Many bands spout off cliches about “living the rock and roll dream” but The Treatment are actually wide awake and living it as openers on the Motley Crue/KISS tour which runs through the end of September. The band have created a buzz overseas and they’re taking it over to our side of the pond now to say hello in the loudest possible fashion. The band has a great debut album called “This Might Hurt” and it is aggressive, well executed, gritty and memorable. In other words, it’s exactly what you want in your young rock and roll bands and exactly what’s missing from the vast majority of other things that masquerade as hard rock on stateside radio. It’s not shocking that the band has been chosen to open up for Motley Crue and KISS on THE TOUR this summer because the album is amazing. It’s something that would clearly appeal to old school fans as well as kids who don’t know Def Leppard from Deftones. If you’re going to the show be sure and get there early as I’m fairly certain they are going to kick your ass. We recently had the pleasure of a short transatlantic phone call with guitarist Ben Brookland of The Treatment as the band was getting set to come over here for the first time in their careers and for the first time in their lives. Read on…..
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hi Ben….You are talking to me and the clock is ticking down the hours before you leave to come to America. Have you guys done any warm-up gigs there in the U.K. before coming over here to play with KISS and Crue?
Ben Brookland: Yeah, we just did a short run in Europe. They were our first shows headlining out there and an official warm-up show at Milton Keyes which is just up the road from Cambridge where we live. We’ve had a great time over here really, did a bit of a festival run and got to play Belgium which was really fun actually.
LRI: Are these KISS/Motley dates the first official shows The Treatment has done here in the states?
Ben: Yes, it’s the first time most of us have even been to America so it’s pretty exciting. It’s obviously a big honor to have our first shows here be in support of such amazing bands. It means a lot to us and we intend to deliver every night.
LRI: The first time I heard about this KISS/Motley tour having an opening act I thought to myself, ‘That band better be really good’ and then I heard your album “This Might Hurt” it all made sense. You guys have got great songs and a raw sound. Where was this album recorded?
Ben: We recorded some of it at our manager Laurie’s studio and were really lucky to be able to finish it up at Steve Harris of Iron Maiden’s place. It was really cool to be able to have him hear what we had gotten down and kind of get his seal of approval. Very cool.
LRI: How long had you guys been a band prior to recording “This Might Hurt”?
Ben: Not too long really to be totally honest. Our drummer Danny started the band and then kind of worked on getting the lineup exactly as he wanted it and our singer Matt was the last to join. After we all got together and Matt joined it kind of helped shape our direction. The songs and the album seemed to come together really quickly, we’ve also got an EP out which is called Then and Now and has some of our favorite covers. Once we got through all of the tryouts and set this lineup it’s been full speed ahead.
LRI: It’s a young, loud, raw band and it sounds like it. How much did the live show influence what made it onto the album?
Ben: Quite a bit, I would say we didn’t get too elaborate or change things to the point where we couldn’t pull it off live. We also didn’t just record it in one stretch of time. We carried on playing live shows and recorded in between gigging so yeah, I think a lot of that energy carried through. Also, If we tried something live and it didn’t work we had enough time to go back and change it. The benefit of having our manager’s involvement as well as the additional time seemed to work to our benefit.
LRI: Your sound is really in your face, turned up to 11, hard rock. I am so sorry if you hear this far too often but it REALLY reminds me of the first couple Def Leppard albums which I love dearly. Were the five of you guys pretty much on the same page as far as influences and bands you were into?
Ben: Definitely. That’s what brought us all together really were the bands we were mutually into. That like-mindedness really helped shape our direction as well because we’re not just into the classic hard rock stuff but also a lot of the same newer bands too. We even like a lot of other kinds of music altogether and softer stuff. We’re all definitely on the same page musically and that helped The Treatment a lot.
LRI: It doesn’t matter how many reviews I’ve read where people compare you to Def Leppard or how much I wanted to not do that. Do you kind of understand why people might make that contrast? Are you fans of that classic “High and Dry” sound?
Ben: Yeah, I can understand it. I don’t think we sound directly like them but there are definitely elements of that original sound that we are drawing on.
LRI: A song like “Drink, Fuck, Fight” from your album sounds a lot like something that might’ve come out of that band back in their “‘Me and My Wine” days, you know?
Ben: (laughs). Definitely, definitely, they were a real hard rock band on those early albums so I could see that. Yeah, we’re all great fans of that era of Def Leppard. They had great songs and they really rocked back in the day.
LRI: It’s a great track but then so is most of the album. How does your writing process work, is it riffs first or a lyric idea or…?
Ben: Most of the songs are written similarly because we live together and someone will get an idea or a spark and then someone else will pick up on it and add something else. They just tend to happen from us being in such close quarters, it makes writing easier and we tend to bounce ideas off of one another. A lot of times Tag or I will start things off with a guitar riff and then as things happen we tend to stick with them and make sure we get them down if they’re working. Sometimes one song can be combined out of three different ideas from three different guys but there’s nothing wrong with that really. A song like “Departed” started out as just like a little 2 minute punk song. It was one of the earlier songs that we had but it just built and built and became the finished product you hear.
LRI: You’re not going to get too long of a set to make an impression and fans need to get to the gigs early to see you but you are making it a point to meet the fans after gigs at the merch stand and get their feedback and things. Has it been difficult figuring out exactly what songs you wanna include before going on in front of new audiences here in the states?
Ben: It’s a short set but these gigs leading up to coming to America have helped us flesh out a set of sorts and let us figure out if we’re onto something. Some of the faster or heavier, groovier songs like “Departed” or “Shake the Mountain” are really fun for us to play live but then we’ll get feedback that a lot of the slower or midtempo stuff like “I Fear Nothing” or “Just Tell Me Why” seems to really be hitting the crowd so we adjust accordingly. We love the challenge and we love being able to actually meet our fans! The album has only been out a couple of weeks in America and we’ve got that at the merch stand along with the usual T-shirts and stuff. It’s cool that people can hear the album live, pick up the album and get it signed right off like that.
LRI: If I get to go to the United Kingdom I’ve got a whole list of things I wanna see. Are you guys excited about American food or cities or more importantly, American girls??
Ben: (laughs). Definitely. The whole experience is going to be what we’ve been working for all of our lives. I hope we get to see some things but we’re really not sure how much time we’re going to have. I know we’re gonna be spending a lot of time just getting to the next show but that in of itself is a dream. It’s amazing really.
LRI: I know you said you played some of the big outdoor sheds over in Europe. I hope to go see you up at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. It’s a pretty historic venue in that Motley recorded their “Same ol Situation” video there and Stevie Ray Vaughn died there.
Ben: Wow, I didn’t know all that. I’ve seen the video of course, that’s pretty amazing to think about. I also didn’t realize that about Stevie Ray. I’m sure we are going to be seeing some pretty amazing venues and that will be one of them I look forward to it. We’ve done some of those big gigs and we’ve done tours with Alice Cooper and Steel Panther over here but KISS/Motley is a whole other level.
LRI: What’s the plan as far as doing your own headlining shows after KISS and Motley Crue? Are you going to wait and start gigging again when you get home or do you have some things planned in the U.S. while you’re on off days?
Ben: I’m not entirely sure but I know that we’re looking to make the most of it while we’re in America and maybe play some places on off dates or when we have time while we’re there. I’m sure we’ll plan the next round of touring as well when we get home. We never really stop playing at all in this band. It’s a nonstop thing and right now we’re really trying to make the most of the album release and exposure in the United States.
LRI: Well, thanks for talking to us. Before I let you go, I have to ask. Your band being on “THE TOUR 2012” is such a big deal and a lifelong dream for most acts here. KISS and Motley Crue were two of my favorite bands growing up out in the cornfields here. Were those bands hugely important to you growing up, did you have their posters on your wall as a kid?
Ben: Oh without a doubt! KISS and Motley Crue were some of the first bands we got into as kids and some of the first bands we agreed about when we started all of this. I can’t even put into words what a massive honor this is to be opening for them and playing for their audience. It’s like a dream come true. You can’t walk down the street where we’re from without seeing a KISS or Motley Crue t-shirt, they are just as important here to us as rockers as they are to you guys!
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