Interview: Brodie Maguire – Mother Vulture

Incendiary South West of England outfit Mother Vulture describes themselves as “Hectic Blues Punk with a live show so chaotic it will leave you with horrific injuries. For fans of being happy, achieving your dreams and not dying.” – what’s not to like about that? Need more convincing? Then check out current single ‘Rabbit Hole’, and maybe splash out on a lottery ticket to get you and a friend into an upcoming gig for £5.00. You will definitely be a winner one way or another if you do. Guitarist Brodie Maguire checks in below with an update on the tour and what you can expect if you buy a ticket.

Mother VultureApologies for stating the bleeding obvious, but it must have been a sickener having to pull out of appearing at Bloodstock because of COVID…

Absolutely, yes. Missing Bloodstock was a killer as that would have been something special. But, life goes on, and we have a tour lined up for September so we will make the most of that.

Indeed it is a busy time in the Mother Vulture camp, new single ‘Rabbit Hole’ has just been released, it’s a bit of a banger, isn’t it! Really catchy…

It kind of naturally ended up with a hookier chorus, maybe more than we usually do…

Is it a track that you had kicking around for some time before recording it?

We had it on the back burner for a while, and that’s always been the way with us. We like to go out on the road and play new material before we record it because once you get onstage they turn into very different songs. So we initially recorded it and demoed it at Abbey Road…

Just casually dropping that into the conversation, eh!

Yes! We did some work for them at Rockfield Studios and they invited us down to Abbey Road for a three-day residency where we helped out some of their students, and we ended up recording it there. We got a vibe that it was a pretty good track and we spent the last year or so just working on it…didn’t get the chance to play it live though, which was a shame.

Rockfield Studios, followed by Abbey Road, that must have been a buzz!

Yes! We’ve been going to Rockfield for quite a while now so it’s a second home to us, and they are so lovely there and great to deal with. Abbey Road can be quite intimidating, it’s a different universe! While we were there they were also doing a Star Wars soundtrack I think, and after we were in, Biffy Clyro was in for a week’s session or something like that. Obviously, with it being a tourist destination, there is always a group of people waiting outside the gates with cameras at the ready, and no matter who you are, if you look like you are in a band then you are having your picture taken by about 40 people!

Mother Vulture‘Rabbit Hole’ has an incredible video accompanying it, part of a series that began with ‘Tell Me’, and continued with ‘The Wave’…

We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously! A lot of rock and metal bands have this dark and serious vibe about them, and as much as we are a band…we act like a comedy act at times!

The videos are a bit more than the bog-standard lip-synching in a rehearsal room, who came up with the stories? And will there be more, or is a trilogy enough?

We have a few more in mind, but we aren’t sure if we will stop them where they are or carry on. There probably will be some sort of theme that carries on throughout all of them, but once we finish up what we are working on then we will have more of an idea.

There’s a great bit in the video for ‘Tell Me’, where your bassist Chris gets his head slammed onto a desk…please tell me that took multiple takes!

[Laughs] Yes! It’s kind of ended up being a running theme in our videos that Chris gets hurt! He gets his head smacked onto the table in ‘Tell Me’, and in ‘The Wave’ he gets a cone thrown at him! And he’s all for it! We tried to do it half-arsed, and make it more like tossing the cone at him and pushing his head onto the table, but he said…” no, you’ve got to do it harder, just actually do it…”. There are no stunt doubles, we just get in there and do it, so if it looks like it hurt – then it did!

Nowadays when a video appears on YouTube the tendency is to have it on in the background while you are doing something else, but with your videos…you pay attention, and they hold the attention. So, job done!

I’m a bit of a movie fanatic, and I’m really into music videos and making them as good as the songs, as much as I can. Unless someone is going to watch them, then there is no point making music videos. The funny thing is, we were still in lockdown when we were making these videos, and we made ‘The Wave’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ in one day. And because of the lockdown, we didn’t really have anywhere to go, so we went back to the same place that we did ‘Tell Me’ and because of that, we had to come up with a theme that involved the same location.

Usually, when we speak to a guitarist the question arises “Fender or Gibson?”, but with yourself, the answer is neither because you are a Gretsch man! Where did the Gretsch attraction come from?

So, I was playing in a little rock & roll band and I was using a Fender Telecaster, well the lead singer was a real hard-arse and he said: “If you want to play rock & roll, then you need to get yourself a Gretsch”. I always had a Gretsch, but it was only a cheap £200 one, so I went down to the guitar shop and tried out another one, one of the mid-range models, and nothing was really ringing my bell. I tried a green sparkly one and within ten seconds it was the nicest guitar that I had ever played. It was a weird moment because I thought; “wow, I didn’t realise that guitars could be this nice!”…so I bought it. It was about £2,500, I didn’t have the money so I took out a loan, and then I used it in the rock & roll band for a while, and then I gave it a go at a Mother Vulture gig, and yeah, it was the sound that I was looking for in the band, and that was it really! I did think that it was really ugly, the green sparkly one, but now it has grown on me! Gretsch did get in touch and offered to hook us up, so now I have a pink one!

Mother Vulture have an incredible reputation as a fiery live act, with that in mind, it must have been very tough being unable to play live for so long?

You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head! We record music because that is what we are meant to do, we make music videos to complement the music, but if it was up to us then all we would do is go out and play live shows. It was ridiculous even thinking about how we were going to push forward, which is why we did the live album and we never intended to release that at all. We were a few months or two into not being able to leave the house, and we thought…” hang on, let’s release the live album!…that will keep the flames going until we can get back out on the road…”…and 18 months later we are finally getting back out on tour!

It must have been humbling that the live album sold out?

Yeah, we only did a small run of 100 copies but the speed that it sold out at, was humbling. People that know us, know that our reputation is based on our live performance, and as soon as people knew that we were not going to be able to do that anymore, then it was nice that everyone came together and showed us some support. We put it out at a minimal charge, but it meant that when we started to go back out on the road that we could put some new tyres on the van!

What was the first gig back like?!

Well, it was a chance for us to let loose after such a long time! When we played The Yard in Truro with Orange Goblin, Chris had COVID so we had to play as a trio, and that was frustrating, our first run of dates back after so long and we didn’t have a bassist for five gigs! But we made it work.

Mother VultureJudging by the images from The Yard, you certainly did “make it work”! I’m curious though, given that you spend so much energy on stage: what are you like leading up to the set, and immediately afterward?

We all have our own ways of dealing with it; Matt [drums] is the most chilled out person ever, so he is ready to go whenever, in the best possible way he doesn’t care, and when he gets on stage he just lets himself go. Georgi? Well, he’s the vocalist so he’s a bit of a diva! But me, I just get stressed out, man! When we play our own shows then usually I’m having to run around dealing with the management side, making sure that the other bands playing have everything that they need, that kind of thing, so by the time that we get on stage I’m like…” Okay, let’s get this done and then it’s breaking everything down again, and the night is over!”

How long does it take you to come down after a show?

Ideally, it would take about ten hours, but being that almost every time after a show we have to start packing everything down immediately, then it is pretty difficult. If it was up to us, the second we stopped playing…we would collapse! It’s funny because once you stop playing, you have to try and keep that buzz going until you are in the van because otherwise, you would just crash out. You are always pretty sore the next day, we’ve done two shows this weekend and I am feeling it now! Ironically, the more that you do it, the more used to the pain you get! We have 23 gigs in the next 26 days, and pretty much all of these shows are one after the other.

Well, on the official Mother Vulture Facebook page, you do self-describe as “Hectic Blues Punk with a live show so chaotic it will leave you with horrific injuries.”…that’s pretty apt!

We certainly do live up to that description!

The tour kicks off in Brighton on September 6th, and it’s part of The National Lottery’s “Revive Live” Tour, tickets are £5.00 and if punters show a National Lottery ticket then they can get someone in for free? That’s a great deal…

Yes, I wouldn’t consider ourselves a corporate entity, so it is strange being involved with such big companies. The Music Venue Trust has teamed up with the lottery to put tours on, and even though we are an unsigned band, we’ve managed to blag a tour with them. And through the funding, they’ve made touring possible for the first time in ages. Don’t get me wrong, we would have been able to get out there regardless, but it wouldn’t have been as secure, I mean…Louder are on board, Marshall Amps are onboard. We will be taking every precaution that we can because we don’t want to be pinged.

Sales pitch time, what can someone expect when they come to one of the shows in September?

We have got some awesome support acts booked: we’ve got El Moono, Moriaty, iDestroy, and Krooked Tongue out with us on different dates. It’s all rock music but it is quite eclectic, we’ve got grunge, we’ve got heavy riffs, and a bit of punk, but the main thing is that all the bands on this tour are hand-selected to be chock-full of energy, so ears will be ringing, and there is going to be electricity coming off of that stage!

 

Tickets for the tour are just £5 and all ticketholders can bring one friend for free/the price of a lottery ticket, courtesy of the Music Venue Trust’s National Lottery-backed ‘Revive Live!’ scheme to get the grassroots live scene back on its feet.

All you need to do to qualify for this offer is to show that you are a National Lottery player, simply by showing a National Lottery Ticket or Scratchcard purchased in-store or online/via The National Lottery app when you attend the gig.

For more information on Mother Vulture, follow the band on social media; here.

All live images – Rob Wilkins

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