Before hitting up the Dogtooth stage at Download Festival 2017, we caught up with the lads from riotous, alt-punk trio God Damn to chat about festivals, Dave Grohl and battle of the bands countdown(?).
S] So, you’re here at Download Festival 2017, you must be pretty excited, how does it feel to be here?
Tom] Totally Excited! Last time we played here it was really good, we got a good slot and a bunch of people came and saw us wish we totally wasn’t expecting. We had a great time. It’s nice to be back.
Ash] Yeah, man. It’s nice to go out and check out the atmosphere. We had a walk around just to see what was going on and to suss it out before we go and smash it up.
S] Are there any other bands you’re particularly looking forward to seeing yourself?
James] We wanna see Baroness but we clash with them…
Tom] Don’t tell everybody! Is this going live??
James] Come and see us and not them! Mastodon of course! System of A Down, Prophets of Rage…
Tom] Yeah, we will be grabbing a beer together with Prophets of Rage and System of a Down later on.
S] How did you come up with the name God Damn?
Tom] Well, we originally thought we would call ourselves ‘Dog and Mad’ and then we thought it’s not got much of a catch to it…
Ash]…So we went on to the band version of Countdown and we won it…
James] …Totally won it! There was a battle of the bands Countdown and we won it and we came up with the band name God Damn and we were like “hang on, we have just won the battle of the bands Countdown with our own band name ‘Dog and Mad’” and we just thought, “hang on, the stars have aligned, this is the name. And that’s it.
Ash] [laughs]Yeah, that was quite on the spot!
S] What got you in to music in the first place and made you want to be in a band?
James] I don’t know really.
Tom] James wanted to join a band to be whimsical and undecided…
James] Yeah, I wanted to play music because I enjoy music and listen to music. obviously when you are young you want to imitate the things that inspire you and once you start playing an instrument the next logical step was to play in a band. Personally, as soon as I started playing an instrument I started writing my own songs so it was always a case of whether I was going to be in a band or just be a hobbyist. Although, this is kind of a hobby of sorts.
Tom] Yeah, were making millions, dude.
S] You guys have played with some pretty big names in the past, Red Fang, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and none more so than Foo Fighters. Now you have been handpicked by Dave Grohl to support Foo Fighters at their Budapest Arena show in Hungary. That must feel pretty good.
James] How did you find that out? We haven’t actually announced it yet?
S] I have my sources…or maybe it was your manager.
James] Aaah, well, by time this comes out it will be announced. So, Dave Grohl is actually my Uncle…
S] I definitely shouldn’t believe this, should I?
Tom] No, it’s fucking bollocks! We were told the story that he was sent some music, not by us but by a friend of a friend of a friend. He was at home sleeping and his kids were playing or something and he said if he was sleeping on the other ear he wouldn’t have heard us because he is deaf in one ear, or, like, partially. He heard a song of ours come on that was recommended by a friend and he rang them up straight away and said “can we book this band?” That’s the story I’ve been told but whether or not he was just been nice, I don’t know. What’s your interpretation of it? [Looking at Ash]
Ash] Something like that, but that was like three or four stories together but, yeah, that’s alright, that’s alright…
Tom] It’s one big haze of our hang out with Dave Grohl.
S] It must feel pretty good to know that someone like Dave Grohl has handpicked you guys.
Ash] The most amazing thing is that he likes our band! Not just him, Taylor is a big fan too and it’s just nice that these people we have looked up to for years actually likes our band!
Tom] Obviously everyone knows the history there, and it’s nice to be playing with them again as it’s kind of like, well the first time wasn’t a fluke, they genuinely like our band! It wasn’t like we had won some battle of the bands thing, we totally didn’t. It’s like they are just genuine music fans and that restores your faith.
James] It’s as pure as it should be. It should always be that simple.
What are your post tour plans?
Ash] The rest of the summer after the tour we have got some more festivals like Truck Festival, Y Not? Festival, Reading and Leeds. Between that and the end of the year we will hopefully get back on the road again with a bit of luck.
S] You have just released a video for your song ‘It Bites’ which seems to have been influenced by b-movies so I was wondering, what is your favourite horror film of all time?
James] Man, that’s difficult! Rosemary’s Baby.
Tom] I’m going to go for Eraserhead. We did a cover of Lady and the Radiator [scene from Eraserhead] very, very early on and I’ve got minimum patience for cover songs, I haven’t the attention span to learn a song. So, when I try and learn a song I end up writing ten or more songs because I get distracted. But, that was a song that was so simple and fucking creepy and cool that we decided to cover it. So, I’m going to go for Eraserhead.
Ash] It’s got to be Halloween for me. But when it comes to the underground ones, I haven’t got a clue with to be honest.
Tom] The cheap budget, b-movie feel you know, was like “here’s 5p, go make a video”. We have some very nice friends though like Tim, who helped make it. You either go for the low budget vibes and be assertive with the fact that it’s low budget or you spend a lot of money.