BLACK STONE CHERRY – New Album “Is Heavy, But Not Scare Your Kids Heavy”

December 12, 2015, 2 years ago

Aaron Small

feature hard rock black stone cherry

BLACK STONE CHERRY – New Album “Is Heavy, But Not Scare Your Kids Heavy”

“It’s exciting, it’s something we always wanted to do – put out a DVD – but we never thought it would actually come to fruition, just because of all the work that goes into it; picking out the proper venue and whatnot,” says Black Stone Cherry guitarist Ben Wells, speaking about Thank You Livin’ Live – available now via Eagle Vision. “Then the opportunity fell right in our lap. It’s cool because Chris (Robertson – vocals, guitar) mixed it, and my buddy Joe (McKinney – lighting director) did all the video editing for it. So it’s pretty sweet that it was all done somewhat in house. The way we run our camp is kind of like a big family anyway. All our crew guys are guys we went to high school with.”
 
While on the subject of live concert DVDs, Ben shares his favourites. “Anything Aerosmith puts out I’m a fan of; that’s my favourite band. In fact, they just put one out on Eagle Rock – Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014. It’s a great DVD! We played Download that year so I got to see it live; it was spectacular! I’ve also got a bunch of Elvis DVDs cause I’m a huge Elvis fan. Those are my two biggest collections as far as music DVDs. Growing up as a kid, putting out a CD was one thing, but when you get to do a DVD, you must be doing something! It’s pretty surreal to have people sending us photos of them watching it in their living room, it’s awesome.”
 

Thank You Livin’ Live was filmed October 30th 2014 in Birmingham, England at The LG Arena. According to Ben, Black Stone Cherry did not approach that show any differently because the cameras were rolling. However, “I’m not going to lie and say there wasn’t a little extra nerves happening because we knew we were being filmed. At the same time, we weren’t playing for the cameras; we were playing for the audience in front of us. If we had just played it up for the cameras, it wouldn’t have been fair to the people who came to see that show. I think that’s what people like about a live DVD; they feel like they’re in the audience. We didn’t want it to feel like a concert film. We told the camera people, ‘We run around stage, just watch out that you don’t get kicked in the head cause we’re not going to play any different.’ They were really good about staying out of the way. If they saw one of us come running, they’d get back. But once it kicked into the show, there was a couple times during the performance I forgot we were being filmed. You just get in the zone and focus on the people in front of you. Then before I knew it, the show was over. I got off stage and it was like, ‘Did we suck? Were we good?’ Cause we went into it with the intention that we weren’t going to fix anything – and we didn’t fix anything. All the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, everything is as it is. We didn’t go into the studio to fix any parts that might have been out of tune or whatever. That’s what makes it cool; it literally is a 100% live DVD.”
 
During the highly energetic set, BSC played pieces of “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream and “Layla” by Eric Clapton; a nice little surprise. “It’s something we do whenever we get to headline, we branch out and spread our wings a bit. We’ve been doing the ‘Layla’ thing for a little bit now. The Cream thing came about cause Jack Bruce had just passed away a few days before that show (on October 25th of liver disease at age 71). So it was our little homage to him; especially while we were overseas in England. I think the people really ate it up. We rehearsed it that day, and recorded it that night; we’d never done that before so I thought that was kind of cool.”
 
Given all the madness that’s happening in the world currently, “Peace Is Free” (which is part of the Thank You Livin’ Live setlist) is more poignant than ever. “Thank you. We wrote that song at a hotel in London in 2007, and it meant a lot then. But it seems like that song has gained more meaning, or new meaning, unfortunately, as the years go on. I wish I could tell you we don’t need songs like that, but I think you do; it’s necessary. Honestly, I’m really honoured that our band wrote that song because a lot of people out there are sharing it online, especially with all these senseless murders and terrorist attacks, that song seems to be resonating with people in different ways than it has before, and it’s connecting with new people who hadn’t heard it. I think it’s a testament to what the song is, it’s bigger than we are; it’s very special.”
 
On February 9th 2016, BSC will play Paris, France – not at the same venue Eagles Of Death Metal were, but still that same city. “We’re excited about it. I think there is a little bit of hesitation, questions, and concerns – not just Paris but all over Europe. But the important thing is we do everything we can, and the venues do everything they can to make sure the audience is protected; then all we can do is go up there and be something that people can have new memories of concerts in Paris about. They can walk away with something fresh in their head, rather than all the images we’ve seen on the news. As long as the venues are taking safety precautions, it’s our responsibility and our duty to go over there and make people forget about all the bad stuff.”  
 

 
Switching gears to studio album number five, entitled Kentucky, and due for release in the spring; “We just finished it actually,” reveals Ben. “It just got mixed and mastered, so all that’s done. Now we’re just getting the artwork together, and all that fun stuff. It’ll come out next year; the new single will come out in January. They’re doing a big press release soon with the release date, all the songs. There’s going to be a pre-order too where if you pre-order it, you get a free song early. We had a good time doing it! We did it back in our hometown in Kentucky, where we recorded our first CD. So it was cool to go back there and do that again, work with the same guy who recorded us the first time; it was really neat.”
 
After four albums on Roadrunner Records, Black Stone Cherry has found a new home with the Mascot Label Group. Ben explains the departure from Roadrunner. “It was kind of a… I guess you could say it was a mutual thing. We had a great time with them and they really helped us to basically get where we are; they gave us some great opportunities. But it came a time where we had to figure out what kind of band we were, and what direction they were going. With them being sold to a big corporate label group with Atlantic, we just felt like we needed to be somewhere that was going to concentrate on us a little more. We’re forever grateful for everything that Roadrunner did; all the staff there and everything. We just wanted to go somewhere different and try something different; work with some new minds and fresh ideas. So far it’s been so awesome to work with the people at Mascot. They have some awesome ideas, things we never even thought of. Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut as a band, and the people at the label; they do the same thing every cycle and that’s what it is.”
 
Ben delves further into the making of the forthcoming Kentucky. “We wrote all the way up until recording; on the road and at home. Some songs we revisited, the first single that’s going to come out next year is a song that we wrote actually in 2010. Basically, the songs are 90% done once we get in the studio. We like to keep that 10% just to be creative and make up stuff as you go along. We have the structure down, all the lyrics and melodies; but once you get in the studio you can’t help tweaking things here and there. You hear it back and you want to make it better.”
 

 
For the first time, BSC self-produced their album. “It was incredible, to say the least. We are pretty hands on with everything we do, so when it came time to sign with Mascot, we said ‘We want to work with you, but we want full creative control.’ And they let us do that. In the studio in the past, we’ve never been one to hand it over to a producer and say, ‘You take care of that.’ We basically co-produced all of our albums, but this time we wanted to go in on our own. I think our fans are going to appreciate that too. It’s 100% us. There’ll be 13 songs on the album. And there’ll be a couple of special editions that have 15 or 16 songs. Three different versions are going to be out – but the standard edition you can get anywhere will have 13 songs. All the songs we recorded for the album will be heard and available in some way. There’s not one song we recorded that’s not going to be heard.”
 
Everybody wants to know what it sounds like, which is always a difficult question for a musician to answer. So, how does the new music compare to the four albums that came before it? “It’s cliché to say it’s got parts of all of them, but I would say it’s definitely heavy. It’s our heaviest record we’ve ever done. The riffs are super heavy, and some of the tunings are lower; the mix is just really in your face. It’s definitely got the spirit of the first album just cause we were in the same place, so we had that mentality. It’s got a little bit of the vibe of the second… it’s hard to compare. All I can say is it’s heavy, it’s raw, it’s Southern and it’s soulful. It’s cool… it’s definitely going to rock.”
 
Song writing in Black Stone Cherry is a true collaborative effort, attests Ben. “All the music and lyrics is all four of us, we all contribute to everything we do creatively.” Was there any particular fountain of inspiration the band drew from? “There’s a lot of different stuff really. Stuff that we’ve experienced in the past, things we’ve gone through as a band. Then there’s fun songs that really don’t have any special meaning, just party songs. But there are some about losing someone – or gaining someone; it’s pretty empowering. We don’t like to write a lot of depressing stuff. Some of it hinges on faith… it’s heavy, but it’s not like scare your kids heavy. We’re happy people. There is one cover song on the album that we did not intend to be on there. We did it with the intention of it being a B-side, but it came out so good we had to put it on the album. I won’t say what it is yet because people will not be expecting us to do this song. We’re normally not ones to put out a bunch of covers – there was one on the first album, and one on the third album. So it’s kind of cool to put one on here. This one is left field, but it’s awesome. We worked it up in the studio and it had to go on the album – no question about it.”

Featured Audio

ROBB FINLAYSON - "Winter's Apprentice" (Independent)

ROBB FINLAYSON - "Winter's Apprentice" (Independent)

Featured Video

TRAGUL Premiers "The Tree Of Life"

TRAGUL Premiers "The Tree Of Life"

Latest Reviews