Raging Speedhorn's vocalist Frank Regan and guitarist Gareth Smith were tired, pissed off, but raring to go, as they met Ken McGrath before playing their most recent Dublin gig.
Raging Speedhorn aren't known for being the happiest bunch of people on the planet, but today they seem to be in an exceptionally pissed off mood. The Dublin date of their current tour, which was meant to take place in The Tivoli, has been moved to The Temple Theatre, for no apparent reason and excuses that it was because of a huge demand for tickets are not being met kindly, especially since they feel the gig wasn't promoted at all. Frank Regan, one of the band's two very imposing singers, leans forward onto the table in their tour bus saying, "there was a guy in town earlier that came up to me and asked for my signature and didn't even know we were playing tonight, which is fucked. We only sold 160 tickets. That's what they told us."
Not only do their fans not know about the gig, but the band themselves would much rather be playing in the Temple Bar Music Centre but they can't because, as Frank so gently puts it, "we upset the promoters. When we played with Motorhead once they were kicking loads of kids out". Unimpressed by this, the singer stepped in and, since then, hasn't been on the best of terms with them. The gig he is referring to is, of course, last summer's Xtreme 2002 show in the RDS, a gig he refers to as "bollox", simply because of the way the fans were being treated. Speedhorn, upset by what they saw as the security giving people a hard time in the pit, stopped mid-song to berate the security and urge the fans to not stand for it, by any means necessary.
"We came in from the pub about half one in the afternoon", Gareth Smith explains. "I opened the door and nearly got flattened by some security guard who was using some fourteen-year-old kid's head to open the door. Just because he was moshing! He'd seen about one and a half bands and he'd paid forty-five euros. Anyway we seen some little kid getting the shit beaten out of him during one of our songs. He [Frank] stopped the fucking song and caused a bit of shit, then the security wanted to kick the fuck out of him afterwards and all that."
The time before that, security wouldn't let half the crowd in because they were under-sixteen. Despite protests from the band members that their fans had paid good money to go to the gig, they still weren't allowed inside. This resulted in Speedhorn playing to a half-empty venue, while a crowd of die-hard fans stood outside with useless tickets in their hands.
"The gig last night was alright in Belfast. I mean it was a good enough gig, but it was just the organisation was shite," Gareth starts, but, like any all their stories, it finishes in tragedy. "The lights were set up at half seven, doors were at seven o'clock," Frank fills in. "There was a strict curfew and all that crap as well," the guitarist finishes. Raging Speedhorn have never had luck on any of their tours over here and this is definitely no exception, Gareth explains. "We just shit ourselves when we turn up to these places and it's a massive venue. We come over here and we expect to be playing in a tiny club, 'cause that's where we think we're at, still. We can't say we ain't gonna come back because... it's just shit, it's frustrating, but at the same time we know there's fans over here that want us to come over and play. I feel sorry for the kids over here, because I think they get a rough deal sometimes. Not many bands make it over and I'm starting to see why."
At the moment, they are in the middle of a six-week European tour, the purpose of which is to play "places that we haven't played that often or haven't played before… just trying to reach people who haven't had a chance to come see us before." You might think that's strange considered that Raging Speedhorn appear to have played everywhere with everyone. At one stage, it seemed like you couldn't go to a gig without they Corby boys being the support band. In reality, they haven't played here all that often. The first time they came over was doing their own gigs, then they supported Amen in the Music Centre and between that show and the X-tremefest there was a two-year gap. "We were supposed to come over here with Fear Factory," Gareth says, "but that didn't happen."
Touring has been the one constant in the life of this still young band though. They've just finished up a European co-headlining jaunt with Ill Nino, of all bands, which according to Gareth was "shite". "It was cool gigs, we weren't exactly playing with the band of our choice or anything, but the gigs were cool." How it came about was that a few gigs were double-booked and someone, not the band, came up with the idea to do a co-headliner. The compromise was that, if they agreed to do the tour with Ill Nino in the UK, they'd get a few shows in Europe playing support them.
"It turned out pretty good", the guitarist continues. "We played, like, a sold out show in Amsterdam. We played to quite a lot of people in France and that was really good." Next up is a support slot with another big name band, the Sordid-friendly Ministry. Apparently the ageing industrial pioneers are fans of the band, it was Al Jourgensen's personal request that they play at the show. When asked if he's a fan of Ministry's music, the guitarist responds with a disinterested "no. He's a fan of us apparently."
The main purpose of the Ill Nino tour, like their current UK and Ireland one and the Ministry one that follows, is to play places they haven't played before and to reach new people, "even if half the crowd fucking hate us, which I'm sure they will. You've just got to do these gigs. Everyone I know, in any successful band, has done these fucking gigs, you know. I mean we just played with Danzig in Stockholm." Frank bursts into laughter at this and says, "It was fucking horrible." Gareth agrees, but he says it was worth it because two guys showed up, paying full price for a ticket just to see them. This, for him, is what makes it worth doing.
When asked what the rest of Europe's reaction to them was, the guitar says that friends of his in Germany have told him that they're getting popular over there. They are also starting to build up a following in Scandinavia too and they deserve all the success they can get. Constantly being on the road, dealing with shit promotion and asshole bands, coupled with a lack of respect and terrible food can really take it out of you. As tired as they are, though, they still put on a great show, full of anger and passion. Afterwards, with little chance to unwind, it's back onto the bus and on to another city and another show. If you were going to use any of their songs to sum up their lives in the mammoth, constantly roving, riff monster that is Raging Speedhorn it would have to be "Welcome to Shitsville".