Interview: Stump Monroe, The Almighty

Power Tourin'


There's no doubt that the ferocity of their third album Powertrippin' has taken The Almighty to a new level. From a hotel in Manchester, the band's drummer Stump Monroe tells us that the band have been "really pleasantly surprised" by the success.

"The chart positions have been unbelievable. It's out-sold Soul Destruction already and that's been available for two years whereas Powertrippin's only been out for a couple of months. We haven't any complaints about it."

As as an added advantage, initial copies of the album came with a free Live At Donington CD/tape.

"That was just a marketing ploy to sell as many in the first week as possible. There were 35,000 copies and it's not very often that you get to sell that many in a week, so it didn't make that much difference."

This ploy did strike me that Polydor Records were getting behind the band.

"They've always been really good to us, especially in the UK," Stump says of their label. "And they're even more keen now, and the European markets have been surprisingly good. Loads of them have been turning up on this tour."

CRAZY NIGHTS

The tour that Stump is talking about is their recent jaunt across Europe in support of Iron Maiden. A support slot was offered by the headliners.

"Steve [Harris] has always liked us. We did a few shows with Maiden a few years ago so we’ve known them for a while basically. They wanted to take a British band out with them."

The Almighty undoubtedly went down a storm.

"France was absolutely crazy. It was quite frightening some nights. In Italy they were throwing anything onstage – firecrackers, money. It was like being at Donington every night for a fortnight!"

For a change, the centre of The Almighty’s attention on this tour hasn't been the mainman Ricky Warwick, but new axe-wielder Pete Friesin. Ex-guitarist Tantrum left under an acrimonious cloud, and as they say there's no substitute for living as a unit to gauge a relationship. So, is everything hunky dory? It would seem so.

"Pete has made it so much easier. It's very noticeable. Even our crew have noticed how much easier it is. There's not so much bickering going on. In fact there's no bickering going on at all," he corrects, laughing. "Everyone's a lot happier."

Has this breath of fresh air transmitted itself through the live performance, giving them a new lease of life?

"Yes. At the start of the tour we messed about with the set an awful lot, swapped songs around to see what was going on with each one individually. But we still couldn’t make up our bloody minds! We ended up with a set that we really liked."

And what of the latest material?

"It's been going really well. Addiction has been going down really well everywhere. Jesus Loves You (Bit I Don’t) went down particularly well at Wembley so we were well happy with that. "

COMPARISONS

The track that Stump mentioned, Addiction has been the focal point of Powertrippin'. The tune in question riffs hard while stomping through grunge territory. Comparisons are easily leveled between Metallica and a host of Seattle bands. Stump mirthfully howls, "Aye, it's fuckin' stupid."

It seems as though many are content to listen to that first track which really isn’t representative of the album as a whole.

"Yeah, the album's so diverse. There's so many different directions of music. I saw one review that compared us to Alice In Chains. I know for a fact that Addiction was written a year before their album came out. We’re only compared to them because that’s what the reviewer has just been listening to. It wouldn’t have happened a year ago. If you compare Addiction to Alice In Chains, what do you compare a track like Instinct to, Jimi Hendrix? That’s fair enough, but you don't compare us to Hendrix because he’s not trendy at the moment."

If you missed the sonic whirlwind that is The Almighty this time around, you won't have too long to hold your breath until they’re back to pummel your senses.

"We'll be doing our own tour around September of October, depending on what happens. What we're talking about is doing two weeks in the UK, five or six weeks in Europe, and then back for another two weeks in the UK, but, as I say, that depends."

The pull of other markets is also looming large.

"We've got to go to Japan as well because our album went into the charts there at 22 and then went up to 14 this week."

The Almighty, stars in the land of the rising sun. Who’d have thought it?


Joe Mackett
Rif Raff
July 1993

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