As part of an assessment in my Musical Diploma course I was asked to find a local band and to delve into their world of musical pursuits and report my findings. Luckily my brother, a friend of Dave Griffiths of Gasfoodlodging suggested I head their way so I did.....
We conducted the interview via email and I'd like to thank Dave for his participation.
DG: Nope, it's pretty crap to be honest, but there's no point getting fed up about it, it's the same situation for original bands everywhere. If you're involved in an original band it's just something you have to deal with. I have the feeling that many musicians out there are wary about getting involved in original music because of the lack of opportunities that it can bring. You'll get far more offers of gigs if you play in a tribute act or covers band for example. Occasionally we've done pretty well out the local area with festivals etc. I'm guessing many other bands are doing the same thing, you have to travel around and put the effort in. It's a fools game to sit back and hope for gigs on your doorstep all the while.
How do you find audience reaction when you do play somewhere new and for the first time?
DG: It all depends who is in the audience. You get the older guitar lover guy who stands at the bar hoping for 5 minute guitar solos and those who are seated who want to hear some popular songs while they eat their crisps, drink their pint and check their Facebook status update along the way. Sometimes we extend things a little on stage and there's several songs we can drag out to hopefully please the guy standing at the bar if needs be. As far as overall feedback is concerned, things have been good. People seem to like the music and find us refreshing, musically.
Who are your own musical heroes as a musician yourself? I presume Bob Dylan is one?
For sure. But it was a movie called "The Last Waltz" that opened up my eyes to the world of guitar music. The "Last Waltz" was the farewell concert given by the group 'The Band' who had previously been Bob Dylan's backing band and had also recorded with him on studio albums.
Since then I've delved into a big love of The Rolling Stones and then onto the American band "Green on Red" who were considered the American equivalent of The Stones by many fans of theirs. I also love the music of Chuck Prophet (Formerly the guitarist in Green On Red).
Do you get on well together as members of the band?
Yeah, we all come from different backgrounds but we all have some common ground musically. I think the ideal band situation is where you hang around socially and practice far more than we do. I know some bands that rehearse 6 times a week. But due to working commitments, we can only manage to rehearse once a week, a shame really, but you just have to make the best of it.
What's your favorite gig been so far?
We played a gig at a street Carnival the once in a place called Bloxwich, Walsall. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and we were stuck between two rows of shops on a small stage. Still, there was a great Sound Engineer around that day and he mixed our sound really well. Even members of staff were coming out the shops and into the rain to listen to us play. It was just a great vibe from start to finish. That's my personal favorite gig so far, the other guys will probably have their own.
What's your least favorite gig you've played so far?
All of them apart from the Bloxwich one! Haha, I'm only kidding. We did play a festival the once where we were rushing around to set up, under rehearsed and had some technical issues on stage. We just about made it through a 2 hour setlist. Still, we still got paid and remarkably the organiser of the event thought we were great. We took the money and ran...
What's the last song you listened to before this interview?
"Even a dog can shake hands" by Warren Zevon.
What are your favorite films? Would you consider films an inspiration to your songwriting like other songwriters make reference to?
Sure, I think everyone can relate to a film at some point time and extracts certain pieces to use as an inspirational tool.
My favorite films include "Picnic at Hanging Rock" "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" "The Executioners Song" "Blue Collar" "Dead Poets Society" "Sideways" "Crumb" "All the Presidents Men" "This is England".
What are your ambitions for the future?
We recorded a 10 track demo last year with a mixture of covers and original songs, but I'd like to record a full LP of my own original material if poss. And if that goes down well, record more. I really like the idea of getting recordings done because you have something you can share and give to people. I can't see the point of being involved in original music if you don't bother recording it. Obviously, recordings are a good promo tool for the internet too and can be posted all over the place. Alas, we can't afford professional recordings but I'm not fussed about that issue. Better to have something than nothing in my opinion. What's good about being involved in original music is the creativity element it gives to all involved. I'd never want to be involved in a tribute band where you have to learn songs note for note. With original songs, you have the freedom to express yourself as a musician and a songwriter and that's why I got involved in music in the first place. Sure, we play a few cover songs here and there but we don't try and duplicate them, we always try and add our own slant to songs by other people.
Rebecca Harris, ©2015