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VOL. 0 • 2 0 1 9
Welcome to our show…
ock’n’roll – it’s a lifetime journey, right? I believe we see things differently to others. We care passionately about this rock thing that we love. I’m proud of that difference and I wear it like a badge of honour. Outlaw cares not for subgenres, nor is it the realm of the icon. Outlaw is concerned with stories and the characters that we’ve met along this well-travelled road. If those characters happen to fall out of a transit van all bug‑eyed and humming what sounds like old Skynyrd tunes then so be it. But, y’know, a few of them might do just that and still show you something you’ve never seen nor heard before. And that’s exciting too… The people making Outlaw have over 100 years of combined experience in rock music publishing: Classic Rock, Q, Mojo, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Raw, Prog, Blues, Team Rock… you name it, we probably had a hand in writing it, designing it, publishing it, or creating The Award Show that everyone got smashed at. But we wanted to make something very different in Outlaw, something that hadn’t been done before – a beautifully bold, visually stimulating and obsessively unapologetic love letter to rock music in magazine form, and one to be served hot-blooded in a digital age. But we need more. We need you. We need you to talk about this, to tell your friends, to consider taking out a subscription as a step towards building something different. Something better. It’s time to bring a new player to the table. Yet this mag is only half of our story – please visit www.alwaysoutlaw.com and check out our initial starting galleries and video diaries. We have some of the most recognisable faces in rock music talking about their life loves and their most intimate fears. Our website (and app!) is an evolving hub of compelling monologues and diaries, and there are many more to come… So join us on the journey. Subscribe at www.alwaysoutlaw.com. Adios, C.
Chris Ingham PUBLISHER
Def Leppard live in Glasgow, and starring in Outlaw Vol. 1.
I’m just fortunate that I discovered the guitar. I would never have imagined there would be something I could pick up that would be such a personal tool for managing my own existence. I could have missed it altogether and been lost and not able to find anything to relate to on a way that would satisfy me personally. Slash. The ultimate icon. The ultimate interview. Read it all in Outlaw. Coming in September. •
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROB BLACKHAM
The guitar is an extension of me. It’s a way of expressing myself that I could not do verbally. It’s an outlet for me, emotionally and physically and psychologically. Without it, I’d probably kill somebody.
“We took the name off a tombstone at the city cemetery.” T R AV I S M C C R E A D Y
Bishop Gunn The new sound of the South.
ravis McCready still remembers the day he risked everything. Before his band, soulful southern rockers Bishop Gunn, took off, McCready spent nine years working as a steel fitter in a metal shop in his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi. “Working 12-hour days, sometimes seven days a week, this dangerous, hard-work lifestyle. Then I’d play bars at night.” It was in the blood. McCready’s father had worked in the shop since 1975. So had his family and most of his friends. But something was bugging him. “The day I left, I was welding in my respirator, earplugs, safety glasses, hard hat, hood, harness. I just thought, ‘Well, nobody’s ever gonna hear my music if I’m inside all this.’ I felt like I was wasting any message I had. So I just gave away all my tools one morning, set myself up for sink or swim. That was 2014.” Bishop Gunn was meant to be a stopgap. But when McCready and drummer Burne Sharp threw the band together for a local festival that year, they found the chemistry was too combustible to put it back on the shelf. “We took the name off a
tombstone at the city cemetery,” recalls the singer. “Bishop Gunn was a former bishop of Natchez and we figured he didn’t need it any more. This music represents us regionally: soul, blues-soul, Southern rock, 70s rock. Down here, music is on the streets. It’s second nature.” Five years later, the band have plenty of war stories. “There’s been festivals where people don’t know who the hell you are,” sighs McCready. “One time, I was told from the crowd that the whole band was getting their ass kicked when we next took a break. We put about 100,000 miles on the van last year, though.” With Bishop Gunn’s upward trajectory taking them from show-stealing sets on Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most cruise to a support slot opening for Slash, McCready’s gamble has paid off. The point of debut album Natchez, he says, is to soothe those who haven’t yet taken their own leap of faith. “The thing I like best about being a musician is giving people something to take their mind off things. They might have a job like I used to work. So when I’m singing, I’m getting them and myself away from that stuff. Music is about escapism, y’know?”
“I’ve been through pain and drama, and there’s a story to tell about it.” Friend of Hendrix and Lennon, Grand Duke of AOR, survivor of the rock’n’roll lifestyle, Foreigner’s Mick Jones walks Outlaw’s Paul Elliott through a life less ordinary. •
PHOTOGRAPHY: JUSTIN BORUCKI
t was in 1976 that an Englishman in New York put together a band that would become one of the most successful in the entire history of rock’n’roll. Some 43 years and 80 million record sales later, guitarist Mick Jones still calls this city his home, and still leads Foreigner at the age of seventy-four. His life reads like a handbook of rock stardom – from hanging with The Beatles and Hendrix in the 1960s to the game-changing success of AOR pioneers Foreigner in the 1970s and 1980s, via all the highs and lows the accompanying lifestyle brings with it. Jones has granted us one of his most in-depth and revealing interviews ever, and you can read the full article in Outlaw Vol. 1, which will be available from September. In this exclusive excerpt, he looks back on Foreigner’s initial rush of success, and the unexpected doors it opened.
“I was living A Hard Day’s Night, swanning around Paris with The Beatles, screaming chicks everywhere.” You formed Foreigner after moving to the US in the mid-70s. What was the game plan for you? I had no particular plan. I was just writing songs and jamming with different people. But I felt for the first time I was in control of my life. Songs started to fall into place, and the first one, funnily enough, was Feels Like The First Time. Bud [Prager, manager] had a studio in his office on Broadway, a cool little room where I did all the writing, auditioning and rehearsing. So that was the beginning of the band. Foreigner was literally born on Broadway!
December 8, 1980: the day John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman outside the Dakota. Where were you when it happened? I was in New York, at Electric Lady studios. We were working on a song called Woman In Black. We were right in the middle of doing vocals and somebody rushed in and announced the sad news. You knew John from touring with The Beatles in Hamburg in the early 60s. This must have been a devastating loss… It was. John was the one who had invited me to have a drink with The Beatles, so to me he was special. And he had a big influence on me as a songwriter. I can’t say I favoured one or the other, Paul and John – they were both unique. I was inspired by their music, as so many other people were too. But for me, there was something stronger in there. John’s death had a huge effect on me.
The first Foreigner album was a smash hit. Did you have a sense of its potential when you were making it? I hoped it would be a good foundation and that the record company would pick up the option for a second album. But we just blasted in with platinum, then double platinum, triple, quadruple…
You were recording the 4 album when Lennon died. It has so many classic songs: Juke Box Hero is the definitive Foreigner anthem, and Waiting For A Girl Like You has such an emotional depth… That was the strongest emotion I ever had in writing a song. My wife was expecting a child and I thought I was being led by this idea: we’re going to have a little girl. And it turned out to be a little boy! But that emotion was so powerful. I’d never before had that kind of feeling back from something I’d written, and it stayed that way all the way through the recording. Lou sang his vocal to a girl that just walked into the studio. Everybody thought she was with our group and she wasn’t, but Lou kind of fixated on her and the vocal was done in one take. The feeling in that song was so strong. Whenever I’d hear it I’d break down emotionally. It was kind of weird – very positive in the end, but very draining on me.
How did that success affect you on a personal level? I had some knowledge of the big time. The other guys had never seen anything like it. And as soon as we were getting over that, the second album [Double Vision] came out and sold even more. Who did you view as the competition? I guess Boston and Journey, and Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. It was a heady time. And certainly we were up there… flying with the Eagles! In the late 70s, you had an apartment adjacent to the Dakota Building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived. Did you socialise with them? I saw Yoko more than John. They were in their own kind of world. I’d seen John here and there in studios. But our kids used to play together, my stepson Mark [Ronson] and John’s son Sean. They hung out a lot at our place, getting up to mischief. I had to straighten them out a few times. alwaysoutlaw.com
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN OUTLAW VOL. 1. TURN TO PAGE 30 TO ORDER YOUR COPY. 14
2020 July 17/18/19
Early Bird Tickets on sale Thursday 25th July
The Resurrection & Rebirth Of
Def Le Outlaw looks at the world-beating success of a British rock icon. •
PHOTOGRAPHY: KEVIN NIXON
ppard or Phil Collen, the rebirth of Def Leppard happened around 2005.
Not that the guitarist thinks his band were ever on the ropes â€“ they had been a consistently successful live draw on both sides of the Atlantic since the height of their 1980s success. But it was around that time â€“ three years after the popleaning X album â€“ that Leppard discovered an almighty second wind.
e had always done what we’d wanted to do, no matter what anyone else has said,” says Collen now. “But around 2005, it felt like the world came around to our way of doing things again.” Nearly 15 years on, Leppard are as big as they’ve ever been. Their live shows don’t just match anything they played during the Pyromania and Hysteria eras, they outstrip them in terms of numbers and spectacle. Their 2013 Viva Hysteria Las Vegas residency showed that a rock’n’roll band could dazzle ’em on the Strip just as much as any mainstream artist you want to name. Their headlining appearance at the 2019 Download Festival – their third in 10 years – was a solid gold triumph.
And the lesson from all this? Write Def Leppard off at your peril. In Outlaw Vol. 1, we go inside the Def Leppard machine to look at how this iconic British band reinvented themselves for the 21st century and have never looked back. We speak to the people in and around the band about their enduring success, and just what it means to still be bona fide rock icons 40 years into such an illustrious career. And we present never-before-seen onstage and offstage photographs of Leppard on their current tour. As Joe Elliott himself says, “Welcome to the show…”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN OUTLAW VOL. 1. TURN TO PAGE 30 TO SEE HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY.
“We had always done what we’d wanted to do, no matter what anyone else has said.” PHIL COLLEN
Lord Rings O F
T H E
Meet Armand Serra – the man who makes the jewellery you want to wear and owns the guitars you want to play. •
I N T E RV I E W: DAV E E V E R L E Y – P H O T O G R A P H Y: R O B B L AC K H A M
t took Armand Serra more than 25 years to buy the guitar he’d always dreamed of owning: Jimi Hendrix’s white Fender Stratocaster. It’s a long and involved story. The short version involves countless months spent tracking it down, years of trying and failing to persuade its owner to part with it and, ultimately, a deathbed deal that saw it become part of Serra’s amazing collection of guitars that includes similar holy relics once owned by Ritchie Blackmore, Billy Gibbons and others. As the owner and creative force behind London-based jewellery company Crazy Pig
Designs, Serra has helped define the look of modern rock’n’roll. His creations – skull rings, animal pendants, Celtic bracelets – have adorned the fingers, necks and wrists of everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons to Keith Richards. But it’s in his collection of rare and storied guitars that Serra’s passion truly lies. In Outlaw Vol. 1, this ultimate devotee of the rock’n’roll lifestyle shares his incredible story with us…
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN OUTLAW VOL. 1. TURN TO PAGE 30 TO ORDER YOUR COPY. alwaysoutlaw.com
Crazy Pig owner and guitar aficionado Armand Serra (top right), and some of his iconic accessories.
Street Fighting Man Outlaw’s Dave Everley goes three rounds with MMA
champion and blues rock’s great white hope Kris Barras.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROB BLACKHAM
“I enjoyed martial arts. I enjoyed whacking people, I enjoyed getting whacked.” alwaysoutlaw.com
“I failed at being a rock star. Playing in a covers band isn’t succeeding. It’s soul-destroying.”
uccess and failure are different sides of the same coin. One can’t exist without the other. Success is only sweet because failure is so painful. Failure is a reminder of how fragile success really is. Kris Barras knows all about that. The singer has experienced the extremes of both during his career in and away from music. As a teenager, Barras was a guitar hotshot in his hometown of Torquay, dreaming of rock stardom. When those dreams failed to materialise, he reinvented himself as a champion mixed martial arts fighter, picking up belts and trophies around the globe. But his successes in the cage haven’t been without their problems out of it. “Yeah, I’ve had my ups and downs,” he says. “But I’m not the only one. It’s something every person goes through.” The man sitting in front of Outlaw today in the gym in Torquay that he part owns is a product of his successes and his failures. The 33-year-old has resumed his career as a musician after more than a decade as a martial artist. “Everything’s still there, but my body’s done,” he says of his retirement from the sport with a wry grin. But it’s different this time. As the leader of the blues-rock great white hopes the Kris Barras Band, his aspirations may be the same – for the world to know who Kris Barras is – but the expectations have changed, and so have the pressures.
Right: Kris Barras, delivering blues rock with a real punch.
e may have retired from the game, but Barras still carries himself like a fighter: six-odd-feet of muscle and beard. If the tribal ink covering his arms aren’t warning enough that he can handle
himself, the prize belts that hang on the wall are. The words ‘Boom Boom’ are tattooed on his hands – his fight name, and later the name of the imprint he released his debut album on. When he hammers a punchbag with those hands, you can feel the impact from 20 feet away. That power carries through into his playing. The Kris Barras Band’s three albums – 2016’s Lucky 13, 2018’s The Divine And Dirty and the brand new Light It Up – sit squarely in the tradition of gutsy, soulful British blues rock, but they possess both a weight and a grace that many of his contemporaries lack. This is music with fire in its heart and sweat on its brow. Barras was schooled early in rock and the blues. His dad, Dave, was a singer and a guitarist, and music was always playing around the house: Rainbow, Free, Thin Lizzy and especially Gary Moore, Barras Sr’s favourite guitarist. “He could play guitar well, but he was a world-class singer,” says Kris of his dad with no small amount of pride. “His voice was amazing, much better than mine.” The young Barras was five when he decided he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Exhibiting the kind of determination that would characterise him as a fighter, he began learning to play the guitar. By the time he was 10, he was regularly appearing onstage with his dad’s band in the pubs of Torquay. His parents couldn’t have been more supportive. “They didn’t have much money at all – they got in tons of debt getting me gear and stuff like that,” he says. He paid them back by gigging hard with his own band. He would play three or four times a week around Torquay and the West Country
KRIS BARRAS to be a champion fighter.’ There was never a goal or a plan. It just kind of rolled, and I was rolling with it.” What started out as a hobby swiftly snowballed. Soon, Barras was fighting competitively – and winning. All his early bouts ended in victories. “Comfortably,” he says, without a trace of boastfulness. “Either by a knockout or a referee stoppage because they weren’t intelligently defending themselves.” The more fights he won, the more offers he got. “People were like, ‘Do you want to fight in this show, do you want to fight this opponent?’ You’d start fighting harder people, so you’d train harder. Eventually I was training full-time.” Ask Barras what he got out of martial arts and he grins. “I enjoyed it. I enjoyed whacking people, I enjoyed getting whacked. There’s just something primal about it. You’ve got to be a certain type of person to do it.” There’s another grin. “I’m not wired up right.” Around the same time, mixed martial arts was beginning to take off. A hyper-intense hybrid of different disciplines – kickboxing, karate and wrestling among them – it was tailor-made for someone with Barras’ drive. Soon he had swapped Muay Thai for MMA. “I had my first fight, and I lost it,” he says. “I lost because I underestimated how hard it was going to be. I’d trained hard for it, I just didn’t have enough wrestling experience, so when I started getting grabbed and got on the floor, it really tired me out. By the second round, I was just fucked.” This was failure too, but Barras didn’t see it that way. “That was the best thing that happened to me. I learned more from that fight than I did from all the knockouts I had previously. A lot of those times I just went out there, whacked someone, they went down and it’s over. I’d come out thinking, ‘Ah, I haven’t learned anything.’ I wanted to be put in different situations, see how I’d react: ‘What if this guy is faster than me? What if he’s stronger than me?’” Barras learned those lessons quickly. He had a rematch with the fighter who had first beaten him, televised live on Sky. This time he won. “One minute, 27 seconds,” he says proudly. “I choked him out.” He still played in pub bands to fund his fighting career – “Doing cover band shit once a week, playing guitar and singing Sweet Home Alabama” – but MMA rapidly put music in the shade. He trained and fought all over the world, from Thailand to Las Vegas. “Thailand was brutal,” he says. “You get up at six in the morning, run eight or ten
with his covers band. “We used to earn a load of money,” he says. “I was a 17-year-old kid with a BMW, everybody telling me how amazing I was.” He was writing his own music too, which proved to be a major distraction when it came to his schoolwork. By the time he hit the sixth form, his plans to go to university and study to be a solicitor had fallen by the wayside. “That went down the pan,” he says. “I went, ‘Fuck this, I’m going to quit and concentrate on music.’ I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted the world to know who Kris Barras was and listen to my music. I wanted to stand on stage and have 2,000 people singing my words back to me.” Except that never quite happened. Playing covers to pubs full of drunken people was fine if you wanted to make money, but not so good if you wanted a proper creative outlet. The problem was, those pubs full of drunken people didn’t want to hear Barras’ own music. The rock’n’roll dreams in his head were rapidly dissipating. “I failed,” he says bluntly. “Playing in a covers band isn’t succeeding in the music industry. It’s soul-destroying.” He puts this “failure” down to multiple factors. One was the lack of opportunities in Torquay for bands playing original music. Another was the fact they were so far from London, the supposed home of the music industry. But mainly Barras puts the failure of his career as a rock star down to himself. “I don’t think I was good enough,” he says. “I was just missing a lot of things I needed to be good at. When I was 18 years old, I could play guitar better than I can play now. I used to be really flashy – all I used to do was play guitar all day. But I couldn’t write songs. The songs I did write had no substance. I failed because I wasn’t good enough.” His solution was to park his music career and do something he knew he wouldn’t fail at.
usic was a passion for Barras growing up, but it wasn’t the only one. As a kid, he’d fallen in love with the schlocky martial arts films of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. He began taking karate lessons, replicating those Hollywood fantasies in real life. Martial arts got sidelined when he began to channel his energies into his music career. But when the latter began to splutter out, he returned to fighting with a vengeance – specifically Muay Thai, or Thai boxing. “I loved it,” he says. “It gave me a new lease of life. I got healthier, I felt good. It wasn’t ever a thing where it was, like, ‘Now I’m going alwaysoutlaw.com
“I’m gutted my dad never got to see me doing this now. He would have fucking loved it.” kilometres, then you’d do a few hours of bag work and pad work, then circuit training. That’s all before you eat breakfast.” Las Vegas was no less hardcore, though it had its upsides too. “Vegas was different: still hard work, but more glamorous,” he says. “You’re fighting guys who were training since they were six years old. But then at night you’d go to pool parties. I remember this one time, I spent the evening hanging out with Jenna Jameson, the porn star.” If things were going well in the cage, there were bumpy moments out of it. Barras had always dreamed of owning a guitar shop, and, go-getter that he is, he opened one in Torquay. “For the first year business was fantastic,” he says. “Then the credit crunch hit and everything went south.” He was forced to declare bankruptcy. “It’s just life, innit?” he shrugs. “But being involved in a failing business like that definitely teaches you things. It teaches you how to work hard and how to pick yourself up. It’s definitely helped me in how I approach the music industry.”
arras had a great run as an MMA fighter, but by 2014 his body was telling him it was time to quit. “I did it non-stop from when I was 18, and I never really took that good care of my body. If I got an injury, I’d just be, ‘Fuck it, strap it up and keep going.’ You can’t do that sport and not push through the injuries. But in my last fight, in Thailand in 2014, I injured my foot and it took a long time to heal. It gave me time to think: ‘I’ve been doing this for long enough, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve, I’ve made sacrifices – it’s time to stop.’” He kept his hand in the fight scene, setting up a fight promotion company and buying and running a couple of clubs in Devon. But a space had suddenly opened up in his
life, and he needed to fill it with something. That’s when he decided to pick up the guitar properly again. “I needed something I could concentrate on,” he says. “I started playing around, writing songs and jamming.” He founded the Kris Barras Band soon after he retired from the cage. He says he never had any huge ambitions: play gigs singing his own songs, maybe get on the bill at a couple of smaller festivals. That’s not to say he didn‘t take it seriously. “If I was going to do it, I wasn’t going to piss around,” he says. “I was going to do it properly.” Where Barras had struggled to write songs with substance in his teenage years, this time it was different. “After all the years of not necessarily being creative, I felt like I had a lot more to give, I had more to say, more to write about, more life experiences,” he says. “When I came back to music after all the fighting stuff, my songs were just better.” The very first song he wrote was Watching Over Me, a track that would eventually appear on his second album, The Divine And Dirty. An emotional, slow-burning blues number, it was dedicated to his dad, Dave, who passed away in 2011. “He was always super-supportive of the fighting stuff, but I think he was a bit disappointed that I didn’t do the music back then. I’m gutted he never got to see me doing this now. He would have fucking loved it.” It wasn’t just Barras’ creativity that had changed. So had his understanding of business. He took the decision to fund the band himself, working at the gym as a personal trainer to cover the costs of rehearsing, gigging and recording. “I invested my own money into the band,” he says. “A lot of bands starting out don’t see it like that: ‘We’re not doing a gig unless we get paid.’ We had to do that, especially being a band from down here in the south-west.
If we’re playing a festival in Manchester, we’re not going to earn enough money to cover everything. So a lot of the time I’d pay the band members, the fuel, the hotel and everything else.” The Kris Barras Band’s debut album Lucky 13 was funded out of Barras’ own pocket, and he recorded and engineered it himself. The album bagged him a slot on the Rising Stage of boutique classic rock festival Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2017, a breakout gig that further elevated the band’s profile (he’s returned to the festival each year since). Barras was three-quarters of the way through recording Lucky 13’s follow-up when linchpin Dutch blues-rock label Mascot – home of Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales and others – offered him a deal. “That was life-changing,” he says. “Gone are the days when a label’s going to invest a million dollars in you and turn you into superstars, but having the support of a label like them is invaluable.” The Kris Barras Band’s new album Light It Up continues their steady upwards trajectory, though there are still struggles to overcome: hidden traps, potential failures on the road to success. “I don’t know if ‘struggles’ is the right word,” he says. “It’s constantly hard work but I’m not going to let up. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when things haven’t gone our way. There are times when something has fallen through or something’s ended up costing a lot more money than I was expecting. I get down, I’m human. There are points where I think, ‘Fuck, why am I doing this?’ And I remember why I’m doing it. Cos I fucking love it. I got shit to achieve.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN OUTLAW VOL. 1. TURN TO PAGE 30 TO ORDER YOUR COPY.
From the makers of Ramblin’ Man Fair…
utlaw will appear four times a year. It’s a 132-page prestige edition, quarterly journal unavailable in any shop. Yup, you read that right – nowhere is cool enough to take the majesty that is Outlaw, and anyway, who wants to haul around town searching the half-lit shelves of a faded newsagent on a Saturday afternoon? No sir, this cocktail of rock’n’roll magnificence will drop through your letterbox every three months and blow you away with sheer delight. Outlaw Vol. 1, shipping in mid September, contains interviews and behind-the-scenes access to all the names in this sampler, plus a few more marked ‘Top Secret’. Vol. 2 will be out pre-Xmas – and trust us, that one is a belter too! You have two ways to acquire Outlaw: you can buy each single volume online as they appear at the address below OR you can save a few quid more and take an annual subscription. Well, what are you waiting for?
W W W . A L W A Y S O U T L AW . C O M @AlwaysOutlawUK
W W W . A L W A Y S O U T L AW . C O M @AlwaysOutlawUK