WHO ARE YOU...?
Lee Burrows (Drums), Ned Steele (Guitar), Guy Wilson (Bass), Carlos Carrasco (Vocals)
What do you play?
We’re a grunge rock tribute act, primarily focussing in on the dead icons of grunge - Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain - but we throw a few others in for good measure when the mood takes us.
Is there a story behind the band name?
We wanted a name that reflects what we do, the era and as a tribute act, wasn’t too far removed from a recognisable band name of the genre. Two of the biggest acts around at the time were Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden, hence the name STONEGARDEN as an idea. Eventually it stuck.
Where did it all begin?
We’ve all spent a lot of time in and around live music. Lee has been a roadie for some well known acts and all four of us have played live extensively in local bands. We’re no longer youngsters and wanted to form a band that would last, would never go out of fashion, would always appeal to our generation and also to younger generations who discover grunge and most importantly, is good enough to be our last, best band (possibly).
How long have you been playing?
Individually, approaching 40 years each. We started young.
How long has the band been together?
Nearly five years.
How did the band get together?
We’ve all known each other through bands we’ve played in or through friends of friends for some time. Lee, Ned and Guy were together in a band called The Riff but came to a point where we wanted to do this. Carlos was drafted in on vocals and STONEGARDEN were formed.
Have you played the Crooked Crow and did you play before lockdown?
We played there on February 8th 2020
What was it like?
Packed. Great crowd and great fun. And we got rid of a lot of t-shirts. It’s a great venue, brilliant for bands and people wanting to watch live music and all with a friendly, welcoming feel to it - and we definitely want to come back and play again.
Did you play under the tier restrictions?
No, we didn’t get to, but when things open up again we’d play to one table of guests if it meant being able to get out and play live again. We’ve missed it.
How’s the lockdown been?
We’ve rehearsed when restrictions have allowed, but it’s been pretty quiet. There’s not much you can do under the current restrictions.
Have you gigged at all?
The Crooked Crow was our last live performance before it all went pear-shaped.
Have you written any lockdown songs?
Carlos writes songs all the time but as a covers band, we don’t tend to collectively write material, but we’re certainly listening to and learning more grunge material.
How tough has the lockdown been on the music industry?
Pretty disastrous. It’s killed live music for the time being and a lot of venues have obviously struggled. If music pays your bills, you’ll have had to have been pretty lucky to survive this.
Do you think the lockdown will have changed the industry?…if so, how?
Definitely - and nobody really knows to what extent. Live music may not get back to how it was for a very long time, but it will eventually. We have to all believe that. But the ability for kids to pick up old guitars and go and make some noise and just learn what it feels like to make some music - possibly bad music initially - but to eventually learn not to fear being bad, which in itself breeds improvement and better music, has temporarily been suspended.
THE JUICY BITS...
What’s your favourite song in your set?
‘Outshined’ by Soundgarden - it’s a monster song to play but always gets a good audience reaction.
What song would you love to cover but as yet don’t?
'River of Deceit' or 'I don’t know anything’, both by Mad Season. Both these will eventually make the set.
Is there a song that sums up your experience of The Crooked Crow?…if so, what?
Not so much an individual song, but the crowd really seemed to lap up anything by Alice In Chains. If we had to name a song that the crowd shouted for, it would be ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave. By that time of the night we played it, even though we hadn’t rehearsed it for the set, but we got away with it and now it’s in the set.
Is there a song in your set that goes down better at The Crooked Crow than perhaps it would at other venues?
Good question! We’re guessing that ’Smells Like Teen Spirit’ may not go down so well at the local Drum and Bass nighclub.
What’s your best, or most embarrassing band story?
You mean other than staying away recording for a weekend in a former band where the guitarist’s girlfriend chased him with a kitchen knife, or the time the same guitarist put his Marshall cab in the back of a car, closed the rear hatchback and smashed the rear window because he hadn’t put the cab far enough in, or the time we supported a former UK Eurovision winner and only three people turned up, or the time in a former band that a former roadie got so drunk he ran headfirst off the stage and head butted the bar (he regained consciousness eventually), or the time….okay we’ll stop there. All the rock ’n’ roll stories you hear are generally true.
What’s your worst gig (performing or reviewing) and why?
Driving all the way to Great Yarmouth to play to two men and a dog and the PA didn’t turn up anyway (Lee).
What’s your favourite joke?
How do you ask the time off of a man from Birmingham with no arms and no legs?…(in a Brummie accent) Have you got the time on ya cock? (Credit: Rik Mayall)
Who is the singer you would most like to punch in the face?
There are a few, but it may not be opportune to admit who. Suffice to say, Money’s too tight to mention.
If you could play anywhere and anything, where/what would it be?
‘Outshined’ live with a full rig and a full house at The Hammersmith Odeon, or perhaps Wembley Stadium, just to say we’ve done it. That would make it all worthwhile.
Who would win in a fight? A gnome with a machete or a badger with num-chuks?
We’re thinking that the badger may come out on top, even without the num-chuks. They can be vicious.
What does the future hold? Plans for after lockdown?
Getting back to normality, being all the things we love doing, but embracing the new normal which will discard all those things we’ve learnt that we don’t need and can do without. Everyone’s surely got to appreciate life and what they have after this, right?
Longer term aspirations?
Hammersmith Odeon and Wembley Stadium. You’ve got to have a dream, otherwise you’ll never aim bigger.