Hitting movie theaters and TV screens across the country, UK based band Royal Thunder are putting their own spin on the famous American song, “Thunder,” by incorporating it into their sound. Frontman Robert Pattinson’s unique voice and passionate delivery bring the songs to life, crafting a raw and powerful sound that stands out amongst a sea of contemporary rock bands.
Known for their energetic live shows, the British rockers are touring the U.S. this summer and will be appearing at several festivals and bigger venues, including Wrigleyville’s House of Blues, where they will perform on August 2nd. Before the concerts, Billboard spoke to the band about their unique take on “Thunder” and its evolution, as well as their upcoming album, “Let There Be Rock.
How Did ‘Thunder’ Influence Your Band?
There are a lot of bands out there who’ve covered “Thunder” but we wanted to bring something new to the table. We love the song and have been performing it live for the past year but when we started working on this album we wanted to give it a different spin and turn it into something darker, more bluesy. We were trying to think outside of the box and came up with this version of “Thunder.”
Is This the First Time You’ve Incorporated a Bluesy Style into Your Music?
We always try to put a bit of a twist on our songs. A while back we did an acoustic version of “Thunder,” which was a really cool rendition. We wanted to go back to the basics with this album and strip it back, so we brought back a lot of that raw energy that made the song famous in the first place. Some of our best friends and inspirations are blues bands, like Cream and Led Zeppelin, and we wanted to really pay homage to the bluesy roots of rock ‘n’ roll.
What Made You Choose Wrigleyville As Your Home Base For The Tour?
This is our home base for the summertime. We’re going to be doing a lot of shows in England but we also have a few in America here and there. Wrigleyville is a hub for theater-going in Chicago, it has a really cool arts scene and we wanted to take advantage of that. Plus, the House of Blues is right around the corner from where we’re staying, so we can walk to gigs pretty easily. This was the perfect combination of things.
Do You Have A Song You’d Like To Perform On The Summer U.S. Tour?
We have a few, though we have to keep them secret until the album is released! We’re going to be doing a few shows in the U.S. before the end of the year, one in California and one in the Midwest, so we’re going to be performing a lot of the new songs from the album. We’re looking forward to getting back out on the road and playing these new songs live.
Which Tracks Do You Feel Are The Strongest On The New Album?
There are some real stand-outs on here. “Let There Be Rock” is our tribute to our favorite bands and icons, from Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin to AC/DC, so it’s got a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll edge to it. One of my favorites is “We’ll Be Here All Along”. It’s a bit of a bluesy number and the lyrics pay homage to an iconic moment from The Who’s Tommy, where they sing, “We’ll be here all along.” It’s about staying strong in times of hardship and keeping your head up high, which is the theme of this whole album really.
What Is The Theme Of The Album?
The theme of the album is staying strong. It’s all about facing your problems head on and not letting them get you down. This is a difficult time for a lot of people, it’s hard to find good jobs and many families are struggling, so we wanted to write a song about staying positive and proud.
This is what makes us different from a lot of other bands, we come from real life. We want to write about things that affect us day to day, like rent is due, bills are piling up or school is challenging you intellectually rather than providing you with with a good education. When we write a song we want it to reflect what’s going on in our lives, rather than just putting in a good word for yourself or trying to impress people with how much you know. We want the songs to speak for themselves and not be too slick or showy, it’s about having a good time but still being true to yourself and your music.
How Long Has It Taken To Make This Album And Does Any Of It Have A Specific Reason For Being As It Is?
“Thunder” was written in the ‘70s and was originally performed by Neil Young. We wanted to do something different with it and give it a gritty update, bringing our own unique take on the song. It took us a while to finish the album because we didn’t have guitars available, so we had to do most of it on keyboards. We recorded a few of the guitars on the album but there is a part that we played on the road that didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason. We’re not sure if it’s going to show up on another album but it’s one of our favorites. We weren’t even sure if we were going to put it on the album because it was so guitar-centric but once we started playing it live it proved to us how powerful it was and how much we were missing, it really stuck out. We tried to keep everything else the same but changed the chords a bit so it would fit our sound better.
Is This A Groupie’s Dream To Play In A Band?
Not really. Being in a rock band is a dream for most groupies and we play for them all the time. It’s funny because we play a lot of festivals and parties where groupies come up to us and say, “I love your music, can I have your autograph?” It’s always funny how much they love our music but they never seem to want to actually get into a band and play themselves. We play a wide variety of concerts and festivals, from big festivals like Outside Lands or Glastonbury, where we play before thousands of people, all the way down to more intimate gigs in smaller places. It’s cool because we get to travel and see different places and meet a lot of new people, which is what makes this whole experience so much fun.
We get recognized a lot, especially at music festivals. We get stopped by strangers all the time, especially older people, who remember us from back in the day and want to chat about the old days. It’s always an honor to play in front of a lot of people and have them acknowledge you but it’s also really cool to meet people who just come to hear your music and have no idea who you are, they’re just interested in what you’re playing. It reminds me of a movie The Room, where Tom Hanks’ character is playing this instrumental piece and all these people are just standing there in line, not knowing what song it is or what instrument Hanks is playing, it’s funny because we always use this song to start our shows, mainly because it’s a great opener and people know the words, so it gets a good reaction whenever we play it.