Six Things You Need To Know About

Mas­sive Wagons

Classic Rock - - Contents -

They’re Quo fans, play­ing live is where they’re at, their songs are less friv­o­lous than you might think…

In­ter­view: Henry Yates Baz Mills is con­sid­er­ing what I’d need if

I wanted to join Mas­sive Wagons, the band he fronts. “Loads of shit jokes, bad body odour, and you can’t take your­self too se­ri­ously,” he says.

It’s the kind of cri­te­ria you might ex­pect from a band whose name was in­spired by the full­some bo­som of a bar­maid in the lo­cal pub. But for all their out­ward fri­vol­ity, th­ese Lan­caster rock­ers have a knack for com­ing up with sta­dium-sized tunes, as ev­i­denced by their new al­bum, Full Nel­son, hit­ting No.16 in the ‘proper’ UK chart. “It’s been nine years when you felt like no­body was lis­ten­ing,” Mills re­flects, “but now it feels like things are tak­ing off.”

They’re a band for the good times.

Like their key in­flu­ence, Air­bourne, Mas­sive Wagons trade in rab­ble-rous­ing livewire shows. “This is feel­good rock mu­sic,” says Mills. “The whole mean-and-moody thing, stand­ing in front of a wall with your arms folded, you just look like an id­iot. As a front­man, I’m mak­ing it up as I go along, whether I elec­tro­cute my­self or fall off the stage. Ac­tu­ally, that hap­pened re­cently. I’d been read­ing about Dave Grohl and I thought: ‘What an id­iot. How do you fall off a stage?’ But that night I fell on my arse, skid­ded off the stage and landed on my back. I kept singing, though.”

The ti­tle of the band’s new al­bum was in­spired by school bul­lies.

The Wagons’ fourth al­bum is full of crunch­ing cho­ruses and ear-boxing melodies. When it came to nam­ing it, Mills cast his mind back to the school play­ground of his youth. “I must have writ­ten down a thou­sand al­bum ti­tles. Then I thought, I’ve been in a few full nel­sons [the ag­gres­sor’s arms un­der your arms from be­hind, their hands clasped over the back of your neck] in my time. Back at school I was the small­est in my year and the kid who al­ways got beaten up.”

They write about real life.

You wouldn’t call them po­lit­i­cal, but Mas­sive Wagons touch on weight­ier themes than their song ti­tles sug­gest.

“Billy Bal­loon Head is about in­tol­er­ance,” Mills ex­plains. “China Plates is about so­cial me­dia; peo­ple don’t walk down the street and shout: ‘Fuck off,

you’re an id­iot’ in your face, do they? Yet peo­ple do that to you on Face­book. Ro­bot (Trust In Me) is about some very an­gry con­spir­acy the­o­rists I’ve en­coun­tered on­line, who take great of­fence that you don’t share their opin­ion that the Queen is a lizard. They pissed me off, so I thought I’d write them a song as well.”

One of their best songs is a eu­logy to the late Quo gui­tarist/vo­cal­ist Rick Parfitt.

The band’s big­gest break to date was open­ing for Sta­tus Quo – and they salute the fallen gui­tarist on Full Nel­son’s an­themic stand­out.

“At our first prac­tice in 2017, our gui­tarist Adam had this Quo-in­spired riff,” Mills re­calls. “Sadly, Rick had died that Christ­mas. There’d been a lot of high-pro­file deaths. There was a lot of stuff about Lemmy and Ge­orge Michael in the press, but there didn’t seem to be a lot about Rick. We’re big fans of Sta­tus Quo. So we thought we’d do our bit for Rick. And that was Back To The Stack.”

They’re even bet­ter live than on record.

If the Full Nel­son ma­te­rial sounds like it needs to be heard from the front row, that’s down to Mills’s quirky writ­ing process.

“I watched a Foo Fight­ers doc­u­men­tary,” he re­calls, “and Dave Grohl said that when he’s writ­ing a song he imag­ines peo­ple jump­ing up and down, and that would be­come the tempo and the beat. So now I imag­ine peo­ple singing along to our songs, whether that’s in a sta­dium or a pub.” They can’t be­lieve their luck.

Mills ad­mits that af­ter al­most a decade of thank­less graft he was short on hope. Then came a deal with Earache Records, that un­likely chart plac­ing – and a new lease of life.

“I’ve al­ways been a bit of a cynic,” he says. “I’ve al­ways been the guy go­ing: ‘No­body’s gonna sign us. They’re not gonna play our songs. Don’t get your hopes up, lads.’ I keep say­ing it and then I keep get­ting proved wrong. As far as this band will take us, we’ll do it. We’re not scared of suc­cess. There’s other things to be scared of – like spi­ders.” Full Nel­son is out now via Earache. Mas­sive Wagons sup­port The Dead Daisies on their U K tour in Novem­ber.

Mas­sive Wagons: “No we’renot fans of big trucks!”

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