Black Stone Cherry – 20 Questions
These guys are incredibly busy but Pete managed to nab some time from band drummer and vocalist John Fred Young so we are pleased to present his responses and thoughts. What a nice guy..and there’ll be things in here that even the keenest BSC fan didn’t know…
- Tell us about your new ‘Kentucky’ album and the ‘roots return’ we have read about.
We started writing Kentucky around January 2015. It was cold in the practice house, but that’s to be expected with Kentucky weather! We had recently been released from our contract with Roadrunner Records and were free to have full creative control of every aspect of our band. This was an incredible time for us to prove to ourselves and our fans that we could deliver an outstanding record. We had many offers from different labels and found our home with the Mascot Label Group based in Holland and with an office in New York. We were very excited and honoured to join the Mascot family, with their rooster of such talented artists. We chose to record the album at Barrick Recording in Glasgow, Kentucky. We had worked with David Barrick on our debut record in 2006 and were very excited to get back recording with him again and his amazing collection of vintage analogue gear. The board we recorded the album on is 8 channels out of the original Abbey Road EMI board that was used to record a little band called The Beatles, and also Pink Floyd. The sound straight from those channels brings such a warmth to any recording and it helped us achieve the classic sound again that we had on our first record. We also has the pleasure to have many friends from back home who are wonderful pickers and singers join us on Kentucky. The title was inspired by us all joking with our manager Vinnie about what we would name the record and someone said “Why don’t we call it Kentucky?” It gave cold chills to us all. Nothing else could sum up the 15 years we’ve been a band and what we all stand for in our music and in our souls.
- You receive two free tickets to a festival – where would you prefer this to be and what three acts would you like to see?
I would want to go to Ramblin’ Man Fair! Ever since I saw the ad in Classic Rock a couple years ago, I wanted us to be a part of the festival, so getting to headline this year is a down right honour! I am extremely looking forward to seeing my Dad and Uncle’s band, The ************ play this year on our stage, along with the legendary ***** ******! This is the first time they have been outside the United States besides Canada, so we are very excited to have them with us!
- The radio is playing…what song would you cross the room to turn UP and what song would you cross the room to turn OFF?
I listen to so many different genres of music and I rarely ever turn anything off, unless it’s just completely awful, haha! I love rock n’ roll of course and classic rock, but I listen to classical, rap, jazz, bluegrass and so much more. We were jamming to Mozart the other day in the kitchen, and then Marvin Gaye. My little girl, Scout loves music so we are trying to introduce her to everything.
- The third track on an album is often a gem – has track order ever impressed you?
I think rock bands always try to put ‘the ballad’ around 4th or 5th on a record. We try to make every song a “gem” and that way the album reads like a piece of art instead of just tracks. I have always loved the running order of Jeff Lynn’s Armchair Theatre Record. It’s probably in my Top 10 records of all time Songs can fade away too early..and artists can too…what comes to mind ? If we are talking about fades as in fading away from earth, then I would say John Bonham, Hendrix, Janis, Kurt, Lemmy, Bowie… I always wanted to meet David Bowie, so his recent passing was heart breaking. I was a big fan due to my Uncle Fred from the Headhunters turning me onto Bowie early on.
- Which album track – any artist, any title – would have made a fine single release and why?
Lift Me Up – on off Lynn’s Armchair Theatre record.
- A recording that makes you laugh….intentionally or otherwise! (artist / track / source album)
Frank Zappa – Baby Snakes.
- Your favoured instruments for stage work?
In BSC, I play drums and sing backup harmonies, so I use DW Drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vater Sticks and Evans Heads.
- Boz Scaggs and Annie Lennox record a duet and you lead the band – what song do they sing and who do you bring in on the session?
Sweet Dreams, remixed bluegrass style, with BSC.
- An acoustic gem. What song and who by? What do you like about it?
Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp – Led Zeppelin. I have always loved this song. It has beautiful picking and an Appalachian base, then Robert’s epic vocals on top.
- When it comes to major decisions, which member of BSC seems to get it right first, and does anyone listen to him?!!
Me, of course! 🙂 We all take on all responsibilities and duties in this band and we don’t make a move without everyone being in agreement. That’s what makes our ship tight.
- Name an actor or actress who made a listenable song recording – and what do you like about it?
Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. Fallen n Flyin’ – it’s an amazing song and Jeff is an incredible singer and does the track justice. You can have a world class song, but you have to have a singer that can make people feel it.
- Where are Black Stone Cherry planning to tour next?
We are looking forward to Ramblin’ Man Fair! Our next tour is The Carnival of Madness which is starting in two weeks in the UK! Our brothers and sisters in Shinedown and Halestorm are joining us and we can’t wait to tear it up and play some awesome rock n roll! As I was saying before, Ramblin’ Man is going to be amazing! I couldn’t believe we would be so lucky to be asked to be a part of the festival!
- Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed (where and when was this)?
Robert Randolph. Jon and I went to see them at a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not low expectations, but I wasn’t prepared for how good they were going to be. My mind was blown!
- Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What venues are your favourites?
Whenever and wherever it connects to the soul. People want to come and take away an experience. Every night you walk on stage, you have to make every person who came out leave always wanting more and talking about how insane of a show they just saw. BSC started playing small bars and clubs, so we cut our teeth entertaining in that smaller environment. Each time we played a larger room from the last but we just keep the mentality of that intimate bar show all the way to the larger rooms. People need to feel connected to and I think that’s what we always do.
- Has a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?
We have lots of DJ’s who are wonderful friends and have supported the band so much through out the years. DJ BBQ is a great friend of ours and he always has been a close friend. He always entertains where ever he is!
- Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening? What is it about this recording that you value?
AC/DC – Back In Black. It’s an album that I beat the plaster off the chimney in my room listening to. I got a lot of great schooling off that record.
- As a band you often seem to go for atmosphere or mood – can you cite two songs where you really pull this off ?
Reverend Wrinkle from Folklore & Superstition and Peace Pipe from Magic Mountain.
- Fade or finish?
The Yardbirds’ Happenings Ten Years Time Ago finishes far too soon for me! But The Who’s Happy Jack is ace, too
I love fades because it gives the band an opportunity to jam as the track closes out. Sometimes yes cold stops are great too.
- Is there a book or novel that you would like to create songs or the score for and why?
Homer’s The Odyssey. I think BSC should create songs and music for the Odyssey and make it set in modern times, almost in the same vein of how Baz Lurhmann re-did Romeo and Juliet.
- Which is the best sequenced album – any artist, any genre – that you really rate and why? Any favourite songs or pieces on this album? (I like the running order of Spirit’s ‘12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus’, by the end a lot of ground has been covered ).
Led Zeppelin liked Spirit as well. 😉 I don’t know really what “sequence” stands out to me right now, but I am in love with the new Adele record. Hands down, she is a gift from God to our music world.
- Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of your schooldays (artist / title / source album )?
I enjoyed learning history and my grandfather was an American history teacher for 34 years. I love war history and cultural history. We obviously came from a small town so I gained my education being able to travel and see so many places on the days off. I always try to go to museums and/or see historic places. That’s if I don’t sleep in… haha!
Black Stone Cherry’s new album ‘Kentucky’ is released but Mascot Label Group on Friday 1st April 2016. You can pre-order the album via the following links:
In addition, Black Stone Cherry will headline The Carnival of Madness UK Arena Tour powered by Monster Energy with special guests Shinedown, Halestorm and Highly Suspect. The Carnival of Madness tour stops at the following venues:
Thursday 28th January 2016 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom http://www.livenation.co.uk/show/677348/the-carnival-of-madness-tour-2016/cardiff/2016-01-28/en
Friday 29th January 2016 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, United Kingdom https://www.motorpointarenanottingham.com/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=carnival&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=&utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=mini&utm_campaign=carnival_mini
Saturday 30th January 2016 – Echo Arena, Liverpool, United Kingdom http://www.echoarena.com/whats-on/black-stone-cherry-shinedown-and-halestorm-carnival-of-madness/
Monday 1st February 2016 – The SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/venueartist/444745/1453616?brand=uk_ssehydro&camefrom=CFC_UK_HYDRO_carnival_of_madness_hydro_artist&_ga=1.145445556.1211149448.1451781011
Tuesday 2nd February 2016 – Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, United Kingdom http://www.barclaycardarena.co.uk/whats-on/the-carnival-of-madness-tour
Thursday 4th February 2016 – SSE Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom http://www.ssearena.co.uk/events/detail/the-carnival-of-madness-tour-2016
Friday 5th February 2016 – First Direct Arena, Leeds, United Kingdom http://www.eventim.co.uk/tickets.html?fun=evdetail&doc=evdetailb&key=1431991$5855629&affiliate=FDA
Saturday 6th February 2016 – Manchester Arena, Manchester, United Kingdom http://www.manchester-arena.com/events/black-stone-cherry-shinedown-halestorm-carnival-of-madness/2264/
For more information visit: http://carnivalofmadness.com/
Black Stone Cherry will also headline the main stage at Ramblin Man Fair on Sunday 24th July 2016 at Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. Tickets are available at: http://www.ramblinmanfair.com/
(Many thanks to Michelle for all her help in delivering this piece)