Hullo music fans. We are pleased to introduce you to some new country rock heroes from the North London/Herts badlands: Stone Thieves. The beauty of this format is that you don’t have to listen to me witter on about them – they’re going to tell you the whole story themselves while I sit back and have a cup of coffee. Enjoy (and then buy their new EP ‘Brush Off The Rust‘).
Aaron Gardner – Singer/Guitarist
Micky Pearson – Guitarist
Tom Reynolds – Bass
Paul Archbold – Drums
We are from:
(answers mainly provided by Aaron)
St. Albans and Borehamwood.
When people ask us who or what we sound like we say that:
We’re our own take on American roots music: a bit country, a bit blues, but we never forget that British guitar rock sound that we all leaned to in younger years. We’ve been described by others better than we can do ourselves justice. A producer once said it was like Creedence but with big British bollocks…
The people who have been most important in shaping our sound are:
Ocean Colour Scene, The Faces, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Black Crowes and Neil Young. We all have very wide music tastes, but it’s all very similar obviously. I think that our sound is shaped through coming together and realising what sounds best collectively, and knowing where to look for inspiration. We sound nothing like Oasis, but our drummer plays in that vein. I couldn’t ask the band to play all country songs, because Tom’s bass playing is heavily influenced by soul. When you break these things down they are clear, but when it’s brought together it’s a sound that we think is unique to us. We have found that playing style that makes a good cocktail.
How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall ?
A lot of assholes have played the Albert Hall… Heard Coldplay sold it out once?
The people who have been most important in helping us to do what we love are: Everyone that has come to a gig, anyone that downloaded our first EP online. We would never have carried on if there wasn’t an interest. The guys at The Animal Farm [studio] are all top, they proper look after us over there. There’s been a few promoters that have got us some real good shows, and keep offering us chances to play.
The thing that clinched the deal when we stole someone else’s guitarist was:
(Micky) The need to get into a band that matched my ambitions and style, good bunch of lads with shared passion.
Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson ?
Waylon Jennings! – The other outlaw.
We’re all big Johnny Cash fans, and I think that Nelson took a huge step returning to Texas from Nashville in the mid 60s to find himself after a somewhat hazy attempt to break the scene there. He embraced the Hippy culture of late 60s, something we can all relate to as a band. But lately I’ve gone well deep into Waylon Jennings’ collection of work. Proper country, with proper statements, proper digs at the country music scene (‘Are you sure Hank done it this way ?’ questions Hank Williams’ approach and the worn out effect of rhinestone suits and other country clichés). He wasn’t afraid to be different and announce this to anyone that would listen. He’s also got the gravel voice and twangy fender guitar to back it.
Our name doesn’t come from:
Any association we may have had with stealing diamonds, grave stones, pebbles from the beach or house bricks, or being a Rolling Stones tribute band.
Our first rehearsal was:
A long time ago, in a tiny rehearsal space, with two songs and a hangover.
Our first gig was:
At our local venue, The Horn, in St.Albans. We had a handful of songs, red jeans, a fuzzy guitar and a cover of ‘Hey Bulldog’ by the Beatles.
How will you fare come the zombie apocalypse ?
Fuck that, I’d have a crack, but survival seems like hard work! I’m actually watching Walking Dead right now.
The first song we wrote together is:
‘Rosalene’. Believe it or not, it’s the only song from the 3-piece days that we play now. it gets better each time as well! Hopefully it will be on our LP one day. It’s already stood the test of time amongst us personally. Fans still dig it, and occasionally people ask for it when we have left it out of the set.
We wrote it at/when:
At Tom’s house, Sunday afternoon in June of 2012. I have such a vivid memory of this for some reason, I could even tell ya what clothes I was wearing! I suppose that’s because that was the moment the spark came. ‘Rosalene’ is a name that also crops up on our new record. A fictional name that sounded good at the time, but based 100% on a real character. I could tell you more, but that would spoil the myth.
Where are your favourite places to hang out:
Batchwood [BM: nightclub, near St Albans, generally hazy memories of said venue], Saturday night, booze train all the way til closing time! haha! Alternatively, Room 6 at Mill Hill Music Complex is where the magic happens! If we’re sober on a Sunday, then we’d hang out there all day and play.
Our latest record is:
‘Brush Off The Rust’
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We recorded it at:
The Animal Farm, Bermondsey, London
We wrote it at/when:
The EP is made up of 3 tracks, ‘Red River’, ‘Lovin’ Light’ and ‘Shine On/Shine Bright’. All three songs were written in my bedroom and then developed with the band in rehearsal sessions. I’ve never had the opportunity with the band or on my own to write anything in any other place and create something that is written, recorded and produced in the same place, so I can’t say that there is an influence from certain places. I’ve written a few songs when I’ve been away on holiday, and I think you can hear it in those particular songs. I’d say that people from our home surroundings influence the songs. They all come from some sort of story or loosely based on a character I’ve crossed paths with.
‘Red River’, the opening track, started out as a mid tempo country number. It felt like it dragged a bit and there was no lead guitar. The producer (Matt from The Animal Farm) suggested we played it quicker, and added the slide guitar. It turned into a racy country rocker.
‘Lovin’ Light’ was part written before a rehearsal, and we jammed it for a while until we got that big middle section with the guitar solos.
The final track, ‘Shine On/Shine Bright’ was written start to finish at home, guitar parts, the lot.
We had an idea for the sound of the EP before we recorded it, keeping it guitar based, rootsy and organic. However I do think recording it in an old converted factory in Bermondsey may have had an influence. You can tell it wasn’t produced in a farm in the middle of nowhere or in a beach house somewhere hot. It’s got a bit of a raw industrial sound.
Our favourite records are:
Tom: Neil Young – Harvest
Micky: Stereophonics – Just Enough Education to Perform
Aaron: the Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
Paul: The Beatles – Revolver
You could say our live show is:
Ever changing. Just when we think we have got it spot on, we stumble across a new sound, a new song, or a new approach to an old track. Sometimes spontaneous. We often make up the set list as we go along. It’s loosely got its basic pattern, but we always swap it up. We’ve got a couple of ways to open a live show and a couple of ways to finish. I think it keeps us on our toes, we’d get bored doing the same routine. Also you can adjust to the show, the venue or the people watching at that moment in time if needs be.
Credit: Rebel Crow Photography
If we could raise one artist from the grave to play with live it would be:
Elvis, all the way. LONG LIVE THE KING!
How do you feel about Taylor Swift ?:
Product of the machine. As long as the big wheel keeps turning and churning out plastic pop stars, people will buy into it. I do know that she used to write all her own material, which is different to most big pop stars nowadays, and made an impact in Nashville – winning singer-songwriter awards etc. Not sure if she still does. She probably doesn’t. Appears to be a big fucking sell out to me now.
Basically I think she is shit.
If we had the wheels and the time we would go to:
America, get an education in music from the honky-tonks and music cafes. Really embrace the americana culture like the Stones did in the early years.
You can next catch us at:
The Flag, Watford. 29th November.
One new band you should check out is:
The Ages, a group of youngsters from Borehamwood. The lead singer has seriously hot fingers. You really gotta see his playing to appreciate it. Blew us away when we shared a bill with them.
Buy new EP ‘Brush Off The Rust’ here.