ASK StoneRider drummer Jason Krutzky what that the hardest aspect of touring Europe – with Europe – is and he’ll say: “finding somewhere to sleep each night”.
That sounds like a glib rock’n’roll one-liner from the Atlanta, Georgia, three-piece. But, in fact, he’s completely serious. Despite supporting one of the biggest rock bands of the 1980s, StoneRider have been hitting Facebook each day to find fans willing to put them up after shows.
“What we do in the US is we play a show, and afterwards it’s like: ‘does anybody have somewhere to sleep?’,” said Adam McIntyre, formerly StoneRider’s producer but now their bass player.
“That’s a real last-minute way to do a tour in Europe – so Jason pretty much spends most of the day trying to find out where we’re going to be staying and failing that, we’ll sleep in the van or on somebody’s floor or something.”
But, Krutzky stresses, “touring Europe with Europe has been a total positive. The joke has been that next, we’d like to tour Asia with Asia and maybe America with America…
“If you’d told us the day before we got offered this tour that we were going to get offered this tour, we probably would have laughed at you. The future is never certain, it just presents itself.”
The good aspect of the support slot was that StoneRider were personally chosen by Europe singer Joey Tempest. The bad side is that there are no luxuries – not even a hotel bed each night.
“They told us before we came over that we had a 30 minute set.” McIntyre explains. “We could do anything we want in that 30 minutes. We could do 30 minutes of free-form jazz exploration if we wanted to.”
Since their 2008 debut, Three Legs Of Trouble, StoneRider have endured seizmic changes that would have ended in their disintegration in most circumstances. Guitarist Neil Warren is gone, so is curiously named bassist Champ Champagne.
The band, fronted by Matt Tanner, used to have a record deal and now don’t, with newy Fountains Left To Wake released independently.
“Relationships of all kinds tend to run their course,” says the enigmatic vocallist, “whether that be professionally or personally.
“And that’s kinda how it happened with the label (TrustKill). It was time to part ways and that label since went away.
“Friends grow apart, you make music with friends and sometimes that’s just how it goes. Without getting into too much dirty laundry, that’s the most polite way to leave it.”
Krutzky adds: “I definitely feel there was a bit of ‘starting again’. There was also (a feeling) of continuing. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.”
StoneRider could have slowly sunk from view, playing only in Georgia. Instead, they have seen Europe (the continent AND the band) over the past two months. Where they get the money to continue on, and bum around on a major support, is not something they are willing to discuss in any detail.
“I don’t really want to talk about how we pay to do this,” said Tanner. “We sell merch – that’s how we make our money.”
But Jason says there is “talk” about doing a new StoneRider record in the next few months – meaning they’ll continue to defy the odds that say bands such as they should not have lasted this long. “We’ve got a bunch of songs written and we’ll probably go home and write a bunch more,” he says.
The emergence of other seventies-style rockers like Rival Sons has certainly helped them. “The Stoneriders group on Facebook are people who are basically just fans of rock music,” Krutzky explains backstage in Leeds.
“Through the Rival Sons and Vintage Trouble and a number of other bands … all these people know each other because they are part of these bands’ fan groups.
“It’s surprising, to me, that there are so many people interested in our group that we’ve never met, we don’t know anything about and they just come up to us and say ‘hey, I’m on StoneRiders. It’s awesome.
“People tell me (the scene) is in an upswing. There’s bands like Rival Sons, like Graveyard, like Tame Impala that we’re fans of. There’s bands doing good, cool rock music … rock doesn’t ever go away.
“Its presentation might change from time to time.”
And now they’re back home in Atlanta after the adventure of a lifetime, these boys don’t want your sympathy because they had to rough it a bit.
“One night,” recalls Krutzky, “we were going to Florence, Italy, and we drove from Vienna so it was a really long drive. We drove for eight hours.
“We had this place set up, this woman online said ‘you can come and stay here, it’s a little bit off the beaten path but’ …. it was cheap.
“We drove all the way down there, we drove into the mountains, basically, and went very, very far away from where we thought we were going.
“We got there at 2.30 in the morning and the woman wasn’t there. We couldn’t get hold of her.
“But it was beautiful, man. She lived on the side of the mountain, there was a big old full moon and I think the purpose of us going up there was not to stay at this woman’s house, it was to see this beautiful view in the middle of nowhere.”