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Invading Countries With VOODOO SIX: An Exclusive Interview

By Shelly Harris, Chicago Contributor
Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 6:59 AM

VOODOO SIX Readies To "Invade Countries" with IRON MAIDEN And New Album

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Good things come to those who wait ... that's the mantra for anyone - or especially any band - that knows what it takes to persevere to see things through, even it takes many years - or sometimes never happens at all.

But for VOODOO SIX - new age flag-bearers of bonafide, melodic and crunching English hard rock - there is no doubt about it, the fruit of their labor is now fully ripening:

The London-based band has just announced the double whammy of landing the coveted opening slot on the upcoming European leg of the (Iron) Maiden England world tour while also releasing third full length album Songs to Invade Countries To. (The latter also marks the signing of the band to Universal for worldwide distribution).

The early seeds for all of this were first planted way back when VOODOO SIX founder - and then-whippersnapper -- Tony Newton played bass for DIRTY DEEDS, the band that opened for IRON MAIDEN in the U.S. tour back in 1998.

DIRTY DEEDS when on to record three albums and opened for Maiden and other bands in Europe too before Newton, also primary songwriter, extinguished the flame and went on to produce and engineer, while carefully and devotedly putting together what was to become VOODOO SIX. (For more of that back story, see the 2010 KNAC Feature HERE).

It can be inferred from circumstances that Steve Harris happens to be just as profoundly loyal to the bands, people, and ideals he admires as maiden fans are to Maiden, because he once again extended a hand to Newton and VOODOO SIX, even while in the throes of promoting his own current project, BRITISH LION.

As Tony Newton explains (on the line from London), the offer for VOODOO SIX to open for Maiden in 2013 came when he was on the road with Maiden last summer (in a role that he occasionally takes on) as IRON MAIDEN's live video recording engineer. Although Steve Harris has been known to slip in to watch VOODOO SIX gigs in the past - including the band's appearance at Sonisphere in Knebworth in 2010 - Newton has refrained from ever requesting any favors or special treatment.

Therefore, he says he was genuinely surprised when Harris himself brought up the idea of V6 as the openers for Maiden in Europe, noting that the whole band have paid their dues and "deserve it." Tony elaborates, "It really came out of the blue ... Steve mentioned something and then Rod [Smallwood, IRON MAIDEN's manager] told me a week later."

The band's formidable lead singer, Luke Purdie, also notes, "It's quite something to have someone like Steve on our side; he likes the fact that we're British and aiming for the big stages, I guess ..." And how did the rest of VOODOO SIX feel about it, once they found out? "Like kids at Christmas!" Newton laughs, "You gotta keep the troops happy ..."

It should be noted that VOODOO SIX already had two full albums in the can prior to last summer, and had released a highly successful EP last year called Falling Knives that featured the powerful impact of then-new lead singer/songwriter Luke Purdie. (Purdie hails from - and has an accent attributable to - a more remote area of England, near Dover in Kent, but Purdie otherwise seems more a product of the rural south of the U.S. with his bonafide powerhouse blues-tinged vocals and his interests in frontiersman Americana.) While the band's primary influences are in the vein of UFO (with whom they've toured) and AC/DC, Purdie's lyrics and vocals have taken the band in a slightly different direction. Think a heaping helping of BAD COMPANY and WHITESNAKE as well, with always present tight songwriting, testosterone-laced hooks, and finesse musicianship.

With such facts in mind, some might think the Maiden/V6 billing a a little maligned, in recognition of the reality that VOODOO SIX are not exactly in the same sub genre of heavy rock as IRON MAIDEN. But, they are actually more in the vein of Maiden's own early influences and even Steve Harris's BRITISH LION -- and they are also very close to the live sound and energy of the early days Maiden, making them likely to be ideal for the European leg, notwithstanding the tough audiences that greet any Maiden opener. (Perhaps not coincidentally, both VOODOO SIX and Steve Harris's BRITISH LION will be on tours in England and Europe in March and April, preceding the IRON MAIDEN spring/summer shows that begin at the end of May.)

As far as the title and vision of the new V6 album is concerned, it was a working title that Newton himself came up with a confident candor about the band's true goals. The band had already used Falling Knives as the title for the EP, which had also spawned the powerful and infectious single and video release of the same name, so, as Newton explains, "We couldn't use it for the album title because we already used it for the EP, so we thought of calling it Songs To Invade Countries To - meaning obviously not war, but invading with music." As Purdie too has noted, "We all laughed at it at first but over time it started to make sense and stuck. The whole being in a band thing is quite like a military invasion, when you all set off on the road together to achieve something and try to be the best you can; invading people's album collections!"

The album, consisting of 11 songs mixed by Newton and Pedro Ferreira (THE DARKNESS, ENTER SHIKARI, THERAPY?) and mastered by Ade Emsley (IRON MAIDEN, Steve Harris) also includes, says Newton, "The five songs on Falling Knives, some newer ones, and also two bonus tracks." He'd brought in Ferreira mainly to lend some objectivity to the process: "I'd mixed it, but then he came in and we went over the songs together - did a bit of tweaking, and it worked great having another pair of ears. Especially with the bass. I always tend to think I've mixed it too loud, but it turns out that if anything, the bass usually needs to be louder. So, that was the kind of thing I needed help with, and we worked well together - and I think we got really great results."

"Worldwide now, we're going to deal with Universal," he elaborates. There had been other negotiations but Universal "offered us a really good deal."

Newton acknowledges that VOODOO SIX has top priority in making sure the U.S. becomes a literal target of Songs To Invade Countries To - but, in the meantime, the band will have their hands full with the release of new single "Sink or Swim" on March 4, a solo UK tour commencing March 8, the worldwide release of Songs to Invade Countries To on April 29, and then the Maiden tour, beginning on May 29 and extending throughout the summer dates and festivals.

Current announced VOODOO SIX solo dates and with IRON MAIDEN:

  • 3.22 Dublin The Pint, IRE
  • 3.23 Ballymena Diamond Rock Club, N.IRE
  • 3.24 Inverness Mad Hatters, UK
  • 3.26 Glasgow King Tuts, UK
  • 3.27 Sheffield The Corporation, UK
  • 3.28 Manchester NQ Live, UK
  • 3.31 Birmingham Academy 3, UK
  • 4.2 Brighton The Haunt, UK
  • 4.3 Southampton Joiners, UK
  • 4.4 Exeter The Cavern, UK
  • 4.6 Harlow The Square, UK
  • 5.9 London The Garage, UK
  • 5.29 Lisbon Atlantico Pavilion, POR (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 5.31 Madrid Sonisphere, SPA
  • 6.1 Barcelona Sonisphere, SPA
  • 6.5 Paris Bercy, FRA (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.8 Milan Fiera Open Air Arena Sonisphere, ITA
  • 6.11 Frankfurt Festhalle, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.12 Frankfurt Festhalle, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.18 Berlin 02 World, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.19 Hamburg 02 Arena, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.22 Zurich Hallenstadion, SWI (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.25 Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, HOL (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.29 Singen-Aach Open Air Arena, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 6.30 Graspop Metal Meeting, BEL
  • 7.3 Lodz Atlas Arena, POL (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 7.4 Gdansk Ergo Arena, POL (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 7.6 Oberhausen Open Air Ko-Pi-Arena, GER (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 7.10 Malmo Stadium, SWE (w/IRON MAIDEN)
  • 7.13 Stockholm Friends Arena, SWE (w/IRON MAIDEN)

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