ALESTORM INTERVIEW – Bass Guitarist Gareth Murdock
Interview by Katherine Tullett
Photography by Altercarnated Photography
On Saturday the 18th of March we had the great pleasure of being able to have an up-close-and-personal chat with Gareth Murdock – Bass Guitars of Alestorm, @ London’s o2 Islington Academy.
So you formed in 2004 as Battleheart, where did you see yourselves going at that stage and where did you think you’d be today?
When it all started back in 2004 it was more like Chris as a one-man-band. He didn’t really get us all in the band and touring until just over 3 years ago. That was a fairly big shock, then there’s getting signed and doing gigs. Really we expected nothing. We expected to play a few gigs and piss about.
So when Napalm came along, that really must have been a big shock?
That was quite a shock and then the tours were quite a shock and now 3-4 years later, the fact that we’re still doing it is all still a shock. So, it’s all still new and exciting, I think.
Back to how you’re progressed, considering the theme of ‘pirate metal’ how did you think that would be received and how did you think audiences would react?
I guess we knew it would work to some degree. As long as there’s Disney movies we’ll be fine and pirates will still be popular, and of course the Lazy Town song. People like that one as well! Ultimately, we knew it would work but we never expected anything like this but again, as soon as pirates are unpopular we’ll be unpopular!
Around the internet you have been described as ‘True Scottish Pirate Metal’ – what is the metal scene like in Scotland?
Oddly, only two of us are Scottish. I’m from Northern Ireland, as is our drummer. I don’t really know what the scene is like in Scotland. I know that we by-passed the scene and a lot of Scottish people are a little bitter about it because we started playing gigs, got signed and then started playing Europe, so we never really did the local pub gig thing and I think that annoyed a lot of people. We’re still pretty popular in Scotland, We did a gig in Glasgow last week, and it was the second biggest gigs of this tour so far, this one being the biggest.
Is the scene any better in Ireland?
Oh God. Not particularly. I’ve played a fair few gigs over the years and there’s always been very few people there. I was surprised though. We played in Belfast on this tour for the first time and it was packed out. We were well received in both places and I was pretty chuffed with that actually!
This is a sold out show tonight. How do you feel about London crowds? Do they respond well to you, is there a lot of energy?
Always have. Always been good. Last time we were here was just a few months ago actually playing Heidenfest with Turisas and we couldn’t believe it. It was ridiculous! The amount of people! So, I’m really excited about tonight because a lot of the shows aren’t a big venue like Islington Academy, but it sold out.
We’ve also head that this is the last night of the tour, do you think it’ll be your biggest, craziest night?
Yeah, I believe so. It should be. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this place sold out before. I know Kiss was last year, so it should be cool.
Going back the pirate theme, is it something you carry on with in everyday life? Are there any dirty tour habits?
Not even remotely! I am pretty sure pirates lived in cramped spaces and didn’t wash and that happens to us quite frequently when we’re on tour.
We do have a shower here today though so you’re lucky!
But no. We’re not pirates! I have had interviews where people try to catch me out by asking me questions about historical pirates and they were quite smug when I didn’t know – but I’m not a pirate so…
Where did the pirate influence start and the theme come from? Was it something you just thought would work well?
I guess if you look at a lot of power metal it’s all about dragons and battles and Vikings, so pirates are another one that’s a cool thing to sing about and I think, although people have done it in the past, no one had done it to our kind of level. So we kind of thought, let’s write a couple of fun songs about pirates and then when it hit off we thought… Oh… better write more.
What do you think of the support bands you will be playing with tonight?
Claim The Throne and Darkest Era have been with us for the whole tour so far. We’ve played Australia with Claim The Throne before so we know those guys are amazing. Darkest Era are from Northern Ireland so we know them from back home and they’re really awesome too. I don’t know too much about Sorcerers Spell as we’ve never played with them before but I am really happy with this evening’s line up of bands. They’re a good bunch of people.
So what’s coming up for the last night of the show and what tour plans do you have for the future?
Plans for the future… we have a lot on this year. We’re going to do a video next week! Forgot about that! We have a lot on… we’re doing America, two American tours this year!
We’re going back to Australia again and a festival or two so busy, busy, and busy! We haven’t sorted out a UK festival yet which is annoying me because we played Sonisphere last year and with the success of this UK tour as well I was thinking that hopefully we could have played Bloodstock or Download really. I don’t really mind, even Sonisphere again but I don’t think they book bands two years in a row. We have a few though. We’re doing Graspop over in Belgium which is big.
Your 2011 album was received well; do you have plans for any upcoming albums any time soon?
Yeah, it was well received. No new albums this year. We’re kind of still going to tour the hell out of the last album. It’s not even a year out yet so we’re just going to tour it to bits and take it around the World, then once everyone’s sick of it we’ll sit down and start thinking about a new album. But no plans as of yet, I couldn’t even think of a date. Some time next year, so maybe 2013.
If the World hasn’t ended!
Well of course, that’d be awful!
So lastly, if you were stranded on a desert Island, what 5 albums would you take with you?
That’s a good one. 5 albums… If you gave me a pen and paper I could give you 10, but 5!
Well, my favourite album of all time is The Crimson Idol by W.A.S.P. It’s a wonderful album!
It’s not your classic W.A.S.P album but because it’s a concept album I love it. It’s special.
I like that one, so I’d bring that to a desert Island and listen to it 5 times! Laughs!
Many Thanks for your time tonight!