I’m known as a proud champion of the Nottingham music scene, but I have lived in another town with a thriving musical landscape in my life; Southend On Sea is where I spent four happy years of my life and managed to befriend one of my favourite bands of all time. Since their inaugural formation in 1975 they have maintained their place on the live stage, playing clubs, theatres, and festivals all over the world. Throughout all of the changes in personnel (there are twenty three people who can say they were in the band); the one constant has been lead singer Barrie Masters. Ahead of their gig in Nottingham on Saturday 8th February, I spoke to Barrie, starting with the simple “how’s it all going” opener.
It’s going good, we’ve done a lot of England again, and people were moaning we haven’t played here as much so we’re playing here for a while and it’s been so good actually.
You’re playing The Maze this time, I introduced (via Facebook) Simon (Bowlie, drummer) and Gaz (Peacham, The Maze) a while ago so I’m glad that bit of matchmaking has worked out.
Well done that man, everybody tells us it’s a great venue.
I then asked about the band’s latest album 2Sides.
There’s a lot of stuff that never got released properly, plus we’ve had a lot of new songs so we’re in a rare position that we’ve got material backed up for future albums at the moment and normally people hassle you for new stuff. At the moment, touch wood, we’ve got enough. This album was an idea from the record company who said it’s probably best to go through the tracks and it seems to be doing really well.
I’ve only seen it advertised as a download, is there a physical release too?
It’s an album as well, I don’t know if distribution is taking a bit of time but it should be out now. The advertising is happening now so it should be in the shops. Because with the download market that tends to get done first because it’s easier and quicker. Also because there’s less record shops it makes it easier in some ways, but it should be available now. Let us know if it’s not there out there people, tell us on eddieandthehotrods.com
I’ve known you a long time but when I mention Eddie and the Hot Rods people tend to always point out that it isn’t the original lineup. I was doing some working out and you’ve been with this lineup the longest.
By far, in the gap between the original band to this band I went through lots of different lineups with lots of different people, really great musicians. It’s the right person though and in the end once we’d got the rhythm section together with Simon and Dipster it seemed to click so well. We knew what we needed and whom we needed, it was just a matter of getting them. People had other commitments like Richard Holgarth who was playing with John Otway. Chris Taylor was playing with another band round here and we knew that’s who we needed and we held out and got it. That was ten, twelve years ago and since then the band has come on in leaps and bounds, it’s getting everyone facing in the same direction if you know what I mean and we’ve been so lucky to get this band together. It’s one of those bands that for me as a front man, it’s so nice to work in front of them. They’re tight, energetic, and powerful with this great rhythmic feeling. It’s a buzz playing with a band like this.
The thing is we’ve always tried, especially with all the new bands coming up, we’ve wanted to get as many of them out there and playing, anywhere, like we did.
(The ‘pub rock’ scene was instrumental in opening up gigs in rooms that didn’t traditionally host live music, without that ethos, the UK punk scene, a scene that The Rods were wrongly pigeonholed into, would have had a much harder job getting heard).
That’s how bands come to fruition, anyone can play in their bedroom or a studio but it’s going out and bringing the music to the people, that’s how bands become good, paying your dues, going out and playing and The Rods have always proved that. We are more of a live band than a studio band I think now and people seem to recognise that. We get a pretty good crowd and always go down well.
We’ve got it right now!
Interview by Steve Oliver
A longer version of this interview took place on The Sunday Alternative on Sunday February 2nd, which broadcasts 1pm-3pm on trentsound.com