The last time I saw this band I have to admit I was very impressed. It was Easter in Derry; we were in the local pub and we were all getting completely bladdered. The headlining act who were playing that night, the Answer, according to the local rag, were some rock act from Down Patrick that looked like Led Zeppelin and sounded like AC/DC. At first our group, being a cynical bunch of bastards, were expecting some pub rock act to knock out a few covers of 'Black Dog' and 'Highway to Hell'. But as soon as the Answer started to play our collective cynicism was consigned to the bottom of glass.

What really surprised me that night was that here was a local band that had all the energy and presence not seen since the days when rock singers were gods and guitarists allegedly sold their souls for rock n’ roll. The Answer have the power, the grit that is sadly lacking from the UK and Ireland rock scenes. While most new emerging bands change their sound to sound like a third-rate Joy Division or My Chemical Romance, the Answer channel a classic rock n’ roll vibe that is both fresh and very contemporary.

I join a very worse-for-wear looking singer Cormac Neeson (what is it with the Northern Irish and Glasgow) at the plush five star Manchester Roadhouse.


PB : When did you guys form? You’ve been together a few years now haven’t you?

CN : We’ve been together five and half years. I was in New York singing in a couple of blues bands at the time when I got a letter from Mickey and Paul, our guitarist and bassist. I had never met them before but in the letter they said they were starting a rock n’ roll band at home and if I was coming home any time soon to give them a shout. By coincidence I was going home to enrol at Queen’s University so I hooked up with them and we acquired James, our drummer. about a month later.

PB : What have been up to?

CN: We are just about to finish a 16 date tour of the UK, our first headliner tour and this is the last gig tonight. The bones are starting to ache a bit.

PB : You guys seem to be constantly on tour, I saw you guys about two years ago and you were half away through a nationwide tour. How do you keep on going?

CN : With the exception of recording our ‘new’ album, we try to keep as busy as possible. There’s nothing worse than sitting at fucking home doing nothing. Instead of waiting for something to happen, it is better to be out there

PB : What’s the new album called then?

CN : We’re not 100% sure of the title yet. I’ll let you know as soon as we are. We need to get our fingers out and pick things up because I think the album is out in June.

PB : What label are you on over here?

CN : It’s under Albert Productions, AC/DC’s Publishers over here, so yes, it's a good rock n’ roll label to be on. They have given us a lot of support to make the album. They have not held back if you know what I mean. Anything we have needed they have given to us. We had quite a lot of artistic freedom which is quite rare in this day and age. We got studio time, a couple of really good producers and we went in and blasted away.

PB : I suppose being from Down Patrick and having an Ash connection as a result helps?

CN : James used to play drums for Ash so we kind of knew the ropes. It is kind of a close knit musical community so we are friendly with the Ash guys. They were able to give us advice at the start when we ever needed it.

PB : So what can expect in the future from the Answer? I am aware you are on the Kerrang Most Wanted tour.

CN : This is the last night of the tour and we’re heading to the studio tomorrow for a few days to record a song for a Kerrang compilation CD of covers to mark their 25th anniversary.

We then go home for a few days to chill out and then it is off to Holland to do a tour. Then we’re doing the Kerrang tour so we’re fucking busy. After that the festivals start kicking in. We are doing the Download festival and a few European festivals.

We’ve got a single coming out on May 22. It is called 'Into the Gutter' and the album will be out the following month.

PB : I know it is a mundane question to ask, but what are you listening to right now ? What’s on your iPod?

CN : My iPod does not fucking work unfortunately. No, I was listening to Rory Gallagher’s 'Blueprint' just before sound-check.

PB : I’ve been listening to your sound. There’s lot of old rock stuff you guys have drawn from, but it’s a pretty fresh sound you’ve got. How do you make the classic rock n’ roll sound sound fresh?

CN : I think you have to avoid blatantly ripping bands off. Obviously, you’re going to take your influences from your favourite bands and there is nothing wrong with that. What ever brand of music you play, whether it is rock or jazz, metal or whatever, you have to make it your own. You just cannot go about regurgitating old news.

PB : So after five and half years, it’s beginning to pay off.

CN : I think it is. This tour has been a big success. For the first time, you can feel a nationwide buzz developing. To face something like that with an album coming out is something we could only have dreamed about five and half years ago. We are going in the right direction and long may it continue.

PB : So next year at Earl’s Court I will be asking where it did all go wrong?

CN: And I’ll still be saying ‘Aye Glasgow, last night man’.

PB : Cheers !

The Answer’s excellent news single, 'Into the Gutter', will be released on Albert Productions on May 22.











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