Black-Stone-Cherry Music

Interview: Black Stone Cherry at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena

SHUlife caught up with Ben Wells of Black Stone Cherry during their Arena tour stop here in Sheffield. Their tour follows their successful latest album release, Magic Mountain.

“How different is Magic Mountain to your previous albums?”

“I think it has a lot of the same Black Stone Cherry sound but for the most part we wanted it to be a little more stripped back, a little more raw, and by that I mean we didn’t over-produce it you know, we wanted it to be a representation of who we are, try and capture the live energy onto a CD so I think that’s the goal we had in mind for the CD”


“What can the crowd expect to see tonight?”

“You know, I mean we try to put on a really good show, we have a whole new stage set up so it’s really exciting and we’re still getting used to it. There’ll be a lot of energy, a lot of passion, we get up there and we really try and just leave it all onstage. We want people to have a good time and get their money’s worth and be entertained, it’s a great setlist, like 18 or 19 songs, so yeah it’s just gonna be fun”.


“What do you mean you’re still trying to get used to it?”

“Well this is the biggest headline tour we’ve ever done so usually we play stages with not a lot of extra stuff, here we have these ramps and this crowd stuff that’s gotta go off and so that takes some getting used to but it’s exciting”


“How does it feel to be back in the UK? I saw you guys do your secret set at Download over the summer and you got an incredible reception, how does it feel to be back?”

“We love it here, I mean this is like, we have such a special place in our hearts for the United Kingdom because they really took to the band early on, you know they’ve supported us and obviously now we’re doing these big rooms so it’s really a testimony not only to us but to our fans who’ve followed us all this way and who’ve supported us. We love coming here!”


“What’s been your best UK concert to date?”

“It’s hard to say because we’ve still a few more to go but I mean I think one of the most memorable ones at this point in time would be when we headlined the second stage at Download in 2013, was it 13?, 13, yeah 2013. That was probably the most memorable because you know, Download’s this huge festival and they asked us to come be a part as one of the headliners, it was pretty amazing”.


“Who’s been your favourite co-headliner so far”

“You know, we haven’t done a whole lot of co-headline stuff with us co-headlining, we’ve been on tours that have been co-headlined. We try and make friends with every band we tour with, you know, we don’t like it to be awkward. We’re really good friends with Theory of a Deadman, we’ve been touring with those guys for years. There’s Alter Bridge, it was great to play with those guys so you know, we try and just make friends with all the bands and some you’re closer to but you know, we have fun regardless of who we’re on tour with, we just have to go put on our show, you know”


“What’s it like going home to Kentucky and playing your homecoming gigs?”

“It’s awesome, I mean we’re doing two shows in our home town in December, it’s gonna be fun because it’s fun to play all these different places around the world and then you go home to the people who have supported you since no one knew who you were, you know. It’s really humbling and it’s good for them too to see the show we’re putting on, it’s a very humbling experience, especially to have hometown support and have everyone there watching you and knowing your family’s out there so it’s awesome and it’s nerve-wracking too because those are your family and you wanna put on a good show”.


“Last time you toured the UK I think you were playing O2 Academies, quite small venues, how does it feel to be back and in such a huge venue?”

“You know, it’s somewhat surreal, this is the second show of the arena tour, it’s surreal because you know, we never expected to be doing something like this, so it’s amazing and when we get on stage and see all those people out there singing along and yeah, it’s awesome, we’re very humbled”


“Because we’re both massive rock music fans, when we go to concerts we seem to go for the support bands rather than the main acts, so obviously a lot of people today are coming for you. You used to be a support band, how does that feel?”

“It’s awesome, you know you have to get up there and keep reminding yourself what we’re doing, you know, I keep having to say ‘wait a second, this is our show here, we’re not opening for anybody right now’, so that’s pretty strange but it’s awesome, I mean we’re super blessed and it just shows that hard work and dedication and loyal fans… just where that can get you, you know”


“What was it like working with Joe Barresi?”

“He was awesome, he was a great producer for us because he allowed us to be the band that we wanted to be in the studio, you know, he didn’t wanna make it over-produced, he wasn’t trying to make songs just for radio, you know in America you kinda run into that a lot. He was all about bringing out guitar solos and crazy drums. He wasn’t so much like a producer that stands over the top of you and says “don’t play that”, you know he wasn’t any of that. He was like a guy in the band, he’d toss round and idea and if we didn’t like it, we didn’t do it, but a lot of his ideas were really cool… he let us just kind of do our thing”


“What’s your best concert memory?”

“Probably Aerosmith, I mean, Aerosmith’s my favourite band. My first time seeing Aerosmith is probably one of my favourite memories because I remember it was just, it just changed me, you know, I mean I saw it and I was like this is awesome, this is what I wanna do, you know, and that was years and years ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday, you know, that’s obviously a very special memory”


“And where was that?”

“It was in Nashville, Tennessee, at a place called the Starwood Ampitheatre that’s not there anymore, the venue’s not there now, it was awesome!”


“What are your plans once the tour’s over?”

“We do this, we go home on Sunday, then we’re doing a music cruise to the Bahamas and then we’re doing our charity shows in our home town in December. After that we’re off basically the rest of the year, it’s nice to be home around Christmas time.”

Black Stone Cherry are currently touring the U.K., head over to their website for tour details. Their album, Magic Mountain, is available in music stores.

Interview By: Catherine Christy and Zoey Robins

Picture Credits: Cosa Nostra PR