We caught up with the John as he talked about the upcoming tour, latest music and more!
So you’ve got five dates booked for next month, what venues are you most looking forward to playing?
None in particular, a show is a show, I’m looking forward to them all. That said, we’re doing a show in Holland in a venue called Ma Kelly’s which is basically a shrine to Status Quo.Rhino’s Revenge played there a few times before and it’s
always a bit special.
Are you looking forward to meeting some fans who have bought VIP tickets?
Look, I’m impressed to have any fans! If a few of them want to pay for the privilege of meeting me, that’s absolutely fine, it means they love me that little bit more. Remember kids, if your parents don’t buy you VIP tickets for us they don’t love you..
It’s just the way things have gone in the music business, I’m not in favour of it to be honest, but if you want that personal touch, unfortunately sometimes it costs a bit more.
How has the release of Take ’em Down gone so far with fans?
It’s not especially typical of the album, which incidentally is imaginatively entitled Rhino’s Revenge 2, as it’s, guess what, my second album. It’s a bit too heavy, quite a bit too heavy for a lot of Quo fans, so generally amongst them it’s gone down like a lead balloon and I’m not surprised. It’s quite a metal thing, and the lyrical content is somewhat radical compared to the Quo material. But it seems to be getting a fair amount of interest and is starting to pick up airplay, so maybe we’re doing something right at Revenge Towers. It doesn’t sound retro or classic rock, I can assure you of that!
Can you tell us a little bit about the song?
It’s about the battle for a town called Kobane, as seen through the eyes of the Kurdish defenders . If you want to know what it’s all about, there’s a lyric video on my Facebook page, you can also find it at rhinosrevenge.com. It’s serious stuff folks.
How pleased are you to be working with FM’s lead guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and
Uriah Heep’s drummer Russell Gilbrook in the band?
To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. I called Russell to see if he knew any drummers as I’m a massive fan of his playing with Uriah Heep. I was sure he’d be busy so I didn’t bother actually asking him, but then he said,“what about me? I’d love to do it, let’s see if we can make it work”. It turned out Heep are off the road for a few months, so that was it, a real no brainer.
Same thing exactly happened with Jim. I called my mate Merv Goldsworthy, the bass player of FM, a band we’ve toured with before, for some guitarist numbers, and Jim said the same as Russell. I’m immensely flattered to have players of their calibre and experience on board, it’s going to be amazing.
How different is it to be playing with this band rather than Status Quo?
Well, I’m the act for a start, so I pretty much decide what we’re going to play. For instance, I’ll play a few Quo songs, some of which are pretty obscure, but I’ll also cover Paper Plane, because it’s my favourite song by the band. I’ll also feature quite of few of the songs from Rhino Revenge 1 and 2, a couple of which haven’t been performed since 2001, you’ve been warned.
And of course the smaller venues, I love playing to people standing 2 feet way. You have to be confident,there’s no big rock show, and if they think you’re shit they just go and stand at the back or leave, it’s pretty obvious if they don’t like you. Or maybe they left their dinner on, that’s what I like to think anyway. Not that people walk out all the time!!
What has been your proudest moment to date as a musician?
Having a career doing the one thing I excel at, and adored more than anything until I had children. The down side was missing large parts of their growing up
Can you remember the first gig you ever attended?
The most influential gig I ever attended, which was one of the first, was Free at Richmond athletic ground on November 7th, 1969. I walked in there a lead guitarist and walked out a bass player. Andy Fraser completely blew my mind, he’s still my favourite ever bassist.
I think my first gig was at the Albert Hall in London to see the Beatles.That was the plan, but my dad couldn’t handle the screaming so we left early. Bummer huh?
What has been the funniest moment you have had on tour?
Nothing really translates to print, but I will say that the late great Rick Parfitt, the funniest man I ever met, made me weep with laughter on so many occasions. Writing this and thinking about him makes me smile, which is nice. I miss him.
Do you find it different playing at Festivals to live venues?
Festivals are good because you get to see a lot of other bands, onstage and backstage. Some of them are great, some of them are twats, but it’s a great way to spend a day, and I don’t have to camp!
Touring is a different ball game, there’s much more discipline involved, but I am a total road dog, I love the travelling. Basically it’s all good, I’ve achieved nearly everything I wanted in my life, I am one of the happiest and most satisfied people I know.
That’s yer lot.