Q & A With Miles & The Chain Gang

Q & A With Miles & The Chain Gang
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news?
We put out our first single and video, When It Comes To You, at the end of January. The song is a pop song with a new wave vibe. It’s punchy. We shot a video for it in
December at The Crescent in York. Basically, we wanted to have something to show us to the world. It’s an introduction to the band. We’ve had about 1000 views so
far, which is not bad as a start. We are working on an album and more videos, but everything takes time. 
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
We formed in September 2018. We met through playing open mic nights in York. I ran into Billy (Hickling, drums) at Ruby Tuesday which is a night in York. We played a gig together and Tim (Bruce, bass) happened to be there. Alan (Dawson, lead guitar) walked into the Three-Legged Mare one night in the summer of 2018. It was weird how it happened, meeting those three guys in the space of a couple of months. It’s still early days at the moment. We were going to get going with gigs in 2020, then the virus hit. It sucks. But we are recording. It sounds great, so far. 
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Oh, lots of things. Vanity. Ego. Insecurity. Francis Rossi (Status Quo) said bands are all full of insecure show-offs. He had a point, but I think there is more to it than that. A love of music, for one thing. I was always nuts about music when I was younger. Still am. Still sing my head off in the car. Also, a genuine desire to express yourself, to connect, to lift yourself and others. Playing in a band is intoxicating – in the best way. It’s such a great way to get stuff out of your system, to express the good stuff and bad stuff that life brings. 
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Started playing in the ’80s. Played with a few bands over the years. Made lots of demos and albums in the ’90s, but not many people heard them. Singer-songwriter stuff, mainly. Played gigs but not enough. Billy toured with Stomp! and they went around the world. Tim played to 70,000 people somewhere in Europe. Alan played in loads of bands in Scotland. 
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Well, we are all in our 40s or older, so it doesn’t matter too much, but yes, on the whole, they are. 
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
We’re just a bunch of guys playing music. A bit rough and ready. Denim is good. Billy likes Tweed. 
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Sing. Laugh. Get paid. Repeat. 
XS ROCK: What are the lyrics of your songs about?
Boy meets girl. Boy gets too intense. Girl backs off. Boy sighs at the stars. 
XS ROCK: What is the most important thing for you as a musician?
Make people happy. 
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for bands trying to get started?
Listen to ‘It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll’ by ACDC. The best advice is in that song – the music business is hard work. But stay focused, and keep going. 
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
I wrote a song twenty years ago called ‘Mystery Girl’ which is about when you see somebody and you’re like ‘Woah!’ It’s not a profound song but it’s got a good hook and I love playing it. 
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform?
Probably Bruce Springsteen inspired me the most. The 70s stuff – wow. Check out his Hammersmith 1975 live album. I mean, wow. Amazing. But, between us, we love about a hundred bands or artists. 
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Bruce Springsteen. Van Morrison. The Pretenders. Del Amitri. Taylor Swift. The Waterboys. Counting Crows. Bob Dylan. Any of those would be amazing! Maybe we should start our own festival! 
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Apart from being in a band and writing and stuff, probably bringing up two kids. Everybody in the band has children. It’s such a massive project. If you bring kids up reasonably well, it’s a real achievement. My kids will always be my masterpieces. My son wants to manage the band. He’s 9. I said he could start by selling the T-Shirts. Haha haha! 
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
No idea. I’m rubbish at the non-creative stuff. It just does nothing for me at all. I’ve done crappy jobs like working in a factory and a care home, and mostly I hated them. 
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
I use a Fender Stratocaster and an electro-acoustic, and a Marshall amp. Tim has lots of basses, including a Rickenbacker and a Fender Jazz Precision. Billy loves collecting old drum kit bits. Alan plays a Gibson SG. 
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
I like Taylor Swift. She’s great. Sassy. Great songs. She has a great team behind her. Other than that…I listen to a lot of stuff, but the things I LOVE are all from between 1970 and 1997. 
XS ROCK: For anyone who doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Oh, lots of things. I’m an onion. I used to work in Hull Prison. 
XS ROCK: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans out there?
It’s better to be kind than right. Never overestimate how silly you look if you just follow your ego… 
Thanks, guys. Keep in touch! M x
Photo credit: Jim Poyner