EMQ’s With Rick Tilley
What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?
Hi Everyone, I’m Rick, and I try to look professional owning and running Ever Metal, as well as having to deal with the motley team of people that write/review and take photos for us… believe me, this is no easy task! 😊
Now, the boring bit! I was born with two hereditary & degenerative conditions of my spine which have affected me since the age of 11. In 2002 I had to give up full-time work. Starting in school, and for many years afterwards, I also played drums in Rock & Metal bands, driving around in the back of battered cars and vans, with a variety of instruments, amps, other long-haired musicians and bassists called Colin, falling all over the place so we could play gigs to two people and a dog. If you’ve ever watched ‘The Comic Strip Presents…Bad News’ then you’ll get the idea. I eventually had to give this up as well as it got too painful to play.
Being unable to work or indulge in my passion for playing music (plus a hobby of purchasing far too many drums, cymbals and cowbells) was something of a major kick to the balls. Along with my worsening pain I drifted into depression and hid away. In 2012 I hit rock bottom and realised I had to make some serious changes. A friend suggested I try writing and reviewing as I had good knowledge of Rock/Metal. I am naturally shy and had lost all my self-confidence so it was a struggle, but I persevered and eventually started to really enjoy receiving a new monthly batch of albums to review. It gave the days purpose again, and it was good for my brain. I did this for the next 5 years, writing for various webzines and an internet radio station.
In 2017 I got the opportunity to come onboard at Ever Metal as joint owner, when it was a fledgling site, to work alongside 1 other person and to see if we could grow, and I’ve never looked back. Several people have come and gone but we are now a team of 16 and growing every month!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I was born in Hillingdon, Greater London. I lived and worked in London until 1999 when I moved to Lincolnshire. In 2015 I met Beth and moved to beautiful North Wales!
Being from London, and an 80’s kid, I was very lucky to live through the Metal/Rock golden era and was constantly at gigs from the age of 14. The scene then, and in Nottingham when I moved to Lincolnshire were both awesome.
North Wales is a much quieter proposition but Fozzy, Beany and Frank at North East Wales Metal Productions are working their backsides off to bring more gigs back into Wrexham and the surrounding areas. We are also fairly close to Liverpool and Manchester which both have very active scenes, in fact, Manchester, probably has the best underground Metal scene in the UK.
What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
As Editor of a webzine, even a small one like Ever Metal, this is never going to be an easy question to answer, because I am constantly listening to new music, and so much is being released. But, I’m going to go with “The Poisoner” by White Crone. It’s a monster debut album, which delivers a blast of Dio-esque old-school Heavy Metal by a lady (Lisa Mann) who is much more used to releasing Blues albums.
Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?
My major influence growing up was my Dad, an incredibly kind man who, hopefully, taught me wrong from right, and to treat everyone equally, regardless of where they come from and what their views are. It didn’t stop me being an idiot sometimes, but it has helped tremendously as I’ve got older.
I was a loner as a child and, before I discovered Rock music, you could nearly always find me with my head buried in a book, way beyond what I should have been reading. I read Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’ at a very young age, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke and Sir David Attenborough brought to me the wonders of Science and Natural History; Marvel comics, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking all had a big impact on me. My two greatest non-musical influences though, were Star Trek and, my favourite author, Stephen King. I also have a warped sense of humour, thanks to The Goons, Monty Python and The Goodies!
Musical influences you can read below so I don’t repeat myself!
What first got you into music?
Simple answer to this is my Parents.
They weren’t musical but they loved music, so it was always available in the house when I was growing up. I often used to search through their collection of vinyl and listen. The Carpenters (I still think Karen Carpenter has one of the purest voices I’ve ever heard), The Shadows, Abba, Frank Sinatra, Neil Sedaka, Swing, Blues, Folk, Classical, Musical Theatre etc. My life was already enriched with music way before I discovered Metal and Rock and I will always be thankful to Mum and Dad for that.
1975 sticks in the memory because my Dad and I were listening to the radio when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was first played. I was 7 and my Dad turned to me and said, “This band are going to be huge”. He was a massive fan of Queen and they were the first ‘Rock’ band I listened to.
Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?
I often think that the best collaborations are the ones you least expect, although if Devin Townsend’s name is mentioned, the results will be gold!
If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
As far as outdoor Festivals in the UK go then my favourite is Bloodstock for the music and atmosphere, but I would love to get to one of the big European Festivals such as Wacken, Hellfest or Graspop.
However, at Ever Metal we are all about the underground, so these days, I do prefer to roll up to cover as many of the many smaller festivals and multi-day events that happen around the UK as I can such as Badgerfest, Rabidfest, Pentre Fest, Stone Dead, SOS, Beermageddon etc. etc. etc.
What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?
Probably CD’s & Demos with me playing the drums. What’s weirder were the few occasions when I was asked to sign them (many years ago).
If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?
It sounds like a huge cheesy cliché but thank you. You don’t know what it means to me to see how we have grown over the last 3 ½ years. It’s onwards and upwards from here!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
We have lost so many, before their time over the years, but the one that sticks out for me is Freddie Mercury. We will never see his like again!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
There are two. (Sorry, I’m breaking my own rules).
Firstly, I would like streaming services to actually pay bands a proper cut. Getting 15,000 streams of your latest single is incredible, unfortunately the £3.67 you may get for doing that takes the piss. Creating music to a high standard isn’t easy or cheap and I don’t know why current attitudes expect bands and artists to basically give their work away for free. ‘Exposure’ doesn’t pay bills. Many of these services are raking it in so the very least they should do is pay a fairer percentage!
Secondly, I’d very much like the practice of charging bands for a review or feature/interview in certain magazines/webzines to stop. The bands create the music, play the gigs and give you your content. It’s hard enough as it is, without then being told if they want a review, they have to pay for it, in fact it stinks! I will never charge a band, however big we may or may not get. Bands, if you get asked to pay then refuse and come to one of the sites that will provide you with honest coverage for free.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
There are so many I could mention, and I wouldn’t even be scratching the surface, however, I’m going to go with one that had a massive impact on me as a kid. This band became, still are, and will always be my favourite band
Saxon – “Strong Arm Of The Law”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s, or Downloads?
For writing/website purposes Downloads and Streaming are what I deal with most these days, but my favourite format will always be vinyl. I’m very glad that I held on to my vinyl collection!
What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?
‘There Can Be Only One’!…Queen, Wembley Stadium 12th July 1986.
One year after Queen destroyed the stage at Live Aid, they were back at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in front of 72,000 fans and this was the second night. Status Quo, The Alarm and INXS supported and, for pretty obvious reasons, this is the best gig I’ve ever been at. I was right down the front (I’m even on the ‘Live At Wembley’ DVD) and for two hours I watched four musical geniuses at work. It was an absolutely stunning day and it feels like it only happened last week, not 34 years ago.
What do you get up to when you’re not writing
I don’t often get a chance to actually write album reviews these days, most of the time I spend on Ever Metal is taken up with Social Media, news, e-mails, editing, looking after the reviewers and the album list, talking to bands, management, PR reps and labels and sharing all the reviews and interviews. When we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic I also cover as many local gigs/festivals as I can (when my health lets me) and I am ably assisted in most of this by Beth. Running a site like this actually takes a heck of a lot of work, and certain people will tell you I’m a little bit OCD about doing it to the best of my ability. I would rather spend an extra 5-10 minutes doing something right than rushing and making an error or having it look a mess. It is very important to me to not only represent the bands properly but also our brand!
Outside of Ever Metal and when my back doesn’t restrict me to bed, I love watching horror and science-fiction films as well as terrible B-Movies. My stomach will agree that I like food far too much, and I also love getting out into the Welsh Countryside, although these days I cannot get too far!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
As stated above, I am rather partial to a good meal and Beth is an awesome cook, but it wouldn’t be fair for her to do the cooking so my five would be Beth, Freddie Mercury, Neil Peart, Stephen Fry and Stephen King.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
There is a reason why this question has always been on the EMQ’s. Beth thinks it is a biscuit, when everyone should know that it is a cake! Many people know about the court case, but even without, that it’s clearly a cake. We will never agree on it and, because of that, we thought we would have a laugh with the bands we interview, and it has thrown up some quality answers!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Some of us have filled in this adapted interview just for fun. Lockdown has made us all go a bit loopy here, well more loopy than usual!
I want to thank each and every one of you for continuing to follow us pretending we know what we are doing; and all the bands, because without their music we would have nothing to share with you; and finally, all the members of the Ever Metal team who, for some reason, call me boss…there has never been a more inaccurate title!!!!
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