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InterviewsKeeping Rock 'N' Roll Alive with The Jokers

Posted on Friday, December 06 2013 @ 15:31:43 CST by Dean Pedley
Heavy Metal Released back in September, Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive, album number two from rising UK rockers The Jokers, has seen the band earn much acclaim. Not least here at Sea of Tranquility where it was described as "a classy, sassy bunch of songs which bristle with surging, energetic authenticity" and "good time 70's styled rock (with) catchy melodies that stick in your head". Having just got back from a three week tour of Spain, the quartet wowed the expectant crowd at Hard Rock Hell with an explosive set that kicked off the second day of the festival in style.

With a stage time of midday guitarist Paul Hurst admits that there were a few nerves amongst the band as to how many would make the effort to see The Jokers play. Not that they should have been concerned as their growing reputation ensured that they performed to a significant number. "Well we were quite worried that there wouldn't be many there but what I have found with this festival is that because you can move from stage to stage quite quickly once the audience find something they are enjoying it will draw even more people in. So that was great for us and we really appreciated so many people coming along to see us play."

After releasing their debut album, The Big Rock 'N' Roll Show, back in 2009 The Jokers then spent two years on the road building a substantial live following supporting the likes of Hawkwind, Y&T, Joe Elliot & The Down N Outz, Argent, Anvil and Fozzy. "We are a hard working live band and we will play anywhere" Paul confirms. "In fact we have just got back from a three week tour of Spain. If you are an English speaking band from either the UK or the US then it is to your advantage over there because lets face it we wrote the book of rock. So they are very appreciative in places like Spain when they get bands from here to go over and play in their country and we really enjoyed it."

Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive has seen the band increase their following with the buzz around them also extending to the music press and their peers. "I have found that which has been very encouraging. Earlier today one of the members of Snakecharmer came up us and asked when we were playing as he wanted to check us out. We're not trying to do anything different, we just enjoy what we do and try and relay that to the audience. At the end of the day we are just a good, honest, old school rock and roll band. And our influences are really quite obviously Free, The Who and Led Zeppelin and there is this whole new generation out there that never got to experience the classic rock bands and so to those people we sound very fresh. One thing I realised is that some artists put too much emphasis on trying to be different and it's not always about being different; quality is more important and the main thing is that it has to be good music and people have to enjoy it."

The enjoyment was also evident from the stage itself with Paul going walk-a-about at the end of the set and playing his closing solo in amongst the first few rows. So is this a regular occurrence? "Well nearly every gig; I always sense that making that connection with the audience is really important and that is why we're here hopefully to make them happy and to entertain them. I saw a lot of smiles on people's faces and I think we went over pretty well."

With a near four year gap between albums number one and two it comes as something of a surprise to learn that the band are already planning their next full length release. "We had to play for between an hour and a half and two hours in Spain and so we were able to incorporate new material into the set" Paul explains. "We have about six songs ready to go for the next album and I think with more experience that we gain we get more of a sense of what works for us as a band." There is also now an extended infrastructure around the band which should ensure we get to hear from them much more often. "I have found is that generally you only get about six months publicity out of marketing and promoting a new album. The difficulty we had is that until recently we never had any backing and so we struggled from album to album to survive. And the difference now is that we have a great team on board with Roland Hyams as PR and management and we have signed worldwide to SPV records. We are contracted to have another new album completed within twelve months and so for 2014 we are going to keep touring, keep playing live and also record the next album. With that level of support behind us it really gives us great confidence as a band that there is a team of people that believe in what we are doing."

With their infectious brand of no nonsense, old fashioned, no frills rock 'n' roll The Jokers are keeping it simple and building their fan base one gig at a time. Be sure to check them out and play it loud.

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Words by Dean Pedley
Interview by Dean Pedley, Mark Davies and Kev Pasco
Images by Rob Nankivell of Shoot Plymouth -

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