An Interview with

'Bill Steer'

Frontman/Guitarist of 'Firebird'

and formerly of Napalm Death and Carcass.

(Recieved from Doug Wright @ Music For Nations Records on 6th September 2001)

Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.

Glenn: How did Firebird get together?

Bill: We'd all known each other for a while. When Toy's Factory approached me to do a record, I knew they were the best people I could play with, plus we'd already jammed together. So it was natural.

Glenn: What's the story behind the name of the band?

The name seemed right for the music. Obviously it's the name of a Gibson guitar, and also an American car, but initially I just liked the sound of it.

Glenn: Why did you decide to change to the blues-rock direction?

Bill: It was a gradual change. I'd been pretty dissatisfied with what I was doing in the early '90s, and by '95 I felt like the gap between what I was playing and what I was listening to was too big. I guess anybody of my age group who likes Rock music would have listened to certain bands when they were a kid. Later on, you realise that some of those bands haven't been topped. I've said this a lot, but I felt like I needed to strip my music down to the basics.

What was the initial reaction of your hardcore fans of Death/Grind-core metal?

Bill: I don't know, it's hard to say how many of those people would care. That's going back a long time, and since then maybe some folks have moved on musically.

Glenn: How did the cover of 'Deluxe' come about?

Bill: We approached Charles Raymond because we liked his style of illustration. He hadn't done any covers since Mott The Hoople in the '70s,
when (allegedly) they didn't pay him.

Glenn: Which artists have influenced you most for Firebird - or should I say are there particular songs or albums that that you into the idea?

Bill: Each person in the band has different influences. Leo's hard to keep up with, but he's certainly into some varied, left-field stuff. Ludde likes all kinds of Rock and appreciates drummers like Ian Paice, Mitch Mitchell and John Bonham. I like Free, Johnny Winter, Allman Brothers, Cream etc. plus older blues like Freddie King, Sonny Boy Williamson, some soul too.

Glenn: Which style do you prefer to play Death/Grindcore or Progressive Blues-Rock (and why) - or doe it depend what mood you are in?

Bill: I'm not sure if those are the most apt terms, but I'm a lot more comfortable with what I'm playing today.

Glenn: Do you plan many gigs in the U.K. - if so where and who with?

Bill: We'd love to do more British gigs. Hopefully we'll play a few more places besides London. Maybe Bradford, Newcastle, Liverpool...wherever people will have us.

Glenn: Have you always been an incredibly good singer (like you are now) or have you had lessons etc? - As it's so different to your previous style?

Bill: I hadn't been singing long before Firebird started. It's still in the early stages, really, but I enjoy doing it. The good thing is that there's room for improvement, especially when you're fairly new to something.

Glenn: What's your favourite track on the album?

Bill: That's difficult. It's not easy to listen to your own stuff after a while. While we're recording and mixing, we have to focus on it a lot, then afterwards you need a break. Off the top of my head, I'd say some of the better songs would be the first and last tunes on our debut, and "Miles from Nowhere" and "Slow Blues" on the latest.

Glenn: How did you create the amazing sound on the track 'Slow Blues'?

Bill: That was a song that was recorded entirely live. We just boosted the ambience as much as we could, and let it sound nasty.

Glenn: Why do you prefer Vinyl to CD? (Saying this though I still love Vinyl!!!)

Bill: To me, Rock sounds better on vinyl. Like a lot of people say, there's a warm there that's missing from CD.

Glenn: Are you guys classically trained musicians?

Bill: No, not at all.


Great Thanks of course to Bill Steer and Special Thanks to Doug Wright @ Music For Nations for setting it up.