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.
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