Interview with Mike West ahead of Loverocks 2019

Mike West

Now in its third year, Loverocks Festival, returns to Ferndown on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June. This year the Loverocks lineup will include some of the best emerging rock and metal bands plus some top cover bands.

Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Mike West who will be bringing his unique blend of Country Blues with a “hard rock kick in the teeth” to this yearís Loverocks Festival.

How do you feel about playing Loverocks?
Extremely honoured and proud. It’s no secret that the UK is struggling when it comes to live music and original acts so I’m happy to be part of a festival that acknowledges that and puts on a line up that celebrates what is on offer now and there are so many great acts coming up that deserve a platform to reach folks. I couldn’t be happier to be playing and alongside such great company and hopefully showing the Loverocks crowd what I’ve got!

What bands would your dream line-up include?
It would be a bit all over the place genre-wise, Howlin Wolf, Johnny Cash, Pantera, KISS and Blind Willie Johnson would be headling some epic 5 day festival in my dreams with Clutch, Kris Kristofferson, Shawn James, Amigo the Devil and Eminem making an appearance on the bill!

What bands have influenced your music style?
I picked up a guitar because of Ace Frehley from KISS and have him tattooed on my chest (alongside his autograph) and Johnny Cash is tattooed on my arm next to him and he made me pick up an acoustic so those two are the biggest icons in my pantheon of influences. Starting out in a Thrash Metal band, alot of those bands formed my earliest songwriting attempts and as I’ve moved into the acoustic world, Kris Kristofferson. Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson are my current holy trinity. Alot of my musical style comes from literature with a dash of Buddhism and existential crisis thrown into the mix so Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman come to mind when looking for lyrical inspiration as I aim to be as honest and open as I can with my songs because even if you don’t like my style or what I’m saying, I want you to understand it.
Whatís your favourite memory on stage?

Mike West

I recently opened Chris Shiflett’s(Foo Fighters) sold out Manchester show. Biggest show of my life so far with 250+ people there and as I go into my second to last song of my set for whatever reason my guitar just cut out. Died on it’s arse and nothing was coming out the monitors or PA. This is every musicians worst nightmare and why I’m thankful I play an acoustic. I walked past the mic, leaned into the crowd and kept playing, the crowd began to clap in time and keep the momentum going as I just belted out the last verse and chorus and we got through it together. Everyone loves an underdog and I think I got a lot of folks on my side because I just didn’t stop. Which is a good rule for a live gig and was truly heartwarming to me to be completely unknown to these guys and get that level of support.

Describe your sound for people who might not have heard of you:
I have it on a t-shirt! Not Country Enough. Not Blues Enough. Not Folk Enough. Too Heavy.

As a musical mongrel I get to support a heap of different acts from pure Country like Pat Reedy and Stevie O’Connor to Southern Rockers The Plott Hounds and classic Rock guys like Blackwater Conspiracy (and the 3 of us are on tour in July together too!) and even do some really heavy shows but I think I am lucky enough to do this because I weave in and out of genres and styles while still having my own voice that people hopefully connect to.

What’s your favourite thing about playing festivals?
The open-minded crowd is a huge draw with genre-specific festivals I think. Generic festivals like Insert City Name here LIVE are a minefield of people who want to get pissed in the street and talk over the bands while dedicated festivals like LoveRocks bring a person who may not know all the bands playing but they know the style, they know the sound and they know what they like so are looking, PRAYING, to discover great new music and support a genre and scene they love. These festivals bring the family together.

What got you into music?

Ace Frehley’s smoking guitar.

Which band would you most like to collaborate with?
That’s a hard one, I think I could do some cool stuff with The Plott Hounds or a Southern Rock style band like that and it would be fun to do but I’d love to get crazy with a Black Metal band or something really out there and see what happens! And to tick it off the bucket list would be to write a song with Kristofferson.
Do your parents like your music?

I hope so! I know my mum isn’t a fan of the cursing in some songs and in between songs but I think they dig it for the most part. They’ve been great and come to some shows when they can. Me and my dad have been going to festivals together for years and I picked up 80% of the music I love from him so I think so.



Mike West