Local rockers Trucker Diablo release their second album via Ripple Music on 13th May followed by a launch gig in The Diamond Rock Club, Ahoghill on 18th May. The band have a great following in the local rock scene and have had considerable success over the past few years in the wider arena. Trucker Diablo is Tom Harte on guitar / vocals, Simon Haddock on guitar /vocals’ Glenn Harrison on bass and Terry Crawford on drums. We thought it was a good time to do another interview with Tom ahead of the release of the new album.
NI ROCKS – It’s been over 2 years since your last interview for Rock Radio NI and I think it’d be fair to say a lot has happened in the intervening period and that it’s been all good for Trucker Diablo. What are your favourite memories and highlights from the last two years?
TD – Jesus there is loads, meeting loads of new people, seeing how the music has spread everywhere and the reaction from people…..Playing with Foo Fighters, meeting Foo Fighters, playing with Terrorvision and playing with Thin Lizzy was a highlight of my life!!!
NI ROCKS – Playing Tennents Vital last summer with The Foo Fighters must have been an almost surreal experience?
TD – Yeah it really was, sometimes when there is so much happening behind the scenes its hard to take in what is happening…When I met Dave Grohl it kinda sunk in lol…Show was great, we stayed all day.
NI ROCKS – The new album “Songs of Iron” is released on 13th May. You’ve been signed to Ripple Music for some time now, so how did French label Bad Reputation get involved?
TD – Yeah its nearly 2 years now, they have been great for us. It was one of those days Eric who runs the label got in touch and expressed an interest in licensing it in Europe and the wheels started turning and a deal was done with Ripple, simple as that. Eric has been good to us too, he is bringing us over to France in May, we are supporting Crucified Barbara in Paris and have a few days of radio promo should be great…
NI ROCKS – You finished recording the new album back in November, so why the wait until May and how hard has it been waiting to get it released?
TD – Ahh the politics of the music industry….We had to get in released into the schedule for releases with our label and distributors and there is a time period for that. If we hadn't got it in for January we would of missed May release. It wasn't too bad we are pretty organised when it comes to promo and we had plenty of stuff to fill the gap until release, we on the last few weeks and are looking forward to getting it out there.
NI ROCKS – How did recording the new album compare to “The Devil Rhythm”? I heard somewhere that you’re producer Frankie said you’re the worst band he ever worked with! What’s the story there?
TD – He's a froot…He couldn't find his dick if it was glued to his hand LMAO…That's his sexy pillow talk code language for he loves us and we love him, he has been a friend of mine for a long time. The Devil Rhythm was very impulsive, we had the studio booked and had to write the album in about 4 weeks lol. This time around we had been living with a lot of the songs for quite some time and we where able to spend time on them and get them right.
NI ROCKS - There are 14 tracks on the new album, having seen you live many times over the last 3 years or so I know there’s a few tracks didn’t make this album, songs like Free Wheelin’, We Are Forever etc. How many songs did you have for the album and how did you narrow them down?
TD – It went from 22 to 18 to 14, we were nearly only gonna stick 12 on it but we liked they ones we recorded so we said, f**k it stick them all on lol…
NI ROCKS – “Evil Marie” has always been a big fan favourite when played live but it’s only ever been released in demo version on the French version of “The Devil Rhythm”. Were you not tempted to record it and include it on “Songs of Iron”?
TD – It kind of has a special place live and has a real energy to it, maybe someday we will record it properly……
NI ROCKS – Is there a typical process for writing a Trucker Diablo track or do they all develop in different ways?
TD – I spent a lot time in my rock shed writing and refining the songs we had for Songs of iron, I normally write a lot of songs to completion or 3/4 way and then bring the lads in on it. When we are in practice and someone has a good riff we will work on it until it feels like a trucker song.
NI ROCKS – If you had to pick a favourite track from the new album what would it be and why?
TD – I am really chuffed with "Maybe you're the one". It was always a song I was dubious about even when I wrote it on the acoustic whether it would fit. But over time we worked on it and it really grew into itself and came out great on the record.
NI ROCKS – The two tracks released so far have both been covered by Classic Rock Magazine and “Drive” in particular has been getting quite a bit of airplay. The feedback and reviews to date must be very encouraging and give you a great buzz?
TD – Yes definitely. When we got the first full listen back to the album, it blew me away. Drive was always a special tune for me, I remembering writing the main riff, thinking jesus I gotta get this recorded before I forget it lol. Its great hearing people enjoy the music. I want them to feel what we feel when we play the music, we have a great connection with our fans and I hope they feel the same.
NI ROCKS – You’ve just been announced on the line-up for Glasgowbury here in Northern Ireland in July. And previously you’d confirmed for the Steelhouse Festival in Wales and Pentrich Rock & Blues Old School Weekender in July and the NSX Festival in Dundalk, Indiependence Festival in Cork and Stendhal in Limavady in August. Has there been a conscious effort to try and get the bigger shows or with your increasing profile is it a case of being approached by agents who want you to play?
TD – A bit of both I suppose. With the profile growing, we feel more confident in ourselves to add value to some of the bigger festivals. We have a booker now who works on our behalf to get us bigger shows. It's all part and parcel of the game, we are just really exciting to be a part of these events and playing in front of music fans.
NI ROCKS – You’ve also got a couple of trips to France lined up for the summer as well. One supporting the excellent Crucified Barbara in Paris and the other a festival in Montalivet. Tell us how those came about?
TD – I mentioned earlier, Eric from Bad Reputation sorted that out for us with Crucified Barbara and the second show came about through our booker. Gonna be great to get to another part of the world and spread the Trucker love.
NI ROCKS – What’s the next big objective for Trucker Diablo and by this time next year what else would you have hoped to achieve?
TD – We just wanna do it full time, we want to get the band to a position where it is self sustaining and we can get the music out to as many people as we can.
NI ROCKS – You played along with The Treatment recently in Nottingham. They’ve had tremendous success recently supporting Kiss and Motley Crue in North America as well as Slash in the UK and Ireland. If you were able to pick a band to support on tour who would it be?
TD – I think Black Star Riders would be a good fit for us and would be great to play with the guys again….But Metallica would be amazing!!!! Lol, we can dream.
NI ROCKS - Are you one of those guitarists who seem to collect guitars or do you only keep a limited number? And what are you currently using?
TD – I'm in the process of planning a house build. I think when that is sorted I can get some more as I am limited to space right now lol. I own 5 guitars but have 2 main ones I use, a Yamaha SG 1000 and a Fender telecaster. I have always loved Gibson but when I recorded with the SG I was sold and I had to get one.
NI ROCKS – I always like to ask what music people are listening to. If you’ve an iPod or MP3 player and you hit shuffle what five bands might we hear?
TD – Blackberry Smoke, Halestorm, Dio, Cry of Love and Thin Lizzy
NI ROCKS – And a few quick fire questions! First album you remember buying?
TD – Pearl Jam - Ten
NI ROCKS – Favourite female rock singer?
TD – I really love Lzzy Hale's vocal but love Pat Benatar great rock singer.
NI ROCKS – First tattoo! When, where and what?
TD – Oh Christ!! When I was 18, Skulls in Belfast and a triangular symbol I seen on TV, it was shite lol I have it covered up….
NI ROCKS – AC/DC. Bon Scott or Brian Johnson?
TD – Flip I can't choose I like them both.
NI ROCKS – Venue that you’d most like to play? And why?
TD – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, looks like a really cool place to play….
NI ROCKS – Thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions. Best of luck with “Songs of Iron”. It’s an absolutely fantastic album and should be up there in the reckoning when people are picking their favourite releases of 2013 at the end of the year!
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