They play all or nothing, intense, high energy, everything in the red, 70’s style Rock & Roll. Heavily inspired by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, MC5, The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry – Sydney locals The Heavies are as much about the music as they are about having a good time. We chatted to Mark Fleming about 50s rock ‘n’ roll, recording an album and what’s next for this young band.
By Meghan Player
You’ve mentioned that you’re inspired by the early blues and rock & roll styles of the 30s, 40s and 50s – were there any artists or albums in particular that inspired your current sound?
With five guys in the band bringing in their own different influences, it’s hard to pin down which artists are making their way into our sound, but there are a lot we agree on. Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry to name a few.
Other bands that are a big influence are The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynrd, The Faces, MC5, The Rolling Stones, not to mention kickass Aussie bands like The Hell City Glamours and The Casanovas.
What is it about these artists that inspired you?
We’re usually just drawn to anything with a good beat, music that’s not too complex or convoluted. Music that’s honest and easy to listen and dance to. I think that’s what we’re trying to bring out in our own songs.
It’s hard to believe that the band is only new – having burst into the scene at the start of this year – were you all in bands prior to this one? What made you decide to start the Heavies?
Yeah we’ve all been in a mix of blues and hard rock bands and cut our teeth before; Jameel and I started jamming a couple of tunes roughly a year and a half ago. We were having a very laid back summer and wanted to start a band that reflected the way we were feeling at the time; very upbeat, fun, energetic but also pretty chilled out.
You released your debut single at the start of the year, are you currently working on an album?
We’re in the middle of recording at the moment. We were happy with the single and B-side we’ve got but for the next release we’re aiming for a more raw sound. We’re hoping it’s going to be a little closer to how we sound live. We can’t know when it’ll be ready for release until it’s mixed and mastered, but we’re hoping to have it out by the end of the year.
How are you approaching writing the album?
Right now we have a stack of songs we want to record so it’s more a matter of choosing which ones we want to lay down rather than writing new ones for an EP. Most of these tunes we’ve been jamming since last year.
Fortunately, I’ve caught one of your gigs previously – and was instantly taken with the energy and enthusiasm during the entire set – how much of yourselves do you put into a live performance? How important is this element to the band?
The live set is the more important to us than anything else. We want the band to be fun; fun to watch, fun to listen to, fun to dance to. We’re all just up there having a good time, I think that’s what people in the audience respond to.
How would you describe a live set to someone who hadn’t seen you before?
It’s just good time rock and roll. We can pretty much just promise five well dressed guys giving it their all. We’re just having fun and partying on stage and the goal is to get people in the audience partying as well.
Thanks to bands like the Jim Jones Revue – the early rock and roll, Jerry Lee Lewis style of music/performance is working it’s way back into the mainstream – why do you think that people are embracing the scene again now?
Cause it’s awesome! There’s been a strong underground following of this kind of stuff for a while but it’s great that there are bands like The Jim Jones Revue out there who are opening up their influences to a younger generation, getting rid of the idea that the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard are just the older folk’s territory.
What’s next for the band?
We’ve been having a few mellow weeks since our launch – now that people know we’re here, we’re going to make our second wave of attack in the next few months, starting with a gig with Stand Alone at the Bald Faced Stag on September 30, a Halloween show at the Vanguard on October 26 and one at the Lansdowne on December 22.
Where can people check out your music?
Y’all can check out our tunes, gig dates, CD release dates and inane ramblings on Facebook.
Many thanks to Mark for taking the time to chat to us. You can find The Heavies on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheHeaviesAU – for all the latest music and upcoming gigs.
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