Live Interview and Photos Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
On the eve of their largest headlining show globally and days after the release of their sophomore album ‘Running With the Dogs’, MYGLOBALMIND gets to speak to Rick Newman, bass player with hot young British band The Treatment.
So you have a new album out ‘Running With The Dogs’ that’s been released in the last few days, you’ve been touring constantly for the last couple of years as well so we’d like to know what’s been going on, how are you and how on earth have you managed to find time to actually record the album?.
Rick: Well, we all live together in Cambridge. Any time off the road we can all keep working, rehearsing and writing. We’ve got a little recording studio at our manager’s house, so we have the luxury of recording whenever we want. If we’re out on the road, we might get some time to work together and we think yeah wow! that’s a really cool idea, we try and get the ideas down straight away. We always spend as much time as we possibly can working together.
The KISS tour was absolutely awesome in terms of getting things done. It was the first time that we had an actual tour bus. We were able to get the amps out on the bus and actually get things written down and recorded.
That tour was a co-headlining affair with KISS and Motley Crüe wasn’t it?
Rick: KISS and Motley are two of my all time favorite bands. In fact they are to all of the guys in the band. That and the fact that they’re absolute legends.
I saw on a couple of other interviews that you are all fans of Dr Feelgood. Given your previous comments, I just want to check, is that the band or the album?
Rick: Ah! (Laughs) it’s the band. We even have their logo tattooed on all of us as well. (Rick shows forearm with Dr Feelgood band logo tattooed on it).
Of course, being on tour with Motley Crüe it could easily have been the album Dr Feelgood that was an influential driver for the whole band.
Rick: Yes of course. We love the album as well but in this particular case the inspiration always came from the bands we love. Motley Crüe we love as well and we feel it’s pretty cool to be able to introduce our generation to bands that they will probably not be familiar with such as Dr Feelgood. It opens them up to a whole new genre of music and we even covered one of Dr Feelgood’s songs on the deluxe version of the album ‘She Does It Right”. We wanted to say to people “Go out and listen to this. This band are fucking awesome”.
Just on that point. On the recent EP you released as well you also included another classic from years gone by, ‘Motorbikin’ by Chris Spedding.
Rick: Well that’s the thing. We are all of course massive music fans and were indeed massive music fans before we had even put a band together. We are the kind of people that want to understand everything about a particular band that we like. So for example, we like the Sex Pistols, we want to understand who they would listen to, who they got their inspiration from so that we can also check out those bands and understand what drove them. And of course with the Sex Pistols, Chris Spedding’s name comes up a lot in relation to their work.
And of course coming back to what you were saying earlier it’s a whole other generation listening to this. People 20 years older would hear you releasing a song like ‘Motorbikin’ and wonder why on earth does that need a covered. The original out there that everybody should hear but of course people growing up nowadays have no idea that song even exists. As a result it’s great that bands like yours are willing to cover it to open a new generation to that type of music. Like you, you would hope it will encourage them to investigate and get to grips with all these bands from different decades.
Rick: Oh yes that’s exactly the reasoning behind it. It’s all about bands that are absolute, absolute legends. We want kids that are really getting into our music now to also listen to and appreciate the acts we love. I think it’s a great opportunity as well for us to put a modern feel on material by all the bands and you never know, let’s get those tracks back out there to a wider audience again.
Going back to the tours, you must be pretty start struck? You’ve managed to get yourselves on tour with pretty much every big name going at the moment. The band as a whole has only been in existence for what around five years I believe so how do you feel about it all?
Rick.You know it’s been so cool to be able to do all of this. You get to meet these absolute, absolute legends and you get time to speak to them and find out what makes them tick and how they’ve progressed over the years. The nicest thing is to be able to meet them and actually appreciate and realize that they are just normal guys after all. You hear so many nightmare stories about support bands that have gone out on tour with these major artists to find that the artists are absolute arseholes, treating them really, really badly. Every band that we have been out on tour with as support over have been so so cool. Willing to help us out, give us tips on how everything is done how it works. It’s interesting that they have all been as interested in talking to us to find out what were doing as we have been wanting to talk to them to find out what they’re up to as well. Imagine if you can, sitting down with Nikki Sixx from Motley Crüe for breakfast one morning and he’s there, asking you what’s going on, how are you, what are you up to at the moment and you’re all just sat there just wishing that he would tell you another story from the ’80’s..it’s absolutely nuts. We have truly been so so lucky it’s amazing that we’ve been able to not only meet these people but actually open up the shows for them as well.
Your second album is a marked jump up in everything, writing styles, quality of songs and especially the way it sticks in the mind. Do you think there’s a greater maturity with perhaps inspiration and whatever potentially from the guys that you’ve been on tour with?
Rick: Absolutely. You have to remember that we actually wrote the first album so many years ago and we had those songs written and floating around for such a long time before we got a record deal and we were able to release them. When we first started recording it Dhani was 16 and I was 17, you know, we were so young. We had not had a huge amount of experience, we was still learning the whole process as we were going along recording the album. We were very lucky to have our manager and producer Laurie, overseeing everything for us. The first album was such a learning curve and we’ve also learnt so much from being out on the road over the last few years. There are of course all the stories you hear of the band sleeping in vans, meeting crazy people and it all adds to that experience building. I think as such, the second album does provide a much more mature sound.
So how long did it take to record the new album?
Rick: Well it’s difficult to put an exact time frame on the amount of time it took to record the latest album. It’s one of those things where, if we have an idea, we’ll sit down and try and record it. As I say, we’ve got our own studio where we live in Cambridge and it gives us the opportunity to record it there and then but it might be six months before we actually get to revisit that particular track. When we have enough material we take maybe a month or so to get all of this done properly and finalized. We can record the guitars and the vocals at home whenever we want to but of course living in a residential area it’s not easy to include the drums and the bass as well without upsetting the neighbors. So when we need to record everything will go into the studio and as I say give ourselves maybe a month to finalize everything to get it ready for release.
We’re already recording the third album, well, not so much recording but we are writing material for the new album at the moment, trying to get it all down. Of course we are busy all the time at the moment especially with the promotion of the new album and it’s difficult to remember what you come up with as an idea if you don’t work on it and get it down there and then.
So moving on, looking at style again, ‘Clouds Across The Sun’. It’s very melancholy very strong acoustic guitars in there as well and of course Matt’s vocals make a big difference over what we hear on a lot of the rest of the album. You’ve gone from a raspy, gritty hard rock sound to beautiful soulful sound with the rest of the band coming in the background with some great harmonization. It’s quite a departure from your normal sound.
Rick: Well it’s interesting that you should raise this. We wondered what the reaction would be from fans and people listening to the album to this style of music. We had ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’ on the first album of course. This time with two tracks ‘Clouds Across The Sun’ and ‘Unchain My World’, we thought we try something different and see what the reaction was. I guess ‘Clouds Across The Sun’ is still a little bit rocky but ‘Unchain My World’ of course is just with acoustic guitars and does mark a completely different style for us in the way we’ve recorded this particular track. ‘Unchain My World’ was actually the last track to be recorded on the album and one that was nearly not included. We thought we would probably have it as a bonus track only but decided that we all liked it so much that we were going to include it on the main release as well.
I can see you in a few years taking that mid set break, bringing out the bar stools and just bringing it all down for a while. It would work well.
Rick: Absolutely. Of course we fucking love the hard rock music that we are known so well for and that is the core of the band, that’s what we are all about. But we literally don’t want to be seen as one dimensional band. We want to be able to focus on the songs, the chorus, getting it right and that’s one of the reasons why we certainly spend as long as we do in the recording process so that we absolutely nail it. We want to be able to get that song to the best possible place that it can be as opposed to just a simple high energy song where we just play everything as fast as we can. At the present time we don’t have any acoustic tracks on this tour but we would like to get to that place eventually where we’re able to take it right down in the set you know, bring some of those slower more ballady songs into the set as well. We want to be able to use Matt’s voice in that way as well because of course he can do so much more than just the faster stuff.
Yes it is worth mentioning that his voice, on the energetic, punky tracks sounds like he’s probably on 60 cigarettes a day and a couple of cases of whiskey to make it sound that gritty and raspy. However on the more ballady acoustic tracks he can sing really really well.
Rick: Absolutely we wanted to be able to show with this release that we could do more than just punky rock ‘n’ roll. It has of course divided opinion and people listen to the album and say “yeah! absolutely love them, our favorite tracks on the album” but you do get the reverse as well where people are saying “what have you done”?
They are the sort of tracks of course that if they are introduced into the set and enough people know them, they are the songs that the crowd will always sing back to you and when that happens that must be a real buzz for you guys as well?
Rick: Yeah absolutely it’s that moment when the hairs on the back of your neck rise up.
You mentioned earlier that you can’t record the drums and the bass in a residential area. I seem to recall last time the first album was recorded in Steve Harris’ studio. Is that the case this time?
Rick: Yes, same again this time we used Steve’s studio to do the final recording sessions for the album. The way that process came about, Tony Newton who is our engineer and has engineered both albums is a good friend of Steve’s, they go back years and years. When it first came about, Tony said “oh yeah yeah my mate Steve” not mentioning surnames has got this little studio we might be able to use. Steve’s been into the studio to hear us recording and he’s given us the thumbs up as well which,you know, is absolutely fantastic.
We change some of the engineering techniques this time round with the second album but overall nothing much else has changed I think the one thing that has changed is that we’ve all matured we’ve got a different outlook on life and I think that’s reflected in the record as well.
You’ve got Laurie Mansworth as your manager (of Airrace fame and Dhani’s dad as well). He’s been through it all before so he must be able to give you advice on what to do, what to expect, what to try and not try and where to go next?
Rick: What can I say, he’s been there and done it’s all. The best I can say about him is he survived the 80s!!
What about the show tonight, you’re on stage with Cage The Gods and The Howling. Looking forward to it?
Rick: Oh absolutely. This is the biggest headlining show we have ever done. We also headlined recently at Rock city in Nottingham and It was a great show but it was a charity day and not really our own headlining tour show. This is pretty special tonight, it’s gonna be our biggest headline show so yeah we’re really, really excited about it.
What’s next for The Treatment?
Rick: Well, we’re off to Europe next that takes us through February and then in April we’re off to Japan again. We played Ozzfest there recently and they’ve now asked us to come back and do some headline shows as well which is great.
Festival wise we’re doing really well. We’ve got festivals confirmed but not announced as yet and there will be a festival appearance in the UK this summer but the final details have yet to be announced to the public.
The new album has only been out for what 3 to 4 days now at this point that sales are going through the roof it’s been a really really positive response to the album and that’s fantastic.
With the push that we are seeing on the album at the moment do you think that’ll see you going back into the States as well?
Rick: Oh absolutely. Our American fans are awesome, absolutely awesome and we cannot wait to get back to the US to play for them. Every single day we wake up to requests from fans saying when are you guys coming back to America, when are you guys coming back to America? It’s all going to be good, we can’t wait. We’re really fired up about this.
Rick, thank you very much for the time you’ve spent with us this evening. Good luck with the rest of the tour and enjoy your biggest headlining show to date tonight.
Rick: Thanks man, appreciated.