Stoner Rock Chick   [October 2001]

Deanna: I've been checking your site for a bio but can't find one, can you give us some background information on how Marshan came to be?

Malky: It started a long time ago when hamsters where cute and small, there in a dark corner of a dingy bar sat a bloke who has nothing to do with the story but it got you wondering. One evening after a exhausting day Graeme decided that playing a guitar sounded like a good idea, so he did. While Graeme was learning the guitar Kevin was busy finding how to destroy his liver, kidney's in fact any part of his body he could. This consisted of Drink, drink , drink, drink, more drink and to finish that off some cigarettes. Then he realised that the best way to destroy yourself was to become bassist, so he did. Meanwhile Scott would confuse the known world by being left handed but deciding to plat the guitar right handed, all the time thinking to himself, "hah this'll get them". Malky, the must get laid part of the band, decided that being in a band was bound to get him laid so he became a drummer. At this time in the bands history everyone had their own ideas over what would be the best band line up. Now this story has absolutely nothing to do with how the band came together but it makes it look like we have a lot to say but I think this is how Marshan came into existence.

Graeme & Kevin met
Graeme & Scott met
Kevin & Malcolm met
Malcolm & Graeme met
Malcolm & Scott met
Marshan where born.

Deanna: Why the name Marshan? Who picked it and what is the significance?

Kevin:: We didn't want to pick anything with too many connotations or too much significance, so we went down the pub and a few beers later we settled on Marshan. I think it was me who first said it, but we all thought it counded cool so we stuck with it. There's no big story or anything.

Graeme: It doesn't really have any significance, we're not really space rock, and it's not actually related to Mars. I guess we just decided that it wasn't completely rubbish so we stuck with it.

Deanna: I see that you guys have your albums being shopped on HMV. Is that worldwide? Do they stock it?

Kevin:: It is available from the UK HMV website (and several other UK sites), but not the US site. It isn't in any of the HMV shops unfortunately as far as we know. They will post worldwide, but it's also available available from the store so our North American friends can probably get it cheaper from there!! Or of course direct from our website.

Deanna: Who does all the great graphics on your site? Very impressive.

Graeme: That's probably Kevin, all he does all day is nerdy computer things and drinking.

Kevin:: Yep, that's me. I've always dealt with the website, so anything you see on there in terms of graphics and design is my fault. Some of the content (the stories) are done by Scott & Graeme.

Malky: I'll take the credit even though I have bugger all to do with how the graphics are produced. ;)

Deanna: Okay, you have this contest going regarding the whole king's night thing (check the web site I guess you wouldn't want to part with the information would you?

Malky: for the right price maybe!!!

Graeme: Not yet no, it's not really that interesting anyway, we're more interested to see what people think it means, some of the answers have been pretty trippy!

Deanna: I have to say that I love your music and I have since the first time I got my hands on an mp3 of yours. What is the reaction from most people? How do you feel about the exposure?

Graeme: So far we've received some great press, which is heart warming. We're still quite a young band, and still developing our craft, so it's encouraging that people seem to be digging our first effort quite a lot. Exposure's always good, publicity is important for a band, and we basically are just hoping that people know we exist. The cool thing about this kind of music is that there is a scene which is based on word of mouth and seems to actually be interested in finding new music. The overall music business in general seems to have opted for this spoon fed, MTV style of promotion which means that most people are only interested in finding about those bands who have either already made it, or have major label millions backing them. This scene is different, it's more grass roots based, and the people in it are intelligent enough to go and find the music for themselves.

Scott: I think people dig it because it’s just straight-forward rock... it’s not trying to be anything fancy or cool.

Deanna: Can you describe a typical Marshan gig? Crowd reaction, etc?

Graeme: It really varies. Some cities seem to be geared up to the live scene and supporting up and coming talent, and some venues are really clued up on promotion. Unfortunately this is not the case everywhere. There always seems to be some people there that are into what we're doing, but I don't really think that kids dig it. Nu Metal has pretty much taken over the younger generation over here, so it's mainly the older people who seem to understand what we're doing. We don't make it too easy on the crowd though, we like to jam and have been known to do a few odd things like drum solos and stuff, we like to push it as far as we can, there's no point in just playing the same thing every night, it gets boring pretty quick then.

Deanna: What type of equipment do you guys use to create such great sounds?

Kevin:: Here's what I'm currently using...

Ibanez EDB600 bass
Zoom BFX-708 (don't use much these days)
Z.Vex Wooly Mammoth
EH Deluxe Memory Man
Boss DD-5 delay
Dunlop Cry Baby Bass wah
Marshall VBA400 (400W) head
Marshall VBC810 (8*10) cab


Pearl Export Series kit
2 24" Bass drums
8 toms 8"-10"-12"-13"-14"-15" rack 16"-18" floor
14" snare
Sabian B8 and B8Pro cymbols
16"-2 * 17"-18" crash
18" chinese
20" ride
14" hi hat
10" -12" splash
LD cow bells and wood block
Vic Firth 5AN sticks Pearl Jazz Rake (style) brushes. (I don't know what they actually call them)

Scott: I use a Gibson Les Paul with a Marshall stack (DSL-100 amp head and two 1960 cabs, with two types of speakers - standard and Vintage 70s). Add to that lots and lots of retro guitar effects pedals!! My pedals include the Marshall Guv'nor and Jim Dunlop CryBaby, and numerous Electro Harmonix pedals - Electric Mistress, Big Muff Pi, Small Stone and Small Clone. The front of the stage at a Marshan gig looks ludicrous... it's just a wall of pedals! But then again, you can never have too many pedals, can you?!

Graeme: Marshall amps, gibson guitars, electro harmonix pedals, all pretty standard stuff for this kind of music. As far as the writing goes, sometimes I'll come in with some riffs and vocal lines and we'll jam them out, work on a structure and add parts. Sometimes songs just develop from a jam, there's no real secret formula. I can't speak for Scott, but my lyrics are basically written over a long period of time. I'll normally have a couple of lines set out early on, but the rest get written intermittently, normally ending with me writing the remainder of the lyrics the day that I record them. It's a subconscious stream kind of thing.

Deanna: How did it feel to be picked up by a label? Are you satisfied with the promotional work done for you?

Kevin:: It's fantastic that they have put our CD out. That was a big aim with this recording, so we're really pleased that it's happened. The promo stuff is going well so far. The record company have managed to get us on a few radio stations and things, though we're still hoping for a few features or something to come through them. We're doing a lot of promo work ourselves also, so combined with the record company we should get decent coverage. We're also designing some cool concert posters to help promote our live shows.

Graeme: The cd is really the only connection we have with the label. It's licensed to them, we're kind of free agents at the moment, so we're hoping that maybe we can hook up with a label to help us with our next release.

Deanna: What are you guys working on now? New tracks, any side projects?

Kevin:: We're working hard on a few tracks for maybe an upcoming album which will hopefully be done sometime next year, again with Dave Chang at the helm if he'll bave us back. Side projects are a cool idea, but at the moment my time is spent on developing and promoting Marshan which has to be the priority. As a less time-consuming idea I thought about recording some of the weirder things we get up to while practicing and maybe putting them on the web, but for various reasons it hasn't happened yet.

Graeme: I don't really have time for side projects, I'd love to do one, but the music I dig is what I do with Marshan, so I guess it would be pretty pointless.

Deanna: Are you planning a tour? I heard rumours!! Spill it!! Oh and yes, will it include Canada?

Graeme: We're always planning a tour, we like to think big. We are looking at the possibility of some gigs over in the US for next year. It's really just an idea at the moment, but we're hoping to make something happen. If anything comes of it, you'll be the first to know Deanna. I would doubt that it will include a trip to Canada, although hopefully one day we'll be able to play there.

Deanna: I absolutely love your album but there are some really stand-out tracks like 'Needle Eye" and "Summer Hill Song". What themes are behind these songs? Who came up with the creative and great idea of making the ending of Needle Eye, like the listener was actually there?

Graeme: Summer Hill Song - Basically I came up with the backing riff while jamming on my acoustic guitar. I got together with Scott and he came up with a nice lead section and then Dave Chang messed around with it in the studio. It's a nice quiet little thing, but we dig mellow, so that's cool.

Needle Eye - Probably the first official Marshan track. It's kind of us on a Sabbath trip. The ending was basically jammed out in the practice room, we actually wanted to put a lot more effects on it during the recording, but time restraints really fucked that up. The whispered vocal thing was just something that seemed to fit. When we jamming that part out you could feel how good the whole thing was becoming, hence the lyrics.

Deanna: What is the scene like over in Scotland? Do you have a big local following? Is their a wider reception for 'stoner rock' there in your opinion?

Scott: The rock scene in Scotland doesn’t cater for bands like us too well... indie rock and real heavy bands are in abundance up here, but unfortunately real rock’s hard to come by. As a result, we’re concentrating on touring the likes of England to bulk up our fan base a bit. There’s a fairly healthy following for stoner rock here though, as is evident at recent shows by the likes of Orange Goblin and Cathedral.

Graeme: Bands do tour up here, but again it really only tends to be the higher profile bands such as Unida, Queens of the Stone Age and Orange Goblin that pull a crowd.

Deanna: What are you guys listening to recently?

Malky: QOTSA, ZZ Top, System Of A Down.

Scott: It can vary tremendously from day to day... the past few days I’ve been listening to Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Thin Lizzy, Hendrix, Black Flag, and The 3rd and the Mortal.

Graeme: Today I listened to

Led Zeppelin - BBC Sessions, III
Cream - Disraeli Gears
The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd
Hendrix - Axis Bold as Love
Sleep - Jerusalem

Kevin:: Some of the recently played albums near my CD player are:

Syd Barrett - Barrett
Anathema - Judgement
Hawkwind - In Search Of Space
Orange Goblin - Frequencies From Planet Ten
Deep Purple - Made In Japan
The Atomic Bitchwax - S/T
Spiritual Beggars - Ad Astra

Deanna: What music did you listen to while a teen? What would you consider to be some major influence(s) on your music?

Malky: GNR, Aerosmith, ZZTop, ACDC, Megadeth, Metallica, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Rollin stones, Dr Hook, Eagles

Influences - GNR, Aerosmith, ACDC, Stones

Scott: Okay, uh... Iron Maiden, Paradise Lost, Guns N’ Roses, Slayer, Skid Row, Sepultura, Aerosmith to name a few. The two strongest influences for me as a guitarist by a long way are Slash and Jimmy Page... their influence can be heard most prominently in my lead work. As well as that, the Rolling Stones, Kyuss, Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath all provide great inspiration and influence.

Graeme: When I was a teen is was mainly heavy stuff, Slayer, Obituary, Carcass, My Dying Bride and of course, Black Sabbath. Regarding influences, I'd say the obvious Zeppelin/Purple/Sabbath thing, Mountain, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Howlin' Wolf, Hendrix, Miles Davis. Basically 70's rock but with some old blues, rock and roll and jazz thrown in for good measure.

Kevin:: Through my teenage years, I moved from GnR, through Metallica, Slayer, Carcass, Deicide, Iron Maiden, Napalm Death, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Sabbath etc. I went through a phase of buying lots of cheap thrash vinyl (often dodgy), so I've got LPs of bands like Possessed, Forbidden, Venom, Sacrifice, Nuclear Assault, Knightmare II, Whiplash and Dark Angel.
My influences are probably things like Sabbath, Bitchwax, Hawkwind, plus as Graeme said, rock and roll, blues, and jazz.

Deanna: I know that you have been getting some airplay, which is great. Do you see this album taking off? It is a really easy to listen to, easy to groove to album

Scott: "Kings Thursday" is doing real good for us, and has already exceeded our initial expectations. After all, we recorded it as a demo... so having it released through a label, getting kick-ass reviews and getting airplay has been brilliant. I’m interested to see where it takes us.

Graeme: Basically we want it to do well enough so that we can play more places, and hopefully get a label behind us who are willing to put some money into the project.

Deanna: If you could jam or play with any one person or band, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Scott: I'd have to say Hendrix. He took blues rock guitar to another level... always improving, always creating, always evolving. Each time he played a song live, he threw in a different twist to it. I’d like to see the way he worked, the way he jammed stuff out. Truly a legend.

Kevin:: I don't really know, but for one idea how about a fantasy band. Jamming with all these guys to create one sonic experience would be truly inspiring...

Josh Homme (Kyuss / Queens) and Spice (Spirutual Beggars) - Vocals
Mike Amott (Spiritual Beggars, Carcass, Arch Enemy) - Guitars
Nik Turner (Hawkwind) - Audio Generator
Sun Ra & his Solar Arkestra - Percussion and Trippy Shit

Graeme: I'd love to have jammed with Jeff Buckley, his voice just slays me. I mean Zeppelin or Hendrix would have been great, but you know, just me with a guitar and Jeff singing some songs. I think that would be really interesting.

Malky: Slash, Tony Iommi, Mick Jagger, Coz they rule.

Deanna: What do you think of the current state of new music? Do you think that this nu-metal stuff will soon disappear? On the same note, do you ever see the 'stoner rock' scene ever getting more exposure as a whole?

Malky: I don't think it will disappear, get more diverse maybe. I think it is growing but it is not full of "must have the limelight people" it has more "lets play some cool tunes" people.

Graeme: I hope the Nu Metal scene continues for a while. I think it actually helps the stoner scene. More and more rock fans are bored of this downtuned rap stuff, and are looking for an alternative. Also, the mainstream press over here are more willing to respect the stoner scene, simply because we're just playing rock as opposed to dressing up as a bunch of circus freaks and moaning about some fictitious childhood we had. Nu Metal is basically just the 80's hair band scene but with more aggression. In five years time everyone will be pretty embarrassed by it.

I think the stoner scene has the capacity to become bigger, but I doubt it will happen. I think the ideal market for it is people of 25+, but unfortunately most of these people are too busy to be checking out the underground for up and coming bands. Queens have broken really big over here in the UK, and that's been down to some major investment in publicising them. This music is marketable, but unfortunately the major record companies are more interested in mindless pop. It's cheaper to do and they don't have to put up with people who care about their music and want to experiment with different things. I mean if Led Zeppelin were starting out now and refused to put out singles, do you think their record company would put up with it? No, they'd drop them and go and get five good looking dancers to record some cover of an eighties pop song. The music industry is killing the goose to get the golden eggs. Money is the worst thing that ever happened to music.

Deanna: Amongst the bands currently know as doom/stoner, which do you dig the most right now? Do you, as some have said, find that originality is lacking? (I don't but hey....)

Kevin:: Of the current bands - Nebula, QOTSA, Hangnail, Spiritual Beggars, Bitchwax, Solarized, Tummler, Fooz and loads more. Originality is lacking in some bands, but not by any means in all.

Scott: I really like what Nebula are doing... saw them live supporting Orange Goblin on their last tour and they kicked some serious ass!! Hangnail, Queens Of The Stone Age and Sunn are also among my favourites right now. I think originality’s alive and well in this type of music. Sure, there are the copycat bands... there always will be. But thankfully the talent out there’s alive and well.

Graeme: Solarized, Blackrock, Fooz, Queens of the Stone Age, Goatsnake. I've heard a lot of good stuff about Sea of Green but have still to check them out. The originality thing is difficult. There are some bands that seem to be very derivative of certain bands, which is not necessarily bad, often the guys openly admit it. This scene is based on music from the past. All the bands are influenced by that 60's, 70's stuff, so it's a little hypocritical to point fingers at certain bands because hardly any of us are doing anything truly original. I think the key is to try and mix your influences together and add a touch of yourself to the mix too. There's no point in trying to be John Garcia or Ozzy Osbourne, let's face it you won't be as good. In the end of the day we're all just playing bastardised riffs from Robert Johnson, Leadbelly and other early blues players. I mean you can add dance beats to it, or rap, but as we all know this normally ends up sounding really fake and cold, it just doesn't rock.

Deanna: Okay, what is the song Mutton Chop Hop about?

Graeme: It's about sideburns of course! There's a whole lot of stuff in there. It's basically about doing stuff your own way. If you want huge sideburns then grow them, if you want a tattoo then get it, if you want to waste your life in a rock and roll band then do it. It also kind of goes into the sacrifice of it. To really do music you have to give up a lot of stuff, socially, financially whatever. That's what selling your soul for rock and roll is all about.

Deanna: You guys seem very well educated and articulate. What do you do for day jobs? Where did you go to school?

Scott: I went to Bearsden Academy then Glasgow University (just finished a Masters there). Right now I’m looking for a programming type job to fund my retro guitar pedal addiction...

Kevin:: I did 4 years at Strathclyde Uni - computers and electronics. During the day I do computer stuff, band stuff, and beer stuff - not necessarily in that order.

Graeme: I'm just finishing up my masters degree at Strathclyde University. Hey kids, education is important, it helps you remain lucid when you're so drunk that you can't walk.

Mearns Castle High School
Strathclyde Uni
Developer Support Engineer for Adobe Systems Europe Lyd. (kinda programmer)

Deanna: What was the last book read by the band members? What is your favourite movie?

Scott: At the moment I’m reading “Universal Foam” by Sidney Perkowitz. As for my favourite movie, right now it’s the recent Martin Scorsese movie “Bringing Out The Dead” starring Nicolas Cage.

Graeme: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Favourite film of the moment is The Big Lebowski, but I'm not really a film buff.

Kevin:: Current book is Roger Fishbite by Emily Prager but I don't usually read much. My memory, as usual, doesn't serve me well for favourite film, but Psychomania is cool.

Malky: The redemption of Athalus - David & leigh Eddings. Momento

Deanna: Last question, I promise, what is next up for Marshan? Where do you see the bands musical direction going?

Graeme: We're playing some gigs with a band called Area 54 over here in the UK. We're hoping to do some more touring next year within the UK, and hopefully outside as well as recording our first album. Musically we're moving more into British blues rock territory. We just want to play some good music and have some fun.

Deanna: Thanks for answering my questions. Hope they weren't too lame. Love the CD!!!

Kevin:: Thanks for asking them Deanna, your support is much appreciated. I feel like I've written a book or something, I just hope someone bothers to read it!

Graeme: It's awesome people like you that are making this scene what it is.

Read the review of Marshan's "Kings Thursday on the Friday Street"

Deanna St.Croix