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The Answer Questioned
It’s a position not many bands can boast about, but The Answer have lasted some 118 shows opening for AC/DC, one of the toughest jobs in rock.
Colm O Hare, 30 Nov 2009
Question: Apart from a certain north Dublin four-piece, which other Irish band has played to several million people in arenas, stadiums and major festivals around the world over the past year? The answer is of course – The Answer! The Northern rockers have been out on the road as special guests of AC/DC on their hugely successful, seemingly never-ending world tour.
“It’s been the busiest 14 months of my life,” says The Answer’s frontman, Cormac Neeson, recently returned home to Belfast after the latest leg of their Stateside trek with the Oz legends. “We’ve now done something like 118 gigs with AC/DC. We’ve been constantly jet-setting all over the world with them, trying to fill out our days off with our own shows. We’ve spent the entire year living on the tour bus, which is crazy. Your head goes into a spin and it can be disorientating when you come home. The first thing I notice is that I don’t hear the tour bus generator ringing in my ear.”
About to head out on their own headlining tour with dates across Ireland the UK, The Answer are now looking to take it to the next level. Their debut album, Rise, has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide, with the follow up Everyday Demons also doing the business. “I’m really relishing this tour,” Neeson enthuses. “Everyone is playing well and there’s a lot of fresh material in the set. Playing before our own crowd is always nice. I’d like to think that playing with ‘DC served as a platform for us. We’ve played in front of a couple of million people. If some of them come to the gigs and start buying our albums we’ll be happy.”
The Answer are Neeson on vocals, Paul Mahon (guitar), Michael Waters (bass) and James Heatley on drums. A classic, hard-rock four piece they have the sort of sound and look that was more prevalent in 1973 than it is in 2009. With influences that encompass all the giants of the era, including Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy, they’ve forged their own take on the genre. “We do have that classic sound but I would always say to people that Free would be much more of an influence on me than say, Led Zeppelin,” Neeson offers. “Paul Rodgers is a great singer and someone who doesn’t often get his due but those early Free albums are fantastic examples of classic hard rock. Rory Gallagher would be up there too as an influence. The passion that he brought to the stage was incredible, he’s a total natural. Obviously his guitar playing is what most people remember him for but he was a great singer too.”