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Something Different: Walking Papers Set To Continue Their Whirlwind Start

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 Written by Heather McDaid

To say that it's been a bit of a whirlwind ride for Walking Papers since they formed in 2012 would be an understatement. Comprised of the Missionary Position's Jeff Angell and Benjamin Anderson, former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and Duff McKagan, legendary bassist of Guns N' Roses, the foursome have barely had a moment to spare since plugging in.

With their self-titled debut earning strong reviews, a slot at Download in the bank and a forthcoming UK tour with Alice In Chains, which gets underway on November 9, on the horizon, there’s no sign of their rapid ascent stopping any time soon.

"[It has] been like a tornado in a trailer park, you know?" Angell said. "Things have been going really good. I played with Alice In Chains the other day. They were headlining the finale of the Uproar Tour - that was a definite highlight. Another was a one off show with Jane's Addiction. These are epic things.

"But when we came home to Seattle, we played the Gorge Amphitheatre, which is like the biggest place to play in Seattle, and we got to move onto the main stage and play there. That made it really nice to come home, and have all the people who've been supporting you forever see you move onto the big stage and get to play to so many people."

The band, with their prominent bluesy twist on rock, have found themselves playing alongside a rich variety of other acts, meaning that they’ve quickly had to become accustomed to winning over audiences with differing expectations.

"It's interesting because I think Alice In Chains took us on the tour because they're fans and friends, and they like what we're doing,” Angell said. “They want people to hear it. To have the opportunity for them to share their fans with us is just incredible.

"That's one of the things about being in music is that you can get bands that are so derivative and sound just like the other bands. We want to convert those people - we want to give them something new and hope they come out the other end feeling like they found something that was different, and that they were open to it. We're very excited about that opportunity. It makes it harder because people aren't necessarily there for us, but hopefully we can change some people's lives and turn them on to a whole new thing."

A driving force behind their ability to win people over are tracks plucked from their successful debut, which was recorded in Seattle and mixed by Jack Endino. With a few months gone by since its release, Angell is now able to reflect on the reaction to the collection.

"For the people that it's resonating with, it's quickly becoming their favourite record," he said. "I don't expect it to be thrown in with Avenged Sevenfold and the new Korn song on the radio, it's too different. Any time that someone's doing something truly unique, you don't get to walk down the middle of the freeway, you have to break out a machete and get the bushes out of your way so you can pave your own road."

With each member of Walking Papers having their own separate musical history, discovering their sound could have been a difficult job. Luckily, everyone was open to experimenting and took each development in their stride.

"Well, what was cool about this thing was that everyone wanted to try everything that we wanted to try, without a real plan,” Angell said. “It was really easy. We had no expectations of it. We didn't know that people were going to get into it and we'd play shows, or the label would want to put it out. We just wanted to have fun and it kind of grew legs and became its own thing, so it was so easy that it almost sounds like I'd be making it up. But it was very easy, very natural, sort of like divine intervention."

Give that piece of divine intervention a spin and you'll find a strong storytelling element, which Angell attributes to his passion for words and inspiration from some of music's finest songwriters.

“I love music for the stories - that's basically the whole reason that I'm playing,” he said. “For a lot of people it's about the  music and the lyrics are secondary. For me, it's exactly the opposite. I care more about the words than I do about the music. For myself, music is an environment for the words to take place in.

"All stories are challenging. I think it was Bob Dylan who said it's easy to write a song that has an idea or takes you on a trip but it's hard to write a song that has a conclusion. You create an antagonist, you create a situation and to actually have a conclusion is the hardest to accomplish, but I feel like on this record there's at least four songs that have complete narratives that come to a full ending and I'm really proud of that.

"It's not that they're more difficult to write, they're more difficult to come up with the concept. With a song you only have three verses to say what you want to say, in a novel you get 300 pages. If you can get the right stuff and put it in those three verses, the rest can be left to the listener's imagination. I think there's a trick to it. It's really gratifying when it comes together."

Alice In Chains UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Sat November 9th 2013 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Sun November 10th 2013 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Mon November 11th 2013 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Wed November 13th 2013 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Thu November 14th 2013 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Sat November 16th 2013 - NEWPORT Newport Centre

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