Greig Stewart from Guillemots EXCLUSIVE interview (Red album)

Guillemots - Red

Guillemots (pictured: Aristazabal Hawkes, Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart and MC Lord Magrao) return with their second studio album, ‘Red’, released March 24, 2008. Read the interview! …

Guillemots - Red

Guillemots (pictured: Aristazabal Hawkes, Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart and MC Lord Magrao) return with their second studio album, ‘Red’, released March 24, 2008.

It’s too difficult for me to compare Guillemots’ ‘Red’ album to any other CD that I’ve listened to, which is a great accomplishment for a band. The songs are lush and varied. There’s high energy pop, R&B, interesting changes within songs and sultry, intimate ballads, that when listening, my imagination takes me to a dark, smoke filled room.

The instrumentation on ‘Red’ is daring and experimental – which could have been a concern for all involved, however, old and new fans alike will be introduced to a brilliant Guillemots album, complete with talented musicians, excellent songwriting along with soulful vocals and smooth harmonies. Highly recommended. – Jenny May

Dave Tommo from BandWeblogs.com had some questions for Guillemots drummer Greig Stewart, in our second series of questions with Greig.

(Read the first exclusive interview with Greig Stewart)

Dave Tommo: What are you looking forward to the most with the release of your new album, ‘Red’?

Greig Stewart: I like playing festivals. It’s not like touring where you are out for a few months at a time. You can be at home through the week and weekends are party time. Then you get the rest of the week to recover. Also I have an 8-month-old baby which means I’m home through the week with her.

How did you come up with the name ‘Red’ for the album?

Fyfe came up with it. He felt Red can mean a lot of different things.

Does Arista play the drums on one of the tracks? Which one and how did that come about?

The song is “Take me home”, it’s the last song on the album. Arista and Fyfe just started playing together in the studio. It sounded really good. So there was no need to do it again. She plays very well.

Are there any strange percussion instruments used on the album?

A few. There are bats. Fyfe has a bat detector, which picks up their sound, which human ears cannot hear. It was really strange as it was in the right tempo and pitch for that song (Big Dog). Also on “Big Dog” there is a tour bus engine that has been processed into a beat. Two silver platter trays that have been dropped from a high stairwell to get a double crash (on Last Kiss).

Who does your hair?

Funny one, Dave.

Can we expect anything different on your next tour?

We only start rehearsals next week. So no massive thoughts on that one yet.

What’s the story behind the masks that you use on stage occasionally?

They were used for a show my wife was in a few years ago. Mc found them pretty fascinating. He also used them in a short film he made last summer.

How else have you been involved in the making of ‘Red’?

When we were demoing songs, the band would record onto our laptops. A drum track from these sessions made it on to the album, which I’m quite proud of. Adam Noble who is a very good, experienced engineer asked how we got such a good drum sound. So we took great interest on how to mic things up. Also I made a few big meals for everyone. Think the best was: cumberland sausage and garlic mash. That went down well but then the session kinda finished as everyone ate too much and couldn’t really play. The rest of involvement would be my imagination as with everyone else involved in the making of Red. The imagination runs riot which can be a blessing but also hinderance.

Have you experienced any ghostly weirdness while recording the LP in your studio?

No ghostly encounters. Just a few whack out moments when we’ve been in the studio too long. Then you slightly lose touch with what’s going on outside.

We asked you before what your favourite song is to play live and you had answered “Big Dog” and “Standing on the Last Star”. Has that changed?

Not sure yet as we only start rehearsals next week. At the moment its probably “She’s Evil” sung and written by Mc. Its got an Electronic beat which I can weave in and out of. Great fun to play and we all get to shout.

Which festivals are you playing at this year?

Not sure yet. I guess most of the ones we didn’t play last year.

In your opinion, what is the best song ever written?

“No End” by Sandy Denny.

Are there any guest musicians on your next tour?

We are looking to replace our sax player Alex Ward as he is busy with his solo stuff. ‘Alex Ward and the dead ends’ and ‘Dead days beyond help’. We are looking for a girl who can sing backing vox and play sax also.

What’s the best way to get to sleep on the tour bus?

I-Pod after a hot shower.

The Mercury nominated Guillemots are set to play three must see ‘taster’ shows in March 2008 – Ritz, Manchester (March 9th), Academy, Oxford (March 10th) and London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire (March 11th).

Guillemots Official Website
Guillemots on Myspace

Godsmack Good Times, Bad Times Greatest Hits, Sully Erna + watch video

Sully Erna from Godsmack - drawing by Milek

For years, I had heard of the band Godsmack, but never really knew much about them. A friend of mine here in England recently read Godsmack frontman/founder Sully Erna’s autobiography, The Paths We Choose – and it was funny to find out that Sully comes from Massachusetts and now lives in New Hampshire – my old state…

Sully Erna from Godsmack - drawing by Milek

For years, I had heard of the band Godsmack, but never really knew much about them. A friend of mine, here in England, recently read Godsmack frontman/founder Sully Erna’s autobiography, The Paths We Choose – and it was funny to find out that Sully comes from Massachusetts and now lives in New Hampshire – my old state. The band was pretty much in my backyard the whole time, but it took someone in England to turn me on to them.

Sully Erna seems like a cool guy. I watched a couple interviews with him on YouTube and I like his open mindedness towards life and music. When I listen to Godsmack I can’t help but think of Metallica and Alice In Chains, so I’m glad that Sully’s up front about them being his influences – along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Originally a drummer, there’s also footage on YouTube of Sully Erna and Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin’s drum battle “Batalla De Los Tambores” from Godsmack’s DVD “Changes”. You’ve gotta love the way the drums slide onto the stage. They sound great – and it’s good to hear the Rush segment at the end. (You can also find that video on Shannon Larkin’s Yamaha page.)

Click here for more Godsmack videos

“I Stand Alone”, the first single off of Godsmack’s third studio album, ‘Faceless’ was featured on the soundtrack for The Scorpion King and is also in the video game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Watch video), along with “Straight Out of Line”. They’ve had other songs in movies, and I think it’s always good to see bands getting their music in movie soundtracks. I wonder if Godsmack will do more with video games? I think they should.

Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times

To celebrate 10 years as a band, Godsmack released their Greatest Hits album, ‘Good Times, Bad Times… Ten Years of Godsmack’ December 4th, 2007 on Universal.

The Greatest Hits album includes most of their commercially released singles along with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”. The video for it is fun to watch, but seeing the opening shots of Boston like the bridge, the infamous Citgo sign and the fan wearing the Red Sox shirt makes me feel a little homesick!

Watch Godsmack – “Good Times, Bad Times” video on Yahoo

Good Times, Bad Times – 10 Years Of Godsmack on amazon.com

Good Times Bad Times: + DVD on amazon.co.uk (UK release – December 10th, 2007)

Track listing:

1. Good Times, Bad Times
2. Whatever
3. Keep Away
4. Voodoo
5. Bad Religion
6. Awake
7. Greed
8. I Stand Alone
9. Straight Out of Line
10. Serenity
11. Re-Align
12. Running Blind
13. Touche
14. Speak
15. Shine Down
16. The Enemy

+ 75 minute DVD acoustic performance filmed in Las Vegas (check listings).

Musicians on album:

Sully Erna – vocals, guitar, drums
Tony Rombola – guitar, backing vocals
Robbie Merrill – bass, backing vocals
Tommy Stewart – drums
Shannon Larkin – drums

For more information, go to:

Godsmack on Myspace
Godsmack Official Website

Drawing of Sully Erna credit: Milek Jakubiec

By: Jenny May – Band Weblogs

Guillemots drummer Greig Stewart interview with BandWeblogs.com

Guillemots - Greig StewartGuillemots have made an impressive debut here in England since forming in 2004. Band members are Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart, MC Lord Magrao, and Aristazabal Hawkes and their first album, Through the Window Pane includes gems of songs like “Trains To Brazil”, “We’re Here”, “Made-Up Lovesong #43” and “Annie, Let’s Not Wait”.

It’s all been quite the whirlwind for Guillemots the last couple of years as they’ve been keeping busy with tours, festivals, radio interviews and UK TV appearances including Friday Night With Jonathan Ross and Top of the Pops.

Their debut album Through the Windowpane was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize and the band was nominated for best British Live Act for the 2007 Brit Awards. Not only that, but they have a dedicated fan base that as far as they’re concerned, Guillemots can do no wrong.

Just back from touring in Europe, Scottish drummer Greig Stewart is one of the most unique and versatile drummers in music today. The times that I’ve watched him, his presence on stage was amazing and he is the kind of drummer that you “can’t take your eyes off of” when he’s playing.

Greig has been kind enough to answer a few questions that I wanted to ask him for readers of BandWeblogs.com.

Read Greig Stewart’s second exclusive interview with BandWeblogs.com

Jenny May: How and when did you become a drummer?

Greig Stewart: Loved music and drumming seemed natural to me. I came to it quite young. Made my own drums as a kid out of bits and bobs.

What kind of drum kit and gear do you use?

1960s Ludwig drums, 22″bass, 13″rack tom, 16″floor, Ludwig 400 snare. 1980s Premier Resonator, drums 22″ bass, 13″ rack tom, 20″ Ludwig floor, Premier resonator snare. Zildjian 19″ 16″ custom k crash/ride, 14″ new beat high hats, Paiste rude china. Roland Spds sampler. Apple mac, logic.

Oddly enough, you’ve been using Spandau Ballet’s old drum kit. How did that happen?

Well it’s either Spandau Ballet’s or Rod Morgenstein? Basically went into Andy’s Drum Center to buy a snare drum. The kit because of its unusual colour, shouted at me (its duck egg blue). I was told it was custom built for either of the above. Looks and sounds great.

Are you currently using it for live shows and in the studio?

Using the Premier for live at present. Am going to experiment for the new record. Haven’t used the Ludwig for a while.

When you’re not on tour do you practice regularly?

Should do more really. I tend to record onto my computer with new beats. But am now looking to find a teacher to push me more. The usual thing with drums noise is a bit of a problem.

What are your usual practice techniques and what do you use for practice?

Playing along with a metronome is important for me. Rudiments, sticking techniques. Some books on drumming. I’ve got drum practice pads, though find it quite difficult getting along with it as they don’t produce much sound.

Who has influenced you the most in music?

All my friends at school were mad into music (playing and listening). That’s where I heard and got into so much music.

Do you have a favorite drummer?

Toooo many to name! Well here’s some; Ringo, Elvin Jones, John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Keith Moon, Steve Morris, Seb Roachford, Tony Allen.

What have Guillemots been up to lately? I know you were on tour in the UK and Europe recently, and have a few upcoming shows in the UK, but will you be recording again soon? Also, any upcoming TV or radio appearances that we should know about?

That’s it really for ‘Through the Window Pane’ record as far as touring. We are doing a few festivals this summer. But the main focus is writing/recording the new record in our new studio.

What is the new studio like?

The studio is based in the East End of London. It’s an old synagogue which has a really high roof and lots of different size rooms. Great space for recording and just hanging out.

Guillemots had a small tour across the US and Canada in 2006, including the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Do you have plans to tour the US again anytime soon?

Next year or maybe later this year. We have changed record company recently which made things complicated.

What is a typical day like for you when you’re on tour? From when you wake up to when you go to sleep?

I try and get into some kind of routine. For me; get up about 10, 11ish. Make porridge and cup of tea. Shower. The next thing depends on promotional things. If none, I go for a walk for a few hours. Then late lunch round 3’4 ish. Best not eat too late before the gig. Relax and start getting ready for the gig. Warm ups, practice on pad with sticks. After, I’ll go for a shower and watch a film on the bus. Not really rock and roll. If we have a day off the next day, I’ll partyyyy ooonn!!

What is your favorite song to play from Guillemots repertoire?

The new songs are fun to play “Big Dog”, “Standing on the Last Star”.

Who comes up with all of the ideas for what you wear on stage?

Everybody really. Mc usually though.

So far, where have you enjoyed playing the most? (country/venue) Why?

I enjoyed Barcelona. Love the city/food/people. Walk along the beach then had a seafood lunch. (Thing with Guillemots is often food orientated). The gig was cool with a great atmosphere and then the venue turns into a massive club till late. Sore heads all around.

Did you contribute to the artwork on the ‘Through The Windowpane’ album?

The whole band had drawings/paintings on the album. One of my paintings got on the inner sleeve.

How often do you paint and/or draw? What do you draw?

Got a sketch book which I take on tour. Don’t do enough paintings though. The band did a painting each for charity recently. I tend to draw what just comes out, faces, cartoons, weird objects and usually drivel.

If you were to buy an open minded music lover a new CD as a gift, what artist or band would you want to turn them on to?

Ali Farka Toure, Sandy Denny, Bonny Prince Billy, Bjork. Sorry can’t choose one!

Guillemots will be performing at the 2007 V Festival on the Channel 4 Stage. Also set to play the Channel 4 Stage are The Kooks, Manic Street Preachers, Lily Allen and Mika. The V festival takes place at Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire, England on August 18th and 19th.

Guillemots on Myspace
Guillemots Official Website

By: Jenny May