The obvious saviours of British classic rock and blazing a trail across the globe as AC/DC’s party starters, The Answer are on the brink of superstardom – and rightly so.
Singer Cormac and guitarist Paul caught up with rushonrock before the band headed off for their final slew of US dates on the Black Ice tour later this month and we’re delighted to report there’s no rock star attitude here.
Still enthusiastic and still rocking after so many months on the road the guys can’t wait to bring their full show to the UK in time for Christmas.
And if you’re looking for the perfect early present for the rock chick in your life here’s a tip – don’t buy tickets for The Answer as these guys are way too cool.
rushonrock: Enjoying some time off?
Cormac Neeson: We’ve been pretty full on ever since we joined the AC/DC tour. We’re getting a week and a half off before we’re back over to America. We just try to take it easy when we can.
rushonrock: Is it hard to wind down when you’ve been on the road for sol long and you’re heading off again so soon?
CN: A week and a half is about as long as we’ve had for a while so you kinda just have to start relaxing as soon as you step off the plane to make the best of it. When you’re away as often as we have been you do get to go home as part of the tour at some point. Before AC/DC in Glasgow we did a couple of gigs in Ireland so we got to go home then both nights. It wasn’t what you’d call a break by any stretch of the imagination but it’s amazing how comfortable you can feel right away.
Paul Mahon: It’s nice to have even one night in your own bed when you’ve been on the road for 10 months. It’s priceless.
rushonrock: Have friends and family had chance to see you from time to time on the AC/DC tour?
PM: Yeah they’ve come out to a few shows. Some of the bigger ones like Paris, Milan and Wembley. There have been a few friendly faces along the way and some extra passengers on the bus now and then. I think they’re all a bit more rock and roll that us these days to be honest. We’re happy to see the back of them!
rushonrock: Was bagging a support slot on a tour as huge as AC/DC a dream from way back when?
CN: It’s definitely been an ambition of ours to play to big crowds but I don’t think we ever envisaged being on such a massive tour for such a long period of time. We’ve had some big supports in the past but it’s only been two or three dates at a time – we had a couple of weeks in a row as support to Whitesnake a while back – so this eclipses everything we’ve done before. It couldn’t have worked out better for us with our new album coming out and we’ve never really done a full tour of America. With all the days off on this tour it gives us ample opportunity to fill in the spare time with our own gigs and hit the grassroots support as well as the arena fans.
rushonrock: Supporting AC/DC is a great but it doesn’t give you much room tom play those new songs from Everyday Demons. Are you looking forward to the UK headline tour already in that respect?
PM: After this long on the AC/DC tour we’re all dying to do our own shows. We’ve had a bit of a taste of what’s waiting for us with the few headline shows we’ve managed to squeeze into our schedule. We’ve been able to do the full Everyday Demons set and it’s been pretty refreshing. I think that’s what we’re all about. It’s hard squeezing into 40 minutes what we’d love to be playing in 80 minutes. With our won shows we can stretch out and we’re more comfortable doing that now. We’ve got the songs to be able to pull off a great headline show these days and the sooner we do more of them the better.
rushonrock: How has America received The Answer?
CN: I think they like us. That seems to be the case. Our album’s sold pretty well over there. The new record was only released there in March so we haven’t really been over to promote it yet and that’s why the last leg of the AC/DC tour will be interesting. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens on this stretch as we’ll be following up on the groundwork we did a few months ago and hoping that paid dividends. I think absolutely there’s a market for our kind of music – the impression we got is that a lot of people over there have been waiting for a return to no bullshit rock and roll. You know, bands who can play their instruments and have the songs to back that up. People seemed to be genuinely refreshed when they came down to check us out.
rushonrock: What’s been the toughest aspect of the AC/DC gig?
PM: The first thing we noticed, living on a proper tour bus for the first time, is controlling your bowels. There’s no number twos allowed on the bus and there’s no staying in hotels so on days off certain things take priority.
CN: There’s a rush for whatever’s convenient first thing in the morning.
PM: So there’s that and, of course, being away from our families for so long. It’s tough. It’s not so bad if you do two or three months because it’s kind of like a working holiday and it’s lots of fun playing every night. But another three months on top of that and it starts to get a little bit tiresome. And it’s like I said before – there’s that frustration that you can’t play all of your own stuff.
rushonrock: In Glasgow your set was on the brink of being reduced from 35 to 30 minutes – not a massive problem but it’s the difference between six or seven songs and seven or eight songs…
PM: There’s kind of a core of songs which we know will work in a short space of time and a batch of songs which won’t. So we’re pretty flexible. We enjoy jumbling stuff around and seeing what the reaction is from night to night and that keeps us fresh.
CN: But the lighting guys have been having a nightmare. They’re saying ‘for God’s sake I was ready to focus on that song and you’ve played a different one so we’re all over the place’. By comparison the ‘DC set is pretty much the same every night and they’re used to just programming it all in and hitting the button. We actually make them work for their money…
* Read Part Two of rushonrock‘s exclusive interview with The Answer later this week.