The latest album from British hard rockers The Treatment is Waiting For Good Luck. Guitarist Tagore Grey fills us in on their fifth album, their newest member, the pandemic, his guitar influences and other topics.
Chad Bowar: How did bassist Andy Milburn come to join the band?
Tagore Grey: Dhani (Mansworth, drums), always Dhani. I don’t know how that guy does it, but he always manages to find the right dude! I think he reached out to Dhani through Facebook. It sadly wasn’t the next day due to COVID, but I guess we can say the rest WILL be history!
How did the songwriting process for Waiting For Good Luck compare to your other albums?
It’s quite an interesting story but not a standard one. Rikk left the band just before we went into the first lockdown here in the UK, having Andy down to Cambridge wasn’t possible at that time, which made the situation slightly harder. The album was already in the process of being written. Laurie (Dhani’s dad), our manager and producer, spent the whole first lockdown drilling us and working on the pre-production for hitting the studio. The idea had been to record live at Rockfield which had a slot of only four days available just after the first restrictions lifted and we decided this was our chance to capture the tracks in that live environment. So we decided to go with the four of us to record the band. It was a hard decision but we knew that the pre-production was key to this album sounding the way it does. It’s a strange time at the moment so not everything is conventional but the most important thing to us and our fans is making music!
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I’ve always loved engineering our records as I get to see the album start from a voice note on a phone to the final finished track, but no memory will stay with more than the few days we spent in Rockfield Studios together. Touching the piano that Freddie played Bohemian Rhapsody on which is next to you while recording in a room where all my heroes have stood. You can’t describe the magic in music until you feel it. I remember after we had set up, we launched into the first track which was “Take It Or Leave It.” We walked into the control room, Nick our engineer (who’d worked on Stone Roses, Oasis, Coldplay to name a few) raised his eyebrows, cranked it and played it back through the ’70s mixing desk and we just knew that this was special. That moment will stay with me forever.
What have you learned from working with Laurie Mansworth, who has also had a successful career as a musician?
Everything. I joined The Treatment over 10 years ago as a fresh faced boy out of school who thought he knew everything about guitar playing until I sat down and took a look at his history of bands, riffs and songs! He’s stood the test of time and has been making music since the ’80s, but sadly I’ve only been able to catch him since the reform of Airrace which was also an amazing experience! I was even lucky enough to tech for him on their tours (which was secretly just an excuse to spend more time on the road). Laurie’s really developed my playing over the years and I owe a huge amount of my playing to that man, maybe I’ll buy him a ’58 Les Paul when this record takes off!
How has the band’s sound evolved from Power Crazy?
In truth, this album just sounds more like The Treatment live. This is what we’ve always wanted to capture and taking it to Rockfield captured the essence of what we are.
What has the early response to the album been like from fans and reviewers?
5/5, 10/10 … we could not have asked for a better reception. It’s strange as we’ve had a career with many highs and lows but we have the most loyal fans and this record is really taking The Treatment back to its roots, but it’s also developed massively from Power Crazy.
How has the pandemic affected the band?
I think this has been a very strange time for the world, but I am not here to talk politics! Music is all that matters to us, and for the first time ever in the history of The Treatment we actually had months and months to just stay in the same room and play together. These opportunities don’t come round very often and for us it made it possible to record the album in the way we did. Waiting For Good Luck was tracked in two and a half days. 15 tracks in all we recorded live (two never made the record… or we might save them for the next album) and this was only possible because we’d had fours months of working on the songs every day! The date for the album was all decided by Frontiers our label. We hope it’s soon enough!
How has it affected you personally?
This has been a rough time for everyone. There is no denying that but life is what you make of it, your glass is half empty or half full and I drank my half full glass! I’ve been super lucky to have the guys around so we could use this time to make music and play 24/7! We’d never in Treatment history had so much time to just sit and play music and tighten up the band. When you hear the record you can tell the work had been put in and it has paid off. I’d by lying if I said I didn’t have my off days where I was going crazy in this lockdown as I’m not a man who was born to stay indoors. I am a rock’n’roller through and through so the built up energy is ready to explode after this lockdown!
You have some live dates in your calendar later this summer. How confident are you that they will happen?
Currently in the UK we are set to be fully open by the end of June with no restrictions in place. So as I understand, we should be playing some loud music and all gigs will go ahead. Lots of beer, very loud music and plenty of sweaty dudes head banging down the front row! I think as we get closer to the date we’ll have more of an idea on what’s going to happen, but at the moment we’re praying for a return to normality.
Many venues have shut down. Once shows resume and everybody will want to tour at once, are you concerned it will be difficult to find a place to play, or will more venues open up to meet the increased demand?
It’s hard to say, but here in the UK I’ve seen a lot of support for local venues and crowd funding so I really hope not many have closed their doors because everyone in the music industry relies on each other. Without venues we have no bands, with no bands we have no music, with no music we have no life! I Know we’re making a conscious effort to support new venues and independent venues and promoters so cross fingers we’ll have the greatest venues again after this!
Who are your influences as a guitarist?
I’m an AC/DC fan through and through. Growing up it was always Angus, but as I’ve grown up and learn to appreciate records and rhythm guitar playing, Malcom is up there as the greatest. Slash is another player I love, his two records as Slash’s Snakepit have some of the greatest guitar playing from him and Ryan Roxy. I’m also a massive John Squire fan. The second Stone Roses album was like a tribute to Led Zeppelin and his playing is fantastic. Although I’m not a blues head, Stevie Ray Vaughan is a blues boogie man who just nails it and finally Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top just has it. I could watch that guy play all day long.
Who are some guitarists of your generation that you admire?
I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t really have a guitar hero from my generation. I think when you’re in a band you’re so focused on just working on your own sound that maybe you don’t stop to look around and appreciate what’s going on around you. I know that after this lockdown I’m going to be going to every gig I physically can!
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I love travelling and discovering new places, but truth be told, my life is music and the only thing that gives me a buzz like playing guitar is mixing live music which I’ve started doing on a small level. Over the last five years I’ve been engineering all the Treatment records and an Airrace album too. I’d love to one day mix our records, so right now I’m taking everything in after having Waiting For Good Luck mixed by Kevin Shirley.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Dhani actually turned me onto the Cinderella album Night Songs which is a cracker. I’m enjoying the new Dirty Honey stuff too. Powerage by AC/DC has been on rotation for about the last 20 years of my life, I just cant get enough of that album. I’ve also had Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits on too, which I’m really enjoying.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Did I mention we have a new album out on the 9th of April?! If you like anything from AC/DC to Def Leppard to The Cult give our new record a listen and you can thank me later! A huge thank you to everyone who’s supported us too, the music industry has been so crippled by COVID and our fans have truly supported us every step of the way. Last of all, rock out, play music loud and come see us at a show whenever we can again!
(interview published April 8, 2021)