We talk to Danny Bowes, singer with rock veterans Thunder.
If there is could be such a thing, longstanding British blues rock band Thunder could be said to have had a good pandemic. last year’s album All The Right Noises was their biggest seller for two decades and they’re about to undertake a tour of some of the biggest venues they’ve played in their career to promote their new album out this week.
We asked singer Danny Bowes to start off by telling us about the new album.
“I’ll be glad to. It’s called Dopamine, it’s a double album of sixteen songs, and it’s about seventy minutes long.”
You’ve always been noted for writing songs about your experiences. That must have been doubly difficult since 2020.
“Luke writes the tunes, but I’ve sat with him in enough interviews lately to know that he didn’t find it difficult to write the songs for this album. The pandemic has meant we’ve been unable to play live shows, so he had lots of time on his hands, and the weirdness of the times has provided plenty of inspiration for the new songs.”
You said that you wanted Dopamine to be a happier album than its predecessor All the Right Noises – did you think you succeeded?
“I think there’s a good variety of subject matter in this album. Some of it is quite dark, and given the last two years it’s not really a surprise, but a lot of it is really quite hopeful and positive. Luke’s a clever old stick.”
All the Right Noises was your most successful chart album ever. Did the success of that one come as a surprise?
“Sorry that’s not strictly true. If you’re going purely on chart positions, our second album Laughing On Judgement Day went into the UK chart at number two. All The Right Noises went in at three. Sorry to sound picky, but my mother taught me to tell the truth at all times.”
It was quite political in parts, you said there was a lot of social commentary on there but you couldn’t have seen that the next couple of years would lead to just about everything becoming politicised – even to the extent where some people see wearing a mask or being vaccinated as a political act.
“The last two years have been really quite extraordinary, and the whole world has had to come to terms with a lot of weirdness. As time has gone by, it’s also become weirder and weirder, but I think Luke’s used a lot of it in the new record in an entertaining way. Like I said before, he’s clever. Makes you sick doesn’t it?”
Did it in some way help that you couldn’t tour the album?
“It was obviously helpful in terms of providing plenty of time to write new songs, and get them recorded, but not from a financial point of view, for performers and musicians around the world it’s been hell.”
But you can tour now, and you’re playing what the world still knows as the NEC as well as a few other arenas. If nothing else, that shows what an audience there is for your music.
“Yes, we seem to be getting more popular as time goes by, which is strange when you consider we started the band in 1989. The show at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham was originally set to take place in Nov 2020, then postponed to May 2021, and now May 2022 due to the pandemic, so it will be brilliant to finally get to do it. It feels a bit like a two year old itch that we’ll finally get to scratch. Our fans have been fantastic throughout the period, and kept faith with the show, especially considering the financial situation right now, so we’re looking forward to giving them a brilliant night out.”
Your last UK show I believe was at KK’s in Wolverhampton, which was a bit different to where you’re playing now. You also did your acoustic set there, and threw in a few unusual covers. Will there be anything like that on his tour?
“The shows at KK’s were Christmas shows, which always have a mixture of Thunder tunes and our favourite covers, spread across two sets. The first is a sit down affair, and we all jump up and down in the second one. We only do that kind of show at Christmas, so the short answer is no. The show in May will be a mixture of our old stuff, our new stuff, and nearly new stuff too. Luke has the job of choosing the set list, and I don’t envy him. That’s the price he has to pay for being clever.”
You’ve either split, or had a hiatus, whichever you prefer, a couple of times. Is that going to happen again, or are you back for good now?
“We’re actually splitting up after the shows in May. Only joking. We’re having a great time at the moment, so I don’t see us stopping any time soon. We’ve got a big list to stuff we want to do.”
And what will the future hold?
“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you, so let’s avoid that. Whatever happens, we’ll continue to do our best to come up with good tunes and ideas, and make people dance and sing, to hopefully take their mind off their troubles. It’s what we do.”
Thunder play the Resorts World Arena on 27th May. More information can be found at thunderonline.com.