The Blackout are, and always have been, a party band – a hilarious, boundary-free, mosh-on-your-face, take-your-tops-off party band. Which is one of the reasons they’re going to kill it at the Camden Rocks Festival on May 31.
In honour of what is sure to be a joyful occasion, we’re taking a look back on some of the funniest things The Blackout (vocalists Sean Smith and Gavin Butler, guitarists James “Bob” Davies and Matthew Davies, drummer Gareth “Snoz” Lawrence and bassist Rhys Lewis) have ever done. And yes, there were many, many incidents to choose from…
Blowing Money on Pointless Stage Crap. Twice.
Says Sean: “Our first headline London show at Kings College, we blew all our fee on lighting and stage props. We had 18 Marshall guitar cabs onstage – Snoz had an inch either side of his cymbals. The strobes we rented were so strong that at more than one point, Bob couldn’t tell if his eyes were open or closed – he got lost onstage.” Zero lessons were learned from the incident, however. “We also spent all of our fee at London Astoria headline show on ramps,” Sean continues. “Snoz was stage-centre and 18-feet in the air. I ran up the stairs, got to him and was so tired that that was the last time I saw him that gig. Didn’t bother going back up again. We used the ramps once each…”
Encouraging an On-Stage Bottling
Sean: “At one show on tour with Linkin Park, people were throwing water bottles at us and missing us by quite some distance. I came to the conclusion that if I told them all to throw them at the same time they’d have much more chance of hitting us. They agreed. The next three minutes of my life were like a scene from Saving Private Ryan but without bullets and bloodshed, and with bottles and explosions of water instead. The sky went dark with bottles and, as I spun to look at Matthew, one full bottle hit his guitar and he yelled as if he was shot. I quickly looked at Snoz and saw a projectile racing towards him. I backtracked as fast as I could, dived backwards and tipped a full bottle of water over him! I felt like [former Welsh international goalkeeper] Neville Southall.”
Bob Getting Laughed at By Slayer
The problem with awards ceremonies is that there’s a lot of free booze and a lot of famous people. Therefore, the risk of doing something embarrassing in front of a famous person becomes gargantuan by evening’s end. Sean will explain the rest: “At our first Kerrang! Awards, Bob drank so much of the free whiskey that he ended up outside the after-show party on his hands and knees, being sick in the gutter while Kerry King stood over him laughing.” Bob’s bandmates kindly took photos of the incident, then posted them to the Blackout’s MySpace page. Because that’s what friends are for.
Sean Getting Star-Struck at Soundwave
In 2011, in the middle of The Blackout’s Soundwave set, Sean happened to notice a special guest standing side-stage and watching the show. He realised quickly that it was rock legend Mike Patton and decided to stop doing his job momentarily. Sean: “I got so excited that I had to go and say hello… mid-song. I ran over to him, fumbled about, and managed to say ‘Hi. Ummm, I’m Sean. I gotta go, I’m meant to be singing ‘cause we’re doing a song… Ummm, anyway… I love you. Shit! I just told you I loved you! Bye!’ That was the last I saw of Mike Patton…”
Snoz Going to the Zoo
One day in 2011, during a day out at Bristol Zoo as part of a PledgeMusic event, Snoz decided to do something monumentally silly. “The day went amazingly until the last five minutes,” Sean recalls. “Snoz decided it was a good idea to have a bash at the ‘Are You Faster than a Cheetah?’ speed test. It turns out that Snoz is neither as quick, nor is he as agile as a cheetah, because he didn’t even make it to the finish line. Instead, he took a tumble and broke his collarbone - four days before having to go in to record the [Hope] album. He didn’t play on it.”
Sean Breaking His ‘Edge’
Sean Smith was straight edge and sober for many, many years. Then one day, on tour in Japan, he discovered Bailey’s. That’s what broke him, everybody: Baileys Irish Cream. Like a Nan.
Writing a Heart-Felt Letter to Limp Bizkit
It’s one thing writing a heartfelt letter to Limp Bizkit as a fan, but it’s quite another to do it while you’re on tour with them. One night in Hamburg in 2010, after being on the road with Fred Durst and co. for almost two weeks, Sean put pen to paper. The letter read as follows: “Dear Limp Bizkit, You might remember us from the last twelve shows. We are Welsh rock band, The Blackout. Just wondering if there’s any chance of you playing the rock/mosh anthem Counterfeit, as we have never seen you guys play it live. If not, no worries, thanks for taking us on tour, The Blackout.” After receiving the note from a member of their security team, not only did LB play Counterfeit that night, they invited Sean and Bob to play it with them. Result.
Gavin Falling Offstage at Hit the Deck, 2011 Fans of physical comedy often get their money’s worth at Blackout shows – Hit the Deck was a prime example. Sean: “Gavin came bounding out onstage at Nottingham Rock City, span around three times very rapidly, the mic cable wrapped around his feet until it tightened, and at that very moment he jumps up and the lead pulls him back. He goes straight off the stage sideways! He survived this 6-foot drop by being cushioned by three snapping photographers. Thankfully, they all made a full recovery. It was like something out of WWE.”
The Blackout play Camden Underworld at 7pm at Camden Rocks. For the full festival schedule, check out the official website.