High Hopes: Tax The Heat

“We’ve built this from nothing,” says Tax The Heat frontman Alex Veale. “We’ve done it the old-school way. It’s about being a live band; it’s not about being an overnight success.”

It would be nigh-on impossible to suggest that Veale has tasted glory without having put in the graft. After flirting with his big breakthrough for much of the late 2000s – fronting South West nearlymen The Operation – a chance meeting with an old friend from school, drummer Jack Taylor, put the wheels in motion for the formation of Tax The Heat.

Since then the Bristol four-piece have taken their ballsy modern brand of blues rock all over the country. Armed with tunes like the anthemic Fed To The Lions, they took on the opening act slot, with a pair of mega gigs as their reward – on the second stage at Download, then at Aerosmith’s Clapham Common extravaganza.

“When we played those gigs we’d only released four songs,” Veale says. “You see people singing along to tracks that haven’t been released and you wonder how they know them. Maybe they’re bootlegging them, but who cares?”

It’s not just enviable support slots that Tax The Heat have enjoyed. There was also the stellar reception given to their self-titled EP, recorded with ‘desert rock king’ Chris Goss producing.

On how they hooked up with Goss, Veale explains: “Our management asked us to list a few producers we wanted to work with, no matter how unrealistic. Chris was top of our list. Our manager contacted him, saying they knew he was busy but could he recommend someone that produces in a similar way that would like to work with us. Within ten minutes, he [Goss] came back saying he wanted to produce us.”

With a wealth of new material already written – enough for two albums, according to Veale – the frontman hopes that schedules will align to allow Goss and engineer/Royal Blood producer Tom Dalgety to reunite with TTH to record their debut LP this year. But, as vital as said record will be to whether TTH fulfil their promise (and explode à la Royal Blood), there’s another matter to attend to before they can turn their attention to the studio. The band are gearing up for their biggest shows to date, supporting Thunder on a UK tour, but Veale hopes that 2015 will see TTH topping a few more bills.

“We did a headline show in Bristol. That was a luxury,” he explains. “You get used to working as a support band where you don’t have a dressing room, you might not get a soundcheck and you just make do. Headline shows are more relaxing. It’s your thing, and people are coming to see you.”

But just in case Angus is reading, Veale is happy to make an exception: “If AC/DC want us to play the Wembley show, that would be pretty decent.”

Tax The Heat support Thunder on March 12-14. For more information visit taxtheheat.com

Rich Chamberlain

Rich Chamberlain has written for Classic Rock, Musicradar.com, Total Guitar, Nuts, FourFourTwo, Billboard, Classic Rock Presents The Blues and Classic Rock Presents Country.