INTERVIEW : GRAHAM HOOPER / RHABSTALLION
💿 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal GRAHAM HOOPER , bassist of RHABSTALLION! Welcome!
Can you introduce us the current line-up of the band?
Yeah Sure, Rhabstallion are David Thompson - Guitar, Stuart Toddington – Guitar, Jack Himsworth – Drums, Graham Hooper – Bass and Andy Wood - Vocals & Guitar. A unique feature is that apart from Woody who joned the band in 1981, the rest of us were in the line up when Rhabstallion was formed in 1979.
💿 On March 12 was out your new long-awaited full-length BACK IN THE SADDLE, well-received on our pages. Can you tell us somethin'about its composition process and style?
Well we really wanted to stay true to our NWOBHM roots and we feel that has been achieved. Having started reworking some of the old favorite tracks in the first instance, it was just an extention of that process which you hear in the newly written songs. I call it NWOBHM with a twist.
Of course we have a lot of experienced songwriters in the band with Woody having worked with Cloven Hoof and Tredegar, Tommo in Voyager UK and also in Lost Weekend with Jacko as well. However when new material is being written in the rehearsal room each member of the band is allowed the space to contribute ideas and what comes out at the end, it is what it is. Rhabstallion have always been most at home when playing live, so when constructing songs we always try to write what can be achieved when we play live, which is helped with having three great guitarist in the line up.
💿 In your early times as musician which artists influenced you the most?
I would say that the band has an eclectic mix to choose from but probably Free, Deep Purple Led Zep UFO to Keith Urban, Chuck Berry and Status Quo.
💿 Three demos and one single in first slice of 80’s..Why, as many brilliant NWOBHM bands, haven't you the chance to publish a full-length?
When we started in 1979 the plan as ever, was to get a deal, we worked hard for over five years touring up and down the country playing with the likes of Saxon, Diamond head, Trust, Hanoi Rocks to name a few. We got a track on the NWOBHM Iconic New Electric Warriors compilation album self financed our single Day To Day, appeared on BBC TV and self financed a number of shows in our region with the most notable being St Georges Hall Bradford when over 1100 people packed in to see us, not bad when Wishbone Ash the week before could only manage 700. I Think it was just bad luck and not being in the right place at the right time to secure that elusive deal we had been looking for. So in 1984 the decision was made to go our separate ways.
💿 Also your new album will be out on GOLDENCORE RECORDS. Can you tell us something’about relationships with them?
We had recorded most of the album by the time we played at Brofest in February last year and it just so happened we bumped into a contact who new us from old. Having played pretty well on the day and getting comments like ‘ Band of the Festival ‘ was a great thing, but more importantly we were put in touch with GoldenCore Records. The decision to sign with them was easy, they understood exactly what we are about and in Germany unlike the UK record shops are still alive and kicking.
GoldenCore have been very supportive and we must thank them for the support and guidance through the production of the album, I am not sure many labels would go the extra mile with a CD and double gatefold vinyl in the first project, which GoldenCore did without hesitation.
7. How is difficult promote a new work throughout this never-ending covid madness?
It has been a most frustrating time, sometimes we were able to do things then sometimes not, the final recording parts and mixing along with mastering have been very stressful. But fortunately with the age of Hi Tec we got the album mixed in the south of the UK by Pete Newdeck and mastered in Canada by Harry Hess.
💿 Here at HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL we are strong defender of classic format..love for vintage or isn't there a future outside digital?
I think you cannot beat the smell of fresh printed pages and product you can put your hands on, for me having the product in my hands is a must, however I am not sure they put CD players in new cars these days and whilst vinyl is starting to sell well again it will probably only be the purists and collectors that have a turntable. With that in mind a balance needs to be allowed for.
💿 In absence of live music many bands provides streaming concerts..You agree or disagree? What's your opinion about?
The Band are really all about the people, up close and personal, the interaction is what music is all about and I am not sure you can capture the atmosphere when streaming. Again we have not been involved in a live streaming event so perhaps we need to trial it before condemning it totally.
💿 Ready to return on stage in the last part of this year? What's your opinion about?
The Rhabs are desperate to get out and play live again as I am sure many a band world wide are, we are booked to play at a NWOBHM festival in Nuneaton UK on the 14th August and we are just confirming some dates for late October, but the situation needs to be safe for everybody and we would hate to be involved in anything that endangered lives especially our fans.
💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal, hoping to see you also on the stage as soon as possible.
Thank you for time – Rhabstallion really appreciate your support.