Gentlemans Pistols interview (James Atkinson)

"The only thing is, you've got to know when to walk away and keep you dignity intact"

24/04/2013 @ 13:41
Ten years of life with only two records so far, but their quality makes as anxious for their third release. Gentlemans Pistols from U.K, speak only when they do have something to say and James Atkinson saw the hype of retro/vintage sound passing by without touching his band. A female violin and cello player if you please for our dear friends...

Gentlemans PistolsGood evening Mr. Atkinson. How was your mini tour in the U.K? Everything went as hoped?
It was really good, thanks. The crowds were great at every gig and responded well to us and also the Pentagram guys were awesome so it made for a nice little trip.

How does it feel to share the same stage with legendary bands such as Pentagram?
It's important to us because Pentagram are a band that have had an influence on our sound and to be asked to play alongside a band like that is a special thing for someone who never thought he's get to see some of these songs get performed live. The same can be said for when we got to play with Leafhound and Incredible Hog, both made great records that had a massive effect on my songwriting and to get to meet the people involved in making these records and hear those songs in a live setting is a good thing.

Gentlemans PistolsSo, after all these concerts of yours, could you please tell us which is the main difference between the European and the English audience?
Audiences are fickle things and anywhere you go you can have a great reaction or none whatsoever, even if you had a great reaction the last time you played there. I guess with some European gig times being later than UK ones it can have more of a party atmosphere, but again that's not a general rule and the last thing I want to do it start dishing out stereotypes.

Gentlemans PistolsYou once said that the current climate of rock music isn't one of stadium gigs and limousines. Do you believe that this will change at some point or we have reached the top roof as musicians, audience and producers?
I think when I made that statement I was purely talking about newer bands coming through the hard rock circuit. Obviously there are huge pop/rock/indie bands about that play huge stadiums and arenas probably hire planes and have some element of decadence, but I'm sure it's nothing like on the scale of the 70s excess. Basically, we are a long way away from bands having private planes with fireplaces built in them again.

You have released two records within a period of five years. Is it safe to assume that Gentlemans Pistols is a band who speaks only when you have something to say?
It's really just a case of having some bad luck with timings of members leaving and being replaced alongside the fact that everyone does other things outside of the band. We also want the band to be fun for us and not feel like we are just putting something out there for the sake of doing so or feel pressured into releasing material we wouldn't be fully happy ourselves.

Gentlemans PistolsA left and a right handed guitarist. An almost perfect combination? How fortunate is it to work along with Bill Steer?
Bill's guitar playing is second to none, he is one of the great working musicians of our time. To play alongside Bill is great because his playing is so inventive and he can actually bring something to a song that I would never have considered. I've been a fan of Bill's playing since I was a teenager going to watch Carcass play in Bradford and we became friends when we met at a Gents gig years later. We went out on tour with Firebird soon after that and really cemented a friendship between the bands, especially with Bill. When Chris left, Bill was the first and only person I asked to join the band and luckily for us, he said yes. It's important for me to be friends first and foremost because then the musicality clicks much quicker and in a better way than if we were to bring a stranger into the band.

And the drummer's seat? Is it a cursed one with all these changes?
Despite it feeling like a curse after we released our 1st LP and Adam Clarke left the band, it actually turned out to be a blessing as when Stu joined the band, everything got a lot tighter and heavier with the drums and in turn this had a effect on the rest of the bands playing and the overall sound of the band.

Gentlemans PistolsWhen I heard "At Her Majesty's Pleasure", the first thing that came in mind was that you managed the ideal mix of English and American hard rock scene. You sound a bit different and heavier than your first album. Was it your intention or it just happened?
It wasn't a deliberate move to sound heavier, it was just a natural progression as far as the song writing went. I felt that with the second album I wanted it to be more melodic than the first album, and with better riffs. With the addition of Stu and Bill to the band, it just pumped the songs up some more and added to it being heavier than the first record. I think if Chris and Adam had played on the 2nd LP then it wouldn't have been as driving or heavy as it came out.

Gentlemans PistolsI really believe you should play along with Clutch. What’s your #1 band that you would like to share the stage with?
We played a few gigs with Clutch a while back and they were lovely guys. You've got to respect Clutch as they have been out there doing it for so long through thick and thin and they keep writing and touring and the general momentum of the band going so strongly. For me, I'm not really sure that I have a #1 band to play with, as long as they are easy to get along with and the gigs are good, then I'm happy. I would love to support Sabbath though so if Geezer or Tony are reading then drop us a line.

There were many string instruments on "Lethal Woman" and it sounded perfect. Are you planning to attempt it again on the studio?
There are definitely a couple of tracks earmarked for strings for the next record. It worked out really well on Lethal Woman so I want to make sure that if we use them on the next record it has to be as good or else I'll be deleting it. I will have to find a new violinist and cellist though as the ones we used on the album are ex girlfriends of band members so I don't think they'll be up for doing it again.

James Atkinson (Gentlemans Pistols)Pistols? too many of them in the U.S.A with the well know tragic endings. Can you imagine yourself living in a country with over 300 millions of them?
I love America and I've met loads of great people there too, but I wouldn't want to live there, not because there are lots of guns there, because I'm too indoctrinated into living in the UK.
It's a difficult debate they have on their hands in the U.S about guns and there isn't a simple solution from either side of the fence. For me, not being a U.S citizen, it's not a debate I should be involving myself in either.

Gentlemans PistolsGentleman? How gently should a man behave to a lethal woman?
It really depends on how lethal this woman is. It could be fun for a while, so treat her with respect. The only thing is, you've got to know when to walk away and keep you dignity intact. If she is life threatening, then run like the clappers.

Mr. Atkinson, I really thank you for your time and answers, hoping that someone from Greece will contact you in order to come here and enjoy each other. You can always ask Mr. Bill Steer about us...
Thanks for your time, we hope to see you in Greece soon.