He’s the wild man of Kentucky rock but Black Stone Cherry’s manic drummer John Fred Young is a brilliant ambassador for a new breed of music hero. In the second part of his interview with rushonrock he talks hunting knives, Magpies, Leppards and Snakes…
rushonrock: A little bird tells me you like your souvenirs of life on the road?
John Fred Young: I try and pick up stuff when I’m away to take back and pass on to the folks at home. When we were in Germany I went to this amazing shop in Munich. It was famous for its cutlery and stuff and was real nice place. Anyway I got two of the best hunting knives you’ll ever see for my dad and uncle. We do a lot of hunting back home and these things are great.
rushonrock: Was coming back to Newcastle everything you’d hoped for?
JFY: It was good to be back in Newcastle so soon after the Def Leppard/Whitesnake tour. I remember seeing a lot of black and white striped shirts the first time around and they were everywhere again last Saturday night. We always do meet and greets with people after gigs and the people of Newcastle are so friendly.
rushonrock: A lot of people came away with all kinds of stuff signed after the gig and you spent a lot of time with your fans. Don’t you feel like just hitting the sack?
JFY: We like to say thank-you to the people who are supporting us and try to make them feel special. We’re not untouchables you know. We’re just normal guys who love music like the next man. I’m never going to remember everyone’s name who I meet but I always remember faces and I know who’s been fighting our corner in the past.
rushonrock: How come you find the public side of being in a band so easy when it strikes the fear of God into some performers?
JFY: I know a lot of guys who are in the public eye get a bit shy about meeting their fans. And I know guys who appear withdrawn on purpose. But I always try to get out there and talk to the people who’ve taken the trouble to watch BSC. It’s what’s kept us alive in the past and hopefully what will keep us going in the future. The relationships we’ve forged with complete strangers on the road has been one of the best things about being in this band.
JFY: The whole Def Leppard/Whitesnake thing was killing. To play a venue like Wembley Arena was just incredible for us. That gig was crazy. We were playing our set and I looked to the side of the stage and there was Jimmy Page and Richie Sambora waiting in the wings! I literally puked. I spoke to them afterwards but it wasn’t so easy for some of the other guys. Chris was like ‘I just can’t be cool around you Jimmy Page because you’re one of my heroes’. And this was after he’d said he loved the sound of the band!
rushonrock: So you didn’t feel like the little American support act alongside two UK rock monsters?
JFY: No way! All the Def Leppard guys were so nice. Rick Allen, with everything he’s been through, is one of the most positive guys I’ve met in my entire life. Every night when we were doing the soundcheck he’d make a point of hanging out and talking to me afterwards. He is such a good man. But I don’t think any of those Def Leppard guys have rock star attitudes – even after everything they’ve achieved.
rushonrock: And what about that bloke out of Whitesnake?
JFY: David Coverdale is such a cool guy. The man’s a legend but he’s so chilled. It was refreshing to be around such a big tour like that and realise that however many records you sell or however much money you make you can still be nice to people you’ve never met before. In this business you can be here today and gone tomorrow and the only thing that’s certain is yourself.