THE BITERS (Live at The Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., October 5, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

He brought Hard Rock to David Bowie’s Tin Machine and toured with Paul Rodgers. Guitarist Reeves Gabrels is now in The Cure but has found time to release his first Hard Rocking solo album in 10 years. Mick Burgess chatted to him ahead of his UK tour.

You’re over in the UK soon for a 12 date UK tour. Are you looking forward to getting over here to play?

Yes I am, I’m so excited. We’ve toured the U.S a lot so it’s going to be a nice change of scenery. We can’t wait to play over there. We’ve only really played two headline shows in the UK before so to do a proper tour is going to be awesome.

They say the further North you get, the crazier the crowds get. What sort of reception are you hoping to get when you hit Newcastle on 5th October?

I hope they want to get as sweaty as I do because I want to feel that energy from the crowd.

What sort of show can we expect from you on this tour?

We don’t have a budget for a big light show and we don’t have a big crew. We’ll just be doing straight up Ramones style Rock ‘n’ Roll with four guys and amps. It’ll be high energy with no gimmicks. It’s going to be Old School.

Your latest album Electric Blood was released a few weeks ago. Are you pleased with the reaction it’s been getting?

I’m not sure if we’ve been getting good reviews or not as we haven’t seen them yet but there’s more people coming to our shows in The States and they’re singing along with all the songs so I’m hoping they’ll be singing along in the UK too. Over in The States Hip Hop and Rap gets most of the coverage and the Rock stuff that gets covered tends to be the ironic stuff where they sing about pizza. We’re just a straight ahead Rock band so it’s great for us to start getting some attention.

How do you see Electric Blood as a step up from your debut album?

We didn’t really have a debut album. It’s All Chewed Up was just a couple of EP’s put together to make an album. Those recordings were done on a shoestring budget. We recorded 6 songs in 2 days for $1500. It was the best we could do with what we had. With Electric Blood we didn’t have a big budget by any means but we did have more time to record so it was good to be able to take our time and do things just right.

For such a young band there’s elements of Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy and KISS in your music. Are these the bands you grew up listening to?

My parents listened to Classic Rock when I was growing up and I remember hearing all those bands on the radio especially AC/DC and Tom Petty. They were my mother’s favourite bands. I always loved them. Then I got into Punk Rock in Middle School and listened to stuff like The Exploited. Then I listened to Hard Core for a while then I traced that back to ’70’s Punk to The Clash and Slaughter and the Dogs and back further to the New York Dolls. I then realised I could like everything, Punk and Classic Rock. There’s just something about that big late ’70’s arena stuff that gets me going, Cheap Trick, Lizzy and KISS and I love The Dictators too. I just love that stuff.

Did your friends at school think you were strange listening to these older bands?

When I was in High School I was heavily into UK Punk and I had a Mohawk. I was beaten up and called names but there was a core group of Punk Rockers and we used to hang out together but everyone else just didn’t get us at all.

1975 is one catchy song. What is so special about the year 1975 to you?

We weren’t even going to put that song on the record, we thought it was a bit cheesy but everyone seems to love it. It was fun to do. 1975 was such a cool year and that line “I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” by KISS from that year just sums it up for me. 1975 was the end of the glitter stuff and was a really exciting time with lots of great bands. A lot of great stuff happened then.

What about the following year, 1976 that gave us KISS Destroyer, Rush 2112, Rainbow Rising , Blue Oyster Cults’ Agents of Fortune and Aerosmith Rocks?

That was a great year too. I really think that between 1972 and 1979 all of the best music came out. In the space of 7 years you had Sweet and Slade then you had Generation X and The Cars. Everything came out between those years, it was incredible for music. The press seem to think we should be like Motley Crue but they say we are not sleazy enough and wouldn’t survive on Sunset Strip. I don’t want to be like an ’80’s Rock band. I don’t want to be sleazy or like Motley Crue. Some people think the peak era for Rock ‘n’Roll was the ’80’s but it’s not, all the cool stuff came from the ’70’s. When people talk about Glam Rock now they talk of Poison and Ratt. That’s the second generation stuff, Sweet, Slade and T-Rex is the genuine stuff for me. If you dig deeper into those times there’s some incredible stuff. I always wished that The Arrows were more widely known, they were great.

If you were given the chance to open for a major act, who would you go for?

I don’t know. If we toured with KISS, that might be too big for us. It might ruin the mystique for me if Paul Stanley was mean to me. I might end up hating the band. It would be cool to tour with them though. We did do a tour with Ace Frehley though and that was awesome. That was great, his fans loved us. We had a lot of great stories with Ace from that tour.

What are your plans for next year?

We’re going to try to hop on some bigger tours and get out and play to as many people as we can. We just need to keep plugging away. We’re writing new material all of the time so we hope to have a new album out next year at some point and we hope to be back in the UK and Europe next year too.

The Biters are on tour in the UK NOW


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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