Aussie rockers Wolfmother have made it to Her Majesty’s shores, raring to kick off two weeks chocka with live dates.
Ahead of their performance at the O2 Academy in Manchester, we caught up with lead guitarist and vocalist Andrew Stockdale to talk about touring their fourth record, Victorious, in the UK…
You perform your second show of your UK & Europe headline tour tonight at the O2 Academy in Manchester. First night of the new tour last night in Dublin – how did it go?
“It was fantastic. Great crowd – beautiful venue – great response. A really, really amazing atmosphere.”
Will you be playing anything differently from the way that you did last night? Will the set be exactly the same every night?
“Well, we’ll see! You never know! We’ll play it by ear. There are subtleties that vary from show to show but I can’t put my finger on that. Generally, the setlist will be the same – I think we might change one or two songs. There’s a kind of structure to the set so we’ll stick to that. A few things might change here and there. We’ve got to get a flow happening so that everyone knows what’s going on. We need to focus on getting into it rather than worrying about the setlist changing!”
You’re touring almost every night without a break in front of packed halls – the question is, are you ready to unleash the beast? Is the buzz from your North American leg driving you forward?
“Hopefully… we’ve got nothing else to do! [laughs] We had like four or five days off before this tour started – it’s been really good. Everyone’s still in match fitness. It’s actually working out well by keeping the ball rolling!”
What’s your advice to those young bands and artists who are just starting out?
“Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged by whatever obstacles might present themselves. Things pick up if you stick with it! We’ve had a lot of unusual comments along the way that we’ve had to pay no attention to. We played to a record label and one guy at the record label said, “You’re playing Woman, White Unicorn, Dimension, Appletree – I love you guys but I just don’t hear any songs!” Within two years we won a Grammy for Woman and I’m still playing these songs ten years later!”
Are you nervous about how well Victorious will go down on this new tour? Are you going hell for leather and playing it from start to finish with a few oldies?
“We’re keeping one foot in front of the next and keep chipping away. We play it and we hope for the best! We’re not playing the whole record from start to finish, no, just five songs. Victorious, Gypsy Caravan, The Love That You Give, Pretty Peggy and The Simple Life. We’re playing sixteen or seventeen songs [in total] – it’s a good mix of all records.”
How much do you think your mood affects the performance on the day?
“If you’re in a better mood it makes for a better show. But, you know, you can be in an average mood or be a bit tired. I find that the set always picks you up and by the end of it, it puts you in a better state than you were in. There’s something about it! The energy of the crowd kind of picks you up!”
What is the objective in the live show? Is it to replicate as clearly as possible the new studio album or to open opportunity to spontaneity?
“All of the above. I think we do honour the song – the song is number one. You try to give it the best chance it can to sort of come into life and engage with people. All the nuance and all the parts are what makes it what it is. We do leave a bit of space for spontaneity, but generally it’s a solo here and there, and stretch out this part a little bit. You know, soar over that and bring it back into the arrangement. Sometimes people love it when it gets really out there and really jammy. Other times, we trim off the fat and stick to the songs and run straight through it and people love that as well! In San Francisco, we did lots of jam kind of stuff… last night in Dublin was a bit more to the point and just play everything the best you can.”
After England and Scotland, you’re going into Europe. Are you looking forward to the European leg?
“Very much so! Europe’s been great – it’s been good to us. The crowds are pretty amazing and very enthusiastic. It’s always a pleasure to play in Europe, without a doubt. The Paradiso in Amsterdam stands out!”
What have you been listening to on the way to tonight’s show in the tour bus and in the dressing room? Or are you a bookworm?
“I had a listen to Waterfall by The Stone Roses – I was getting in the zone for Manchester!”
And have you put in any special requests in your rider…?
“We’re quite partial to coconut water and PG Tips Tea! I had some Barry’s Tea in Ireland – that was pretty nice. We’ve bought a few boxes of that! Houmous is good. [It’s important to stay healthy] especially when you’re singing for an hour-and-a-half every night; you’ve got to get rest and eat well!”
Get tickets for Wolfmother’s remaining UK shows now at Ticketmaster.co.uk.
Catch Wolfmother at the following dates:
13 – Leeds, O2 Academy
14 – Nottingham, Rock City
16 – Birmingham, O2 Academy
17 – Bristol, O2 Academy
18 – Southampton, O2 Guildhall
20 – London, O2 Forum Kentish Town