Now, the wait is over: STONE AXE will finally be on tour in Europe for the first time in April 2011. Reason enough for me to do another interview with guitarist Tony Reed. Strictly speaking, this is our third virtual conversation, which clearly implicated that I have a strong preference for this U.S. band. This is partly the result of the fact that STONE AXE are masters of their disciplines, which is the blues-based heavy rock of the 1970's. In doing so, they target the legendary British bands from this period and prioritize tradition over innovation, which in this case is not at all a derogatory term. They master their craft to such an degree that makes innovation dispensable. It is obvious that their music comes from the heart and that it's not an idea born from the wish to be rich and famous. Although actually STONE AXE really deserve to earn some more bucks, but that's a different topic. Now it was more important to answer my questionnaire on other subjects. These include, of course, topics such as the upcoming tour, the re-release of the first album via Ripple Music as well as the latest news about Blood From The Sun and Tony's other band, Mos Generator. And anyone who knows him will know he's a huge fan of obscure heavy rock bands from the 70's. Needless to say that it was inevitable, therefore, to lose a couple of words for this purpose.
Next month, STONE AXE will be on tour in Europe for the first time. It's a premiere for the band but not for you, because you've been already here with Mos Generator in 2008. Are you excited about the upcoming tour and about the fact that you have the possibility to return to Europe with your "new" band?
It's always exciting to get out on the road. We've been doing some good roadwork for almost 2 years and I feel like we are ready to take the live show to the UK and Europe. The roots of our music are primarily based on late 60s early 70s British rock bands so it will be great for us just to be here and play music regardless of the attendance of the shows.
I was a little bit surprised at how short the tour is. What is the reason for this? Jobs and/or family?
You hit it exactly Klaus. We'll make the best of the time we do have.
You will also play at the Roadburn Festival. How did that come about?
Our first single and album were released in Europe on Roadburn and we couldn't do the festival last but Walter was kind enough to have us this year. We are very honored to have been asked.
As far as I remember, it was planned first to come over to Europe in 2010. Why did that not happen, or am I wrong?
We were working on a tour with DEXTER JONES' CIRCUS ORCHESTRA but the booking wasn't getting done quick enough and we backed out. Good thing we did because it never happen. I would still like to do some touring with Dexter Jones.
Do you rehearse more frequently before going on tour?
We have a lot of gigs before we leave so we use the gigs as a chance to brush up on the songs we don't play often. We are also adding some songs we have never played.
That's pretty cool. What can people expect from a STONE AXE live show?
We like to move very quickly in the set and we don't use setlists. I just call out the songs I feel will make the set flow good and that I think the crowd might like. You never know what they are going to be like until you get in front of them. We keep it high energy & fun. Always gotta be having a good time.
A few days ago I received the deluxe edition of STONE AXE's first album from Ripple Music. To make it short: It's a superb package and the bonus tracks as well as the DVD are more than just a great bonus. When was the idea born of re-releasing that first album and what was the reason behind your decision? I wonder because the original album has been released only two years ago.
I can't remember if it was our label's (Ripple Music) or our idea but it sounded cool to both of us and because 'Stone Axe I' wasn't released in the States. This was a good chance to do so. Ripple also reissued 'Stone Axe I' on LP.
There's one chapter on the DVD titled 'Beat Club' Sessions. As the title suggests the footage looks as if it has been filmed in 1971 at the legendary German Beat Club. Who came up with the idea for that?
There is a theater in our town that our friend owns and I knew it would be the perfect place to do something like this. So we brought in the gear and some recording equipment and did the setup, recording and teardown in about 3 hours. I think it turned out great and the performances were good. They were supposed to be in color but the cameras had different settings and in editing we couldn't get the colors to look right between cameras. I wanted it to look like the inside cover of the first URIAH HEEP album. Black & white is great as well.