Q & A Archive - May 2004


Q: Danny, first of all very best wishes for your upcoming surgery. I've seen you answer the question before about how you draw on your own experiences to bring the emotion into lyrics written by Luke but I wondered whether despite knowing him so well, you've ever found out things you didn't know already purely through his lyrics. And to Luke, if you are writing lyrics that are based on some personal experience, do you just write straight from the heart or with Danny at the back of your mind as the one who'll be interpreting them. Ann
D: I could (and did) write a very silly response to this question (but I deleted it, you asked sincerely, so the least I can do is answer it in the same way). I think the answer is no for my part. Luke has written so many songs about so many different subjects, and because we've been together so long, most of the experiences are shared (not all, most).

Q: Harry, I've noticed that when you're playing you often change your grip on your drumsticks so that they are between your index and middle fingers, instead of thumb and index finger. What's the reason? Also, you've played Pearl drums for donkeys years - why do you prefer them over Tama, Ludwig etc. etc.? You always get a superb drum sound both live and in the studio so maybe I've just answered my own question! Good luck to the Eagles in the play-offs, btw. Cheers. John
H: Well spotted John. I've no idea why I do it to be honest. It's a habit that's just crept in over the years. I suppose with Pearl, I'm just used to the resonance of the drums and they sound great. Glad you agree! Also there is a sense of loyalty on my behalf, because they have supported me over the years. Thanks for the good luck wishes.

Q: Hi, where and when was THE first thunder gig? how did it go? Did you have a recording deal waiting already? Was it all back street songs? And Chris, when did you first hear the band, what were you up to at the time? Mark, Swindon
D: The first show was at a place called Reids in Southend in the summer of 1989. We had signed a record deal with EMI and were playing shows immediately prior to going into the studio to record Backstreet Symphony. The songs were all from BSS as far as I can remember.
B: I remember it well, it was Reid's in Southend.  The audience consisted of four men and a small dog and I seem to remember the dog walked out. It never ceases to amaze me how many people I've met who've told me they were at that show, it must be numbering fifty or sixty by now.

Q: What year did you support 'Heart' on their 'Brigade' tour and was Nancy 'worth one'. John Watson, Liverpool
B: 1. Check the history page.
2. Yes but here sister was worth nine.
L: If you are asking whether or not Nancy is attractive the answer is definitely yes but she was already married to the movie director/writer Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous - Nancy wrote the soundtrack) when we toured together so any funny business was out of the question. Now Ann on the other hand................sorry; my lawyer has advised me to say nothing on the
grounds it may intimidate someone..............

Q: After listening to Low life... at the Bedford and listening to the audience participation, I was wondering what are the most memorable experiences in terms of audience participation that you've had? I guess for the Bon Jovi gigs you had several thousand singing/ dancing, etc. but are there any performances where you were just amazed and thought "Oh Yes!"? James Vincent
L: There's been many times we've been genuinely moved by an audience. The most recent that spring to mind are the gigs we did last year in London and Glasgow...exceptionally loud.

Q: Call me strange, but I suddenly felt a strange urge to ask you all what your favourite salad dressing is?  :::shrug:::  I quite like Vidalia Onion Vinegarette myself..... Dana, Utah
L: For me it's a close run thing between Caesar and a dressing I make myself which is a mixture of toasted sesame oil and balsamic vinegar.
H: I love thousand island dressing to go on me prawn cocktail.....god bless ya guvnor!
B: I love Ranch dressing, especially the dried one you have to make up yourself second only to a real strong blue cheese. Notice no cheap jokes about undressing - I must be growing up.
D: I'm a traditional Italian dressing man. Simple but very tasty...

Q: Seeing as there are normally set roles within bands, I was just wondering who is the grumpiest in the mornings? Also, which one of you is the prankster in the band and finally: the social butterfly? Thanks dudes, and looking forward to seeing you live this year! Jillian
L: Benny would be the grumpiest if he ever saw morning!! We can all be pranksters at times and I'm the social butterfly!!
H: Ben is not exactly the grumpiest in the mornings, it's just that he doesn't say an awful lot! That's when he sees the morning that is! (hey! I can talk!!). Ben is also the main prankster and Luke is definitely the social butterfly.
D: Ben is possibly the most allergic to mornings, though he is seldom grumpy. I am not allergic to mornings, and mostly happy, but I'm also capable of grumpiness at any time. Ben is the prankster, though we all have our moments. Luke is definitely the social one, always out in town in his new boob tube..
B: For some reason I did get a reputation as being a little grumpy in the morning but I as I don't get up until the afternoon it can hardly be true.

Q: Hi guys, I was at one of the Christmas Bedford gigs and must say it was marvellous, as is the CD. I am also looking forward to the DVD release. I do notice however that there are several tracks that were played that aren't being released on either the CD or the DVD. As I am a greedy bugger who would like to be able to relive the entire evening again, I feel that this is a  bit of a shame ! Is there any chance that these "missing tracks" may get a later release or that you may stick a few of them on the site for us to listen to? Mark
D: This is a valid question, but I'm afraid the songs we've left off are not suitable for various reasons both technical and artistic. When filming and recording the audio for shows such as these, there are a great many things that can (and frequently do) go wrong. Luckily these were few and far between, but where they occur, the songs are inevitably lost. It's a shame, but it does happen. Also, the quality of performance is something we strive to keep at a high level, we're not looking for perfection of course (the mistakes are nearly always good fun), but we're not into cheating and fixing up live stuff, so if it's not deemed by us to be up to scratch, we'd rather it didn't make it into the world.

Q: Hi guys, just a silly little question for you, Danny, what was up with your watch at the London Guitar show, nothing too serious I hope?, it was nice to catch up with you all again, shame we didn't see Chris, but will see you in November, and i still owe Danny a beer. Dale, Uxbridge
D: Silly question indeed... There was nothing wrong with my watch, except there was a fool attached to it. I own several but hardly ever wear one, so when I do I tend to be constantly aware of it being there. I gather from your question that I must have been twiddling with it (again). Glad you enjoyed the show. Must go check my watch is OK...

Q: Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the acoustic set at The Guitar Show, one question springs to mind, where was Chris? Not that I didn't appreciate Ben's efforts on the bass of course!! I did hang around after for a while in the hope of meeting up for a chat with one of you but I basically ended up getting lost in the maze that is the exhibition centre with people trying to sell me guitars and things... I did get chatting to one man who saw the acoustic set who had never heard of you; after I explained that you were the best band on the planet he ended up asking me when your next gig was, so I think you've got another fan!! (You can pay me my commission later!) Anyway, looking forward to seeing you in June for the Bowes and Morley
gig. Will there be meet and greets for them shows? Maria Savva, Hertford
D: Well done on the fan conversion, you just need to do it again a few hundred times a week and a lovely prize will be yours... Chris was otherwise engaged with The Illegal Eagles tour, he was choked to miss the LGS, but it couldn't be helped. I thought Harry and Ben did splendidly on bass. Unfortunately the traffic in and around Wembley made us arrive late so it was all a bit fraught backstage (and onstage), and the encore had to be cut, but on the whole it seemed to go well enough. Other commitments meant we had to shoot off pretty much straight afterwards, but we did manage a quick 20 minutes worth of signing and pics by the Marshall stand in the exhibition. Thanks to all who showed up and flew the flag, and to all who made it possible.

Q: I was listening to BSS for the hundredth+ time yesterday and noticed for the first time a vocal similarity between Danny and a certain Noddy Holder of Slade fame! Have you ever been aware of this yourself? It also started me thinking of what Slade covers Thunder would made a good job of. I think Mama Weer All Crazee Now would be a suitable number to cover on a future tour. What are your Slade favorites apart from Merry Xmas Everybody? Andy, Haslingden 
D: I loved Slade as a kid, and was chuffed to open for them once a long time ago (another band, another haircut). I was amazed at how effortless it was for Noddy Holder as he sang. There are some killer notes in their songs and it's obviously a natural thing for him, because he made it look very easy indeed. Given the above I guess it's only natural that some Noddy influence may have crept into my style, but it wasn't consciously done. I always wanted to do Coz I Luv You, or Get Down Get With It, and who knows, it may happen one day..

Q: Just been sweating on Gillingham staying up, were you worried at any time and will you be going to the games. Good Luck. Paul, Gravesend
H: Yes I was pretty worried mate but thanks to West Ham, we've got our chance in the play offs. Must be a relief for you-I know! I was there a couple of seasons ago. I'm hoping to go on Friday night and the play off final..... if we get there of course! Fingers...thumbs..everything crossed!!

Q: Harry have you seen the film "League of Extraordinary Gentelmen"? if so, don't you think the invisible man looks like you when he puts on his White make up?! Michael, Wales 
H: No I haven't Michael but I will check it out! Obviously a remarkably handsome actor took on this role...........

Q: Harry, all right mate? As a self taught tub thumper with only one very short lesson under my belt, similar to yourself, I am trying to learn different tricks of the drumming trade, and might I say you are a big influence to my playing and inspiration as a self taught drummer, and my question is at the Bedford gig, superb by the way! Did you use any special sticks to play in a mainly softer acoustic set? or do you just not thump as 'ard! Dom, Southend 
H: Thanks Dom. I used "Hot Rods" made by Pro Mark for the Bedford show. They are quieter and compliment an acoustic set very nicely, and you can thump nearly as 'ard!!

Q: Hi guys. Just wondering what is your fav cover version you have done. My personal fav is Gimme Shelter which is awesome and blows the Stones version way out of the water. When the guitar starts my head goes and the air guitar comes out. Are there any rock tracks you would like to cover? Rob Fletcher
H: I agree with you Rob! My personal fav is also Gimme Shelter and as far as other cover versions go, there are no particular tracks that leap out as potential Thunder songs - these things tend to happen in the spur of the moment.......after a drink or two normally.
B: No real favourite as it changes from day to day, saying that “In A Broken Dream” stands out as a great version of a great song. We often jam cover versions at soundcheck, it can sound quite good until we get to a bit that we don’t know – then everyone sticks their hands in the air, admits defeat and shouts “play one we know”

Q: As the celebrations of St. Paddy's day drift away ..I was wondering, are there any Irish musicians/singers/bands that you enjoy listening to (apart from Val Doonican and the GORGEOUS Daniel O'Donnell of course!!)? Angela, Surbiton
H: I'm a big fan of U2 so it would have to be Bono and his mates!!
B: The Coors but I don't really need to have the sound up to enjoy them.
D: I liked U2 for a while until it all got a bit "up own bum", I loved Thin Lizzy as a yoof, saw them loads of times, even wrote to their management company asking for a job making tea/sweeping up, got a signed photo in return and no reply, went off them as a result. Daniel O'D is obviously gifted and never off my player nowadays, but apart from that, nothing really blows my hair back..

Q: What’s your favourite cuisine? Will you try anything for a one-off? Over here in Australia, my temporary residence, there’s kangaroo, crocodile and different fish in addition to the “standard” meat. Personally, I quite like kangaroo and it’s one of the better meats. Have you had any strange or exotic dishes on your travels? If you could come down-under you would go down a storm in Melbourne. Looking forward to Thunder ventures in 2005 – if there’s another Christmas party on the cards I might come back a little bit earlier – any (possible) plans? James Vincent
H: I'm a bit partial to Chinese food and having travelled the world with the boys, I have tried a few things that I normally wouldn't have done. I'm not a fish fan but eat plenty in Japan. Loved it! South America was a bit of an eye opener. Ate a few weird cuts of meat there I can tell you! Can't say that kangaroo meat gets my taste buds going....but hey...I'll try anything once. Would love to come to Australia given half a chance! As for Christmas, not sure yet. If we can fit a little Christmas party in, I'm sure we would.
L: Just around the corner from where I live is an old pie and mash shop and I do occasionally pop in there for pie, mash and hot eels. Not everybody's cup of tea but there you go.
D: You believe in getting all the questions in together don't you. I'll eat pretty much anything, and over the years we've been exposed to most dishes. I've never had kangaroo or crocodile, so you have me at a disadvantage there but I have eaten crab brains, and that was an experience I won't forget in a hurry. I agree the band would go down well in Australia, I've never been there and it burns me almost on a daily basis, but they seem to like no nonsense bands that can play, so I'll get there one way or another. All we need is an offer.. There is talk of a second Xmas party this year, but apart from moving it to another part of the country, there's nothing solid to speak of.
B: I think it must be Japanese food, wonderful textures and sublime flavours, I can’t get enough when I’m over there. It was in Japan that I had one of my strangest meals – Liver Sashimi (raw liver) in peanut oil. Only Luke and I were brave enough to eat it. How do you catch a Kangaroo if you want to eat it?

Q: 1. Watched TOTP last Friday (obligatory viewing with teenage kids before the gardening progs on BBC 2!) and couldn't help noticing that the lead singer of "The Rasmus" (No.3 in this week's charts) was wearing a Thunder T-Shirt! Do you have any promo deal with them or was it just serendipity? 2. Have any of you traced your ancestry (or would you rather not know who your real parents are!) ? *Pompey* Paul, Portsmouth
H: Yes I heard that! Maybe he thought he would win the Thunder photo competition - unfortunately he was too late! No I've never traced my ancestry and it's something I've been meaning to do for some time now.
B: No deals, if they are at No 3 they can afford to buy one. I've never traced my ancestry as Matthews is a fairly widespread name. I think we have our own volume of the telephone directory. I do know that Wales features heavily in our past.
L: 1) Nothing to do with us at although it's all good for business.
2) Never done it although it would be quite an interesting thing to do one day.
D: Our friend Jason took photos of The Rasmus on the same day they did TOTP. Apparently the singer showed up wearing the shirt, then went on to the BBC. NO idea how it came about, perhaps he liked the colours. My family ancestry is a little shady, I'm told by elderly relatives that my great grandfather altered the family surname in order to join the army (he'd tried previously using his proper name but they discovered he was too young and threw him out). Undeterred he went on to another army recruitment centre and gave them another name (he stole it from the Queen Mother, who was Bowes-Lyon). Not surprising details are scarce, but I'm not driven to find out the grim truth about way back when, the closer stuff is bad enough!

Q: I've just come home from my hols in Florida. I got very excited to see SATS in the largest Virgin store which is in downtown Disney. Not the kind of place I would have expected to see it. Where would you be most excited to see one of your albums? Gillian, Durham
H: I get excited to see a Thunder album in any CD store. My family has been known to rearrange CD's in a store so that the Thunder CD's are in full view! "That's my son" OR "That's my Dad" kinda vibe!! Sad really! 
B: At the top of the Billboard chart would be nice.
D: In any store in Downtown Disney....

Q: Chaps, be honest with this one (i.e. don't just say "The Last Album") ... but which album do you rate most highly in your back catalogue in terms of quality of songs. Being h onest myself, my preference is still your first. It's a bit like Van Halen's first - very hard to follow. Axel Thomas, Stockport
H: This is not a cop out(!) but I rate them all. I think the quality of songs are very high on all of the albums. It's down to personal taste I know (everyone has their fav tracks/albums) and the first album did pave the way for the band (had a very good looking chap on the front cover!). The quality of songs, dare I say, has been high ever since. Luke deserves a bit of a pat on the back!
B: "The last Album" (I hate being told that I can't say something).
C: My personal favourite is Giving The Game Away. The songs on that album are some of Luke's finest.
L: How we all judge/rate an album isn't just about the album itself; other factors come into play such as where you are and what you're doing at the time of listening. What matters most is not what we think, its what the audience thinks. We have to look forward and try to do the best work we can therefore I would say the next album!!!! That'll teach you to ask daft questions........
D: I personally find it impossible to choose one album from another, as they were all great to make. I always say the last one when asked as it's simply the easiest to remember. As for rating the music, this is even harder for me as so much of it is wrapped up in the emotions and the memories of the time. I love them all..

Q: You are all very willing to sign anything and everything! Do you own any autographs yourselves? Margie B., Wales
H: A very good friend of mine, recently gave me a football that was signed by the whole of the Crystal Palace football team. Thanks Bob!
B: I don’t have any myself but I’d like one from Bill Gates along with his cheque book.
L: I have Bobby Charlton and the whole Manchester City squad from the 69/70 season.
D: No, it's never appealed to me. I'd only lose it if I got one.

Q: What 3 things would you put into room 101?? Mark, Swindon
H: Firstly I'd have to say...traffic wardens...their all out to get me! Secondly......my alarm clock....I'm not great at getting up in the
mornings.....and lastly...football hooligans.....why? 
B: I've been waiting ages to do this. It's a shame there's only three candidates!
1. The word 'like' as in "Room 101 is, like, a really good show". What's wrong with 'er' 
2. All Reality TV shows
3. Call centres
L: Hello magazine and all similar publications; utterly vaccuous rubbish contributing nothing positive to the world. 
Pop Idol; enough already! 
Big Brother; who cares?
D: If I spent more than 5 minutes thinking about it I could make a very long list of things, and I have many serious ones, but I believe this question was asked in a light hearted spirit, so I'll respond in kind. Here are three straight off the top of my head.
Weather people (they always get it wrong and they never say sorry the next day).
Dark winter days (depressing, I need sunshine).
Trolleys (airport or Supermarket) that want to turn left all the time when I want to go straight. I always manage to get the psycho trolley from hell, when everyone else seems to pick one that does what it's told.

Q: Just for fun. Imagine that tomorrow THUNDER will make shows like KISS. What would represent your make up? Bye. Luc, France
H: Erm.....make up! A bit of chalk on the visage.......stick my tongue out a bit and...........wear a wig!
B: Something along the lines of Marcel Marceau I guess - Let me out of this box will you.
I would use:
Foundation – Taut Feather Light Makeup in a mix of Ivory and Porcelain
Powder – Lois set foundation with Taut powder in Ivory
Blush – Taut Dusty Rose on cheek
Eyes – I would go for a very clean, “no make-up” look. La Femme Green and Grey mixed together for a very matte eye.
Mascara – Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara in Black
Lips – Clinique Guava Stain
Oops am I sounding too enthusiastic?
D: For me to get my fully made up persona out of the cupboard, it would have to be a very special occasion (I find a huge fee always makes it quite special), but before we start you must be aware that I couldn't possibly be ready by tomorrow. There are so many layers of make up to apply, my 24" curly wig needs dry cleaning, my feathers need to be plucked from only the youngest and finest ostriches, my silver/black lurex one piece studded catsuit will need adjusting (it's been years) and my costume designer is very temperamental (he will not be hurried), my thigh length sabre tooth tiger teeth boots need repairing (more teeth
required and some fleas to evict). The list is endless, so you see, if you want me in my full glory, it will take some time to achieve, but be assured it will be well worth the wait............

Q: Hello guys, If you have looked at the song vote section, are there any results that have suprised you...e.g. a song you thought would be near the top at the bottom, or vice versa? Dave
H: Did think Dirty Love would have been top and I'm surprised that "You Don't Know What Love Is" has come as high as it has. There are quite a few ballads near the top which does go to show that there are a lot of romantic Thunder fans. Love from Harry xx
L: I think it's interesting that there are so many ballads in the top twenty. You must be all be hopeless romantics!!
B: 'You Don't Know What Love Is' – now that was a real dark horse.

Q: What ever happened to the thunderbirds? Peter Williams, (Smelly) Widnes
H: Well...Thunderbirds are go....and I looked round...and they were gone!
B: Still on Tracey Island is my guess apart from the one they send up into space (should have used a better deodorant).
D: You know the expression "Thunderbirds Are Go", well after the show at Donington in 1990, they went...

Q: Gentlemen, your thoughts on lip synching please, after the alleged lip synching of Britney Spears at her Wembley shows. I can't remember and don't have the evidence but were any TV performances lip synched by the band? James Vincent 
D: This is a good one...The practice of Lip Sync, or miming as I call it, has gone on for many years, and is commonplace on TV. It's argued that some singers don't sing live on TV because they can't sing, and I'm sure that's true in some cases, but in my experience TV sound for live music is usually awful. Very few music TV shows get it right, so you can understand why record labels and artists sometimes elect to mime rather than have their latest hit possibly ruined by dodgy TV sound engineers. There are a few notable exceptions, The Tube (80's) and The Old Grey Whistle Test (70's), both shows had fantastic live sound. I'm not condoning miming, merely explaining how it comes about. The daft thing is, a lot of the time they insist it is "live", and though in the main the bands are "alive" (in some case this is debatable), it's obvious to all that it's not a band playing and singing "live" as such. When Thunder have performed songs on TV, we've insisted on playing totally live whenever we could, sadly the TV sound guys and show formats don't allow it most of the time (they don't know how to do it and it's no risk to have the bank mime), but I sang live in every instance except one, that was The Jack Docherty Show on UK Channel 5, when we did Play That Funky Music. We'd played acoustic shows in Belfast and Dublin the 2 nights before, and both shows were amazing. The Belfast monitor system was inaudible due to the constant noise of the crowd (both during, and in between the songs), so, having had to virtually shout the entire gig the night before, my voice was somewhat shot when we arrived at the TV show. I gave it a few goes in rehearsals before reluctantly deciding it would better to mime, than ruin the performance for all. Some Pop artists owe much of their success to very high energy performance videos, and in some cases songs are written specifically for the video and the dance routines. For many of these artists, singing live and performing what is essentially the video, live, would be a physical impossibility. Miming is not quite so prevalent in the live business, although it does happen as we all know, and once again it's gone on for years. The Milli Vanilli episode in the USA was when it really hit the headlines, when they were supposed to be live on TV and were found not to be, when the backing track went off and on, and off, and on, and the vocals came and went with it. All a bit sad really. I'm not sure if it happened, but in the USA a while ago I heard talk of a disclaimer printed on each ticket to the effect that some elements of the show would be on tape/sampled. I agree with this honest approach, so you can get the facts, pay your money, and take your choice. I have no real issue with miming, it's a fact of life in the music business, and as I've pointed out in some cases it's vital, but I do think it's only right and proper that if someone is miming, the fans should know. That way they're not being lied to. Having said that I'm sure the majority of Britney fans don't give a rat's arse if she's miming or not, and why would they, after all they love her and the whole Britney package, I'm sure her live singing ability is a long way down their list...

Q: Ben, I have been reading your answer to the room 101 question...what have you got against call centres!? from Margie B., Wales (we could be related..I just read your other answer!) BTW I work in a call centre but don't let that stop you answering...I'm not easily offended , ha ha. Marg Bennett 
B: It’s really those call centre answering systems that I was moaning about, press 1 to hear a really horrible rendition of Greensleeves … press 2 to be disconnected after a ten minute wait … press 3 to be passed around the building for an hour trying to locate the correct department … press 4 to go back to the beginning .. press flowers to calm your nerves 

Q: Hiya guys, I've just been looking on the Gibson website and they're launching a digital guitar for superior sound quality, and all the other technical bits, I was just wondering if you'll running down to your local music shop to purchase one of these little beauties? Paul, UK
B: No I’m getting a taxi – I doubt if I’ll be getting one to be honest – there’s nothing like a carefully crafted piece of mahogany and old fashioned magnets.

Q: I saw Duran Duran in Sheffield last night and it was absolutely fanbloodytastic, took me right back to my teenage years - rara skirts; crimped hair; drainpipe jeans; pixie boots, the works. I was 14/15 years old again for a couple of hours. What band or song takes you right back there?

 Taylor was great last night, wonder if you are still in contact with him and whether he has invited you backstage for any of the London dates?? Kate, Leeds
L: I went to the last show at Wembley and thoroughly enjoyed it. Taylor was on good form and we had a few drinks afterwards which was nice as I'd not seen him for a while. 

Q: Hi Danny (and Fellow Thunder chaps!), Firstly, Thanks for taking the time to answer my previous thoughts & looking forward to seeing you guys in November. Are you looking forward to sharing a bill with Deep Purple? From Interviews they seem like a nice bunch of chaps.. On that note, Danny are there any Rock singers out there currently that you admire? And this may be a tricky question but I read a statement recently from a singer that was fired from a band and all the politics that went on, do you guys ever fall out and how do you avoid the infighting that seems to occur so often within bands? Nick, Leigh-on-Sea 
D: We're looking forward to being on the same bill as DP, we did it last November in Basel and it was nice to watch them (they still play brilliantly). Hopefully this will continue in July when we're set to play the same festivals, so by November we should be firm friends, etc. There isn't anyone new singer wise that blows my hair back, and as for your last question, we are all good friends, and have been for many years. We don't argue at all, in fact we make each other laugh constantly. We've known each other a long time and we've been through many good and bad times together. Being straight regardless of the circumstances is the key, and laughing at ourselves (and everyone else) really helps. 

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