casino brawl albumThey’re playing to thousands of rockers and metal heads at Birmingham’s NEC tomorrow night as part of a cracking Hellfire bill featuring the likes of Saxon and Anvil.

And North Eastern heroes The Casino Brawl have just announced a headline show at Newcastle’s Trillians after coming off the road with the Haunted.

It’s all happening for founder members Jonny Ferguson and Jamie Common and they took time out to tell rushonrock all about their meteoric rise.

rushonrock: So give us the lowdown on The Casino Brawl…

Jonny Ferguson: Jamie and I used to play in bands a lot when we were at school. We’d been playing together for a couple of years when we decided to put The Casino Brawl together. We were 17 or 18 and the other guys knew each other from college. That’s how the current line-up came about. We recorded the album last November and now we’re playing anywhere and everywhere we can.

rushonrock: Getting The Haunted gig must have been a big boost.

Jamie Common: The Haunted tour was a great opportunity for us. It’s probably the biggest tour that we’ve done to date and gave us a chance to play the record to a whole new bunch of people. The Haunted are a really respected band and a group of guys we really look up to. We’re not part of the same booking agency as they are but they wanted us on the tour and it was great to be a part of a tour like that.

rushonrock: Are you keen to break out of the North East?

Jonny: We’ve played most of the medium sized venues in the North East and put on our own shows at the Academy II in Newcastle a couple of times now. It would have been nice if The Haunted tour had taken in a local venue but I suppose it’s better for us if our music is being heard by a wider audience. But we’ve just confirmed a pre-Christmas show at Trillians in Newcastle on December 21. And it’s free!

rushonrock: Who are the bands which influence you guys?

Jonny: I listen to stuff like Manchester Orchestra and Brand New and Jamie’s into house music. Mark likes Parkway Drive and Adam’s partial to a bit of Eva Cassidy. We’ve all got a common interest in rock and all the different melodies we bring from our different backgrounds come together to make The Casino Brawl sound the way it does.

Jamie: The fact that we’re all approaching music from different directions keeps everything fresh.

rushonrock: Jonny, your vocal style is pretty crazy. How did it come about?

Jonny: I started off singing but I’ve gradually developed a scream. But the type of scream that I do is geared towards people hearing what I’m saying. I’m conveying a message and I want that message to be heard. I suppose I like to be able to punctuate and articulate but at the same time I have to be aggressive. You could call my preferred style somewhere between a scream and a shout. The vocals on the record are the vocal you’ll hear live. Adam sings a lot too and he’s got a fantastic voice so that gives us options. We’re never going to settle on one particular sound and we’d like to expand our musical horizons a bit more given the opportunity. But for now, in terms of the live shows, I think I’ll be sticking to the shouting/screaming style.

rushonrock: Is debut album Shades;Directions just a taste of what’s to come?

Jamie: We’ve started writing the new record in the last few weeks and we’ve matured a bit in the last 12 months as songwriters. We put the first record out through In At The Deep End and as a label they like to see emerging bands develop and take off. They had Gallows in the early days and they specialize in projects which they feel have some potential. That’s why we signed with them in the first place and we’d be more than happy to do another record with them.

rushonrock: How do you view the North East rock scene right now?

Jamie: The North East scene has changed a fair bit in the three years we’ve been gigging as The Casino Brawl. It seemed a lot better when we 17 and 18 and going to gigs but maybe it just appears that way when you’re younger and less experienced.

Jonny: When we were starting out there was always a gig happening somewhere. But we came onto the scene when metal was very popular and there were a lot of bands looking for a break. Quite a few have fallen by the wayside but we made a decision a while ago that we were either going to give The Casino Brawl our best shots or get jobs. That’s the decision facing every young band and we went for the former. We’ve been full-time musicians for a year now and we wouldn’t change it for the world. I struggle to pay my phone bill every month but I’m in a band! If I can pay the phone bill I’m happy. You learn to make sacrifices and when we go out we’re always stealing other people’s drinks off the table because we can’t afford our own. Jamie used to be a manager and I used to have a good job but it’s all about the band these days. Our families are very supportive so we’re fortunate in that respect – without them we’d really struggle but with them we just about get by.

Jamie: It’s totally different now we’re full time. Every time someone buys a T-shirt or an album it makes such a huge difference to all of us. We’ve all learned the value of money and at our age, in the current climate, that has to be a positive thing.