Senem: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
John Fiddler: Originally, back in the late 60s Medicine Head was Peter Hope-Evans and me. When Peter left in the early 70s, I brought in Keith Relf (Yardbirds) on bass and recorded Medicine Head’s DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Peter returned but left again around 1976. Basically, since then Medicine Head has been just me.
Senem: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
John: Thankfully, I write songs, this has helped me emotionally during this solitary time. I feel for everyone struggling to find purpose and meaning in this new way of living.
Senem: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
John: Yes, lockdown has shown how precious our freedom is, it has shown us how easily and quickly our lives can be completely changed. We’d better use it or lose it….
Senem: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
John: We’ve been called all kinds (hahaha!) from “Proto Folk Punk” to Blues to Rock…I think some kind of freedom and an open mind chose me…
Senem: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
John: My first major stab to the heart musically was when I first heard THE BLUES, I’m sure it was a Muddy Waters song, I wasn’t even 10 years old…That changed my life. Every song I’ve ever written has its roots in The Blues, the search for Freedom and Strong Love.
Senem: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
John: It’s all work in progress, variations on the theme in the classical sense, so there are always changes to be made. Change is constant (“they say the only constant thing in life is change” from my song ONLY THE ROSES). Maybe it’s not about “improving” but embracing the change and doing something different from before? Having said that, I can truthfully say that I’m happy with this album, this collection of songs came along and helped me to reclaim my life. I also know I’m already working on the next..
Senem: How has the overall reception been?
John: Totally positive.
Senem: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
John: When I first started out playing gigs, we just played one-night stands, night after night. Touring as we know it now had not quite begun. I enjoyed the randomness of those times, the unpredictability of those times, the uncertainty, and the creativity. It’s been tough not being able to get out and play gigs, but, the doors are opening again…let’s hope they stay open…
Senem: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
John: I’m doing interviews for the new album and am continuing to record and write the next one. I’m also working on new songs/recordings with Belinda Campbell and Kat Pearson. They both have releases on my record label: LIVING ROOM RECORDS. Dzal Martin and Dave “Bucket” Colwell played some amazing guitar on the WARRIORS album, and I’m working on future projects with them..I have some solo shows coming up in Ireland in September, and willalso look at taking Medicine Head out on the road again! Yeah, it’s looking good!
Senem: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
John: I’ve always thought of myself as a “receiver-transmitter” totally tuned in to respect, freedom, peace, love, equality, the imballance of power and the injustices suffered by so many, and I try to bring a positive yet truthful and poetic edge to my songs which in the early days were described as “skeletal love songs”. I try not to over-analize my songs, but often i seem to “emotionally” tread where I perhaps shouldn’t, and then the WARRIORS OF LOVE find me and show me the way out the maze!
Senem: Who is composing the songs?
Senem: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
John: I’m lucky to have been writing songs for a very long time, so a lot of what inspired my early work is literally from decades ago, but what I recognised very quickly was that almost everything I listened to was either from the USA or drenched in the USA, so it was Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Little Walter, Albert King, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, record labels like Stax and Atlantic, the whole soul explosion with Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Prine…Yes, and so much more, I’m a very lucky man!
Senem: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
John: impossible for me to answer because I’m indelibly saturated by the ink of both.
Senem: What first got you into music?
John: I have two older sisters who were total Rock n Roll freaks in the 50s! they introduced me to Rock n Roll, the wild child of the Blues..One of my sisters was the singer in a “group”, she never stopped singing, and harmonised with every song on the radio or the records she played on the “wind-up” gramophone we played 78s on…my first Rock n Roll purchase was PEGGY SUE by BUDDY HOLLY it was a 78, I think it was on the Coral label…I was obsessed with the drumming on this record, I was 9 or 10 years old at the time and I was hooked!
Senem: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
John: Being able to share your songs and express your feeling and emotions with people is so precious and uplifting…there really is nothing negative as far as I’m concerned. If you can’t stand the heat, stay away from the fire…
Senem: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
John: I do it already, I create my Soul Coloured Pictures. I use inks, paints, water, brushes, pens, and digital processes to make them
Senem: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
John: Stop “manufacturing” bands and “artists” and ban auto tune from every recording
Senem: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
John: if you’re only interested in the music for it’s own sake, then stay on couch and play to yourself. I love to share my songs with people…
Senem: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
John: Early on we played Liverpool Stadium which was a boxing venue, we were supporting a big name artist. Unfortunately, our PA system decided not to work that day, and were not allowed to use the other PA system..I just sat on the edge of the stage and played and sang acoustically to the one thousand plus audience. We all had a total blast, it was amazing! Sometimes, if you get the magic right, you don’t need amplification…
Senem: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
John: Still writing singing and playing relevant songs in today’s world
Senem: Who would you like to collaborate with?
John: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s greatest musicians, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Rory Gallagher, all beyond belief! I think now it would be so cool to do some work with another vocalist/songwriter, maybe someone like Eddie Vedder, I saw him supporting The Who at Wembley Stadium a couple of years ago. Very impressive!
Senem: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
John: Billy Gibbons
Senem: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
John: The Crossroads festival because it works to help people get back on their feet again and of course spreads the news that we can help each other through music.
Senem: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
John: BLONDE ON BLONDE Bob Dylan, SAIL ON Muddy Waters, OTIS BLUE Otis Redding, THE FABULOUS RONETTES The Ronettes, JOHN LENNON Plastic Ono Band
Senem: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Senem: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
John: I’m from the Black Country in the UK, same area as Black Sabbath, Robert Plant, John Bonham, Judas Priest….I haven’t been there for years, but I’m sure Metal/Rock is a live and well and kicking some serious ass there!
Senem: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
John: Constantin Brancusi, John Lennon, Dennis Hopper, Patti Smith, Marlon Brando
Senem: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
John: this is X-rated…..
Senem: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
John: this too is X-rated…..
Senem: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
John: Love one another
Senem: Anything else you think your fans should know?
John: I can never thank them enough for their support through the years. Thank You Forever x
‘Warriors of Love’, the first new album in a decade from Medicine Head, is released on 24 September via Living Room Records.