Sorry about that tangent… As you can tell I was pretty drunk by the time Dead Man Fall took to the stage, adding a few pints and shots at the church bar to my skinful of vodka previously consumed. The notes in my notepad blur into a hieroglyphic sprawl and the room spins geocentrically, I slump against the wall and take stock of my physical ability to stand, which isn’t good…
Before I get started with the review I want to tell you about The Ranzas, first off they’re from Ayrshire and consider themselves to be “Rock ‘n’ Roll baby” the band is made up of Lyle Kennedy on Vocals, Connor Adam on Guitar, James Mulholland on Guitar, Murray Brough on Bass and Julie Dunabie on Drums. So that’s just a little about the band, I’m also going to try and chase them up for an Interview so keep an eye out for that in the future as well!
It's that time again folks, time for us to get you a new selections of music to mull over from our hugely talented bunch of registered acts over at NHC! The theme for our third chart was a simple one, all we wanted was a catchy chorus, something to absent mindedly whistle while perusing the supermarket shelves, or sing aloud with the wrong words while showering.
Nhc's resident guitar geek Martin McCann gets the lowdown on his set up and finds out what he has been using both in the studio and live recently.
WARNING - this article may be steeped in guitar geekiness, proceed with caution!
The Howling Lords are mostly a two piece band, but sometimes not. Let's see what Felix uses and how he fills up the space when it's just him and drummer Jens.
Felix, can you tell us about the howling lords and a bit about how it came about. Also what got you started on guitar and a little about your music journeys this far.
As for the band forming, Jens and I have known each other since we where kids but didn't start playing together till we where in our 20's. We played in a few bands but they didn't last long. I started getting in to blues and started singing and writing stuff. After a while I took it to Jens and we started putting things together. By the start of 2016 we had 4 songs together and we did a live session at wee Studio and that was our start.
Tools of the trade - tell us about your favourite guitars, the one you go to first. What do you like about it above all others. And any close seconds, don't spare the details. And I'm sure there were some that got away, is there any you regret losing for whatever reason?
My go-to is my 95 fender strat, it just plays great for me and my playing, my second is either my 2004 strat or my Gretsch Electromatic for a very different reason, the Gretsch is great for chords and open tunings!
These go to 11 - what's your choice for amplification and given the chance what would be your ideal rig for live shows or playing at home. Do you need a specific type (heads or combos) or can you make anything work for you? What's your thoughts on the latest amp modeling options - do you think it will retire the old classics? And as a duo, do you use anything specific to maximise your sound?
I don’t think modelling will ever replace the classics. The main amp that l use is my vox ac 30. I sometimes run a fender front man with it, if it's willing to work. When we are recording, it tends to be a selmer treble 'n bass 50 or Marshal JTM 45.
Effects and pedals - the fairy dust sprinkled on the top of most good guitar sounds. What are your current little boxes of tricks? Is there any effects that have survived on your board over the years? Do you struggle to keep guitars clear in the mix both live and in the studio?
We use lots of fuzz and octave. At the moment I use the following - Boss TU-2, EHX Pog 2, Boss DD-3, Boss SD-1, and way huge Swollen Pickle. Mainly the Boss SD-1 and the TU-2 have stayed on my board. I tend to record as much as possible then leave it to the producer to sort it cause ill drive myself nuts if I am doing it.
Bits and pieces - when on tour or playing local is there anything specific you can't do without? From picks to strings, cables and capos - the little things can mean a lot. Any pro tricks you've pick up along the way you'd like to share with us?
Mainly beer... but I always seem to get to use a lot of my stuff so not been a problem. Yeah capos are dicks I always try and favor the snub capos as the don’t bend the strings when you put them on. Never drop your slide and learn to set up your own guitars, aside the money you'll save it's just really useful.
And finally, which guitarist has caught your ear recently. What inspires you to keep playing and who was your first guitar hero?
l really like the stuff coming from Vukovi, their riffs are fucking awesome! Not really sure of my first guitar hero but really loved 70’s rock growing up like Queen and Thin Lizzy.
Cheers for the chat Felix! Check out the Howling Lords on the link below;
For those who sit on their backsides in dark musty rock bars, week in week out, bemoaning the lack of good new bands..... this is probably not for you. Because it is new, it is fantastic, it is current, and it is one of the best rock albums of this year. 4 years in the making and several rewrites later, band leader Alex Cooper describes the process thus - "Dark Manouevres is very much an inside look at my life over the last four years…the good times and bad on the UK rock n’ roll scene. Love, loss, hate, jealousy, arguments, all thrown against a background of excessive drink, drugs, and ego fuelled behaviour. Though not to blow these things out of proportion, it isn't like the dye of Motley Crue in the 1980s. These things are very subtly done nowadays, hence the album title."
So, what do you get? For starters, all 9 of the studio albums, from Solid Ball of Rock, through to 2009's Into The Labyrinth. Throw in 2 bonus CDs, and 3 DVDs, and all housed in a 12" x 12" full colour book, with full lyrics, photos, and new artwork, and if you're lucky, you can land a limited edition with a print signed by frontman Biff Byford. I mentioned at the start that this is a sumptuous package, and that really is the only way to describe it. Musically it is a timeline through a set of top notch albums which are so consistent in quality that most bands would kill for a back catalogue like this. Unlike that late 80's era, there is no dip here, and very little that could conceivably be labelled as 'filler'
Best part was the night that had Jamie and Shoony, then Mickey 9s, and The Stumblers.
Because I'm not eighteen I can only really see the bands at festivals and it felt like a long time since I'd seen Jamie and Shoony.
My mum was taking photographs so we squeezed down to the front and I seen the two new members for the first time.
The whole band were just as good as I remembered.