One of the most enjoyable hard rock records of 2015 is Road Fever, the sophomore effort from Sweden’s Thundermother. The band was founded by guitarist and principal songwriter Flippa Nassil who gathered the likes of Italian guitarist Giorgia Carteri, Irish vocalist Clare Cunningham, and sister Swedes; bassist Linda Strom and drummer Tilda Stenqvist, to create a band with bluesy rock and roll roots that recall the likes of AC/DC, Motörhead, and Thin Lizzy. Thundermother released its debut album, Rock N’ Roll Disaster in 2014. The band’s new label, Despotz, wanted to seize the momentum that record created and this spring the band found itself right back in the studio creating its best work so far. This week Metalholic caught up with Cunningham to talk about the new record, roadkill, her thoughts on Lemmy Kilmister, and much more.
Nassil tracked down Cunningham though videos posted on YouTube with her former cover band, Smokin Aces. Clare admits to being caught off guard when Flippa originally reached out to her about joining the band .
“I had this voicemail from a Swedish girl,” laughs Cunningham, “saying that she’d seen me on YouTube and that they had a festival coming up and that they would love for me to sing. My obvious reaction was–this is a bit strange. I was working full-time as a musician and I didn’t really have the time to just up and go. The next day luckily she called me again and we had a little chat and it wasn’t until she said, ‘Well, if you’re interested, in three weeks we’re going to fly you out and the festival is Metalfest and we’re opening for Motörhead.’ I was like, oh, this is bigger and better than I first assumed. The rest is history basically. I flew out, met the girls the day before. We had one rehearsal and then we hit the stage, and it was fantastic. The girls are fantastic.”
Thundermother had several years to write for the band’s debut record, but they did not have the same luxury for Road Fever. Cunningham talked about the rush to write and record the new record:
“We didn’t have any time between the tours and the shows we were doing. We actually had a planned a release later than this one, but we were kind of thinking we need to go for it. We switched labels and they were like ‘we want to get a record out.’ So we kind of had a bit of a rush with this one, but the main foundations had kind of been laid down. Flippa had all the music written, really, and presented it to us at a demo level. Then we kind of got together for a couple of rehearsals (laughs), cause that’s basically all we had. Half the songs were kind of written, half weren’t. So [Flippa] gave me the opportunity to go away and come up with some stuff: For instance ‘Rock and Roll Sisterhood’ is actually written by all of us. We weren’t originally happy with what we had done so the night before we went to the studio we went for a quick drink, put down some ideas, and the next day we went into the studio to record it. We were literally writing minutes before we went in.”
Their new song “Deal with the Devil” is a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister and Motörhead. Lemmy and the band are big supporters of Thundermother. The track began as an instrumental piece the band had played for years, but Cunningham suggested to Nassil that it would make a great song, lyrics were added, and the track was born. Clare, who is a huge Lemmy fan, shared her thoughts on his recent health concerns:
“It’s one of those things, you know. You never wanna give up, do you? You know, he could safely retire and be a very happy man knowing that he served so many great years of rock and roll. I think a lot of people would obviously be very sad, but he’s given so much to the rock industry and metal industry.”
You can listen to the full interview below as Clare talks about many of Road Fever‘s 10 tracks, and shares some of her own stories. The new record is out now, and the video for “Just a Tease” can be viewed below as well.