This week I talk to Tony Bodimead of Limeshark.
Ben Sommer: I’m talking today with a Brit, another Brit, two in a row this time, to Tony Buttermead.
Tony Bodimead: Bodimead
Ben: Bodimead, sorry, from the UK band Lime Shark. Tony, I just referenced an interview to a London-based fellow last time, and it seems there’s more and more good prog rock coming out of the UK. Tell me about yourself, your band, and what you guys are all about.
Tony: We’ve been going since I think 2002, 2003. That’s what from the very beginning, although I had to try different people out, different personnel to see who would work. With some people, they start falling by the wayside, but the bass player and I are still going. We’re sort of rock but we edge on prog, and we’re constantly told we sound similar to Rush, and I mean, to be honest, Rush is one of my favorite bands. I’ve always enjoyed them like from the early years. And I supposed it must be embedded in me and I can’t help it. It’s just the way we play and the way we arrange songs. It’s not that I don’t like, but I’m not keen on playing any covers or songs that sound similar to or like a general sound that some rock bands have. And I think Rush is similar to that. They don’t do the norm, they just sort of play what they know on all sorts of directions, which keeps it interesting, and I guess we are the same. The only difference being I think is that our songs aren’t very long. I mean the longest one we’ve got is just over five-minutes, I think.
But if remember rightly now, when I’ve seen Rush in recent years, some of their songs are ups and down, they sort of I think they can learn how to keep the interest more. They are not that self-indulgent anymore. But I’ve actually enjoyed all the changes that the band had done. But there are always similarities with Rush, and people tell us so.
Ben: Well, if you ask a purist Rush in the last decade or so, it’s not really a straight ahead prog band anymore. I mean, not many of the lead prog band of the 70’s and 80’s are anymore.
Tony: Prog, it is funny, isn’t it? What I keep on getting told is that prog should have a mellotron. We should have lots of voices and if there were sounds where I think the word progressive is all about development and pushing forward and progressing, and I think Rush have always done that. And then we’re trying to do something. We’re trying to assimilate things ourselves. We don’t stick to any one style or sound when it comes with changing things and there is like an underlying sound that we have which I hope we can keep. With the whole thing, it’s very, very difficult to get an original sound these days.
Tony: There are a lot of bands. You can put an album on and then another album by another band and sometimes it’s hard to tell who is who. So I think to have a proper identity is quite important especially these days.
Tony: Otherwise, you are just getting lost in the quagmire of rhythm with all these different bands.
Ben: True. Have you ever heard of a funny blog post recently? A younger person was saying, “I went to see a prog concert. I saw LinkedIn in concert.” Well, not LinkedIn. Cancel that. That just went to the brain. Linkin Park.
Tony: I love the energy of Linkin Park. They definitely got a great energy.
Ben: Yeah, but are they prog?
Ben: They’re very hoppy, right? I mean, yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I like the bands in that vain. Do you know Paramour? Who knows?
Tony: Yeah, and they seem to be quite popular.
Ben: But the punch line of the joke is, “They are not really prog, why do you call them prog?” “Well, because they had a laser show in the concert.” So, it’s mellotron, its laser show. I mean it’s very gimmicky.
Tony: Entertaining the public and the public are very fickle. I mean everyone has got a different opinion about what’s what and this is how they should sound and how that should sound. I mean, I think what you’ve got to do if you’re in the band, you just got to try and remain true to yourself and just do what feels right to you and just hope the people get along with what you’re doing. I mean, there are bands like YOU that are sort of going an awful long time because of the general public. I think it took them a while to catch on what my best time. I remember seeing these guys playing in little parks with only a few people on the audience but eventually they started picking up and people caught on. And that’s why I think they are in their sixteenth year or something like that like U2 or maybe more now.
Ben: So, tell me how do you guys go about writing?
Tony: That’s an interesting one. We don’t really have a writing process. The songs come in all different forms. They sometimes come just from a couple of lyrics. Sometimes, I’ll just be messing around in the studio with a bass line, like we’ve got a song called Blind Side and that kind of out with me in the studio just playing my bass for distortion effects unit and I was just messing away, and then it all started coming together and while we’re writing, I was writing it with the guitarist who was no longer in the band. His father died while we were actually working on the song, and he felt compelled to write some words about that, about how it was strange that one day your dad is there and the next minute you dad is sort of on the other side and it’s sort of just a strange feeling realizing that he’s no longer there. You can’t talk to him anymore. And that’s where the spot where you feel like on the blind side of. And so there is no sort of warning.
There’s another song, Burn. We just got thinking about one of the guys shooting our road crew and he’s a motorbike enthusiast and he loves the freedom of being on a nice bike and that starts off that one and Paul, the bass took me out into a field where we put like a laptop computer and he had me record his motorbike until he passed down the country lane and that’s how we start the song off live. We’ve got a sample of his motorbike.
Ben: That’s like the Van Halen. Do you remember? Panama is about a car and they’ve got clip of Eddie Van Halen’s blue Lamborghini in the studio.
Tony: I think if you’re sensitive to all of the different things, you can get ideas from just about anything around you. But there is set way. I just pick thing out there sometimes. But the thing is you’ve got to remain open to it. You’ve got to keep on doing it to pick these things. It’s so much like songs are there you’ve just got to find them. That kind of feeling sometimes because it’s so much they really like themselves. It’s very strange.
Tony: It’s very strange, it usually happens about two o’clock in the morning.
Ben: Speaking of that, I mean how long have you been doing this night owl operation?
Tony: Yeah, we’ve just get back from Belgium. We’re doing a festival out in Belgium supporting Blaze Bayley, and every time we do a gig, and we would have a line of bands with a supporting headline acts. We noticed things about our equipment on how we can maybe get the setup done quickly because you’ve got a certain amount of time to put your equipment onstage and set up. So I’ve always working on ideas on how to make the equipment more practical and easy to set up and faster to set up for that moment, it’s two in the morning and making cable loops . We use midi pedals. We don’t have a keyboard player.
Ben: Oh, yes.
Tony: We sort of trigger things at our feet in the sequences, that’s a Rush thing actually and we need to get it set up quicker in a festival situation, so that’s what I’m doing at the moment. I’m just putting the new cable group together and to simply sequence the rig together to knot these cables.
Ben: Very cool. I sure hope you don’t have a day job then with that kind of schedule. What do you do?
Tony: No, what I do? I’ve been in bands in the past and I have record deals and things, so I invested the money for my deals in the past with my royalties and I bought properties around the area where I live and I rent them out so that I can have an income while I can get this band where it needs it to be. I’m very aware that sometimes bands don’t make any money. Sometimes they can but generally they have to survive basically, so, I got myself a situation where I get a small income that keeps me going, so I might just carry on doing this.
Ben: That’s the way to do it. So, you just got off a tour or a brief stint, festival stint, what’s up next?
Tony: We’ve got more festivals this year. I’m in UK so far, although our PR lady says there’s one over0 in Germany but I don’t know any details about it yet, but we’re trying to do more festivals this year because we’ve come from a four-piece band to three-piece and we’re really enjoying it. It’s making us all work a lot harder, but the feeling is great onstage, so we’re going to pursue that. And we thought it might be good to take off and show up to a sort of lot of audiences so we are just trying to do more festivals this year.
Ben: Cool. Where would people find you online?
Ben: Easy. One last stupid question, what is Lime Shark from?
Tony: So, Lime Shark, we were on holiday in Australia, and the bass player was dangling his legs over the side of the boat and he didn’t get bitten but he got nudged by something and he looked down and there was a huge shark below, and I don’t know what it was but it looked lime. It actually looked like lime green. It frightened the life out of us actually. So that’s where we get the name from.
Ben: It’s good as any, very good. Cool. Well, thanks for talking.
Tony: Okay, very nice of you, Ben. It’s nice to talk to you as well, Ben. Cheers.