Thursday 31 October 2013

Interview with Black Tusk

Outside of Manchester's Alter Ego, Andrew Fidler, guitarist/vocalist of Black stands smoking a cigarette. The smoke billows from it, mixing into the cold, Mancunian air.

Before our interview, he enquires about Sludgelord, about what music is covered. At the mention of Windhand, he chimes in:

"We're good friends with them. We had them play a house party but it only lasted one song ‘cause they were so fucking loud."

He takes another drag, a wry smile across his face.

Welcome to Manchester, the rain has just about stopped. Being from Georgia you must be freezing?

I am Cold. I’ve got some long underwear I’m probably gonna put on after the show.

Is that the fun of touring though, travelling and seeing different places, you’re literally a world away from home right now?

[Laughs] Oh yeah. It seriously is a world away from home, but it’s fun. The weather’s interesting. At home it’s probably about 75 degrees or something .

Going back to the beginning of the band's history, you were all neighbours, tell us a little more about that?

We were all in old punk bands and Savannah’s quite a tight-knit community,we’ve only gottwo punk houses that are on the same street. Then both thosebands went south because members didn’t want to tour, but [the rest of us] wanted to tour so we just thought, ‘hey we both play the same kind of music, let’s get together and jam.’

Did you ever expect Black Tusk to get this far?

I don’t know man, being in a band is such a crazy thing, there’s no telling what’s gonna happen. Look at our buds Red Fang, they’ve been slugging it out forever you know, then they had that break and boom, they’re selling out places all over, so who knows?

We’re gonna keep slugging it out and see what happens. That was always our intention with this band. ‘If you wanna be in this band then you’re gonna have to tour, if not walk out now, not in 5 years from now. It’s all in, all or nothing.

It’s an attitude that’s got you this far.

Yeah, well that and a pretty good work ethic.

This tour is in support of your new EP Tend No Wounds, what was the thought process behind releasing an EP rather than a full album?

We had some songs that we’d been sitting on but our tour schedules crazy. We write all our songs in one session. If we had gone in another writing session for the EP in kinda might not necessarily be in the same vain you know? We wanted something new and we’ve been touring for a while and we wanted them in some form of medium for the fans and so we could play them live. It just worked out with our tour schedule that we put out a new EP. Next time we have a writing session we can start with a clean slate.

Is it more of a case of capturing a moment in time then?

Pretty much, that’s how we’ve always done it. However the process could take a couple of months but we like to immerse ourselves in that and make a jam space‘till it’s done.

So, for myself and others who are yet to witness a Black Tusk live show, what is it like?

It’s gonna be loud [laughs]. We like to have fun on stage and hopefully the crowd do the same. We try to put our energy into the crowd so they can give it us back.


Are you guys self-managed?

We have a manager and booking agents. He handles business stuff, recording sessions and gets us on bigger tours. We have our own lives too so we’re juggling the band with wives and girlfriends so it’s helpful to have another voice guiding in the right direction and giving us ideas. He also does all of our web stuff which is awesome.

You definitely have a big online presence, which in today’s age is necessary.

Yeah, well most print stuff has gone the outlet now is the internet. Some nights when we go into one of our video song everybody knows that fucking song and they go crazy.

When we started touring we didn’t have a Myspace or anything like that. There’s this magazine in the States called ‘book your on fucking life’ which basically had loads of phone numbers in it so I booked our first tour by writing letters and making phone calls.

Looking at your Bandcamp page you have a lot of comments from fans saying that you're always willing to take the time to chat with them after a show. How important is it to do that, because not every band does?

I keep up with the Facebook page and I always try to get back to them. If it wasn’t for the fans we’d still be jamming in the garage so at shows we always take time to hang out with them and drink beers.

On the Truth Untold video the three of you are wearing Venom, Sabbath and Motorhead shirts so your influences are clear to see, but do you draw influence from any bands that people wouldn't expect you to?

My guitar work is a little bluesy. My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was a boy. I’ve never taken a lessen other than my dad showing me a few chords so I’m basically self-taught.

Words and Interview by : Phil Weller

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