Hey! It’s Valentine’s Day? Is that a rubbish enough segue into a Bullet For My Valentine interview? Probably not. Oh well. As regular readers of Thrash Hits know, Bullet For My Valentine are most definitely a band we have opinions (fast forward to 33mins 13 secs…) that sometimes get us in to a bit of trouble with them. So when Nick Hagan emailed us late last year telling us that he had some time interviewing Michael “Padge” Paget from thet band (that’s him lurking behind Matt Tuck above and looking like he might bite your throat out), we said “yeah, okay,” with all the enthusiasm that two-word response implies.
That said, we do wonder what Padge would say to us now after we published Raz’s drunken 6/6 (ahem) review of Temper Temper….
Hello Padge. Where are you now?
“I’m at home. I’m sat on the sofa watching This Morning.”
Let’s talk about the new record, Temper Temper. How do you view it next to Bullet’s other work?
“Obviously with every record we want it to do the best it can, and reach as many people as it can. It’s definitely another progression. These days, especially on the internet, people don’t tend to go for changes very much, and it seems the fans kind of wanted us to stay the same, which is kind of weird. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it – it’s not super-different, but it’s definitely not the original sort of Bullet.”
I’ve had a sneak preview, and the songs sound bigger than ever on this one…
“Yeah. As musicians, the last thing we want to do is churn out the same songs and the same sort of music, so people have to understand that we like to keep it fresh and change it up for ourselves as well.”
So, what is different about this record?
“It’s really stripped back. There’s a lot more singing again – it’s definitely more of a follow up to Fever than, say, Scream Aim Fire or The Poison. The songwriting’s a lot more similar to how it is on Fever. But, saying that, there are all of the typical Bullet ingredients in there.”
Matt has mentioned in the past that you bucked your traditional songwriting approach with Fever, trying to work vocal melodies and lyrics in as you went along rather than at the end of a session. Did you have the same approach this time round?
“I’m sure Matt definitely approached it that way initially. Like you said, when you’ve got to write lyrics for fourteen songs at the end of a session things kind of get on top of you, so I’m sure that as the songs were being created and written he was definitely thinking ahead to vocal melodies and lyrical content, all those sort of things.”
Do you think there’s a challenge with metal audiences wanting bands to stick to a formula and sound the same?
“Yeah, you know, it’s really heartwarming that people [feel like that]. But when people say ‘why didn’t you stick to the way you wrote The Poison’, it’s like, ‘well, if we did do that we’d never progress as a band’. We’d be churning out exactly the same sort of stuff and eventually it would just implode, because everyone’s just gonna get bored of it. So I’m all for staying fresh and being current – maybe it’s not The Poison or Scream Aim Fire but it’s still Bullet, you know?”
Can a metal band be the UK’s biggest band?
“I definitely think so, bearing in mind we have [Black] Sabbath and Iron Maiden in there as well.”
Let’s talk about Don Gilmore, your producer – what does he bring to the table for Bullet?
“Don’s a great producer. On ‘Fever’ he was really into the record and was hands-on, especially with the lyrics and writing with Matt. This time he was very stand-offy, and kind of let Matt do it himself. So we’ll have to see how that one goes. As a producer he’s a great guy, very focused, very professional. He’s easy to work with and get on with, you can have a laugh and a joke with him. In general we chose him because of the great job he did on Fever.”
I really enjoyed your guitar solos from the preview I heard of this record. Who are your current guitar heroes?
“My guitar heroes….on this one…well, all the same as last time I guess, but there were a few things from Gus G, Ozzy [Osbourne]’s guitar player, which caught my ear. I spent a few days with Gus G and Andy James from Sacred Mother Tongue – we went to Frankfurt last summer. They were really cool guys, and when I got back I just opened up my musical ears again and played some stuff by those guys – I was really impressed, especially by Andy’s stuff. He’s an incredible guitar player. I watched him on stage [recently] in Cardiff and nothing changes, he’s just as incredible live. It’s just nice to see you don’t have to be Swedish or something like that to be an insane guitar shredder. His solo album is incredible.”
Right, let’s do a little track-by-track breakdown to the tracks I heard off Temper Temper. ‘Riot’ is the first track I heard – was this a response to the UK riots in 2011 by any chance?
“I don’t think lyrically it was, no. Then again, I’m not sure. The song came about through a riff – we had extra sessions booked in down at the studio in Wales so we went in and I had this riff floating around. Matt heard it and said ‘we should use that’. It’s sort of the backwards-moshing one, isn’t it? It’s got a really weird frog thing going on. We all started calling it ‘Lead Elephant’ and ‘Lead Frog’. It’s really simple, but effective.”
“That was written in Thailand. It’s definitely to do with what happened at the end of  between everybody. Having not lived together for so long I think Matt had a bit of angst and needed to get out. That was the first solo I tracked on any of the album.”
“This was from a different session at the end. We needed another song or two, so it was that and another one. There were four sessions on this record altogether, so that’s how many different places we went to.”
“It’s about a particular individual I can’t name…basically it’s just about people who talk bullshit just to get ahead of people and are constantly filling your ears full of shit. A leech, basically!”
‘Dead To The World’:
“I think that’s one of my favourites. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Matt was helped by Chris Jericho from Fozzy. I’m sure I overheard or read that it was co-written with Chris. But the end was a different beast altogether – Matt just came in one day and went, ‘come on, let’s go nuts!’ The tempo shoots up, the drums come in and there’s a cracking solo in there as well. That’s the closest we got to a token Bullet song on the album. That’s what we do really well, mixing the melody with the heavy.”
Watch Thrash Hits TV: Raz hanging out with Chris Jericho at Sonisphere ’11:
I like that you got Chris Jericho involved – are you mates?
“Not me personally, but they did the Canada shows with us on our tour in 2010, so I think Matt and him are really close.”
Do they practice wrestling moves on each other?
“Yeah, you know, they hang out, do a bit of wrestling.”
Temper Temper came out this week on Sony Music. Since it’s on a major label, you can probably find it at your local supermarket, which is also a greta place to stock up on whatever cheap booze deal they’ve got going on beer right now. You can then re-live Raz’s review of the album from within the comfort of your own home. Please email us and tell us how you get on.