Please explain what just happened.

The chorus started.  It’s Dire Straits.

What is your earliest memory?

Trying to compete with my big brother by walking along the side of the bath like he did, then falling and breaking my arm.

If you weren’t a rock and roll drummer, what other profession would you choose?

Librarian. What could compete with that adrenaline rush? The rock star thing would do if all else failed, though.

Describe a typical work day.

Spider solitaire and internet, with a break for nibbles.

Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

Not really, no…

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

“You should’ve enjoyed six while it lasted — it doesn’t get any better than that!”

If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?

99 Problems, by Jay-Z. I know it says “album,” but this would be fine on repeat. It probably wouldn’t be very fair but it’d cheer me up. It’d also be a good record for a wedding.

What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?

Facebook (boring answer), Richard Herring’s site and my friend’s Homemade Jokes blog.

From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

I don’t really know if I think like this question. I mean, I tend to just carry on because that’s what you do and inspiration can fuck off.  I’m a bit of a nihilist, maybe.

Name three books that have impacted your life.

Cerebus by Dave Sim, Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Cerebus is a graphic novel — does that count?

If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?

Not sure, wouldn’t that get a bit boring?

How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

My best friend’s great uncle was one of those worms from Tremors.

What makes you feel most guilty?

Not coming up with better answers to these questions.

How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?

Well, I’m not really the songwriter in the band, but I’m pretty sure Carl (Voodoo Johnson guitarist Carl Gethin) just nicks stuff.

Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind Black Skies Mist.

With the Diamond Head (the collaboration with Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler) connection, there was some inspiration to write a much thrashier song than we’d usually do, and also to incorporate those elements into our own sound, so we didn’t come off as a completely different band. I think we did pretty well, but you’ll have to judge for yourself when the track is released in March. Which may inspire you to purchase some of our other fine releases, such as our EP Into the Red and our new release 10,000 Horses. My band mates would like you to know that t-shirts are also available. Is it OK to say that? It is? Cheers.

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

“Don’t sit on that.”

List your favorite in the following categories:  Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.

At the moment: Josie Long, Anathema, Alan Moore and maybe Jon Hamm.

If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?

I was thinking the other day how it’d be really cool to do something incredibly lavish with a live performance. It’s not an area that musicians explore much, as the focus tends to be on recordings, but it’d be amazing to do some kind of show with music (including orchestras and all that bombastic stuff), film, effects and maybe even some theatrical elements. It’s a bit unformed and I’m not sure how it’d work, but I like the sound of it. Of course, that’s on an unlimited budget. At the moment, we’d struggle to get much more than a telly in the corner and a man shining a torch in your eyes.

What do you want to know?

Am I as hilarious as I hope I am?

What would you like your last words to be?

I don’t think I’m as hilarious as you think I think I am.

Please explain what will happen.

The verse will start. It’s still Dire Straits.

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DAVE “TUB THUMPER” BARKER is a man of great interest to NASA. As the drummer for one of the hottest rock bands on planet Earth, Dave is riding a comet known as Voodoo Johnson. With a style as heavy as steel sleet, Barker is the engine that propels Voodoo Johnson through the stratosphere.

But let’s get down to origins, because theirs is noteworthy. As the newest heirs to the throne of hard rock, Birmingham’s (U.K.) Voodoo Johnson was born in the most unlikely of places- an ice cream factory.

The year was 2006. Drummer Dave “Tub Thumber” Barker and guitarist Carl Gethin met working side-by-side packing sundaes in an ice cream factory. The chat quickly evolved from raspberry ripple to music, and finding a common passion in hard rock, they decided to form a band. Fast forward to February, 2011 and along with vocalist Nik Taylor-Stoakes, guitarist Paul Gethin, and bassist Rich Bellamy, their band, Voodoo Johnson, is taking Europe’s hard rock fan base hostage with a pulverizing sound that amplifies the dirtiest elements of blues and spins it into a ferocious assault that is equal parts thrash and straight up rock. 
Thank God they left the ice cream behind.

Voodoo Johnson quickly caught the attention of both critics and fans with an impressive pair of EPs (Into the Red, and II) and a relentless schedule of club tours, support slots (for band such as The Answer and Duff McKagen’s Loaded), and eventually international festival dates (Hard Rock Hell, Guilfest).

Of course, it never hurts when Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson champions a band as he has with Voodoo Johnson on his radio show on BBC Radio 6. Kerrang radio’s Johnny Doom has also unleashed VJ’s sound on the masses to a wildly positive response. Critics have taken notice as well, with heavy metal tastemakers Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines hailing the band as one of 2010’s most promising acts and featuring Voodoo Johnson in respective music sampler CDs.

VJ’s debut album, 10,000 Horses has earned widespread praise, collecting more critical stars than the Crab Nebula. The departure of original vocalist Kev Bayliss in late 2010 proved to be a temporary setback, as they soon tapped Taylor-Stoakes (formerly of Vallenbrosa) as the new lead singer. The partnership has been cemented with a new EP that will be available in the spring. In addition to featuring the Taylor-Stoakes’ vocals, the EP features the song “Black Skies Mist,” which was co-written with Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler (you can hear the new cut and other songs on the band’s MySpace page in the links section).

Incidentally, the band’s name sprung from a conversation between Carl and the legendary Jimmy Page, after Carl won a guitar playing competition sponsored by Total Guitar Magazine. Their conversation turned to the earliest rock guitarist ever- Robert Johnson, who reportedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for inhuman guitar proficiency. With that story as inspiration, the name Voodoo Johnson was born.

2 responses to “21 Questions with Dave Barker of Voodoo Johnson”

  1. Joe Daly says:

    Fun answers, Dave. How’s the tour going?

    Interesting that you say you’re moving to a thrashier sound, as I thought that the Into the Red EP was pretty thrashy already. Especially “Seven Years,” where the melodic opening kicks into a heavy groove.

    Hopefully there are plans to play the US this year. Rock on! \m/

    • Dave says:

      We’d love to, Joe, just need to get the cash together!

      Yeah, I suppose on Black Skies Mist the thrash tends to dominate the song that bit more, but we’ve always liked to mix it up a bit. Never really thought of Seven Years as having a thrash element, but you’re absolutely right, now that you mention it; how could I have missed that?

      Tour was great, thanks- might’ve got a bit too used to big crowds and tasty riders, though. How can we go back to clubs now we’ve tasted the bigtime?! 🙂

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