Live From Los Angeles – Tairrie B. Photography: Chevy Metal, Conejo Valley Days, 14th of May, 2016

CM100CVD_TB2016When My Ruin frontwoman and wicked witch of the west coast Tairrie B. Murphy is not on stage or in the studio she’s busy conjuring rock magick behind the camera, shooting some of her favorite bands & musicians live in and around the city of angels. Check out her work in the gallery below.

Band: Chevy Metal
Venue: Conejo Valley Days, CA.
Date: 14th of May, 2016
All photos: © Tairrie B. Photography

Connect with Chevy Metal at:
Facebook: facebook.com/chevymetalrocks

To see more photos by Tairrie B. Murphy follow her online:
Facebook: facebook.com/tairriebphotography
Instagram: instagram.com/tairriebphotography
Twitter: twitter.com/tairrieb

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song | Live From Los Angeles – Tairrie B. Photography

INTERVIEW! Tairrie B. Murphy talks Teenage Time Killers ahead of landmark LA show

1 - T&M by Travis Shinn
Tairrie B. Murphy and Mick Murphy. Photo: Travis Shinn.

This Saturday night, 12th September, sees the advent of the most hotly anticipated ticket in rock. For one night only, a thundering hoard of punk, rock and metal’s finest musicians will descend upon LA’s Fonda Theatre for the live debut of Teenage Time Killers, the heavy collective spearheaded by Reed Mullin (Corrosion Of Conformity), Mick Murphy (My Ruin, The Birds Of Satan, Chevy Metal, Neanderthal) and John “Lou” Lousteau (musician, producer and chief engineer at Studio 606.)

Appearing alongside the likes of Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Neil Fallon (Clutch), Tommy Victor (Prong) and Lee Ving (Fear), is My Ruin’s Queen of Scream, the legendary maven of metal, Tairrie B. Murphy, who is set to perform her track from TTK’s debut album, Greatest Hits Vol.1, “Clawhoof.”

Murphy herself graciously took time out to speak with us in and among rehearsals for Saturday’s show and fending off the inferno that is the current heatwave beating down on LA.

SBA: How did you come to be a guest artist on Greatest Hits Vol.1?

TBM: Nepotism! I highly recommend it. Just kidding! I believe Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity drummer) asked my husband (Mick Murphy) if I would be interested in doing a song after Mick played him our last My Ruin album while they were in the studio recording. Mick was introduced to Reed by our good friend and TTK producer John Lousteau who Mick grew up with in Knoxville, Tennessee and who occasionally sits in on drums with our band live when we play Los Angeles. Once Mick started working with Reed & Lou, that’s when the album really started to take shape and come together musically.

Your song on GHV1, “Clawhoof”, is a killer track. How did you come to record that specific song? Was it written with your vocal style in mind and did you have input in its writing?

Thank you. Yes, Mick did write it with me in mind. Many of the songs were matched with vocalists after the fact but a few were written with specific people in mind. “Clawhoof” was one of them. I had nothing to do with the music. Just the lyrics. Once he demoed the track and played it for me, I loved it.

Where did the name come from?

Believe it or not it was actually the working title of the project before Reed decided to change it to “Teenage Time Killers”. For months, the guys had referred to it as this and I really dug the name because it sounded so evil. I guess it just stuck in my head after hearing them say it for so long and when they decided to go with TTK, I had just started to write my lyrics so thought it might be kind of cool to use it as the title of my track to keep it included in the project. I built my song around it. Unlike many of the other recordings on the album, it’s got a more sinister underlying theme to it rather than political.

I understand you were actually suffering with the flu when you were recording? Is that right? You’d never guess, the song sounds great!

Again, thank you and yes, I was pretty ill the day I went into the studio to lay my vocals at 606. My voice was definitely not in its usual form. You always want to feel you are at your best when recording, especially when you are a guest and being featured on someone else’s album rather than your own. I was a bit concerned with a room full of dudes watching me in between coughing up a lung. I did a couple takes and felt like my throat was really raw but they loved it and that was it. When I first heard the track mixed it took me a minute to get used to it because I’m used to my scream in My Ruin which is more metal, but I think being sick gave it a more punk rock feel which was pretty cool considering the overall vibe of the album as a whole.

During the recording process were you conscious of being the sole female contributor to the project at all? Is that something that’s in your mind at all as the show at the Fonda Theatre approaches?

I didn’t really think about it until the end of the recording and I was listening to the final mixes and sequence. I’m stoked to be the lone wolf representing the ladies on a project which includes some of my favourite male vocalists like Pete Stahl from Goatsnake and Neil Fallon of Clutch. As far as the show goes, I just want to have fun and do my thing. I’m not really focusing on the fact that I’m the only woman, just happy to be a part of such a cool project with so many rad dudes.

The show at the Fonda Theatre in LA is taking place on the 12th of September and being that it’s one night only, should be one hell of a night. It’s an extraordinary line up of musicians to have playing in one place. Can you share any details about what you have planned?

There are no opening bands, just 2 hours of TTK which are going to be a hard, fast and loud on stage. Mick is playing guitar for the entire show on 50 songs with all the guest vocalists. Reed is drumming much of the set and also singing a few songs and John Lousteau is drumming a few as well, including the ones with me which My Ruin bassist Luciano Ferrea is also playing. The show’s set is made up of the TTK album, songs by some of the guest singers’ own bands and a bunch of classic punk covers. It’s gonna be killer. Pun intended.

ttk1

Has it been difficult getting all the musicians together for planning and rehearsals?

When you have this many people involved in a project, it’s bound to be a little complicated and a bit of a logistical challenge. The main core of the band has been rehearsing the past few weeks at our studio with a few of the vocalists who are based in LA coming in, but many of the guests are flying in last minute to do a full show run through with everyone at Studio 606 on the last 2 days before the gig.

I have a huge amount of respect for my husband Mick as a musician and, being in a band with him for the past 15 years, I’ve seen him at his best on stage and in the studio with My Ruin and all the side projects he’s been a part of, from Neanderthal to Chevy Metal, The Birds Of Satan to Heavy Seventies as well as co-producing my new solo rap album with me. But he’s really stepped up his game to another level with the TTK album and this show which he really helped to pull together this past month in rehearsals.

Mick co wrote/co produced GHV1 and played guitar on the majority of the album, but his contributions have kind of gone unmentioned in the press and overshadowed by some of the more famous names involved, which is a shame because of all the time and work he put into it. He’s not the type of guy to toot his own horn so I’m gonna toot it for him! He deserves it. I can’t wait to share the stage with him again and also watch him rock with all the other artists performing before and after me.

Knowing that not ALL the guest artists from the album can be there on the night, have the artists who are going to be there had to learn new songs from GHV1 to perform?

Yeah, there are a few people who can’t make it due to their own touring schedules so a couple of the other vocalists are going to do those songs.

Which songs will you be performing, and will you be playing any songs other than the TTK songs on the night? Can we expect to hear anything from the My Ruin catalogue?

I’ll be performing my track from GHV1 along with “Moriendo Renascor” from My Ruin’s last album and a cover of Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” which I like to put my own red lipstick twist on live!

It’s been a while since you last performed live with My Ruin, and your fans will know that you released your first new rap album in over 25 years, Vintage Curses, last month. Has it been challenging to get back in to that Metal headspace again?

I thought it would be but surprisingly, my scream came back to me pretty quick and naturally. Coincidentally, my first rehearsal with TTK was on the 1 year anniversary of the last night I performed live with My Ruin in the UK which was on The Sacred Mood Tour in August 2014. I hadn’t screamed since then so I really had no idea what to expect given this past 12 months my headspace has really been focused on the recording and release of my new album and working on my first book which I am currently in the early stages of writing.

Is the show being recorded at all? All these incredible musicians from the world of Punk, Rock and Metal playing the same show together seems like too good an opportunity to miss!

Yes, I agree it’s going to be a memorable evening for everyone involved and plans are in the works as I write this to make it happen which I think it will. Unfortunately there are a lot of factors that go into a big show like this behind the scenes and it’s often comes down to money, rather than art much like most things in the music industry but fingers crossed because we would love to be able to share it with all those who can’t be at the show due to it being a one off special event in LA.

Teenage Time Killers appear at LA’s Fonda Theatre this Saturday, 12th September. Get your tickets here: www.fondatheatre.com

Teenage Time Killers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TeenageTimeKillers

Check out our review of Teenage Time Killer’s Greatest Hits Vol.1 here, along with our interview with TTK songwriter and guitarist, Mick Murphy, here.

3 - TBM by Travis Shinn
Photo: Travis Shinn

2 - TTK FLYER

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Tairrie B. Murphy celebrates birthday with new album news

Tairrie B 18th Jan 2015 - Jodie Cunningham
Photo (C) Jodie Cunningham

Tairrie B. Murphy, wordsmith and vocalist with LA metal band My Ruin, has celebrated her 50th birthday by announcing an extraordinary new album.

But those expecting another slab of molten metal from the former Tura Satana and Manhole frontwoman might be in for a surprise, as the good lady herself said when announcing the news via My Ruin’s official Facebook page:

“I HAVE RECORDED A NEW ALBUM!

“While it may come as a shock to those who only know me as a screamer, it’s NOT a rock recording. It is a dark & witchy journey back to my hip hop roots with an old school West Coast influence and it is my birthday present to myself. That’s all I can say for now because I am currently mixing it but I can’t wait to unveil more about it in the coming weeks and share it with all of you soon.”

Those who have followed Tairrie B’s career in music prior to the formation of My Ruin will know that the artist was the first high profile white female rapper, signed to hip-hop legend Eazy E’s Ruthless Records under the Comptown Records imprint.

As Tairrie reveals in her post when sharing the roots of the new project: “Amidst everything, I have been quietly keeping a secret very close to my heart which has allowed me to re-ignite a fire and create some personal magick on the microphone while re-discovering my first passion as an artist and producer. Something I have been longing to do for a very long time now.”

In true Tairrie B. style, the passionate performer signs off by revealing the album title and leaving a message for lovers and haters alike:

“As I ring in my birthday and celebrate my new album ‪#‎VintageCurses‬ today, I invite those of you who have supported me and my music in its many forms over the years to join me in a toast while I close this post with a (slightly altered) Tom Waits quote “Champagne for my TRUE friends and FUCK YOU to my sham friends!

‪#‎BewareTheCrone‬

Love, )O(
Tairrie B. Murphy”

Watch this space for updates as we receive them and check out Tairrie B. Murphy’s full birthday post here!

Check out the evolution of Tairrie B’s music below, from early rap video “Murder She Wrote”, through Manhole’s “Put Your Head Out” and on to My Ruin’s “Long Dark Night.”

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Interview: SERVERS leave with us

Servers-Shoot-2013-DSC0838-001

“We set out with the intention of releasing a solid album that would hopefully stand out from the crowd,” say SERVERS of their sonically stupendous debut album “Leave With Us”, released with little fanfare in February of this year.

The following 12 months saw the Barnsley based band hailed by the music press, play some fierce headline shows and support LA metal band My Ruin on their last ever tour of the UK in August. Add in charity singles, visually stunning videos, a sound like no other band around and an imminent final gig of the year, and we’ve got plenty to talk about.

So we sat down with the self-styled kings of cult to do just that…

SBA: 2014 has been an amazing year for SERVERS following the release of Leave With Us in February. What have your most memorable moments been?

SERVERS: Wow, tough one, there have been so many! Releasing the album on a rejuvenated Undgergroove Records, a label we all have so much respect for; seeing our band get such amazing reviews in the press and being featured in major magazines; playing festivals like Guilfest and gigging with My Ruin were all beyond expectations. But I think the stand out has to be making our live debut at our album release show in Barnsley and it selling out, so much so people were left standing in the room next to the venue to listen. The response and support we get from the local scene never fails to amaze us.

What has the reaction to Leave With Us been like over the last 12 months? It seems to have had a great reception from the gig-going public and some of the rock and metal music press?

We set out with the intention of releasing a solid album that would hopefully stand out from the crowd. The response has been phenomenal – people really seem to get it and relate to it. We did put ourselves out there a bit with the theatrics of the live show, and the concept of the band/album but thankfully it seems to have hit a chord and been bought into which is amazing.

How did SERVERS come together as a group?

Lee S and Lee W have known each other for several years now through our old bands. After Lee S left GU Medicine the intention was to quit music altogether, and he thought his days in music were done. The guitar was left gathering dust for a while, but eventually he couldn’t fight the urge to pick it up again and start putting some tunes together. At that point he asked Lee W if he’d be interested in putting a demo together with Pete at Flatwave Studios and see where it went. Those original demos lit a flame even though they have since become new songs or been forgotten. There was a moment in Flatwave that we remember well when we had a rough draft of “Universes…” – we were just buzzing off its sound and we could see the potential in these songs so it took a more serious turn.

We had been programming the drums up to that point and we knew we needed a real drummer, Ant had just finished with his old band (Disarm), and Lee S had been told about him. He came in to Flatwave for an audition and he knocked us sideways with his skills and his attitude, and we became “SERVERS”.

The enigma that is SERVER #00005 joined us on guitar when it became apparent that we needed a second guitar to make sure the huge sound we’d achieved in the studio translated to the stage. He does a cracking job.

SERVERS have a genuinely unique sound in amongst the current crop of hard rock and metal bands. Did you set out with a plan of what you wanted to sound like as a group when you began?

I don’t think we did. We all have rock/ metal roots so it was bound to have an impact on our overall sound. However with SERVERS our defining concept with the music has always been, if it sounds good to us and it gets us excited to record/play it then it’s OK to be a SERVERS song. I think that’s what helped with the reviews if I am honest. There isn’t a strict formula for SERVERS music; we don’t intentionally start a song with something like “this needs to be heavy or sound like this band”.

To be brutally honest sounding like another band or fitting into a genre/clique is not something we care about. If we have a melody or riff that we buzz off then we will work on it. If it turns out to be a ballad that won’t stop us playing or releasing it because SERVERS is there for everyone and anyone – if someone picks up on a song and loves it as much as us then great, if they don’t, so what?

Leave With Us has a full, layered sound and some incredible arrangements. What was the recording process like for you?

We are so very fortunate to work with Pete at Flatwave Studios for the pre-production on our albums. We loved the idea of being a 3 piece recording band but making something that sounded so much bigger, and the months spent on pre-production allow us to build on things and really focus on the tiniest detail when writing. We are really lucky in being able to work with so many talented people as well in the writing and live phase of the album. With an approach like ours to writing there are never any boundaries, so we can keep tweaking things, hit delete several hundred times, re-record, rearrange, add layers until we are 100% happy with what is there to be recorded.

One of the many things I like about the album is that it exists in an abrasive sounding rock space, but it is also chock full of really strong melodies, too. Is that a fair observation? Was that combination something that you consciously tried to achieve?

It’s a great observation and something we are very proud of. It’s easy to make an album that’s heavy for the sake of heavy and lose that riff or melody that changes the dynamic of an album. It wasn’t intentional – I think it’s more ingrained into what we want to hear in a band’s music, and so it comes out in our album, as at the end of the day all musicians are basically trying to write an album that is perfect for themselves and if others connect with it then it’s all good.

Do you have favourite tracks on the album and did you have a vision of what you wanted to achieve lyrically? “Dangerous Devotion” for me seems to encompass everything that Leave With Us is about: societal crisis, the murky underside of knowledge, power, questions, doubt and, yes, the dangerous side of blind devotion.

Picking a favourite track is hard; I know we all have a favourite track either from an album perspective or a playing live point of view. However, I think music is a personal thing. People connect with different songs for different reasons. They make their own story behind them, so for us to say which is our favourite song wouldn’t be right.

Servers_Shoot_2013_DSC0895

Where did the idea of SERVERS’ hooded, cultish image come from?

The album took a dark lyrical context from conversations in the band and an interest in the subservient nature of people, and how cults or individuals can hold such a power over certain people, to the point of killing others or themselves for a cause. It’s both fascinating and terrifying.

We thought it was important for the band to carry an image that gave an insight into the album. With the emergence of social media these days people are willing to write your band off from a photo without even listening to a single chord of your music, so that’s why we do what we do.

How does the music business now compare to what it was like in the days of GU Medicine? Is it very different?

It’s changed dramatically in my opinion. I suppose it depends on whether or not music is a career move as to whether it’s changed for the better or not, luckily for us it’s not, it’s a passion. So in that respect it’s easier to get your music out there on YouTube, Spotify etc. Downside is that people just float in and out without really buying into a band. People check bands out on social media and most of the time make a snap judgement whether they like them or not.

Music has become a bit like a drive-through… pull up, order and leave. There’s less tendency to linger on one band and become attached or devoted to a band the way it used to happen when listening options were more limited. Now the listener is bombarded with new music… they simply try some then move on. As a result, the majority of people have become detached from the artist because they don’t buy the album, opting to buy single tracks instead…. or maybe a quick view on YouTube.

Lastly the sheer amount of different genres of rock seems to have affected things. There’s no such thing as a straight rock and roll band anymore, but on the other hand the dilution has meant exposure for a larger number of bands. Think what I’m trying to say is that it’s swings and roundabouts. But the underlying thing is don’t ever rely on music to put a roof over your head… just enjoy the ride and try appreciate wherever your musical journey takes you!

As a band you’ve alluded to different messages and meanings hidden in the cover art of your album. Care to enlighten us, or does the mystery remain?

The mystery very much remains. There is a meaning to each and every one of the symbols on the album and there are clues spread across our album booklet and website so the code is breakable, but its over to the SERVERS to work that one out.

Who designed the album cover and how did the collaboration come about?

As I mentioned earlier we are very lucky to have the people around us and supporting us that we do. The album artwork was designed and produced by Pete Thompson at Flatwave. We gave him a concept and idea for a logo and booklet, and let him run free with it. We were really happy with the outcome. It was his idea to hide the message in the logo… (maybe that’s a clue to the question above?)

You released a couple of brilliant videos during the year too, for “Universes & Supernovas (The Ride)” and “Claustrophobia”. How did those come about and who did you work with on them?

Mark Latham produced both our videos. He is such a talented guy and he’s known Lee S for several years from GU Medicine. We sent him early demos of the album and asked if he would like to be involved and luckily he said yes. He storyboarded the videos after discussions at our album photo shoot (which he also did). In “Universes…” we also worked with Lisha Blackhurst who agreed to play the poor girl who unknowingly stumbles into the world of SERVERS in the video.

And how did your cover of the Madness song “Lovestruck” for the Mad Not Cancer charity happen? It must have been quite a challenge to take the iconic sound of Madness and Server-ise it?

We were approached by the Specialized organisation to do the recording as they like to have a lot of different genres involved in their projects. It’s a great cause and we’re honoured to be a part of it. “Lovestruck” was a bit of a mountain to climb in converting it to a SERVERS song, but it had an underlying riff that we knew we could use and make it heavier. We wanted to try keeping the melody but add some “epicness” to it. I hope we achieved that.

You played in support of LA metal veterans My Ruin in August as part of their The Sacred Mood tour. What was that like for you guys?

Unbelievable! Lee S had a relationship with My Ruin from his days in GU Med, so when they asked us to be part of their final tour we jumped at it. We saw them a few times on that tour and loved every minute of the show we did in Bristol. Great venue, Great crowd and hanging with Sanctorum and My Ruin was brilliant.

SERVERS with Tairrie Murphy of My Ruin
SERVERS with Tairrie B. Murphy of My Ruin, August 2014

I’ve heard rumours that a collaboration with Tairrie Murphy from My Ruin is in the works? Can you share anything or is it just rumour at the moment?

Tairrie and Lee S are long time friends. His old band GU Medicine toured with My Ruin on two tours in the UK back in 2006 and he often joined Tairrie on stage to sing the Mudhoney classic “Touch Me I’m Sick” which they covered on their album at the time. They reunited for a 3rd time on stage when SERVERS supported My Ruin in Bristol this past August and had a blast. She really digs the band and suggested it might be fun to write and record an original together, which we agreed and have been working on at the moment via Skype and Dropbox. We’re recording the music and Lee’s vocals here in the UK and Tairrie is recording her parts in the States. We have a cool idea for a video as well to accompany the song once it’s done.

You’ve got an awesome Christmas gig lined up on the 13th December at the Rock & Blues Venue in your hometown of Barnsley. Are you looking forward to it and can we expect any new material at the show?

We are really excited about this show and want to make it a celebration of this past year. It’s a great line up, and it’s the place where it all started for us back in February. The Rock & Blues venue is great, the sound, the people and the stage are all top notch – it will be an awesome night. We are hard at work at the moment on the set and as of right now I can tell you that we will be giving “Bodies In The Ground” its live debut!

It strikes me that there is a massive amount of amazing rock talent in Yorkshire at the moment. SERVERS, Marmozets, Bring Me The Horizon, Allusondrugs, Eureka Machines, The Scaramanga Six, Steel Trees to name but a few. Do you think the breadth and depth of talent has always been here, or do you think something has changed that has allowed these acts to break out and in to the wider consciousness of the music loving public?

There are so many great bands out there; I think the talent has always been lurking. With the internet, social media and digital radio bands are being given a greater platform to work upon and get themselves out there. If bands work hard enough these days there’s no need to rely on big record deals or mainstream press / media to get your name around. The music industry has changed so much these days that the time of DIY is upon us. If you have the quality it will find an audience.

What now for SERVERS? I understand you’ve been back in the studio and writing and recording new material?

We are indeed deep in the throes of writing at the moment. I don’t think we will get out and about much early on in the new year unless something really exciting presents itself as we want to focus on putting out a really strong second album that can better Leave With Us. Not an easy task, but we are confident and all signs so far suggest we can do it.

What would success look like for SERVERS in 2015? What would you like to achieve next year?

We plan to continue to build our profile as a band in 2015, release some great music and hopefully get a bit more exposure on the airwaves and media. It would be real nice to play a few of the big festivals and get a tour going. We’ll see what comes. Like anything in life things can be taken away real quick so it’s all a bonus. Just to be putting music out there that people enjoy and buy into is enough for us. Thanks for your support and giving us the interview!

‘SERVERS Xmas Party’ takes place at Barnsley Rock & Blues on Saturday 13th of December. Tickets are available now via SeeTickets priced at £4.50 each in advance.

Check out SERVERS’ videos for their tracks “Claustrophobia” and “Bodies In The Ground” below:

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The Sacred Road: on tour with My Ruin, UK, August 2014

My Ruin - Matt Adamson Photography 2014
Photo (C) Andy Watson, DRW Images

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone…”

Only this isn’t the Twilight Zone, at least not as we know it; although it proves to be just as inspiring, imaginative, magical and otherworldly. Contrary to the Twilight Zone’s 1950s written narration, it is also a place that welcomes and positively empowers women.

No, this isn’t a TV series cemented firmly in fiction. After all, this revelation won’t be televised. No, this is real. And it is LA metal veterans My Ruin’s last ever UK tour. If you missed it, I’m sorry, but you really did miss out.

Viewed from both inside and out, The Sacred Mood Tour was a Herculean task; something of epic proportion and equally epic struggle, a fact that made the extraordinary, emotional and powerful performances each and every night something very special to behold.

Before the tour even began, My Ruin had to deal with their friend, producer and intended tour drummer, Joel Stooksbury, dislocating his shoulder, meaning that he couldn’t head out on the road. That prompted the recruitment of Matt ‘Frenchie’ LeChevalier, an accomplished drummer and friend of the band who had joined My Ruin on tour previously in 2006. So far, so good. Crisis averted. The show would go on.

Then, just a few short weeks before the tour was due to begin, one promoter defaulted on his contract, prompting cancellation notices to be sent out to fans who had bought tickets for My Ruin’s show in York. Statements were quickly issued by the band, indicating that the show was not in fact cancelled. Tairrie, Mick and their UK contacts had worked like proverbial Trojans to find another promoter and ensure that the gig was all set to go ahead.

Fibbers in York, the renowned Yorkshire venue booked for the tour, then had to close in order to facilitate a relocation, meaning that My Ruin’s show was once again in jeopardy. But once again the stops were pulled out, blood sweat and tears were shed, and the show was re-booked at The Duchess. Thank the gods, and plenty more hard toil, for that.

Another venue closure, this time in Norwich, loomed and threatened, but yes, once again, did not sound the death knell for this now Biblical tale.

The gods of rock had one last trial up their putrid and pernicious sleeves, however.

My Ruin had never made any bones about the fact that The Sacred Mood Tour had been built on the back of their appearance at the UK’s first annual AltFest, set to be a weekend long celebration of alternative music and culture, staged in the beautiful grounds of Broughton House, Kettering. Tairrie, Mick, bassist Luciano Ferrea and Matt LeChevalier were due to play a set on the Metal Stage on the opening day of the event.

With just two weeks before the tour was due to commence, and only one week until the band were due to travel to the UK from across the globe, rumours began to circulate that AltFest was in trouble. An agonising four day wait for any kind of official statement from the festival organisers resulted in what most were expecting: AltFest was indeed cancelled owing to poor financial management.

But as friends and fans will already know, if there’s one band who know how to knuckle down, do the necessary, and ultimately triumph in the face of adversity, it’s My Ruin.

Tairrie and Stitch - Matt Adamson Photography
Photo (C) Matt Adamson Photography

Just a couple of days later, here was the announcement that everyone had been hoping for. AltFest may have let everyone down massively, but My Ruin would not. The Sacred Mood Tour was not cancelled. Indeed, all shows would be going ahead. Not only that, but rather than using the time freed up by AltFest’s demise for their own ends, My Ruin would now team up with UK industrial metal band The Defiled as their very special guests for an exclusive, intimate warm-up show at The Zombie Hut in Corby.

The response from fans across the UK and Europe was loud, clear and simple: “Fuck yeah!”

As a band that have embraced and live by the DIY code, and one with the best part of two decades of experience of doing so under their belt, My Ruin were not about to disappoint the people who were going to break life and limb to see them for one last time on UK shores.

The stages were set; the band were all here; the Blasphemous Girls and Bad-ass Boys wanted their rock n’ roll. It was time to deliver the doom.

oOo

Fittingly, as show time approaches in Corby for My Ruin’s gig with The Defiled, the clouds gather, the sky darkens, thunder rumbles and down comes the rain. It is as if the combined power of LAs and the UKs heavy metal finest have drawn ominous and unsettled energies together above this relatively sedate English town; some kind of signal or beacon; a harbinger of the iron-flecked rock about to be wrought, and wholly appropriate given Corby’s history as a borough built on the production of British steel.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ “Tupelo” adds to the atmosphere as it rings out on stage and ushers in messrs Murphy, Ferrea and LeChevalier. Cheers and shouts go up as the lights go down, and The 3rd Best Metal Guitarist Of All Time ™ begins a feedback loop and then strikes a power chord, ushering in My Ruin’s mainstay, lyricist, vocalist and frontwoman, Tairrie B. Murphy.

From there it is straight in to the opening track from their 2013 album The Sacred Mood, “Monolith Of Wrath”. As it was with the parent album, so it is with the band’s live show. The song starts with a staccato rhythm and honeyed vocals, before tearing open in to a thundering riff and a full throated scream from Tairrie B., confronting us with “the moonless midnight of my mind.”

The crowd begin to warm up, nodding heads developing into bouncing souls and then a full on circle mosh pit as the Ruiners in the audience begin to lose themselves in some of the band’s most beloved songs.

A short while later and Tairrie approaches the mic with a glint in her eye and an invitation to welcome a guest on to stage. Defiled frontman, Stitch, stalks through the crowd and out in to the spotlight, sheepish grin planted firmly on his face as Tairrie explains that owing to The Defiled not making the venue in time for soundcheck, what is about to follow has never been rehearsed and will be the first time the band and both vocalists have performed together live.

Not that you would ever know it, as the riff now familiar to all Ruiners and Mudhoney fans the world over kicks in to gear, and Tairrie and Stitch belt their way through a punishing, high energy cover of the aforementioned Seattle band’s song “Touch Me, I’m Sick.” If this is the sound of spontaneous, unrehearsed rock, then may all bands be so ill-prepared in the future. It’s an unqualified triumph, and the crowd roar at the song’s close, those here for The Defiled adding their support to the die-hard My Ruin aficionados.

A special guest slot means a slightly shorter set, and it doesn’t feel like too long before Tairrie is thanking the crowd, wishing them well and giving a shout-out to My Ruin’s new found friends in The Defiled. By all accounts, it’s a cracking precursor for what is to come in the days ahead.

A special guest slot also means that the Murphy’s can stick around and catch The Defiled’s set however, as well as chatting to fans old and new, and hanging out with long-standing merch-man, fan, friend, stylist and Tairrie’s “gay husband”, Jack Osborne.

“How was it?” Tairrie asks in conversation after the show. Skin Back Alley offers the opinion that it sounded brilliant to our ears.

“I wasn’t sure if it was really a My Ruin crowd,” she observes. Nevertheless, spirits – including Tairrie’s own – seem high in the Zombie Hut’s band lounge, banter being shared between rock n’ roll comrades, photos being captured and turned in to future memories, accompanied by the hubbub of gear being packed away in to vans for an onward trip to London.

The Sacred Mood Tour is now underway, and My Ruin have kicked down all the barriers put in their way in order to ensure as smooth a passage as possible.

My Ruin - Detune Photography 2014
Photo (C) Doug Rimington, Detune Photography

The following night in Camden, the conditions couldn’t be more different. The Underworld is drenched in sunlight and the queuing fans snake around the outside of The World’s End pub and down towards The Black Heart. The Ruiners may be largely dressed in funereal black, but the conversation is buzzing with stories of meetings with Tairrie and Mick from years gone by, and anticipation of the gig to come. Many can’t believe that this really will be the last time that they get to see their favourite metal band, and the atmosphere is electric; palpable. It is clear that this really IS a My Ruin crowd.

Doors open early, as tonight sees a one-off set from Mick Murphy’s side project, Neanderthal, open proceedings. It means that Murphy, Ferrea and LeChevalier are pulling double duty, but they don’t seem to mind as they pound their way through the groove-fuelled pyrotechnics that allow Murphy to flex his dextrous instrumental muscles. The set is ferocious and immense, “Mi Ruina” sounding particularly blistering. Mick being the man of a thousand faces, tonight the joy in his playing is plain for all to see, and the quality of the music astonishingly high.

Just a short while later, UK metal band Sanctorum take to the Underworld’s stage. The band will be familiar to the My Ruin audience, having supported them on three prior tours. They’re working like demons throughout The Sacred Mood Tour, supporting on every date, as well as acting as backline techs and tour management. The work rate is astounding, and so is their set.

On the verge of releasing a new album at the time of the tour, the set is heavy on songs taken from that new LP, Old Ghosts/New Wars. Every single member of the group delivers the goods in a flail of hair, the thrashing of guitars, the blast beat of drums and the guttural howl of voice. The performances are all the more impressive considering that bassist Matt Adamson couldn’t play a guitar just six months before; something you’d never be able to tell from his solid playing each and every night.

The energy of the band transfers to the audience, as numbers near the stage begin to swell, and limbs and heads begin to writhe. New songs such as “Price To Pay” and “False Idols” are all received with manic moshing and horns aloft, and the set closes out with guitarist Al Commons disappearing in to the crowd and delivering his last solos in the most up-close and personal way possible, just millimetres from gig goers’ faces.

And then it is time for My Ruin to to stand up and be counted, and dear lord do they put on a show.

From the outset it is clear that the band, now headlining their own dates and clearly aware of the emotional pull of their last shows across the UK, mean to perform each and every gig like it will be their last on earth; like their very lives depend on it.

The level of intensity on the part of Tairrie and her fellow musicians is through the roof; an entirely new level to that seen in Corby just the night before. Mrs. Murphy stalks the stage like a woman possessed; perhaps by the spirit of Lady Lazarus whom she calls upon during The Sacred Mood LP; perhaps by the knowledge that My Ruin’s music and lyrics have meant so much to so many for so long, and this might be the last time that her Blasphemous Girls get to see it performed live.

It’s a point Tairrie makes very clearly just a handful of songs in to the longer headline set when she spots an unsuspecting audience member holding their smartphone aloft, apparently filming the entire proceedings.

“Are you filming the show?” she challenges. The response is muted if any comes at all. “Are you filming the show?” she repeats. After what sounds like a sheepish admission from the person in question, Tairrie makes clear that she would rather that everyone live in the moment with the band; enjoy the music right here, right now. Forget cameraphones; forget YouTube; forget crap quality recordings that deliver the poorest quality memory of the experience; forget living vicariously later in the day. Be here now.

The message seems to be heard, and with the Underworld now bursting at the seams, the crowd get in to the groove and the energy flows once more.

Tonight, for the first time on the tour, song dedications come thick and fast. It becomes clear in Camden – and later as the tour progresses – that My Ruin are also using this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all their supporters through the years.

At one point, whilst saying a few very heartfelt words to introduce Mick, Luciano and Matt, and dedicating songs to crew past and present and long time fans of the band, Tairrie’s voice falters for what won’t be the last time during this run of shows. It’s clear that emotion is getting a hold of her; that the reality of the tour is truly sinking in, and there are very nearly tears. The cheers, yelps, arms held high and overwhelming outpouring of love from the crowd just about keep things on the straight and narrow though, and the metal begins once again, headed straight for the stratosphere and beyond.

My Ruin - Photo by Claire Lecari Lickman
Photo (C) Claire ‘Lecari’ Lickman

As the songs continue to flow, My Ruin’s extraordinarily close relationship with their fan base is made clear for all to see. Tairrie frequently leans in to the crowd, sharing hands, hugs and microphone with a hardcore group of Blaspehmous Girls that make their way to each and every show on this tour. Here is a woman who has lived and breathed without compromising herself or her art through a music career spanning over 20 years. As a truly independent woman, exuding attitude, style, vim and vigour, it is no wonder that she has inspired the love and devotion of female metal fans the world over, and plenty of male ones too.

It’s a fact hammered home when the band launch into one of their signature anthems, “Made To Measure”, and the audience erupts. Lyrically, the song is a vitriolic middle finger to all those who dared to judge Murphy on her looks alone, and no doubt rings true to many women in the crowd. Of course, it’s helped massively by the fact that musically, the songs thundering riff and infernal metal groove mean that anyone with a love of heavy music won’t be able to help themselves, headbanging, bouncing, throwing hands in the air and yelling the lyrics back to the band as best their lungs will allow them.

Elsewhere in the set we are treated to songs picked from earlier albums and fan favourites including “Heartsick”, “Blasphemous Girl” and “Beauty Fiend,” all the way through to songs destined to become future classics such as “God Is A Girl With A Butcher Knife” and “Del Riche.” Songs that were never given a chance to live on their own terms by back-stabbing bastards at rotten record companies – such as the awesome “Diggin’ For Ghosts” and “Long Dark Night” – are given a very welcome airing, too.

As the last notes of “Beauty Fiend” ring out at the close of the set, Tairrie asks for the house lights to be brought up. The rapturous applause is deafening, but she makes herself heard and hands are held aloft in undying appreciation as ‘Mrs. M’ takes the opportunity to capture photos of the ecstatic crowd.

With final bows, thank yous and smiles all round, the band stride from the stage triumphant. If this really is their London send-off, then it’s been monumental; an entirely fitting and highly emotional end for a group of musicians – nay artists – whose career has never been short of an exciting mix of passion, energy, raw talent and a healthy amount of controversy, too.

The house lights stay on. Warm, buzzing, sweaty and spent, with more than a little taste of the bittersweet in their mouths, the rabid Ruiners stagger from the Underworld and out in to the night.

“That was FUN!” declares Mick Murphy over drinks at the Black Heart a little later that night. It’s something of an understatement, but the joy is clear on his face as he says it. If spirits had been high in Corby the night before, they’re positively off-the-scale tonight. A punishing tour schedule means that the My Ruin and Sanctorum can’t completely let themselves go, but the mood is relaxed and there are grins everywhere you look.

Nevertheless, there remains a steely focus on the gigs ahead. Come rack or My Ruin, the heavy metal thunder is on it’s way.

My Ruin Camden - Photo by Tairrie B Murphy
Photo (C) Tairrie B. Murphy

oOo

The Sacred Mood Tour rolls out of London and on through Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, York and Norwich. My Ruin deliver night, after night, after night, after night, their brothers in British metal, Sanctorum, with them every step of the way.

The LA metal masters are joined on their journey by some brilliant bands in supporting slots, augmenting each night’s bill and spanning the spectrum of doom, psych, rock and metal. Cohorts include Clan, General, King Goat, Extreme O.D., Nomad, Dead White Doves, Gods of Hellfire and the mighty Servers. Each brings their own unique talent to an already very special set of live shows.

Of course, as with any tour, there continue to be minor bumps in the road along the way. Manchester sees the band accosted post-gig by a group of people who seemingly have no love for metal or Americans; York sees an astonishingly rude ‘welcome’ from the show promoter, resulting in a statement from Tairrie issued via the band’s official Facebook page. Even as the group make their way through the UK’s Heathrow airport to return to the US, it seems that security officials take exception to something – although what is never entirely clear – leaving the band very late for their departing flight, making it by less than the skin of their teeth.

Nevertheless, none of these hiccups dampens mood or spirit. If this really has been My Ruin’s last hurrah – at least as far as the UK is concerned – it’s been one hell of a blowout.

Before they head home, Tairrie writes from the bottom of her heart to all who had come out to a show:

“It’s a bittersweet goodbye as we leave the UK today on a high we have not felt in a long time. Thank you London, Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, York & Norwich. We will always remember all the amazing fans who came to the shows this last time with their heavy metal hearts filled with rock love along with all the friends (new & old) who spent moments and made memories with us while we were here.”

Well, quite.

United Kingdom, consider yourself Ruined.

Tairrie B Murphy York - Photo by Michelle Nightwitch Penfold
Photo (C) Michelle ‘Nightwitch’ Penfold

Check out Skin Back Alley’s 5/5 review of My Ruin’s latest album, “The Sacred Mood”, here.

Read our review of Sanctorum’s previous album, “Semper Fidelis”, here, and be sure to check out their new album, “Old Ghosts/New Wars”, released today (1st September.)

You can watch My Ruin’s video for their song “Moriendo Renascor”, below:

Tairrie B. Murphy will return…

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