Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Eruptors interview

The Eruptors recently released their album “Bad time to be having a good time”. It’s a combination of metal, punk and more with a huge dash of fun and high octane energy. I recently got to interview them to find out more about them and their music.

Tell us who you are a little about the history of your band.

Alex: We are The Eruptors. The story so far: Jeff and I got talking about music when I saw his Hendrix Tshirt, and we started jamming and playing locally in various bands.

Jeff: I started playing in another band called 'Neck', where I met Flaming Gary De niro, he was the drummer. I was blown away by his stick spinning skills and also his drumming so quickly managed to convince him to join up with me and Al.

Alex: So we named ourselves 'The Eruptors'. It was a side-project for us all at this point, we played some shows and then went on hiatus for a while. But we continued to record new material when we found time to get together, and we got some airplay and positive reviews in the 'underground' rock press, although our music did seem to polarise opinion. You could say we'd found a niche. Anyway we decided to record an album for ourselves and for anyone else who liked the same music as us. A year later, we got a deal to release it with Maniac Squat Records, an independent label from London, England. We chose them because the CEO understands our music and used to be in a similar band to us back-in-the-day. The album was released in March 2007 as a limited edition CD and as digital download too.

Your new CD is called "Bad time to be having a good time". How would you describe the music on your album?

Jeff: Garage punk rock. With a sci fi twist.

Alex: We have labelled it '1000% Rock'. Kerrang! Magazine recently described the album as "a turbo-injected, ozone burning blast of obnoxious garage-rock". I'd say it was a short sharp shock with a sci-fi theme. There's old punk and metal influences but at the same time we get very creative and enjoy adding our own twists and stamping our authority and originality onto the music we make. It's a concept album so we had lots of scope to use our imaginations, but the songs are all short and get straight to the point, so I think we manage to avoid sounding self-indulgent.

Gary: The music is fast and loud! I love playing this stuff because we are three equal parts in the band – lead drums, lead, bass, lead guitar. And, of course, lead vocals. We each have to play more than we might in a larger group, to fill the sound, and the room, with our ROCK. The music is fun – enjoy us and put us in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but don't take us too seriously!

Alex: It helps that we have complete creative control over our music with no interference from the record company. They have absolute faith in us and let us self-produce in the DIY tradition, just like those great bands from the first wave of punk and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal way back in the 1970s and early 1980s.

You have some spoken passages on your CD as well.Who came up with these parts? Did you come up that after the music or did you come up with it at the same time as the music?

Alex: A lot of the music was written before we had lyrics finished, or the idea for the album concept…

Jeff: …Then the story kinda came after the songs were first written, mostly. What we did then was choose the songs that helped tell the story, some got a little re-written along the way too, with new lyrics etc.

Gary: As for the spoken passages, haha! All Jeff's fault – we left him to mix the tracks after we'd gone our separate ways following a week's recording – he did us proud, taking the concept of the record the next level!

What was the writing and recording process of your album like?

Alex: Totally fun!

Gary: The writing of the album was pretty much a case of us getting together in a new studio with some old material, and trying to get as much of it as possible recorded in the given four days. Drums first, then guitars and vocals – bass was done later after the guitarist and drummer had left the countryside of Cork to return to civilisation and the daily grind of not rocking out all the time.

Alex: We all met up in Ireland and locked ourselves away in the studio all day every day, then spent our evenings in the pubs, drinking Irish beer and joining in with the jam sessions. There was a drought while we were there so the water supply at the studio ran out about half way through! I remember we got some cool photos of us standing around a rock drill which arrived one day to dig a well.

Gary: We worked 12-hour days with a toilet that didn't flush and with awesome views of the Cork hills. We ate burgers, we drank stout, we rocked hard. We basically jammed each song 'til we were happy with the parts and with the vibe, then went for a take on drums (or was it drums and bass – I can't remember!) The one track I was most proud of didn't come out – so we re-recorded that one a year later – you'll be hearing it on our second album…

Alex: The creativity flowed so the music all came together very quickly, there is a great chemistry, musical ability, and professionalism within this band. We had a lot of fun along the way, but we worked efficiently to get everything done in time. Despite some technical problems with guitar amps and recording equipment things went very smoothly. Some of the songs were quite old and pretty much written beforehand, others were just riffs which we developed into songs together. But once we had the songs fully 'written', we recorded almost everything in a couple of takes, with a few overdubs (guitar solos, vocals, etc) overdubbed later. All the drums, guitars, backing vocals, percussion, and a lot of the bass were done over 5 days, then Jeff finished it off in his own time.

Jeff: Fun!!! After the session in Ireland, I worked on it in my studio, then work-in-progress mixes via the internet or by mail because we all live so far away from each other. Not the traditional way of writing a rock and roll record by any means but one of the advantages of the times we live in.

What has been the response to your album so far?

Gary: The Queen has asked to knight us all (except Jeff because he's from the colonies), and heads of government have been using our music as a rallying cry for the nation and its causes at home and abroad. And it's not only earth-bound people who have warmed to our message of love and forgiveness and loud guitar-orientated Rock – alien life-forms too have emailed us in their thousands to say how we have touched their hearts and souls with stories of space-wars and sorrowful, solitary abandonment in outer space; I think many out there can relate to these themes on a personal level.

Alex: Haha….well the response has been excellent, every one who has heard it has been positive. We're getting good press from the big name rock mags such as 'Kerrang!', right through to the grassroots 'underground' media. My local radio station have been getting behind it too.

Jeff: Reviews have been good, but first and foremost we make the music we make because we want to, not for any other reason really. Well apart from girls and the good times you get from being in a rock and roll band of course!!!

Alex: Yes, the response from our girls and the good times has been particularly enjoyable! Haha! So long as we're entertaining ourselves and people who like the music that we like then it's a job well done. Bollocks to everyone else, they wouldn't understand!

I believe all of you have played in other band before. Who have you played with and are any of you currently in any other projects?

Jeff: Sonic Boom Boys, Neck, Uncle John's Band I've played with in the past. At the moment most of my involvement with music is as an engineer.

Gary: I have played in Neck (Irish punk-folkies); with Steve Wheel (alt. rock – look out for his first CD this year - brilliant music); the Chavs (filthy-lyric-ed brainchild of our label-boss, Tom); and I also currently play with Gillian Glover (daughter of Roger Glover of Deep Purple); and Daniel Spiller, singer-songwriter from London. I play in a few musical theatre shows each year as well – keeps my hand in at reading the dots, and currently the bills even better than being an Eruptor!

Alex – For a while I also used to play bass for a band called 'Stolen Sun'. We did a tour with 'Trash Light Vision' as well as opening for a whole bunch of old punk and rock bands who came into town. Our CD was rated 8/10 in 'Classic Rock Magazine' and I got voted 'Sexiest Man in Rock' by readers of website. When that band ended I started focusing my effort back to The Eroptors and this my only band right now. Recently, I have also done some writing for websites and magazines, and worked as rep for a music promoter too.

The "sounds like" section of your Myspace page has a very long list of descriptions. I think my favorite part is this "A high voltage soundtrack to the best Saturday night of your life".

Jeff: Of course that depends what you like to do on a Saturday night…

Alex: I think it sums up our vibe although I think that we're actually the high voltage soundtrack to ANY night of your life!
Who did the artwork for your album?

Alex: Andy Tilley at Sump Doggy Designs, he also does our merch too

Gary: He's bloody brilliant. He produces these exclusive designs for us to order, very quickly and promptly, and he's a top bloke all round.

So what are you doing that sets you apart from other bands and why should someone buy your CD ?

Alex: We have our own sound because we play things in our own way and we don't hold back with our enthusiasm or our imaginations, so nothing gets diluted. We don't sound quite like anyone else, even though we aren't afraid to wear our influences on our sleeves.

Jeff: We're not a trend or a product of a marketing focus group. We don't have to answer to anyone for what we create so what you hear is music as pure as we can make it. That's what we do, if you like that idea, than maybe our album is for you. Actually, more and more bands and artists are starting to take this stance and it's a damn good thing. So, like a number of bands these days, we play music that we believe in first and foremost. What sets us apart is our style.

Gary: We are not interested in fame or fortune – just in doing what we do, doing it well and enjoying every minute of the process. People should buy it because it will determine their happiness and my future world rock stardom, riches and country mansions. We are doing this for the sake of the art alone, so come on! Hurry up! Line my pockets, bitches!!

Alex: The CD has been released at mid-price and we made sure that the packaging is really cool. It's a limited edition and collectable. 6 panel digipack with picture CD and the artwork is brilliant, if you like cartoon sci-fi type imagery. It's the sort of thing I'd check out instinctively if I saw it in a shop. You can listen to some of the songs at

What are your interests outside of music?

Jeff: Walking over mountains. Books, films. Parties.

Alex: My fiancée, my research, soccer, running, and old horror films. Last year I started studying Mandarin Chinese language and culture (taking a break now but hope to pick it up again next year when I'm less busy) and I sometimes write for the website and bubblegum slut magazine.

Gary: My wife, education, philosophy, eating cakes, politics, travel, driving.

I take it that you are into science fiction movies. So what are some of your favorites?
Jeff: Loads. The ender saga by Orson Scott Card. Nearly anything by Harry Harrison. Space Odyssey 2010. Really liked his dark materials trilogy by Philp Pullman although that's not pure sci fi. The man in the high castle.

Gary: Star Wars (original trilogy).

Alex: 'Leprachaun In Space' is a favourite of mine!!! And I have to agree with Mr Flamin' Gary de Niro and say the original three Star Wars movies. In general, I prefer my films pre- digital special effects, the more modern stuff isn't as cool somehow. I like the 'War of The Worlds' album too. I hope to see the live production next time it comes round.

Do you have a tour in the works? If so then when will that start and where will you play?
Alex: Would love to tour this album, we're seeking out gigs and hope to play shows this summer onwards. Promoters, bands etc get in contact. Anyone reading this who would like us to come and play their town, drop us a line and tell your local venues and promoters.

Gary: We hope to get to Spain, Ireland, U.K., anywhere else in Europe that'll have us, and the USA – find us a promoter who's not flaky as hell? Cheers!

What should someone who comes to see you live expect?

Jeff: A good old fashioned balls to the walls rock show. With some mind control expermination thrown in.

Gary: The sexiest, hardest-rocking band in the universe. Seriously, they'll be exhausted watching us at work – we play hard and harder and harderer than anyone else. Expect to be overcome by also by the sincerity of emotion with which Bishop Jeff inflects every nuance of his vocals.
Alex: Fast and furious turbo charged rock n roll. Loud low slung guitars, obnoxious gut-wrenching bass, violent drums and ear shattering cymbals.
Pick the band from the following pair that prefer and tell why you choose that band.The Damned or Ramones

Jeff: The Ramones. Never overstated a point in any song is one way of saying they kept it to the point!!! Altough the damned rock too…
Alex: And Joey Ramone is the coolest of anyone in either of those bands. Coincidently, two of my favourite original punk songs are 'Blitzkreig Bop' by Ramones and 'New Rose' by The Damned.

Gary: Ramones – more fun

Alice Cooper or Deep Purple

Jeff: Tough one!!! Alice by a hair. He was kinda like a heavy metal Meatloaf in some ways, but without the boring bits.

Gary: Deep Purple – better music, more of a swing, less pretence, British, I play with one of their daughters.

Alex: Alice is awesome, I've seen his show 3 or 4 times and he's always brilliant. But on in their hayday (and when they weren't over-indulging in solos and extended jamming) I'd say Deep Purple, because not only did they have great songs and could put on a cool rock show, but they had some of the best musicians from that era. When they weren't being self-indulgent with the jamming they were simply awesome. Tough question though, because both Alice Cooper and Deep Purple have recorded so many classic songs.

Jeff: AC/DC. Has anyone ever been more rock???

Alex: AC/DC, but I like some Kiss songs too.

Gary: DC – Kiss are pretty sorry really, doncha think? DC wrote the book on basic riffage. Listen out for "1000% Rock, Baby" on album no. 2.

Motorhead or Judas Priest

Jeff: Motorhead. Just cause they sound so freakin nasty all the time. And lemmy is a rare talent – possibly my all time favourite bass player.

Alex: Motorhead. I think that Priest have some good songs like 'Breakin The Law', but Motorhead have even more good songs and I just prefer their sound and style. Motorhead have definitely influenced our sound.

Gary: Obviously Motorhead – Faster, more aggressive, more British, more raw, and mostly FASTER!

Is there anything else that you would like to say about your music or your band?

Alex: We have a cool album, and we want to play in your town!

Gary: I am a disciple of Bonham, Paice, Bruford, McBrain and Grohl. All who hitteth hard reapeth deepeth. Rock on.

Jeff: Everything you need to know is on the record.

Alex: Check us out at

***Thanks to the Eruptors for doing the interview.

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