LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Andrew Pipe: The current line up of the band with me, my brother & keyboard player Jamie Pipe plus singer/multi instrumentalist David Neil Crabtree has been together since late 2018. The band was formed by me and Jamie way back in 2008, Initially as a duo but a year or so later we moulded in to a trio with our then drummer Nick. Albums and tons of international touring later and here we are, about to release our third album ‘Recipe For Change’ in October! It’s a pleasure to be in a band with Jamie & Dave!
LOMM: 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?
Jamie Pipe: It’s been really strange and hard not being on the road to play shows as for a lot of musicians, this is their main income. I’ve just been thinking positively about things and having all this spare time has meant loads of time for creativity and getting the new album finished, which we are immensely proud of! Now things are getting more normal, we are itching to get back on the road very soon.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Andrew: We created & recorded most of the new album throughout the first two lockdowns, working remotely between ourselves and our team. It was actually a very creative time, albeit odd!
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Andrew:I think it’s very hard to class our music as one genre. It’s rock music, but it’s got so much more in it than that.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Jamie: Since the album announcement – great!
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Andrew:Many times! It’s been hard not to tour for a while due to the pandemic but as mentioned previously, it’s given us time to write and be creative.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Andrew:Obviously releasing the album in October & then UK/Europe touring in support of the album! All exciting things!
LOMM: 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?
Andrew:We are super proud of our new album. It’s a dream album for us all in many ways.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
David: Andrew and Jamie have been working on some of the music for the album since before I was even in the band but I think things have obviously really come together through the pandemic. During that initial lockdown we had a zoom meeting about the new songs and I remember just being played a small clip of what became ‘Opened My Eyes’. I immediately had lyric ideas that really outlined what this whole album is thematically about.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Andrew:I composed most of the music on the new album, working on a couple with Jamie, then took them to Dave & our friend and songwriter John P Taylor respectively to co write the lyrics. A very collaborative effort indeed!
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
David: I’m a big fan of Canadian Rock band Rush and take a lot of inspiration from them. Neil Peart is one of my favourite lyricists of all time. I share a lot of influences with Andrew and Jamie as well. Bands like Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy and Genesis. Peter Gabriel is of the greatest vocalists ever in my opinion and I try to learn from his style.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Jamie:That is a hard one. I would say there is very exciting things about doing both of those! It’s amazing to see music and an album being created in the studio and a masterpiece taking shape. Being on the road is as important and as exciting. The fans get to hear the tracks live, also performing our music and craft to a live audience is a drug that we can’t live without.
LOMM: What first got you into music?David: Music was always playing in our house when I was a kid and there was so much variety. I vividly remember wanting to play an instrument after watching the movie ‘The Blues Brothers’. That was the moment I thought I’d like to be a musician.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
David: The best thing about being a musician is that connection you get with the audience when you perform live. It’s such an amazing buzz playing music for people and I’ve missed it so much during the last 18 months. The thing I haven’t missed is trying to get to sleep in the back of the van on the way back from a gig. I’m 6ft 3 and I just don’t fit!
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Andrew: Always something creative!
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Andrew:I think currently the music industry has many positives and negatives. I think more exposure for lesser known or new bands in mainstream media would be nice, plus a better streaming royalty rate for artists is much needed. On the positive side, I think opportunities for independent artists are getting bigger all the time!
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
David:I think those things have to come together ideally. If the audience isn’t enjoying it, or I’m doing something I don’t feel passionate about, then the show isn’t going to be what either of us wants.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Andrew: There are so many! Our first tour of Europe supporting Wishbone Ash was memorable as it was such an amazing experience for us, especially at that age (late teens/early 20s). We’ve had some great festival shows too.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Jamie: Probably being able to be a working, recording and touring band and doing our own thing. Not following any musical trends or relying on TV talent shows. Our dedicated fan base has been made organically from constant touring.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Jamie:Thats a hard question, probably with Thijs Van Leer.
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Jamie: I personally would love to go on tour with Uriah Heep as they are such an exciting live band. We have been so lucky and fortunate to tour with a lot of our favourite bands such as the mighty Wishbone Ash and Focus.
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Andrew: I think Cropredy Festival here in England for me. It’s possibly the world’s most friendly festival with always incredible artists playing. It’s capacity is 20,000 so it’s not huge but just the right size!
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favourite albums? Include controversial ones.
Andrew:Some favourites are:
Argus – Wishbone Ash
Animals – Pink Floyd
Escape – Journey
90125 – Yes
Trick of The Tail – Genesis
A couple of recent favourites are:
Water Sign – Chris Rea
Renaissance – Ashes Are Burning
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Andrew:I love vinyl. I’m not a serious record collector, but I buy the albums I love.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Andrew:We all are from the North East of England. North Yorkshire to be precise. There is a great heritage of music here. David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers & Chris Rea, who are some of the worlds greatest vocalists all grew up about 15 mins down the road. Not to mention Mark Knopfler, Sting & The Animals not far away in Newcastle! It’s a beautiful area of the world.
LOMM: 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?
David: Tough question – I’m going for JRR Tolkien, Brian Clough, George Harrison, Frank Zappa and Billy Connolly. What a weird and funny night that would be…
LOMM: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
David: Ah there have been plenty. One that sticks out was a festival on a friends farm that ran over really late. I didn’t get onstage until 3am and I didn’t know whether I wanted more beer or coffee. We played our set and came off stage and it was light outside. Great fun but it’s definitely not advisable to go on stage that late!
LOMM: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Andrew: I’ve actually had some lovely gifts from fans! It’s hugely appreciated!
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Andrew: Thank you for all the support! It means the world & it allows us to follow our dreams.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Andrew:We hope you will enjoy the new album ‘A Recipe For Change’ when it is released in October. See you on the road soon hopefully!
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time.
‘Recipe For Change’ is The Mentulls’ 3rd album and is released on 22 October