Headline Maniac are hard, charismatic and talented rockers who are totally at ease on stage and very crowd-pleasing. Led by strong, raspy vocals and a visible camaraderie that powers the songs through. These guys are cool personified and have the requisite prowess to go far. I saw them recently at The Cambridge Rock Festival and can say they did not disappoint. They had the crowd in all smiles so much so that the audience wanted more and demanded an encore. They came back in and performed ‘Born To Be Wild’ with a fast rhythm and rocking clear vocals which made everyone go wild and rightly so. After their set, I sat down with them to discuss how they ended up together and the details about their own label along with a few back stories behind the songs!
Have you played this festival before? How do you find it here?
Simon (Drums/Vocals)-We played the very first one, but yeah, we have played it like 6 or 7 times. I think we have only missed a couple. Its good fun, it’s always been a great four day festival.
How would you describe your sound?
Dipster Dean (Lead Vocals/Bass Guitar)-Hard! We just play it hard but it’s not hard metal. Just rock, good stories, good melodies.
Will you be catching up with the guys from Eddie and The Hotrods?
Simon- Yeah, of course! All the bands we played with and toured with over the years, I mean, it’s amazing we have never fallen out. We spend so much time together on the road and in hotels and stuff whereas other bands will travel separate. But generally, its good, even if they all haven’t been great tours! Some tours, when you get there, are badly organised or badly promoted, where other bands would start fighting or something. We will group together and stand up for each other. We have always been like that. That’s why its lasted 20 plus years. We are still with them, we will be playing with them later today. What happened you see is, we wrote some songs, they didn’t fit The Hot Rods style but we went out and played them together and we thought, ‘Those sound pretty good!’ and we emerged into what we are now.
Chris (Guitar/ Vocals)-It wasn’t any game plan, our work but it has expanded.
Simon-It really started off as a little side project, and as a few magazines heard it, and said this is good stuff. And we kinda went, ‘We are getting great reviews, and people are saying, “When are you gonna be playing?” ‘ The original line up with Eddie and The Hot Rods celebrated their 40th anniversary last year, we managed to get all the original line up together, and Headline Maniac opened the show, a big London show. And, people just kept saying, ‘When are you gonna play live?’ and we decided to just carry on doing it.
Dipster-We only had three rehearsals before the show, and it just went from there. We have played together for years.
Tell me how you came to have your own label?
Simon-Same thing really. As Eddie and The Hot Rods, we got signed to two or three labels or the last 15 years and every single one of them has been a complete let down. You know, they promise you the world, you get dragged in to record the album, they release a few reviews, and then they say, ‘We’ve done our bit’ and we were like, ‘You’ve done nothing’. We were looking to record our brand new Eddie and The Hot Rod albums, and we just thought, we are done with record labels, the record industry is pretty much dead anyway, so we decided to form our own label. So, we are put the plans in process, to do a label to release everything of the Eddie and The Hot Rods back catalog and everything. And then when we recorded this, we kinda decided, why look for a record label, we could release everything on the same label. All in-house. The Eddie and The Hot Rods stuff is on it, our stuff is on it, Richard the guitar player for Eddie and The Hot Rods has just recorded a solo album, so his stuff is on it, and that way we are in control of it. We decide on everything, what we are gonna do, how much we are gonna spend on promotion and we make sure the promotion is actually done rather than someone say they will do it and not get it done at all.
I love ‘Idiot Me’, tell me the background for that?
Dipster Dean-It’s about me, about what I’ve done on the road. ‘Idiot Me’ is about when you look at yourself and you realise you aren’t as big as you think you are, that’s all it is.
Simon-Headline Maniac was all Dipster’s idea. The name of the band comes from Dipster’s full name.
Dipster-You remember like Jim Morrison, ‘Mojo Rising’ anagram, well I did my full name in an anagram site, and it came up with Headline Maniac and I thought that was perfect! It’s what we are.
Simon-A lot of the songs are about us, like ‘Idiot Me’, relationships, tour stories, regrets, deceit and lies. Realising, when you come back from tour for three months and done things you shouldn’t do.
Dipster-Yeah, you write about them!
Simon-You come back, and you have a bust up, and you kinda go, ‘I was an idiot!’ The thing is when you are out on tour, you got a lot of people telling you how good you are, they give you everything you want, you don’t have to lift a finger. Then, you come back and your wife or girlfriend goes, ‘You are nothing special mate. Just because you have been special for the last three months doesn’t mean anything. You have now come back down to earth.’ It’s our journey on the road. There are the good bits, and the bad bits of being on tour.
Chris-And there is also stuff about lust and desire which is a common thing.
What’s up next after this weekend?
Simon-Through August we are busy. We are playing The Monarch in London on a Sunday when the have ‘Metalworks’ when they have a lot of guest bands and we have been invited along to that and do a full set there. We have got Wayfest, another big festival. The week after that we are at The Hunger Club with a band called The Tearaways from California. Then we are working on a live album. We are going to take tracks from the festivals we have done. We will probably aim to have that out sort of November for Christmas and all. And, we are writing for the next studio album too, so album number two which should be out next year.
Dipster-It will have eleven or twelve tracks to it. We should tour on that maybe in the Spring.
Simon-We made a conscious decision that we did not want to travel up and down the country playing little clubs, we have already done that, over the past twenty years. We have all got families. We would rather play six or seven really good festivals. Then, if there is enough interest, then we will tour. That is quickest way for a band to disband is playing another Saturday night to six people or something like that. It doesn’t work. We have found, over the last ten years, that package tours are the wat forward. If you can package yourself up, with another three or four bands, that’s the way to get the people.
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