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Pushing Twelve

The Graveltones tell us how they feel about the current tour with Rival Sons, their debut album and pledge campaign.

Wednesday, 19. June 2013  -  by  Michelle Nevill
The Graveltones - Mikey Sorbello (Drums) Jimmy O (Vocals /Guitar) - Photo credit Natalie Evans

For those of you that saw the feature last week - ‘Up to Eleven’ A chat with Jimmy O, may I introduce you to part two. During the same interview I also had a chat with both Mikey and Jimmy about the tour, the new album and their current pledge campaign.

The Graveltones have been together for two years, both hailing from Australia, but still only meeting in London, they recorded their EP after just four rehearsals together and I guess you could say that from the moment Jimmy and Mikey started playing together something just happened. For those of you that have seen these guys live you’ll know that they are undoubtedly such a force of nature that project an energy that is both powerful and infectious.

So heading to Leeds I continue the chat and ask the guys how they’re feeling about things right now.

You guys are touring with Rival Sons at the moment; you’ve done London, Cardiff and Birmingham. We are currently on our way to Leeds, how’s it all going? How are you guys finding the tour? Mikey you can talk too if you like…

Mikey says with a smile “Can I?” Yeah of course I reply and Jimmy says ““Yeah get in there baby… hahahaha you’ve been ever so quiet...”

“I’m never this quiet.” Mikey replies as Jimmy laughs and continues ““It’s been crazy, it’s been a trip, and the reaction has been fantastic hasn’t it?” He asks Mikey as we cruise down the motorway.

Mikey replies “Yeah, well for us it’s been quite a shock to get in front of lots of people because we’ve gone from doing small London shows, to now playing in front of 2000 people every night. It’s really cool to see how people react and how we can, kind of, I don’t know, we’re used to playing in small venues, there’s just the two of us.”

Jimmy adds “Well we weren’t even sure it was gonna work on a big stage, we’ve never done anything in front of 2000 people so were just like….” Mikey finishes off the sentence “Let’s see how we go.”

Wow, so did you guys even think like that?? The second I heard that you guys were announced for this tour, I just thought it was the perfect line-up. (Jimmy and Mikey both laugh) It didn’t even cross my mind for you guys.

“It’s a different vibe working a 300 capacity venue” Jimmy replies “Everyone’s rammed in there and you can get right up close and personal with people. Compared to this tour when you’re standing on a stage where you’ve got massive lights and you can barely see anybody.”

Mikey adds “It’s kinda cool. It’s challenging because there’s so much room to go crazy, I’m hitting my drums even harder than I normally do, so you gotta work out like how much fuel you’ve got in the tank. You can’t just go hard out, I wanna play harder but I know that I won’t be able to last a full set if I keep going, so that’s kinda cool in that sense. The guys from Rival Sons I consider friends…. Jimmy adds “Yeah, they’re friends.” Mikey continues “Wonderful friends now, and Scott on guitar is phenomenal, he’s rad, and he’s so professional.”

“He’s a dude!!” Jimmy added enthusiastically “That’s the thing with those guys. I think there’s a lot to be said; If we’re gonna be going on the road and doing these kind of things and these kinds of shows there’s a lot to learn from guys like Rival Sons, because they’ve been doin’ it non-stop for four years and doin’ it so well. They are getting up there night after night rocking the place. They are amazing musicians; Jay’s got a fantastic voice. I don’t know how he keeps that going every night like he does. He’s got some phenomenal pipes on him, so much to learn, they are very professional, super tight and fantastic guys.” Mikey adds “Super cool.”

Photo credit Natalie Evans

One thing I’ve noticed about your shows on this tour is that everybody is standing there quite anxiously because they haven’t seen you guys, and then by the end of the set, they are literally shouting out for you guys and they’re making a point of coming to see you at merch after the set to chat. So how does that feel for you? Knowing that you’ve won over new fans each night? That you’ve opened people’s minds to your music, that they are now aware of you?

Mikey says warmly “Yeah, that’s……that’s a special feeling I guess. Jimmy adds “I’m just glad that everyone is diggin’ it…rock ‘n’ roll!! Get up on stage have some fun, make some noise and if there’s that many people in a room that can stomp their foot and nod their head and enjoy what we’re doin’ up there, then oh man, that makes us so happy as a band to know that.” Mikey adds “Yeah, it’s so beautiful you can’t ask for more.”

“We’re havin’ fun” Jimmy tells me “We’d be doin’ it even if no-one was there. So it’s like the fact we can do it with all our friends, that’s a special thing.”

You guys have got a pledge campaign coming out, well, today. Do you wanna tell me a bit more about pledge and what fans can pledge for?

“What can’t they pledge for?” Mikey says with a sly smile I catch in the rear view mirror – Jimmy and Mikey both laugh. Amidst the laughter Jimmy adds “Basically send us an email and we can work aaaanything out.” Mikey jumps in “If you hear our music and you like something we can arrange……….anything.” They both continue laughing.

Mikey returns some diplomacy to the conversation “Pledge was something, that, I never really thought about or considered. It kinda came up and we were like, “ok”, and then we thought about it and were like “Well, yeah let’s do it. We’re broke ass musicians” We wanna put something out that we’re really, really happy with. Our last EP we recorded after 4 rehearsals and we recorded after 4 months of being together.” Jimmy adds “and we recorded it in a day and a half…” Mikey re-iterates “A day and a half”

He continues “So obviously I am very happy with how raw it is, and the mistakes that are in it, but what we’re hoping to capture with an album, is the energy of our live show. So if there are mistakes in it I’m happy with that. I want there to be a lot of energy. I want people to put it on and feel something immediately, you know?”

Yes!!! Absolutely.

Jimmy continues “I think there’s a lot of people that don’t actually understand what Pledge is and in its simplest form it’s you buying the album before we make it. That’s all it is, so instead of you buying it when it’s all recorded, pressed and all that sort of stuff. It’s saying “OK I’m really interested and I wanna get your album. But I’m gonna buy it now and get it in 3 months.” It’s a brilliant thing to do because we are ‘broke ass musicians’, like Mikey said it means that we can sell our album to people who wanna hear our music, that money is not going in our pockets. It’s making the album. It means so much that we can say “Wow! There’s this many people that wanna support us.” Mikey adds “It means so much!” Jimmy continues “That they wanna hear us, and pledge for it. If you’re gonna buy the album, well buy it now and then we’ve got the time to make it and get it out to you guys and there’s loads of stuff, personal stuff that you can do.”

Yeah, like you can get signed drum heads, and isn’t there you guys cooking a meal or something??

“Yeah we’ll cook you a meal, I’ve got some things under my belt…..” (he looks in the rear view mirror with a cheeky grin) I’m quite the cook. We all laugh.

The Graveltones are an absolute joy to chat to, this whole tour has been amazing and a time I will never forget. To be witness to the gratitude and humbleness that both Jimmy and Mikey show constantly is lovely to see from two such talented musicians.

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