The following interview, for ‘Moloko Plus’ Magazine, Germany, was conducted as a list of questions sent to Gary and Glenn in September 2000 and is reproduced here in its entirety.
It’s 15 years ago the band formed, tell us the complete band story!
To tell you the complete band story, which is 15 years of our lives would take a very large book. Maybe we will write it one day!
Anyone logging onto our website can read a brief history of the band as well as examine our complete Career Diary, which is basically a comprehensive list of every single concert we have ever played, in chronological order, listing dates, towns and venues, plus all recording dates, radio and TV appearances, etc.
Anyway, here is a condensed version of our 15-year story…
We founded The Whisky Priests in August 1985, immediately upon leaving school at the age of 19. The original line-up of the band was made up of school friends. Our debut live appearance was in our hometown of Durham on 4th October 1985. After only two concerts, we made our first studio recording, which was of one song, written by Gary, entitled ‘Danny’s Hard Life’, released on a vinyl compilation album ‘12 Go Mad in Durham’. For the next 2 years we gigged all over our local area then, in 1987, we appeared on the famous TV show ‘The Tube’, then released our debut 7” single ‘The Colliery’. In 1988 we toured all over Great Britain and released two 12” singles, ‘No Chance’ and ‘Grandfatha’s Fatha’. All of these releases have been deleted and unavailable for many years and are now very collectable and sought after by fans of the band, although they have since been brought together on the CD compilation ‘The First Few Drops’.
In 1989, following some major line-up changes, when Mick Tyas joined the band for the first time, we finally released our debut album ‘Nee Gud Luck’ (available on vinyl, CD & cassette – the original versions of all of these formats are now also deleted), and in December of that year we toured outside Great Britain for the first time, with 7 gigs in Germany. This tour was very successful. We played to full houses almost every night. We returned to Germany for two tours the following year and also began playing other countries for the first time, such as Holland, Belgium, Austria and Italy. We started to develop a reputation throughout Europe as an exciting live band.
During this time, however, we were in dispute with our recording and publishing company, which meant that there was a 3-year gap between our debut album ‘Nee Gud Luck’ and our second album ‘Timeless Street’, which was released in 1992, with very little promotion. We were still touring constantly and this helped to develop the band’s profile but line-up changes were frequent and changed for every tour. It was a very frustrating period of time but also very exciting because we were young and very naïve. We were totally committed to what we did but because we worked so hard on tour we also played very hard. We could tour for two weeks solid and not go to bed because we were out partying every night. Each night on tour was crazy, wild and unpredictable but very exciting. It made for some very memorable shows but it took its toll on us physically and mentally over the years.
At the end of 1992, we captured the energy of those times on a recording of a concert at the Markthalle in Hamburg on New Years Eve. This became our most successful album to date, ‘Bloody Well Live!’. In Spring 1993, the ‘Bloody Well Live!’ Tour was our most intensive tour ever, with 72 concerts in 12 weeks throughout Europe. During the ‘Bloody Well Live! Again!’ Tour towards the end of 1993, our legal dispute with our recording and publishing company finally ended, with an amicable out-of-court settlement, which gave us the recording and publishing rights to all our material. This allowed us, in 1994, to release a new studio album, ‘The Power and the Glory’, as well as re-issue our first three albums on CD with bonus tracks, plus two CD EP’s. So 1993-4 was a very eventful era for us. It was also the time when we had our first truly settled line-up and this allowed the band to develop in a way that was impossible during all the constant line-up changes of the previous years.
In 1995, we recorded an album called ‘Bleeding Sketches’. This differed from all our other albums in that a poet from the North-East of England called Keith Armstrong wrote all the lyrics. Keith had been a friend of ours since 1989 and we had long hoped to collaborate together on a musical project. Apart from the lyrics, however, the album was typical Whisky Priests in a lot of ways but we also broke a lot of new musical ground. It was certainly our most ambitious album at that time, so in many ways, it was another landmark for us. By the end of the year, however, the line-up that had been together since the beginning of 1993 completely broke up, leaving only the two of us to begin again, almost entirely from scratch.
The next line-up recorded ‘Life’s Tapestry’ in 1996, which was a further development musically from ‘Bleeding Sketches’ and arguably our most creatively accomplished album to date. It certainly contained many of Gary’s best songs but, although it received a lot of great reviews, many of our fans said at the time that it did not sound like The Whisky Priests. It featured a lot more electric guitar than any of our previous albums. This was a very turbulent period behind the scenes for the two of us because the other members of the band were so difficult to work with. In hindsight, it was a mistake to have these people in the band and a lot of harm was done to the band’s image and reputation. A lot of shit happened and when the others all left one by one, mostly under extremely unpleasant circumstances, it was a huge relief to us.
1997 was a relatively quiet year for us. We were physically and emotionally exhausted from the treadmill of the previous few years. In five years, we had released five new albums, re-issued our first three albums, plus a couple of EP’s, played over 600 concerts throughout Europe, experienced a 3-year legal battle which led to the High Court, and gone through countless band members in the process. After all the problems of the ‘Life’s Tapestry’ line-up, we decided to rest The Whisky Priests and give ourselves more time to find the most suitable people we could find to recruit as new members of the band. We toured as an acoustic duo for the first time, which was a very refreshing experience. In Slovenia, however, outside a nightclub, we were attacked by a gang and very badly beaten up. It was a very sobering experience and, in fact, shortly afterwards Gary gave up drinking, for a lot of different personal reasons, and Glenn contracted pleurisy. We realised for the first time that our severe lifestyle was beginning to take its toll.
After a six-month period of experimenting with different part-time musicians, we had, by the end of 1997, put together another permanent line-up, which lasted for over two years and recorded our next album ‘Think Positive!’ This proved, in the end, to be a very rushed album and, although, like ‘Life’s Tapestry’ it contained a lot of really great songs, we were disappointed with the final results. There were some good performances but it was let down by a very weak mix and, in our opinion, it was a step backwards musically. It was the first album where we didn’t really break any new ground, plus we allowed the other members to have too much artistic control, to the detriment of the music because they were pulling us in a different direction to our vision. In hindsight, it was a mistake but, like all our mistakes, we learnt from it. When it was released, many fans and critics still hailed it as our best album.
Live, the ‘Think Positive!’ line-up went a long way to restoring the reputation which the ‘Life’s Tapestry’ line-up had damaged. We played some great concerts but behind the scenes there were again a lot of problems. The other three members of the band did not get on with each other at all. There was a lot of backstabbing and arguments, with the two of us stuck in the middle trying to keep the peace. It was sometimes very unpleasant. It was inevitable that this line-up would not survive and it is remarkable that we persevered with it for as long as we did.
In the meantime, we finally recorded our first, perhaps long overdue, live video. The Whisky Priests reputation has always been built on the strength of our live performances, so a live video was inevitable. As soon as we felt the time was right, we made the necessary preparations. At first, we considered recording it in Holland but then changed our minds and decided to record at the Markthalle in Hamburg again because the ‘Bloody Well Live!’ recording there in 1993 had been so successful. The ‘“Here Come the Ranting Lads” - Live!’ Video was recorded in October 1998 but was not released until a year later, due to the many problems we had.
Initially we were only going to release a video but because we had the soundtrack anyway, we had the opportunity to release it on CD as well. The CD version contained 4 extra tracks not on the video.
The ‘“Here Come the Ranting Lads - Live!” Tour at the end of 1999 was one of the most intense and certainly the most exhausting tours we had ever done. In 2000, the line-up has changed again. We decided to tour less this year and this has allowed us the time and opportunity to develop other offshoot projects, which has been refreshing.
There are lots of ups and downs in your career, let us know something about it!
There are probably many ups and downs in any band’s career but it’s fair to say that we have had more than most. Many of the major downs we have suffered would most likely have ended another band’s career but we have always defiantly fought back together against every drawback we have ever had. We are both very determined and committed to everything we do. That is probably the main reason for our continued longevity, that whatever the circumstances, the two of us will always pull together as one and find a way to make things succeed.
The ups and downs can be seen in the way our career has developed over the years (see answer to previous question). Most of the downs have usually been due to the involvement of other people who have let us down, whether they are band members, record companies, or whoever but it is fair to say that we have made our own mistakes along the way as well.
The main ups have been the feelings of creative achievement. The main downs are the huge sacrifices to our personal lives but that is part of the job, really. We had a great sense of achievement after the concert we recorded for the ‘“Here Come the Ranting Lads” - Live!’ Video. Shortly afterwards, however, we learnt about the recording problems, due to somebody else’s mistakes, which meant the last third of the show was missing. We were heartbroken and this was followed by a whole year of problems as a knock-on effect. After all our hard work beforehand, all our neatly organised plans were badly disrupted. It led to an unpleasant falling out between the Markthalle and us and everything had to be totally reorganised. We had to reschedule the sound mix to a period two months later than planned and this delayed the video edit. The mix was a disaster and we had to remix in another studio, at a loss of 7,000 DM’s to ourselves. Everything was ultimately delayed by six months of hell. The ups and downs usually balance out. You put up with the downs because the ups can be so rewarding.
Most of your releases are on your own WHIPPET label, are there no other company or major interested?
This is a very complicated question to answer easily. There have been many major and independent record companies interested in The Whisky Priests over the years but there have been many different circumstances, which have led to us releasing our recordings on our own Whippet Records label. In the early years of the band we signed a very one-sided recording and publishing deal, which lasted for 4 years, and led to a legal battle which reached the High Court in London (at exactly the same time that George Michael was in the High Court fighting his legal battle with Sony!). This was a huge nightmare at the time but it was mutually resolved and we received the recording and publishing rights to all of our work.
During this period, a number of major companies were very interested in signing us. We were receiving a lot of attention in England and were just starting to break into the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, as we were already signed to a long-term contract, we could not sign elsewhere. We were stuck in a kind of limbo. We were in a legal dispute with our recording and publishing company but as long as the contract existed, we could not move on to another company.
Since then, we have enjoyed the control and freedom of doing what we wanted.
The advantage of releasing everything on our own label means we can work in direct contact with the companies who distribute our CD’s in other territories and many of these personal relationships have existed now for a long period of time.
We make no conscious effort to approach record companies. If a record company approached us now and offered us something interesting and on our terms, then obviously we would consider it but in the meantime, we will just carry on doing our own thing as always.
There are lots of line-up changes, why are THE WHISKY PRIESTS so good a band over the years?
Yes, indeed, there have been many line-up changes over the years, often with several members coming and going at the same time. The one constant element throughout the band’s history has been the two of us.
The Whisky Priests was our initial idea, together we founded the band and the vision is ours and ours alone. The sound of the band is built around the two of us. It is the two of us who do everything. We write and arrange all of the songs and we do the entire behind the scenes work as well. It is our original approach that has created the major trademarks of the band’s sound and we have also been entirely responsible for the band’s image and public relations.
Obviously, some line-ups have been more successful than others. Some members have been more suited to the band than others, and some have been totally unsuitable, both in musical and personal terms. The two of us are basically the nucleus around which the other members fit in around our vision.
So, as long as we stay true to our vision, the essence of The Whisky Priests will always remain, no matter who else is in the band.
You both (Glenn & Gary) are twin brothers; if you see other brothers like the OASIS brothers everyone thinks there must be trouble every time – is it?
It’s been a kind of two-edged sword throughout our career. It is a fact that the reason The Whisky Priests has survived against all the odds and all the line-up changes over the years, is down to the two of us being twins.
On the other hand, the intense pressure of working so hard and so closely together has taken its toll on a number of occasions. We are both very passionate and because we have had to take so much shit over the years, we have often taken a lot of our stress and anger out on each other. When this has happened it has often been very violent but has then quickly ended because we have just been using each other to let off steam.
At the end of the day, we know we are in this together and that we will always support each other.
Mick Tyas is back in the band. I think, since he left the band, there is a falling popularity for the PRIESTS – is it? Do you think it will be better now?
Since Mick Tyas left the band in 1995, the band’s profile has diminished in Germany because we have had less media coverage. We seem to be no longer hip and trendy in the eyes of the German music media, plus our CD’s have not been as widely available throughout Germany since 1995 for various reasons. The general public’s knowledge of the band in Germany is not as great as it was five years ago. There seems to be less promotion for our concerts and tours, basically we have been driven further underground and most of our promotion in Germany now is based on word of mouth. It follows therefore, that less people will come to our gigs because less people know when we are on tour, unless they are on our mailing list. It would certainly be wrong to suggest, therefore, that any decline in The Whisky Priests’ profile in Germany can be attributed solely to Mick Tyas leaving the band.
On the other hand, when Mick left, only the two of us then remained from the line-up that had been constant for two and a half years (Paul Carless and Nick Buck had also left earlier that year). We therefore had to begin a massive rebuilding process and in hindsight, although we both believe that the subsequent album, ‘Life’s Tapestry’, is our best album to date, the three people we recruited as replacements were all totally unsuitable for The Whisky Priests and the next year was a year of hell. We even lost direction ourselves for a while and it showed at the concerts we played at that time. We probably did our reputation a lot of irreparable damage by allowing the other three members of the band to harm the band’s image, which we had previously worked so hard at. It probably did drive a lot of fans away, particularly in Germany. When that line-up eventually broke up, however, and we put together the line-up that recorded ‘Think Positive!’, we began to rebuild our confidence and reputation as a live act, to the point that the ‘Think Positive!’ era line-up of the band was together for nearly three years and many fans said that this was better than any of our previous line-ups.
Also, if anything, the band has become more popular in most other countries in the last few years. In every country but Germany, for example, our last two studio albums, ‘Life’s Tapestry’ and ‘Think Positive!’ were universally acclaimed as our best work.
Do you play Dol-li-a next time at gigs again?
Yes, we will be playing ‘Dol-li-a’ at all the gigs on the next tour. It is an integral part of our set at the moment.
We have actually been playing ‘Dol-li-a’ at almost every gig for the last 2-3 years now. We took it out of the set in 1995 when Mick Tyas left the band. Obviously Mick had always sung the track on every recording of the song up to that point as well as every time we played it live so the fans associated it with him. When, in 1995 the whole line-up changed and we started working on material for our forthcoming album (‘Life’s Tapestry’) we decided a complete overhaul of the live set was necessary as it had become predictable and at the time we wanted to move on.
'Dol-li-a' was one of the tracks that stood out as a good choice to rest from the set. The Whisky Priests are known for playing many concerts throughout the years and since we have many songs from our repertoire from which to choose a live set it makes sense to change it and refresh it from time to time.
We felt that ‘Dol-li-a’ had become an albatross around our necks. We had never anticipated it becoming such a popular song and we did not want to be known and remembered for only one song, which to us was not such a special song. We felt that was a very dangerous position to be in. It was very frustrating that throughout our live shows people were shouting for ‘Dol-li-a’ and were not interested in the rest of the songs we were singing. To us it is a novelty party sing-a-long song and that is not what The Whisky Priests is about. We felt that this was not our most representative song and that it was important that people should not necessarily be coming to our gigs expecting to hear it.
In 1997, when the band line-up completely changed again, we felt the time was perhaps now right to re-assess ‘Dol-li-a’ and re-introduce it to the set. The only way we felt we could justify bringing it back was to make it even better than it was before and we now had the line-up with which we felt confident that we could do that. We gave it a complete overhaul and extended it by giving it an additional instrumental section in the middle of the song. It worked and gave it a whole new lease of life. We have continued playing it ever since and, when Mick returned in March this year, we gave it back to him to sing again.
In hindsight, we feel it was the right decision to rest the song for a while but we are now looking forward to performing it again on the forthcoming tour.
Your kind of outfit is brilliant, what’s behind that?
The way we dress on stage with The Whisky Priests is the way we have always dressed. We have always been very image conscious and even before the band existed we dressed like this so to us it is perfectly natural. Some of the other people who joined the band tried to dress the same way but it never worked because they had no concept of natural image. To them it was like wearing a uniform and because it wasn’t natural the fans could see that it wasn’t genuine. They would change into their stage clothes before the concert and then after the show they would change into something completely different. It was ridiculous. We have never been like that ourselves. When you are in a band like The Whisky Priests you have to be totally committed and believe in every aspect of the band. It goes way beyond just the music. You have to live it all the time, even when you are at home you cannot fully escape from it. Only the two of us ever truly had that attitude in the band in the past and that is another of the reasons why so many people left. They were either unable or unwillingly to grasp our vision of what the band should be to enough of an extent for it to work.
As far as we have always been concerned, you cannot approach something like this half way. It has to be all or nothing or it will fail. Other people have held us back because they did not have that sense of vision or commitment. The great thing with the line-up we have now is that everybody has a strong sense of image and commitment to the vision of the band in more than just musical terms.
Your latest releases are very hard to find here, are you angry about the distributions here (like INDIGO, EFA, SPV), or is there no market for your kind of music?
In Germany, our German booking agency and record company were one and the same and although all of our releases were still released by ourselves on our own independent Whippet Records, they were marketed and distributed in Germany by our agent’s label and distributed via them through Indigo. This worked very well at the time and enabled our career to develop in Germany, with everything under one roof. Our CD’s and tours were being marketed and promoted very successfully and we received a lot of media coverage. This obviously meant that sales were good and our CD’s were easily available in all the shops.
In 1995, however, shortly after the release of ‘Bleeding Sketches’, we parted company with our German agent/record company. As a result, all of our CD’s at that point (up to and including 'Bleeding Sketches') were recalled from the shops in Germany and have not been available since.
Without a German record company releasing our CD’s, we have handled each release since 1995 ourselves, with a different German distributor for each release, who have done nothing more than sell the CD’s to the shops. With us being based in England and tied down with every other aspect of running the band, it has been very difficult for us to organise any kind of marketing campaign behind each release. This has meant that there has been a major decline in media coverage for the band in Germany over the last five years. The result of this has been that our fans and general public have either been totally unaware or have found it very difficult to learn about any new releases from the band. Sales have therefore suffered for each subsequent release leading to the CD’s becoming less easy to find in record shops. Coupled to this has been a general apathy from all the distribution labels involved. We are sure that with the backing and marketing power of a major label, the CD’s would have sold much better in Germany.
In some ways, we are frustrated, rather than angry, by the way the music business works, and by general circumstances beyond our control, that have affected our career in the band’s recent history.
I’ve heard the 12” No Chance in the early ‘90’s – I thought: “Wow, better than The Pogues, Men They Couldn’t Hang, Roaring Jack together”, all these bands were very popular beginning of the 90’s, since 95 this kind of music fell down…but I think at the moment there is a small revival! Do you know bands like DROPKICK MURPHYS and BLOOD OR WHISKY? They are very trendy in the punk scene now!!!
We are not really aware too much of other bands like those you have mentioned. We have never gone out of our way to be part of any particular scene. We don’t pay attention to scenes, in fact we never have. We have always just followed our natural instincts and done our own thing and never tried to follow fashions.
There is a side project together with Joseph from Blyth Power called “Mad Dogs & Englishmen”, how does it come to this project? I’ve also heard that Joseph is the new drummer in The Whisky Priests! I think it’s the best line-up ever!!!
We have known Joseph since 1993. We have a very strong mutual respect for each other and have become the closest of friends. The two of us in fact had the honour of being ‘Best Men’ at his wedding. The Whisky Priests and Blyth Power have played many times together, for example, Blyth Power supported The Whisky Priests as special guests on the Austrian and German legs of our 1994 ‘The Power and The Glory’ Tour.
All three of us had long expressed the mutual desire to one day collaborate on a musical project together and the opportunity finally arose early this year. We approached Joseph one day in January, with the idea to finally begin the project. He agreed the time was right and within a matter of weeks we were in the studio as ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’, recording our debut CD ‘Going Down with Alice’. It all happened very quickly. It was an extremely satisfying and refreshing experience, not only to work with Joseph, someone we had long admired, but also to work outside the confines of The Whisky Priests.
Although the ‘Think Positive!’ line-up had been together for about three years, we were finding it increasingly difficult to work with the other members of the band and deal with their escalating attitude problems. Touring had become unbearable and we felt that the other members were undermining the band’s progress. Although Hugh had left, much to our relief, in January, things were still not right and so further personnel changes seemed somehow inevitable. As we had enjoyed working with Joseph on the ‘Mad Dogs…’ project so much, and Blyth Power had become consciously less active as a touring band, we decided to ask Joseph to become The Whisky Priests drummer, and thereby expanding our working relationship still further. He was very happy to accept.
Not only has his personality and attitude been a breath of fresh air but his drumming style is ideally suited to The Whisky Priests and his vocal talents are proving a bonus asset as well. Touring has become fun again and our own motivation, which had been in decline for the last couple of years, has been rekindled.
A lot of our readers don’t know that The Whisky Priests are playing often with TORFROCK – how comes it to this crazy cooperation?
Our connection with Torfrock first came about when Dietmar Kolk, Torfrock’s manager at the time, attended one of our shows at the Markthalle in Hamburg, back in 1992. He came back stage to meet us and told us he was so impressed with our show that he believed we were the only band he knew who could successfully support Torfrock, in front of their very partisan crowd. He invited us, on their behalf, to appear with Torfrock at their Christmas shows at the end of 1992. We struck up a very good relationship with the members of Torfrock and were very well received by their fans. They are very genuine and generous people and we had an enjoyable time. As a result, we were invited back to play with them at many shows over the next 2 or 3 years. Our last shows with Torfrock were in 1995 but we have been invited back again this year for two shows in Luebeck (on 18 December) and Hamburg (on 22 December).
There will be a re-release from the Bloody Well Live album soon – this time as a double CD, how often do you sold the original worldwide and why is there a re-release coming up?
Because all our recordings are released on our own label with limited money and resources, we do not sell a lot of copies, compared to bands on bigger labels. It is very difficult to market our albums on a worldwide basis so they have only ever been officially released on a relatively small scale in a small number of countries. They do sometimes reach other countries as imports and we are now beginning to realise the potential of the Internet for selling our CD’s to a whole new audience on a worldwide scale. At a rough estimate ‘Bloody Well Live!’ probably sold about 10,000 copies worldwide before it was deleted. This may not seem very many but you have to remember the limitations of marketing it ourselves. If it had had the backing of another label, even an independent label, it would certainly have sold a lot more copies.
We decided to re-release ‘Bloody Well Live!’ partly because it has been unavailable for a number of years, partly because we wanted to release something to celebrate our 15th Anniversary and partly because we had always had the desire to one day go back to the original tapes and release the entire concert for our own personal reasons. In other words, it was a kind of labour of love. The timing now seemed right for all of those reasons and if we didn’t take the opportunity to do it now, we might never have done it. We are very satisfied with the results and believe the new version, now on double CD, featuring the concert in its entirety is an even better document than the original.
I can remember concerts like in the Zeche Carl, Essen together with Blyth Power, where a big crowd is coming from the punk, skin, psychobilly scene, over the years there are more and more mainstream people and folkies at the gigs, have you realised that?
We have always had a very mixed audience in all the countries we play, which we have always viewed as a very positive thing. We do not want to restrict the type of audiences we play to. It is certainly true that we drew a large audience from the punk, skin, and psychobilly scene at a lot of shows in Germany, which was great but we still had all those other people as well. There was always a lot of energy at our concerts both on stage and in the audience. We still have that same level of energy. After 15 years, our audience has obviously changed, in that we are attracting new fans all the time. We still get many long-term fans still coming to our gigs, who saw us many years ago, and they are still very fanatical but there are also many people coming to see us regularly, who perhaps only got into the band more recently. Sometimes, you will see a familiar face in the audience from many years ago. It is interesting because a lot of old fans who may not have seen the band live for a number of years seem to be coming back again.
Your kind of music changed also from hardcore-folk-punk to more folky and folk-rock tunes, is that a result of the line-up changes or what is it?
The Whisky Priests sound is based entirely around the two of us and our personal vision for the band. Any changes therefore have been a purely natural progression. Obviously in fifteen years things are going to change and not just because of other people. We are fifteen years older than we were when the band started. Our lives have changed and we have changed as people and we have a lot of experiences behind us that we didn’t have when we started this. We have, however, never made any serious conscious decisions to change our music in any blatant way. Our attitude has never really changed at all in fifteen years. We still approach our music with the same kind of passion as we always did but any personal changes in ourselves are naturally going to be reflected in our music. Other members may bring their own musical strengths to the band and we are obviously going to play to those strengths but the essence of the musical vision is always going to be the same.
There are a few releases in Germany in a short time, after that you’ve got many trouble with the label and booking agency. Let us know something about it.
We had a very good relationship with our label and booking agency for several years and everything was very successful. The label and booking agency and The Whisky Priests both grew together in Germany. Sadly, our relationship broke down when the label and booking agency amalgamated with another label. As far as we were concerned, it stopped working then. Everything changed and our relationship grew less personal. In hindsight, it was a shame the way things turned out but these things happen in business and you move on.
What’s coming up in the future?
After the 15th Anniversary Tour we will devote some time to our personal lives during the Christmas period. Next year there will hopefully be more concerts for ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’. We have lots of ideas. We always have lots of ideas. Obviously another Whisky Priests studio album should materialise at some point and another Mad Dogs album as well. We are trying to find the time to work on some new material with our friend Keith Armstrong, the Tyneside poet who collaborated with us and wrote the lyrics for our 1995 album ‘Bleeding Sketches’. We also hope to work with another friend of ours, Alistair Hulett, an immensely talented singer-songwriter, now living in his native Glasgow after a long period of time in Australia, who many people will remember as the frontman with the superb Australian band ‘Roaring Jack’. Hopefully there will be an album and tour sometime. The list of projects and ambitions we wish to fulfil are endless.
Everything depends on time. Time is always against us because we have to deal with all the different aspects of our music. Everything overlaps into our personal lives. That is why we made the conscious decision to cut back on touring. We both have families now so we have to take all of that into account.
We have never been able to plan more than a year ahead. In a situation like ours you cannot afford to. You never know what is just around the corner. You just take each moment as it comes and try to make the most of the time and opportunities you are offered.
If I have forgotten some important things – tell us.
We seem to have covered a lot of aspects already but obviously we can’t cover everything. A lot has happened in the last 15 years. Not many bands in our position have the opportunity to survive for as long as we have. It has been a constant struggle and a lot of hard work and sacrifice but it has also been very rewarding and enjoyable as well. We never take it for granted. It has become a way of life for us. So long as we continue to be creative and feel challenged and enjoy what we do, we will keep on doing it for as long as we can. We will know when the time comes to stop and do something else. If and when that time comes, then we will undoubtedly approach whatever else we do with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment we have always shown towards The Whisky Priests. In the meantime, here’s to the next 15 years!