With a brand new album just released – “ Voodification “ – the  English rock/blues band continue to liven up venues and make friends wherever they roam. Already played in the USA, this new record will soon hit Yank /Internet airwaves. Their stage material can include versions of well-known or pretty obscure songs BUT their trump card is their own produce, happily not aping American artists in its lyrical content. They sing and play up a storm and they are well worth catching on record or when in your part of the woods.  Here they undergo one of Pete’s (customised) 20 Questions AND as a band…here we go then:


  •  What are your favoured stage guitars and why?

My main guitar is an Ernie Ball Musicman- Silhouette Special. It has 3 single coil pick ups like a Stratocaster but has a much more rounded neck profile that seems to fit my hands perfectly and a very light feel on the strings. My secondary guitars are either a Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster. I used the Tele for some of the rhythm tracks on the new album.

  • What is your aim when performing as a band ?

For me, the main aim when performing as a band is to have fun and to entertain. I don’t like being self indulgent when it comes to doing solos. I might play some ‘flash’ stuff here and there but none of my solos are longer than they need to be!

  • Eric Sardinas or Eric Clapton?

My guitar style is influenced by British players like Wilko Johnson, Richie Blackmore & Gary Moore so Eric Clapton is more akin to what I do as a guitar player than Eric Sardinas although I do like his playing.

  •  What music would you run across the room to turn up if it came on the radio? (Artist /title ) – and what to turn OFF?

I would turn up anything by Dr. Feelgood or Deep Purple. No song in particular and there’s plenty more I would turn up like SRV, Quo, BB King, I could on! There’s not much I would turn down as I have quite a broad taste in music but I have been known to reduce the volume when Kelly Clarkson is on the radio!!

  •  Name a great live album and outline its appeal to you plus any favourite inclusions

Dr. Feelgood’s ‘Stupidity’ for me was one of the best live albums and cemented my love for Wilko’s style. I think the whole album typifies what British Rhythm & Blues is all about. Status Quo’s 1976 ‘Live’ album got played to death in my house back in then!

Bonus Question: Which is your favourite track on the new Sheiks album and why?

It’s hard to pin down one favourite track from the new album as I’m extremely proud and pleased with the whole thing but New Boogie Disease & Flying Fortress are the kind of tracks that just love to play!


SLOWBLOW DAVE (Vocals/Harmonica)

  • Which makes of harmonica do you favour and why?


I use Hohner Special 20’s. I take the covers off and fit Turbo Lids, which are shaped plastic covers, onto them. I like the sound I get using these freaky bits of plastic.


  • Little Walter or Little Richard or Little Milton?


Excellent question! Little Richard!  One of my earliest (and perhaps most significant) memories is being in my Grans backyard watching my uncle work on his BSA motorbike. Perched on top of the blue petrol tank was a battered homemade radio and ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ was crackling away.  We just smiled at each other.  I truly believe Little Richard is sewn into the fabric of my being.


  • Is there a book that you would like to score the music for and why?


‘Bringing It All Back Home’ by Ian Clayton.  When I read this book I could not believe the similarities between the author’s life as he grew up and my own.  The songs, the places, the experiences were all spookily similar.  The songs mentioned in the book are enough to form their own sound track, but I would weave some R.L.Burnside or Rainer Ptacek style grooves in there to link it all together.  It would be less ‘Paris – Texas’, more ‘Barnsley –Yorkshire’.  It would be interesting.

  •  Name a track ( artist /title) that you find really relaxing

Relaxing? What’s that? I spend most of my time wound up tighter than a banjo string!  When I listen to music I’m looking for that orgasmic ‘ice water poured down your back’ feeling.  That doesn’t equate to relaxing.

  •  Your lyrics are very down to Earth and original – do they come to you first when creating songs for the group ?

I quit my last band, Spittin’ Feathers, in order to develop my song writing, improve my harp playing, and to escape the mainstream direction we were heading towards.  As a result I wrote and stock piled loads of lyrics, ideas, and titles.  We’ve used some of these to get things started, but lately we have created grooves and I’ve been able to say “I’ve got some lyrics that might suit that”. Having said that, I’ve got new lyrics whizzing round my bonce pretty much 24-7!


Andy Pullin (Bass) 

  •  Can you dance? Do you dance?

Yes – a slow groovy bass bop! I move a bit when the mood strikes me).

  •  Name your favourite James Brown track and explain its appeal to you

Either Superbad or the one and only Get on Up (Feel Like being a Sex Machine). Both tracks have killlller bass lines. They both fit very well with the guitar and bass parts, the arrangements of which all complement each other and just sound bad-ass. (plus Bootsy Collins… Nuff said!)

  • What basses do you prefer to take out to gigs? What strings do you generally use?

My blue ESP electric Jazzer is always out with me and its my baby. 4 string super bass! I now also own an electric double, throw some jazz in there! I’m a Jazz bass man through and through, I have tried P-Bass before, I like them for certain things but prefer the tone of a Jazzer. I use Rotosound Roundwounds, usually 110s.

  • Jack Bruce or Jack Casady? Any favourite tracks of theirs?

Jack Bruce all the way! As with many other players, one of the first bass parts i learnt was the riff to Sunshine Of Your Love. An obvious choice perhaps, but its a great hook and u could play it on any instrument and it would still work. Any of the stuff he did with Cream really – particularly the live stuff – just groundbreaking music, great to listen and great to borrow from !!

  •  Name two recordings that are fine to drive to (artist /title /source album )

I am quite into The Answer, a new Irish rock band that sound similar to Led Zeppelin but with a modern touch. I just purchased Revival, an older album of theirs, but its all brilliant!

2nd choice, I’ll go with Living Loving Maid from Zep 2, that driving riff is great to speed along too!

Bonus Question: Which is your favourite track on the new Sheiks album and why?

Show and Tell. The way it was written, funky bass part, a counterpoint but complementary guitar part from Adrian, what our session man Paul put on top, its just very much what I like to play as a musician. The bridge is a completely different approach, heavy, rocky and delicious. Then we have another section which is a heavy swung blues feel, then back to the funk. Plus I love how Dave lyrics are very relevant to whats happening socially and culturally in our society at the moment. its just a great track.

John Coombes (Drums)

  • Your playing has great definition? Are you a fan of Clive Bunker?
 Not a fan as such, as I was more into early Yes than early Jethro Tull, although from what I have heard, I certainly admire his attacking playing style played from the heart. I have many influences & was more into Pop drummers like Stewart Copeland, Clem Burke; rock drummers like Brian Downey,Carmine Appice, Cozy Powell; Prog drummers like Bill Bruford, Alan White & Phil Collins.
  • Three tips for a novice drummer, please.
  1. Invest in some good quality Customer ear plugs, you really can’t put a price on your hearing !
  2.  Have a regular practice routine & divide time between chops & groove playing using both metronome & without to develop your own sense of time.
  3. Listen to as many different styles of music & play with as many musicians as possible to develop your musical ear and develop as a musician. Learn by gigging, playing & making mistakes.
  •  Name a recording (artist /title /source album ) that fades or ends too soon for you
 The Police – ‘No Time this Time” at the end of the Reggatta d’blanc Album. When I started playing drums, this was one of the 1st albums I purchased from Woolworths and I used to practice playing along to it. I always loved the energy level & feel of this track, and right at the end as it fades Stewart Copeland really lets fly around the kit, so I used to turn the volume up & strain to hear more of what was played.
  • Which are the best sticks you have used and why?
 Regal Tip 5A Nylon are the best all round stick that I like to use. They are my ‘go to’ stick in the bag, before I try another weight or different shape tip for the type of music / song I am playing. I have always used 5A’s, but when I mentioned to Phil Solomon (drum teacher) a couple of years ago I wanted a slightly heavier weight, without using 5B’s  he introduced me to Regal Tip 5A’s, which length & weight I really like. Thanks Phil, hope you are well !
  • What’s your favourite film soundtrack and why?
 Easy Rider. It’s got great music from Steppenwolf,The Band, The Byrds, Hendrix and it reminds me of the amazing scenery in the film.  I went to Arizona 2 years ago and driving around classic scenery like Monument Valley you can’t help thinking you’re part of an American film.  ‘The Weight’ has a great laid back East Coast groove that I love & ‘Born to Wild’ has to be the most iconic driving music ever.
Bonus Question:  Which is your favourite track on the new Sheiks album  and why?
My favourite track off the Album is Flying Fortress – Quirky lyrics combined with raunchy blues guitar & the hot keyboards that Paul added really took this 12 bar to a different level. I think it is one of the best tracks I have recorded drums on ‘playing for the song’ where everything just fell into place. For my parts I particularly like the pushes on the bell of the ride in the solos & the shuffle pattern on the toms after the stops in the Chorus.


Pete Sargeant

For more information and tour dates visit: http://www.voodoo-sheiks.com/