Meet: Nic Rudd From Sheffield Band Sour Tusk

Described as a cross between Motorhead and Clutch it’s safe to say Sheffield rockers Sour Tusk are a must for rock fans. We caught up with drummer Nic Rudd to see how things are going and what our eardrums can expect in the near future.

Give us a potted history of the band

We started a long time ago, somewhere far, far away…. well, Sheffield. 

Sour Tusk started officially March 2016 as a two piece, which lasted up until 2021. 

During this time, we released our debut album Turn It up in February 2019, and the follow up EP Pretty ugly released during lockdown 2020. 

When we could finally get back to it, we received an email out of the blue asking if we were still looking for a bass player after placing a few adds several months earlier. And yes, we were! We jammed, which was especially great as he’d not learnt any of the songs! After a few goes over we asked, ‘you dig?’ and ‘are you easily offended’ and to that end, here we are, the bombastic powerhouse we are today! 

Accomplishments we are most proud of; releasing our debut record and supporting some tremendous acts include but not limited to; The VirginMarys, Florence Black, Michale Graves (Ex-misfits), Gorilla Riot, These wicked rivers, Doomsday Outlaw and Massive to name a few. We’ve gigged relentlessly over the years, which has made us a truly well-oiled machine, and given us some great reviews along the way – when someone compares your lyrics to that of Bon Scott, I think it’s clear you’re doing it right!  

Who inspired you to start making music

As a collective we share many similar influences, including Motorhead, clutch, Rush, Nickelback, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Green Day, Cheap Trick, to name a few. 

Personally speaking, I can’t put a finger on exactly how I came about wanting to play music, I grew up in a home where I was surrounded by it.  My dad had several jukeboxes scattered throughout, he’s still an avid 45 collector; and I’d often hear such artist as The Beach Boys, Neil Sedaka, Bachman Turner overdrive, Creedence, The Stones – I was certainly raised right!  I naturally gravitated toward guitar, as you do; I plinka-plonked with it, and it collected dust. Then tried electric, all I did was make a distorted racket and that went in the corner – I had the attention span of a nit! 

Then drums, and here we are….to the neighbours I’m sorry. 

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

Too many, far too many to mention. Collectively there have been so many to impact us musically, which can be heard throughout our racket. 

I can safely say that Jake and I both share a fondness for Clutchs’ Earth Rocker album, that record really opened doors for me musically, impacted my drumming greatly and helped me groove and shuffle so much more.

However, another record which really had a great impact on me, and my musical approach was W.A.S.P Crimson idol, as a 16-year-old that was a total game changer; to this day I still regard it as one of the best records I’ve ever heard. It was such a change of pace from anything I’d heard before, the drumming was ridiculous (in the best possible way), and the songs were brilliant. At the time I didn’t analyse it, I just was in awe, but now I can appreciate the entire concept so much more, along with the videos to accompany it, and so on. As daft as it sounds still takes me back to being at home with my parents in the summer of ’06 washing the garden chairs with the radio on, may sound stupid but it’s a nice simple memory.

If you’re trying to explain whom you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say

Bombastic rock n roll power trio, like a cross between Motorhead & clutch meets cheap trick. Loud and groovy, with a quirk, or 12.

Tell us about your new track

The new track is Mission from God, which will feature on our forthcoming new album (yet to be titled). 

This song was originally a joke track which featured on our last release the Pretty Ugly EP. Initially titled s**t biscuit – riff, lots of noise and yelling, and a chorus.

Then, it became stuck in my head and I’m trying to work out what to do with it, seemed a shame to waste it on a joke. Back in the studio Jake and I go and jammed. Slight rearrangement and went from there. 

At the time of writing, I was really into the Blues Brothers (still my favourite film) and the line ‘mission from god’ kept coming to mind, it seemed to work really well. So, let’s write the song around the film and their mission, and I went from there. Reem’s of paper, scribbled lines and many expletives later we had the song, committed to tape, hooray! 

As far as the recording and distribution goes, we do everything ourselves. We own our own recording studio – Mammoth Recordings LTD, where we rehearse, demo and record all our records. As someone who loves engineering and mixing music it just makes sense, why pay someone else to do something I really enjoy, and I will work harder and longer to get what I want. Many a time I’ve slept down there after a session and resumed the next morning. And if you want to get really specific here’s a list all the gear used to record it (and ultimately the forth coming album): 

Gretsch Catalina drums – Bonham sizes, Schechter guitars, Orange TH100 head, Marshall 1960 lead cab, Rickenbacker bass, Shure, Thomann, Audio Technica & Elecrovoice mics, analogue Allen & Heath GS3000 desk, yarda yarda! 

As it currently stands, this is being independently released, but we are hopeful for a distribution deal for the full record, fingers crossed, aye!

Any labels who may very well be in the market for helping a bombastic rock n roll power trio distribute their brand spanking, super slick amazing and all-out belter of a record please drop a line! 

Where can we get hold of it

As it stands right now, the new single will be digital distributed worldwide from November 25th where it will be accessible across all streaming platforms, lyrics and all we hope. 

We may have physical copies available, if this comes to pass, we will be looking at accompanying the single with a couple other tracks, such as Mission from god live at… and maybe a B-side that won’t appear on the album, possibly a cover.

Tell us how you write

Occasionally one of us will come in with something, which could be a few riffs and a vague arrangement, Jake has brought in near enough complete tracks which we then run through and finalise. However, the majority of our songs come from purely jamming, one of us will start playing and see where we end up. We’ve nearly always got the tape rolling, so we capture near enough everything, and regret it when I failed to press record! 

Usually we’ll jam, I’ll take the recording away arrange it where necessary, make it work in the way I see fit, put it to the guys and go from there; at this time usually, I will ramble some inane nonsense over the top and see what fits, or Jake will have an idea and we’ll run with that. I write reems and reems, most of which will never see the light of day and ends up on the ground, for so many reasons that’s a good thing! 

Certain music I find dictates the words to match and the phrasing, so when I’m dead set on something if it doesn’t fit at the time, it never will, believe me I have tried and its always ended up garbage. Only works when its organic.

Within the band no one has a specific role, all three of us have absolute free reign, everyone can contribute whatever they like, I’ll sing Jake’s words, he’s plying my riffs, Neil turns up, anything goes, complete democracy.

Tell us about your live show And how much have you been missing it recently

Ha! Live shows, the reason we breathe. Before lockdown we gigged so much, to the point of over saturating, but was fun and we learnt a lot. When you consider within the three-year period up until lockdown, we had done in excess of 150 shows (I believe) and then that suddenly came to a standstill, it was hard, very hard to adjust to, my wife actually saw me! What’s that about aye? We missed it greatly. 

We leave it all on the stage, when we are done, we have given all we have to give, done! We’ve gotten a lot of kudos for the onstage banter over the years, give them a laugh and some rock n roll. Getting covered in beer, yelling at each other and the audience, lights going off, loud as Hell like thunder & lightning. Audience participation is a must for us, we are here to give you a show, three guys playing rock n roll, singing about tits & beer, why not. No tracks, no clicks, if I were allowed pyro, we’d have it, maybe foam cannons? 

We interact so much with the crowd which stems from being at so many shows where either the band ignore the audience, or they really get involved with them – the latter always stood out for me and was major influence. Our view always has been you paid to see a show the least we can do is include you, have some fun and give you what you paid for.

What can we expect from you in the near future

The future appears to be very bright, fingers crossed. We’ve so far got a few shows lined up for the rest of this year and into 2023, see our socials for all those details. We have got two tours in the works but awaiting them to be finalised before announcing. We also have some festival appearances booked, again awaiting the green light before divulging! 

In terms of releases, we are aiming to put out one or two more singles and follow with some ridiculous videos that are likely to have nothing to do with the song, but hopefully will get a smile out you all. This will be followed by the album release! By which time we’ll have a title, artwork and a worldwide distributor behind it, fingers crossed. We are aiming for a spring/summer release, playing this by ear so we can make the best decision for the time, and not set ourselves a task that will ultimately not work out as well as we hoped. Watch this space. 

Tell us your favourite records that’s rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

Answering this question always sucks, every time I think I’ve the answer I want to correct myself. This year alone has been great for music, really has. As a huge ghost fan I’ve been really enjoying their new record Impera, Tobias writing is just flawless, if you disagree that’s absolutely fine, I don’t mind you being wrong. The new Massive Wagons record Triggered is brilliant, and so is Rad Wings of Destiny by Ugly Kid Joe. However, I’ve been really getting into Cheap Trick lately and am loving some of their classic stuff, Dream Police is tremendous, and as a band there are so many tracks I didn’t realise were theirs. Their re-recorded version of In Colour recorded with Steve Albini has been on constant repeat, and so have their live bootlegs; I highly recommend listening to the 1978 bootleg live at Paradise theatre, Boston, specifically check out Clock strikes ten, and tell me you could sit still!

Thank you for taking to time to read through this interview, the questions have been answered by Nic Rudd on behalf of the band, and from his own perspective.

Sour Tusk would like to thank all at Backstreet Media for the questions, hopefully they had a laugh reading through the answers.

Sour Tusk is:

Jake Johnson

Neil Charlesworth

Nic Rudd

Find out more about the band via their Facebook

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