This month’s tour with big buddies Nickelback could change all that as the former American Idol favourite finally gets the chance to prove his credentials to British fans.
RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with Daughtry – the man behind the band – in the week he set out on his UK charm offensive.
rushonrock: How much are you looking forward to taking a proper look at the UK?
Chris Daughtry: I know this sounds so typically American but I’ve never been outside London. That’s why I’m so excited about this tour.
rushonrock: You’re supporting a new version of hit US album Break The Spell..
CD: The tour edition of the latest album was about giving the fans a little bit more. A lot of the live footage is new and there are the music videos too – it’s a good introduction to what Daughtry’s all about for those fans coming to see the Nickelback tour and there’s plenty of exciting stuff for our existing fans.
rushonrock: You’re new to the UK but very famiiar with Nickelback – is that right?
CD: This is our third run with Nickelback. We did their last European tour supporting the Dark Horse record and we toured the States with them on the All The Right Reasons shows. It’s a great way of exposing their fans to our music and it’s very generous of Nickelback to keep inviting us back! We think it’s a great fit for both bands and we hope Chad and the boys agree.
rushonrock: Could this tour be the platform for some long-awaited recognition in the UK?
CD: We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this tour will finally persuade the people of the UK to get behind Daughtry. Being out on the road with Nickelback should spark some real interest and we’re hoping it will provide us with the platform to come back and play our own shows one day.
rushonrock: Have you been too busy to tour the UK in the past?
CD: The fact that we still haven’t toured in the UK isn’t to do with scheduling or anything like that. To be able to support ourselves financially in any country we have to have some sort of crowd. If the crowd isn’t there we can’t make the tour pay. It’s as simple as that.
rushonrock: In that case why haven’t you been able to build that crowd?
CD: A lot of it has to do with support – or the lack of it – from the label in the UK. In the States and in a lot of Europe we have RCA behind us and they do a brilliant job but in the UK, for some reason, there’s a lack of label interest. We have to get out there and do it on our own and hooking up with Nickelback is a way of achieving that. We’re reaching new people without depending on a record label to push us.
rushonrock: Don’t you find it difficult playing on front of thousands of blank faces every night?
CD: We like the challenge of growing our fan base, playing to non-Daughtry crowds and trying to impress people who haven’t seen us before. If it’s your first time seeing us we’ll be going out there desperate to impress.
rushonrock: Are the days of significant financial backing from major labels well and truly over?
CD: The music business is changing but we’re changing with it. The days of automatic label support and tour support are a thing of the past – bands need to be self-sufficient and switched on. Labels get jumpy at the first sign of anything going wrong but bands just have to knuckle down and work hard.
rushonrock: And do rock stars in 2012 beed to be fully aware of the business of being in a band?
CD: I’m always on top of the business side of things. The music business is like any other. We have to make sure we’re being smart and spending our money wisely. I keep an eye on everything from where we’re playing to what buses and trucks we use to transport ourselves and our gear. It’s not very rock n roll but it’s vital.
rushonrock: Last month you tweeted a picture of yourself topless and in fantastic shape – do you need to stay fit to tour for so long?
CD: We’ve all been talking about how fit you need to be these days as a touring musician. The old days of everyone turning up to shows hungover and barely alive are well and truly over. A few of the Nickelback crew do these insance workouts when we’re on tour but it has to be done. We do everything we can to both stay in shape and get in better shape.
rushonrock: Why tweet that picture?
CD: I did feel like I’d let myself go. So many years on the road – drinking too much beer and eating too much pizza – took its toll on my body. It catches up with you after a while. One day I took a look at a picture of myself and realised it was time to get back into gear. I’d see clips on YouTube of how I was before and after and it made an impression. Now I’m proud of how I look and feel again.
rushonrock: With the tour edition of your latest album to support can we expect more new than old in the Daughtry setlist?
CD: The setlist in the UK will include a few new songs and some of out better known tunes. It’s important to get the word out about the new album but if people in the UK do know anything about Daughtry it’s probably the better known material that they know. Don’t worry – we’ll be playing all the radio hits and more!
rushonrock: And if people are still undecided about this month’s arena double header what can you say to persuade them to join the party?
CD: Simple. Nickelback is one of the most exciting rock shows I’ve ever seen. We’re out there watching every night and we’d watch it twice in one night if we could! After our set we’re always out there to get a good spot and those guys never let their fans down. They treat us like we’re part of the family – on stage, off stage, in the dressing room or in the hotel they always look after us and look out for us. It’s a real pleasure to hit the road with those guys.