DATE OF INTERVIEW:
24th September 2010
WILL STAPLETON; JON DOW; MATT OLIVER; TOM WRIGHT
With a dynamic cocktail of killer riffs, catchy lyrics, and plenty of charisma, Jettblack have already earned themselves a genuine shot of stardom, positive reviews by the British critics and a slot on Ozzfest in the UK. Anyone who would take time to hear their debut album, ‘Get Your Hands Dirty’, and see them live, will be know that Jettblack are not just another 'hair metal' band, or party band. They write 'tried and tested' good time hard rock, and with great authenticity. And they are more than willing to leave their mark in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. This band is a real deal! During their Autumn 2010 UK tour the band spoke to Metal Discovery in Nottingham, in a small room backstage at Rock City, with discussions around how the band formed, their clean-cut life style, self-made music genre, and their quest for worldwide success.
METAL DISCOVERY: There’s been a lot of positive feedback from your UK fans. How does it feel to be called an awesome band?
TOM: Simply awesome! [Group laugh] We really have fantastic feedback from people of all ages, but mostly a great mixture of youngsters. Well, we want to get out there and play to as many people as possible. We just love to get the crowd involved and have a laugh. Basically, we have a good time on stage and I think that can come across. And people can notice that. Essentially, people have got to remember that music is fun; it’s got to be fun! That’s what we try to do; to bring back the element of fun in the music.
(Tom Wright on the essence of Jettblack's music)
"Essentially, people have got to remember that music is fun; it’s got to be fun! That’s what we try to do; to bring back the element of fun in the music."
Interview by Marija Brettle
MD: So far you are scoring great ratings from the British critics, which is something.
JON: I think they were hoping we were bad, so they can knock us down... but hey, we are here and most of our shows are pretty much sold out! We are used to getting a bit “slagged off”... we are not doing too well in the Kerrang side maybe, but I think they’re coming round now.
WILL: No, they give us a pretty good review considering that we are not their market really. But with Metal Hammer, we got it really good. They gave us a really amazing review so, yeah, we couldn’t be happier!
MATT: We were obviously hoping that they were going to be good to us and then we were surprised when they were and, like you say, people, especially in this country, are like a disease. No-one likes to see some British bands doing well.
MD: Tell me more about the band’s history in your own words? How did you guys hook up together?
TOM: I am sure you hear this very often from other bands, but really we all know each other from school. We all were into skateboarding, and we all shared the love for heavy metal and punk. Years later we started jamming together, and then touring. We just started from there, really. Then Jon came a bit later.
MATT: He was actually going out with my sister at that time! [Laughs] We needed a guitarist so we asked him if he can play guitar. We didn’t know he was also singing, and singing so well!
MD: You are one of those bands who dared to bring back the melodic hard rock, the original 80s sound, but not so much visually if I may say. Do you see yourself as a messenger of the 80s music revival?
MATT: That’s a good way of putting it. Basically, it is all about having a blast from the past! If that makes sense. None of us trashed the hotels suites. Well, not yet. [laughs] As you can see, I wear a bit of the crayon and lip-gloss but that’s it! None of us smoke or drink, well not in excess. So there is not much resemblance with any of the guys from Motley Crue, is there?! At least not visually. And there is nothing reckless about our life and lifestyle...well, so far!
TOM: We didn’t even like Motley Crue that much. We have drawn influences, really, from all those bands from the 80s and some early 90s and then added a slightly modern twist. Basically, in the last decade in the music, it got to the stage where it is just bland and dull with all those new genres. Also, the music industry has changed a lot since the 80s. We are just trying to bring back the good old rock and metal sound. Obviously the 80s has got the songs and sound people can enjoy more. When we were around eight years old, right through our teens, it was just Heavy Metal basically, and Punk. So we were just drawing influences from the bands that we love, from Led Zeppelin to Whitesnake. Then, you know, the 90s stuff, early Metalica, Guns’n’Roses...all that era.
MD: Well, I for one can pick up on that...a bit of Metalica and Skid Raw, a bit of Whitesnake, or Jon trying to take over David Coverdale’s voice?
WILL: It is not just the 80s music, it’s something we always love playing. We like to think that we are giving people a good dose of metal! Of course there were bands we loved more than the others, or we were more inspired from. Bands like Extreme, Metalica, Whitesnake, or a bit of Mr Big, Skid Row, then Megadeth...Motley Crue. However, in the end, it all comes down to doing your own stuff and how good you are in what you do really.
MATT: What are you trying to say, that we are rip off from all those bands?! [Laughs] There are lots of bands who try to rip off the 80s sound, but we really don’t see the point of doing it that way. You just need to sound yourself. We just want to do our own thing. We are one of those bands who like to make a difference in today’s music...we try anyway...
WILL: If you want to sound like Motley Crue and look like Motley Crue, you might as well just put out the Motley Crue album!
MD: Do you mind when people compare you with some of the bands ...like Steel Panther, even Cinderella?
JON: Because they have no knowledge of rock music really, so they have to go for the obvious one. The most recent ones we hear are Steel Panther, then The Darkness , even Nickleback! Don’t know from where they got that one?! It’s just a bit of ignorance really. We’ve been called early Metalica, which is fine, Skid Row, which is fine, then Motley Crue...it takes a lot of skills for that, really.
TOM: It’s even worse, some journalists are saying - “You guys sound like Airbourne!” We don’t sound anything like it!
MATT: Going back to your Steel Panther reference. Obviously, we don’t sound like them but they definitely play a part in our revival. So it is a good thing that they are around and still going strong! So, people can look at them and think it is actually quite fun, the music is quite good!
MD: You are already labelled as a party band, and your music been called modern alternative to classic rock with a touch of glam rock. How would you define your music genre?
MATT: We actually like to say we developed our own genre which is called “fuck metal” or “cock metal”... but then someone the other day did say, "you are more of a fuck cock"! [Group laugh]
WILL: Classic overtake yeah, bit of everything really, high energy rock...but then when you talk about classic rock we all think of Led Zeppelin. Basically, with time, we evolved a lot as a band. If we go back and compare ourselves from the time we played in South Africa, we changed a lot since then.
MD: In what way?
WILL: We evolved musically, and we all have pubes now ...just! [Laughs) We were very young then, kind of innocent, if you like.
TOM: The biggest change in the band is probably Jon singing as well as playing guitar. Used to be just Will singing... so there are two singers now ...can you tell the difference?
MD: Actually I can tell, Will is more...
MATT: …melodic. He can bring more emotions to the song, and he had a brilliant voice! And Jon kind of grooves like a sexual predator, kind of sleazy, raw, dirty hard rocker...
TOM: And Matt is an unattainable beast on his drums really!
MD: Your first break was opening for Whitesnake and Airbourne? What was the experience like playing on the same stage?
JON: Yeah, Airbourne was an amazing tour. With Airbourne there was a real hype about them. Every show was sold out! Small stages but it was amazing to play to full houses with great rock bands... and with Whitesnake we played on big stages. It was awesome!
WILL: It was the best gig we played, not just because of Whitesnake or Airbourne. It’s amazing to know that you are gonna play to people that you know they gonna like you music. Rather than being put on a bill with a lot of bands with totally different music styles...and most of the crowds just staring at you, and you know they hate you. Laughs] So it was really good – we were in the right place playing for the right crowd ...everyone was happy!