With a new record in the pipeline for the second half of 2010 and no doubt yet another round of quality shows and festival slots to come we can only see the Edmonton, Kentucky quartet getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger.
But before they do we caught up with frontman Chris Robertson for a final bite of the ‘Cherry this year.
rushonrock: It’s been a pretty crazy two years for the Black Stone Cherry guys but are you still going strong?
Chris Robertson: We pretty much went out on tour in May 2008 and we’ve been on the road ever since. We went home for Christmas last year but other than that we’ve been going pretty non stop. The thing is we love to tour and the appetite for more is still there. We’ve done two UK headline tours off the back of our latest record and just toured Germany with Motorhead. Now we’re discussing our next move.
rushonrock: have you had a chance to take Folklore & Superstition out to the fans back home?
CR: We did a tour with kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd, we’ve toured with Collective Soul and we’ve toured with Sevendust in America. But it’s true we’ve done the majority of the touring on this record in the UK. I mean we came over last summer to promote it and then we came over with the first headline tour with Sevendust and Stone Gods and then we came back this summer to do the festivals and the Nickelback shows. We wrapped it up with another month of headline shows so altogether we must have toured a good six or seven months on the back of F&S in Britain. We’re very fortunate to be able to play the shows that we do and the venues that we do in the UK. Selling out shows is incredible in the current economic climate and to see that people still care about music proves that good rock stands the test of time.
rushonrock: You’ve sung with Nickelback and Shinedown in the UK this year – are you a serial guest singer?
CR: When we’re on tour with bands and we become friends with them – when they ask if we’ll get up on stage with them we don’t like to say no. We’ve been friends with Shinedown forever so the Download appearance was always on the cards. And the Nickelback thing just kinda happened. They called the night before the first show in Manchester and asked me if I wanted to do a song with them. I said ‘sure, which one?’. It went from there and I ended up singing AC/DC on Nickelback’s stage every night! When we were over here with Seevendust they were the first of three bands on and I went out and sang with them. It’s just something fun to do and the crowds seem to enjoy it each time I’ve done it.
rushonrock: The chance to sing on Nickelback’s arena tour must have seemed to good to be true?
CR: It was fun. They’re the biggest modern rock band in the world and they invited my big ass up to sing a song. We had a good time and people seemed to love it every night.
rushonrock: What does the future hold for BSC?
CR: Like we’ve said before it’s not only up to us. The record company have a big say in what we do. But sometime next year will be the time for a new record – we like to put one out every two years or so. We don’t like to waste time and when we decide to make the new record we’ll go in and get it done in 30 or 40 days. It shouldn’t take longer than that. Hopefully there’ll be a new BSC record out late summer or early fall 2010.
rushonrock: You debuted Things My Father Said in your live set on the Nickelback tour but why were you so apprehensive about playing that tune?
CR: It wasn’t so much that we were doubtful about playing it. When we first came over we established this reputation as an in-your-face band and there was no letting up. On the first record there were only a couple of songs with a laid back tempo and on the new one there are three or four. We’d been doing Peace Is Free but we’d never played TMFS more or less because, certainly on the Nickelback tour, we only had 40 minutes and we were trying to pack in as much of the rockier stuff as we could. Then the record label said they were releasing TMFS as a single and so they really needed us to play it. We thought ‘shit – we don’t have a piano and we don’t have strings’! A lot of bands would have thrown the track in and used Pro-tools to recreate the album sound but we odn’t do that stuff. For us it was more or less getting into the swing of playing it and we did it in soundcheck and thought why not? If it falls flat on its ass then so be it.
rushonrock: Does the song have a message for everybody?
CR: Luckily for the band all four of us still have our fathers in our lives but a few of our crew guys lost their fathers at a very young age. That song is a very special song to us – just like Peace Is Free. TMFS is not just about dads, it’s not just about the love between a father and son – it’s about the love between a parent and a child. Put simply it’s more than just ‘my dad and I used to fight and now we get along’ – it’s about more than that. It seems as if a lot of people who have parents who pass away never say the things they want to. Our song says don’t be afraid to say to people what you want to say. Everyone’s lost people in their life who they never got to say goodbye to or make amends with.
rushonrock: You’re clearly speaking from experience…
CR: My uncle passed away and that, for me, was the inspiration for TMFS. We wrote the song as a band but that’s where I was coming from. My uncle died aged 42 from a massive heart attack and had a daughter in her 20s and a son in his 20s plus two twin boys who were teenagers and a teenage daughter. That’s fivbe kids there who lost their dad. He woke up and went to the kitchen to get something to drink and my aunt got up about 10 minutes later because he hadn’t come back to bed. She found him and he was gone. He and I had had a fight that afternoon – just a verbal thing going back and forth – and I never got to say ‘I love you and I’m sorry’ and that weighs on me. When you sing the first couple of words of that song and the people in the crowd are singing it so you don’t even need to – it kinda feels like the people you were writing it about in the first place are in the room with you. And maybe they’re watching over you. I don’t go to church but I’m a very spiritual person and I do believe in a greater power. I think that our loved ones who pass on look over us. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that that song touches people but I’m truly glad it does. We didn’t write it to make people cry – we wrote it in the hope people would smile and cherish the good memories. Remember what you had and enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it.
rushonrock: When you’re selling out Academies in the UK and playing festivals like Download does it feel weird for four guys from a town of 1,600 people?
CR: There’s 1,600 people in our home town and about 70,000 at Download. We’ve got a DVD of that show and you look out and there’s nothing but a sea of people. When we made our first independent CD we couldn’t pay people to buy it! Suddenly we were playing Donington and 70,000 people screamed Black Stone Cherry as loud as they could. That’s something that no matter what happens I’ve got that DVD at home. If we were told we could never your again and never make another ounce of music I could put that DVD on everyday and see 70,000 people taking part in something I was partly responsible for creating. What more can you ask for? People go into this business to make money, take drugs and have sex with random women but we’re not like that. We got into this business to see people smile and have a good time. If you’re not having fun playing music there’s no point doing it at all.
rushonrock: Would you agree classic rock is back in a big way now and maybe back to stay?
CR: Both years we’ve played Download we’ve played on what they’re now calling the Classic Rock Sunday. This year even more so. There was us, Journey, Tesla, Stone Gods, Skin, ZZ Top, Whitesnake and Def Leppard – plus Dream Theater. It was a good bill. Then there was Shinedown and Papa Roach. What a day. Those bands play music that can lift you up when you’re down and take you down when you’re up. Music’s what you want it to be and all of the music those bands play is special.