What? The lightbulb just broke?
Who? Attica Rage Where? Glasgow
Can you describe Attica Rage in three words?
Big C (bass, vocals): Heavy, powerhouse, awesome.
Stevie Bell (guitar): Heavy metal goodness.
Why should people take the time to check your music out?
BC: If someone is sick of all the mass produced screamo crap or indie bollocks that’s in the charts and feel the hankerin’ for some good honest metal, seek and ye shall find.
Jonny Parr (lead vocals, guitar): We draw on a lot of different influences and there’s a bit of everything in our sound. We find there’s quite a wide crossover in our audience so it’s always worth checking us out if you’re curious. We are currently working on a new album and there is a much wider scope on a lot of the songs than on our previous album, Ruin Nation – much more diverse and song-driven rather than just pure balls-out riffage. Although there is plenty of that on the new album too!
Where did your name come from?
BC: Christmas cracker!
JP: The name refers to the infamous prison riots of 1971 in the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, one of the big, maximum security prisons. Over 1000 prisoners rebelled, took over the prison and held forty guards hostage. They were demanding better living conditions as well as educational and rehabilitation opportunities and they entered into negotiations with state officials. The negotiations failed and state police and troops seized the prison but it ended in the bloodiest prison confrontation in American history. In the course of taking it over they killed forty-three people, including ten of their own hostages. It was a turning point as to how prisons are run in the US. Google search ‘attica prison riots’ and you’ll get the full story – it makes horrific reading and there’s some harrowing film footage too. Anyway, that’s the fancy answer for where the name comes from…but basically, it was thought up in a pub many years ago and was originally the name of a band that our drummer Richie had been a founding member of. I had joined towards the end of that band and, years later when we got this band together we opted to bring the name with us.
You recently played the Main Stage of the Metal Hammer magazine sponsored Hammerfest down in Wales. A proud moment for all concerned?
BC: Deffo. One of the best moments for the band. Brought a tear to a glass eye.
SB: Proudest moment of my life seeing so many people enjoy it. Unbeatable.
JP: Yeah, it was a major milestone for Attica Rage – our main stage UK festival debut and our biggest audience yet. We had a lot to prove and a big responsibility to put on a great show. We pulled it off, played our hearts out and the feedback from fans and press has been immense. We felt like we had finally ‘arrived’, if that makes sense. There are a bunch of live video clips lurking around YouTube. It was a real proud moment for sure. But it’s only just the beginning…the real hard work starts here!
What makes a good metal band?
BC: Melody, hooks, variation, more than one influence, love of distortion.
SB: Good songs, quality musicianship, tasty riffage.
JP: I agree and I’d also add that passion, belief and conviction are key ingredients too. You can pose and swagger all you like but you’ve got to have a real belief in what you’re doing and the best bands have that in abundance. Metal fans know the difference.
How do you rate the Scottish metal scene to the signed/unsigned metal bands in the rest of the UK?
BC: It’s pretty pants on the pro level at the moment. But there’s some incredible unsigned talent in Scotland with bands that we’ve played with over the years.
JP: There are a lot of good Scottish metal bands but to be honest, I don’t know if we can claim that there is a genuine Scottish metal ‘scene’. It’s way too fragmented at the moment, with everyone doing their own thing. When we started out, there was a strong underground community – bands, punters, DIY promoters – all pulling together, supporting each other’s gigs, putting on monthly events that everyone would go along to and have a good time. But it seems to have dissipated in recent years. In fairness, we have been focusing on spreading our wings a little further as it’s the only way to really build your fanbase and make a mark in the bigger picture. Too many bands stick to playing nowhere else but their own home towns or cities on a far-too regular basis – and we were guilty of that for a long time too. I’ve always said the best thing a Glasgow band can do is play outside Glasgow. That goes for any Scottish city or town. Compared to the rest of the UK, it’s harder for Scottish bands though because of the travelling distance. That’s the practical reality nightmare. It’s easier for bands in England to play gigs and travel to lots of different towns and cities with decent live music scenes that are only one, two or three hours drive between each other. If you’re based in Scotland, you need to plan a lot more in advance, arrange days off work and it costs a lot more. But it’s the only way if you want to reach anyone outside Scotland. We’ve been up and down the M6 and M1 so many times we’re getting to know which service stations to go for the best food options at 3am and which ones to avoid!
What encouraged you to start listening to metal in the first place?
BC: Status Quo believe it or not, and ‘Anesthesia – (Pulling Teeth)’ by Metallica‘s Cliff Burton.
SB: The high level of quality guitar playing. It was the natural progression after classic rock, getting into the more heavy side of things.
JP: Our drummer Richie Rage is my older brother and he brought me up on Ozzy, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, AC/DC, Metallica etc. from an early age – we’re talking from about three years old here…so really, I didn’t have a choice! I’ve been a metalhead all my life for as long as I can remember. I wouldn’t have it any other way…heavy metal has been good to me and it’s where I belong. I do listen to a huge variety of music from completely different genres but rock and metal is where I call ‘home’.
What other Scottish metal bands have impressed you?
BC: Syth, Dog Tired, 15 Times Dead, Ten Tonne Dozer.
SB: Genetik Blueprint from Falkirk have been one of my favourite bands for years now. Can’t wait ‘til they’re back on the gigging scene.
JP: The Almighty are one of my all-time favourite bands and a big influence on me. I don’t suppose you’d class them as ‘metal’ as such – they were always more of a heavy rock band that crossed over to the metal audience – but they’re the only heavy band to have made it big coming from Scotland that I really rate. I’d also agree with the bands Big C mentions – and would like to point out that Ten Tonne Dozer are from the Shetland Isles and proud of it, ha ha! (I know Shetland is officially part of the UK but I still think it’s worth mentioning). Definitely ones to check out when they’re over here on tour.
As a hardened metaller, what’s your biggest musical guilty pleasure? A nice touch of Engelbert Humperdinck perhaps?
BC: I don’t feel guilty about my musical taste. I love everything from Sinatra to Slayer, Jean Michelle Jarre to Type O Negative, Prokofiev to The Lion King soundtrack, Duran Duran to Aphex Twin. I’ll quite happily bust out ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin in company.
JP: I have so many musical guilty pleasures it might cause the Attica fans to turn their heads in disgust and disown us! Nah, like Big C, I listen to so many different music styles and if it’s good, I like it…aside from the vast collection or rock and metal in my album collection, I like folk and acoustic guitar stuff, early blues, 80s electronic synth pop stuff, classical orchestra music, 70s funk and disco, trad jazz, big band swing, industrial metal, original punk, morbid goth ramblings…a whole bunch of varied stuff. Even Abba wrote some catchy tunes, right? Ahem…
And finally, flower pressing or floral dressing?
BC: Flower pressing. Squash dem buggers!