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Up and Coming: Backstage with Slydigs

The world is full of millions of great songs, and Rock Band's got a few thousand of them. It's really staggering to think about all of the talent that's been poured into the songs in our catalog over the years. We thought it was time to start highlighting some of the great musicians that have graced our soundtracks, truly making them better games.

Slydigs are a rock 'n' roll band from Warrington, UK. Aside from getting extra rock points for being from Great Britain, they bring loads of energy and swagger to the stage, all very apparent in "Light the Fuse", their new single featured in Rock Band 4. We took some time to chat with the band about their roots, their new music video, touring with The Who, and more.

Tell us about the name of the band. Where'd it come from?

Dean: It came about around the time we were starting out. A 'slydig' is a polite insult that sort of tests your sense of humor. I always thought of it as if you take it as an insult, maybe you're taking yourself too seriously, and if you take yourself too seriously, then you're never getting out alive.

The choice of name refers to the way we are as friends. Louis and I formed the band, because we went to school together. The name has some sort of loose connection to the way we are with one another. I think it also comes across on stage, which is something that works well. I suppose it symbolizes the camaraderie. I'll be honest, I've never liked it much, but people seem to love it, it's strange really. That's why we have never changed it.

Louis: It's funny, I always struggle to remember the origins of the name. All I can recall is that it's been there from the start and that we've never changed it. For me it's a name that's just always sounded good and felt right, maybe because it's unusual and sticks in your head.

You have a great, vintage sound. Who are some of your creative influences?

Dean: Both musically and creatively we have always been inspired by the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors, but also the contemporary blues artists like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. The music from the 50's, 60s and 70's has been a major catalyst for the music of Slydigs.

I also take some creative influences from the likes of the beat poet Charles Bukowski. I like the stark brutality of his words. Whilst he is never one for metaphors, the themes are the most potent for me. One whiff of a play of words from Oscar Wilde has me chasing my pen. Everything I ever seem to read from that cat blows my mind. Playwrights like Henrik Ibsen and Bertolt Brecht have had a big influence on me since I was young, creatively speaking.

There is a third part to the source of our creativity that I usually neglect to mention. It's our daily lives, the people we meet, the life that one leads and certainly the situations we get ourselves into. That can usually be a major source for creativity and we do seem to get ourselves in the most unsavory of situations.

Louis: The vintage sound is purely a reflection of the music we listen to and love. The likes of Dylan and The Kinks would have to be mentioned along with Chuck Berry and Little Richard, the list could go on. Just real timeless music, I suppose. That kind of songwriting craft is something we have always aspired to. If you don't want to be as good as the best, then there's no point in starting.

What was it like to make your music video?

Dean: It was great actually. We had a number of our friends sit in as extras for it, coupled with the fact that we had use of a bar, you can understand that a good time was had. Wasp Video are great and we have worked with them for a long time. We all had a big say on the "theme" of it, and I think it reflects the idea of the track, which is basically a "good time" rock 'n' roll track. I think the milk idea was mine, but we all sort of came up with the bar scenes and the "night out" idea. The table scene is my favorite part. It reminds me of that scene in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels.

Louis: The video was a lot of fun to make. I think the closeness of the band comes across really well, because when we aren't making music together, we're hanging out together. We were friends before we were a band, and I think that shows in the video.

What's it like touring and performing with The Who? Any good stories from the road?

Dean: The experience was understandably mind blowing. The experience itself has had a huge effect on us individually and as a group. The idea that we went from playing sweat-ridden, half-derelict, 150 capacity venues to stadiums was the strangest concept to come to grips with. But don't get me wrong, I love those small venues and I will always have the fondest memories playing in those types of venues; that's where we built our craft. I'd always enjoy playing them, they're the blood line of new music and should be nurtured. The stadium side of things and supporting a band such as The Who is something that no one is ever going to turn down, are they? Playing those gigs has simply been an eye opener to the world that we have so long desired.

Roger and Peter were really polite. We had the pleasure of chatting with Roger after the 02 and we talked about the band and also his good friend Wilko Johnson and his overcoming of his illness. It was certainly endearing to see his respect and admiration for a true friend.

Do you play a lot of games?

Dean: I play Xbox now and then. I've tried my hand at Rock Band a few times and I'm awful, but Peter our drummer is good though.

Louis: I'm still into my games, I enjoy playing to relax, usually after I've been writing or practicing my guitar. I spend a few hours playing on Xbox to take my mind off things.

What are your favorite games of all time?

Dean: I've got to say I do dig some of the GTA games, but I would have to say my favorite all time game has to be Street Fighter. I spent many hours of my youth playing that game on a Sega Mega Drive.

Louis: As a child I was completely obsessed with Sonic, Streets of Rage, and Street Fighter. I still play some of those vintage games today, they haven't lost any of their charm. I have to say that one of the best games of all time has to be Final Fantasy VII and I know Pete will back me up on this. The whole story and the landscape of the game was mind blowing, I'm excited about the remake.

What are you listening to these days?

Dean: I try to always find new records that I haven't heard before. That doesn't necessarily mean they are modern records, just songs or albums I haven't heard before. I liked the new Libertines album. I was sceptical as most people probably were, but I was pretty happy for them after hearing it. Most recently, I've been listening to Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's, but I'm listening to Dylan, The Beatles and the Stones continually.

Louis: I've recently been listening to a lot of The Zombies, they have some fantastic lesser known songs that I couldn't believe I'd never heard before. Also I've started getting into The Pretty Things, they have some awesome sounding tracks. Like Dean said, we're always on the look out for old tracks that maybe the rest of the lads haven't heard before. But the soundtrack to my life usually consists of a mixture of The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who and Bobby D.