Toby Michaels Rolling Damned, has been announced as part of the support for the upcoming Heaven’s Basement gig at Mad Hatters, Hootananny on May 31st.
Invernessgigs caught up with frontman Toby Michaels for beer and banter recently and to find out what Toby Michaels Rolling Damned actually is.
“One of the main ideas with Toby Michaels Rolling Damned is portraying raw emotion” he explains “it’s a state of mind…fragility and strength intertwined… other than that its a kick ass band of course”.
Significantly the event will mark the first time that Toby will have other musicians on stage with him for two years, coincidentally that was the last time he supported Heaven’s Basement (although that time it was with old band, Stolen Order). Toby, on noting the coincidence, identifies “it’s nice to start again from the last point with my old band with something new”.
The line-up of the new band is one that Toby is keeping close to his chest for the time being and it’s quite clear the sense of theatre and surprise are elements that he still recognises as valuable. What he did say is that he has got himself back to the standard rock group line-up people may associate him with.
Despite the idea of forming a band being in the back of his mind for the past two years, Toby explained that the line-up just came together, almost out of the blue, describing them as some of the best musicians in Inverness and good friends dedicated to making music and having a good time doing it. A mantra Toby himself has always carried.
The band format has pays dividends to Toby as well “it’s helped me develop my song-writing” he explains “because I’ve got people to bounce ideas off the set’s becoming a different beast because I have strong minded musicians who are helping me make the songs even bigger”. This includes Toby’s “A Little bit of What You Fancy(Does You Good)” which has developed from acoustic standard to an “altered and improved beast”, Toby explained, as the dynamics of the song have changed a fair bit since the new line up.
At the moment Toby is being very coy as to whether the band will be an ongoing project and explained there will be an aspect of seeing how it goes although there is a confidence underlining that. “I have every faith that what we have got together will have everybody very interested ”. In particular it is the freshness of the band sound that Toby emphasises, using the example of one song that draws influences from Iain MacLaughlin and the Outsiders, Foo Fighters and Meatloaf (yes really).
Standing out, to anybody that has experienced a Toby Michaels set, is the level of drama and improvisation in his set. We asked Toby if any of that will be lost in having a full band, Toby recognised that “some of the anarchy, naturally, will have to go, but at the same time having the other four musicians will add another level of anarchy to replace that one” he warns that the rest of the band will just have to “keep on their toes” he reassures Toby fans that “the acting up won’t change, it’s embedded in me, I give 110%. The anarchy is not just on stage but every facet of my life”.
Discussion moves to the name of the band, Toby described the egotistical side of himself (and indeed any singer) with the temptation of the band being called “Toby Michael and The Rolling Damned” although the band’s name retains Toby’s name too it pays respect to the importance of the band and the musicianship. “It sounds silly but that slight difference in the name, for me, means a lot. The guys I am working with are just as important as me in this band… but like any frontman I want MY name to be in lights just as much as a band name.”
The band’s first gig is with Heaven’s Basement who were given a break when they were picked up by Bon Jovi to play in Manchester. They are now signed to Red Bull Records and are using the forthcoming gig as a warm up to Festival appearances this year(most notably Download Festival). “I think it’s a huge opportunity and honour to play to the band and the people around them, It will be incredible to play in front of them and their fans and I would class them as friends and inspirations”. Toby also has a lot of time for the other support on the bill ROADWAY “a band that needs to be taken seriously” who he has grown musically with over the last few years. In particular with close friend Ross Mcewan. “Roadway will bring a party with them on May 31st, a party of sound, energy and fun. Something key to a great gig as much as the Headliners themselves.” Toby goes on. “Toby Michaels Rolling Damned, Roadway and Heavens Basement… it DOESN’T get any more rock ‘n’ roll than that”
At the moment for Toby he intends to continue playing his acoustic sets also as “It’s incredibly close to my heart” recalling the times when he would busk at school at an early age through to playing Belladrum last year . Given the success of his YouTube channel he has informed us he has no intention of stopping at a bare minimum performing acoustically there(his channel known for his System of a Down covers).
However for now Toby Michaels Rolling Damned is Rolling into town May 31st 2012 in what is being promised to be the rock ‘n’ roll night of the year Alongside Roadway and Heaven’s Basement.