And with debut album This Might Hurt still a firm RUSHONROCK favourite it’s easy to see why the cool kids from Cambridge are cutting a dash on the classic rock scene.
Next week sees the retro-soaked quintet tackle Download for the first time before heading off to Germany for shows with fellow Donington-bound metallers Steel Panther and Kyuss Lives.
In the latest of our pre-Download exclusives RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with frontman Matt Jones and drummer Dhani Mansworth.
rushonrock: The last time we caught you live you were rocking the third stage at the High Voltage festival – how’s the year been since then?
Matt Jones: It’s been really busy since we played the High Voltage Festival last summer. We went out with Alice Cooper at the end of last year and earlier this year we played some shows with Steel Panther. We did a couple of gigs with Thin Lizzy before they went on the road with Guns N Roses and we can’t wait to tour with them again at the end of the year.
rushonrock: How was Mr Cooper?
MJ: Alice Cooper was really, really cool. Both he and his crew treated us great. He invited us into his dressing room and while I wouldn’t say he trued to impart his wisdom on us he did have a little chat to find out what we were all about. It was amazing really.
rushonrock: And what can you tell us about the Panther?
MJ: The Steel Panther shows were just wild. Those guy are never out of character and that must be pretty tough to do day in, day out. But it’s just the way they are. They’re the way you see them on stage pretty much all of the time. It’s the whole deal or no deal where they’re concerned.
rushonrock: What about Lizzy – you’re supporting them again later in the year…
Dhani Mansworth: It was such a good experience opening up for Thin Lizzy. Brian Downey has always been a huge influence on me as a drummer and to see him in action up close was amazing. I can’t wait to get out on the road with them again later this year. They know our faces now and I hope they know we can warm up a crowd for them.
rushonrock: How do you react to those people who insist that it’ll never be Lizzy without Phil Lynott?
DM: The current Lizzy line-up is about as close as you can get to the classic band. There’s only so much those guys can do with it and the fans have got to accept what happened and move on. Lizzy in 2012 is a great line-up playing classic songs.
rushonrock: How excited are you to be playing Download?
MJ: To play Download is just a dream come true. When you’re a kid you read about Castle Donington and its history and it seems like a different world. It’s such a legendary place for rock. The Monsters Of Rock did so well there for years and now Download is celebrating its 10th anniversary. We’re so honoured to be playing on the same stage as the likes of Corey Taylor and The Mission.
DM: It’s our first time playing Download but I’ve been a couple of times as a fan down the years. I went in 2004 and it’s a great festival for fans of rock and metal. We’ve all been looking forward to this for a long time now and can’t wait to get out there. Over the years so many legendary bands have played at Castle Donington. In 2004 Metallica were headlining and of course they’re back again – last time I saw them I was a punter and this time I’m sharing a bill with them. That’s a little bit weird. And we can’t believe we’re so high up the bill.
rushonrock: How old were you when you made your Download debut as a fan?
DM: I must have been 11 in 2004 and my dad was managing bands at the time. I had just started to get really interested in rock music and met the likes of Corey Taylor, Nikki Sixx and Dimebag Darrell.
rushonrock: And who will you both be hoping to catch in 2012?
MJ: Unfortunately we won’t have time to hang around for the Sunday as we fly off to Europe that day. But we’ll be staying for the Saturday and the main stage looks superb that day – Steel Panther, Tenacious D and Metallica doing the Black album. It’s going to be amazing. We’ll stay as long as we can and then head back to Cambridge before flying out to Europe.
DM: I’d like to see how Steel Panther go down on the main stage and Corey Taylor will be well worth watching on our stage. There are so many really good bands on the bill this year that fans will be spoilt for choice. I’m going to try to catch Tenacious D too.
rushonrock: Will you be including a cover in your Download set after the success of your Record Store Day EP?
MJ: Yeah we included the Slade song Take Me Bake ‘Ome on our RSD covers EP but we actually play a different Slade song in the live set. We end the set with Get Down Get With It and it’s a great way to finish the show. We get the whole crowd involved and it’s important to go out with a really big song at the end.
rushonrock: This Might Hurt seems to have been doing the rounds for some time now so is album number two on the horizon?
MJ: The album has been around for a little while now but it was only re-released via Spinefarm last September. We still feel like we have to tour it as much as possible in the short term but, yes, we’ve already started work on the follow-up. There are a few tracks done and ready and they’re sounding great.
rushonrock: Dhani, there are a diverse range of drumming styles on This Might Hurt – who helped you hone your technique?
DM: The three drummers who stood out for me when I was learning the trade were John Bonham, Phil Rudd and Scott Travis. After that I discovered other drummers like Eric Singer and there’s probably a whole range of influences evident in my drumming these days.
rushonrock: The Treatment play music way beyond your years so did your mates think your decision to go down the classic rock road was a little weird?
MJ: Not at all. All of our friends like the same kind of music. We’ve all developed a love of classic rock and when we started a band we didn’t think about doing anything else. The genre is alive and kicking. Young people come to watch us because we’re a young band and older fans enjoy our music because of our classic rock influences. We see a real mix of people in our audiences. That whole 70s and 80s sound is all starting to kick off again – even within our label there’s Jettblack and Reckless Love. And then you have a band like Rival Sons who are becoming very popular. There are a lot of new bands starting to do their thing influenced by the same music we enjoy and it’s a very healthy scene right now.