After touring extensively in Europe, The Brew bring their brand of good old-fashioned balls-to-the-wall rock to The Bodega on February 16th. I spoke to bassist, Tim Smith the day before their upcoming UK tour.
Afternoon Tim – how are you doing?
All good mate ready to rock ‘n’ roll from tomorrow morning!
Awesome! Looking forward to it?
Yes – always looking forward to hitting the road. That’s what this band is about – we are a live band and that’s where we are at our best. Some bands prefer it in the studio, but not The Brew.
I’m personally the other way around, but it’s obvious from what I’ve read about you that you love the live side!
Yes indeed, a couple of years ago we were voted in the top three live acts in Europe by Eclipsed magazine – one of the leading rock ‘n’ roll magazines in Germany!
That must feel good!
Well awards are nice it’s a recognition that people do appreciate and understand what you are trying to achieve.
Yea, absolutely, it’s always good to get recognition from your peers! So, tell us a bit about The Brew.
Well we formed in 2004 and went professional in 2009. It’s an unusual mix of band members because my son is the drummer! But this is still the same lineup – its like a big family unit on the road. And since 2009 it seems like we have been constantly touring and now over the last 18 months we are trying to bring the music of The Brew back to our home.
Hence the UK tour… You’ve played with some big names – I’m a big fan of Joe Satriani especially – been listening to him this morning! Any stories? Did you get to meet any of them?
Yes we do have stories but I’m not sure it’s a good idea for us to release them! LOL.
In the end, all these people that we have met have been very nice; we haven’t had any problems to be honest. In the end the bigger names have nothing to prove to the likes of us and we’re all trying to achieve the same thing anyway. Offstage a lot of these people are really quite normal, unlike the media image and maybe sometimes their stage image!
I do remember us playing with Ozzy Osbourne at the Sweden rocks festival some years ago and 10 minutes before the show nobody at the festival even knew where he was LOL. He still managed to turn up on time and do a fantastic show.
Typical Ozzy! I actually met Joe Satriani at a record signing, and I was a bit starstruck, whereas my mate who I dragged along had never heard of him, and had a good old chat!
Yes it’s always the case, people get very nervous when they meet “stars” who they look up to. We get it now but hopefully within the first 15 seconds they realise we are just normal guys! Having said that I think Pete Townshend is a genius and God knows what it will be like to meet him! They always say never meet your heroes!
Very true! But Satch was cool…That must be strange though, being the star!
A star in their eyes don’t forget!
True! You released your last album in 2016, I guess you’ve been playing that live for the last 18 months, so you guys will be well rehearsed. When I see a band live, I like the songs to be recognisable, but I’m always interested to see how they pull it off live!
That’s true, we do bring different elements to the songs live because again, that’s what we do. No point in just replicating the studio sound!
So you’re playing Bodega on the 16th February. It’s a cool venue, have you played Notts before?
Yes we played the same venue (the Bodega) about a year ago and it was a great night – one of the best on the tour. Like you say it’s a cool venue and I understand the ticket sales are really good for the upcoming show which is also awesome! We played in Nottingham many many years ago when we were first starting out doing covers! At the Running Horse in fact. I remember because Joe Bonamassa was playing at the Rescue Rooms just around the corner and everybody was talking about it! We went on to play with Joe years later; in fact we’ve played with him four times.
Cool – always nice to know you’re going in the right direction! I played the Running Horse years ago…
Good to hear it is still operating! So many venues have closed.
Yea. I thought it closed down at one point, but it’s still going. We’re lucky in Notts, we have a good range of venues – from stadium to small rooms!
Obvious question – What were your best and worst gigs ever?
Best Gigs is a difficult one to answer because best gig for a band is different to best gig for a fan. I think probably the best way to answer that would be most memorable gig, in a good way, which was the first rock Rockpalast show we did (which, if you’re not aware of that TV show, is one of the most famous shows in Europe, and my brother has played on it over the many years it has been operating). It went out live to Germany and we were playing tracks from the first album, some of which we had never played live before!
We got a standing ovation and the producer came on and said to go back on for an additional 10 minutes, which was really incredible. The only problem was we didn’t have 10 minutes more material to play so we dug deep and played a cover of Voodoo Chile from our cover band days. It did the trick! It lifted us from being on our own in Germany to people coming to our shows in the many hundreds. It really was a turning point.
Regarding a worst gig, I would answer it by saying most memorable gig in a bad way LOL. We did a show in the Czech republic in a museum. The stage was so small it was the size of a tabletop! People were sat around the museum on chairs. It was totally bizarre, but they seemed to enjoy it LOL. Actually I also remember doing a gig at MFN in Nottingham, and setting fire to the stage! That was also a bizarre night. Malc the owner jumped on the stage and put the fire out with an extinguisher. Everyone thought it was part of the show and asked if we were going to do it again. Unbelievable!
Rock and Roll! How did you manage to set the stage on Fire?
We used to set light to the symbols on the drum kit by pouring lighter fuel on them, setting light to it and then when Kurt hit them they went up in a big ball of flame. It looked really good but eventually we stopped doing it as many venues had an issue with it LOL. This one time, the can we were using to squirt fuel onto the symbols caught light. I threw it on the floor and tried to stamp on it in the dark. I missed the flame and hit the main body of the can which just exploded the fuel across the stage. It was ridiculous.
Ha ha! Amazing! Please don’t set fire to the Bodega though!
Hopefully those people have not seen us before. They will come away from the evening thinking that it was a night to remember, if they are fans of good solid rock and roll based on the 70s: Who, Zeppelin…but played in the modern style akin to the Foo Fighters, Wolfmother, Kula Shaker and Black Keys. I would say it would be a real shame for anyone to miss the show at the Bodega on the 16th.
My summation of your style would be – good old fashioned balls to the wall rock!
Sounds good to me!
You talked about the band being a family, is the songwriting process as close knit?
Yes it is, it’s a three way process. Usually one of us will come up with an idea, then we talk about it and then jointly see where we can all add to the idea and form a song.
So it’s all pretty collaborative? Do you jam, or does it come out of a more ordered approach?
We have done it all different ways, and in the earlier days we used to write while we were on the road, as it was the only time we had! Now when we have plans for a new album we do take a month out, go into a studio and jam out ideas, and bring to the table anything we have individually.
That sounds good. When will that be? Or is that to be decided?
No we wrote a new album in the summer of 2017, and went into the studio in December. In fact we got the Masters back yesterday. New album will be released in September of this year with a tour to follow across Europe.
Wow! Busy busy! So this is pretty much full time for you then!
Well we got a new Record deal in the middle of last year with Napalm records which we are really excited about obviously. The label is quite a big concern and should be great for the band. Yes we’re all professional.
That’s great, congrats! That must feel good, it’s bloody difficult to make a living with music these days, especially with the ease you can get music for nothing…
Hence the reason we tour all the time! Money from record sales is ridiculous – even though we have a chart success in countries in Europe including Germany! You never really see any of it.
Scary, but good to know it can be done through playing live!
Records are not sold in the quantity they ever were in the past, however, vinyl record sales are definitely on the up, and we sell so many of those at the shows.
Yea, that trend is encouraging…
So, one final thing – I had a watch through your recording with videos, which are very funny, it’s nice to have a bit of humour isn’t it?
Good not to take yourself too seriously! Have you seen the collection of videos recording with The Brew? We had so much fun making those!
Yea, those are the ones, I watched all 3! Poor Toby!!! (The producer! – watch the videos to find out more!)
OK, so I think I’ve got plenty to go at, any last things you’d like to say?
Only to invite all rock ‘n’ roll fans along to the show it’s gonna be a great night.
Of course! Thank you for you time today, good luck with the tour!
OK Stewart, many thanks for your time. Keep in touch.
Pleasure, will do, and likewise!
The Brew play The Bodega on the 16th February.