One of the most popular rock bands in the US over the last few months has been the southern quartet Black Stone Cherry. Since we last spoke to the band at the end of August, 2006, Black Stone Cherry has risen to the top of the new rock world in North America, largely thanks to their hit single “Lonely Train” and the tireless work ethic of the band that has seen them criss cross North America on tour several times over. Finally and luckily for Canadian fans of the band, Black Stone Cherry made its way up to parts of Canada recently on tour with Hinder. We again were fortunate enough to catch up with BSC’s lead singer Chris Robertson, one of the most gracious musicians I’ve ever come across, for a few questions about what the band has been up to since we last spoke to him in the summer. Here’s what Chris had to say:
You guys of course are currently on tour with Hinder. How has the tour been going so far?
Chris: Well actually, right after we last spoke, we went straight into a tour with Staind, Three Days Grace and Hinder. And we actually got to meet the guys in Hinder back then and then we did like a month and a half with them and after that we toured with Black Label Society. That tour ended December 8th and then December 13th we picked up with Hinder to do direct support for them, it was like a local band every night and then Hinder. So basically since December 13th, we’ve been out with those guys and it’s been great man because they’re like best friends of ours.
You guys just came off of a tour with the legendary band Black Label Society. How was that tour and what was was it like to share the stage with Zack Wylde and company?
Chris: Dude it was incredible man, I’ve had posters of Zach on my wall my whole life and just to get to meet the guy is incredible, he’s one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet in your life. I mean actually, December 6th we played San Francisco and it was weird man because Zach got sick and all of a sudden we were sitting on the bus hanging out with some people from Dirtbag Clothing and our guitar tech David comes up to me and he’s like “Chris you gotta come in.” And I was like “what do you mean I gotta come in?” And he’s like “you gotta go sing, Zach can’t sing anymore tonight.” And I was like “oh my god, I’m going to sing for Black Label Society.” So I ended up singing “Stillborn” with them and that was what they ended the night with and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. To get to walk onstage and sing on the same mic as Zach and to get to sing lead vocals for his band, you know just for that one song was incredible.
That’s so cool! Did you have any trouble with the lyrics or did you know them all?
Chris: No dude, I knew that song. I think I might have messed up one time because I was nervous but hey, people get nervous.
Also on that tour was Canadian metal band Priestess. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on that band and what it was like to play with them?
Chris: Man, Mike and all those guys and the crew are all great guys man and they’re an incredible band. I mean, when it comes to that sound man like that Wolfmother sound and all the other bands that are doing that thing now, Priestess are definitely at the top of that chain man, they are the most bad ass and best at doing that right now. I mean, a lot of bands are trying to do that sound but Priestess pulls it off like nobody else.
You guys have been out on tour now for quite a while and you’ll continue to be right through until the early spring. Is the hectic touring schedule starting to take its toll on you at all? Are you looking forward to going home and relaxing for a while?
Chris: Man since May, the longest break we’ve had was eleven days starting January the 1st through the 11th, we were home those eleven days and that’s the biggest break we’ve had since like early May. And you know, everyone gets tired man like I’m sick off my ass right now but the thing is, being out here on the road is what makes you who you are and being able to connect with the fans every night is why we do this. You know, I mean what good is money to somebody if you can’t talk to a human being on a one to one basis you know what I’m saying? And touring is really what we love doing, I mean yeah it’s fun to write songs and go to the studio to record, but none of that is fun at all if you’re not out playing those songs that you wrote for everybody you know what I’m saying? We do this tour up until about March the 3rd and then I think we got a couple of one off shows and then we’re home for about ten days and then we fly to Europe and we’re doing about two and a half weeks over there and then we come back to the States and get right back on the road there so yeah, we’re busy as hell.
Your self-titled album dropped back in July of 2006. Now that it has had about half a year to digest, how do you find the reaction has been to this album?
Chris: It’s all been really positive man. We’re extremely happy with how everything is going right now. We’re getting ready to release the third single in early April I think and you know, we’re just going to keep busting ass. I’m not sure what song we’re going to release though, I’m pretty sure we’re going to go back to do another heavy one this time though. Hopefully we can get another hit man.
Your band of course is signed to Roadrunner Records and you are managed by In De Goot Entertainment based out of New York. Can you elaborate on how you initially became in touch with In De Goot and how you ultimately signed with Roadrunner Records?
Chris: It’s all a big ball of fate man. We actually did a show with Shinedown, we found out they were playing in Elizabeth Town, Kentucky at a golf course for like this big private party deal. And basically we called and begged and begged until they let us on the show to open for Shinedown and the guys saw us and they just fell in love with us, they were like “guys you are so badass.” And actually, the Shinedown guys turned In De Goot onto us, they turned us onto a guy named Cory Sheriden at In De Goot and he told his bosses about us and we took them some demos and they flew down to the practice house and they were like we’d love to work with your band after we only played two songs for them. We made them sit down and we played like forty songs for them or something, it was ridiculous. But then we did a month man, you know you get into setting up showcases and stuff and Roadrunner wanted to showcase all by themselves, because you know normally you’ll showcase for a big handful of labels at the same time like you know, you’ll do fifteen or sixteen labels at once. Roadrunner called In De Goot and they were like look we want the showcase all to ourselves, we don’t want anybody else there, we just want the band there by itself. So we did that and literally had to make Roadrunner leave so we could showcase for the other labels and we, we just did it man. And you know it’s funny because we made a list and we wanted to be on Roadrunner, it was one of our top three labels that we wanted to be in a partnership with back when we first started our band and it just so happened to work out that we wound up on Roadrunner Records.
Your stellar track “Lonely Train” became the official theme song for WWE’s The Great American Bash 2006 and was later featured in the video game WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007. How did this come about and what’s it like to have your song forever included in a video game soundtrack?
Chris: Oh dude, it’s awesome, I actually rented the video game when we were home last time just to play it and I was sitting there and I’m like creating my character and all this stuff and all of a sudden “Lonely Train” comes on and I’m like, holy shit that’s the coolest thing ever. You play the video game man and then you hear your songs come on and it’s like, that’s weird you know, because I would have played the game anyways. We were all huge wrestling fans when we were kids and I mean when you get on the road you don’t really have a lot of time to watch a whole lot of TV, but we still watch wresting every now and then. But, I’m not sure how all that took place, we just got lucky man that they were fans of the song, a lot of the people at WWE were really inspired by the song I guess and thought it would be a great song for the Great American Bash and you know we thank God that they got to use it man because it turned a lot of people onto our band. And it’s just cool man to be apart of something you know, to be recognized to be apart of something that you were so inspired by as a kid growing up.
The last time we spoke at the end of the summer, you said that the band would mostly be focused on touring well into 2007. Now that we’re in 2007, have you guys started to write or at least think about a new studio record?
Chris: No, we’re still touring man. I mean, obviously we’re going to work on songs and stuff on the bus all day long and that’s something we’ve done from day one. But right now, we’re just worried about touring, touring, touring, I mean that’s how you do it now man, you know, it’s not like back in the day you could write a record, tour off of it for a couple of months and then go off and write another record in the same year. I mean, today music is built on touring because you know you gotta look at it man, there’s so much downloading and stuff, for a band to really get out there and make themselves who they are you have to tour, people have to see you every night and be inspired to go buy your CD rather than download it. And, we’re basically going to bust our asses and tour as much as we can.
One band that you’ll be touring with starting in a few days is none other than the Canadian group Finger Eleven who hail from a suburb of Toronto. Have you heard Finger Eleven’s music before and are you excited to be sharing the stage with them?
Chris: Yeah man, actually they’ve been doing all the shows in the States on the tour, yeah. I remember the song “One Thing,” I know Ben our guitar player, he went to see them three or four times back when they were playing back before they took their three year break or whatever. And I gotta be honest, I never have really listened to the band in any depth, I just know I’ve heard the song “One Thing” and they did that one every night. But they’re a good band man; they’re all really good players.
You guys are for lack of better words, starting to explode into the hard rock mainstream. How does it feel to have your tune “Hell And High Water” on such high demand on outlets such as MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball?
Chris: Yeah that was really weird for us man, because “Hell And High Water” is nowhere near the intensity level of “Lonely Train.” And you know, “Lonely Train” was big on Headbanger’s Ball and you watch it now and you got Hatebreed and Lamb of God and all these hard bands man. And then you got Black Stone Cherry, “Hell And High Water” and you know it’s like a southern rock gospel song man. But you know, for some reason it’s staying on Headbanger’s Ball constantly and you know dude, we couldn’t be happier about that because it just shows you that if a song really connects with people, it doesn’t matter what it sounds like because all the metalheads that watch Headbanger’s Ball obviously want the song on the show or it wouldn’t be there.
Besides your constant hectic touring plans, what does Black Stone Cherry have planned for the summer and into the fall of 2007?
Chris: All I know is that we are going to Europe with Hinder; we’ll be back in April. And it’s all getting worked out now but I think we’re going to continue to tour with Hinder for a little while longer when we get back to the States and then for the summer it’s all still in the works man, I can’t really say we’re going out with this band in case something happens where we get a different tour. But hey, as soon as we find out man, we’ll let you know.