Black Stone Cherry 19 March 2012
MG: Hi great to meet you and thank you for your time.
Fred: Hey man great to meet you to, I'm John Fred Young the drummer for and after show party organiser of humus, pitta chips and vegetables!
MG: How has the tour been going so far?
Fred: Yeah it’s been going excellent! We couldn’t ask for anything more it’s been sold out , we are playing some places we haven’t before like Liverpool, that was a show where we had never played before and it was so loud!. We are going to different places like Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh.
All these shows are so loud and it’s truly amazing for us. Of course we have played Glasgow before, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham as well and all these other places, but there are a lot of places where we hadn’t played on this tour and they are all selling out! It’s really incredible and I think it’s from our extensive touring over here is starting to pay off, and we keep returning and the more we do our fan base is getting bigger and bigger.
MG: Well I know the Ironworks in Inverness and that will be rabid! They don’t get many big bands up there it's right in the Highlands and will be amazing.
Fred: Wow that sounds really cool, like a small town kind of scenario. Yeah we find that in America , you know you get the big cities like L.A. , Chicago and New York where they get the shows all the time, then you get the towns like where we are from with three thousand people and they don’t get the shows like the bigger cities etc. So when the big bands come through and if they do it’s just like total mayhem!
MG: The tour, as you have already said have quickly sold out ... Any shows that stand out?
Fred: That’s hard, really hard as they have all been totally wonderful. You know some nights you get to places where the atmosphere is different. And like you said you get some nights where the crowd is rabid and they haven’t had a concert in years. But you know it’s all good man, mean I don’t want to say, like no one else in the world knows how to party and have a good time, but people in the UK get our sound and music and have such a great energy when we play, it is truly amazing! I really can’t even pick one to tell which one was the best!
MG: You officially formed in June 2001, when you got together in your teens it didn’t seem to take long to get a following back then, did you ever think you would make it as far as you have?
Fred: When we first got our band together we hoped we would make it to where we are today and tour and play the world. But you never and I don’t care who says it, fathom what we are doing now. It’s just amazing, we were speaking about this last night, and you know at times you take it for granted. You know you wake up and you wish you could be home with your girlfriend or wife, grandparents, mothers and fathers and everybody feels that way. I mean anybody who has been away from home feels that way, be it you drive a truck, in the Military, you do miss home. But when I think about what we do, it’s just such an incredible experience, I mean we get to see so many things.
MG: And this is kind of relevant in your new video 'In My Blood'?
Fred: True but I would never dare put us anywhere near to what the guys in the Military do. Their lives are without question something we will never have to experience and we could never put ourselves on a par with them. A friend of ours Andy Bennett did the video 'Things My Father Said' and we wanted him to do some more videos, as he did a really great job with the others, so we did a live performance in a very small bar.
Then Andy went to a US Army base in Germany where he met a soldier named Randy, who is from Florida and now lives in Augusta Georgia and he allowed Andy to follow him through his daily routine in Germany and it was just incredible, as those guys go about their daily life. Obviously Randy has seen a lot of combat at 21. But all the time you see footage of soldiers in combat and everyone realises they do things like that. But I think what they don’t see is the behind the scenes at their barracks , being their down time you know it must get so lonely at times being by yourself, you know I think everyone experiences that on some level. But it was just incredible for Randy to allow Andy to go through and follow his daily routines.
Randy flew back to South Carolina when he flew in from Germany and Andy met him at the airport and Randy had had a son while he was in Germany and he had gotten married over Skype to his wife. So she wore her wedding dress to the airport. It was pretty emotional, none of it was planned and none of it was staged. It was his real family, real wife and the first time he had seen his baby in the flesh. It was really cool, a few days later we went down to Georgia and we did a private acoustic show for him. It was a private deal and he didn’t have a clue that we were going to be doing this. We were behind a curtain in this little biddy theatre and he came in, it was awesome to be able to meet him and thank him with our buddy Andy filming.
MG: It’s an amazing video and the Military seems to be a subject that is very close to your hearts, 'Long Sleeves' was written about a friend of yours who took part in the battle of Mogadishu?
Fred: Yes it is and our great friend sergeant Bobby Perdue, who was born in Kentucky and through a family friend of ours Carl, they met through a car website, are both gear heads and love to work on cars and stuff, so got to be buddy’s and we got to be friends with Bobby and just hearing some of Bobby’s stories you know, he is a little bit older than myself, but you can tell that he’s definitely lived through things that I could never imagine, and your heart just goes out to people who have given so much effort in just keeping freedom worldwide.
Another friend of ours, Mick from Birmingham (UK), works with the wounded warrior hospital and every time we get to Birmingham we always seem snowed under and busy with the press etc., but we are trying to get up to the hospital and see the guys. So hopefully next time we are headlining over here we'll make it up there. Mick always brings the guys down to the shows and we get them passes and stuff.
MG: That’s totally amazing that you give so much to the forces.
Fred: It’s amazing to us you know, they give so much. You know I was raised around firearms and guns, hunted and still do, but it’s hard to imagine what those men and women go through out on the frontline. I just can’t imagine what they go through. You have got to give it up to them man.
MM: The UK fans will be interested in your 'In Your Blood' web campaign, you have requested for fans to submit their own stories, so what was the idea behind that?
Fred: We wanted to see what everyone had, you know what drives them in their hearts. I think we are going to be doing an acoustic show for the winner, it’s kind of going on all over the world ... it’s a really cool thing.
MG: What would be your ultimate highlight of everything the bands done since they have been together?
Fred: Every day we get up and play a show is a highlight, like I was saying earlier, we must not grumble because right now there’s a band in someone’s apartment, garage, playing and wanting to achieve what we have so far. Every day we get up and play music for a living and making people happy. Never wanted to be rich, we just wanted to play music and make people happy.
MG: Well it’s been great talking to you, is there any final words you would like to give to your fans?
Fred: Just ... Thank you so much and we really appreciate everyone that comes to our shows and it helps put diesel in the bus, and thanks for buying the Merch and the CD's, we just can’t thank you all enough!
Interview by Seb Di Gatto