Hailing from Bournemouth, an attractive seaside town in Dorset, Voodoo Vegas sound like a million dollar win on the Vegas strip. One of the few British bands to tap into the truly hedonistic spirit that powered the likes of Guns ‘n’ Roses in their ‘Appetite…’ heyday, Aerosmith and Skid Row and make it their own, thanks in no small part to Lawrence Case’s decision to write lyrics that were personally relevant to him, rather than rely on the worn clichés of drugs and strippers that always sound so disingenuous in the hands of home-grown bands. The result was ‘the rise of Jimmy Silver’, one of the best hard rock albums to have been produced by a UK band in years and which keeps the torch of classic hard rock burning brightly with its ecstatic riffs and hard hitting anthems. On the eve of a UK tour we caught up with Lawrence via email, finding out more about the band’s formation, lyrical thrust and influences. Read on and join the world of Jimmy Silver…
I used to live near Bournemouth in the 90s and my memory of the south was that it was often difficult to find or get to gigs – you guys come from Bournemouth – were you able to find much locally or did you have to travel farther afield to find an audience?
When we first started we would play shows around the Bournemouth area, now we mostly play all over the UK and Europe, it is very hard to play shows in Bournemouth, and to be honest in all the time we’ve been together I wouldn’t want to still be playing shows in just Bournemouth. I always had visions of us playing as father a field a possible.
It’s been about a year since you released the Excellent ‘Rise of Jimmy Silver’, what have you been up to?
Since the album was released we were busy playing as many shows as possible to help promote it, we played our first ever shows/festivals in Germany and Switzerland, we also toured the UK with Fozzy last summer.
We also had a line up change, we parted company with our drummer Matt, and we moved Jonno into the fold. Jonno is a great guy, I truly believe Voodoo Vegas sound the best we ever had, plus we are more of a band now, the 5 of us together, rather than 4 of us and 1 odd one.
Obviously different genres call for different lyrical styles, but Voodoo Vegas seem to focus on the reality of life with songs like ‘what I pay’, which seems to be based on your own experiences, and ‘lost in confusion’ which seems very personal – where do you look for lyrical inspiration and how important is it to you to root your lyrics in real-life experience?
I’m really glad you noticed that about my lyrics, I always try to write lyrics about things that happen in my life, apart from the song Jimmy Silver which was the first song I ever wrote, I could tell you a story about every single song. I really hate it when bands write about being on the L.A strip or how many girls they have been with, or what drugs they have taken. Writing songs about things that happen in your own life make those songs connect to a person on a personal level. I always get people who have heard Lost In Confusion ask me about it. When I tell them the story you can see the connection they get from it.
Which bands were most important to you growing up?
For me it was Aerosmith, they are a huge influence on me. I love their hooks, Steven Tyler’s singing, Joe and Brad licks. Everything about them.
I’m also a fan of Bon Jovi, specifically their older 80’s and 90’s stuff. I also think Jon was a great front man back then and I take a lot of inspiration from him with regards to how I act and talk on stage.
You recorded the album at Rockfield studios, how was it to record in a studio with such a rich, vibrant rock history?
We recorded the album with producer Pedro Ferreira of Darkness Permission To Land fame, He was our first choice and we were all real happy he liked the sound of the band and wanted to work with us. Pedro helped shape, I would say a more mature sound for Voodoo Vegas, cutting out some solo’s and chorus’, adding different drums beats and groves, he has really helped change the sound of the band and its all for the better.
Once most of the details were sorted, Pedro said we would record the album at Rockfield Studios, at the time I didn’t know anything about Rockfield and its amazing history, but after looking it up online and seeing what bands had recorded there the recording couldn’t come sooner enough.
Rockfield is an amazing place, it certainly helped us with the recording, the history, the vibe and all of the staff at Rockfield, the town of Monmouth, we all loved it. I would certainly recommend any band to go and record there. I would honestly say it was once of the best experiences of my life.
Increasingly artists seem to be turning to the Pledge Music system – how do you think Pledge has changed the way independent bands are able to operate and what was your personal experience of it?
I think Pledge Music is fantastic, when we first started our campaign I remember talking to Meryl saying I didn’t know if we would hit our target, but amazingly we hit 100% of our target in 24 hours, by the end of the campaign we had hit an awesome 344% of our original target. It’s awesome to know the Voodoo Vegas fans have that much faith in us.
Pledge is a great way for bands to raise funds for recording and to help the future of their band, a concern I have about it is that if more and more bands run a pledge campaigns it might turn into a Myspace type thing, I’m not saying it will happen and hopefully not, as proven by us it can be really successful.
Plans are already a foot to run another campaign and start work on our 2nd album later in the year.
It seems that having a strong online presence is essential these days to what extent did it help you to have the video for ‘King Without A Crown’ available online?
I think having a strong online presence is very important, and YouTube videos are included in that. It was really important for me to get the King video filmed and out there. It was a way for people to check out a track from the album before it’s out.
We are looking to do a bigger budget video soon, watch this space…
Check out Voodoo Vegas in action:
Voodoo Vegas are on tour throughout April 2014