In just under two weeks time, one of the biggest UK bands back at the turn of the millennium hits the road again for their first tour in years. Pitchshifter, “back in the day” were the driving force behind the ever changing British alternative / heavy music scene and with contemporaries like earthtone9 and the like in tow, they changed the scene for a generation.
Fast forward to 2018 and Pitchshifter are returning for a short UK tour to mark the 20th anniversary of the album www.pitchshifter.com. And in toe, as was the case on their 2001 tour, are fellow Nottingham alt metal alumni earthtone9.
We sat down with Pitchshifter frontman JS Clayden to talk about their plans and the upcoming tour.
therevivalmusic.co.uk: Thanks for talking to us at The Revival it’s good to be talking about Pitchshifter again.
JS: Thanks for the opportunity.
therevivalmusic.co.uk: It’s been a while since you all played live, I last saw you play Damnation Festival in 2009 and there have been few shows since then. How did the current run of shows come about?
JS: I had actually totally forgotten about that gig. For a decade, I have been telling people that our last show was in Estonia; which is far more Count Dracula romantic that Bradford. However, I just can't be trusted, obviously (or my memory, at least). The new shows came into being pretty organically. We've had a slew of gig offers over the decade of our hiatus, but none of them felt right enough to tempt us from our cryo-chambers on Ahch-To. Aside from all the world touring back in the day, Rock City in Nottingham has been the band's spiritual home since its inception. When DHP [Rock City's leadership] asked us if we'd consider coming out of our hovels to ruin everyone's day once more for a special one-night engagement in celebration of our most-recognized album's 20th anniversary, the time just seemed right. That quickly spiralled into six, back-to-back shows - and this is where we find ourselves today: a bunch of aging, mid-life crisis, punk-rock dads back to blast unsuspecting ears off for a laugh in good old Blighty. Gird ye loins.
therevivalmusic.co.uk: What can we expect from Pitchshifter this tour?
JS: Deep heat and Ibuprofen? Seriously though, we're just here to connect. With no album to promote and no record label masters to slave under, there is no agenda for this tour. We can just rock it and have fun. We're planning on playing a healthy chunk of the ".com" album, some oldies, some newer tunes, some of our previous stage antics.
therevivalmusic.co.uk: Have you got anything special for us hardcore PSI fans up your sleeves?
JS: Some guest appearances, some previously unreleased tunes on bandcamp and some cool merch booth giveaways, some exclusive unique items (handwritten lyrics), and some obscurities from the PSI Vault (one-off goodies we've collected over the years that we're releasing into the unwashed wild). Bring ye pocketbooks grail hunters!
therevivalmusic.co.uk: The Nottingham show is a home coming for you all. How important was it for you to play Rock City in this run of dates?
JS: This tour was actually only supposed to be one night at Nottingham. Of course, that was doomed to fail and quickly became six nights; but it would be sacrilege for us to dust off the cobwebs and not hit Notts. Add in Earthtone9 and The Blueprint and you're looking at an all-Nottingham band line up (we couldn't get a hold of Black Lace, sadly). The sons of Nottingham have returned to her bosom to wreck everything and ruin your lives!* We do have something special planned for Nottingham.
*For one night only, certain terms and conditions apply.
therevivalmusic.co.uk: You’ve got Simon Hutchby playing drums for you on this tour. Was that a factor in bringing earthtone9 out with you or is this more of a throwback to that legendary 2001 tour?
JS: We wanted Earthtone9 on the tour from the beginning. At this stage in our career (not pimping a new record or trying to impress any publishers), we just really want to connect with our crowd on our terms. And that extends to who's taking that journey with us. We have met an inordinate volume of wankers during our time in the music industry and we just didn't want any of them near us for this run of reformation shows. We just want to have fun, do our thing our way, and do it with people that we love - ergo: Earthtone9, DHP, and the Rayners. Unfortunately, Jason Bowld (Pirtchshifter's drummer) was not available. Jase is now doing big things with Bullet for my Valentine (was the guy expected to sit in a cave for decade until we decided to play a few gigs?) which is very much deserved; he is an amazing musician. So drummerless, and with a mini-tour on the books Si Hutchby from Earthtone9 foolishly agreed to drum for us as well. Hopefully it won't kill him. He's younger than all of us grumpy old men and so I'm sure that he'll be fine (as long as he doesn't take any of our heart pills by mistake).
And I think the 2001 tour you're talking about was Pitchshifter, Earthtone9, LostProphets (I had to Google that - too many shows over too many years):
6th to 11th Feb 2001 : [Terminal, Cardiff] [Rock City, Nottingham] [University, Sheffield] [Brookes University, Oxford] [University, Southampton] [ Academy, Birmingham]
therevivalmusic.co.uk: It must have been hard to put this all together with both Pitchshifter and earthtone9 members spread round the globe these days.
JS: Well, Karl of Earthtone9 lives on the East coast of the USA, I live on the West Coast. Mark was living in Berlin when we started putting this together, Dan travels all over the world doing his film production stuff, and Jase is all over the world with Bullet. Tim is the only one with a fixed abode; but that's not even in Nottingham, so it's been a real juggling act to pull it together. I think that fact that these stars have aligned and this rodeo is hitting the road is testament to DHP being easy to work with and basically decent human beings. There has been zero drama so far, and we've chosen a crew to keep it that way. This is a no stress, no whining, no drama tour. I'm bringing Big Al with me from Scotland to keep it that way (if you've meet Big Al, you'd understand that keeping him happy is a good idea).
therevivalmusic.co.uk: There has been talk of new recordings for a few years with rumours of recording sessions back in 2011. Will the vision ever come to fruition?
JS: You know, we started that seventh studio album, but life got in the way. Secretly, I think that we all needed for it not to be completed. Sometimes you have to burn your best painting to see if you have any more good ideas left inside you. I've located two demos from that album ("Sprint Finish") that feature full vocals. We threw one out on bandcamp already, and we're giving 666 copies of the other one away on the merch booth at the tour (you buy an eligible item and you get a free download code). For right now, those two vocal demos constitute the entirety of that record. There are more instrumental demos that we completed, but they don't have vocals; but if I don't hurry back to care for the porgs on Ahch-To, what will become of them?
therevivalmusic.co.uk: What does the future hold for the band in the coming years?
JS: Stronger eyeglass prescriptions, ongoing statins, and more ibuprofen?
therevivalmusic.co.uk: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us at www.therevivalmusic.co.uk
So there you have it. Pitchshifter are back this November. Check them out on the run of tour dates. You won’t regret it!