WHISKY PRIESTS

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Interviews

Johnny Walker Show, BBC Radio 5, 31st May 1993

 

The following is a transcription of an interview with Gary & Glenn, conducted by Johnny Walker for the ‘Johnny Walker Show’ on BBC Radio 5, on 31st May 1993, during the UK leg of The Whisky Priests ‘Bloody Well Live!’ Tour (between concerts in London and Bath).


Johnny: Now a little quote from the Metropolitan, a Bury Newspaper, and their music critic, Richard Lewis, said, “In all my years of reporting at the Met, man and boy, I’ve never heard such lusty cheers for an encore as those which bayed out for The Whisky Priests, and this from an audience who hadn’t heard them before. The best band to play at the Met? Well, certainly the best band I’ve ever seen there”.

They have a new album out called ‘Bloody Well Live!’ and the Miller Brothers from the band are with us, Gary and Glenn. Hi, how you doing?


Gary & Glenn:

Great. Hi there. All right?


Johnny: So, that was a pretty good gig then, obviously? It’s going back a year or two that review.


Gary:

That one is, yeah. I mean, we enjoy playing live and we put a lot of feeling and energy into the performance because a live performance is probably the best medium for our sort of music. And, you know, we work really hard at the performance and it usually rubs off on the audience, if they’re in the right sort of mood for it…


Glenn:
If we have a good time then hopefully they’ll have a good time as well, and that’s what seems to have happened on that night in particular, you know.

So, the braces, the braces are in, are they? You’re both wearing these very attractive braces.


Glenn:
It stops the trousers from falling down. It would be rather embarrassing without them.


Johnny: So, what are the roots of your music? What stuff has influenced the band sound, do you think?


Gary:

Well, when we started the band, this is going back about 7½-8 years now, one of the main reasons for forming the band was our joint interest in the area of England where we live, the North-East of England, that was as much an influence as the music itself. And we decided we wanted to be in a band playing the sort of music that reflected the area of the country we came from, and we just took it from there.


Glenn:

We took a lot of the history and tradition of the North-East, the music, the people and everything, and turned it into song. And we actually sing in dialect as well because it’s our natural way of singing, really, and obviously it gives it an authentic sound as well.


Johnny: Well, it’s doubly true to say The Whisky Priests have attitude. Is it aggressive, do you think, or is it just energy?


Gary:

It’s not deliberately aggressive. It is probably more the energy. We get quite energetic and maybe it comes across as aggressive but maybe it’s just the passion of the songs and what have you.


Glenn:

We feel very passionately about what we’re doing and that’s what comes across, you know. We put a lot of feeling and part of that feeling, I suppose, is anger and that comes out in what we do, you know.


Gary:

It’s the whole range of emotions, really, in the songs and the way we perform, it’s not just aggression, it’s the opposite as well, you know, sometimes we can perform with a very laid-back feel and all kinds of emotions are in there and maybe it manifests itself in quite a sort of raw, sort of aggressive, energetic sort of way.


Glenn:

But that’s what live music should be about anyway, really, getting a lot of energy and aggression out.


Johnny: So, Glenn, what are you going to do now? Gary’s got a guitar. Are you just going to sort of sit back and will him on?


Glenn:

Well, I’ve brought my accordion in, but we’re not going to use that today, we’re just going to use the guitar, so I’ll just sit back and listen to him play something, I think.


Johnny: Why not?


Gary:
We’ve been told not to use it!

Johnny: Really! (Laughs). It’s probably because we had another one earlier.


Glenn:

Yeah, we don’t want to repeat anything on the show, so we’ll play something a little bit different. It’ll put him on the spot a bit and it might bring out the best in him! That’s what we hope.


Johnny: OK. All right. So Gary, what are you going to do?


Gary:
This is a song that we haven’t actually recorded to date. It’s a song that I didn’t actually write the lyrics to myself, it was written by a bloke I know up in County Durham. He’s a local poet and he’s been writing poetry a number of years now and we decided, a couple of years ago, to put music to some of his poems, and this is one of them, this is the result of one of them. It’s a true story about an old man up our way and it’s called the ‘Ballad of John Egan’.


[Gary performs a solo version of ‘Ballad of John Egan’, singing and playing acoustic guitar]


Johnny: Nice one. Did he do all right, do you reckon, Glenn?


Glenn:
Yeah, not bad.


Gary:
It’s a bit early in the day to sing, though!


Johnny: Yeah, good. So, what’s next for the band?


Gary:

We’re actually most of the way through a three-month tour, all across Europe, promoting our new album, and we’ve finished the European leg now, that was eight weeks, and we’ve just started a full month in this country, I think we’re about four gigs in.


Glenn:

We’ve done four gigs so far, we’ve got twenty-four altogether, so there are twenty to go. We’re playing in Bath tonight, that’s the next one, and that’ll take us through to the end of June. We have some festivals over the summer in Europe and then we’ll be touring again in this country, September, October.


Gary:

It’s a full schedule for the rest of the year, basically, and hopefully at some point we’ll get time to record a new album, I don’t know when we’ll find time to fit it in

The usual problem.


Gary:

That’s right, yeah.


Johnny: Do you like life on the road, or does it get a bit crazy after a while?


Glenn:

We like it, yeah, I mean, we count ourselves lucky because playing is our career and to be able to use your career to travel all over the world, see some interesting places, meet some interesting people, you know, you couldn’t really wish for more than that.


Johnny: Eat some dodgy food, stay in dodgy places (Laughs)


Gary:

It is hard work but it’s what you make of it, I suppose.


Glenn:

You only have one life; it’s all about experiences. We’ve had some great experiences. It’s hard; it’s very, very hard. We have a rough time and there are times you wonder why you’re doing it, but at the end of the day I think it’s worth it, and we do actually enjoy it. We’ve lost a few members along the way. The line-up of the band has changed a lot over the years, I think it’s worn a few people down, but we’re still there and hopefully we’ll be going for some time to come.


Johnny: Good. Well thanks a lot for coming by today.


Gary:

Thanks a lot.


Glenn:

Thanks for having us, yeah, cheers, thank you.


Johnny: Good to meet you.


Gary and Glenn Miller, two members of The Whisky Priests. The latest album is a live one, called ‘Bloody Well Live!’ and here’s a track…


[Plays ‘Halcyon Days’ from ‘Bloody Well Live!’]