"We love playing the UK, we'll keep coming back if you'll have us!" - In Conversation with Black Stone Cherry
In 2018 musicians can sometimes live and die on hype, hype for the people they are, the scene they reside in and the music they produce, a bands debut album can go straight to no.1 and then they disappear and turn up on "Where Are They Now?" features years down the line. Kentucky born and bred Black Stone Cherry are unequivocally not that at all, not even in the slightest. The band have been together for nearly 20 years (they started in 2001) and have toured the world from day one and are the hardest working band out there in 2018.
All of their achievements have been accomplished with patience and Southern charm. Building a loyal following across the globe, taking them to the hallowed stages of festivals like Download Festival, supporting iconic bands like Gun's N' Roses and played pretty much everywhere in the UK, all they have to do now in their quest for world domination is become headliners themselves, and with their latest record Family Tree they are certainly heading in the right direction. Craig spoke to Guitarist Ben Wells who was backstage in the bowels of another enormo arena somewhere in deepest darkest Europe.
How's the tour going so far? Having fun being back in Europe?
Oh its been great, the crowds have been great, we've played some cities we haven't hit before which is always good to see some new faces at, we are having a great time.
Black Stone Cherry always seem to be touring, if you're actually touring you have at the very least got dates announced, is that coming from a place of a love for touring or do you find you have to tour more due to streaming being the go to way fans listen to music?
Absolutely, we live for live music and that's where we really shine. People love the record, that's where all our hard work pays off, we want to keep that momentum going with the shows feeling good.
You tour extensively throughout Europe and the UK on each tour unlike other big or bigger bands who only ever play the big markets like London and Glasgow. Do you see your hard work paying off by returning to cities and playing the next place up capacity wise each time?
Yeah you know it's important to us to hit as far and wide as we can. Of course it's important to hit the big cities like London but we like to go to smaller areas where bands don't go to too much. That's where we see the most passionate fans a lot of the time. Sometimes London can feel a bit jaded because all major tours go through there, but some of the smaller places we hit don't get hit that often and live music there feels a lot more precious.
You're playing my home city of Cardiff next week and you've played here a number of times, each time you seem to hit the bigger venue, and here you are headlining our arena, you must really love Wales!
It feels good, really good in fact. This is the third time we have headlined that Arena and one of favourite shows was two years ago we played St. Davids Hall and that is one of the shows we really enjoyed as a band. It was a little bit more intimate, sometimes those big ol' aircraft hanger style arenas can lose a bit of the audience/band interaction but we love playing anywhere and everywhere.
You recently sub-headlined Download Festival with Guns N' Roses, how was that experience?
It was a major out of body experience, playing for 100,000 people. It started and finished before we could take it all in.
Family Tree has been out for 6 months at this point and it's a good point to reflect back on its birth and how its coming across in the live setting. Are you loving playing the new stuff?
This is the first record we have played every song off the record at some point. Some tracks on other records we've never got around to playing but this one has been played front to back.
What are your plans for 2019?
Oh man we have so many good things coming up next year but just to wet the appetite all I can say is we will be back and to watch this space!
Black Stone Cherry start their UK tour this coming Thursday at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff with Monster Truck and The Cadillac Three along for the ride. For tickets and other dates click here.