Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
Voodoo Six returns to the scene with the release of their fourth studio album, Make Way for the King, released via Cadiz Music in September 2017.
It boasts twelve brand new tracks and will be the first album to feature new vocalist Nik Taylor-Stoakes. The band specializes in delivering driving, contemporary rock with an undercurrent of blues.
Voodoo Six are a renowned live force, having toured all over Europe as a special guest for Iron Maiden, and Steve Harris’ British Lion. They have also performed four times at the Download Festival and twice at Sonisphere.
The current Voodoo Six lineup consists of Nik Taylor-Stoakes [Lead Vocals], Matt Pearce [Guitar], Craig Price [Guitar], Tony Newton [Bass] and Joe Lazarus [Drums].
I caught up with bassist, Tony Newton to discuss Make Way for the King and what it is like to work Steve Harris of Iron Maiden on Book of Souls- Live Chapter and open for his band.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me a little about the band’s origins?
Tony Newton: Well I was in a band called Dirty Deeds. We were signed to Beast Records which is a Steve Harris/Rod Smallwood label and toured extensively worldwide in the 90’s. During that time I was getting more into recording and production. I decided to move to Los Angeles and teamed up with a great friend and top producer Tom Fletcher. Together we worked on a number of projects, and I learned quite a bit about production. I eventually began to miss playing, so I returned to London and formed Voodoo Six with Richie Faulkner who is now in Judas Priest.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me how you came up with the band’s name?
Tony Newton: In Voodoo Tarot, the sixth card is Legba or the devil. So there you have it.
Robert Cavuoto: The songs have a great vibe of powerful blues mixed with melody and metal riffs, what was the musical direction or inspiration behind the CD?
Tony Newton: Exactly how you described really. I love the real sounding bands like Audioslave, AC/DC. We always try to write memorable guitar riffs, it all stems from there.
Robert Cavuoto: What has been the highlight for you in launching your new band?
Tony Newton: It’s always amazing to see people singing along to your songs; it’s so inspiring. We have had some fantastic experiences already, touring throughout the UK & Europe.
Robert Cavuoto: I particularly like the track “Let Me Walk,” what can you tell me about its creation?
Tony Newton: It’s just that groove again, it’s all about the guitar riff and how the drums and bass compliment it. I came up with that riff, and right away I knew it was a winner, we built the song around it.
Robert Cavuoto: You wrote “Amen” about the tragedy in Paris, do you ever worry about something like that happening at a venue you are performing at?
Tony Newton: Of course it is a worry, but you can’t let it stop you doing what you love to do. Playing music and going to shows should be a release from the stresses of your life. There are people out there who are determined to upset our way of life; quite sad individuals. It just makes us stronger and unites us together.
Robert Cavuoto: Opening for Iron Maiden must have been a huge opportunity for the band, what was it like every night touring, traveling, and performing alongside them?
Tony Newton: It is everything you imagine and dream it to be. They are the loveliest people who couldn’t do enough to make us feel welcome. The band and crew are second to none. The response we got from the crowds was just mind-blowing, it gave us so much confidence.
Robert Cavuoto: You produced Iron Maiden’s Book of Souls- Live Chapter with Steve Harris, what’s he like to work with?
Tony Newton: I have known Steve for a long time. Outside of music, we are great friends, and I am very proud to say that. He is the most honest person I have ever met. He says it like it is. As a performer, I think every rock bass player has copied something from him. He has an aggressive style of playing but with melody. I find it very easy working with him. I know what he wants, and he trusts me to get the sound.
Robert Cavuoto: What have you learned from Steve about playing bass and what has he learned from you about producing?
Tony Newton: I think every bass player has learned something from Steve. The best thing I have learned from him is attitude and hard work. I have always taught Steve bits and pieces of sound recording/editing.
Robert Cavuoto: What were the criteria that you and Steve looked for in live Iron Maiden recordings that would make it on the CD?
Tony Newton: First and foremost the best performance possible and that includes the crowd. Just the best vibe and some shows are simply magic.
Robert Cavuoto: What do you think has been your biggest challenge, both musically and professionally, so far in your career?
Tony Newton: Playing-wise, I would say starting Voodoo Six from scratch, writing most of the songs and recording them. The biggest challenge in production was sifting through 72 Iron Maiden shows to decide on which songs were to be included in the Live Chapter album.