Blackberry Smoke have revealed that fellow Atlanta natives Biters will join them on the road across the UK and Europe this spring. HRH Mag editor Simon Rushworth checked in with frontman Charlie Starr ahead of next month’s British dates.
In 2017 the world’s songwriters aren’t short of politically-charged inspiration to spark a new generation of thought provoking anthems and Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr is not alone as he scours the global media for news on the latest crisis at home and abroad. Well aware of the ramifications of Brexit and riddled with uncertainty in the midst of his own nation’s changing landscape, the normally laid back singer is a man on the edge.
“The world is a terrifying place right now,” said Starr. “It’s hard to know which way is up any more. In my lifetime I’ve never seen anything like what is happening now. The uncertainty of it all is very, very unsettling.
“Most of my friends and family are not natural protestors – they don’t go looking for trouble or causing unrest. What they do do is work hard, keep their heads down and hope for something better. I don’t think that’s unusual. But we’re all worried.”
Starr was careful to keep his own political preferences close to his chest but there’s no doubt the singer/songwriter senses a new era of creativity could be one of the few positives to come out of a largely negative political bubble.
“I think songwriters will always be influenced by the current political situation – not just in the US but across the world,” he added. “There’s been Brexit followed by the election of Donald Trump and these things can inspire some pretty interesting music.
“It’s not necessarily just Trump who’s an inspiration for songwriters with very different political beliefs. I’ve written two songs in the last month and he’s nowhere to be found on either. But that’s not deliberate. Like everyone else I’m watching the situation with interest. “Waiting For The Thunder, from Like An Arrow, was inspired by the political climate in general without focusing on specific personalities.”
Blackberry Smoke’s latest album crashed the UK’s top 10 and demand for a new run of British and European dates rocketed. The response is the band’s biggest tour to date with gigs throughout March and April.
Biters will add a punk-fuelled, glam-tinged edge to the headliners’ Southern Rock cool and it’s a match made in heaven for fans and bands alike. “We can’t wait to have Tuk and the boys along for the ride,” added Starr. “This tour will be very exciting.”
Starr might have written a brace of new tunes ahead of Blackberry Smoke’s next tour but the songwriting will be put on a hold for a month or two at least. “The writing process for the next record is already underway,” he added.
“I normally don’t plan when that will happen. Nothing is set in stone. Most of the songs normally happen when everyone is back home and we’ve got some down time. It’ll be time to get back it properly when the next tour’s done and dusted but there’s a lot of life left in Like An Arrow. We’re in no way done with that record just yet.”
And Starr, it seems, is far from done with what’s happening back home. “You can’t ignore it,” he added. “It’s a scary thing watching people protest against your president. You can’t say people are right or wrong to protest. Everyone has a right to do what they feel is best.”
*Look out for more on Blackberry Smoke in the first issue of HRH Magazine – out in March.