Erik Johnson in Spain
Metal Express Radio had a chance to re-join Erik Johnson (vocalist) after the band returned home from a tour in Spain.

Erik Johnson is the lead vocalist, guitarist and writer of the band Bombay Black who recently released their second album (Anger Management) on Kivel Records. Metal Express Radio was fortunate enough to catch up with Erik after the band arrived home from a tour in Spain!

Hey Erik, thanks for taking the time to meet again with Metal Express Radio, especially since the “jet-lag” probably hasn’t subsided yet.

So the band just got back from touring Spain. How long was the tour? How many dates? Were these “concert halls,” bars, etc.? What size were the crowds?

We were there from May 10th to May 16th. A bunch of club shows in Madrid and Santander. The venue in Santander was BIG. In fact it was big enough for them to park the bus in (LOL). I think they said the venue size held about 2000 people. All the venues treated us very well.

Was this the first time Bombay Black played outside of the United States?

Yes. We’d like to hit more places, but this was definitely a fine start!

Were you fortunate enough to share the stage with any other bands? If so, did you guys perhaps make any new “drinking buddies?”

We played with Soul Doctor and Bob Catley on the actual Nemelrock shows. Bob and his band were hilarious and made the long bus trips very enjoyable. The last night of the tour was just us.

How was the reception from the crowds in Spain?

Fantastic. We were surprised at the response of the crowds considering that we’re on our first jaunt out of the country. We did a lot of promotion through and I think that made a really big difference.

Was performing in Spain any different than performing for a crowd in the USA?

Well, these were club shows with no one watching a television. In the States, and particularly in our neck of the woods, unless you can get into a true music venue, it’s mostly sports bars that want cover bands so they can charge an entry fee. In Spain, everyone was paying attention to the bands and no one asked if we knew “Free Bird.” That’s a bonus.

Any equipment problems in Spain? Did the equipment make it through the flight? Was voltage an issue in Spain?

The gear made it there and back without any hassles. We took a power converter with us, which worked like a charm. If there was any trouble, it was trying to explain how our setup works. Once the local sound techs understood, they were very easy to work with. Great guys.

Were there any “culture” differences in Spain that caught your attention?

Certain things caught our eye. For one, there’s a lot more smokers in Spain than I see in the States. Vehicles and rules of the road are a little different with regard to merging and roundabouts. Walking is a big thing there so a great many people are in good shape. I think the biggest deal was at the clubs I visited: “RockBeerTheNew” in Santander and “Area Rock” in Madrid. You walk in and the fashions are all old school circa 1985. There’s a lot of t-shirts with bands like TNT and Tyketto and even Vinnie Vincent Invasion. The music went right along with the fashions as well. I was very much at home in those places.

What was the one thing the band learned or took away from the experience of playing in Spain?

It was just a great thing to play for new faces instead of family and friends which, is normally how it is in the States.

Any other current plans to tour outside of the United States?

There’s talk of Brazil, Portugal, France, and, of course, back to Spain.

Any tentative plans on when you guys will hit the studio to record a follow-up to Anger Management?

Right now, it’s all about the new album. We’ll go back to The Shag Palace when it’s time to work on the new one.

Tell us something about your touring mates. What were they like? Any fun stories to share while traveling with them?

The guys in Soul Doctor were actually fairly quiet guys. The drummer, bassist, and the sound tech were the most vocal of all of them. Bob Catley and his band are very friendly and a total laugh riot. As a band, they are a top-flight classy act. Off stage, still classy, but there’s that saying: “You can take the lad out of the pub, but …”

At one point, one of Bob Catley’s band members couldn’t keep his food down and he blew chunks into the stairwell of the bus we were on. I THINK [John] Kivel may have gotten hit with some flying spew. HA! Bob’s keyboardist was also looking very much like Rick Astley, so there was a rousing a cappella rendition of “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The rumor is that you guys threw a curve ball at people and covered the Steel Dragon song, “Wasted Generation” from the Rock Star movie, which supposedly went over great with the people in attendance. What was the reason behind doing this song?

At one time before we signed with Kivel Records, we needed an extra tune to run a longer set. I had been listening to it for some time. I told the guys about it and we all agreed that it was a keeper.

What can someone expect from a Bombay Black show?

Great Rock ‘N’ Roll and something on fire if local codes allow.

How has the album done so far?

Very well. The reviews have been good.

Did you guys see a lot of people who were into the band while you were on stage?

The ones I could see in spite of all the lights in my face seemed to dig it.

Well thanks, Erik, for spending a few moments with Metal Express Radio and, more importantly, your fans!

Thank YOU for being so good to us. Hope to see more of your readers when we do more shows … thank you!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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