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.