Think of a metal band that consists of getting drunk, shagging wenches and slaying sea monsters. Not easy, hey? The Scottish pirate metal band, ALESTORM, came to Brighton on their ‘Useless Drunken Bastards Tour’ with one aim in mind: TO CELEBRATE THE LOVE OF SWASHBUCKLERS! Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet and ask some questions to the wacky musical members, before they performed in all their glory. I was sitting comfortably with the stage being set up, the DJ playing some tunes before the crowd descended and the voice of Chris Bowes [vocalist] shouting ‘DUDE, TURN OFF THE MUSIC, CHEERS’, as he pranced towards me. This being my first interview, I was quite apprehensive as to what I was going to say and how I was not going to let myself ramble on like I usually do. With a racing heart, clammy hands, shaky disposition and a surge of adrenalin rushing to my head, I believe I was ready to proceed. My photographer was ready with our camera, I was prepared with the questions and the band were sitting beside me waiting to be reviewed. Chris Bowes and Dani Evans [longest servers of ALESTORM], appeared tired but relaxed after their journeys throughout the country.
I began by asking a rather unusual question, that being: “what did you have for breakfast this morning?” Gareth Murdoch (the bassist) began with: “We didn’t have much for breakfast this morning, although some breakfast pastries would’ve been nice.” Dani Evans (lead guitarist) then jumped in saying: “Ice cream, profiteroles and muffins!” I have to say, I was laughing my head off inside while they continued their witty banter. Then Gareth said: “We’re doing it all wrong aren’t we…” The band agreed and laughed, replying “yes we are!” Gareth then added, “Actually, the first meal I had was…” -and both Peter and Gareth said in unison- “Steak and chips.” ”From Wetherspoons” Gareth added. At which point Gareth then announces some exciting news to the rest of the band: “When you were all asleep and we were at the coach park just outside the tent, me and Sylvia bought some pancakes, had them for breakfast and there’s still some left on the bus for tomorrow morning.” At which point the other band members gave an excited “Ooooooh!” Funny how the smallest things when you’re travelling can be so stimulating, hehe. Then Gareth finished with: “So yeah, that was the best breakfast I’ve had for a while.” Chris said solemnly: “My breakfast consists of chicken spicy noodles” But after a few seconds Chris suddenly remembered something else and added, “Actually, before I got off the bus this morning I did have a sneaky piece of brie!” Dani finished with: “I got up this morning and hoped to get a toasty, but some greedy shit had eaten all the bread!”
I was trying to hold back my laughter, they were so amusing to listen to but I finally managed to steer the conversation away from breakfast eventually and then looked to Chris and enquired: “So you grew up in Perth?” Chris replied non-specifically and then explained the bands history a little. “Yes, I kind’ve did. The original formation of the band Battleheart (the name before Alestorm) started in Perth and over time we lost and regained members, some of those being from other parts of Scotland.” At which point Peter Alcorn (the drummer) said “I’ve never been to Perth, so there you go.” I squeezed in a small question by asking “So who are the original members of Battleheart in this room?” Chris pointed at Dani and stated “Yes, that would be us”
I asked my next question: “So what made you interested in becoming a pirate band? Was it a childhood passion, or an impulsive decision?” Chris thought for a few moments and then began “I never wanted to be a pirate really, it just sort of happened. In fact, it was a complete accident.” Gareth Murdock carried on and briefly explained “It was a joke that got out of hand and became something that we now do for a living.” ”Better than working at Asda!” Peter exclaimed making us whoop with laughter. Gareth included “It’s not something you decide really.” Meanwhile in the background I could hear Chris saying in a Scott mock-pirate fashion: “Hmmm, we’re gonna start a pirate band now!” which made everybody chuckle and Dani jest “Disney weren’t making films about Bakers and calling it Bakers of the Caribbean.” Gareth mocked the animation company in saying: “Yeah, everything Disney do, we copy.”
So, your old album “Captain Morgan’s revenge” was so good that me and my friends were singing the songs for weeks, but I noticed that your new album went more down the road of Power Metal. Was this deliberate? “Well that’s because he wrote it” interrupted Chris, pointing to Dani. The guitarist snorted and said: ” I think the reason that the album is so different is because we’ve played a lot more now and we’ve improved our ability to sound better live, and that comes through on the album.” All of a sudden Gareth went on a small tangent “Actually I was thinking, to improvise, wouldn’t it be class if we had fast beats…” Dani included excitedly: “mixed with black metal and seventeen solo’s at once!” “…And an EXPLOSION!” Chris said, electrified by the idea. All together the band cheered and concurred as a united bunch of buccaneers. Chris then incorporated “I would love to say that there was massive forethought behind the music, but no, there wasn’t any conversations like ‘oh yes, we should do this… and it should be artistic’ “ I offered my opinion by saying “Yeah, I find when I’m being interviewed myself, I find it hard to think of a straight answer and half the time I end up saying ‘I don’t know’. To be honest I think articles/interviews are too boring if they are so well constructed.”
Do you think this gig in Brighton will be better or worse than the last? This made Chris reminisce a little angrily and then voiced, “There’s going to be no Sabaton (the band they supported at the concorde 2) and no man in a cowboy hat.” ”Oh yeah that wanker!” Dani exclaimed, suddenly animated by recognition. Peter then clarified for me “Yeah, there’s this guy that works at the concorde 2 helping to set up bands ready to go on stage and sort fire hazard shit out. And he said ‘Oh you can’t put that Guitar there, that’s a fire hazard’ -Gobshite!” Gareth sighed, “Yeah, he made our evening rather miserable.” Chris chimed in, “He also said at one point during the night to one of us ‘If you put that guitar case there, we’ll cancel the whole gig’”. “Oh my god, what an assehole!” I sympathised. Chris made a funny remark in his next story and asserted to me “We also had all these stickers and he said we weren’t allowed to give them out. So at the end of the gig I got one of my friends to stick an Alestorm sticker on the back of his big stupid cowboy hat.” I sniggered and replied, “Oh that’s bloody brilliant!” Chris then added shamefully, “We were hoping to go there again because we were planning to make a sticker with his big head on it and sticking it on the cowboy hat.” The band jeered and automatically Gareth yelled “Aaaaah!” For a few moments we gave the bassist a funny look before asking what was the problem. Gareth excused himself and said, “I thought there was a spider up my sleeve, like that spider on the ghost train!” Chris then told me, “Oooh yeah, we went on he ghost train on the pier today. It was genuinely the most terrifying experience ever!” At that point Peter Alcorn added “Also because it’s balanced on a piece of wood that’s a hundred years old over the sea!”
So have you been to Brighton before, when you’re not on tour? Both Dani and Chris answered in collaboration, “A couple of times, yeah, the gig that we did here last year was great.” Peter continued with “Although at the Concorde the stage was a bit small for us.” Then he pointed at the stage “But this one’s great. Also I like the lanes in Brighton, and that little fudge shop, yeah i’d say Brighton is generally one of my favourite places in England. It’s really quite pleasant to be here.” The band concur with Peter and I include “I’ve lived here for six years and it’s fucking lovely!”
Nu: What is the plan after your tour? Chris announced to us, “Actually after we tour England, we are going to Serbia to make another music video.” “Similar to shipwrecked?” I enquired. Chris replied with enthusiasm, “Yeah, it’s the best place to go because everything is dirt cheap, if you understand what I mean.” “Hahahaha yes, I do.”
Sadly, I had to finish the interview at this juncture as time was moving fast and the supporting bands were about to come on stage, but I managed to slip in one quick question from a friend of mine who is a great fan of Alestorm.
I have a question from a fan called Ben Price who will be watching you guys tonight and he asked: Have you guys ever thought of putting on a performance on the deck of a pirate ship? Chris chuckled to himself and answered in excitement, “I guess if we have more money we’ll think about arranging something like that.” Gareth agreed “Yeah, when we’re rich and famous!”
After the interview me and my photographer/partner Sean got a few drinks, waited for our friends and sat down to enjoy the show. I should mention that when I was drinking I got a little too enthusiastic and decided to join the rampaging crowd which sadly ended in tears as I got stuck and my chair almost crushed by the vast masses of people in The Haunt. Finally after all the support bands, whom were actually very impressive, Alestorm emerged and gave us a thundering performance of how their music portrays them- VERY MUCH THE MAD BUNCH OF PIRATES I KNOW!!
MANY THANKS TO MY PHOTOGRAPHER [SEAN MIDDLETON], THE HAUNT, THE MANAGER STIJN AND OF COURSE ALESTORM! x And keep up with them - http://www.alestorm.net/
HERES A PICTURE OF OUR FRIENDS WITH CHRIS,WHAT A NIGHT, WHAT A LAUGH!!
Thanks for Reading, be back to write more when I’ve return from my adventure in Paris
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