‘Candid Badger’ – Interview with John Badger

John Badger Pic

‘Candid Badger’
Interview with John Badger
By Beth Jones

The underground metal scene is full of immense passion and hard work at the moment, and one man that embodies that is Manchester’s own super human, the elusive Mr Badger! The brains behind Badgerfest, and some pretty hot drumming, John Badger has to be one of the hardest working souls in the industry right now. I grabbed a few minutes of his time recently to do an email interview with him about music, Badgerfest 2019 and his upcoming charity event, ‘Drumming Up Change’, and here it is.

Can you tell us who you are and what you do?

Hello! I’m Badger a drummer and organiser of Badgerfest!

Can you give us a bit of history about Badgerfest – what made you decide to do it, and how did you start it?

In December 2016 I organised a mini tour for Impavidus, with Deified and God Shaped Devil. All the bands had a great time, said it was well organised and fans loved it. A few people said, ‘you should do more promoting and maybe even arrange your own festival’! The suggested name, as a joke, was “Badgerfest”. After a few months of deliberation, I thought about it more and I decided to put a post out for feedback, asking “If I was to put a festival on, firstly would bands be interested in performing and, secondly, would anyone turn up?” I was overwhelmed by the response, so I decided to give it a go. Before I did anything, I decided to get some advice from Simon Yarwood at Resin Events / Uprising Festival, Steve Dickson at Terrorizer / Mammoth Fest and Jason McGuire at Breaking Bands Festival / HRH / Hammerfest for research.
Their collective was:
● Don’t aim too high
● Get a good headliner
● Get a small venue (200 maximum)
● Research the bands
● PR & Marketing
● Network (face to face)
● SELL OUT
I feel I did this to a high standard and as a result it was successful, bearing in mind this was my first time putting on an event! But I always knew it would succeed due to the insane line-up, affordable tickets, the backing of the bands, the music community from gig goers, the marketing, and most of all my commitment & desire to succeed. I was shocked when people were asking on the day, ‘will there be Badgerfest again next year’? I decided to say yes if people want another one! Two weeks after the initial event, I had secured the line-up for Badgerfest 2018- The Sequel!

What can we expect from this year’s Badgerfest?

I would like to say hopefully the same as 2017/18, but with more oomph! The bands this year are more diverse compared to the previous years, as I didn’t want to hash another similar line-up, especially going in your 3rd year. I have some things planned to get more interaction with the punters/ customers. I want Badgerfest to be a lasting memory, as it has been so far, especially for those who’ve attended before.

You have a lot of bands this year that are lesser known to the festival circuit – do you think this is a risk?

Well they’re only lesser known if you’re not familiar with the bands already. In the background I have a media team who I let know the bands before they’re announced to the public and most of the bands so far they haven’t heard of and I think that’s great! The response is always very positive, and it means they’re finding new bands to listen to, which is what I like to do with Badgerfest.

Badgerfest Mission Statement “KEEP IT FRESH, KEEP IT RELEVANT, and KEEP IT EXCITING”

What are your plans for the future of Badgerfest?

My plans for the future of Badgerfest is to open the door to more genres. At the moment Badgerfest is mainly a Metal festival and that’s only because it is the genre I’ve worked the most in as a musician, but I do have other musical tastes that I would like to incorporate in to Badgerfest. This is giving the customer an opportunity to find some other musical journeys. I understand this won’t be for everyone and they’ll go see the bands they wish.
Next year I am planning on having two venues; offering Metal (sub genres of) in one venue, and the other offering more Rock, Prog and Indie – another great way of bringing people together who all share a passion for music regardless of the genre.

What advice would you give to bands who apply for Badgerfest in the future – what are you looking out for in an application?

The best advice I can offer, as most other event organisers would agree on, is make sure you read the application details before applying. Imagine you are applying for a job and you really wanted it.
We have specific things we ask for from an applicant and only those who follow this will be provisionally accepted.

Tell us a bit about this year’s venue, and why you chose to move it there from Rebellion?

This year is at The Bread Shed, also in Manchester, and the only reason for the move was due to the fact the previous venue was going to go through a refurbishment and they were unsure whether or not it could accommodate two stages. I have seen events at The Bread Shed and think it’s a great venue, which has pub attached, so when people need a break there’s somewhere else to go.

Tell us a bit about the ‘Drumming up Change Challenge’ charity gig that you have set up?

Well in the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to play in a few different bands, whether that was to help out a band due to an injury a drummer has had, or if I’ve been invited to perform as a session player live. Now, there’s been a common theme, or a running joke that if I’m at a gig –I get asked how many bands I am playing with that night, which is quite funny! If it’s only the one band that night, then I’m slacking hahaha!!
So, I decided to up the stakes, let’s drum for 10 bands and raise money for good causes at the same time!!!

For this gig, you are going to drum with every band. Are you mad?!! Why did you decide to do this?

Yes, some people will say I am mad, but I am very excited to do this!!
The reason for doing this is drawn from my own personal experiences, but I wouldn’t want to burden anyone with the reasons why. I can say though this means a lot to me, and that’s why chose to raise money for The Homeless working in association with The Big Issue North and Mental Health (Charity to be confirmed), as more and more people are ending up with more mental health issues, being made homeless, and even taking their own lives, which is unacceptable.
This got me thinking about my own life, and whilst I’m here fit and healthy (touch wood) what can I do to make a difference to someone who is not?!
On the event itself, most charity gigs, in my opinion are not exciting; yes, bands get an opportunity to play, but a lot of the time it just feels like a normal gig or all-dayer, where someone goes around with a bucket getting donations for a charity, and in some situations it does work. Most run a marathon, jump out of plane, swim the channel, or cycle from Manchester to Blackpool, which is still an amazing way of raising money and awareness.
But I wanted to make a difference where I could, in a different way, drumming for as many bands as possible in one day! In my opinion it’s more exciting, more appealing and it allows people, including musicians, to get involved.

For this, when you play with every band, are you doing just one or two songs with them, or is it a full set with each band?

Yes, the plan is to play with every band and do full sets. The estimate of actual drum time will be about 5-6 hours, but the difficult thing is that it’s playing different styles, some of which are very intense, and it will certainly have its challenging moments!

Will you organise more charity events in the future?

I will, potentially, but only if I think I can put something on exciting.

We know you have recently parted ways with Impavidus. What brought you to this decision, and what are your plans going forward for yourself, as a musician?

Yes, I have recently parted with ways with Impavidus, but on very good terms. It was a personal decision to leave the band. It was just my time to move on. We are all very good friends and we will be gigging together in the future, but I’m also looking forward to seeing them play from out front!
Musically, for me at the moment, it is working hard with Frozen in Shadows on a new record, which is in the recording stages and due for release end of July/ early August. I also have another project with a Progressive Post-Black Metal band (unable to disclose who this is at the moment), and I am with Scott Beveridge Project currently as a live session drummer, which is great fun, and some other stuff in the background!
It’s fair to say I’m a very active person, and always on the go! My wife says she really admires my drive, but she has no idea where I get the energy from, and that maybe I should rest! I always say don’t worry “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”!

We have recently had our one remaining good venue in Wrexham close down, and venues across the country are under threat – what do you think of the live music scene at the moment, and what can be done to stop audience apathy?

This is a very tough time for venues across the country, and for people’s pockets. Over the recent years there has been a surge of new bands starting up, but the problem is that there aren’t enough venues to cater for them.
People unfortunately have to choose one band to go and see over another, and of course where they spend their money. Some venues don’t go out of the way to really push events, especially if you’re in saturated city.
What I also find is that some venues put on the same bands, which is potentially why a venue might suffer, and the same goes for a festival. Yes, we like seeing our favourite bands, but isn’t it good to see and hear something new and exciting? When I was given the opportunity to organise the bands at Grand Central, I said to venue owner and punters, ‘I will bring as many new bands as possible to Manchester’ and I did!

If you could have any band in the world to headline Badgerfest?

You put me right on the spot there??!! So, I’m being cheeky and putting a few down!
Metallica class 91-93
Carpenter Brut
Ministry
Anything that Dave Lombardo is involved with.
Sphongle
Strapping Young Lad
Kyuss

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Well of course come to Badgerfest 2019! Why else are we having this discussion!!!
On serious a note, yes, support your scene where you can.
Also, if you see anyone struggling, and you think you could help, go and do it! You’ll be surprised how good it feels to help someone, no matter how big or small it may be.
-Badger

We would like to thank Mr Badger for this brilliant interview. Personally, I can well recommend going to anything that he is involved in, as you will not be disappointed. This year’s Badgerfest is on 18th and 19th October, at the Bread Shed, Grosvenor Street, Manchester, and the Drumming Up Change charity event is on 16th November at Rebellion, Manchester. For more information, please visit the links below. Get yourselves down there and support the scene! We will see you there!

Badgerfest Event Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1460476854056521/
Drumming Up Change Event Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/413232826083041/
Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/Badgerfestpromotions/

https://www.instagram.com/badgerfestival_/
Badgerfest Main Sponsors:
https://www.facebook.com/OldJSpicedRum/
https://www.facebook.com/POLRServices/
https://www.facebook.com/ensomanagement/

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Paul Logue from Eden’s Curse

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Interview with Paul Logue from Eden’s Curse
December 2018

Congratulations on the release of your “Testament – The Best Of Eden’s Curse” album Paul. Does that mean you guys are splitting up now? 😉.

PL: Haha! No, but I get the context. A lot of band’s seem to break up and then release a ‘Best Of’ album to fulfil contractual obligations. But I hate to disappoint you – we are going nowhere!

So why now then?

PL: The timing of the release came via discussions with our label AFM Records. We have such an open and close relationship, having worked together for over 12 years and we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other. We both felt it was the perfect time, especially with us heading out on a big UK tour with Michael Schenker Fest. One of our main aims on that tour was obviously to win over new fans and ‘Testament’ would hopefully be a great tool for helping convert those people who liked what we were doing on the night into hardcore fans.

‘Testament’ is not your typical ‘Best Of’ release that has two or three CD’s full of the band’s greatest songs. You instead have opted for one disc with fourteen of the band’s best songs and a second disc of bonus tracks and a brand-new song. Can you explain why?

PL: Sure! The aim is simply to appeal to fans both old and new. Disc one is primarily aimed at potential new fans. If you always fancied checking out our music and don’t know where to begin this, is in our opinion, is a great starting point. For the guys that have the albums already, then it’s a good compilation with arguably all our big songs on one CD. Disc two was compiled especially with our long-time followers in mind. We are very much a band who listens to its fan base and for many years we have been asked “can you release all the bonus tracks on one disc?”. Unfortunately, for contractual reasons, that was unable to happen until now, as we extended our worldwide deal with AFM Records and they now hold all the rights. There are a couple of extra special tracks that have not seen the light of day on general release before and of course a brand-new song called ‘Forever’.

Who chose the tracks for the best album and put the running order together?

PL: I chose the songs with our A&R director at AFM Records, Mr Timo Hoffmann. I put together the running order exactly like we would perform it as a set list, if we were playing it live, and I think it really works.

In April 2019 you will undertake the ‘Testament’ tour in the UK. What will feature in the set?

PL: We will play ‘Testament’ in full along with the new song ‘Forever’.

And you have two amazing support bands in Mob Rules and Degreed as part of a brilliant triple package?

PL: Yes, that’s right! Mob Rules are one of my favourite bands, but I have never seen them live before. So naturally I was delighted when they accepted our offer. Degreed are relatively new to me. I have heard the name before but only caught them live for the first-time supporting H.E.A.T in Glasgow and then we played together in Malmo at Melodic Rock Fest Scandinavia in Sweden this past summer. So, I kept them in mind when it came to looking for a third band for the tour. We worked very hard on getting a package together that really stood out for the fans, and when it was announced it seemed to receive a very positive response. The proof is in the pudding though and it’s all about how many people turn out for the shows though. So, get your tickets bought people! 😉.

Speaking of tours, you are just hot off the UK tour supporting Michael Schenker Fest. How was that experience?

PL: The tour was excellent. As I mentioned above, our main aim was to win new fans and we certainly did that. We played very well every single night and got better as the tour went on. Some of the stage times were a little earlier than we would have liked, as Michael was playing a near three-hour set, but beggars cannot be choosers and we were delighted to be involved and playing on some of the UK’s most iconic stages.

What shows were the highlights?

PL: Glasgow, as always! SWG3 was packed and the gig went like a dream. We opened the Hard Rock Hell XII festival in North Wales in front of a very full room and London at the iconic O2 Forum in Kentish Town was superb.

What’s next for Eden’s Curse?

PL: First up, it’s a relaxing end of the year spending Christmas and New Year with our families. Then into 2019, we will perform at Planet Rock Radio’s Winter’s End Festival in England in March, and as mentioned above, we will undertake the ‘Testament UK Tour’ in April. For the remainder of the year though, we will be focusing on writing our next album, which we have begun but not in earnest.

So, you have actually started writing?

PL: Yes! I have recorded one instrumental track with our drummer John and have several new riffs and ideas recorded, but in very early stages, with maybe only one song pretty developed, instrumentally at this point.

You guys always seem to have a very clear idea of where each album is headed. Is it more of the same?

PL: First and foremost, I am always very sure of what I want to write, which for me is always just good quality melodic hard rocking metal music. It is never forced but I always write for myself first and foremost. We will never stray too much from what we are all about, after all it is our identity, but I think our fans can hear with the newer track ‘Forever’ what this line-up of Eden’s Curse is all about and capable of. We have several ideas that I am very excited about and that for me is what keeps writing fresh and interesting. If it doesn’t excite you then don’t bother!

Care to elaborate further?

PL: Not too much, but I am exploring some lyrical concepts that are pretty PL: I never said that haha!

But you never said no?

PL: No I didn’t haha! We will see. I am not committing to anything at this stage.

When do you expect to have the album ready?

PL: We haven’t even written it yet, so not before 2020.

Well there you have it folks – the Curse are going to be back with their sixth album at some point in the near future. Until then, we have the wonderful ‘Testament’ and the new track ‘Forever’ to whet our appetites. You can buy “Testament – The Best Of Eden’s Curse” and tickets for the tour with Mob Rules and Degreed from http://www.edenscurse.com and follow the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edenscurseofficial

 

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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

 

Interview with Chris LoPorto, Vocalist for Can’t Swim

Can_t Swim

Interview with Chris LoPorto, Vocalist for Can’t Swim
Interview by Stephen Moss

Hi Everyone , Rick Here,

On 1st December our, Stateside, guest reviewer Stephen Moss went to see US rock band Can’t Swim play a gig at the (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City. Whilst he was there he also managed to do an interview with vocalist Chris LoPorto. I’d like to thank Stephen and Andy Jansons at JM Pressphoto Agency for sending us the interview and, of course to Chris for answering the questions!

 

Stephen Moss: “Your uncle was a famous drummer and you played drums in many bands. When you took the role of lead singer and guitar player, did you find yourself overly critiquing the drum lines because you had so much experience as a drummer, or did you give your drummer the freedom to make their own lines?”

Chris LoPorto: “I recorded the drums on our first release. Now, Danny and I split the drumming duty when we record. But i’m not a control freak in any way, whoever is playing drums for us live, I always tell them to add their own spice to the parts.”

Stephen Moss: “How has your writing style evolved since you first released your Death Deserves a Name – EP?”

Chris LoPorto: “I think I have a better idea of what I want Can’t Swim to be now. I know what we can and cannot do. Also, it’s far more collaborative, we are a band who make records together, not just myself making demos on a laptop anymore.”

Stephen Moss: “It’s been said, “Music can cure things medicine can’t.” For many song writers, writing is therapeutic and it’s a way to help themselves. What’s it been like to hear stories and talk to people who use your music as a therapy treatment to help them cope with their life?”

Chris LoPorto: “It’s lovely and something I never thought would happen. Gives me a sense of purpose and pushes me to work hard at this band. It’s a realization that it’s not just loud rock music, if a person can feel better about their situation hearing about what I’ve been through, that’s a very special thing.”

Stephen Moss: “When you’re playing on stage and you hear the crowd singing your songs, are you able to take a second and soak that in or are you focused on the chords and the next lyrics?”

Chris LoPorto: “My job is very easy on stage, I can totally focus on the crowd and take it in. I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”

Stephen Moss: “When writing songs, do you write the lyrics first or the music first?”

Chris LoPorto: “Depends. Usually the music and melody come first. Then i’ll write words to fit the melodies. I like for the vibe of the music to inspire the lyrics.”

Stephen Moss: “You had said before that some of your songs are first done on acoustic guitar. Is there any plans on doing an unplugged album?”

Chris LoPorto: “Oh jeez, I hope not hahaha.”

Stephen Moss: “You guys do a great live show, any plans for a live album or a cover album?”

Chris LoPorto: “I don’t think so, no.”

Stephen Moss: “If you could pick one band to tour with past or present, who would it be and why?”

Chris LoPorto: “Drake. I listen to his records a lot and he seems like a friendly guy.”

Stephen Moss: “Are you a sports fans?”

Chris LoPorto: “I’m not.”

Stephen Moss: “As someone from NJ, I have to ask…Taylor Ham or Pork Roll?”

Chris LoPorto: “Go veg, save the planet.”

Stephen Moss: “I spoke to Jesse from 10 Years and he said “I’ve been all around the world but there’s something special about coming to Knoxville because it’s home.” You guys have also toured around the globe. Is it still special coming back to Jersey?”

Chris LoPorto: “It’s funny, we started the band so abruptly, we don’t have much of a hometown feeling when playing NJ. it’s great to see friends and family but, we’ve probably played Nebraska just as much as we’ve played NJ.”

Stephen Moss: “So far, what’s been your favourite city to play a show in?”

Chris LoPorto: “Orlando.”

Stephen Moss: “What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened on the road?”

Chris LoPorto: “I’ve spent 3 years of my life looking at interstates.”

Stephen Moss: “As a band, what are some of your goals?”

Chris LoPorto: “We don’t really get too caught up in that stuff. We love what we are doing now and just want to do it more often. Getting a chance to play shows and make records is something we don’t take for granted.”

Stephen Moss: “Your tour schedule is crazy busy! Many shows are played back to back. How are you able to give 100% each show?”

Chris LoPorto: “Coffee! A lot of coffee!”

Stephen Moss: “I wish I was kidding but, every time I wear your shirt people ask me if I can swim. It’s a clever name because then I have to explain to them that it’s a band and we end up having a conversation about your band. So, I have to ask you, Have you learned to swim yet?”

Chris LoPorto: “Certainly not. Don’t plan on it either cause I can’t think of what else to call the band.”

Stephen Moss: “Will you be putting more of your videos on Apple Music?”

Chris LoPorto: “I have no idea. I don’t even have a smart phone.”

Stephen Moss: “I’m asking for selfish reasons but, there is a beautiful venue in Jersey City called “White Eagle Hall” or “Maxwells” in Hoboken where Nirvana played. Do you guys have plans to play any North Jersey gigs?”

Chris LoPorto: “Do they still do shows at Maxwells? I would love to play there, hook it up.”

Stephen Moss: “Do you guys still keep in touch with Andrea? (ex Can’t Swim drummer and long time friend) If so, any plans on having her be a special appearance and drum on a few tracks or shows?”

Chris LoPorto: “Totally, she played drums on two tracks of our newest record.”

Stephen Moss: “Did you guys have an epiphany moment where you realized, “Hey, we can do this full time.” Like, at what moment did you realize that this band had something special?”

Chris LoPorto: “When we first got signed, tours quickly started rolling in and we didn’t even have a chance to ponder if we could do it or not, we just had to. I think i’m still in that mind set almost like the alarm is going off and i’m rushing to make it to work on time.”

Stephen Moss: “When preparing for this interview, I was talking with a very good friend of mine named Melissa. Her favourite band is Taking Back Sunday. I asked her if she had the opportunity to interview Taking Back Sunday, what would she ask? She said two things, 1) “Can I be your best friend?” And 2) “Can I touch your hair?” Hahahaha. This made me think, what’s some weird things that you’ve been asked during an interview?”

Chris LoPorto: “If someone asks me if I can swim or if pineapple belongs on pizza, I’m probably going to quit the band.”

Stephen Moss: “Thank you for your time. I’ll see you at your next show in Jersey/NYC.”

Chris LoPorto: “Likewise. Be well and thanks for doing this.”

CHECK OUT CAN’T SWIM AT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
https://www.cantswimmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cantswim/

https://www.instagram.com/cantswim_/
https://cantswimmusic.tumblr.com/

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephen Moss and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.