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In Words: Kick

- Chris Jones - July 2001 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Chris Jones (by phone) - July, 11th 2001

The British band Kick was founded in summer 1997 by the Jones brothers. "Searching a name is a nightmare for every band. We all liked the Inxs album Kick and we thought it was a good name for the band. It doesn't indicate what kind of music we do and it's short and easy to remember! Even if there were bands like Saigon Kick, that doesn't effect us. And it means the same to everybody. Even in Japan Kick has the same meaning" explains guitarist Chris Jones. Main songwriter in the band is his brother Mickey, but everybody in the band is involved. About a year later they got signed by Steve Harris from Iron Maiden for his label Beast Records. Even before the release of the debut Consider this... they got the chance to open for Helloween at the sold out London Astoria! A huge chance... They took this chance! Finishing the album mix with Phil Browns (e.g. Queensrÿche, Tesla) and in January 1999 the album were released in Japan. The media response was great, but everybody was wondering about the album cover... "The cover shows a baby lifting weights which kinda represent us. The band was like a baby just born and we had to fight our way in the music business which is really heavy and represented by the weights. And we succeed!" In spring 1999 they toured in the UK, had to replace their drummer who left for personal reasons and in September 1999 their debut hit the European stores. Consider This... was a catchy rock album and stuck in my CD player for days. Live the band convinced the fans with their rock which shows a harder edge and make the fans party. During their tour in Germany something happened..... "At an off day, I think we were in Garmisch, we got a call and got offered to support Thunder in London at their Farewell-tour. A great offer which we can't deny! It turned out that we could do the whole tour, so we changed plans. We accepted this offer and did the tour instead heading into the studio." A good decision, but the recordings couldn't started before early 2000. This time the band worked with producer Andy Reilly known for his work with Thunder and Skin. They took the chance to play with Vaughn (ex-Tyketto) which means a break of the production. Another good decision. "We played with Vaughn which was really great when Rod Smallwood showed up after our show. He really liked our music and especially the new track Sweet Lick Of Fire. At that time the album was almost done. Beast Records were part of Sanctuary Group and due to changes in the company the release of our album was delayed." Too long for a newcomer to release a follow-up? Perhaps... On the other hand the scene changed and the interest in rock and AOR is getting bigger again. Sanctuary Group can give a better support, catch more interested maybe... "With Sanctuary Records there is a major label which cares about metal. They signed resp. got Megadeth, Halford and Gamma Ray. But with us they have a rock band signed which also gives them the possibility to get more into the non-metal media. Today I talked to a rock radio station as well as to metal magazines.quot; But for a rock band it's important to play live! Will they come on tour? "At the moment I can't say anything about, but I hope we can. Usually Sanctuary tries to bring their bands on the road... And we really hope that we can tour! Let's wait and see." In the tradition of the big names who made it by touring which is the better way. "Right, bands like Bon Jovi, Maiden and Whitesnake made it that way. Touring is important. I remember when I saw Bon Jovi opening for Kiss in 1983. They did this tour-album-tour thing and convinced the people playing live." But these days thousands of CDs been released each year. Hard to choose for fans what to buy and what band to see live. "Exactly! A guy from a radio station mentioned that he get about 40 CDs each month. Too many releases. You can't listen to all of them and can't give support to everyone. After we saw Bon Jovi in 1983 my brother got their debut and I got the Vandenburg album. Bon Jovi made it by touring, Vandenburg didn't make it." Both are great albums... "At that time you were looking forward for the next release of your favorite band. I was a fan like others. That were good times for rock." Sweet Lick Of Fire is slightly different... The hard songs are a little harder and the smooth ones are a little lighter, poppier. Did they developed that way or was it planned? "Live the hard tracks are a little heavier. A song like Kaleidoscopic Eyes wouldn't work in a lighter way. Live we rock the house and the response from the audience is important for us. So playing live made us develop into this." Sweet Lick Of Fire takes a few more spins to get into in comparison with their debut Consider This..., but when it has developed it's beauty it's something you won't forget.
The title Sweet Lick Of Fire wasn't chosen by the band... "When Rod Smallwood showed up after the show with Vaughn he was most impressed by this song and he suggested to call the album that way. We thought it over and agreed." This time the album cover is more linked to the title and it's an eye-catcher. "Thanks for the compliment" Chris replied, coz he was responsible for the artwork. "This cover has a kind of sexy vibe. But the booklet is more a typical rock kinda thing with live shots." These days a good artwork is important to catch the interest. But the music is what's important. And to play live... Hope that we will see them soon on stage. "This year the release was too late to do festivals. But we plan to release the next album in spring 2002 and hope to play festivals afterwards. I saw Bon Jovi when they played arenas last year and they had Toploader as openers. Don't get me wrong, Toploader is a good band, but for me as a rock fan it was boring. To imagine to get this kind of a chance... Wow... There were not just the fans who started listening in the bands beginning, there were a lot of teenagers. The next generation.... And it's a pity that they don't give a rock band the chance to open and make new fans. Usually Bon Jovi is supporting the rock scene...." But often it's a business decision to bring other bands... But I agree that it would be good for the scene to support young bands. At festivals you have the same headliners again and again. It seems that even if there were thousands of new bands no one can make it to that level. Still Maiden, Priest and other old bands, which doesn't mean that they are bad, are at top. And many newcomers release good albums, but often don't tour or don't succeed live. quot;We are a band and we want to play live. That's the only way for us. Even if there are some good new bands like Linkin Park. Actually I like Linkin Park, they are kinda weird, but interesting. Better than Limp Bizkit in my opinion." On long term the rock bands will survive, people get tired of this electronic stuff and want back something real. From all this new bands which try to make it, just a few will survive. These days it's almost impossible to create something totally new, but releasing albums of bands which just clone trendy bands is floading the market. Finally a few will stay and perhaps the label will learn that quality is more important than quantity. Beside all these new acts there are a lot of tribute albums and side projects. "These side-projects are just to make money, in most cases. They often don't make it to a 2nd release or even to tour." But it's good to be open-minded, to listen to other music. That might give ideas..."I listen to other rock stuff, stuff which is slightly different to us. But it won't change the Kick sound! We will do it the Kick way!" Earlier Chris Jones mentioned that the 3rd album will be released in less than a year. Tight schedule... "Yes, but Mickey has already written 14 songs. He's constantly writing and so we will have enough material when we enter the studio." Good for the band, others writing stuff last minute... " ...and present weak albums! The bands like Bon Jovi or Aerosmith have about 30+ songs when they enter the studio to choose from. To choose from is hard and these bands I mentioned often ask John Kolodner to pick." A problem they have to face is picking from the new material... It would be interested to hear the left over tracks to see if they have the same quality. Anyway, there is a lot more to expect from the band. They do what they like to do and play the music which is in them. A musical change can't be expected. They are Kick and Kick is what they are. They will follow the tradition of bands like Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Aerosmith and keep what they doing. They will simply rock!
It seems that the future of rock will partly be written by Kick! They will do it the old way and when they keep the quality level it just needs some support from media and a good tour for them to make it.

Claudia Ehrhardt


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