With the imminent release of the brand new live RT-Zed album "Crunch" and upcoming appearance at the Westworld Weekend it seems a great time to catch up with Steve Grantley to find out what's new!
What made you decide to release a live RT-Zed album?
Well, it was initially recorded for reference - just to see what the fuck we sounded like, (laughs) no big deal. We could only record on 8 tracks and weren't even sure if the bloody recording desk would work. It did work, thankfully - and when I got round to listening to the result I was surprised by the quality. I decided to give it a proper focused mix and I went into Blue Moon studios to get the job done.
"Crunch" is actually a recording of the bands live debut. What was it that drew you to release this show above others?
Simple- it's the only show we recorded! (laughs) Actually I thought it was cool to release the debut - you know; the first ever gig? Fuck it: why not?
There was a different line up for the live shows so who appears on the album?
It's Jonesy, who played bass and guitar on "ZED HED" - he's on guitar hero duty, Simon Turner on bass and Beny Reid on drums; I sing and play Neanderthal guitar! (laughs)
How different are the live versions of the songs?
They are as close to the "ZED HED" versions as possible just more raucous. I arranged the songs on "ZED HED" to be played by a traditional 4 piece rock n roll band. The well trodden path of bass, guitar and drums, so it would work in a 'live' setting. As opposed to the first album "Return To Zero" which was much more about electronica.
Was the set list mainly taken from songs that appeared on "ZED HED" or did you include a mix of older tracks too?
It's mostly from "ZED HED", with a brand new song "No Conspiracy" and a few covers. The album wasn't even out when we did this gig so that's why we included covers - I didn't want people to stand through 45 mins of music that they didn't know, so we added the covers to give people something to latch onto.
You've been working on this release for what seems to be a pretty long time, was this just a matter of fitting it in around your heavy touring schedule with SLF or were you being a perfectionist?
'Perfectionist' sounds a bit wank don't it? (laughs) But yeah, I did want it to sound as good as possible and I spent a long time mixing and remixing - getting the best out of the recordings. But also 2013 was "ZED HED" - then 2014 was "No Going Back" plus a world tour and that promo is ongoing. This was the first chance I had to get anything done.
The album is priced at just £7.99. Why did you decide on a lower price?
There's only 10 ten tracks and it's live. I felt that price was reasonable, I see it almost as a 'sampler' record. I think people may not feel like paying 12 or 13 pounds for an album by an artist they don't know but may well give it a go at 8 quid! It's a limited edition so it's almost sold out now. I just felt this price was fair.
You made available the 'found' copies of the "Return To Zero" CD last year and they sold out pretty much instantly, were you surprised at how high the demand was?
A few people had asked me if there were any other albums so I knew a few would sell but we shifted the fifty in a day - that was a shock. I just found a box of them at an office I used to work out of and put them up for sale - wish I had a few more! (laughs)
RT-Zed are at the Westworld Weekend this year, it must feel pretty good to be asked back again?
Yes it is indeed. Gonna be fun. I know all the guys in the band and their manager, I've toured with Spear and I was the original drummer in Kirks band Dead Men Walking. It's great to be returning to Westworld; it's a great weekend - I went last year and had a ball. We are looking forward to playing in front of people who will actually know some of the tunes this time round. (laughs)
The track "Room No 5" was released from "ZED HED" as a single in early 2014, how did it do?
It did well under the circumstances, kind of a 'turn-table-hit' (laughs) but with no record label or press agent it's difficult to get attention. The radio play was steady and stayed on their lists for weeks. I could see the response by the downloads & CD sales, unfortunately it wasn't enough to bother the charts but a healthy response for a band who had no help whatsofuckingever!
Have you started working on the next RT-Zed studio album yet?
I'm always writing - there's a few demos - after Westworld I'll get to it - focused. At the moment I'm concentrating on demoing, preparing for the upcoming gig and releasing "Crunch". I'll go into the studio to record something new early next year I reckon.
What are your plans for it?
World domination! (laughs) It'll be different to "ZED HED". I can't see the point in making the same album over and over so this'll be different again. It won't be a straight ahead 'rock n roll' record that's for sure. Occasionally we got compared to the Foo Fighters with "ZED HED" for some reason and that was not our intention. It's the drummer, front man bullshit - I don't want to sound like them! I wanna be like Kraftwerk meets the Pistols with a bit of Cypress Hill and Parliament thrown in! (laughs)
SLF took a big risk going the crowd funding route for "No Going Back" but it seems to have paid off in a big way with great sales and critical reception. Did it exceed your expectations?
Fuckin' 'ell Yeah! We were shocked at the response - it was WAY more successful than we ever expected. It was a completely new thing for us so we had no idea what to expect, didn't know what would happen. When we saw how quickly the Pledge items were going we were truly astounded and we can't thank people enough for their support.
The new Pledge campaign will start shortly for a live DVD to be filmed on St.Patricks Day next year in Glasgow on the 25th anniversary of SLF playing at the venue in a row. Do you know what sort of Pledge rewards we can expect or is it veiled in secrecy?
It's more than my life is worth to reveal such secrets! (laughs) All I can say is that there are some exciting pledge items that will give unique access to the band. I suggest you keep an eye on SLF.com for further details.
The "No Going Back" tour has proved really popular and taken in many venues, festivals and countries...what's next?
Yeah - last year was incredibly successful for the band - worldwide.
96 gigs in twenty countries across 4 continents - mental! The "No Going Back" tour continues this year too. We are doing The Isle Of Wight Festival which we've never played before, back to the States in the summer to play places we didn't get to last year and we do Europe around October. No UK winter tour this year I'm afraid but - there may be a few one-offs. Things are still to be confirmed so I can say no more. (laughs)
How do you get time to do both bands?
SLF comes first and then I work RT-Zed around the Fingers schedule. It's two completely different things - schizophrenic. (laughs)
Where and when can we get "Crunch"?
It is available to order now from our website rtzed.com and shipping begins on May 11th although you will be able to purchase it at Westworld.