Saturday, December 20, 2008

From The Streets Of Downpatrick To Madison Square Garden : A Candid Conversation With Vocalist Cormac Neeson Of The Answer

One of the most exciting new acts to come along this decade, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland hard rockers The Answer caught the attention of the classic rock scene in a big way with the release of their debut EP via Albert Productions, 'Keep Believin' in 2005. Formed in 2000, the quartet, consisting of vocalist Cormac Neeson, guitarist Paul Mahon, bassist Micky Waters and drummer James Heatley came together with disparate influences, as is the case with many bands, but their common ground was down and dirty, balls to the wall 70's inspired, blues based hard rock.

Plying a style recalling 70's heavy rock titans such as Led Zeppelin, Free and Humble Pie, they soon began receiving high praise in first the English press, then worldwide as the band was the recipient of Classic Rock Magazine's 'Best New Band 2005' Award. At the star studded inaugural awards ceremony that year, none other than Jimmy Page himself raved about the band, subsequently turning up at several of their gigs in London to watch the lads from the side of the stage. June 2006 saw the release of the critically acclaimed debut album 'Rise' which had Classic Rock Magazine proclaiming it,"The best British rock debut of the decade." with similar sentiments being bestowed by both rock scribes and fans world wide. So far the album has sold over 100,000 copies globally, with many more sure to be purchased after seeing their incendiary live performances.

Further legendary endorsements followed, such as Free/Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers joining the band onstage at the Planet Rock Radio Christmas Party in December 2007, the lads having previously opened for the legendary vocalist during his appearance at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall in October 2006. Def Leppard's Joe Elliott is a huge fan, even going as far in an interview with AOL Music to state that the band's hard hitting approach will be possibly influencing their music on the next studio offering by the Sheffield rockers. Also in 2007, the band had the fantastic opportunity to open two huge open- air shows in front of 80,000 each for The Rolling Stones, first in Belgrade, Serbia, and later on in Dusseldorf, Germany, both of which would be the pinnacle for any band, but these boys weren't finished yet by any means.

The year 2008 has been yet another year dreams are made of for the band. Appearing during the summer at the Isle Of Wight Festival, later on in the year they were scheduled to begin a co- headlining tour with fellow rising stars Black Stone Cherry when word came that they had been tabbed for the highly coveted support slot on AC/DC's massive 'Black Ice' tour of North America. A spot which has seen them receive standing ovations following their all too brief 30 minute set - a feat almost unheard of for a headliner these days, let alone a relatively unknown on their first tour of the United States. Add in having a song from their latest 'Never Too Late' EP featured on the immensely popular video game 'Guitar Hero World Tour', a mid - tour November showcase on CBS TV's 'Late Night With David Letterman,' which saw the band being exposed to millions of viewers in the U.S. and being featured in Rolling Stone Magazine's "Hot" issue, it's been one heady year. With the upcoming 2009 release of the band's sophomore studio album 'Everyday Demons' slated to drop in March, it appears the sky is indeed the limit, and before it's over these boys may need a parachute to come back down to earth.

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with vocalist Cormac Neeson before the band was due to take the stage at a sold out show at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. During this exclusive conversation, the topics discussed ranged from the reception they have received from the crowds in America during the AC/DC tour, playing with The Rolling Stones, the band's influences, details on their upcoming album 'Everyday Demons' and much, much more. Join us as we get to know one of the hottest and finest of the new bloods of the classic rock scene, The here for the exclusive interview

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