Interview: Black Stone Cherry Drummer on New Album, 2011 Carnival of Madness Tour

Black Stone Cherry, Courtesy Photo

John Fred Young: ‘It’s very cool to look back and see how far we’ve come’

Black Stone Cherry drummer John Fred Young says the band’s biggest accomplishment, to date, is simply “to still be out touring and making music after 10 years as a band.”

There’s also the detail that the Southern rockers’ current single, “White Trash Millionaire,” is their highest charter yet, taking the Edmonton, Ky., boys to No. 12 on the Billboard rock chart and mounting.

“We’re ultra-proud of that,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re had really big radio success, and we’re extremely pleased about it.”

The down-home, country-rock track comes off the group’s new album, Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea, and continues in the Southern rock, blues tradition of previous hits “Lonely Train,” “Blind Man” and “Please Come In.”

Stomping riffs, country-shaded melodies, classic ‘70s grains– it’s all Black Stone Cherry.

Speaking from a tour stop in Bettendorf, Iowa, Young, 26, checked in with Audio Ink Radio to talk about the new album and why he’s stoked for the 2011 Carnival of Madness Tour.

Audio Ink: Congrats on the success of Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea. How did working with producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Daughtry) influence the album’s sound?

Young: At first, we didn’t know what it would be like working with him, but we became good friends. He’s a smart guy, and he helped us out with a lot of chord changes. For me, personally, he helped with playing drums more for the song, instead of overplaying. He helped Chris [Robertson, singer] a great deal working on vocals.

Audio Ink: How would you describe band life?

Young: It takes a lot of people to make a band really work. You have to be organized. There are interviews and meet-and-greets, and a lot of people think you just get to drive around on a bus all day and play video games, but that’s not real. I think a lot of bands get on drugs and fall behind because it’s just a lot to handle. It’s a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t call it a job, but it’s definitely a business.

Audio Ink: Tell me about the recording process for the new album.

Young: We started writing for the album in January of 2010, and we always practice in a house with no insulation on my grandparent’s farm. We refuse to practice anywhere else, because it’s where we grew up. So, we toughed it out, and it took us from January to November to record the album, so almost a year. When we started out, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do, but we set out to make the heaviest record possible.

Audio Ink: Black Stone Cherry is on the 2011 Carnival of Madness Tour along with Theory of a Deadman, Alter Bridge, Adelitas Way and Emphatic. Stoked?

Young: Yes! It’s going to be a great tour. We’re also going on a co-headlining tour with Alter Bridge later this summer playing arenas in Europe, so we’re really looking forward to that, too. When it comes to our live show, I think people appreciate that we try to bring it every single night.

Audio Ink: Favorite memory from the past decade?

Young: You know, last night we were watching these home videos that we made back in 2001. Thank goodness they haven’t gone on YouTube. [Laughs] But, we were watching, thinking, “Golly, that was 10 years ago!” We were 15, 16 and 18 years old playing our first gigs, and it’s cool to look back at that and see we’re here, now on our third album, and playing in front of thousands of people in Europe and Germany. It’s very cool to look back and see how far we’ve come.

Show details: The 2011 Carnival of Madness Tour kicks off in Twin Lakes, Wis., Aug. 13 and wraps up in Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 17. Find tour dates via the Carnival website. Check out Black Stone Cherry’s full summer tour on the band’s website.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Band Profiles, Features, Interviews, Metal, Music, Rock

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