Photo courtesy of Franz Schepers.
After the success of Hard Rock Hell’s ABC Weekender, Simon McBride is back with an explosive 13 date tour of his own in 2022 covering the UK and Ireland and a brand new album released on the 11th March.
The northern Ireland guitarist has played for Ian Gillan from Deep Purple and played guitarist/co-wrote on Don Airey’s albums as well as toured with Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and Grammy nominee Derek Trucks.
Simon enthuses about the tour, “I can’t wait! After such a long time off, I’m ready and all fired up to perform again doing the one thing I love. It’s going to be great to be back on the road again with two great musicians and my good friends, Dave Marks and Marty McCloskey…these two are an unstoppable force of nature when it comes to delivering a show. Get ready for the fireworks!”
What inspired your latest single, ‘The Fighter’? Was it inspired by the pandemic at all?
“To be honest that song was written before the pandemic. That song is really about having a goal in life and never giving up till you get there. Never stop fighting, keep believing in what it is you want to do in life and never give up and that’s really what it is.
“It’s kind of like a little inside to my whole life. I never stopped fighting and never stopped searching for that ultimate end, whatever that is. I suppose from my point of view it’s just being in the music industry and keep getting more and more successful. That’s my goal. I say to people that I’ve been in this industry for say what, 30 years or a bit less? I was only a kid when I started, I was like 13. And I only signed to a major record label 4 years ago you know after 26, 27 years. It took me 26, 27 years to get there. Some people give up after 5. You’ve got to keep fighting for what you believe in and what you want to do you know. From my point of view, I’m just thinking that this is what I do and I don’t know how to do anything else. It doesn’t matter what I have to do, I’ll do it. So that’s primarily what it’s about.
“I understand people are writing songs about the pandemic and stuff but I didn’t really want to do that. Not to belittle anybody else, but I always found that a little bit cheesy. There’s a lot more to life than talking about covid. It’s a bad memory and for a lot of people it’s something they’ll want to forget. Hopefully we’re on the right track to getting there.”
‘The Fighter’ has a slightly heavier sound compared to your previous singles and album – leaning more towards hard rock riffs than bluesy rock. Is that something you’re building on with your upcoming album?
“I’m at the age in my life and stage in my career where I just say to myself I’m going to play what I want to play and that’s it. Years ago when I first started with the guitar scene in England, the blues rock scene was the scene to be on because of the likes of Bonomassa. I don’t class myself as a blues artist or a blues rock artist. I’m an 80s child so I grew up in the 80’s hard rock, hair metal and all that stuff so that’s me through and through. That’s what I still listen to. The likes of ‘The Fighter’ they are a lot more hard rock than anything. I’m just playing what I want to play.
“There always will be an element of blues no matter what you play in a rock sense because rock basically comes from blues anyway. You think early Led Zeppelin, they’re just basically you know alterations of old blues guitar riffs. Everything evolves into something so this is my evolution. I do like playing other stuff but rock, hard rock is probably my home. And plus everybody else that I’ve played with, Ian Gillan or Snakecharmer, it’s all hard rock.
“People put people in categories of blues rock or rock blues. I did see that once, blues rock and rock blues, and I thought, ‘what’s the difference?’ I like the days when it was just rock, pop, classical, jazz, blues. Done! People put a title around me and I think that’s fine, whatever! People can listen to my music and make their own determination on what it is to them. Hard rock is what I do and probably what I know the best.”
The last album you released was in 2012. After a gap, you released a string of singles in 2019 and 2020, followed by this upcoming album. What happened during your time away and why have you decided to release an album now?
“The funny thing is, people think that I haven’t been around because I haven’t been releasing my own stuff which is kind of true but there’s been a lot of things happening. I’ve done three albums with Ian Gillan, I’ve done three albums with Don Airey, one album with Snakechamer – so seven albums, I have done stuff! It’s just not Simon McBride at the front. I had a family and kids. I’ve been busy doing stuff.
“This album was ready to go three years ago, so I wrote these songs four or five years ago, but then covid hit so we had to pull the reins. We had a chat about it and I talked about the idea of releasing it over lockdown and basically they said ‘you might as well drive down the road and throw it out the window.’ The only way to promote an album these days is to tour and if the tour’s not there then what’s the point. There’s a lot of people worse off than me within the music industry. I’ve been fortunate enough, I have my own line which keeps me busy so I do that a lot of the time and now with touring coming back hopefully things will be busier than ever.”
Are there any venues you’re looking forward to playing again on your tour this March are are they all new venues for you?
“I think I’ve played maybe one or two of the venues before. There’s not really one jumping out at me thinking ‘I can’t wait to play at that place’ because I’ve no clue what they’re going to be like so it’s always a new experience. I think over the years because I haven’t really done a UK tour in three years, I think some of the venues have fell by the wayside a little bit during the pandemic and stuff like that. But I like trying new places and new venues. I’m excited to play them all.”
You can see Simon McBride on his UK and Ireland 2022 tour this February and March.