Saturday, 17 November 2018

Interview: Q5

Having never graced British soil before, we grab some time with Seattle's phenomenal Q5 before they bring the light to the Camden Underworld, London with their first ever UK performance before moving onto Edinburgh to continue their European Tour!

Everybody has that list of 'must-see' bands and tonight it's definitely time for one of ours. We feel privileged to welcome Q5 as they prepare for their first show in the UK! It's clearly been one hell of a tour already as we step backstage to a tranquil room set with a sea of sleeping bodies.

However, clearly running on adrenaline and excitement, we are greeted by a very tired but elated Jonathan Scott K (vocals), Jeffrey A. McCormack (drums) and Dennis Turner (guitar). After a long and somewhat troublesome journey from Germany's Trveheim Festival, the lads are here and ready to give many London fans what they have been waiting for, for a very long time. 

Welcome to London- show number three of the tour! There's a long road ahead but how's the tour treating you so far?

Jonathan Scott K: 
 Oh it's very tiring but so so great, really great. Especially last Last night was absolutely brilliant.

Michelle: At Trveheim?

Jonathan: Yes- Trveheim Festival in Germany!

 What with it being a relatively new festival, we are curious to know what you think...

Jonathan: It was perfect. No other way to describe it really. They were so kind. They are doing it all just right and that's why they're successful. We really enjoyed it.
Jeffrey A. McCormack: Yeah, seriously so good- they made us feel right at home. What a brilliant festival.
Dennis Turner: One of those shows you'll always remember.

Kayleigh: ...And sold out! The reception must have been great?

Jonathan: Oh you know, I wish I had my phone- would have loved to have filmed a video. The reception was incredible!

Kayleigh: That’s so great- and nothing more than you deserve.

How does it feel to look out and not only see fans that have stayed loyal over the decades but also many fans who are clearly very young, yet so dedicated and knowledgeable when it comes to Q5's history?

Jonathan: It’s awesome, I mean when I look at someone, I don’t think about their age, I think "that’s someone who loves music!”
Jeffrey: It’s a family thing and that's what's so great. Everyone together. Age doesn't matter. Where you're from doesn’t matter. All the music, all the classic bands. It’s a family.

Kayleigh: After Headbangers Festival in 2009, Q5 didn't remain as active as people expected them to after such a successful show. Was there a reason why?

Jonathan: We were doing stuff semi-steadily but just in the States. You have to know how hard it is, I mean we went from playing huge venues, packed out with large crowds to… well, no one. 
After we started, people only cared about this new music coming from the underground, 'grunge' and what have you. Which was occurring in the very tiny clubs…everyone was focused on that. Bands like ours weren't getting a look in. But then you also had bands like KISS. They came along and would perform to 20,000 people each night. Lots of bands crashed and burned. 

We spent 10 years or so going through some big changes….with name changes, line up changes, as well as keeping up with other things like social media, no one knew what to expect of it all. So, we carried on playing a lot in Seattle. With three albums over the years, we are so happy with what we have achieved but we couldn’t get that break because we refused to do the ‘grunge thing’.

We stayed true to what we are. Hard rock. And here we are where things are starting to look real good for us and most importantly of all, it’s so much fun.

Kayleigh: 2014 Sweden Rock must be implanted in your memory. Is that when it all exploded for you again?

Jonathan: Well our minds exploded, anyway (laughter). Although, we had an incomplete band then. We had to discuss how we were gonna go forward because we had such a good connection. Social media helped us a lot, and we went from there. However, it all takes time. I wish it could happen overnight but it doesn’t. Radio is dead now and back in the beginning, that was the real shaker and mover.

Kayleigh: So we’ve caught you today on the third date of your European tour- you’ve said you're feeling very tired but how do you feel about your first London show tonight?

Jonathan: Oh, tonight is very special. Tired or not,  this is a very special night. We’ve been waiting for this tour a long time and here we are now!

Kayleigh: Well we know there are a lot of fans just as excited to see you perform tonight.
So, now for an inevitable, albeit important question...we know founder and original guitarist Floyd Rose wishes Q5 well and supports you all in moving forward, however he chooses not to play live anymore. Do you still speak with him regularly? Any chance of any future collaborations?

Jonathan: I literally spoke to him the day before we left. I always call him, I told him to come here to London and asked him to do one song,  just one song, maybe… 'Steel the Light'. I said "come on Floyd!" but he said …."no" (laughter). He does wish us well though and we still talk a lot.
Jeffrey: We wanted to have the blessing of the other guys too...original drummer Gary Thompson for instance… he came to our album release party and said how he actually thought we were tighter than the original line up!

Kayleigh: Well that’s a compliment and a half!

Jeffrey: Sure is- hey, we’re a family!

Q5's first studio album Steel The Light (1984)
Kayleigh: So great! Moving on to discussing your first 2 releases. Steel the Light being the first with its classic, heavy, guitar driven sound making it hugely successful within the underground. How did you feel when releasing When the Mirror Cracks with its more melodic, AOR-esque vibe?

Jonathan: Q5 is Q5. We can do whatever we want! Back in the old days, we were told “great song- but we need a more commercial hit to be on the radio!” so we did write a few, although it always had that Q5 edge.  Our third album is back to that guitar driven sound- back to the heart and roots! It has some of the elements of the second album in there because we’re proud of what we've learnt and it brings it all together.

Kayleigh: Is there any news on your upcoming album? Still set for the end of 2018?

Jonathan: We’re gonna try for then, but when it does come it's going to be amazing!

Kayleigh: We don't doubt it! Any secrets you'd like to share?

Jonathan: Well, it's gonna be seriously guitar driven,  a touch melodic, classic vibe, very hard rock… We've got these two monster guitar players…
Jeffrey:  And what about me? laughter

Kayleigh: Oh you're a monster too, just on a different instrument!

Jeffrey: I've definitely been called worse!

Kayleigh: Any ideas for the album title yet? Or is that under wraps?

Jonathan: None yet!

Kayleigh: Well, we're looking forward to hearing it. Jonathan- have your vocal influences changed over the years?

Jonathan: Oh well I have loads of influences…Sabaton are a favourite. He is no Steve Perry but his vocals are unique and interesting. Different to other influences like Udo for example. I like a voice with a bit of the X-factor.

Kayleigh: And you guys? We always love hearing about people's influences.

Jeffrey: My earliest influence was Liberty DiVitto, also John Bonham, that's a token answer but nobody cannot dispute it. Tommy Aldrich too. When I was 9, I was taking piano lessons, my uncle (who was a professor of piano) knew I was into it as much. He knew I liked KISS so he took me to a concert and as from that moment I said  "I'M DOING THAT!" so thank you to Peter Criss.
James: Man, it's all about Zeppelin…I don’t play like Page, but every time you hear him, you get those goosebumps you know. Also, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, Neal Schon… those are my faves for sure.

Kayleigh: So, what's in store for Q5 in the future? Do you have any dreams or goals or are you happy with living in the moment?

Jonathan: My dreams have never changed. I'm doing that right now by playing in London tonight. This, our first UK show is a dream. This is where it started, this a dream. Anything beyond this is something else.

Kayleigh: Well, we are beyond excited for tonight's show and we will be keeping our eyes and ears open and ready for news of a new album on the horizon! 

Visit Q5's offical page at and on facebook for more band news!

Interview: Kayleigh Valentini
Photo: M. Godding

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