The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Interview: STONE CIRCLE lead singer “Harry” Harris

By Shane Pinnegar


I caught up with Stone Circle just before their album launch to find out what was happening in their camp. In recent months Stone Circle have been building up to their big album launch, playing a lot of gigs far and wide. I started by asking Harry how the band was performing as a unit.


Harry: The band is really plugging itself man, I think we took the time to get it right in rehearsals, we took the time to really work on sounds, as a live unit, I think to be honest as a live performance we really have gone the next step up into a live show, and now we are really focusing on putting on a concert rather than just coming to a gig, cause to me, no disrespect to any other band out there but, anyone who can play music can put on a gig, but there’s a difference between going to do a gig and playing a show! So how’s the band? The band’s fucking TIGHT! The band is tight socially, the band is tight from a friendship point of view, and musically I think we are really starting to get out straps.

Harry goes on to explain the format Stone Circle decided on for their album launch – ambitious to say the least for a Perth band. For starters, I ask Harry to explain the pre-party…


Harry: Yeah man, we pre sold a hundred CD’s and we capped [pre-sales] at the hundred. We’re still getting asked, you know, we are still getting emails and requests to buy it, but we capped it at a hundred. So we are going to have the pre-launch between 7 and 8 and then basically the live music will start at 8 and it’s all gonna be at the Civic and yeah, I think it’s gonna be exciting.


What about plans to tour the album? I know Harry has toured The United States in the past, but what about over East, and International in 2011?


Harry: I think we are going to hold off on the international side of things at the present stage, just because the market’s not there for us yet. The great thing about this band is we don’t do anything that we don’t want to do, but we don’t do anything without thinking it through, which makes a big change from some of the bands I’ve been with in the past. But yes, there are some tours up north and down south and here locally and we are gonna push out locally for I would say from the launch through til roughly about winter time and in winter time we will actually head over to the East Coast because I don’t know why but the East Coast seems to liven up in winter…


Are there any plans for a Stone Circle live album now that they have two studio albums under their belt?


Harry: Not really, not at the moment, I mean we’ve got, this is our second LP, you know like, Long Player for the uneducated - for the youngsters out there (laughs). The LP, what we do have plans for is we are going to release a limited vinyl edition of this album. Old school.


Does this mean we could soon hear DJ’s scratching Stone Circle up, wiggywoo style?


Harry: Yeah well, we have been listening to a lot of old record stuff lately and like I was over at Scotty’s the other day and he had The Darkness on, on the LP, like he was just playing old vinyl and it sounds so sweet so we’re gonna be looking at releasing a small limited amount of that, you know. From a live point of view I think we are going to let our live shows do the talking and then, you know, you get the opportunity to take the recorded stuff home. You want it live, if you wanna kick it, if you want it balls to the wall in your face - get off the couch!


Absolutely, and at The Rockpit we couldn’t agree more! And the moniker “Harry”? Well it turns out there’s a darker story to it than just some mates bestowing a nickname upon him.


Harry: Seriously, stalkers! I got some crazy random shit going on and I just went ok, if I keep “Harry” for my band life, and [my Christian name] for my private life then no one fucks me around, but now you are gonna write that shit up aren’t you and it will be all over!


Of course not Harry – we’re not like that!


Harry: It’s actually really true though, because when I toured the States, we actually did get a stalker we were on the West Coast and she was in Florida, she came up to Seattle and then she basically followed us the entire way down to LA and back again, and it got a point where our tour manager at the time, who was actually female, and [the stalker] was going up to [our tour manager] and saying “Get your fucking hands off my man, he is my boyfriend, we have been going out for years”, and she’s just like “Whoa sweetheart, you?”, and I would open up the hotel door and find gifts…


SP: Only in America, eh? Gotta love the psychos.


Harry: So that’s where “Harry” came from. Obviously I had my nickname in the Army, but that’s where ‘Harry’ I really needed to start doing this.


One thing that has helped get Stone Circle noticed around town has been their involvment in charity events, such as Channel 7’s Telethon, and so on. I asked Harry if the band use these as a publicity opportunity?


Harry: [They’re a] Labour of love!!! (laughs). I would hate for anyone - and I know this is serious - I would hate anyone to accuse myself, or Stone Circle, or any of the band members as a whole of doing this for publicity, you know. There are plenty of ways to get publicity, but I don’t feel that doing charity events is the way to get publicity. If you want publicity, get out and meet the fucking street, get the marketing happening, get your posters out there, talk to people, get people excited about it. When you’re going to a charity gig it’s because there’s someone out there who needs more help and more of an opportunity than you do. And you can see, I mean what I say, I got fucking goosebumps right now. When you do a charity gig, you do it for the right reasons, not so you get your face on the TV or a magazine or get a bit of radio play - fuck that, if that’s your whole idea you are not going to make it in this industry.


Speaking of publicity, Stone Circle put a lot of effort in late 2010 into a radio competition to win a support slot for Bon Jovi when they played in Perth. Along the way they pulled such “stunts” as playing on a flatbed truck outside of the radio station’s offices, and it paid off, with them getting all the way through to the final playoff, though when the bell sounded they didn’t win the prize. I offered my congratulations to Harry again on the achievement…


Harry: Thank you for bringing up painful memories (laughs).


SP: No no (laughs) we thought the whole competition was rigged, remember I wrote this on your Facebook page at the time, but I thought you getting through to the final was a very, very positive thing, because you play a style of music which isn’t popular on the radio (certainly not on the station running the competition!), yet you made them fucking listen to you…


Harry: Yeah… See now THAT’S a publicity stunt right fucking there! (referring to playing on the flatbed truck)


SP: Absolutely, very much. Or at least talking about a bit of a publicity opportunity.


Harry: Well yeah, it was what it was, we copped a lot of bagging from certain individuals, we copped a lot of good publicity out of that, the bottom line is we stepped up in the only way we knew how which was basically make a fucking noise, let people make their own decisions, and let the music speak for itself, and for us, runners up, yeah look, I’ll umm, no ones going to bullshit here and say we weren’t cut that we didn’t win it.


SP: I think that a lot of people were cut that you didn’t win it, but the band that did win it, no disrespect to them, but they’re more of a “media darlings” band, in the “what’s cool in Perth” sort of way...


Harry: Sure, oh look I know the guys from the band that won it, all nice, nice guys and you know, I’ve got a lot of time for them, they went off, they did their show, they did their thing… and we went to the concert anyway and I think that’s a testament to us as a band that, you know, we played the Mix Rooftop gig that morning we didn’t win, we were dejected, we were sorry for ourselves, and that afternoon, we walked in, loaded in, and did a sound check and then went and supported The Poor that night, and kicked ass at that gig, and took names and made fans.

Harry: That’s a testament to these boys cause you know, they were hurting, I was hurting, but at the end of the day, testament to our fans too, no one bagged the shit out of the other band - it is what it is, and for us, I think it has just bonded us tighter, and I think it has also made us more focused on getting our music out there and not allowing, you know, things like that to bring you down, rather take it as a positive experience…


It seems a pertinent time to discuss the new world order whereby often now promoters will run an online competition to award a band a support slot, rather than giving the support gig to a band which might musically fit the headliner and being given it on the credit for them actually being good? Surely that means some bands are being given the opportunity to support a name act on the strength of how many sixteen year olds are sitting at home on their Internet?


Harry: Oh, you mean like U2 bringing in a rapper to open up their show rather than a fucking rock n’ roll band?


SP: Well that’s a completely different story, but it still sucks so much (laughs).


Harry: Yeah, look the way I view it is this, the old school bands can still fucking do it, but at the end of the day I don’t think it’s the bands, I think it’s the management and the agencies and it’s the promoters and look, they’ve got a right to do what they want to do, they’ve got a job to do, you know, sell tickets. We can only do what we do, which is basically put out good fucking music, put on a positive show, put on a good fucking rock n’ roll show and if people like that they will come and eventually it will get to a point where we don’t need to scrape and beg on a promoters side of things, they will be asking us to play, and I know that sounds arrogant, but if you don’t have that attitude, then what the fuck are you in this industry for?


Harry: You might as well sit at home, you know, wanking and then say “I’m going to be the greatest person having sex”. Well if you are sitting at home and wanking all night, you’re not going to, you’ve got to get out there and fucking do it.


So let’s talk about the album ‘Living For the Sunshine”. It’s a really good record, a really mature record, and on it the band show a lot more direction and focus in their music. Was that just a matter of playing together more and getting the right people in the band and being more focused in general?


Harry: Yeah I think it has a lot to do with three months preproduction, I think it had a lot to do with having a better vibe of musicians within the band because Scotty and Derrin came into the band at the back end of [the first] album, so didn’t have a lot to do with it, and I think there was a little bit of , look, we respect you guys as musos and we’re in this band now, so we will back ya as much as we back ya, but when you start making your own music with a band suddenly it becomes focused & directioned. I had never written with anyone but Craig and suddenly I’m writing with a guitarist who has a totally different style to anything I’ve been used to playing with, suddenly I’ve got a drummer who’s dropping beats and I’m just like “Come here a second that’s not a football what’s going on here?” You’re putting the six and eight in a nine and seven slot, what the fuck? So it started to challenge me and then my vocals started to challenge the different harmonies, and then we had to put it all together so the only way to do that was to spend hours upon hours upon hours at rehearsal, and then find a really good recording studio to put it all down and let us have our own little movement within that, so we actually worked within the album simply because we needed to have that room to be able to breath and just make it ours.


SP: ‘Living For The Sunshine’ - buy it now.


Harry: There’s the quote.


Click here for The Rockpit's review of Stone Circle's "Living For The Sunshine" album launch


Click here for The Rockpit's review of Stone Circle's "Living For The Sunshine" album


Shane Pinnegar
Transcribed by Rachel Haniford