For everyone complaining that the music scene ain’t the same as it was back in the ‘70s or ‘80s, there are at least a few dozen bands around to prove them wrong. One of them is the UK-based Piston whose debut album hit the shelves last year (and, to the record collectors’ delight, is also available on vinyl). But why did it take the British five-piece so long to come up with their first full-length effort? What was it like to support the huge names of the music industry, including The Cult, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Songs and Glenn Hughes? And can a working musician find any positive aspect in this year’s doom and gloom…? Here’s Piston’s guitarist Jack Edwards giving a sneak peek into the band’s world.
Alexandra Mrozowska, Rock Speculo Interviews: For a good start, let’s look back a bit. What’s your and your bandmates’ experience prior to Piston and how do you think it translates into what you do today?
Jack Edwards: We have all always been in bands through our careers. Brad [Newlands – drums], Stuart [Egan – bass], and Luke [Allatt – guitar] were in a high school band together and Rob [Angelico], our singer, has been an independent songwriter for years. At the time, when Piston got together I was playing in multiple covers bands and then decided to focus all my efforts into this!
AM: And as it turned out, it was a good decision! Piston was founded in 2012, with an EP released in 2013 and the debut album following seven long years later. What’s prompted such a long break between the recordings?
JE: We had a line-up change – that was the main one! We found a new singer – Rob – and it has been no looking back ever since! We also scrapped a whole album worth of material and started again, that was a bold move but it paid off!
AM: How did the band develop throughout those years in terms of songwriting and stage experience?
JE: I think it all develops naturally mainly from being out on the road with one another. The dynamic of everything starts to change, it’s really interesting how it works! We are and always will be a live band.
AM: As it’s been a little more than a year since your debut album hit the shelves, are you still happy with it?
JE: Yes, of course! It was an incredible moment for us and A LOT of hard work went into it. It sounds amazing on the new vinyl!
AM: Also last year you released a cover of Slade’s classic 1972 hit “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. How much are you influenced by Glam Rock and what’s your approach to its larger-than-life aesthetics?
JE: I think it’s all about putting on a show. We have always aimed to do that. We may not dress up in the make-up or outfits, but we always give the audience something! It’s all about the energy. Loose, loud rock’n’roll.
AM: What do you think was the most memorable gig for Piston so far?
JE: It has to be opening up for The Cult for sure! We played to 2500 people a night as special guests. It was a CRAZY experience!
AM: Being a band that surely turns up their amps to eleven, can you think of any Spinal Tap moments in the band’s history?
JE: There are so many. I would not be allowed to divulge! (laughs)
AM: Speaking of playing live, how long has it been since the band hit the stage and what kind of impact did the lockdown have on Piston?
JE: We last played in March. I think the break has done us the world of good. It’s hard work being in a working band and it takes a lot out of you. We have used this as ‘rest’ time and we have been writing for album number two.
AM: You’re also a guitar teacher. Having admitted that your own early experience with being taught how to play the guitar wasn’t too encouraging, how does it influence your approach as a teacher? Do you enjoy it?
JE: Well, I used to use different guitar teachers for different aspects of playing when I was younger. I’ve housed all of the good stuff that I learnt and developed my syllabus from that. I love teaching! It’s very rewarding and it’s great to see people go on and form their own bands writing their own music coming away from the lessons!
AM: In one of your songs – “Go Now” – there’s an encouragement to “…party like it’s ‘89”. What do you think is so inspiring about that decade?
JE: That is something you would have to ask Rob about as he is the lyric man! I couldn’t comment because I wasn’t alive in the 80s! (laughs)
AM: Neither was I, but everyone loves the ‘80s (laughs).
JE: I think it’s all down to that era as to how a lot of guitar driven bands have progressed…
AM: Most probably! Speaking of the glorious past, the UK bands I interviewed lately often complain that your homeland isn’t as much of a Rock powerhouse as it used to be. What do you think of the contemporary British Rock/Metal scene?
JE: Well, I am not quite sure what scene they have been in but pre-COVID the Rock scene was booming! So many amazing bands coming out!
AM: Any last words?
JE: Come see Piston live!
Check out the new video to Piston’s single “Let Us Rise” (J. C. T. Radio Remix) below: