Tagore Grey / The Treatment, Hard Work, Good Luck and Rock ‘N’ Roll
Part One: 7 April 2021
Not many people can say that they have had the experience of being backstage in an enormous American arena, watching popular U.K. motoring show ‘Top Gear’ with Gene Simmons of KISS sat next to you wearing his full stage gear.
The Treatment – Waiting For Good Luck (Frontiers Music Srl)
Release Date: 9 April 2021
Interview: Paul Monkhouse
The Treatment guitarist Tagore Grey can though and this one of many memories he has as the Cambridge quintet have toured the world relentlessly after first forming in 2008. Whilst the 2012 trek across the States opening for KISS and Mötley Crüe might have been a mammoth undertaking, their lives have been a constant cycle of recording and being out on the road, the band doing things the hard way and never afraid to get dirt under their fingernails.
This utter dedication to their music has seen them honed into a formidable unit, able to rise to the challenge of sharing stages with some of the biggest bands around including Motorhead and Thin Lizzy. Whilst one or two members have come and gone, the core since they started had been Grey, drummer Dhani Mansworth and bass player Rick Newman, but the latter stepped down from the band last year, seeking a less punishing life after so much time traversing continents.
Whilst a major blow to a band bonded as brothers, they recruited Andy Milburn as his replacement and along with Grey’s guitar playing brother Tao and vocalist Tom Rampton the band have kept their heads down, making music.
Under the guidance of manager Laurie ‘Lol’ Mansworth, Dhani’s father and a hugely respected and accomplished musician in his own right, The Treatment continue their laser like focus on writing and performing their own brand of Classic Rock influenced hard and heavy sounds to as many people as possible, their enthusiasm infectious.
It seems as if even something like a global pandemic can not slow the band down and they have recently released their strongest set of songs yet in the form of new album ‘Waiting For Good Luck’.
MetalTalk caught up with Grey during a break in the band jamming as they write more fresh material and keep honed for forthcoming shows on the horizon once venues re-open again. Excited about their latest release, we talk about the past, present and future of the five piece, delving into the highs and lows of touring and he reveals how a certain major rock star lets off a bit of steam…
Hey there Tag. How are you doing?
“Good mate. Good.”
Thanks for taking a bit of time out to talk to MetalTalk.
“No problem, dude. Honestly, thank you very much as well.”
And it’s great to catch up with you, it’s been a while since we bumped into each other, isn’t it?
“It sure has man, it feels like a lifetime ago! I can’t really remember life pre-Covid.”
So, firstly, how are you?
“Really good, really good actually. Sorry, you’ve caught us just having a jam at the moment. We’re always working on new stuff and that’s the kind of amazing thing about being locked in with all guys: music still happens.”
Lots has been happening in The Treatment camp…has it been different way of working during lockdown then for you guys?
“Obviously, you know, we had Rick leave. I think we as a band just knew he was going to do his own thing and we wanted to carry on. He is a real dear friend of ours so it was a bit of a blow for us…but we are really happy that he is around because he still lives here in Cambridge and we still see him all the time.
“It is really nice to still be in contact with him. When he said he wanted to leave we thought this was not a great time for us, but we need to make something of the band and that was when these things have started happening with the next record.
“From day one of lockdown we just worked. I mean, the songs were just crafted there and when we came out with the first lockdown, we were straight into Rockfield. I wouldn’t say it was specifically a different kind of style of work to what we usually do…the way that it all happens here is so close, because Lol [Laurie Mansworth] is our producer as well and the guys in the band all live in the same house.
“The bones of the songs were all here and Laurie started working straight away with us as everything came together in that moment.
“It was a really quick process. The thing that took a while was been trying to get the vocals on because we actually got everything done in Rockville…the backing track was done in about four days there…and then brought it all back here. Then it was placing the rest of the record together around the actual live performance of each song.”
I bumped into Dhani and Laurie in one of the DIY shops in Cambridge. I think it’s about a year and a half, ago. Laurie said that he was building a home studio at that point and was doing some work then.
“Yes. He’s actually got a whole new production studio set up here in Cambridge, which is really great. Because he has got loads of projects going on all the time he is just always got different bits happening.”
I’ve been listening to it a few times since I was sent through it and there’s some great stuff on it.
“Fantastic, man, I’m glad you like it.”
Lead single ‘Rat Race’ had touches of Def Leppard and AC/DC, ‘Lightning In A Bottle’ had elements of Aerosmith in it and ‘Hold Fire’ could have been on DC’s ‘Power Up’. There is that real Classic Rock style that you guys have, but how do you go about the writing process?
“They really will start with an idea and we like to work as a full sort of band on it. At the moment it is when we’re jamming…it will be Dhani, Tao, Lol and me in the room and an idea will start from that. And the amazing thing about having Laurie as part of us is because he really does produce us from start to finish.
“It is a really natural process and more through jams that it happens. Tom comes in later on, when we were at Rockfield, and by then we had the complete structure of the songs and knew exactly what we wanted to do. All of the backing vocals and choruses were recorded, so we kind of knew exactly where we needed to go, which is quite hard to do without a vocalist at that point…but that was why all the melodies and everything were written then, but the actual the way the songs are constructed are all very much in the jam.
“We are a band who like to go in and, whether it is on an electric kit or a box at home, that that is where it starts.
“Sometimes mistakes happen and then you are like: “stop…that’s really good!”. We have quite a cool way of recording as we go and some songs come together straightaway. It is weird how I works sometimes…’Vampress’…I honestly reckon that was done in two hours but with ‘Lightning In A Bottle’ we had the first riffs, but it went through so many changes and was, I think, one of the last ones we actually finished in the end.
“We tried something and it would be “something’s not right” and when a song just needs so much work it was such a pain in the ass, but we were all very happy in the end.
“We have all got a great connection and things just really happen here in a live environment.
“I think when we went to Rockfield we captured a magic that we have not quite been able to before. You know, I would honestly stand by every record we have done, but this is the best thing that we have bought out. Listening back, I noticed a huge, huge change and the difference is with the tracking of every instrument live.
“Obviously, we overdub the solos and vocals, but the core rhythm sections were done at Rockfield. What you hear on that record is a left guitar and a right guitar with very minimal overdubs…and I think it tells, because with Rock ‘N’ Roll it is an essence…you are not trying to capture perfect, you are trying to capture magic.
“It is also a legendary studio as well and there is so much fire when you went there. I remember Laurie was in Freddie’s bedroom. I think I was in Brian Mays room where he stayed [laughs]. These heroes have sat there and crafted songs. The guy at the studio was telling us about being there with Coldplay and was in the courtyard and said “oh wow…look at the stars tonight” and so Chris Martin did, got inspired immediately and came up with ‘Yellow’ about ten minutes later.
“You are stuck on a farm there and it is not like you can go to the boozer or anything. It is really magic that happens there.
“One thing we really enjoyed about it was, it didn’t matter night or day, we could record when we wanted to. That was a real nice bit of magic. It is all these strange different combinations just come together and on this record, I know we have captured something really special.”
There is a very live feel to the album. With that freedom would things change if you suddenly came up with a riff and could just go into the studio to put something down?
“No actually, as the writing was not done at all in Rockfield. That was all in the pre‐production. Lol drilled us beforehand, like we had a really great place where we can actually set up and play which is amazing. So we spent three months getting the songs to that point.
“When you go in and record live our big thing is we did not want to cut and paste any of it. So, if there is a mistake on there, that is because there was a mistake on that take. You might not really notice it but I can hear mistakes here and there. But that’s all capturing that magic…. when you listen to some of your favourite records they are in there as well. That is the beauty of capturing a live album, that magic that happens in the studio.
“We realised we knew what we were doing, which was great that we had that ability to be able to do that beforehand. And I think without that we would not have been able to do it. We had four days in Rockfield, and we lost one setting up the gear, but we finished the tracks in about two and a half days and we recorded 15 tracks. So it was really three, four hours for a song.
“It is not even like we did not have the budget, it was just because time was incredibly tight because they had another band coming straight in afterwards…and we thought, well, listen, we got to take a gamble here. We had heard a lot about the studio and we really wanted to do it, so it was just a question of can we do it in four days? We did not want to record in two different studios, so we went for it.”
With not being able to go out on the road it seems like you poured that energy into that time…
“Yeah…the real thing for me was just at that moment in time we were in a pretty bad place in the UK. We had been locked in for three months…and we are young guys, man, we want to go out and party.
“We had our hopes and dreams and there were so many fantastic shows lined up, but all had been cancelled. It is not that they had been rescheduled at the time…there is nothing. With that build-up of energy we need to get out there because, mate, this is what we live for.
“You know, we have got nothing else in our lives. It is not like we are rocket scientists or we think if the band does not work out we will go and become lawyers or something [laughs]. You know, this is our lifeline. It is not a case of “if we don’t crack this…”, we HAVE to crack this because there is nothing else for us is.
“We have done ten years and this is what we love doing and it is what makes us get up and makes us tick. There is nothing else in my life that I can turn around and say that I would like to do, as all I want to do is just be in a band and play.
“We had been out of lockdown incredibly briefly and we were straight into Rockfield, so it was really it was a special moment and one that I will never forget. There are not many people who get a chance to have that amazing experience, so it really was a true blessing to be able to go and do that.
“You are sitting there and the grand piano Freddie Mercury played Bohemian Rhapsody on is like two foot away from the room. All this magic vibe in there and you just go “how the fucking hell did I get here?”
So, it is interesting how that keys in with the album title ‘Waiting for Good Luck’. Was it based on that whole thing waiting for the right time, waiting for the lockdown to finish so you could actually get in the studio?
“Yeah, I think there was a bit of this whole business caused by Covid, of waiting for a bit of good luck to get out there and get touring again. But a lot of it is that we are waiting for good luck in The Treatment man.
“For us it is that we just want to be a successful band on the road and I think we are just waiting for our bit of luck.
“We just need to breakthrough and get that one song that people love. You know, we just want it man and it is coming our way. We really feel with this record it is and we just kind of felt like “hell, it means a lot to a lot of people” and it was just the right title for us.”
So, what next for The Treatment?
“To be honest, I am just looking forward to getting in a room with our new man Andy and properly getting to know and play with him. I can not wait…it has been too long to be stuck in lockdown and I am bouncing off the walls.
“I am just so ready to get out there and play some shows. It has been bizarre that Andy has been in the band a year and we have only met him something like five times, but the audition with him was perfect. We have had one or two line-up changes so we know what we want and what to expect and he came in and was very relaxed, no ego at all.
“He said “lads, I just want to play music. I am 100% committed to this. What sound do you want and what do you need from me. Let’s Rock”.
“There was no “I want this and I want that”, it was all what is good for us and what is good for the band?
“We had some fantastic people come down for the audition, but with Andy things really clicked from the moment he came in. I can not wait to get to know him as a guy, but he has all the perfect qualities to be a great team player and that is what we are, a team.
“All of us, very much including Lol, are all pieces of the puzzle and we make up The Treatment.
“We all just want to get out there to make some music.
“It is going to be great to properly get together and truly gel as a band and play some shows together for our fans.
“It is what I live for and I can not wait.”