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Jen talks to the legendary John Steel from The Animals about their upcoming Aussie tour and so much more!

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The Animals were “one of the most important bands” in the British Invasion. Whilst The Beatles and Rolling Stones were the headliners, The Animals were the backbone of blues!

 With their legacy undeniable, Australia is in for a treat when original members John Steel and Mick Gallagher along with Danny Handley and Scott Whitely bring The Animals live experience performing all their greatest hits Live in concert this coming May 2017 Presented by Metropolis Touring. www.metropolistouring.com

 The Animals boasts some of the greatest songs in popular music history – ‘The House of The Rising Sun’, ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place’, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, ‘It’s My Life’, ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ and ‘Boom Boom’ (as featured in the James Bond movie, ‘Skyfall’) to name a few.

 “The band has changed, but the songs remain eternal” – The Independent

 “The Animals earned their name thanks to their wild stage act. That was 50 years ago and they have calmed down since, but their music has lost none of its vigour” – Wales Online

 The Animals had a staggering 9 top 50 hits in Australia –

The House Of The Rising Sun #2

I’m Crying #40

Boom Boom #39

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood #29

Bring It On Home To Me #42

We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place #49

It’s My Life #10

Inside Looking Out #20

Don’t Bring Me Down #20

 I was very keen to interview John Steel as, well, The Animals……I mean who would not want to! It was a fun interview. Talking about eating horse meat in Kazakhstan to me being suspended at school as I yelled out one of their songs, to his wife not being keen to do all the travel hours to come to Australia. It was a great interview, 15 minutes turned into 35, love being last on the list and having an artist that just loves to chat. I admire him for his stamina and his passion for music. His sense of humor also played a huge part in this interview!

I started off asking him how on earth he had the energy to keep doing shows at a legendary level. He answered “I don’t know, I just very lucky to be able to do what I do. I never thought that I would still be doing this at my age. Two days ago I just got home from doing 41 gigs that we have done this year already this year. I am still going strong! It has been a very big start to the year. “

So I told him that he will retire when your body tells him rather than go on to a pre determined age.

“Yes, when my body tells me I am done then that will be it.

I think that this is the best line up we have had since the original lineup. There is a lot of energy and adrenaline in the band. The great thinking about it is that we really like working together, it is good fun, we do is show then we have a drink after the show and it is a pleasure to do what we do.”

I asked how many times he had been to Australia.

John replied that he thought that they had 3 visits since the late nineties. Only short visits. “This is a decent 3 weeks. After having been in Germany and Sweden for the last few months, snow everywhere and freezing temperatures I’m looking forward to be somewhere warm!”

I was interested to see if he had any time to relax and take some time to see our sights but from previous experience he said  “ I never plan on this sort of thing because you never know how much time you are going to have. There is so much time spent traveling, then there’s sound check and some interviews, then the show, then a bit of a meet and greet afterwards. somehow the time just seems to disappear. I never say I am going to go swimming off the Great Barrier Reef because it might never work out.”

I told John that he needs to come here on a holiday and he said that he wants to but his wife does not like all the travel time. Which is a fair point!

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I only asked one question about the past, as I didn’t want to focus a lot on it…. I asked, “John You left the music industry after The Animals finished, was there a reason why?”

Yes, it was a great ride but it was a stressful ride in a way, we did some great stuff and we did some great tours and everything but it was just so constant, when we weren’t touring we were recording and it was like that continually and I think our management was a bit too greedy as Ithey kept us working too hard and too long. After three years I think we just kind of cracked and I said that I have enough and I’m out of here. I never felt like I was never going to do it again, I’ve always played music in one form or another ever since then. Now it is 50 years on and I’m still doing it!”

I told him my story to do with The Animals…..

“I got suspended at school once as during a compulsory choir practice at a girls school as I screamed We got get out of this Place, then everyone joined in….if it is then last thing I ever do. The teacher was furious! It was pretty funny. Ironically I am now a part time teacher and have the worst case of karma ever.”

John loved that story and kept laughing at me. We discussed the song, how it reached across generations and that it has become a sort of Anthem as a song. We discussed The Angels covering the song, he had not heard that they had done that until the day before. I explained that the few people that I had told I was interviewing The Animals and how they said they did not know them but once I said a few songs they knew them. He said that it was common after gigs for people to tell him that.

I asked John about the new band members Pete Barton and Danny Handley, what’s their stories prior to joining The Animals. John explained that Danny was actually an agent and that he’ had  been responsible for his last 20 years. Pete was singing but had some health issues so suggested Danny to do a couple of gigs with them and they were happy with him. He told me that when he was asked to start up the band again he rang Chaz, an original member and one of his great friends, to ask for advice and luckily Chaz said Go for it! so he did. Thanks Chaz!

Good news for us, John said that the band is the best they have had since the original line up. He said that they are all good friends and that helps. Not many people can say about their jobs “This is so enjoyable I can’t believe that I get paid for this!”

We discussed set lists and how they always play the hits but mix up the songs from the rest of their catalogue as there is just so many. He said that it keeps the band fresh and on their toes.

I wanted to know  “What is the biggest difference that you have found over the years in regards to touring. Being on the road now would be so different now?”

“There is not a huge difference really, we play at many more countries than we ever did in the early days, a couple of years ago were in Kazakhstan eating horse meat! “ Being Australian and us not eating horse meat I expressed my disgust but he explained that it was a delicacy over there. John reminded me when the UK has some trouble with their minced beef having horse meat and the people in Kazakhstan could not believe the fuss made. We discussed that that was probably the difference from touring now going to so many different countries than in the 60s.We had more laughs over the different drinks that he had tried all over the world.

This was now 20 minutes into a 15 minute interview but as I was the last on the list John wanted to keep talking. I decided to ask him “I am curious, do people recognize you when you walk down the street? “ He replied “Now and then they do, and people tell me that I have not change much throughout the years. Every once in awhile someone will point me and say hey are you what his name? I always reply yes I am!”

We got talking about how last year there was a front page article in the newspaper saying “John Steel is dead”  and how he found really funny and his friends would ring him and ask if he was dead. The article was in full color with big headlines and everything. We then went though what questions that people could of asked and were laughing hysterically.

Then we talked about how 2016 was like a cull of talented musicians. Got a bit sad then reminiscing but bounced back with a general question.

I asked him what kind of venue was his favorite to play in because he had played in every sort of arena/venue possible. John said that he liked the smaller venue, the sweaty real rock ’n’ roll fans. He also liked playing in theaters and how you really had to be disciplined to play to seated audience.

For some reason or another we then got talking about them being a cocky band and could handle any situation that they were given. So on that note I told him that I was so looking forward to him proving that when they come down here.

I also told him about Guns and Rose’s slip up about mixing up Melbourne and Sydney and we had a laugh over that too. I told him the intense rivalry. He was very interested.  I told him to remember where he was!

It was great to chat with John and he enjoyed our chat. What a guy! Bring on the tour!

The Animals Australian Tour Dates

Saturday 6th May – GOLD COAST Southport RSL

Sunday 7th May – SUNSHINE COAST Aussie World

Wednesday 10th May – SYDNEY The Basement

Thursday 11th May – KATOOMBA Katoomba RSL

Friday 12th May – MELBOURNE The Palms at Crown

Saturday 13th May – ADELAIDE The Gov

Monday 15th May – NEWCASTLE Lizotte’s

Wednesday 17th May – CANBERRA Southern Cross Club

Thursday 18th May – WOLLONGONG Centro CBD

Friday 19th May – CENTRAL COAST Doyalson RSL

Saturday 20th May – ROOTY HILL Rooty Hill RSL

Sunday 21st May – ROZELLE The Bridge Hotel

 Tickets Via – http://www.metropolistouring.com/theanimals

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