Six months on from our last chat with him in the confines of their dressing room in The O2 Arena in London, we are once again lucky enough to be in the company of Alter Bridge’s drummer Scott “Flip” Phillips. This time around it’s in the Donington sunshine in the press area on the final day of the 2017 Download Festival, where we were able to catch up on their Summer festival exploits, the upcoming live album, and THAT bombshell of what is taking place in London this coming October…
So, we are here with the excellent Mr Scott Phillips from Alter Bridge, how are you doing sir?
Scott Phillips: Excellent! Nice to see you again.
RS: Thank you! So, getting the obvious out of the way first, it’s great to have you back again.
Scott: Thanks, it’s great to be back.
RS: Three years on from last time, and once again we find you about to play to an enormous crowd just before Aerosmith, smacks a little bit of deva ju *laughs*
Scott: That’s a lot of deja vu *laughs*, but it was such a great experience last time we’re happy to be able to recreate it again this time.
You’ve just come from Download France I believe, what was that like?
Scott: It was awesome! I know its quite a new festival. It was a really awesome experience, a really great crowd and I think they are building something special there much like what you guys have here.
RS: Were you also doing Download Spain for the full set? I know you have festivals all over the place coming up.
Scott: You know I know we’re doing a few in Spain but I’m not sure if we’re doing the Download Festival out there or not.
RS: I know that seemingly your festival schedule is busier than ever, to the point you could almost put a pin in a globe with your eyes closed and you’d be playing a festival there.
Scott: *Laughs* Yeah you know there’s a pretty solid chance that’s true.
Very exciting news from Alter Bridge recently with the announcement of your new Live album from the last time we saw you at The O2 and the rarities disc as well. Were you recording other shows on that tour or had you always planned to release the O2 show?
Scott: I think we recorded pretty much everything in the UK and also a few other shows on that run, but the plan was very much based off using everything from The O2. But there are a few songs we didn’t play that night that we thought we be cool to have on there so that’s where they have come from.
RS: How did that tour work out for you? Obviously we saw the show at The O2 but how was the rest of it?
Scott: It was phenomenal! I don’t know…I don’t want to say it was a once in a lifetime experience because I hope we get to do it again! *laughs* Up until that point it was certainly a one off thing to get to play that venue (The O2 Arena) and then with just such great shows in the rest of the UK and the rest of Europe. It could not have gone any better.
How has The Last Hero done for you guys in the States? Alter Bridge have traditionally always done a bit better in the UK than you have back home.
Scott: You know what, it’s done really well. We’ve noticed kinda starting on Fortress but really on this tour that we’re really starting to see the groundswell in the States of where we are hopefully almost ready to take the jump into the next size up on venues. We have lots of amazing fans that will travel from show-to-show so it makes us rethink the setlist every night to give something to those people who might do three or four shows in a row.
I have to ask as it’s something we talked about back at The O2, how was “the festival on the boat” (Shiprocked) and how did Myles get on with it, because you weren’t too sure how he was going to handle the boat.
Scott: *Laughs* Oh man you know, it was awesome, I had an absolute blast, at least the bits I can remember *laughs*. I think Myles had a great time as well, the shows were a lot of fun and there was a ton of bands there who we were either friends with or became friends with, and for me that’s what that whole experience is all about. It’s an opportunity to really mingle with both fans and friends in a vacation type setting. There are A LOT of people who want to buy you shots, and you certainly don’t want to say no to that.
Will you have time to catch any of the action while you’re here or are you too busy with media and other things?
Scott: I’m not sure yet, we’ve got some media to do and a few other things. I know In Flames are on shortly, they were just out with us in the States and we had such a great time with them. Sweetheart dudes and it’d be great to see them especially in this environment where they thrive.
RS: It’d be great to see In Flames with Alter Bridge in the UK, that’d be awesome.
Scott: Yeah, those plans have been discussed so at some point I hope we can make that happen. We played together in Sweden about three or four days ago but we had to leave literally right as they went on stage.
RS: Ah that sucks. And of course, your friends from the last UK tour Like A Storm are here as well.
Scott: That’s right they are. We also did a run in Australia and New Zealand with them a couple months ago. So they took us to their home turf. They are New Zealand gents, we had a great show there and they had a lot of family and friends out and then we had a great run through Australia which was a ton of fun.
So, onto the big news. You guys have been keeping a big secret…
Scott: *Laughs* We have….
RS: Which Mark (Tremonti) accidentally let slip some hints of with a tiny little mention on another interview he did a couple of months ago but you’ve done very well to keep it quiet, so would you like to talk about it now *laughs*.
Scott: Sure! We are going to be playing The Royal Albert Hall in London on October 2nd and October 3rd with an Orchestra. Two nights, songs that we’ve never actually performed before in front of anybody. Words Darker Than Their Wings, This Side Of Fate, a lot of the epic songs that we’ve done on albums through the years. Of course a lot of songs we play all the time as well that our fans are very familiar with in a live setting. It seems like a really special evening to be able to do that in such a prestigious venue and be accompanied by a 52 or 53 piece orchestra.
RS: Whose idea was it?
Scott: It was a collaborative idea, but I think Tim our manager was the one who first initially went “hey what if we did this…”. We all jumped on it pretty quick as something it would be amazing to do.
RS: Have you started working with the orchestra on arrangements already?
Scott: We have! We’ve got probably 6 or 7 that we’ve heard and they are constantly sending us new ideas and new arrangements to approve. We’re actually meeting with them later on this afternoon once we get done with press and before we hit the stage. We’ll go through a few things. I think it’s gonna be a really cool experience for us and for them.
This is probably a no brainer of a question, but are you going to record these shows?
Scott: I would imagine there will be multiple recordings and possibly video products that will accompany that…
RS: I must say, the first thing I thought when I read Mark’s comments were “Oh my god” and the second thing I thought was Metallica’s S&M, and we all know what that did for them. It’d be great to see the same thing happen for you guys.
Scott: Yeah, I would imagine that “the brain trust” surrounding Alter Bridge has already thought about that *laughs*. We will definitely be capturing it for our history and pass on to hopefully generations beyond ours.
RS: Is that the thing that’s currently planned furthest ahead in the Alter Bridge schedule or have you lined up anything more?
Scott: Yeah that’s as far as we’ve got so far. I think a tour will probably follow that but we’re still working on the routing. We’ve got plans to book some more dates Stateside but then after that.
One last quick question; Why did you choose London (for these orchestra shows)? We’re not complaining of course but London has already had a lot of special moments in Alter Bridge’s history.
Scott: Well, it’s a very special city and we’ve got an amazing fanbase here. It’s also a great destination city for our friends and family in the States who may want to come to see it. And of course the building itself. It’s such a historic and amazing setting to see a show like that.
RS: I don’t know if you know the guys in Opeth but they had their 20th anniversary show in The Albert Hall so you might want to catch up with them and get any tips they have.
Scott: Oh awesome. You know I think I’ve actually seen some of that performance, I think we have some shows with them later on on this run here in Europe, we’ll have to track down Mike (Mikael Akerfeldt) and pick his brain, he’d certainly be a good guy to talk to.
Rock Sins: Thanks very much Scott!
Scott: Sure thing, anytime.
Alter Bridge’s two orchestra shows at The Royal Albert Hall sold out within the first day of tickets going officially on sale. Since then, as Scott discussed, they have announced another European tour to take place following the Royal Albert Hall shows (but the Albert Hall shows will be the only shows with the orchestra). As part of that run they will play additional UK shows in Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast, performing a different set to the one anyone may have seen them play already in Ireland this Summer. The dates for those shows are as follows:
5th October – Edinburgh / Usher Hall
7th October – Dublin / Olympia
8th October – Belfast / Ulster Hall
Tickets for those shows are on sale now at the usual locations. Alter Bridge’s new album Live At The O2 + Rarities will be released on Napalm Records on the 8th of September 2017.