By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographers – Rock At Night France, Switzerland.
PALACE OF THE KING, the Australian four-piece rock band was at Wood Stock Guitares and was expected with bated breath! The Melbourne artists were supported by the local band MY SWEET TYRANNY, warming up the venue and as thrilled as the audience to announce the headliners. Everyone was connected and ready for more good live music! Here they were, launching their new album Get Right With Your Maker, ready to hit the stage and ignite the crowd!!! This concert was one of the very best at Wood Stock Guitares! Listening to the new album was already very exciting but Palace Of The King is a band you definitely need to see live.
With lead singer and guitarist Tim Henwood, Sean Johnston on Keys and guitar, drummer Travis Dragani and bassist Anthony Licciardi, this is an awesome band with a tremendous energy! ‘It’s Been A Long Time Comin’, ‘I’m The Storm‘, ‘Fly like an Evil’…every track was just a killer and the crowd didn’t want them to stop!!! Palace of the King finally left the stage with a revisited medley of Zeppelin, Hendrix, Doors and AC/DC, leaving an audience still wondering from which planet these guys come from! Looking forward to seeing them again soon!
Rock At Night was present and had the pleasure of interviewing them before the concert. Check it out here below:
RAN– Nice to meet you! Welcome to Woodstock Guitar Temple! Did you have time to take a look at this fantastic Guitar Shop?
Tim Henwood– Yes, it is fantastic, we wanted to buy everything !
RAN– At at beginning the Band was composed of 6 musicians. Why did you choose to become a four-piece Band?
TH– One of our members joined AIRBORNE, one had a baby. Sean and I play guitar so we didn’t need to replace them. Like James Brown, we did have spare parts, now not anymore and yeah, if anything happens we’re in trouble. When we’ll get big we ‘ll have spare parts again (Laughs).
RAN– Coming to Europe, is it your goal to earn a real place in the sun?
TH– Yeah, that’s why we keep coming back, trying to build the band here, every time we’re back, it gets a little bit bigger. Last time we were here, we did some gigs supporting AIRBORNE. So hopefully some of those people will come to our french shows.That tour was in France, It’s our third time in Europe. The people who came last time bring their friends and yeah, it gets bigger every time.
RAN– What’s up with this new tour in Europe? How many countries will or did you visit?
TH– We’ve already been in Spain, it‘s our third show in France. This year, we‘ll go to 8 or 9 countries, our first time to Slovakia and Czech Republic.
RAN– Are there big differences between Australian and European audiences in the current Hard Rock field? What‘s the musical panorama in MELBOURNE, where are you from?
TH– We are from Melbourne, the music scene in Melbourne has always been good and still is. Melbourne is probably the most European city in Australia.Here, everywhere is like in Melbourne.The hard rock scene is not very strong in Australia, but in Europe it‘s stronger. It‘s another big reason for coming here.
RAN– Are there many European bands going to Australia?
TH– No, mainly Australian Bands coming to Europe (laughs), cause there are more people here interested in hard rock music.
Travis Dragani– There is the Download Festival Sideshows in Australia, the bands come to Download Festival, to do some sideshows. It’s more viable for them cause it‘s quite expensive to come to Australia.
RAN– You are very prolific because you produce almost an album per year since your debut in 2012. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are you influenced by the life you lead on the road?
TH– Yes, that‘s where a lot of it comes from, a lot of experiences we have on the road. We want to keep putting new music, keep playing, working really hard. Like the bands back in the 70‘s did. They had to do it cause there was no radio, not a lot of mainstream support back then. Same now ! So the best way to do it is to be prolific, play a lot and build an audience.
RAN– How do you explain it‘s the same now?
TH– Cause it‘s a different world, if you like hard rock, you can find it but mainstream radio and media don‘t play hard rock these days but in 80‘s it was mainstream.
RAN– Talking about the 70‘s revival, why does it influence you so much?
TH– Well, a lot of those great bands came from the 70‘s and at that time they weren‘t getting played on the radio, so it‘s very similar to what we had now. They didn‘t even sell a lot of records until the late 70‘s, 80‘s. They had to play live and build a real audience. We still love all those bands now. But we have social media as well to use as a tool to spread the music.
RAN– Australia is a country with famous names, both old and new: MEN AT WORK, AC/DC, ROSE TATTOO, COLD CHISEL, INXS, MIDNIGHT OIL, JOHN BUTLER TRIO and of course AIRBOURNE. You have a big heritage here, there’s a lot to explore. Do you think you would bring Australia once again to the limelight?
TH– I feel like we’re trying to take the best of it and carry it forward. We love and respect those bands, they’re great bands and I am proud of the fact they’re Australian. But I don’t want to be a big Australian Band, just wanna be in a big band that does well around the world.
RAN– GET RIGHT WITH YOUR MAKER is your last opus. What’s the real meaning of this title?
TH– It could mean anything you want to me. Get your own shit straight, get yourself together, you’ve got to get right with your maker before you die. I feel some people don’t…Even if your mum is your maker, if you get right with your mum, that’s still good too, isn’t it?
RAN – The ace in this particular last work is the fact that GET RIGHT WITH YOUR MAKER have phenomenal songs. The keyboards are very obvious, as important to the PALACE OF THE KING sound as JON LORD was to DEEP PURPLE. This retro sound steeped to the seventies seems to be intentional! Do you agree ? Who were you most influenced by?
TH– A lot of Hard Rock, bluesy Rock Bands. We love DEEP PURPLE but it‘s not a huge influence. I think people think this because we‘re playing bluesy rock riffs. Sean was playing Hammond organ sound. He started playing, trying different sounds and maybe making it sound a bit more like the DOORS. But he must have done it deliberately cause he was sick of people saying about JON LORD…(Big laughs). But we love this great bluesy rock band with a great organ player. I see why we get compared to them, because of him (pointing to Sean).
Travis Dragani– I think these are Sean’s influences, even unintentionally, whatever you listen to as a kid growing up, it’s got to come out when you play. You don’t wanna force it but it comes out naturally in the music, it’s our PALACE sounds.
TH– Luckily for us and for Sean! His father had really good tastes in music, so he grew up in a very good musical environment.
RAN – Listening to the album, we see that Life on the road becomes a part of the DNA of this last work. What’s your feeling?
TH– We definitely take those experiences and put them into new songs. We’ve been to America twice now. Those are great experiences, not only they’re coming into the lyrics – I think I am in the Mojave desert in one of the songs…In all of our experiences, when we get together to play and record music, all of those elements are part of it, it’s an alchemy.
RAN– You’ve headlined 3 European Tours with an average of 100 shows a year! How do you manage that?
TH– We just work harder than most other bands…A lot of bands want to be big but don’t wanna do the work. AC/DC for example, they got big cause they really worked their asses off!! You see photos of them in the early days, driving from one side to the other in Australia in the back of a van with no windows to save money because they wanted to get to the other side to do a gig! So I think you’ll never gonna get to be anywhere near as big as AC/DC support band unless you’re willing to put a lot of work in. And everyone here is willing to put a lot of work in! We’re constantly travelling.
RAN– It gets to our next question. You’ve supported AIRBOURNE in the UK and FRANCE, played in US in 2016 and 2017 and circled AUSTRALIA dozen of times in a tour van !! What were the benefits of these great adventures?
TH– The benefits of playing so much means you’re just a better band. A lot of times European or American bands don’t play very much. Until when you see them play sometimes, we think that if they played 100 shows they would get better. We travel around Australia all the time, and it takes us a all day between shows.10 hours, we do it, sometimes even more. Last year we drove from the very bottom all the way up to Brisbane. About 16 hours and no sleep. I drove during the night while they slept and they took over when the sun came up so I could sleep. We didn’t have time to stop. Again, you have to work hard. It’s probably just cause we’ve been growing up
blue collar too you know, our parents are all hard working, normal people with jobs. Even though they weren’t musicians necessarily, you take that work addict along and apply that to music. I think the first year we did 150 shows.The biggest benefit of playing a lot is getting good!
RAN– TIM, your voice has echoes of AXL ROSE and a touch of SMALL FACES, STEVE MARRIOT…
TH– I like the Steve Marriott‘s one! Thank you! It‘s not deliberate, I sound the way I sound.
RAN– How did you live the death of MALCOLM YOUNG, the AC/DC guitar player?
TH– It was very very sad. We were on our way from Brisbane to Melbourne when we found out. It‘s a big thing for guitarists generally, rock guitarists and coming from Australia, it‘s even bigger, very sad.
RAN– You mixed in TEXAS and NYC – Why those two places?
TH– The Machine Mixer in Texas is very good and established, we knew he would be fine. We wanted to give a shot to the young mixer in New York. We gave him one song, and he was great so we decided to give him some more songs. It worked out well! We experience sometimes cause we make the records ourselves. We don’t have an outside producer. When we’re finished recording we let it mixed, we try a song and then we find a sound we like and we continue that way on each album.
RAN– Last one, why did you call the band PALACE OF THE KING?
TH– We couldn’t think of a name at first and we were playing the song Palace of the King in our set cause we hadn’t written enough songs yet. It was very hard to agree on anything when we were six of us…I got frustrated on stage one night and I just said to the audience that if anyone had an idea for a name to come and tell us. A guy came up to me after the show and after telling me I had a nice jacket… said we should call the band PALACE OF THE KING. I really liked that, told the rest of the band and liked it as well. That’s how we got our name. I can’t remember who that guy was.
RAN– You changed label lately, right?
TH– We only license our records to labels. We had 2 records with Listenable Records under contract then we got offered the new deal from GOLDEN ROBOT RECORDS, an Australian based record label but they have a distribution in Europe through Soulfood music distribution and in the States.
RAN– You know that Rock At Night is from Tampa, Florida and actually works with Dustin Hardman, the publicist in the US for Golden Robot Records, who happens to live in Tampa Bay as well. So we knew about your European tour and the release of your new album right from US! And it’s been absolutely great to have this interview with you tonight, thank you!
Many thanks to Max from Teenage Head Music