Liam Etheridge has now been the drummer in Kaine for 2 years, originally replacing Chris MacKinnon in what was essentially the Crisis of Faith line-up before the band was reformed a month later. He played his first gig with Kaine at The Dev on the 20th of April 2018 and would only play 1 more gig with that line-up (May 4th 2018 at Voodoo Lounge, Stamford) before one final transitional gig with Toby Woods on lead guitar and Stephen Ellis on bass at The Smokehouse, Ipswich on May 19th.
Liam has since recorded and released the Reforge The Steel album with the band, as well as appearing on the Kaine X Live album and DVD. He has also performed drums on the delayed Waystone EP and Reforge The Steel live album. Both projects are on hold due to corona virus and the UK lock down measures.
We’ll be doing a number of features on the members of the bands, their music origins and how they became a part of Kaine over the coming week. We’re starting off with the man behind the kit…. Liam Etheridge!
When did you first take an interest in music, when did you decide to start playing drums?
I’ve really always been interested in music, I can’t think of a time in my life where my life didn’t revolve around it, obviously not just in a playing aspect but a listening aspect. I got a lot of my music taste from my grandparents, who not only listened to older bands I grew to love over the years, but also had a lot of underground taste in the Manchester music scene in the mid-2000s, and there were a few bands from that scene that they befriended and ended up becoming a massive influence for my playing. Funnily enough it was from one of those bands that I got my first drum kit, back in 2008!
What would you say your biggest influences were in the beginning?
In the beginning, my biggest influences were two bands in particular, the first of which was a band that my grandparents knew called The Words, who were a part of the Manchester music scene from 2006 to 2011, and made some excellent music in the time they were around. It was from them that I got my first kit, but the band that first made me realise that I wanted to be a musician was Wishbone Ash, who still remain my all time favourite band to this day, and are without a doubt the most important band I ever listened to. Their iconic 1972 album “Argus” still remains my favourite album of all time, and I was lucky enough to meet founding member Martin Turner when I went and saw his version of the band in Hertford in 2019 to thank him for what the band had done for me. It was these 2 bands I would start playing along to as a kid, prior to my first proper drum kit, with one single tom (which actually belonged to my small cousin!), and a kit made up of 2 board game boxes, one of which I distinctly remember being a Cluedo box!
In terms of getting into heavy metal, a lot of the music I discovered on my own, or through my best friend at the time in primary school/early senior school, but the first heavier bands I listened to were AC/DC and Iron Maiden, which were shown to me by my stepfather. One of my earliest memories of heavier music was my family being on a holiday in Florida in 2008, the soundtrack being AC/DC’s Black Ice album. Maiden have remained as my second favourite band, and are another one of my biggest influences.
So, you started out in a band called Asylum, when did that start and how did that progress?
Asylum started as an original band in 2014, but the origin of the band goes back to around 2012, before I joined in late 2013, when they were a part of Harlow Rockschool, named Bacon Bandits. They started off performing covers, and then when we changed the name it was me and our guitarist Brad Burtenshaw who started to write originals together. At the time I was really happy with what he was putting out, as we were having the same kind of influences, i.e a lot of 80s thrash metal, and also Pantera in particular, as well as bands like Avenged Sevenfold on my end. We started to get some momentum and we could’ve started doing some pretty cool stuff! But unfortunately after Brad and our singer Rylan did their GCSE’s in 2015, the band just fizzled out, which I think was a shame.
As Asylum you supported Kaine at several shows back in 2014 and 2015, how did you first discover the band?
I first discovered Kaine in the beginning of 2014, through an ad on Facebook. I saw that it was for fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica, so therefore I had to check it out. The first song I heard was Iron Lady, and when I first put that on I was blown away. It was fun supporting the band at that time, as a fan of the band. It was pretty cool to befriend the other members aswell. My favourite gig of ours together was when we played the Asylum in Chelmsford, in October 2014. That was our first gig as an original band, and it was also generally a really fun night.
You were surprised that they were playing the Speakeasy in Epping for their Waystone album launch what do you remember about that gig?
I remember when it was first announced I was confused because I had no clue it had been booked! We played that gig when we were still called Bacon Bandits, sadly no originals at the time. It was still a great gig, and we had a great time and seemed to be well received. At the time Kaine were becoming quite a big deal for me, and I was a real fan of their music, having had the Falling Through Freedom album on rotation for the previous couple of months. That day was amazing not just for that gig, but I also was introduced to the band themselves, aswell as our good friends in Osmium Guillotine.
*Entropy were originally meant to play the same night, a band which featured Saxon Davids who would go on to join Kaine a few months later.
You have played a number of the songs from The Waystone both in the studio and live, what’s it like to be playing those songs now as the drummer in Kaine, have you put your own stamp on them on the upcoming EP?
It’s exciting! I was a big fan of the original album when it came out, although looking back as a member of the band I could sit back and assess how I would’ve approached the process of the album. Chris has a very different playing style to me. He has much more of a funk influence, whereas I’m much more of a straightforward thrash metal drummer, so it’s been really cool to go through the process of this EP, a chance to revisit the tracks and be able to put my own stamp on them, to play them how I think they should’ve been played. I can’t wait for people to hear it!
So, after Asylum, what have you done musically since?
After Asylum, I was a part of another covers band called Ultimatum throughout 2015. I was in that band with the bassist and singer of Asylum, and another guitarist called Aidan. We spent that time basically just playing a load of covers, ranging as far as Green Day to Slipknot, essentially just playing gigs with material that we enjoyed playing together. I left that at the beginning of 2016, and was largely inactive for the rest of that year, and for most of 2017 too. I then got back into the scene by joining a Basildon based band called Scarred By Name, whom I found on an advert. After I got the call to be in Kaine I found that the band never really did anything. It was not just because of that, but also the band had their own families, and our guitarist was suffering from bad back problems too. I then got the call to join Kaine in around March 2018.
You attended the Kaine gig at The Green Room in Welwyn Garden City in February 2018 not long after the release of the A Crisis of Faith album and you were in the band a little over a month later, what was that like?
That was a cool night actually. It was the first time I’d ventured outside by myself with none of my usual mates. Just jumped on the bus from Harlow to Welwyn and had a great night. A Crisis of Faith is an absolutely fantastic album, so I was glad to see that lineup arguably at their peak, firing on all cylinders. It was good to see Rage, Chris and Saxon again aswell, as I had not seen any of them since around 2014/2015, and hadn’t met Stephen before. I had a great time, banged my head, and got very drunk, can’t complain at all! I had no idea that the following month I’d get the news from Rage that Chris had left the band, and that I’d been asked to join. That whole month was quite a rollercoaster, but it was a great experience.
You jumped in during immediately after the release of A Crisis of Faith and not long after Saxon Davids and Stephen Ellis departed the band, how did that feel, did you think it was the end of Kaine?
I played a couple of gigs with Saxon and Stephen, and they were really enjoyable, even though my first gig with the band was less than a week after my first rehearsal! Thank god I was a fan and knew the songs anyway! I was really excited for what could’ve been, so I was absolutely gutted when Saxon and Stephen said that they were going to leave. I was genuinely scared for what would come next, I thought it could well be the end. I remember speaking on the phone with Rage that night and I’d never known him to be so unsure of anything. He didn’t know if he could keep the band together, although we both agreed that no matter what we would try. I felt it was the end, but then we were saved when Toby was introduced to us, and Isaac was introduced through him. They truly did save the band.
The new lineup of yourself, Rage Sadler, Toby Woods and Isaac Healy was formed in a fortnight, was it strange to have joined a band to be playing in an entirely new band almost immediately?
The prospect of playing in a new band wasn’t as strange as the speed with which it was put together. I didn’t even know it was possible to do that, I can’t think of anyone else who has pulled that off, so full credit to Rage for being able to make that happen! I never thought in a million years that the band would be reformed as quickly as that, as we then played our first gig with this lineup much less than a month after Saxon and Stephen announced they would leave. It really was quite a surreal experience, but it worked out so much better than I could have ever imagined, and I am having more fun than I’ve ever had playing music. I cannot wait for what the future brings this lineup, after the release of Reforge The Steel.
Reforge The Steel was written and rehearsed very quickly during that period, how was the process for you as a new member of the band?
It was a brilliant experience, my first experience of really writing an album. I had obviously been a part of writing a few originals before, but never really had the pressure of writing an entire album. I was really excited with the material that Rage had written for the album, and I genuinely believed we could be better than any other lineup of the band. The chemistry between all four members throughout the writing process was great, and it felt good for everyone to have a common goal for how the album should sound, something which I feel we will have way into the future. I couldn’t have been happier with the way the album came together, with such quality material in such a short space of time. So again, full credit to Rage for that.
You released the album back in October 2019, just a year after A Crisis of Faith how did it feel to release of the album? What are your favourite songs from the new record?
It was cool to finally have something properly released with my name in the credits. It felt really good to see the amount of people that listened to it, and the amount of praise the album received, even with comments commending my drumming on the album. I love all the tracks on the album, but I would say my favourite tracks are Black, To All My Love, The Dragon Reborn, and the title track. The album has a lot of twin lead influence, so being a big fan of bands like Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy I found it really cool to see the band take that direction with the music.
You have played a few big shows with Kaine already, how did it feel to play a packed out Colchester Arts Centre for the Kaine 10 year show, and how did it feel to support ex Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley recently at Burr Fest?
The Kaine 10 year show was just something else. None of us expected it to turn out the way it did, and it was my biggest gig to date ever. I remember prior to the show sales had been pretty good, but I did not expect the event to be nearly sold out by the time the night arrived. My best memory was coming out of the backstage area not long after the doors opened, peeking out from behind the stage, and seeing the amount of people that had already arrived. It was rammed before any bands even came on, it was amazing! I didn’t think we could top that until we played Burr Fest this year, which really was a special experience! For me that was this bands best ever performance, and to do it alongside ex-Iron Maiden members, in particular Doug Sampson and Blaze Bayley, was amazing. I had a brief conversation with Doug at the bar not long before Blaze went onstage, and he really is a top bloke! I also managed to get my poster signed by Blaze, which was really cool. The whole experience was just incredible, and I feel so honoured to have been a part of it, and it was an honour to be so well received by the Burr Fest crowd. I hope one day we can be asked back!
You also play guitar, how long have you been playing?
I have been playing guitar by myself since early 2014. I have never played guitar in any bands, but I have obviously written my fair share of originals with it, a few of which you may hear on the next Kaine album!
You have written a number of tracks for the new album, do you like having the freedom to write in Kaine?
I love that I still have creative freedom in this band. I was obviously more than content with my role during the Reforge the Steel cycle, but it’s been really cool to finally bring my ideas to the table. I have three tracks ready for the new album so far, so it’s been cool to record them and send them to the band. It’s also a relief because I have been sat on one particular song since April 2018! The feedback from the guys on my songs has been good as well so that’s exciting.
All the rehearsal and recording activity has been suspended due to the Corona virus outbreak, are the band still writing and communicating while everything is suspended?
We are still communicating every day, bouncing ideas back and forth and making sure we check in on each other regularly. I myself have been very busy during the time indoors. I have been furloughed by my day job, so I now have a lot of spare time to put my tracks together properly. It’s definitely kept me sane, because otherwise I feel I’d be bored to death!
There is a new live album coming soon from the B2 Norwich last year from the Reforge The Steel album, how was that night for you and are you looking forward to releasing another live album?
That was a fun night actually, and another night that I didn’t expect to be as good as it was turnout wise. It was mired by some technical difficulty, and also tainted when we found out in the car that a close friend of the band had unexpectedly passed away that morning. But we managed to get through it, and both us and Osmium Guillotine played blistering sets, despite the horrible news. I feel we really made a great night of it, despite the circumstances. I’m looking forward to releasing this live album, as it really does sound excellent!
What can you say about the new record your working on right now with Kaine?
You thought Reforge the Steel was the best this band has done? Well just wait because this is gonna be the best album ever! It’s heavier, it’s faster, it’s amazing!
You’re a big fan of West Ham United, how long have you supported the team and what are the highs and lows of following the Hammers? Which was the last game you attended and do you think they will stay up? Favourite players?
I am indeed a big Hammers fan, born and bred! However there are definitely more lows than highs right now. I feel the last real high was our last season at Upton Park. We played some of the best football I’d seen from a West Ham side, and finished well at the end of the season aswell! Since then however, it has all been downhill! The last game I attended was in November 2019, we lost 3-2 to Newcastle. Although the scoreline was flattering, we were 3-0 down for the longest time and it was easily the worst West Ham performance I had seen to date. Although since then we have definitely played worse, it’s been embarrassing! The only player I can think of that is any good at the moment is Michail Antonio, just because he’s the only one who seems to put any effort in! If this season finishes, I cannot see us staying up!
To order Reforge the Steel on CD please click here. There are also a limited number of CD’s and DVD’s from Liam’s performance at Kaine X which can be ordered here. You can also pre-order The Waystone EP here. You can also hear the album by clicking the Spotify tab at the top of this page.
So, as you will recall towards the end of 2017 the band had just finished recording A Crisis of Faith and we were in the final mixing stages. I was in the process of sending the album to as many labels as possible in the hope someone even listen to it and to help promote the album throughout 2018 I had booked us a run of regular shows where I would hire the hall and promote myself due to the lack of active promoters on the scene in the hope that once the album was out that those shows would in fact act as our “market stall” as it were to draw people in, usually for free entry shows and then sell them an album and general merch on the night to help cover costs. However, the album was slightly delayed in it’s release so the first few shows we did we didn’t have an album to sell.
We started out in Stamford, the attendance on the night was reasonable given the fact the Voodoo Lounge charges on the door and we met a number of new people who would go on to become regulars at our shows throughout the rest of the year. We then did a couple gigs in Norwich which were also both reasonably well attended and then we were in Hertfordshire at St Albans and Welwyn Garden City, the Welwyn gig was a particular good one as it was rammed but it was the Friday before our biggest gig ever so initially 2018 started shaping up really well for the band leading to the album release and immediately after.
We released the album digitally through YouTube on February 4th. We did a special pre-order price of digital copies for £3 and £8 for the CD along with other options which did well. We did think more people would take a chance with the album for £3 then we actually made in terms of digital sales, purely as it was so cheap and while it did okay it was disappointing, we couldn’t sell more digitally at that price. CD’s continued to be the stronger for sales for us overall.
On February 18th we played a sold-out Birmingham o2 on the main stage for Hard Rock Hell Metal, for what was our biggest ever gig. It was utterly surreal and even thinking back I still don’t know how or why we were there playing the same stage as Grave Digger and Alestorm, but it happened and will easily be one of the best moments of my life. A few people assumed that this would launch the band onto the next level as the reviews of the set were all strong, people really got behind us on the day and it felt like something special had indeed happened. Sadly, this wasn’t the case and we didn’t get any bigger bookings, tour offers, label offers, management offers or the like off the back of doing that. While I was on the stage, I took it as a once in a lifetime experience, I knew that I probably wouldn’t get another shot at it so enjoyed every moment of being up there playing our music to such a big audience and on an amazing stage.
The album did well with reviews, but we were rejected by all the labels we sent it out to, as well as management and what not. I even gave a copy to Tobias Forge of Ghost in the hope he well may listen to it as he’s the biggest thing in Rock right now. We haven’t been helped by the way social media has changed since the last album. It’s become a battle of trying your posts to be seen and I expect theres a ton of people who are still unaware we even put the album out because platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like simply don’t show them our posts, even if its paid advertising.
In fact, I am suspect even with the paid advertising about how many real people actually see it. Facebook used to be really good for targeting audiences and getting the right people to see your product but now it’s very hit and miss. We were even banned from promoting posts at one point and they couldn’t give us an explanation other then they didn’t support our business model. I did a lot of follow up trying to find what that meant and eventually they saw sense and let us promote our posts again, but still, very few people are seeing what we do and that’s a shame as we now have over 11k people on the page, of which a few hundred see what we do, and less than 50 will interact with it. Changes to social media platforms have in reality made them pretty useless for bands without huge budgets to be frank.
The majority of gigs we did in 2018 were self promoted. The idea as I said was to use these gigs as an opportunity to sell merch and the new album. The majority of the self promoted events were well attended, although we did have a few stinkers as everyone does now and again. I won’t be continuing this model as we didn’t sell as much merch as we would have hoped and most nights we were running at a loss after hire, soundman and promotion was paid and that’s even when the venues were rammed.
The only people benefitting from our shows were the venues themselves who were making on the bar, but they weren’t actively promoting the events it was all on me which is hard work even without taking into account all the organisation that goes into running a gig anyway. I can’t afford to keep losing money on running gigs and to not even cover costs means we simply cannot continue that. I do appreciate the venues allowing us to run shows with them, but equally they don’t even tell their own customers the events are on let alone do anything substantial on social media to promote them, so for them to have a well attended night and sell plenty of drinks on an event I have essentially paid for, promoted and organised to make a loss just seemed a touch unfair. It generally comes down to the problem many bands have in that music can be a hard sell, where as drink tends to be more popular! Iron Maiden were smart enough to get into both!
I don’t want to get into this next bit too much as I have covered it several times, but we had played a great show in Ipswich at the end of March and I had invited the guys over to sign a ton of CD and merch orders we had online when the walls started to fall in. We had taken the April off to write the follow up to A Crisis of Faith so all the plans were in place to begin. Chris after the signing then informs us, he has to leave the band to be able to make a living elsewhere, he had been in the band 6 years but through everything we hadn’t “made it” and he needed to get his life on track and simply couldn’t afford to be doing what we were doing any longer. I thought the band was dead at this point and had pretty much told him that had probably killed us, not long after the album release it was a body blow that the majority of bands wouldn’t recover from.
I talked about continuing with Stevo and Saxon and we tried out Liam on drums during the April break, playing our first gig with him on the 20th at the Dev. It was at this point that Saxon called me to say he was also leaving the band as he had decided to in short, leave the country. After I got off the phone with Saxon I called Stevo to offer him his release from the band, as he hadn’t been happy with the fact Chris had left anyway and I am of the view that you simply cannot continue with an unhappy camp and it’s best just to end it. I know a few people still believe there are personal issues between us, and that I was somehow to blame but it really isn’t the case and we are all still friends and are in regular contact even to this day. I then called Liam and explained what had happened, we agreed to try and find a new line-up but accepted the band was probably dead.
We played our final official gig with Stevo and Saxon on May 4th, Chris even joined us on stage for a bit. I actually broke down in tears on stage and after, I thought, well, this is it, after 9 years of solid graft to build this band, it was dead. I had written my retirement statement shortly after, ready to post, and my plan was to entirely give up music and vanish into the background. It was over, I was now a 32 year old man who’d been trying everything to make it a success but had ultimately failed and it was time to accept my fate. I do believe that the fact the line-up ended so quickly after our album release as one of the reasons the album was slow to sell to begin with as people had assumed it was game over.
Saving the band at this stage was my biggest ever challenge and by some miracle it actually happened. Toby had gotten in touch on the morning of the resignation announcement of Saxon and Stevo, I hadn’t slept very well given what was going on and woke up to see he was asking to try out, I said that was fine and arranged a rehearsal for the Saturday. Saxon sat in on the try out to help out, along with Stevo and Toby performed amazingly well so we offered him the spot in the band. We then asked, “you don’t know anyone who can play bass do you?”. Turns out he did, so we played our next show on the 19th with Toby, but in the morning, we had in fact tried out Toby’s friend Isaac on bass and invited him to join the band. We played that last show with Stevo and the new band debuted in Norwich just 7 days later. The miracle had happened, the band had been saved. To be fair on Chris, Saxon and Stevo they had all said they’d remain with the band until a new member could be found so there was never any threat of the band cancelling gigs, and they did just that, it just happened a lot quicker than many would expect.
What I will say, which isn’t well known is that when the members left, I had, out of respect for those musicians, offered the spots firstly to the members who appeared on Falling Through Freedom. Naturally they declined for a myriad of reasons as they all had projects and situations that would prevent them from re-joining the band at that time. All three of those guys, Josh, Dan and Anthony put a lot of time, effort and money into Kaine and I wouldn’t ever not offer them a spot in the band because I appreciate what they did to help create it, and the music we are known for now. It’s the same for the Crisis line-up. While I am the guy people know Kaine for, the reality is I would have been nothing at all without the other musicians that contributed to the band over the years.
People were surprised and cautious about the new line-up arriving so quickly after the old one. There was an expectation that the band wouldn’t be as good or would sound so radically different it wouldn’t be the same. Those who saw us, were very surprised that not only was this band was good but it still sounded like Kaine.
Proving myself again was the main focus after the line-up had been put into place and I decided to write an album which over the last few months I’d been teaching the new members and rehearsing it with them every Saturday since. We have since played 22 gigs with that new line-up, we’ve had guest spots from Dan, Anthony, Chris, Stevo and Saxon since too. There have only been a few bad gigs out of those 22 we had, the worse two was a show in Swansea attended by two people and where we had merch stolen and we played a Skatepark music day which every had left by the time we played, including the event organiser, and played to four people! My amp also died so that was a top night. We’ve also played in London more regular with this line-up which has been really fun as we’ve started to connect with the scene down there more than we have had for years.
This month we have started recording the new Kaine album with the material written and rehearsed over the last few months. I am still a bit in disbelief that we pulled it off. We spent two days tracking the drums last week and Liam performed amazingly well for his first say in the studio and impressed throughout. The new Kaine music, still sounds like what we had done in the past, but I have gone for a more straightforward Metal direction on this album with big chorus’s. I really look forward to finally recording it, I have been really working on my voice so it’s even better for this record too as I need to be able to deliver on this album, as well as my guitar playing probably being my best ever right now.
Finally thank you to everyone who stuck with me and offered support throughout 2018, easily the hardest year I have had with the band and thanks to Liam, Toby and Isaac for coming on board and helping me continue the band. I am going to start pushing the 10 year show again after the new year, if you haven’t got tickets and want to see all the band members again one last time and help us celebrate in a great venue as well as get a ton of merch for free I encourage you to buy tickets for this event.
Kaine will be back in rehearsals from 7pm tonight again at Pioneer Music Studio in Colchester for their second session ahead of the new line-up’s debut on Friday at the Dev in Camden supporting Eliminator.
Kaine’s new line-up has decided to get straight back on the road, jumping in at the deep in by accepting a show with Eliminator at The Dev in Camden next Friday. The show will be free entry (for details click here).
Just this week it was announced that Chris MacKinnon would be departing the band, with auditions held on Thursday night in which Liam Etheridge was named the bands new drummer.