Saturday, September 25, 2021
Jimmy Croutear live on stage. Image courtesy of Jimmy.
Many of you should remember Jimmy as the frontman for West Midlands rock band Buzzard. A staple around the local rock scene until recent times. The ever curious Roxie wanted to know what the man has been up to during lockdown and his band Mercian Fyre.
1. Hi Jimmy, how's things been with ya?
Hey I’m good thanks all things considered, like many its certainly been challenging on a personal level in places since lockdown began but I’m getting there thanks. Great to see ROX is still around.(fuck yeah! you can't keep a bad dog down! -ed.)
2. Last time we spoke your were fronting Buzzard. What happened?
I put Buzzard on ice back in Nov 2019 following the most recent lineup abruptly calling it a day. I had spent a lot of time & effort beforehand getting the band off the ground with this particular lineup following the previous more favourable band members moving on. I was feeling very burnt out and I naturally just didn’t have that enthusiasm to immediately want to carry on with it all again straight away finding new band members etc. Instead I followed my gut and took a much needed breather. Ironically a few months later we have the pandemic appear and no bands can play anywhere anyway... The whole experience was bitter sweet really, for example, I learned so much working with producer John Stewart during the production of Buzzards most recent EP (Feed Me To The Wolves) hands down this was pivotal to me later taking the leap during lockdown to self produce my first two solo singles, and following this the 1st track recently released for new band (Mercian Fyre) too. Honouring Buzzard`s last gig on my own in Dec at The Maverick solo acoustic also gave me the encouragement to get back out there on my own more in the new year too.
3. Any chance of Buzzard doing something in the future?
There's definitely a chance, it's more timing and how really... We all have our own things going on which makes it difficult to ignite motion with it. But... In my head I currently envisage Buzzard will probably be revisited first off initially as a solo acoustic side project, and afterwards with a view to eventually return to the full electric sound with guest members where able (for things such as charity reunion shows and occasional one off gigs etc - potentially). With regards to releasing new music and rolling out a permanent new lineup I'm not fussed for a good while, especially while the new band project is finding its feet and around. But... I would like to think the prior mentioned is achievable though. Watch this space I guess.
4. You're now fronting new band Mercian Fyre. Tell us about it!
Despite common belief I am actually co-fronting this band and not solely fronting it. The project was initially formed back in March 2020 when drummer Robert Clark & myself had a jam together at a studio following meeting each other at an open mic. We gelled very quickly and hit the ground running fast as Rob is an excellent versatile drummer and a good laugh. A little further down the line the lineup was completed by Jack Filmer joining us on bass. I’ve known Jack since the early days of Buzzard, his band at the time (Bombed Out Ruins) often shared the same bill together at gigs with Buzzard. Having finding out he was in between projects we invited him down to have a jam, and the rest is history... Initially the idea was I would temporarily front the band while we looked for a new lead singer, this later instead evolved into the band staying as a trio and sharing out the singing role between myself and Jack. We focused our time together behind the scenes collab writing music and honing our craft in preparation for playing live. Around this we also self-produced our 1st single One In The Chamber - which has recently been released (link at bottom of interview)
5. How does the band's sound differ from your previous outfit?
In truth the band is still ongoing defining our sound as we go. Every song written so far draws more towards individual elements of our mixed genre influences than others, so bearing this in mind our 1st single One In The Chamber is a little deceiving really if your thinking all our songs are of a similar ilk, especially when you take into account the shared lead vocals. Despite the diversity (which is good) I’m confident whatever we put out there you will know it is us. I’m hoping our follow up releases and people hearing the variety in our tracks live at gigs will help dispel some of the perhaps potential quick to label opinions since the release of our 1st single. I’m really enjoying being able to put more into my guitar on the songs I’m not lead singing on and it’s been great to collab with what the rest of the band bring to the table. It's early days but I'm excited to see where things lead from here with it.
6. You've released two singles so far, latest being "One in the Chamber" which rocks. Any
more songs coming from ya? We doooo hope so dude!
Thank you, we’re really happy with the reception the song has received so early on and we are very thankful for everyone who has supported the release so far too. Along with the new bands first track I’ve also self-produced two solo singles so far since putting Buzzard on ice which are titled (Feed The Fight) and (Hard Stuff) . I had a lot of fun making them during lockdown and the skills I learnt along the way were also vital to me later taking on the production of the new bands first release. Now restrictions have eased I / we are reverting back to using recording studios going forwards and Mercian Fyre have studio time booked in late October to record our next single which is titled (The Curse). This song features bassist Jack on lead vocals. In terms of my solo thing (under the banner of - Jimmy C) I have another single due for release around Halloween, this will probably be my last solo track for a while so I can focus my time on the new band and personal matters more.
7. An album to come?
Although we do have enough material to put an album out already, I’m not certain what route we will go down long term, I’d personally like to do an album at some point but I think the timing of it would be more beneficial when we are hopefully a little more established with our music releases on a single by single basis first, possibly an EP maybe. Time will tell on that one and that's just my thoughts on it.
8. How about live shows?
Mercian Fyre have one gig under our belts so far which was recently at The Black Country Boating Festival. Solo wise before the 1st lockdown I supported a Foo Fighters tribute at The Robin 2 and recently I played at Judgestock. I'm looking forward to hopefully doing some more gigs ASAP with the new band ***Shout out to any like minded bands out there who fancy having us support them, or any promoters or venues etc who are looking to book bands***
9. Working on any other projects Jimmy?
Apart from the above mentioned no, and I'm more than happy with what I have at play. I would like to explore the possibility of being an occasional dep bassist at some point in the future, and as you will see from my next upcoming solo release I love playing bass, it was actually the first instrument I properly got into before playing guitar in Buzzard.
Jimmy "Thanks for taking the time to interview me and big thanks to everyone out there who have read all of this... I hope it perhaps clears up a few things / answers some questions. My new bands Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages can all be found by searching @mercianfyre on them."
Go check out Mercian Fyre's debut single - One In The Chamber at this link:
Here's a few more links too:
Feed The Fight:
Buzzard - Feed Me To The Wolves - full EP:
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