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charlie simpson

Album: Fightstar – Alternate Endings

August 1st, 2008

Fightstar Charlie Simpson Omar Abidi Al Westaway Dan Haigh Thrash Hits

Fightstar
Alternate Endings
Institute Recordings
11 August 2008

by Pete Lockey

Fightstar return, almost a year on from their last full length release, with a collection of b-sides, rarities and one new track. With the band only having two albums and an early EP to their name it could be seen as something of a gamble.

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Brigade: Crisis of confidence

July 24th, 2008

Brigade have been living in the shadows for far too long. Anne Waites talks to frontman Will Simpson about the trials and tribulations of fulfilling his lifelong dream before they head out on tour across the UK.

Brigade Will Simpson Thrash Hits promo shots

Brigade kick off a new UK tour this week, so with the prospect of airing tracks from their ace new album Come Morning We Fight – independently-released and crammed with catchy highs – you’d think they’d be swaggering back out on the road to show the world what they’re made of. But the new tour begins with frontman Will Simpson suffering a crisis of confidence.

“I’m in a bad place right now,” he confides. “I’ve had a bit of a confidence blow. I’m trying to get out of it at the moment, but I’m nervous. I’m going out there thinking are there going to be people there at the shows? Are they going to appreciate it? Are we going to pull it off? There’s a lot of pressure that’s knocked me slightly lately.”

Will Simpson is a born worrier, a character trait he says he gets from his mother. He grew up in Suffolk, the eldest of three brothers, and he realised that he wanted to be a musician (and not, as he’d previously thought thanks to Top Gun, a fighter pilot) when he had an epiphany watching a school band play Nirvana’s Sappy. He’d spend hours in his room pretending to be Axl Rose and learning grunge classics on his guitar.

Watch the video to ‘Pilot’ by Brigade

For the last five years he’s been fronting Brigade (completed by guitarist James Plant, bassist Naoto Hori and new drummer Andrew Kearton), fielding lazy comparison to his brother Charlie’s band Fightstar, building up a fanbase whose tastes in music are informed by something a little bit more in-depth than whatever the flavour of the month may be.

“They’ve been so supportive,” he smiles. “They see something in this band, and I think they’re not any way scene-orientated. There’s no bullshit, it’s just all about the strength of rock music. It might not be the biggest fanbase in the world but I’m proud to say they’re our fans, and I hope it grows.”

The new album finds him viewing the day to day horrors of living in London, with its weekly murders and increasingly perilous grasp on common decency. But as he worries about whether his lifelong dream is panning out in quite the way he hoped, it sounds like album number three will find him looking inward and, possibly, finding deeper inspiration.

Watch the video to ‘Magneto’ by Brigade

“Everyone gets down but I’ve had periods lately where I’ve had real low points that I’ve never experienced since I was very young,” he admits. “I had some issues back then that I had to see a psychologist about. So I think maybe it’s time to delve into that. Not do the whole clichéd ‘Oh I’m so tortured, let’s sing about it,’ thing, but trying to be hopeful through the lyrics.”

And that’s the point – there is plenty to be hopeful about. Brigade are in the tradition of British rock bands with integrity and their own personality. To lose them, as we lost the much loved but eternally underground Reuben, would be a sad thing indeed.

“What my bandmates keep reminding me of is that so many people would kill to be where we are,” nods Will. “We’re lucky. The fact is we’ve done it ourselves. And that’s a wonderful feeling. So we’ve just got to keep going.”

“I’ve just got to work on the self-belief,” he realises. “I think the most important thing is I’m trying to do something about it rather than wallowing in self pity. So I might go out there and I might struggle and I might not sing my best, but I’ve got to enjoy it and say next album I’m going to nail it and people are going to prick up their ears and say this band have really fulfilled their potential. That’s what I’d really love.”

Brigade summer 2008 UK tourdates with Slaves To Gravity

July
22
Colchester The Twist
23 Norwich Arts Centre
24 Southampton Joiners
25 Oxford Zodiac
26 Nottingham Rock City
27 Cardiff Barfly
29 Birmingham Bar Academy
30 York The Duchess
31 Glasgow Garage

August
01
Manchester Roadhouse
02 Newcastle Academy 2
03 Stoke Sugarmill
05 Cambridge The Portland
06 London Barfly

Bands

Fightstar: More than meets the ear

June 27th, 2008

Fightstar are on the Radio 1 playlist, they’ve played the Main Stage at Download Festival 2008 and have toured the UK. Raziq Rauf talks to them about everything but the music.

Fightstar

Having released their second full-length album, One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours in September 2007, Fightstar‘s fans have had a chance to learn and love all of those songs now and that was evident as so many of the words were sung back to the band at Download Festival.

“When we played in Glasgow, it wasn’t like they were just the best crowd on this tour,” says an animated Charlie Simpson. “They were the best crowd we’ve ever had. I don’t know what happened that night but it was 80 minutes of total metal.”

The past three years have been a constant learning experience for the band and their latest discovery is that they can dispense with a tour manager and just use drummer Omar Abidi to fill that role.

This time round, the band has actually made some money from touring. “You kinda need money,” deadpans bassist and ideas man Dan Haigh, helpfully.

Watch the video to the Radio 1 playlisted ‘I Am The Message’ by Fightstar

There is much more to Fightstar, however than just the music. Not only have they documented their whole career with a view to releasing a DVD and made a lot of their own music videos but they’re also in the business of feature films.

“I’ve always been interested in creating a film from scratch,” says Dan. He continues, “We’re writing in, acting in it, shooting it, directing it, scoring it doing all sorts of production and all the promotion. It’s very gory and action-packed – there are some scenes where we get shot in the face – but at the same time has a very deep message.”

Having seen some clips, Thrash Hits .com can definitely confirm that it is going to be very, very gory and action-packed with several limbs getting blown up and indeed off.

“We’ve created all the special effects using guerrilla tactics,” explains Charlie. “We went to SoHo and sneaked into production house open days. We bribed technicians to get DVDs of their 3D technology.”

Watch the video to ‘Floods’ by Fightstar

It’s not just on stage, record and on film that Fightstar get their kicks. Oh no. Charlie was recently invited by the Ozzy Osbourne’s son, Jack to climb glaciers and throw himself off the Hoover Dam on the Prince Of Darkness’s offspring’s television series, Adrenaline Junkie.

“It’s the kind of thing I would like to do on a personal level,” says Charlie. “Up against six weeks of promoting Fightstar, however, it just wasn’t an option.”

Instead, Charlie likes to get his kicks from speed. “I just like going fast – it’s not just fast cars,” he explains. “Whatever vessel takes me, whether it’s a car, a plane or a speedboat.”

It’s a passion shared by Dan. “Chasmo just likes to go fast, but there lies the inherent difference between him and me,” says the bassist. “I appreciate a well-oiled machine. I’m the kinda guy that’ll get up early on a Sunday and just wax the s**t out of some plastic!”

Watch the video to ‘Deathcar’ by Fightstar

Fans will be pleased to hear that Fightstar have already headed into the studio to demo a few tracks. “We’ve just written three new songs. We’re super happy with them,” Charlie says.

“The next album is probably going to be a bit more straight down the line. There will be a couple of meat grinders thrown in, of course.” You’ll be able to read more about Fightstar’s deep love of meat in the near future.

Fightstar play at Guilfest, Summer Slam, Minifest, Greenbelt Festival and Offset Festival over this summer

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