50 Best Albums of 2015 #11

Thunder singer Danny Bowes reflects on chart-hitting success.

What was your high point of 2015?

Danny Bowes: Hearing that Wonder Days had entered the chart at number nine. Not only had we put everything into making a great record, all the stops had been pulled out to make it happen. People had told us that there was no longer an interest in bands playing acoustic in-stores as promotion, but the fans came out in their droves. We did everything possible to let people know about the album. We’d met Andy McNab [SAS soldier-turned-novelist] on the Childline ride, so we asked him to stick a Tweet out for us. No stone was left unturned.

And you achieved it without the help of mainstream press or radio. What does it say about Thunder, and also about the current climate?

On that first point, we’ve always been a band that was more successful than it appeared. We know how many tickets we sell. It was a question of whether those people would all buy the record at once. It’s very hard to sell records nowadays, but if you’ve got a loyal fan base and you mobilise them properly then anything is possible.

Can other bands learn from that?

Yeah. The message is that if you’re lucky enough to get some fans, bloody well look after them.

Are they likely to listen?

Who knows? There are probably still a lot of old-school bands that haven’t twigged. Newer bands are getting to grips with it. With social media it’s instant – stick something up and you’ll get a reaction. So if you’re smart, you’ll stick up something better and get an even better one. It’s not rocket science.

Do you have a memorable story from the past year?

Luke [Morley] getting stuck in the lift at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham was hilarious. We did a fantastic gig at a brilliant venue, people had told him how great he was at the meet-and-greet, and then he’s left there for forty minutes, waiting to be let out. Oh, the irony!

You’re playing Wembley Arena next year. Are you confident of filling it?

It’s already half-sold after a month. But it’ll be with the stage moved forward, for seven thousand people [maximum capacity is 12,500]. That allows us to put on an arena show and still make good economic sense.

Are you planning a follow-up album to Wonder Days?

There’s a triple-disc set in January, including the entire show we did for Classic Rock at the Brooklyn Bowl, plus various other material and a film. It’s called All You Can Eat. We begin a new studio album in early 2016.

It’s nearly five years since Thunder reunited. Aren’t you due to split up again?

All I can say is that whenever it happened before, it was for sincere, valid reasons.

50 Best Albums Of 2015 #10-#7

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.