Tom Killner is a up and coming blues guitarist from the UK and leads The Tom Killner Band. After hearing his father's music collection of bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall and other blues greats, Tom decided to pick up the guitar and go to the woodshed at age 9. Tom was also exposed to the various pop and metal songs through his friends but he decided that the blues the route to go. The Tom Killner Band formed in 2012 and has been steadily gaining a great following by determination and hard work. They have just released their first album called "Hard Road" and It's a great collection of well written songs. I recently corresponded with Tom.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your debut album Hard Road. I found that it provides a great cross section of pre-war, Chicago, British and contemporary blues. The title track lyrics state "Not trying to be anybody". What's behind the lyrics?
Tom - I try to include everything that’s influenced me and try and mix it up, 'Not trying to be anybody' is very true to me that sometimes you can get sucked in to some artists you are listening to and start to sound like them, and then there is the people saying 'oh you sound like this person or that guy' and I have always tried to sound like me and that’s my little testament just basically saying I'm not going to be what you want me to be and I will do what I want that makes me happy.
R.V.B. - There is also a variety of slight crossover rock with Taking It's Toll, Ain't No Rest For The Wicked, and Do It Again... is this a tribute to southern bluesy' rockers like Skynyrd, Allman's and others?
Tom - I would say so, southern rock has been a massive influence on me the last few years and I look up to those guys and the sound they produce. It's real good time music that you just want to dance too and it just picks me up and makes me feel great. With 'Ain't No Rest For the wicked' being one of the covers on the album when I heard the original I had no idea how I was going to make it more me and struggled for weeks getting it how I wanted it and it's become one of my favorite tracks on the album.
R.V.B. - It seems the guitars have very little effects, and I got the "just plug your guitar in, turn it up and play" feel. What do you consider the type of sound that "Hard Road" projects?
Tom - I like to keep the tones very organic like the guys on the old records did and to me they are the best records to listen too as there's nothing getting in the way of the guitar sounds it helps you feel better what's being played. And it turned out great I feel it also makes you think harder because there is nothing to hide behind. I play with very little effects on my guitar live too just keep it simple then you know the tone you get is from you not some little box on the floor, I use a treble boost that my friend makes in his little hut in the garden which sounds great it brings out a real nice drive to the amps and a volume boost pedal and a Fret-King wah-wah pedal that comes on occasionally and I just crank the amps up.
R.V.B. - Tell me a little about who helped you record this album.
Tom - I recorded with my band at Wavelength Studios in Doncaster in the UK, Keith Angle was a great engineer and a real cool guy to work with and was so relaxed and he advised me on bits he thought would add to the songs which really worked, he also owns the great little studio. It has such a great vibe about the place really vintage and the way he shaped and designed the room was based on the Fame in the muscle shoals which was great.
R.V.B. - Track 1 sounds like a seasoned veteran coming home. Are you looking forward to a life of being on the road?
R.V.B. - What sparked you into playing the guitar? Did you come from a musical family?
Tom - It's got to be my dad that got me into playing he's played since he was a teenager and was my bass player for the last 5 or so years and he is playing bass on the album, there's always been guitars and music around the house from before I can remember, As a kid I loved the Beatles records and Status Quo I remember getting my dads telecaster and miming to those guys. And then one day my dad put the Rory Gallagher Calling Card album on in the car and it blew my mind and that’s what really got me into Blues and the guitar.
R.V.B. - Which guitarists did you study the most and may have influenced your style of playing?
Tom - It has got to be Rory Gallagher as he was my first guitar hero that got me into playing I studied him like mad, then I moved onto Peter Green, Eric Clapton, BB King, Albert King, Freddie King & Duane Allman. I just have so many guys that I've picked bits off.
R.V.B. - The 11 songs on the new record... were they all recently written or were they a culmination of things you have written through the years?
Tom - My own songs that I chose to be on the album are about a year or two years old and I think really tells a story of what I've been through over the years up to this point, now we have been touring them and the people kept asking for them and they really enjoy them. In fact we have a Fan that’s recently got the hard road lyrics tattooed which is real great that they have a real effect on people.
Tom - By far the most favorite gig was the Borderline Club in London I got asked by Danny Bryant to open for his album launch which was a big honor for me it was my first time playing in London and I will always remember it.
R.V.B. - What are your plans to support the album?
Tom - Well at the moment I'm currently planning a tour for 2016, I basically want to play everywhere I can, go to new venues festivals and countries and bringing my music to new people.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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For more information on Tom Killner visit his website http://www.tomkillnerband.co.uk/
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