Therapy? frontman Andy Cairns issues ‘come and get us’ plea to Download bosses

Photo Credit: Tom Hoad

Andy Cairns has issued a ‘come and get us’ plea to Andy Copping, after revealing the band are desperate for a return invitation to play Download Festival. The Therapy? frontman took time out from the band’s busy promotion of their sixteenth album, Hard Cold Fire, to talk to Bring The Noise UK.

The British rock veterans continue to tour the country, and continent, but Cairns admits he is hopeful of being invited to play the iconic Download Festival again, with the band not having played the festival since 2009.

Cairns said: “We hit the road in a few weeks with a few instores before we go to France and Germany, then some big shows in Holland and Belgium. But as the industry model is different now, and in the past we would have toured the album straight away, we are taking some time no instead. But we will be doing festivals in the summer then we will tour Europe, UK and Ireland until the end of the year.”

“I don’t know if we will play Download and you’ll have to ask Andy Copping,” he continues. “He never puts us on. He put us on in 2009 and never been asked back since, which I can never understand. Maybe he doesn’t rate us and it’s his festival so he can book whoever he wants, but we would love to play. We always say to management and the record company why can’t we play Download and they say we haven’t been asked.

“We have sold three million records, had 12 UK hits, a big following in the UK, but it’s not up to us… but we would love to get back to Download.”

Festival sets are a completely different beast to regular arena shows, as Cairns explains that those kind of shows are always geared more for the festival themselves, rather than to showcase the band.

“Whenever we play a festival it’s not about the band it’s about the event,” he muses. “I went to a lot of festivals in my youth and you look forward to the event and there will be bands you want to see. But we learned early on if you turned up at a festival trying to ‘own this festival’, you’re in for a bad time. You rock up, play the best that you can, but everyone is there for the event. If the front few rows aren’t losing their shit don’t worry about it, as they will be exhausted after days out partying and no sleep. The best thing you can do is turn up and enjoy it.”

The Northern Irish band have been cranking out banger after banger after banger since roaring out of the Larne music scene in 1989. Reflecting on the plus 30-years riding the rock n’ roll wave,  the ever-changing industry is worlds apart from when they first began their journey.

“Looking back to when we began in 1989,” says Cairns laughing heartily, “it makes me sound so old, but when we started nobody had mobile phones and we didn’t even get one till 1996 in the band.

“My first laptop was in 2001, so for a long time these things weren’t things we used. I also remember there used to be different currencies all over Europe, so we used to have to go on tour with a big band of guilders, crowns and all the currencies… and if we had to call someone from management, we would hunt down a call box and we should hopefully have the right coins and currency to make the call.

“And to make us sound even older, the records were recorded onto analogue tape and not digital.”

Sticking on the subject of the new, modern landscape for musicians and bands, Cairns insists he is a fan of the streaming model, and in particular its accessibility to new listeners to discover the band.

“Streaming is here to stay so what we do is adapt,” he comments. “I think it is great that people can hear our tracks straight away. It’s never going to go back in the box and I won’t be the old git saying ‘in my day I had to drive 50 miles to buy a vinyl’ – and now someone aged 17, or even my own age, can now listen to Therapy? in about five seconds with streaming, which is good.

“We have adapted and we are a hard working band and have no problem playing 70 or 80 shows in a year. And we bring copies of the album and shirts to the venues and these sales help keep the tour afloat.”

Looking back to the 1990s, it was the decade where British rock bands had a huge platform for success with Therapy?, The Wildhearts, Terrorvision and Skunk Anansie just four UK bands to have repeated chart success. All four were also featured on primetime TV, on the legendary Top of The Pops.

“Oh, the 90s were great,” said Cairns with a broad smile, “but I don’t think any of us appreciated it at the time. I know all those bands well, have toured with them but we didn’t realise how great it was at the time. We were all on tour and on Top of The Pops six times. At the time we might finish a gig then get picked up and taken to TOTP, then fly to a gig the next day, so we had no time in between to think how great it was.

“Kids now can see whatever they want whenever they want with the way TV has changed. I have a 23 year old son and has now been through college, I doubt if he has ever watched a terrestrial tv channel in his life.”

This week the band’s sixteenth album, Hard Cold Fire, dropped to widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike, but how does Cairns describe the band’s latest offering?

“The new album is empathetic pop rock. It has strong melodies, big riffs, propulsive drums, a chest rattling bass and sarcastic lyrics which are really memorable,” he grins.

The final word has to go again to the Therapy? frontman, who would be happy to chat all day, but what advice would he give his 18-year-old self? After more than 30 years touring the world, with more UK chart hits than you can shake a stick at and millions of album sales under his belt, what would he tell himself at the beginning of his rock n’ roll adventure?

“There is a phrase in Northern Ireland which is ‘take a beat’, which means think before you open your mouth or make an action,” he says. “I’ve learned it over the years with wisdom and before I react negatively or positively, I take a beat. But if I’d told my 18-year-old self that, he would have told me to fuck off!”

Therapy?‘s new album Hard Cold Fire is out now via Marshall Records, available to stream or purchase HERE

Tags : Therapy?
Eric Mackinnon
Long time journo who sold his soul to newspapers to fund his passion of following rock and metal bands around Europe. A regular gig-goer, tour-traveller and festival scribe who has broken stories of some of the biggest bands in the world and interviewed most. Even had a trifle with Slash once. Lover of bourbon, 80's rock and is a self-confessed tattoo addict.