What do you do when, as a young band of musicians barely out of your teens, you're asked to fly across the pond and spend most of the summer churning out 30 minute sets in quarter-full arenas to crowds more intent on settling in for headliners KISS and Motley Crue than listening to you?
You make the most of it, of course. Which is exactly how Cambridge, England's The Treatment are spending their summer vacation.
Borrowing heavily from the American rock form, The Treatment moves easily from glam metal to power pop to classic rock full of chunky power chords and arena-ready anthems (which, when these boys manage to fill arenas, should be totally rocking). Hints of vintage Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi fill out The Treatment's original material, found on their debut, This Might Hurt. In fact, Crue bassist Nikki Sixx was so taken with the band's "Drink, Fuck, Fight" single he invited them on the tour.
It's The Treatment's first time to the United States and when Up on the Sun caught up with vocalist Matt Jones in Louisville, Kentucky just over a week into the tour, he was still marveling at "how much bigger stuff is over here"--but also talked about the band's influences and not (yet) having any pyrotechnics to blow off.
Up on the Sun: Is this your first US tour?
Matt Jones: First time any of us have been to the states significantly. A couple of us came on holiday when we were small kids, but really this is the first time. It's been great fun.
Has it so far met your expectations? Did you have a vision of what it would be like touring in the states?
We've all grown up looking to the United States as kids, so coming out here and experiencing how much bigger stuff is over here is different. Venues are half this size in England. It's been really nice.
Well, it's a good start, opening for two huge bands like this.
We've all grown up listening to these bands so it's a dream come true. Brilliant.
Is it hard being the opening act on a tour like this? It must be safe to assume people aren't showing up early to see you. The Treatment isn't too well known here yet?
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It's not too bad. When we start playing and it is a quarter-full, well the band still puts on a good show. But we're having a great response. People are meeting us after the shows at the merch stand and saying how much they enjoyed the show. We're having a great response and it's going our way. ... It's just nice to meet the people you just played too, you know, because they're the fans.
Motley Crue and KISS... the tour itself seems like a strange pairing. Where does The Treatment fall between these two bands?
You can't compare the shows because they've got [laughs] big pyrotechnics and big lights and stuff like that. I fancy [we] might be a little bit of a throwback to where these bands started before all that stuff, you know, just musicians on stage putting on a show. We go out for half an hour and put on the best rock show we can and give it all we've got. I think that's where we stand with it, yeah. I think it reminds people of back in the early days of what [the headliners] used to be like.
I read it took more than a year to record your debut album. Most bands would want to really crank it out, get it out and get known. Why did it take so long?
It was a gradual process because we actually record at home. We all live together back there in Cambridge and we've got a machine back in the house. I think because we have the luxury of taking our time, we can go back over it because maybe it isn't as good as it could be or maybe try and fit in another song. It wasn't a case of having a hard time getting it out. We started recording it literally as the band started. When it was ready and we were happy with it, then it [went] out. We just got a label to get it out. But it all worked out quite nicely actually.
The first song on your album is metal-ish, then there's some pounding hard rock, then some Aerosmith-like anthems. Is it safe to say you guys draw from diverse backgrounds?
Sure, but we don't want to be a one trick pony either and put out an album with all the songs sounding exactly the same. We experience different things with different songs, you know. With the songwriting that [variety] is something we want to keep up and get better at. That's something that we want to continue.
You're a UK band, but this is really an American-style of music. How popular is this music back home?
It's really popular. We all grew up listening to bands like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and KISS and stuff like that. Back in England we get a lot of American bands coming over and getting in the charts. Our whole lives have been exposed to it. It seems like the natural music for us to play because it's all we've known really.
It seems here we get more news about Britpop and shoegazer stuff.
It does seem to be a bit more underground, but there's definitely a resurgence going on. There are so many more bands sounding like us coming through. I see that as a positive thing; something that will help this music continue you know.
You've only been here in the states a short while so far, but are there little bits of Americana you're picking up to take back home?
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Sure, this whole experience is a massive one, and if we can't take inspiration from that then we're on the wrong kind of mission. The whole size of everything, the way people are; it's a big influence. We're just having a great time; there's plenty to take back.
The Treatment is scheduled to open for Motley Crue and KISS Friday, August 10 at Ashley Furniture Home Store Amphitheatre.