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



BLACK STONE CHERRY are on their way to Australia for the first time ever, and not only that they have just released what we think is their finest album to date - KENTUCKY. We caught up with drummer John Fred Young to talk all about the album and tour. The Rockpit is the only Australian website to talk to all four members of the band on the eve of their first visit, so enjoy our second of four interviews in the lead up to the tour!

JUNE 2016



KENTUCKY is BLACK STONE CHERRY's Best album so far, the band went all the way back to their roots to put together a searing slab of Southern-tinged rock. It may just be the album to take them all the way to the major leagues. we caught up wth dummer John Fred Young in the second of four individual interviews with the band as the tour approaches...

John Fred: Hello! How you doing man?


The Rockpit: All good thank you Sir, it’s Mark from The Rockpit in Australia, good to speak with you!


John Fred: Awesome, good to speak to you too, thank you for taking the time.


The Rockpit: It’s a busy time for the band at the minute, how are the last few U.S. dates going before you come over and see us?


John Fred: It’s awesome man, we’re freaked out! Coming over for the first time, we’re just super excited! It was like eight months ago that we found out that we were coming down to Australia, and heck it’s now coming up in a couple of weeks! The Rockpit: It’s not long now and there are a lot of Black Stone Cherry fans down here that have waited a very long time to see you guys!


John Fred: You’re very, very welcome and thank you very much; I hope it’s an amazing show. We’ve been doing interviews, talking to people and getting on Facebook and you can feel the love. For us we’ve been together now for probably 16 years since we were at high school and getting to go out to so many different places and play is pretty amazing and also to have a fan base in different places that you haven’t been to yet is so cool. We’re really looking forward to it. Looking forward to bringing that Kentucky rock to you guys!


The Rockpit: And it will be well worth waiting for! I’ve managed to catch you over the years everywhere from Cincinnati in the US to Birmingham in the UK and the show has always been one to remember!


John Fred: (laughs) that’s a big difference in latitude there man!


The Rockpit: The Cincinnati date was a heck of a show, on the Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd tour, howling rain, a massive crowd and you still came out and signed things for the fans.


John Fred: Wow that must have been 2009? 2010? I remember that! That was a great tour and we were lucky enough to go out again with Skynyrd and Bad Company in 2013 on their 40th Anniversary tour. That was really cool and we played that same place you saw us with Kid Rock, the Riverbend Amphitheatre.


The Rockpit: Yeah, straddling the two States there it’s an interesting place. The best music we’ve heard all year has to be the new album, congratulations on KENTUCKY; you must be pleased how it all came out?


John Fred: Oh thank you man, thank you so much. It was fun to make, and gosh, it was a leap of faith for us. We had been on a previous label for over a decade and it came to a point where we had to just venture out and get our feet on the ground. It was scary not being on that security blanket, not knowing that a label would be there to fund the recording. So for about eight months were we just free artists, out there playing shows and writing songs and last summer we had a lot of labels really interested ad I think we’ve teamed up with a great partner in MASCOT RECORDS out of Holland. They get what we’re doing, they’re not trying to change anything about us, they’re just letting us be who we are and that’s so important to us as musicians.


John Fred: Sometimes a record label will sign a band who are young and full of ideas and they mould them to be ready for US radio, or follow what’s current in pop culture and they kind of lose some of that magic. We had to go through that with our previous label and we had to grow as men and artists (laughs), It feels so funny saying ‘artists’ man, sounds like we’re Picassos! But you really do develop who you are with time as musicians, and with us we were so lucky to keep that integrity of who we are and I think that shows on KENTUCKY man. We recorded it back home in Kentucky and even worked with the original engineer who worked with us on that first record. But you can’t recreate what you do in the beginning. If Bonham we’re still here you couldn’t ask Led Zeppelin to go back and recreate their first record, there’s no way. So there’s a moment in time as musician when it all comes together – the age of the musicians comes into play, the knowledge of how to record, and how to write songs, but there’s still something beautiful about being ‘green’ like a young musician where you don’t know everything about the process and you go into it with a very ‘innocent’ mind, I think that’s the right word to use there, and as you grow musicians get kinda jaded and you tend to not think of music as you did when you were younger. I mean you get older, you have families and you have to make sure bills are paid and things like that. So you get your purest form of music in the beginning. But what’s cool about our band is that we’ve been together so long and we’re such a tight family that getting to do this record was a real rejuvenation of our ‘young spirit’, if you will, you know being in High School, just wanting to do it man! We are so lucky to be able to do that and working with Mascot has given us that too. And we’re so excited to be coming down to play stuff of the four records, but it is very KENTUCKY heavy on this tour. There’s a lot of stuff off the new record.


The Rockpit: That’s great because it is such a great album, from those rocking singles, to the cover of ‘War’ and the closer ‘The Rambler’ – what a great song!


John Fred: Oh thank you! It’s a special song.



The Rockpit: You put so much texture on this album and there’s a really gritty sound especially the bass and drums, you’re creating some great grooves man! Who did you look to for inspiration when you first started playing the drums?


John Fred: When I first started playing the drums it was my uncle Fred Young from The Kentucky Headhunters who taught me how to play and was my big inspiration, he played with my dad in the band and they started back in the 60’s at a legendary practice house in Kentucky and we started playing there too. So growing up we had a really great musical education, and not just rock. They were a country band, but they were rockers and for us growing up looking at those posters and albums they’d plaster on the old farmhouse walls it kind of translated into who we were. So in terms of musicianship as well as advisors, my uncle and dada were hugely influential in creating who I am as a musician and a person and same for the other guys too. But also my Uncle turned me onto John Bonham who is a huge influence, Mitch Mitchell from The Hendrix Experience, Ginger Baker from Cream, love those guys, Bernard Purdie who was the greatest session drummer, you know he’s still doing stuff! I didn’t really get super influenced by the more modern drummers, I’d check them out but I’d really listen to guys like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa. I mean in my opinion Buddy Rich is the greatest drummer ever, but you know man yiu take influences from so many great musicians.


The Rockpit: You can’t go past that kind of quality it’s timeless and so free. Over the years I’ve loved listening to you guys grow and with Kentucky you’ve got a kind of aggression and passion harnessed but there’s also a real spirit and uplifting nature too, like it comes right from the heart. What did you want audiences to take out of listening to the album?


John Fred: As all four of us write there’s a lot that goes into a record both collectively and as individuals, so as we write we kind of have to bend and weave our ideas together because it’s just not one guy writing. But when it comes out, it’s part of all of us. There are a lot of songs on the record that are pretty heavy and there are songs that are a little different and don’t necessarily fall on that platform. There’s a ballad called ‘Long Ride’ and of course ‘The Rambler’, I don’t know man, you grow as song-writers and you accumulate ideas and thoughts and emotions and try to get them all out. We try to make a record that’s going to give a lot to people.


The Rockpit: You’ve certainly given yourselves a lot of room to move on there, a lot of variety and a lot of honesty. It’s a great album to listen to and I’ve not really put it down since I got hold of it. I think we’re about out of time now so just to close probably the easiest question you’ll get all day ‘What is the meaning of life’?


John Fred: (laughs) the meaning of life! That could take a year to explain or I could try it in one sentence. I think it’s relative to each person, but I think the meaning of life is to live a good life and to be kind to everyone and I believe in the rule of 3 – to put out the most positive vibes and love that you can and it will come back to you. I think we are all given this to opportunity to make the best of it and that is what we gotta to do, and I’m very thankful that I get the opportunity to do that with people I love and people I create music with, we’re very fortunate. So the meaning of life is to live it to the fullest and spread positivity.


The Rockpit: That’s a wonderful thought to leave us with.


John Fred, thanks you so much for talking to the Rockpit today and you have a safe trip over to see us. John Fred: Thank you so much, we’re super excited to come down and play the shows and I can’t wait to meet you in person, thank you brother we’ll talk later.


Black Stone Cherry play with Steel Panther on their Australian Tour June 2016

Friday, 17th June - Big Top, Sydney - Tickets: Oztix

Saturday, 18th June - Festival Hall, Melbourne - Tickets: Ticketmaster

Monday, 20th June - Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane - Tickets: Oztix

Wednesday, 22nd June - Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide - Tickets: Ticketmaster

Thursday, 23rd June - Metro City, Perth - Tickets: Megatix

Sunday, 26th June - Powerstation, Auckland



Want more Black Stone Cherry?




CLICK HERE to read our KENTUCKY review 2016


John Fred Young spoke to Mark Rockpit - June 2016  


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