Interview with Tim Smith from THE BREW UK!
The Brew UK are a trio hailing from Grimsby in (you guessed it) The United Kingdom. Unbeknownst to me at the time, there are several groups performing under the moniker “The Brew,” and via a mistaken contact searching for a different band of the same name, I got in touch with Tim Smith, founding member and bassist/vocalist for the UK version.
Not one to turn down a chance to speak with a touring performer or rescind an offer to interview a musician, I shot off a battery of questions for him to answer, with excellent results. British folks are some of the most polite and accomodating people on the planet. And it’s a great band, too!
Sometimes the best things in life happen by complete mistake, so don’t be afraid to mess up every once in a while, and always talk to as many people as you can… You’ll be surprised at how cordial and receptive they may be! Here’s Tim and I discussing the group, their approach to music and touring, and a few solid stories about their time on the road.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
T- Hi Greg it’s very much our pleasure to speak to Live High Five. We are from the UK and we come from a small fishing town in the UK called Grimsby. The band has three members… Jason Barwick on guitar and vocals, Kurtis Smith (my son) on drums, and myself, Tim Smith, on bass and vocals.
G- How long has The Brew UK been around and when did you first get started? Do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click?”
T- The band has been around since 2004, some eight years now. Quite honestly, the first time we realized that there was some chemistry between us all was the first time we ever got together and jammed. I guess you always hope for that kind of reaction… It just felt so right and as if we had been playing together for years, despite the fact guys were so young. Jason, at our first meet, was only 14 and Kurt was 15!
G- So tell me a bit about where you are from… How is the music scene and how are the responses at your shows?
T- Well Grimsby has some great musicians within it, and a great underground music scene. It has a great music venue which all the bands touring the UK stop off and play at, The Yarbirds Club.
There are some famous people originating from here. For example, Rod Temperton and Gary Moore, at one time, used to live very close to Grimsby, and Kevin Ayres from Soft Machine. Within 20 miles, we have a world-class recording studio where The Brew UK have recorded their albums, Chapel Studios, The likes of Kasabian and Oasis, just a name two bands, have used the studio and continue to do so.
G- Do you currently have, or are you working on, any releases right now? When will you be heading back to the studio or on the road? Anything currently in the works?
T- Well The Brew UK are always on the road… We are a true working band. It’s where our heart is… Playing live music.
Some bands are more comfortable in the studio and others on the stage. For us, it’s definitely the latter. We have plans for a new studio album in the spring of 2014, and a single and video release in the fall of this year.
G- Can you tell us a bit about your tunes? Where did you find the inspiration to write your new material?
T- Because we spend so much time touring and on the road, our inspiration mainly comes from this environment. It’s where we feel at home. Road songs make up a large part of our music, but we also write about things that concern us going on in the world today and things that affect us as human beings.
G- Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? Why?
T- Well, there are three or four contenders for this, but possibly “KAM,” because it has such an emotional and atmospheric buildup to a climatic end. I guess you may say it’s our “Stairway To Heaven!” But the reaction from the crowd, even if they have not heard the song before, is always ecstatic. It’s nice that it is one of our favorite songs as well as the fans, because many times I know bands love a song, but it isn’t always so popular with the crowd.
G- Are you guys a party band, or generally pretty mellow? What kind of beers and booze do you want people bringing up to you onstage this time around?
T- Well, we would love to be a party band in the true rock ‘n’ roll style, but because we are always on the road, it’s just not possible. If we were partying every night, quite honestly, we would all be dead right now! Maybe we would become famous quicker if we were ha ha!
My son Kurt, the drummer, likes regular beer. Jason and I love whiskey, Irish whiskey to be more precise. Gin and tonic also… It’s really refreshing onstage!
G- What should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road? I’m not trying to spoil any surprises, but can we expect any new material or special appearances, and what should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
T- Our reputation has always been built up around our live performance. The energy, the sheer commitment of the band to producing the best show we can possibly do on the night.
In the past, when the band wasn’t so well known, people would come in and hear the music before seeing us, they would say ‘We thought that there were four or five guys on the stage. We were amazed that it’s just three of you!’
Jason has the ability to play lead and rhythm, seemingly at the same time, and Kurt on the drums is just a powerhouse, compared so many times to Keith Moon and John Bonham. He has a combination of all those styles and, hopefully, my bass playing fills in the gaps ha ha
We have always strived for people who see us for the first time to leave our concert totally bewildered and euphoric about what they have just witnessed, to make it a memorable experience and something that will last with them for a very, very long time.
We could never play the same show twice, even when we are on the long tours. We never sit back into a regular pattern or routine. We always expect the unexpected with each other and can instantly notice when the time is right and one of us wants to go off and take the song somewhere new. So, for fans going to many shows in a short space of time on the tour, for example, it’s always fresh and exciting, and that’s the way we like it.
G- What is your writing process like, and who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
T- Yeah jamming during rehearsals has always been our main way of coming up with new ideas. Sound checks are also another great opportunity for us. It’s almost a case of grab the rehearsal time when you can because we spend so much time touring.
We do get the odd occasion we can sit down at home together and spend some time looking at new material, but it’s definitely more a road thing for us. We all come up with ideas. There is sometimes the occasion where one of us will have pretty much a song laid out and we’ll give our input, but usually it’s a joint process.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future?
T- Well yeah we do have a wish list! So far, we’ve been very fortunate to support ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, We’ve played alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck and Chicken Foot. In fact, Kurt spent hours talking to Chad Smith and sharing a beer… They got on really well!
I have to say, all these people I mention have been absolutely incredible to us, But, if it were possible, we would like to share the stage with The Who, The Black Keys. But you know, really, this list could be endless!
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
T- I think the craziest situation was when we did the Rockpalast show in Germany live. This is the most famous and largest rock show across Europe and has been for many, many years. It has such a long-standing reputation and history. We were on the bill with Joe Bonamassa. It was only minutes before the show we realized the enormity of what we were doing, and exactly how many people would be seeing the show… It was in the millions.
The problem was we had decided, for whatever reason, to do two totally new songs, which we had never played live before and I only had chance to rehearse on a few occasions. One of those new songs was “KAM,” and after we finished it, we realized what an impact the song had on the audience and how important it would be in the set in the future. There have of course been many rock and roll moments! But I can’t tell you about them… We’re not rich enough to get sued ha ha!
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
T- Well, the only advice I can offer is the strategy that we have always used… Keep the faith and keep going! Get out there and play in front of people. There is no easy answer.
Always give it 110%. Remember, you need the fans… It doesn’t matter how good a band you are or how good musicians you are… Without the fans, a band is nothing.