CLASSIC SUNDAY GTC INTERVIEW: THE GRAVELTONES, Don’t wait down…
by Walter Price
[Springtime] is coming and the world of windows down, a bottle of wine on the front seat, the stereo cranked all the way up and friends along for the ride is here again. My favorite time of the year, a time for all the new music I have discovered over the past 4-5 months to ready themselves for the open highway test.
Good thing, because first up will be the UK based Australian duo The Graveltones (Jimmy O. & Mikey Sorbello). Dynamite stripped-down no-frills and all thrills powerhouse rhythm and blues force that do all they can to blast your face off at the same time coaxing your soul into sweet submission.
Just the band’s name and album cover can give you a sense of what you’re in for without hearing a growling note. I dig that… With their recently released debut Don’t Wait Down the band finds themselves channeling a modernized Howlin Wolf meets Steppenwolf with the memories of the Ramones scratching at their heels.
The Graveltones are no tribute band to their musical heroes, no, this is two dudes with an unspoken need to rock the night away and revel in the sounds of the past congealing into their own righteous sound. Good stuff and highly recommended. You know, if you like to rock! No real need to hyperbolize brothers and sisters, let the rockin’ do the talkin’ and check out the album and you decide.
Things are getting even better for this new eager follower of The Graveltones, I caught up with Jimmy and Mikey to find out a little more about what makes this band tick.
[5, March 2014]
Amongst other accolades, Congratulations on the recent Classic Rock Mag Top 50 albums of 2013 list! That must warm the ole rock n’ roll souls.
Thanks very much, guys! Yeah, it’s great to see the album getting such great receptions from both our fans and press.
How did two Australians end up making sonic waves in London?
Well we worked really hard you know, we played a lot of shows and I guess something just clicked. We never really sat down and planned anything out or even spoke about the future that much, we just wanted to play and I guess we fell on our feet a little with all that.
Your debut (full length) ‘Don’t Wait Down’ is wall-to-wall righteousness and I get excited that you guys are providing the world with kick-ass power blues that critics, more often than not, seem to praise but only a handful of my ‘music geek’ friends know of your sounds. What would you say is the best part of growing your fan-base?
Hey, thanks, man! Well, I don’t know if there is any trick to that, we’re just going to keep playing and spreading the Gravel word the old school way, I think that’s the best way to do it. We’ve got some PR behind us now and with good people’s like yourselves hopefully, the wind takes us.
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood recently commented, “Guitar bands forming now are often playing the instruments of their grandparents’ generation – and often in the same style, The Beatles didn’t pick up banjos when they started, after all…”. What do you think about that?
Yeah there is some truth in that but music’s developed in loads of different ways it’s taken all sorts of directions so I think holding on to a bit of the past ain’t such a bad thing. Anyhow recording isn’t that old you know, neither are electric guitars.
When recording the album how much restraint, if any, went into paying homage to your rock heroes or influences without coming off as a total throw-back rock band?
We didn’t show any restraint we just played what we played and did what we did, we never thought about it like that, we did what the songs told us to do. Of course, a certain amount of influence seeps out of any artist when they play, write or record but that’s a great thing, you’ve gotta come from somewhere.
I find ‘Don’t Wait Down’ a bit unfair to the people who don’t have cars to aim down the open highway with the album at 11, what albums did you two listen to growing up that you found sounded fantastic on the open road?
Queen, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Ben Harper to name but a few.
You guys are about to hit the open road yourselves, what can people of rock expect from the coming tour?
You’ll have to come down to the shows and find out for yourselves.
What can you tell us about the southern-rock tinged Buffalo Summer?
We like the guys! They’re great! We’re about to spend a month on the road with them, so ask us after the tour and we’ll have a bunch of stories for ya.
Hey, I have never asked any Australian artists this but wanted to, what is Melbourne’s Cherry Bar like?
Wwwooooowww, well we had one hell of a night there on our Australian tour and if we learnt anything from that night it would be not to comment on such things…you just have to go!
Speaking of Australia, the current rock n’ roll coming out the land is really killer. Carrying on the grand tradition of Oz Rock. Out of the newer crop of rockers who do you guys dig?
In a battle of the bands’ scenario who would be the victor, Steppenwolf vs. Ramones?
Thanks for chatting with me, can’t wait to see you play Germany!
Thanks very much man, was a pleasure.
“we worked really hard you know, we played a lot of shows and I guess something just clicked. We never really sat down and planned anything out or even spoke about the future that much, we just wanted to play and I guess we fell on our feet a little with all that…”