Classic Rock Magazine believes there are only three better records in 2008 than Black Stone Cherry’s haunting Folkore And Superstition – and when you’re beaten to the podium by AC/DC, Metallica and Guns N Roses it’s not all bad news. rushonrock caught up with the Kentucky band’s bonkers drummer John Fred Young as the band rip up venues across Britain. Read the second part of the interview tomorrow.

rushonrock: How much does this UK tour mean to you?

John Fred Young: We’re pretty well fired up for this tour as anyone who’s seen us so far will tell you. It’s great to have the guys from Sevendust opening up for us. We grew up listening to their stuff and it’s a real honour to have those guys on board. It’s good to be back in the UK. Of course you get a bit homesick touring but seeing the reaction of the people who come to our shows really peps us up. It’s about today and we want every day to be as good as the last one. We’re just so conscious of the fact that this has to be a great tour. And we’re going on after the Stone Gods every night which forces up to step up to the plate. We were all fans of The Darkness and those guys really do rock.

rushonrock: Are you living the rock dream?

JFY: Yeah man, travelling all over the world playing the music we love really is a dream come true. It seems like we’ve been in Germany for about a year but we were all looking forward to hitting the UK again! It’s been a great tour so far and we sold out at least four of our German shows which has given us a huge amount of confidence. It’s been terrific, it really has. But it starts again every time you hit a new country and we’re not complacent. No way.

rushonrock: Can you describe how you feel taking the Black Stone Cherry message across the world?

JFY: Well we come from a small town of just 1500 people in Kentucky and to come to the UK and Europe is just an incredible experience. Our friends and family have always supported us in what we do and I think it makes them proud to see where we are and what we’re doing. My dad and uncle are in a band called the Kentucky Headhunters and they won a Grammy back in the day. They’ve done this themselves and they’re so proud to see that we’re following in their footsteps. To go across oceans playing to new people is absolutely the coolest thing you can imagine and back home the people are so interested in the band’s progress.

rushonrock: Onstage you raise hell but offstage you’re not a typical rock and roll band. How come?

JFY: We don’t do drugs. We don’t drink on tour. We’re a bunch of pretty clean cut dudes and so I guess a lot of young people look up to us. It’s the same in the UK as it is back home. Because we’re not involved in those things we can be role models to kids. It’s been hard over the years resisting temptation, especially when you’re on the road and a long way from home.

rushonrock: So you never even touch a beer?

JFY: Look, we’re not anti-alcohol and we do have a drink when we’re back home. But when we’re working we try not to do it. It takes it out of you if you have a drink when you’re on tour. I want for people to leave a BSC concert thinking ‘gollee that’s just blown my hat off!’. And we’ve all been to concerts where band members have been trashed out of their minds and that’s not us. Staying sober on tour is just a common sense thing. You just cannot function on the road without a healthy diet, sleep and exercise.

rushonrock: But other bands do seem to get by…

JFY: I don’t know. Playing live rock music is a physical exercise just like playing soccer – there are some hard knocks when you’re out there and you need to be 100%. Physically you’re doing stuff that some athletes just couldn’t do. We have to take care of ourselves – we drink a lot of water and eat a lot of vitamins and that’s the least you can do when you’re going into so many different countries in such a short space of time. The road is a very treacherous place.

rushonrock: It sounds pretty scary?

JFY: Well yeah but we’ve got great families and a great crew to keep us on track. We went to High School with our crew and they’re friends from way back. Even when reserves are running really dry in the band they’ll pick us up and push us along.