INTERVIEW WITH..... Simon McBride

Wes O’Neill


There’s an old saying that “anyone who is any good is always busy” and that’s certainly the case with Simon McBride. Opening for Joe Bonamassa and Joe Satriani previously, touring with his own band, recording and touring with Don Airey, Ian Gillan and Snakecharmer, teaching at music colleges and privately upon occasion, PRS Guitars events, session work, the list goes on…


Simon is on tour this autumn in Europe and the UK with an exciting new line up in the very experienced and talented Dave Marks on bass and Marty McCloskey on drums. Anyone who has seen Simon play or have heard his 3 critically acclaimed albums from 2008’s ‘Rich Man Falling’ through to 2014’s ‘Crossing the Line’ know him to be a very gifted, articulate and emotive player. If you haven’t seen Simon play before, your chance to is coming up and you better buckle up...


3 month European and UK tour, you’re looking forward to it knowing your love of playing…


“Oh yes, we’re dead excited for it. We’re playing quite a few in Germany, a couple in France, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Spain before we get back to UK shores in November. Dave Marks is on bass, Marty McCloskey on drums and there’s a couple of festival shows in the tour. Set wise we’ve totally changed from what some people will have seen before so it’s quite exciting. That’s not to say that some usual songs are in there, but we’ve played with the arrangements a bit, have dug out some early songs of mine and may throw in a Gary Moore song or the like. We’ve been planning this tour for a while, well, Marty and Dave have as I’ve been sat on my, not really, I’ve just been so busy with Don Airey and Snakecharmer this past year!”


On the note of Snakecharmer, how did that come about?


“I was playing a gig at O2 Academy Islington in London, playing away, and I see this rather tall man standing at the back watching, I thought ‘He kinda looks a bit like Neil Murray’. Turns out it was, we had a chat and him and Laurie Wiseman called me over the next couple of days asking if I’d be interested in joining the band as Mickey had left and they were after another guitarist. So, I asked what kind of album they were looking to do and what the plan was. As all members are so busy doing lots of things they don’t do a lot of gigs which really suited me as I was doing stuff with Don Airey and my own thing. You know me, I never say no to anything, any opportunity to play music I’m there, but I try not to get too tied down to something.”


“The music’s great, they’re all great musicians and great fun to play and tour with and the album ‘Second Skin’ came out great and a lot of people like it. We’re playing at the Ilfracombe Blues Festival in November, I’m also playing with my own band the night before at that and there’s a few more dates for us in 2018 and we’re looking at a European tour over a couple of weeks along with some talk of Japan and Australia. The only problem with Snakecharmer is tieing everybody down as we’re all busy, you know Adam Wakemen off playing with Ozzy Osbourne and the like, so some promoters won’t book the band if only 5 of the 6 can do it. You know, we can get other players in that have a decent profile, as Davey from my band is sitting in at Ilfracombe and at Ramblin Man, the last gig we did which I literally flew in and out to do, Harry wasn’t available so Jon Finnegan of Don Airey/Ian Gillan sat in for him on drums. We can always fix it with decent players but some promoters just want the 6 that are on the album which isn’t always possible!”


Your trio lineup has changed a bit over the last few years, what do Dave and Marty bring to the dynamic of the band?


“I played with Hammy (Paul Hamilton) on drums and either Carl Harvey or Gareth Hughes on bass for a long time, the longest with Hammy and it did reach a point for us where we all just needed a bit of a change. That just happens in music sometimes where people want to try something new or a different direction which is totally cool. I’ve known Marty for years, since he was 16 and playing his first drum kit, which he still plays today and he’s sat in for Hammy a bunch of times. Marty’s very much a showman, he’s more flamboyant and brings a whole new lease of life to the show in his energy. That’s the same with Dave Marks…”


“Again, I’ve known Dave for a long time, only to say hi to at first until a few years ago where I needed a bass player for Guitar Heroes festival in Germany, which we’re playing again on this tour, so I called him up, he happened to be free and it’s been all on since then. When you meet Dave, without even hearing him play, you just know he’s gonna be good. I call him the Duracell bunny ‘cos he just doesn’t stop, so much energy and he’s a phenomenal player, he can pretty much play anything. There’s a lot more life in the show than there has been before and having Marty and Dave gives me a bit of a break where Dave can take a solo or Marty will and that gives the audience more to engage with and a break from just guitar, guitar and more guitar. Overall there’s more entertainment factor there which is needed as hitting people with so much guitar, some may well enjoy that, over 2 hours can be a bit intense and some people's attention span will drift away a little bit.”


“We just have to see what happens on each night but with this line up we try to engage the audience as much as possible, we just want to give people who have paid their earned money to come and see us a show to remember. Playing different venues to different crowds changes from place to place obviously, but we try to keep our approach the same to each show. Some crowds are a bit more reserved like in Holland, Belgium and there’s nothing wrong with that, they’re just more of a listening audience that’s all and that’s cool. On the other hand, in the UK up north they’re more rowdy and like to shout abuse at me which is good as I like that. Further south is a bit more reserved until Bristol, which is the last night of this tour, you’re all a bit mad there!”


Now, you knew this was coming as we’ve talked about it every time the last couple of years, what’s going on with the new album?


“You say you’ve seen clips of us recording, tweets? It’s all lies! There is no new album! No, really...the album is pretty much nearly 80% done! My last album ‘Crossing the Line’ was I think nearly 4 years ago (you say 5?), shit, Ok, that long ago and it is a disgrace that I haven’t released another yet! To be honest, I have been so busy and i’ve had 2 kids in that time so I wanted to have a bit of a break as that’s important. You know, doing an album takes a lot of time in writing, pre production, recording etc, I didn't want the extra pressure, I didn’t want to rush it and I certainly won’t just put any old thing out there. There’s some that do that and I am not like that at all.”


“What I can tell you is that there’s no title yet, that’ll be the last thing I come up with. Next year it’ll definitely be out. Definitely 2018. That’s the truth this time, you can put that on record!”


Tour dates and tickets:


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