This was actually the perfect birthday! On the same day that I turned…. (well we leave it at that…)! I couldn’t have wished for a better birthday. Great dinner with my girlfriend, and my best friend.
And after that, heading down to Saga, and the mighty Quireboys! A band that fell in love with ages ago! And the fact that they were playing in my small hometown…
I also got the chance to sit down with Guy Griffin for a short chat.
Here’s my interview with him:
So, my first question is: Why are you in Sweden right now doing an acoustic tour?
It’s the first time we’ve done acoustic shows in Sweden. We’ve done a lot in the U.K. and it went really well, and we just finished recording new album and we knew we’d be record in in January so this would be nice to get some shows in. Kind of a kick-start of the new album really.
So, how do you feel about Sweden this time of year (late January)
There’s really cold air but we were kind of expecting that anyway. It’s not so different than the U.K. actually at the moment. Just not as much snow though, just rain.
About the new album….
We just finished it. It’s being mixed right now. And we went to Rock Field studios to record it, in Wales, which you know it’s where everyone you can think of did a record there, Ozzy Osborne Queen. Queen did Bohemian Rhapsody in that studio, and Oasis made “What’s the story morning glory” in the same studio earlier. It’s just an old farm really…
You know it’s still at a working farm really, but it’s away from distractions you know, so you can be alone. You know, you can live up there, you know it’s a residential place so. So, we were there for like 10 days
Ten days is what it takes. It’s a long one for us. The last couple albums we did in about seven or eight days, so…
So, could we expect like a typical Quireboys album?
There’s a couple of songs where you could say that, but there is quite a variety of styles. It’s a little different from other albums we’ve done. You know, we were very happy. We are very happy with what we come up with and just waiting to hear the mixes now. It was so intense you know, just doing it all in 10 days we got 12 songs recorded
Your last album, which I actually did a review of earlier, it was a kind of blues cover album, and I got the feeling when I was listening your new your stuff, that it’s a bit more blues in those albums.
Well maybe. The thing is I mean, there’s so many different styles of music the way that we like and that we listen to, and you know we like the rock side of it. You know it’s all coming from, you know AC/DC and the Stones, and you know Thin Lizzy you know, those sorts of bands. But there’s always been more of that blues thing anyway. And you know, from the Stones type of things and then we also really like this country stuff and even folk stuff you know, like you know, fully acoustic type.
And you always got to mix of that, making it Quireboys. One song, even if I never heard it’s like, Oh yeah, That’s Quireboys!
Well I mean the thing is, it’s always been like that with the band anyway. I mean even from the first album it was quite a varied style on it. And it’s like you know, all our favorite bands, all the great bands, they weren’t afraid to try new stuff and it always sounded like them whatever they did. The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Queen… They were playing all sorts of different styles and still sounded like that.
When you started, and you got the break in the late 80s early 90s
you were called here in Sweden anyway, “Oh here’s the English answer to Guns n’ Roses”. I never thought that they were anything like G N’ R….
I guess because it was… Well you know, when we were younger, we were always in like, in the UK newspapers. You know, it was all kind of like, “we are a rock band and we are wild”. And a lot of that’s all made up you know. You know, we did misbehave a little bit. Well, like any anyonethat age you know.
How old were you then?
When the first sound came out I just turned 21. Yeah. So, when I joined the band was 19, and when we recorded that first album in Los Angeles I was 20. It wasn’t even old enough to drink!
So, I guess that’s the life of a rock musician, in the way that you are the rock musician has changed a bit since then?
What do you think it’s good or bad?
I think it’s been bad for a lot of bands. I think it’s difficult for young bands to get the chance to get to a level, like we did. Like it never gets heard. It’s difficult. I mean, at the same time you can reach, with the press of a button, you can reach hundreds or maybe millions of people, but how much attention do they actually get
You know, when we did our first album there’s a lot of money invested into the band. And you know we were able to go touring around the world and do all these tours with all these bands that are heroes of ours. So you know, nowadays it’s drastically different from that. You know, I look at us more like you know, we’re a working band now a days.
You play in Torshälla….
Yeah, we play anyway. You know we’ll play anywhere if people want to see us you know. Pay the right money and we’ll play there.
Well, I’m very happy that you’re here!
Yeah, and it’s nice to play different places. You know every year we put play in different places we’ve never played before. And you know it’s great to meet new people, and you know like tonight people couldn’t be nicer. You know it’s great. We treated really nicely, and lovely food and you know It’s fantastic.
But it’s a different thing nowadays. With the whole change of the music industry, when it kind of fell to bits you know the last few years, it didn’t really affect us because we’re sort of doing now what we’ve been doing for the last 15 years
You’ve kind of underground already?
Yeah. When we were first got back together. It was difficult for us. You know it was almost like starting again. I remember we did an album called “Well Oiled” which is like the second album from when we got back together, and I remember the record came out and then a month after the record was out it was dead, because the record company didn’t put the money in to it. And you were relying on the record company to set out to promote it whereas now you can promote it yourself.
So after that, that’s what we’ve been doing ever since anyway, and when we have a ownership and we print and we have management and agents and all that sell stuff still but we pretty much manage ourselves on a day to day basis you know We’re even doing the accounts and things that you know.
So that is worse but it’s also better?
Yeah. It’s better. I know where every penny is going. No more what we’re going to spend it on or how much we can pay ourselves and that kind of thing, whereas before when you’re with record labels and big management company you didn’t really know, you were always going cap in hand to get some money.
I mean back in the day when we were selling a million records or something like that, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we were making super money because so much money was spent. We owed… God knows, I mean, when we split with EMI records we were in debt for God knows a couple of million dollars you know.
So, it’s like, yeah so much money was spent out and some of it wasted on needless things. And now, that doesn’t happen, because it’s not that sort of money
But there’s still a great experience I guess.
Oh, I wouldn’t change it for the world! Because you know, for two or three years we were living the rock n’ roll life. What you dreamt about when you were a teenager and wanting to be in a band. We achieved all that and more you know. So, I wouldn’t change it at all
You said that today you are a hard-working band. It’s absolutely true because I browsed through your tour schedule, and I saw that you’re doing a show every day in Sweden right now.
That’s another thing of the way that things works nowadays for most bands. You can take days off but, you’re really take from the gig the night before, it’ basically paying for that day off when you’re going to get a hotel, you’ve got to feed everybody. So we try, You know, so if it’s only like four or five shows, we’ll do four or five shows. We’ve done tours like in Germany recently where it was like 10 shows and one day off. So you kind of have to do it that way.
Yeah, I understand that. But do you ever have the time to actually see the places you go to?
No, you want to try and sleep. The main thing on the road is, you know it’s different when you’re like 20 years old or 25 years old. When you’re older, basically I try to sleep for an hour you know. And that’s what you do. Or your plan, when are you can eat because you can’t eat right. I personally can’t eat like two hours before show, it has to be five hours before show or so.
Otherwise you feels so slow and you know, so just things like that you know, and you’re not living on a normal schedule you know, like that we’re not playing until 11 pm tonight you know.
And luckily we haven’t got to leave early tomorrow since we’re playing Stockholm but it could be if we were going somewhere else, we might have to be up super early, it’s only a one hour drive, but you know, today did like a five hour drive you know. And that was late night last night.
Where did you play yesterday?
I would say Troll… Trollhattan? On the way from Gothenburg. So yeah, it was a long long journey.
All right. So it’s almost showtime. What can you tell me about tonights show?
Well it’s just a cross-section from different albums. I mean there’s obviously a few songs from the first album which people want to hear. It just shows a different side from when we play electric. You know, there’s a lot of songs that we wouldn’t usually play electric. And even though most of the songs are written on acoustic anyway apart from some of rockers, the the majority of songs written on acoustic.
On that note. My favorite album is of course your first album “A Bit Of What You Fancy”, BUT my favorite song is actually “Ode To You (Baby Just Walk)” But I guess that it’s a difficult song to do acoustic…?
Oh right! Yeah, because it needs that… (here we started to hum the song with all the different types of instruments and really got to understand why it can’t be done acoustic!)
But eventually Guy said: I was thinking about that song a couple of days ago, and that we could look at and rework a bit maybe. Coz I was actually thinking about that song recently, trying to get it back into the live set with the band. We haven’t done it for a few years and we spent a lot of on the second album.
Okay, but the new album will be out this year?.
Yeah. It’s supposed to be out second week of March, but definitely out right before April.
You think you’re going to come back to Sweden and do an electric show to support the album?
I hope so. I mean, we have an agent over here anyway so I’m sure we’ll be able to organize something, so you know, once the album’s out I’m sure there’ll be some shows!
Maybe not in Torshälla….
Why not…. 😊
We are playing Stockholm tomorrow. One of my favorite cities, and we’ll play this weekend. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of Stockholm.
(Now, we chat a about Stockholm a bit, not worth mentioning here….)
So, that’s all I had. Thank you so much for this!
Well, it’s my pleasure!
Thank you Guy! It was really a great birthday, to be able to sit down with a great idol of mine!
I would like to thank Mats Rydström (Abramis Brama, Off Yer Rocka Records) for this opportunity! I had a great evening and an amazing show with The Quireboys!
And also, a couple of pictures from Lady Lea!