EMQs with… Platinum Al

Last year, in the depths of lockdown and with no live entertainment to review, the glorious website that is Ever Metal was kind enough to open up their Ever Metal Questions series to the reviewers. As an EM contributor I was finally able to fulfil a lifelong ambition – and satisfy my enormous ego – by being interviewed for the site.

The questions were pretty much what we ask musicians, only I had the privilege of answering them myself. And now, in a move that confirms that I really have no shame, I proudly re-present the same interview here, at the Virtual Hot Tub. Well, it is my birthday this month…

Enjoy!

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

My name’s Alun, AKA Platinum Al.  I write some reviews for Ever Metal, which came about through meeting Rick and Beth at Pentre Fest a while back.  “I can write!” I lied, and they’ve been too kind to bin me off ever since.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

North Wales in the UK.  We seem to be a bit out in the wilderness to the outsider, but thankfully there are a few venues that put good bands on in Chester and Wrexham (both nearby) and of course, the good old Tivoli in Buckley (just up the road).  Liverpool and Manchester are both accessible.  The big win for us though is Pentre Fest – and all the other events that North East Wales Metal Productions put on.  It’s introduced me to loads of new music and it’s right on my doorstep. 

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Desert Storm’s “Omens” on APF Records is album of the year so far.  Beyond that, I’m still reeling from the wonder of Giant Dwarf’s self-titled master piece, my album of 2019.

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

George Lucas, for Star Wars – which influenced me more than anything since I was five years old.  Stan Lee and Marvel comics have also been a big inspiration.  Skateboarding in general has opened my eyes and ears to the wonder of the world since my teens. 

In music, there’s dozens: Johnny Cash, Motorhead, AC/DC, Ramones, the Damned, The Misfits, Black Sabbath, The Cult, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Monster Magnet, COC, Melvins, Jimi Hendrix etc etc.

What first got you into music?

I listened to the Star Wars soundtrack first of all; it still has an amazing emotional response on me even now.  The next big development was seeing the film Highlander, which I loved.  A friend of mine recommended the Queen album A Kind of Magic as it featured several songs from the film, and it’s been downhill from there.  Thankfully, through skateboarding I was introduced to music that was a bit off the beaten track, shall we say.

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Good question!  How about Shakin’ Stevens – the Welsh Elvis – fronting the Misfits?  Danzig can write the songs.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Pentre Fest!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

I have some pretty weird vinyl in my collection, like Roland Rat, the Wurzels and an album called “How to Strip for Your Husband”.   Oh, and a Joan Collins work out record.

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Never ever bloody anything ever.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

So many greats to choose from (sadly).  I’ll nominate my old mate Lemmy, as I probably embarrassed myself when I met him by talking bollocks.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Stop developing new formats – you lied to us about CDs when vinyl was the ultimate.  There are some albums I own on vinyl, tape, CD and download – and I’ve had to buy every single one.  Can we all just agree to not buy whatever new garbage format they try and lumber us with in the future? 

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl, obviously!

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Black Sabbath at Birmingham Genting Arena on their “The End” tour is up there.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Working the day job and being a dad mostly.  Then listening to music, skateboarding, riding my bike, watching old Hammer horror movies, collecting toys, drinking beer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Sir Christopher Lee, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Joey Ramone and Lemmy.

If they have to be alive, then James Hetfield, Glenn Danzig, Dave Vanian, Henry Rollins and pro skateboarder Mike Vallely.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I don’t know, but I had cherry ones in Greece and they were amazing!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Just thanks for giving me the opportunity to flaunt my massive ego by doing an interview, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do!  HAHA!

Oh, and to the readers of Ever Metal: thanks for reading, and never forget that we are fans just like you and we do this for the love of the music.  Never say die!

Read more Ever Metal staff EMQs here.

Electric Eel Shock – Gig Review

Electric Eel Shock + Saltwater Injection

Thursday 1st May 2014

The Compass, Chester

Finally – Chester is building up a few venues to see some live music.  Forget the joke that is Chester Rocks (LOLZ! etc), there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  On a quiet Thursday night at the start of May, that light was Electric Eel Shock.

The Compass is an older pub/venue just outside the City centre, now reborn with a new name.  I paid a measly £9 to get in and see three bands.  Have a few drinks, rock out on a school night.  What could be better?

The first band up were a local band in a pop punk vein.  I have loads of Descendents and SNFU albums, but that whole Sum 41 thing ain’t my scene.  The kids could play, but not on my shift.

Next up, we have another local band – Saltwater Injection.  A two piece, you may be fooled into thinking White Stripes, before the noise starts.  No chance – think more early Bleach-era Nirvana spitting out Black Flag covers, you’ll be more on the map.  A great set, these guys are worth keeping an eye out for – Hardcore punk and a nice line in political scorn as well!

Funny thing about The Compass – upstairs is pretty small.  And on this night at least, the back half of the room is closed off.  So when Electric Eel Shock erupt onto the stage, it’s like having three tiny Japanese Metal demons go bananas in your living room.  EES rock the place like they’re headlining Wembley Stadium – standing on monitors, waving the mic stands at the audience for sing alongs, throwing the horns.  And the drummer is naked except for a sock to cover the family jewels. EES

Musically, it’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal in the traditional sense – some Maiden, some Lizzy, some AC/DC, a little G’n’R; with a liberal dash of punk energy.  It’s all the classic rock bands you love in a new, crazy head-banging package.  The only song I’m familiar with (“Goodbye Peach”) is nowhere to be heard, but no matter – there’s plenty of new rocking anthems to meet and greet.

The set includes a few covers: Electric Eel Shock’s takes on “Paranoid” and The Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”; plus The Wurzels’ classic “I am a Cider Drinker”!  What the living fuck??!!  Believe me, this song works!

Electric Eel Shock deliver one of the most bonkers – and fun – gigs I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s full-on good time rock’n’roll.  The audience love it, the band love it.  Check out EES if you can, and if you’re in Chester – The Compass needs to be on your list of places to visit.

The Compass website is here.

Follow Electric Eel Shock on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @eel_shock

And follow Saltwater Injection on Twitter: @SaltWaterInject