can have it all, my empire of dirt, I will let you down, I will make you Hurt’ Extremely powerful lyrics, of a man’s honest last look at himself.
ITS: And any last words for the rock fans about to possibly hear TDC for the first time?
Shane: For everyone who buys or has bought or downloaded the album we can’t thank you enough for your support, we hope you enjoy listening to the album just as much as we enjoyed making it! We hope to see you at a TDC show near you…. Soon!!
ITS: I would just like to say a huge thanks to the band for being so openly engaging and for being so infectiously passionate about everything they do. There’s no airs or graces, just total strength in their commitment to Those Damn Crows and getting their music out there to you, the listener, the gig-goer, the people who respond to music that is real.
This band are going to rip your world apart!!
ROCK N ROLL AIN’T DEAD!
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Of all the articles I have written over the years, across all interests, from writing and editing the magazine, the blogs, websites; this piece is wholeheartedly and unashamedly the work I feel most connected to. This, this is what ROCK is all about – this band could very well save rock from itself and it feels like a call to arms for me, a last chance to get behind the most stunningly crafted response to a genre lost in a mire of its own making.
Join me. Promote this band as if you were the sixth member, as if the future depended on it, because when it comes down to it, if this album, if this band does not get the recognition it so obviously deserves then there is no real hope. This band are that hope!!
WHO SAID ROCK N ROLL IS DEAD?
Not THOSE DAMN CROWS
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