The Screaming Eagles on their new album, sharing a slash with Myles Kennedy, and Brian Johnson as babysitter

Screaming Eagles in suits next to a helicopter
(Image credit: FTF Records)

“It ain’t how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Wise words from philosopher and working-class warrior Rocky Balboa, whose inspirational, never-say-die spirit is channelled in the video for Thunder And Lighting, the knockout comeback single from Banbridge, County Down hard rock contenders Screaming Eagles. 

Their first new music since 2015, it’s the perfect introduction to the quartet’s storming, aptly titled third album High Class Rock 'N' Roll, which conjures up visions of Bon Scott-era AC/DC, the Stones, Free and Thin Lizzy breaking hearts and blowing speakers at Dino’s Bar & Grill. 

With Screaming Eagles ready to fly, we caught up with singer Chris Fry and guitarist Adrian McAleenan.


To borrow a phrase from AC/DC, Screaming Eagles are back in the ring to take another swing. Was that ever in doubt? 

Chris Fry: Well, no. In our minds we neverreally went away. Bands often talk about ‘the dreaded second album’, but we’ve been writing for our ‘dreaded third album’ since 2016. We always planned to come back, we’d just planned to come back a wee bit earlier. 

Adrian McAleenan: Since the last record we’ve had five kids between the four of us, so it’s not like we haven’t been productive! 

You finished recording High Class Rock 'N' Roll in May 2022. Why the wait in getting it out? 

Chris: It’s a DIY record. We’re doing the artwork ourselves, distributing it ourselves, doing merchandise ourselves, arranging the videos, doing the promo, and those aren’t things you want to rush. 

Lyrically, you’re dealing with standard rock’n’roll themes: climate change, Brexit, the difficulty of getting four babysitters in Banbridge on a Saturday night… 

Chris: [Laughs] No, there’s none of that – although maybe some references to the making of babies. I come in with different ideas on every album, and obviously your listening tastes develop and expand to allow for new influences and inspirations; last time around I was listening to AC/DC and Pearl Jam, now I’m listening to Clutch and a lot of soul and blues.

You played with Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators a while ago. Did you get to hang out with Slash? 

Chris: No, but I had a slash in a urinal alongside Myles – a wonderful moment for both of us. 

The band’s music features in various US TV shows, most recently Justified: City Primeval. Has that helped spread the Screaming Eagles gospel? 

Chris: It’s been fantastic. Just the other week I had a message from a guy in Chile who heard Rock N Roll Soul on [Netflix drama] Justified and wanted me to fill in some lyrics he couldn’t make out. Mad that someone on the other side of the world wants to decipher the lyrics I was scribbling down while drinking Buckfast! 

AC/DC took fellow County Down rockers The Answer around the world on their Black Ice tour. If Angus Young extends a similar offer to you in 2024, are you free? 

Chris: I’ll need to talk to the wife first, but we’d make it work. Brian Johnson seems like he’d be a good babysitter.”

High Class Rock 'N' Roll is out now on FTF Records and available from the Screaming Eagles website

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.