The Answer were about to conquer Britain at the start of the year – before opting to conquer the world, riding on the back of big name fans AC/DC.
But the boys are back in town across the UK during the next few weeks aiming to make up for lost time and make the most of their headline status.
Bass player Micky Waters caught up with rushonrock – five months after we caught up with the guys at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.
rushonrock: Looking back on the last few months how do you sum up the AC/DC experience?
Micky Waters: We’ve only been back for a couple of weeks. We’ve had a few days to reflect on what the whole experience meant to us and the fact is we’ve played in front of more than two million people as the opening act for one of the biggest bands on the planet. We’ve played 118 shows with AC/DC and The Answer has had some unbelievable exposure. In addition we’ve learnt a lot from watching those guys do their stuff every night – we’ve seen how simple gestures generate a great response.
rushonrock: Has 2009 meant a huge adjustment for all the guys?
MW: We started to get used to the AC/DC stage by the time we completed the last leg in America and at that stage we were playing to full houses every night. Slowly but surely it became the norm. But we’ve played 170 shows in the last 12 months – all the AC/DC dates plus around 50 of our own. We’ve just done around 25 of our own dates in the US. We’ve been getting played on the radio and picking up some press and those gigs have meant just as much as the arena shows with AC/DC. We’ve gone from playing in front of 20,000 people one night to 30 or 40 in a pub the next. We’re still building our profile there even after the AC/DC run but cracking each US state is like breaking into a new European country. We’ve made progress but we’re planning to go back there in the spring to maintain the momentum.
rushonrock: Were the AC/DC guys the consummate hosts?
MW: We were lucky that we got to know Brian Johnson really well on the tour. He became a regular in our dressing room having a beer and cracking jokes. He’s got so much character and he’s definitely one of the most charismatic frontmen around. He comes across as quite shy when you don’t really know him but he puts on such a good show every night that you can’t argue with anything he does. He can still sing every note and he can still strut around the stage for two hours.
rushonrock: What’s the secret to AC/DC’s enduring success?
MW: They look after themselves. They have to stay fit and that’s probably no secret. You have to do that to stay at the top of your game.
rushonrock: Has there been a downside to spending so much time on the road?
MW: Only that we’ve neglected our British fans and they’re still our main audience. We haven’t had the chance to play Everyday Demons to the majority of our fans in the UK and Ireland but this tour is our chance to put that right. We know where our real fan base is and it’s right here. We could have stayed on tour with AC/DC forever – they invited us to join them in South America and Australia – but we wanted to come home. There comes a time as a band when you have to do your own thing and as soon as we arrived back home we were straight into rehearsals for the new tour.
rushonrock: Which will mean yet another adjustment…
MW: Yeah, we’re going from playing 50 minutes opening up for AC/DC to doing a headline show twice as long. But there are a lot of new songs which we can’t wait to play for our most loyal fans. We’re all very excited.
rushonrock: Have you come to terms with Ireland’s World Cup exit yet?
MW: We got home in time to watch the France v Ireland game and we were all disgusted by Thierry Henry. I thought the boys played the best football I’ve ever seen them play and it was such an injustice. We’re gutted. We’ve vowed to boycott Gillette razors and Renault cars.
rushonrock: As a band with its roots in Newcastle (Northern Ireland) are you looking forward to playing Newcastle?
MW: We can’t wait. And we’ve never played the big room at the Academy. It’s somewhere we’ve been looking at for a long time and we’re finally going to get there. For us it’s as significant as playing Belfast’s Ulster Hall – the likes of Newcastle, Nottingham Rock City and the Ulster Hall are places every British rock band wants to play.