One Music

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Dark moody types talk dealing with the media

Hailed as the saviours of rock and roll, San Francisco trio BRMC aren't big on conversation. So much so that they've developed a reputation for being difficult interviewees. Even their PR admitted that 'they aren't the world's best talkers'.

So it was, rather intrepidly, that OneMusic caught up with Zane Lowe's live guests and persuaded guitarist Peter Hayes to talk about the constant pressure of the media and interacting with live audiences.

Are you sick of people saying you're difficult to interview?
"People will write what they want to write. A bad interview isn't the end of any band - we've had plenty of rubbish talked about us - as has every band that anyone has ever been talked about be it The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. You have to learn to let it go."

How do you handle being branded as the 'saviours of rock and roll'?
"It's flattering and you try not to think of it anymore than that. Again it's the media talking. You can't take it for anything other than someone writing a headline to sell a magazine. If someone calls you 'saviours' of anything - don't believe it."

Was the second album difficult to get down?
"We had a lot of it written already - a good portion of it was written on the road. We wanted to expand on the first album, musically and lyrically. The main thing with the second album is getting out of your head what people are going to think about it."

Should music be about making a statement?
"It should be everything; it should be asking questions about people in power and about emotions. I listen to Hendrix, Floyd and Johnny Cash - those people seem to be making statements to me and at the same time they were talking about love. Music isn't just about entertainment but at the same time you can't worry about impacting people too much."

Is it easier to write about world issues than personal ones?
"Writing isn't necessarily all that hard. It can take a long time to write a song, and there are things - people dying every day - that can be tough to write about. But that hardest thing of all is performing the song. To sing it and try to put yourself in the place you were when the song started, that's hard - especially if it's a love song that reminds you of something that went horribly wrong."

Stage-banter isn't a huge part of your show. Do you find it hard to interact with your audience?
"It comes and goes. Some days it's easy some days it's not. A lot of the time it's not. It's not something you think about. Sometimes it feels you can involve everyone - not necessarily with too much talking to the crowd - but just so it feels like everyone is with you.

What happens when you feel you can't handle it?
"When you're finding it hard to interact with the crowd you fall back on the band and perform the best you can. I know I have two other people with me who I can trust. It's all about trust in the band."

Of all the artists you've played with live who has inspired you the most?
"Sometimes the best artists aren't simply those who play good music - it's the spirit of a band and the people behind it. Iggy Pop was brilliant. He came walking up on the stage, just fired up ready to go he didn't seem to have any reservations about anything. He loved doing what he was doing."

In How to...:
Why playing live is so important

Make the best of a gig

Get ready to go into the studio

In Music exposed:
My Vitriol
On handling sudden fame

The Thrills
How a trip to America helped them write

Other links:
Radio 1 Online: Zane Lowe

BBCi Music: Rock and Alt

BBCi Collective: BRMC biography


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