By STEVE MASCORD
WHAT does a young hard rock band have to aim for in 2015?
Many established rock stars – most recently Motley Crue’s Mick Mars – have expressed sympathy bordering on pity for the leather-clad warriors treating the boards today. With the genre pushed to the sidelines of the mainstream, the prevailing wisdom is that they will never reach the giddy heights of previous generations, regardless of talent or dedication.
Cambridge’s The Treatment have seen the survivors of another age up close, having toured with the Crue and KISS. Their manager, Laurie Mansworth, was in eighties band Air Race and experienced the halcyon days first hand.
And despite all the signs to the contrary, The Treatment dare to dream.
“A lot of people are doubting it these days and maybe we’re crazy to think it but for us it’s what we’ve always dreamed of doing and if you chase a dream and believe you can do it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t (get there),” singer Matt Jones says ahead of the rockers’ upcoming Soundwave appearance.
“There are so many bands these days who are coming out and playing this kind of music and there are bands that are really established who are starting to sway towards this kind of music because they know they can’t be screaming their guts out for years upon end.
“Asking Alexandria, every new album they’re doing, they seem to sing more, you know? Avenged Sevenfold were really heavy when they first came out and now they’ve become classic rocky. They’re one of the biggest bands in the world at the moment so I don’t see why a band like us that is just starting out can’t dream about being a massive band.
“The crowds are still out there. I can only talk about England but one of the biggest festivals over here is Download and 80,000 people watching these classic rock bands. They’re not going to go away. Unfortunately the bands are going to go away because they are in their seventies and they’re not going to be around forever. When they do go, there’s going to be a void and someone’s going to have to fill that void and I don’t see why bands like us and others who are doing this kind of thing can’t fill that void.”
In the eighties, of course, it was cool for rock bands to be fucked up all the time. The Treatment, rounded out by guitarist Tagore Grey, drummer Dhani Mansworth, bassist Rick Newman “Swoggle” and guitarist Fabian Dammers, know that just doesn’t fly anymore.
Carrying the torch is one thing – carrying an unconscious bandmate everywhere is quite another.
“When I say we don’t drink, we don’t drink to excess,” Jones tells Hot Metal in a telephone conversation “We’ll all go out and have a couple of beers after a show and then there’ll be one night where we get absolutely hammered or whatever. But for me a singer, I try not to because I’ve got to protect my voice the next day. The rest of the guys probably drink more than I do. We’re not saints, obviously. We go out and have a good time. That’s what it’s all about. At the end of the tour we’d all be absolutely hammered.
“When it comes to drugs, we literally don’t touch drugs at all because it’s just a spiral. You start on it and you’re just going to go downhill. We’ve seen so many of our heroes die from being linked to drugs and stuff. It’s something we’ve decided we don’t want to do.”
Being behind the scenes on big tours – Slash and Status Quo are also on their resume – has given The Treatment an inside view of musicians who were hitherto nothing but untouchable icons to them. But backing tapes and bad shows have not made these boys who are only just into their twenties cynical.
“It makes you realise all these bands are human as well,” says Matt, who makes a point on tour of watching his headliners as often as possible.
“They’re not these gods that people think they are. They’re just human beings and music is a really human thing. Obviously if you’re not feeling great, the show’s probably going to suffer a bit. If you’ve got a cold or you’ve been out drinking the night before. That’s why we try to keep ourselves in top shape while on tour.”
What about the seemingly prevalent use of backing tapes by established acts?
“I think it kind of depends on your band. If it works for your band, it works for your band. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. For us personally, we don’t do it. We all sing and everything. If there was something that came along where it was in the show but you couldn’t do it with your own voices then, yeah, I don’t see what the problem is. It’s all about people enjoying the show. Whatever’s going to make the show the best, that’s what you do. I don’t see why people have a problem with it. I don’t have a problem with it, personally.”
Even if The Treatment do eventually headline the arenas they now warm up, it’s doubtful they’ll one day be selling movie rights to their answer to infamous Crue tell-all, The Dirt.
“I think it’s about having a head on your shoulders,” Matt says. “We’ve been lucky that our manager Laurie and Dahni have told us from day one ‘it’s not real life’. You know, it’s great that we’re doing it and we love it but it’s not the real world. The real world is being back home with your friends and your family and as much as we love it, it is a job to us.
“We go out thinking ‘let’s be professional and let’s do the best job that we can’. You have to treat it like that and realise that if you start going down that (hedonistic) road, it’s going to be a short experience for you.
“Like I said, we want to be doing this forever.
“Those were the glory days. Really, from the late sixties to the late eighties was really the glory period for rock’n’roll, wasn’t it? We look at all them bands and look at their career highlights and go ‘man, wouldn’t it be great if we were doing that?’
“But at the same time, we love what we do and we are enjoying ourselves as much as they are, just in a different way. So, we’re not too bitter about it.”