Stone Horses’ John Allen Talks ‘Good Ol’ Days’ EP and Real Rock ‘n’ Roll

2020-10-01

Stone Horses' John Allen discusses the band's new EP, "Good Ol' Days," in this new interview.

Stone Horses EP cover – Story by Anne Erickson

Stone Horses’ John Allen discusses the band’s new EP, “Good Ol’ Days,” the state of rock and more in this new interview

Washington D.C.’s Stone Horses make raw, real alternative rock in the legacy of classic bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The band, which features former Charm City Devils singer John Allen, recently released their “Good Ol’ Days” EP, and the release’s title track is inside the Top 40 on Billboard’s Active Rock chart.

Allen checked in with Audio Ink Radio to discuss his new musical life with Stone Horses, the new EP, the state of rock music in 2020 and more. Read the full interview below.

Welcome, John. Congratulations on the success you’re having with Stone Horses. What inspired the songwriting on this EP, as far as the sounds and styles of music and bands?

Thank you for having me. I think the most common thread of inspiration were the riffs that the guys came up with for this EP. When I hear an awesome guitar or bass riff, it’s one of the most exciting things for me on a creative level. From my perspective, looking at my writing or performance, there are many other things that may influence it. I’ve been reading a lot about the classic rock and hard rock bands from back in the ’70s, and I think that may have shaped how I approached this recording. One book that I highly recommend to everyone is “When Giants Walked the Earth” about Led Zeppelin, and the other is “Van Halen Rising,” which follows the brothers from junior high through the first world tour. That really made me appreciate that band so much, and the YouTube videos of their Montreal Performance in ’83 or ’84.

The EP’s first single, which is the EP’s title track, has been doing really well on the active rock chart. What’s the meaning behind that song?

The song was being completed as COVID-19 was starting to hit, and it already was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. It-s got a couple stories about my misspent youth! (Laughs) Then, as the pandemic hit and I realized, wow, we can’t do any of the things we took for granted like hanging out with friends, going to concerts or going to huge music festivals, I thought, “Let’s talk about the ‘Good Ol Days.'”

You’ve toured with some major players, everyone from Slash to Greta Van Fleet. Do you have one tour that stands out?

We have been really lucky to share the stage with those bands and many more, and for that, we are so grateful. But my favorite memory is supporting one of my favorites, Rival Sons! We finished our first song, “100 Days,” in front of a crowd that had never seen us before. After I hit the high note at the end of the tune, and as soon as the band ended, but before the applause and yelling started, I heard a kid down front say, “OH. MY. GOD!” And it actually choked me up. Needless to say, we had a really good night that night! I went back to the merch table, and there was a huge line, and I stayed there until I met everyone I could. Then, I went to watch the headliners and was blown away! I thought yep, that’s touring the world for two years looks like. I wanna get here!

Speaking of tours, this year has been brutal on live music because of coronavirus (COVID-19). How have you guys been keeping busy?

We’ve been trying! I’ve been writing, and we’ve done a couple live streaming events.

Based on what you’re hearing in the industry, do you have any idea when live music might be back, in a traditional form?

I’m sorry to say that I don’t, and I’m not sure anyone really knows if we’ll ever get back to traditional form. I’d be happy playing drive-in shows- anything really!

What do you miss most about playing live right now?

I miss the crowd interaction– the example I mentioned in the answer before shows, just how much energy we can get from the fans. It can really have an impact. I mean, most times when I’m on tour, I feel pretty exhausted from lack of sleep, bad food and excessive drives, but if we roll into a venue and the crowd is hyped, I can muster up enough to give them everything I’ve got. I try to do that regardless, but the crowd can make it go to “eleven!”

Has anything good, creatively, come out of this whole COVID-19 thing for musicians?

Well, I think since we are all locked down in our houses, we are going be covered up in a ton of new music next year. So that’s good, right?

What are your thoughts on the state of rock music today? Do you think rock is in a good place?

Well, I do miss realness. I like what Rival Sons brings to recording and live mediums. I’m not into “Laptop Rock.” I know kids can make a record on their laptop these days, but should they?

What’s next for Stone Horses?

Another live stream event, putting together tour dats for 2021 and beyond and more. Please sign up to our email list at StonehorsesMusic.com.

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