Status Quo-approved classic rockers Walkway will release their third album this summer – HRH Mag’s Andy Spoors got the lowdown on the fast-rising quartet from frontman Chris Ready.
HRH: You’re a young band with a mature sound – who do you take inspiration from?
Chris Ready: We’ve all got various ones to be honest. Being a vocalist, mine would be Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Steve Perry from Journey. But Led Zeppelin got me into it all and then from that you’ve got to look at The Eagles, Van Halen and Def Leppard. Some of us have a background in punk rock, so growing up with the likes of Green Day, Less Than Jake and Blink 182. From there you could work backwards into bands like Deep Purple, Sabbath or even bands like Toto for the really groovy drums.
HRH: And is it the stagecraft as well as the music that inspires you?
CR: We try and put our influences into the music we write and how we perform. We always try and have a good time and we talked to a few guys at the bar after our HRH AOR set and they said ‘We’ve never heard of you guys before, but we are definitely going to fans now! It’s so refreshing to see a band that really enjoy themselves on stage’. That’s certainly what we want to show to people.
HRH: Playing at an AOR festival, what does it mean to be an up and coming band in this genre?
CR: We feel that we can play it heavy or we can play it light, depending on how we feel. But we’ve got a right mix of tracks that can appeal to the rock market or the pop market. We do have that rock band stamp, which is nice. Looking at someone like Bon Jovi, they appeal to the commercial market and the rock market. So we have that benchmark of a band to try and aspire to be like. We take great inspiration from bands in the 70s and 80s but you don’t want to be just a carbon copy of that. We try and find our own style and fortunately it seems to be working for us!
HRH: What are the plans for the rest of the year?
CR: Touring, touring, touring! Lots of touring. Last year our gig count was 128 shows and this year it’s pretty much the same, if not more. We were in the studio in February recording our third album which should be out by June/July all being well. That should open a few more doors and we’ve recorded a tribute to Rick Parfitt on there.
HRH: Tell us about that?
CR: We’ve been playing with Status Quo the last couple of years and the news of Rick dying was quite a big blow for us. He always gave us his time and was a big support and fan of the band. We were going to be working with him on his solo stuff so it was a real shame. But we thought, what better way to pay tribute on the album than to do a cover of Rain, which was a Parfitt song. We’ve got a lot of the Quo fans eager to hear that and it’s nice to have all the Quo fans behind us. And we’ve got Quo’s original drummer, John Coghlan, playing drums on that track for us.
HRH: So there’s a ready-made fan base with those guys involved?
CR: That’s the thing, we’ve learnt playing with Quo over the years, that Quo fans are Quo fans and they are there for them. They are lifers for them, so the fact that we’ve been taken on by them is a real positive. We’ve got guys that have been seeing Quo for years, giving us the compliment that for them we are their new Quo. You don’t get a much bigger compliment than that. The third album is sounding superb and we just can’t wait to release it.
HRH: How did you feel your main stage set at HRH AOR went down?
CR: Really good! We got a brilliant reception from the crowd and we couldn’t have asked for any more. The energy in there was really high and it went really well for us. We were stopped by no end of people saying how much they enjoyed it. So, to us, it couldn’t have gone any better.
HRH: Did you stick around during the weekend?
CR: We had to head back to East Anglia the same night but we tried to stay as long as possible. We were hoping to catch a few of the other bands and it was great to see some others doing their thing too.
HRH: Is there anyone in particular you’d have liked to have caught?
CR: I’d have loved to have seen Michael Monroe. I’ve seen videos of him and how energetic he is, so that would have been cool. And we caught some of Lita Ford’s soundcheck, which was great.