Band looks to have the an­swer to keep­ing rock alive

The An­swer play big, old-fash­ioned, sta­dium fill­ing rock – yet they sound re­mark­ably fresh. Mark But­ler speaks to the Ir­ish rock­ers.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - MUSIC -

LESS than two hours be­fore I’m due to in­ter­view Cor­mac Nee­son, lead singer of ac­claimed rock band The An­swer, I re­ceive a phone call ex­plain­ing that he has lost his voice, and can’t talk.

The news is not a com­plete sur­prise. Nee­son’s re­mark­able wail is one of the band’s most dis­tinc­tive at­tributes – and it’s bound to take its toll on the vo­cal chords. And then there’s the ‘rock ‘n’ roll life­style’.

“We’ve just played four shows in a row and we’ve re­ally gone for it,” ex­plains bassist Micky Wa­ters, who steps in at the last minute to take on the press du­ties.

“Be­cause our new al­bum came out yes­ter­day, we went for a few drinks too. Cor­mac’s got to take it easy to­day.”

Wa­ters is speak­ing on the eve of the band’s UK tour, which calls at Sh­effield and York along the way.

“We can’t wait,” he says. “It’s go­ing to be a real party. York Fib­bers was the first venue in Eng­land that we ever sold out, and it was one of the best re­cep­tions we ever had. York may not have the rep­u­ta­tion – but it’s a rock ‘n’ roll town.”

The An­swer has ev­ery rea­son to be ex­cited right now. They’re a band on the up, 10 years and three al­bums into a ca­reer that has seen them pick up awards, play sta­di­ums with AC/DC and The Rolling Stones, and emerge as a lead­ing pro­po­nent of clas­sic rock. They muster nonon­sense heavy an­thems com­plete with catchy power riffs, foot-stomp­ing drums, wail­ing gui­tar so­los and Nee­son’s shrill, fullthrot­tle vo­cals. And de­spite hail­ing from Down­patrick in North­ern Ire­land, they have Ma­hon at the age of 15, it’s the only kind of mu­sic he’s ever wanted to play.

“Clas­sic rock has so much power and en­ergy,” he says. “We have so much fun play­ing it. My­self and Paul’s fathers were both rock­ers, and we grew up with 80s rock ‘n’ roll on vinyl as well as con­tem­po­rary bands like Nir­vana and Smash­ing Pump­kins. We’re a bit of a hy­brid of the two types.”

Wa­ters has no time for the ‘rock is dead’ mantra bandied about by the mu­sic press.

“It’s true that rock is less

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