Interview: Black Stone Cherry
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:14:30
Gary Clark, Jr. Photos
Black Stone Cherry Videos
Everybody really needs to start cranking Black Stone Cherry A.S.A.P. Their latest album Magic Mountain is shining proof that rock ‘n’ roll’s heart is beating harder and faster than ever. For all of the lamentations we’re force-fed that rock is dead, just take a listen. You’ll be transported to another realm altogether where unshakable Southern-fried riffs give way to psychedelic soloing and vivid lyricism. These boys are headlining arenas overseas, and they’re bound to be over here too. Take a trip to Magic Mountain...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Chris Robertson of Black Stone Cherry discusses Magic Mountain and so much more.
What ties Magic Mountain together for you?
When we went in to do this album, the only thing we had in mind was that it was going to rock. We didn't want to hold anything back. If radio doesn't play it, then so be it. First and foremost, we made this record for the four of us and the people who have supported us from day one. It's for the fans who go out and buy the CD. On the last record, we tried to please rock radio in America. On this album, we threw that shit out the window. We made a rock 'n' roll record we love. A band can spend its whole life trying to conform and attempting to appeal to a certain market. We said, "The Hell with it. There's no sense in trying to make ourselves miserable and appeal to one specific thing. Let's play the music we like".
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
Yeah, that's part of where we're from. We're from the South, and storytelling is a big part of the culture there. People tell stories, and they embellish the hell out of them. They turn them into something you could never imagine sometimes. Who doesn't love a good story? You know what I mean?
What's the story behind "Remember Me"?
I really appreciate you asking about that. When we started doing pre-production on this album, Joe Barresi flew in on a Sunday. My grandfather had been in the hospital. He was my mom's dad. He was there, and he wasn't given a very good chance. He actually passed away the Sunday that Joe flew in. We were doing pre-production. We only had five days to do any work on the songs before we went to the studio. Wednesday was my Grandpa's funeral. We worked all night on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I decided instead of sitting around the house and having a pity party I'd rather record with the guys. We sat around, and it was obvious I didn't want to work on any of the songs we had written. I didn't want to deal with any of that shit. I tuned my guitar a little funny, and I started playing the intro part. It came to me right off the top of my head. There was the intro riff and the verse. We wrote the music for that song in about fifteen or twenty minutes. I went outside and sat down. They were jamming on that verse. I pulled my phone out and wrote some notes. I started typing. When I finished my cigarette, I said, "Why don't you guys check this out? I think it could be cool". That was the day of my grandpa's funeral, and it was a song for him. They were working class people who lived a simple way of life. They never had a lot, but they made do with what they've had. I love that song. It really means a lot to me.
Where did "Holding On... To Letting Go" come from?
Last year, the band went through a really rough time. It call came back to a lot of things I was dealing with in terms of my anxiety, severe depression, and prescription addictions. That song is the story of the hell the band went through to get to where we're at today. I went to walking out of my house with a loaded shotgun to finding God and living a life that's completely different from what I was used to. My favorite line in that song is, "Black clouds turn to blue and crucified like the truth". I don't think a song has ever name-checked Jesus like that. It's pretty awesome, man.
If you were to compare Magic Mountain to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's tough! There's a whole lot of emotion on this record. You've got your good-time party songs. You've got your serious songs. It's like a dramatic comedy. It's got super dramatic points of serious issues, and then it's got these funny inserts. It's all about the laughs and fun, and then the serious stuff.
What have you been listening to?
Gary Clark, Jr.! That guy is literal beast mode on guitar every day all day. I listen to a lot of Gary Clark, Jr. I'm always listening to a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I'm a big fan of him and Joe Bonamassa. I haven't met Gary yet though. I'd probably shit and fall back if I did. He's like the second coming of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix had a different kick on the blues. Hendrix's blues was like "Red House" and more your standardized blues. When I think of Hendrix, I think of a rock 'n' roll guitar player. Gary is this completely insane blues dude who tears shit up every chance he gets.
What's next for you right now?
We're on the road with Seether right now. Then, we did some festivals in Europe. Then we'll be headlining in the States.
What’s your favorite Black Stone Cherry song?