Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were tipped for big things when their debut album 'B.R.M.C' was released in 2001. Some sections of the same music press that were bigging them up seemed to turn against them when their third album 'Howl' came out, being met with a less than favourable review or two.

It wasn't a happy time in the BRMC camp either with drummer Nick Jago having to take time away from the band to sort out drink and drug problems. He's back in the fold now and they've a new record ready to go which is said to be a move away from the more acoustic style of 'Howl', back to the raw rock n' roll that earned them such praise in their early days.

BRMC have just completed a support tour with the Killers reviewed here, and before they flew out to Canada to film their new video, Peter, Robert and Nick talked to Room Thirteen in a West London hotel.

R13: So how were the dates with the Killers?
N: We just did a Rolling Stones thing and that was really inspiring. Then the Killers thing came along and that was really inspiring too. Just seeing loads of arms in the air, people singing every word of every song, it's a powerful thing to see that.

R13: And the size of the whole production of their show too?
N: Yeah I guess that gets me going too.

R13: If you had an unlimited budget is that the sort of thing you'd like to try?
N: We saw Nine Inch Nails at Brixton last night and they had these lights which just dangled from the ceiling. It was so simple but really effective.
R: They were like these lamps on strings which went right down so they were almost on each person's head. As you know the Brixton Academy has got a really high ceiling but you couldn't really see the strings that the lamps were on which made it feel like the room was really small.
N: They had this glitter which went over the crowd after the first song and then another explosion of gold glitter after the third song.
(Click here for the R13 review of this tour from Manchester.)

R13: And how have your own shows gone? You've done a couple of headline gigs alongside the Killers tour?
R: They were really fun, because we were supporting when we'd do our own shows that would make it much more fun playing to our own fans...our fans are really cool.

R13: How has the new material gone down with them?
N: It's been going good.

R13: What was the motivation behind going back to the heavier rock style on the new album?
N: I basically wanted to start behaving like a rock star again. (laughs)

R13: How do you look at 'Howl' now and how that went down?
P: I think it went really well. Obviously I'd have liked millions to have bought it and get inspired by it. We said from the start it was going to be a leap of faith for us. We've always tried to shun the whole rock n' roll flash in the pan thing. You know when you first come out and there's all that nonsense. 'Howl' was our way to try and shun that. It's not necessarily trying to say we take it more seriously but we think we're a bit more than that.

R13: I'm not sure how it would have been in the US but here in the UK when you first appeared there was a lot of talk about how you were going to be massive, was 'Howl' reacting against that?
P: Yeah yeah, I guess our whole thing is reacting against that (laughs). It's not only what we're about but... the reason you start playing music is a reaction against that. It doesn't make a lot of sense because on the one hand you want people to hear your music but on the other hand you don't want it heard in the wrong way.

R13: You see a lot of examples of bands who get a certain amount of success or are expected to have a certain amount of success and then find themselves being pushed to do things they don't want to do, have you found that?
P: Yeah, but we don't do it. We haven't done too much of that. There's a couple of different things: car commercials, corporate gigs, people seem to think it'll help your band. We tend not to do too many of them. You might say that's why we haven't sold millions of records.

R13 (to Nick): You took some time out from the band, what was it like being back for this new album?
N: (laughs) It was a stage dive that went wrong. Yeah it's nice to have a job, somewhere to go, something to do, making music.
R13: The problems you had...
N: Yeah I had a few personal problems.
R13: And that's all sorted?
N: um...yeah.

R13: So with the change back to your earlier style, were there other bands you were listening to at the time which may have inspired you? I read you were really into the last Primal Scream album?
R: Primal Scream have been really inspiring for a long time, you know, when a band stays kinda sharp teeth and claws. I'm always really excited to hear their next record. Them and Nine Inch Nails, I'm always really excited by their new record. It's hard to look at it as what inspired this record because I think it just came really naturally from all three of us. I was also listening to some Nirvana records, listening to stuff I was into at high school.

R13: With the live shows coming up, what can people expect that might be different from the last set of shows you played over here?
N: You mean like stuff that hasn't made it onto the record? I always find that really frustrating when a song seems complete and then it doesn't make it onto the record. I think that's always happened.
R: The album's really only a snapshot, songs are always developing and I think we do that more than most bands. We want people to come to the shows and feel like we've played their favourite song the way they remember it but some songs just keep on evolving.

R13: Do you know what your festival schedule for this summer is yet?
P: I think we're doing T in the Park...and is it called, Oxegen?

R13: The last time I saw you at a festival was Reading a couple of years ago.
P: We played with the White Stripes, that was cool. Maybe we can play that next year...headlining (laughs).

R13: I noticed we have an old news story from around that time, when you were promoting 'Howl', where you asked fans to choose the setlist for a gig at the Astoria. Is that something you might do again?
N: The whole setlist thing can be a total fucking nightmare for bands, I wanna play this song, no I wanna play this song, we can't leave that song out. I just wanna do a tour one day where we can meet a fan and say "choose out setlist today". Dandy Warhols did that.

R13: Who are the bands you get on with really well at festivals? I heard Jet are staying in this hotel too.
N: Yeah last night in the bar was cool, when it's like that it's just "we're all musicians, in it for the same thing".

R13: And finally what will you be happy with from this new album in terms of success?
P: (laughs) There's only one answer to that, hope it's heard by as many people as possible but on our terms as usual.
N: The more I sit here in these interviews listening to Peter and Robert talking about this, it's hard to say...

R13: I appreciate it's a tricky one to answer.
N: Yeah, it's best to just judge your own success.
R: I just feel like we're gonna jinx it if we say we want this to be the biggest album in the world and it's then just gonna be a nightmare.