Following on from the re-emergence of North East based classic rockers Blackjack, I had a talk with their newly appointed Bass Player, formerly of Rusted Hero/Fallen Mafia Mr Andy Milburn, we discussed the new line up and how he felt playing full time with a band he had worked with and looked up to previously –
Hey man, blackjack were a band I remember picking up a bit of traction before they seemed to disappear for a while, it must be pretty exciting to be a part of that this time round to build on the momentum previously gained?
Yeah, it’s very exciting to be part of their return. They’re a band that I followed for years and I always rated them very very highly, I always loved their music so it is really great to be a part of it this time round!
There was a lot of positive talk about the bands live show last time round, and (although i never got the chance to see the band) I heard many glowing reviews from a range of people around the local gigging circuit, do you feel any pressure to live up to this?
Yeah, I feel a hell of a lot of pressure to play well live and give an entertaining performance, we have our first gig coming up in two weeks and I can’t wait but yeah, I’m pretty nervous! Although I believe 100% that we can live up to their past reputation, I know how much I used to enjoy their sets and gigs! I used to look up to James Knott for tips on stage presence and look up to James Robson on bass playing/ tones/ techniques… so trying to fill both their shoes is a huge task!
As previously mentioned the band have reformed with an updated line up, how did this come to be?
Well, the old line were one of the hardest working bands I knew, I think after time it stared to take its toll on the guys, as it does with all bands i guess! They were all dedicated to the band but situations started to change and members decided to leave. I don’t really know the ins and outs after that to be honest! I’ve filled in for blackjack before on a few gigs when James (Robson) couldn’t make it, so Ian and mark (who are the two original members starting blackjack again) knew I was capable of playing the songs and knew I was keen so they asked me to join! Obviously I jumped at the chance!
Whats are the bands plans at these early stages of reforming?
Right now our plans are to keep writing music, keep recording music, keep releasing music and gig, gig, gig to get our name out there! We have a few gigs booked in now and we’re working on more! But we want to gig as much as possible.
We also plan to get a cover set together and play some covers shows. Playing original music is great… but everyone loves a good night of covers as well.
Are you looking forward to getting back to playing live?
Personally I can not wait to get gigging again, my last gig was 8 months ago! Anyone who knows me knows I love gigging, weather it’s in a local pub or a bigger gig… I just love playing live. Now I get to do it with a band that I’ve followed for years and three of the best musicians I’ve ever met! Of course I’m looking forward to it!
Judging by the sound of the track you have released, it appears the band are definitely sticking with the old school rock n roll sound, do you think there is still a place for that style of music in this day and age?
I definitely think there is a place for old school rock n roll in this day and age! It’s getting harder and harder for local bands these days to make a name for themselves and break out, but there is definitely still a place for rock n roll.
We are all fans of new music, but we all love bands like AC/DC, zeppelin, Thin Lizzy… bands like that. I’d like to think we have a touch of the old stuff but with a modern spin on it. There is still a hell of a lot of people wanting their fix of rock n roll!
I’ve always valued the idea of networking with other bands, particularly at live shows, Do you agree with this and if so who are you hoping/looking forward to sharing a stage with?
I agree. I think that is very important and it’s something I’ve done in every band I’ve been in. You need to make friends with the bands you play with, the venue owners, the promoters and especially the people who you meet at the gig who have come to watch! You never know what is going to come up. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities come from people I’ve met and made friends with at gigs.
I’m not sure who I want to share a stage with in particular, I just want to share it with as many bands as possible and gig as much as possible!
Catch the band live on their comeback show at The Globe Newcastle on April 7th!