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Get Ready To Rock magazine interviews The Fluffy Jackets (from 2007)

Two piece rock band The Fluffy Jackets have recorded a three track single, which includes two covers of Nazareth tracks. On the release, the band is bolstered by legendary bassist Neil Murray. Here, guitarist Helge Rognstad gives us the low down on it all:

1) How did you and drummer Ian Robinson come together?

Ian and myself played together in a band called Random but I felt they were not really doing enough of the stuff that I liked, so I decided to start up my own band & invited Ian to join me. -We used to jam together (Ian on drums & Helge on guitar) and I thought it sounded great, so it was a really natural progression for us to work on a joint project together.

2) What are your influences?

Ah... where do I start; there are so many. -I do love the early 70's rock bands such as Free, Nazareth, ZZ Top, early AC/DC and so on, and I am a guitarist at heart so I am a big fan the guitar-greats such as Ry Cooder, Eric Clapton and Lowell George. Those guys play the slide guitar too which is something that I really enjoy, and that automatically draws influences from the delta blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Elmore James and so on. There are many great slide guitarists in the country-bluegrass area too; check out Jerry Douglas currently playing with Alison Krauss and the blues-slide guitarist Roy Rogers for some awesome licks for starters. -And then, to really put the pedal down, nothing will beat Motorhead and Metallica... and Ian likes Punk & new bands such as Fratelis so there is so many influences that we draw on.

3) On your new single you record two (excellent versions of) Nazareth songs – have you always been fans?

I was brought up on Nazareth records and Manny Charlton is easily one of the best guitarists ever to stride this earth. -The guy has impeccable tone and sense of timing. I always wanted to do a Nazareth cover and the initial plan was just to include "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman". However, when we played the tracks in the studio, Neil Murray played so blimmin great on "Salty Salty" we thought it would be a real shame not to include that song as well. So that’s why we ended up doing two Nazareth tunes; they both sound great.

4) You've beefed up "Whisky Drinking Woman" quite a bit. Did you intend to change the arrangement so much?

We used to play that song just with drums and guitar and it sounded very powerful, stripped down to its bare bones so to speak. And we found that the song evolved over time to become heavier and heavier and now we almost feel that its our own trademark song; its actually the opener of our live-set.

5) How did you get to work with Neil Murray?

When we came to record this cd we thought we needed a bass player and we looked at a few guys but they didn't really fit the bill. -I sat down one day and thought "who would be the ultimate bassist to play on our record?" and Neil Murray was basically on the top of that list. -I contacted him and he said yes; it really was that simple.

6) His bass comes over well, was he easy to work with?

I tell you; that is the most amazing thing of all. Neil adviced us to record the cd live in the studio because Ian & myself already was playing very tight. -We went into the studio with the view to having some fun and play some tunes and that exactly what we did. -Neil turned up, not having played with us before and we basically nailed Salty Salty in the first take; he is that good. -It was almost surreal to work with him though; I almost felt I had to stop playing to applaud him at times (laughs). But honestly, you can not meet a nicer or more down-to-earth guy. I have only good things to say about him.

7) Neil is credited as a guest, will you be working with him again? Will you take on a full time bass player?

Neil is a very busy boy, he plays on the musical We Will Rock You in London's West End, he still plays with Classic Whitesnake featuring Bernie Marsden, and he also finds the time to record with Empire, so he will not ever be a full time member of our band, but I am certainly hoping I will get the chance to work with him again in the future. But you are right; we are currently auditioning bass players to fill Neil's big shoes so if you know anybody in West London who's up for it; let me know!

8) For the techie, what equipment do you both use?

I used a Gibson Les Paul Standard plugged straight into a 2x50 watt Marshall amp, Ian Robinson used his Tama Rockstar Custom drum kit with Sabian cymbals and Neil Murray used a SKC Bogart bass guitar through a bass amp and cabinet. It was basically recorded without using much post-production and I think that is why the record ended up sounding so raw and fresh. I am really pleased with the sound of it. -My theory is: if it sounds good out from the amp, then it sounds good on the record; so my 2 cents worth advice is: get the the guitar sound right first and tell the engineer to record that sound. That's our philosophy.

9) Do you have any plans to tour or record anything else?

There are some great news in the pipeline for The Fluffy Jackets fans and we are currently in discussions with both promoters and labels as to where we go from here. -I am keen that we get a label that backs us full on though, not only one that want to make a quick buck out of Neil Murray's involvement. -Neil helped us out a great deal, but now we are standing on our own feet and the next record will definitively be a very heavy affair with more original material, hopefully with a permanent bass player.

10) Any final message for your fans?

We are currently building a database of our fans and therefore distributing free copies of our demo while stocks lasts to all our fans: if anybody want any copies: email your post address or contact us via our facebook page and we will send a CD. -Thanks for your support and we hope to see you on the road soon!

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