Wayward Sons - Winter 2018

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

Wayward Sons have taken a very interesting strategy to the release of their debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come. It’s been one that over time has stimulated significant anticipation. First releasing their video to lead single Until The End in the summer of 2017, very cleverly supported by a series of connected videos which found us hardly being able to wait for the next instalment. Overall it’s a fantastic example of how Wayward Sons have injected huge creativity and innovation to showcase their music and to give us an opportunity to actually get to know the band. All this before the album was even released.

But let’s now focus on the music. Ghosts Of Yet To Come is classic rock at its very best but with a modern twist.  There are perhaps traces of Thin Lizzy and Queen and but Wayward Sons have clearly developed their own sound. The quality of musicianship and generations of experience have ensured it was never going to be anything other than a focus on providing the very best. But the album has a very unique quality that from start to finish it takes to listen on a real journey. There is something quite dramatic and epic about Ghosts… The best way of describing it is that it’s almost the rock music equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster which creates a wonderfully immersive album experience. Each track stands highly on its own merits but coming together cohesively as the collection is what makes this record very special indeed.

We sit down with lead singer Toby Jepson to find out how it all came together, the incredible year they’ve had since the album was released and also with an eye to the future.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

Throughout your career you have of course been in many bands: Little Angels, Gun and Fastway. You’ve also have a successful solo career and you are a very accomplished producer. How does it feel to be back in a band again and one that’s producing original material?

I started out in bands. There was never anything else for me. I wanted to be in a band and I’d grown up listening to bands. My entire education as a music fan had come from listening to my favourite bands and I never saw it any other way. So to actually end up in this band feels very natural. It doesn’t at all feel difficult – because it could have been. We all carry baggage a little bit, it’s undoubted that when people who’ve been in a reasonably significant act and then it comes to a close and you’re wondering what to do next, you can second guess yourself a little bit. It can be a complicated process to decipher where you go from there. I think that’s certainly the case for me with the Little Angels. We achieved international success at quite a high level – alright, we weren’t the biggest band in the world but we did achieve quite a lot and sold a lot of records – so it was a hard act to follow, and I think that’s why over the years I’ve spent a lot of time trying to ‘A’ to figure that out and ‘B’ find a solution to the problem of what do I do now? Part of that is having to go through the process of trying things out, seeing what works, trying to figure out what gets you going again and what makes you feel good. For me a lot of this was about trying to rediscover the joy because I had given up being in bands. I’d spent quite a lot of time in other people’s bands: I’d spent time in Gun, prior to that I’d been in Fastway, and Dio Disciples occupied me for quite some time. I kind of reached a point where it was just becoming difficult to enjoy because it wasn’t about me making music that I’d self-authored, it wasn’t stuff that I’d written. So it wasn’t allowing me to demonstrate myself to an audience and to people out there that made me tick anymore. It was singing other people’s songs. Though I will never take anything away from those situations, they were all extremely enjoyable for all kinds of different reasons and an absolute privilege to work with Eddie Clarke and indeed the guys from Ronnie’s band and Jules and Dan from Gun. They all had their fantastic high points, but the reality is I was a hired singer. I was someone who walked into somebody else’s situation and became a front man by-and-large for music that already existed. Once I’d kind of made that decision, I literally said to myself I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m not going to be in a band ever again because it’s not gratifying, it doesn’t feel like I’m honestly being myself, so I threw myself in to production. So getting the call from the Frontiers people (Frontiers SRL) with such encouragement and them getting excited about the possibility of me making a record, or records, with them over the next few years was a real shot in the arm because I hadn’t had that since the days of the Little Angels, where a record label was throwing the weight of its situation, its methodology and its business behind you. It’s quite an extraordinary thing to be offered. And I never anticipated it! I didn’t expect it! But it goes hand in hand with the reason why I had took it on because without that level of business behind you, it’s incredibly difficult to get your head above the parapet. Frontiers gave me that possibility and it was the main thing that encouraged me to do it because I thought at the very least, however this album turns out, I’m going to get it made and it’s going to be released and it’s going to be supported. So to be back on stages playing this music after all this time, at 50 years old and getting these reactions is something I never thought could have happened but I’m infinitely grateful that it has!

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

I’m going to come onto the music in the moment but first let’s just talk about Frontiers SRL with whom you’ve signed. Many bands are making the move to Frontiers. What is it about Frontiers that creates such an effective partnership?

It’s because they’re music fans. They are passionate about the idea - and I say that as a really important word – of rock music. They don’t front the conversation with ‘oh, we’re going to make you loads of money’ or ‘it’s going to cost this’. Their fronted conversation is ‘we love what you do, we would love to make some music with you, we think you have something we really want to be part of and we really want to help you succeed’. That’s the front of their conversation so it’s not about business, it’s about creativity and art and their love of that medium and that music. So that’s what drew me to them. It was everything to do with that. It was passionate, it was dynamic, they talked the right language, they said the right things. They were uncomplicated in their passion and there were no caveats attached. It was just ‘we want you to make the best record you can and we are going to help you sell it’. Then they turned into a business once we agreed it all, because then they were able to say ‘ok, because we’ve agreed these terms, what you’re going to get for that is this – and they offered me a very fair, very flexible set of circumstances that allowed for the possibility of the idea of Toby Jepson making a new band album. The best it can possibly be without compromising itself. So that is why, and that’s also why I will hopefully continue to make records with them. Even though they are still an independent label, in my opinion they are in possession of all the most important attributes which are the passion and belief, because that’s where the major label position has fallen down. They no longer believe in the music. All they care about is the bottom line, how much money it can make them and how it keep their business afloat. The major label system is now populated and run by accountants and lawyers, not by musicians and by passionately focused and visionary people like it used to be. It’s managed by bean-counters and people who simply do not understand why their business has been as successful as it has been. So talk about 2 entirely different worlds. Frontiers, Earache, Napalm Records – any of these small labels that exist around the globe – they’re the new rock business. They’re passionate fans of the music that have put together a label with almost old fashioned idealisms but for all the right reasons and I applaud them for it.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

For someone like yourself who has had a full career in the world of rock, both as an artist an producer, that must have been a really refreshing conversation you had with Frontiers on the whole idea of working together to make a record.

It was because up until that point I hadn’t heard it for a long time. Back in the day when Little Angels got signed, we were courted and developed if you like over a period of time by a number of record labels. They valued what we did and they looked upon us as musicians and as people who had, despite requiring quite a lot of help, something to offer. The colonel of what we stood for was enough of a bright spark for them to want to get involved. Now the record industry just doesn’t operate like that anymore at a major label level. They are obsessed with how quickly they can make something happen and quickly that thing can make them some money and how quickly they can move on to the next thing. There is no longevity in their thinking at all. They are not interested, and that is why there hasn’t been any rock bands in real terms being signed. The last kind of real general, what you could probably call a rock band if you like, in any form at all that got signed to a major label, was probably Royal Blood. But they’re a two-piece. There are two people in that band. So that’s the record industry all over. They don’t want to deal with multiples any more. They don’t want to deal with lots of people, they just want to have something very simple, very quick that they can get their hands around and not have to spend a lot of money on it, but they want to make loads of money on it. So yes it was incredibly refreshing because it was like an old school approach. But I use that term very loosely because actually it’s a fool’s errand thinking those things. It’s nothing to do with old school, it’s actually to do with people’s belief in the art form and the value you put on these things, and people like Frontiers have realised that. They’ve built a very strong business over the years of selling catalogue music and licensing bands who have already had records out and putting them under their banner. And they’ve made a very successful business of it. They’ve woken up to the fact that there’s nobody developing acts for the long term. They’ve decided, alongside various other labels around the world – but they’re one of the key labels really – that they’re going to be the new rock ‘n’ roll music business. The model is different, the model doesn’t work the way it used to, but nonetheless equally as passionate as it used to be. It was refreshing to hear it but almost like opening a door to dusty old cupboard that I used to use years ago! So I welcomed it!

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

Let’s talk about the album Ghosts Of Yet To Come. Wayward Sons have created an absolutely spectacular album. There is something quite dramatic and epic about it, and it’s something that we’ve described as being the rock music equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster. Tell me about how the album overall came together.

I threw out all of my normal routines with this record because you’ve got to understand, and this is the key thing here, I wasn’t wanting to make a record. When the opportunity came along to make a record it was almost like I’d hit the reset button. I’d dismissed the concept of making an album again so outright that the idea of making one seemed almost impossible. Once I’ve got over the shock that someone wanted me to make one, I thought it’s telling me something this is, and it’s telling me that this opportunity can’t be wasted but it’s also a challenge. I’ve got to get my head right about how I approach this because if I don’t get it right I’ll never make another one again because no one will want me to make another one again. And it reinvigorated me! It’s made me look at myself and re-examine all the reasons why I made music in the first place. It completely compelled me to re-look at how I originally formed the process in my head about wanting to be in a band and what that journey meant to me. And so it inhabited for quite some time after I made the decision to do it in an odd space in my head which was ‘right let’s be 100% honest about this because no one’s expecting you to make a record, you didn’t expect to be making it yourself, so if we’re going to do this let’s be 100% honest and true to yourself about what this needs to be’. So I did all kinds of things.  I have certain processes that I used to do from a songwriting point of view and I threw them all out . I started in different ways. I spent a lot of time listening to music. I listen to music quite a lot anyway but but not as much as I should because I spend so much time in studios that quite frankly I get bored of hearing music after a while because it’s constantly in my ears (laughs)! But in this particular set of circumstances I got out a lot of my favourite old records and spent a lot of time on YouTube watching old videos of bands that I absolutely love. One of the key things that I did was sit down one morning, with a cup of coffee, and I just wrote down literally on a piece of paper a list of the songs that inspired me as a kid. And I was really surprised. I really surprised myself because I refused to be led down the normal rabbit hole of tried and tested routes of ‘its’ bound to be this, it’s bound to be that’. There were a lot of songs that surprised me on that list. I know it sounds completely crazy but there were. I truly admitted to myself what really had inspired me and it there were artists like Blondie on there, there was The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Bread, Elle Fitzgerald. There were all sorts of things on there that if you were to look at that list you’d go ‘well that’s not a rock band’. But what I realised about it was, actually, they were just supremely brilliantly written songs. They all had a message, they all had something to say, they all pinpointed and focused the idea of what those artists were trying to do. It made me realise that what I wanted to do with this album was to make it all about the message – to talk about strong things that I didn’t want to flinch from, that meant everything to me, that gave my view of the world as I saw it right now at that particular point in 2016, that I felt were important, that the audience would be able to understand and completely get from me. And so it was honest and true and it was not a fabrication. So that was my start position and so when I got the band together and we started talking about working with each other -  the guys all came to me from different places and for all kinds of different reasons – I told them that. I said this is going to be an unflinching record. It’s going to be a record of protest. Because that’s what it is really. Not many people have really talked to me about this but the truth of the matter is Ghosts Of Yet To Come is a protest record. It’s a politically driven, socially conscious record that talks about my own political (with a small ‘p’) view of the world, my own values that I put on myself and how I operate in the world as a human being and how I think those things have changed me and how I think my contributions can be. I am aware of the positives in that light. But it also talks about the negative aspects of things I find disturbing and difficult. So those things occupy the centre ground of this record completely and everything was beholden to that, and I call that song-centric. It’s putting everything into the song rather than it being about a riff or being the sound of the band. So that in essence is the central hub of this album.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

I’m particularly interested in the incredibly creative and innovative way in which Wayward Sons  created interest for band in advance of the album being released, and I’m referring to the series of music videos that provided drama and a story delivered in four instalments to the backdrop of your music. How did the idea come about to do something so unique and exciting?

It’s really an extension of what I’m taking about. Because of all these things that I wanted to put in lyrics and centre the songs on, I wanted to try and find a way of anchoring the whole of the concept together and give the album ahead of its release a flavour so people could understand what we were trying to do, but I wanted it to be something that was wholly ours, that could stand alone, that gave an insight into not just the message but also an insight into how we operate as people. I’m a massive movie fan. If I hadn’t have got into the music business I would have been something to do with the film business and I still have a desire to work in the film business one way or another, probably from a musical point of view but also from a writing point of view. I’ve definitely got a hankering to write films in the future. And so my love of films, coupled with my love of music, coupled with my political position and with my desire to talk about things I think that mattered all fed in to the visual aspects of this record. Now one of the key things for me was ‘how do you talk about these things that are really really important and very important but without being too earnest’? What I don’t want to do is beat people up with a message. I don’t think that’s right. I’m not a politician. I’m socially aware and politically aware and I am strongly in favour of politics and how that affects us all, and don’t take it lightly, but how do you do that? How do you deliver that message and make it palatable and create a situation where people can understand that but don’t get put off by it? Because not everyone’s into that and no everyone cares - of course they don’t. So for my money, I looked at people like Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, but above all I was looking at the zombie movies. I felt that the dead movies and zombie films, of which there are many now, but especially the films of the 70s and that whole zombie themed period that happened, they were very much in my mind because what they really were were allegories for the period. I think that those movies specifically talked about America and the rampant consumerism of the period and we able to sort of package that up into a palatably represented idea. It wasn’t too difficult to disseminate but if you were just going for a good night out and to eat some popcorn then all it was was a zombie flick. But below it there was a very clear message going on about ‘look, this is what we’re doing, this is a crazy situation and where are we going with it?’ And I think directors of the time were incredibly clever, and I think now we’re in an era now of things like Walking Dead which was a big influence on me because again it’s not about the zombies in that TV series, it’s about the relationships, the politics and the way that human beings treat each other which is the most important thing. So all those things combined, even though some people will go ‘oh, it’s such a cliché, it’s zombies, I’ve seen it all before!’ for me it ticked all the boxes. It’s like to me George Romero clearly wasn’t talking about zombies. He was talking about all the things I’m talking about. So to me it was a good way of discussing it with some fun, with a through-story that allowed the lyrics of the music to come to life. It definitely did seem to do the trick. And of course the album sleeve image itself was very important. I kind of got bored of seeing the same old sleeves coming time and time again from rock bands. I just thought, no I loved comics when I was a kid and I still am a massive comic fan, specifically the 50s exploitation comics - the Amazing Stories and the Weird Science Stories which were really produced at the time of McCarthy and the American Activist period which was the one of the darkest periods in American history. We’re going through that again right now with Trump in the Whitehouse, where you supposedly have the Land of the Free absolutely handcuffing itself, and it’s got authoritarian people in the background in what is being regarded as, and being sold to us as, the greatest place of liberty. So it’s a contradiction in terms. I wanted to talk about that as well, I wanted to cast some light on that and pull back the shades and throw some light on that. So all of these things combined with the great design of the album sleeve and the zombie flicks, they’re all allegories. They’re all ways of telling this tale and ways of protesting against what I see, personally, as terrible situation around the world right now.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

It’s an incredibly clever approach you’ve taken here.

It’s nice of you to say but it was never meant to be clever. It was meant to be as much fun and easy to understand as possible but retaining a level of uniqueness. That’s the thing. Whenever I think about my work, and specifically about Wayward Sons – which is the best thing I’ve ever done – I look upon it as a standalone project. I’m never directly influenced by other bands that are out there. I’m appreciative and respectful of everyone who stands on a stage and makes a record, but I try to stay away from being concerned about what other people are doing and saying. I don’t think you can do that. I think you have to stand in your own universe, in your own world and tell your own story and hope that people get it. And if they do then great but I don’t want to be influenced by others to the point where I change myself. I want to be influenced by people who are inspiring and they can help me interpret myself. It was really key to me that this whole project could be regarded as the Wayward Sons’ universe. Once people dive into the Wayward Sons’ universe they take part in everything that we do, if they want to. So it was really important that it had a connection right from the very start: the words, the imagery and the videos, and we will continue to do that right through this band’s career. I’ve already mapped out a plan for the next album and what we will do with that. It’s going to continue.

In the videos, your character is known as The Preacher, Sam Wood is The Gunslinger, Dave Kemp is The Don, Nic Wastell is The Rocker and Phil Martini is Slick. How did you decide on the band monikers?

(Laughs!) Well, you know, it’s all part and parcel of us getting to know each other and being part of the same project. It was an incredibly tense period of time because like I said, we all live at the 4 corners of the country so it’s very hard to get us all together at the same time. So when we do it’s very intense. When we were writing the album we spent short pockets of time together. I wrote most of the record entirely independently and would bring the ideas into the room and then we would all work on them, but it had to be done quickly because we didn’t have enough time, and actually it fed into the concept of this record because we wanted it to be vibrant and unencumbered by too much production, too much bearing thought processes. We just wanted it to be as real and as honest and direct as possible. We got to know each other incredibly well, very quickly. I’d known Nic Wastell the bass player a long time. He was in Chrome Molly and they were one of the first bands the Little Angels ever opened for. So I knew Nic very well. It goes without saying how well I knew Dave Kemp. I’ve known him for years and he and I work on many projects together so he was eschewing for the project. I got to know Phil and Sam indirectly because Sam was in a band called Treason Kings who was a young band I was producing and I recognised him as this incredible talent. Phil I didn’t know at all but we got on like a house on fire when I did meet him. I decided I wanted to talk him into being in the band. I soon quickly established a kind of plan in my head as to what I wanted to do with all of this and the videos were included in that. And it was unite easy to understand what the characters represented because each of those names definitely represents a  strong aspect of each of their personalities. So they are justifiably named because of the kinds of people that they. You can take Sam’s name, The Gunslinger, as an example, that’s a sort of very well-used term for a guitar player. I’ve heard that many people say ‘oh yeah, he’s like a six-string gunslinger’ and I wanted to take the Mickey out of all that because there are a lot of cliches that exist in the rock business that are just that: cliches that are a bit boring and a bit funny and that I find  hilarious because the reality is we are just people trying to make music. So that was the reason for that. Phil is a very slick guy! He’s extremely handsome and a very together dude. He looks great in anything and if we go and do anything he always looks shit-hot! You know, we’re all bedraggled and he looks just the same as when he stepped out in the morning! So it all had reasons and it all fed into the concept that this is us being real people. 

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

Now Wayward Sons is of course a band. Do the other band members see you as the leader? 

I think they do... to a degree! I think we often sort of say the great thing about this band is that the majority of us, aside from Sam, have been through the mill in this business a number of times, and so we all know how it ticks. Sam’s got a very mature head on young shoulders actually and he’s very smart – so you don’t get passed Mr Wood – but we all realise that bands are not democracies. The greatest bands in the world are not democracies. You’ve got to have leaders and you have to have people that force the issue through and have a focus and a direction. That direction has to come from usually 1 or 2 people. If it gets wider than that it can get extremely difficult, it becomes too watered down as an idea. There are exceptions to the rule. Look at Queen. They are one of those rare exceptions where all 4 of them contributed very, very strongly. But each of those guys wrote songs, each of them had hits, each of them contributed a certain thing that was definable about who they were. So the simple answer is that my band know that the reason they are here is because they got asked to do this record and so there is a clear leadership aspect if you like. I have such respect for the guys and I think they bring so much to this project that it would be remiss of me to not include them in the whole completion of this project and the ongoing development of this project. Because I can’t play guitar like Sam, I can’t play bass like Nic, I can’t play drums at all. And Dave is a staggeringly brilliant musician who I massively respect and appreciate. But they also recognise in turn that I’ve got the focus, I’ve got the direction, they are by-and-large my songs and it will always be my approach if you like, but that’s good because it means we are all working on the same team. So it’s been very, very easy because of that really because everyone knows where they stand and what their role is. 

2017 must have been an absolute whirlwind for the band. As well as the album release you have of course performed a handful of your own headline shows, undertaken tours with Inglorious and played festivals such as Hard Rock Hell. What was it like to finally get out there playing shows as a band and what has the audiences’ reaction been to the new songs?

It was like a baptism of fire! In a crazy way I’d sort of forgotten what it felt like to be fronting up my own band at that level. The last time that happened was with the Little Angels!  So I’ll be honest, I’d forgotten what that feels like! I’ve strode out onto the stages of the world with lots of big bands like Dio Disciples etc and I know what it feels like doing that but but I’ve forgotten what it’s like to carry that weight of responsibility on your shoulders and have to deliver on the promise. It was pretty tough, I’ve got to be honest! We went from playing to 120 people at the Louisiana in Bristol, the first show we ever did, to the next day playing the Rock and Blues festival in Derbyshire which was in front of 4000 people, to the next day playing the Ramblin’ Man to a couple of thousand people on the Rising Stage and then finishing off by playing Steelhouse. That was in front of another 4 or 5 thousand people. It was completely and utterly seat of the pants! It really was you know! But I think that actually fed into the feeling of it all. We knew we just had to throw ourselves into the deep end and see if we could swim. It was that simple. I’Il be honest, it wasn’t completely successful but I think it was successful enough to warrant people going ‘Hang on a minute. Old Tobe’s back. The band’s pretty cool. Oh I really would like to see that again’.  That’s all I cared about because we were never going to get it completely right. Our second show ever was in front of 4000 people. It’s ridiculous you know! Normally bands have a year or 6 months or something to get themselves ready and do some warmup shows and find their way through. Or if you’re a totally new band with no history whatsoever it could take 3 to 4 years to get yourself to any position, if you ever get there at all. So it was an extraordinary experience but it stood us a lot of stead because once we got the festival season out of the way, we started doing the UFO shows and we we did the tour with Inglorious, we kind of burst the bubble a bit. We knew that we had to knuckle down and get on with the job and the job was to play the music we’d made on our album to the best of our ability and the best we could. And we’d also accepted that it was going to take time to get it right. It would slowly get better and better and better. At the end of the Inglorious tour, certainly we can say hand on heart, some of those shows on the Inglorious tour were some the best gigs I’ve ever done in my career in terms of the feeling. It might not be the best musically or perfect shows but I don’t care about that. What I’m interested in is the energy and the feeling it gives in the room and how people take that energy away. It was utterly, utterly electric! It was fabulous! I couldn’t wait to get on those stages and I couldn’t wait to play with the guys, and I still feel that. 

Is it fair to say that 2017 surpassed your expectations?

Beyond anything I can describe! Unbelievable! I just didn’t know what to expect. I’d resigned myself to the fact that it was an impossible thing to determine and so as such I had to just let it happen, and we’ve continued a really strong sense of positivity about this project and it goes like this: we feel privileged to be here, we feel absolutely connected to each other as people, but we have no right to assume that we have any sense of entitlement because of what we’ve done before. We regard ourselves as a new band, we regard this music as new music. As such, we hope that people like it and if they do, then we’re delighted. If they don’t then we’re are still delighted that they turned up. So that sets the positivity and that I’m going to continue right to the very end of this band because that stood us a lot of stead. I hadn’t expected so when its turned up its been a joy. Absolutely blew the doors off. There hasn’t been a bad review! That’s entirely to do with the music. What I say to my bands when I’m producing is ‘look, put every ounce of your effort into writing the songs. Do not deviate from that plan. Write the songs, create the music, put every ounce of effort into creating that music because you cannot underestimate the importance of getting that stuff right. Do not obsess yourselves with websites, managers, agents, what gear you’ve got, what clothes your going to wear, who’s going to like you or what the reviews are going to be like because you don’t know. The only thing that matters is the music’. If you get that bit right everything will follow from it. I do think that methodology has been born out in our case in this record because if I’d have made a shit record or a substandard record or a record that really didn’t chime, then it wouldn’t have made any difference whatsoever that I’d been in the Little Angels, Nic had been in Chrome Molly, Phil had been in Tokyo Dragons and Dave had been in the Little Angels with me. It would have made no difference at all. In fact we would have been in a terrible position. So it has to be about the music.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

So it’s a new year and we can already see that 2018 is likely to be another busy year for Wayward Sons. January sees you joining Inglorious to support Steel Panther on their UK tour. Whilst Wayward Sons and Steel Panther are very different bands, there is still some synergy from the perspective of you both play uplifting, high energy rock performed with passion. Would you agree that it’s actually quite a good fit?

I don’t think that rock fans are stupid. I think they are very, very discerning. I think they make their own decisions and they have their own values, and I think they can recognise when someone like Steel Panther make the music that they do because we all know that it’s comedy and a pantomime in many ways but it can’t be denied that the guys in that band are incredible players. There’s lots of reasons why Steel Panther ended up being Steel Panther because those guys were having difficulties creating careers for themselves in contemporary music in another way and so they did it to earn a crust in fact, and to make music that they loved. And it does come across that even though Steel Panther might be a joke to a lot of people, it can’t be denied that it’s big-hearted, it’s fun, it plays in to the concept of what rock music is all about, which is dynamic, demonstrative and over the top in one sense but also it’s about musicianship, being able to carry a tune, perform and engage people. I think that’s the same for Inglorious, it’s the same for us and every rock band that’s ever existed. We all want the same things: to go out there and play our music to connect to an audience and have fun while we are doing it. I think that’s what sets us all apart from a lot of other music forms. It’s not particularly highbrow. It can be – we can be very, very serious about our music and want to make very important points like I do – but at the same time, I know when I go out and play a show, what I want to do is engage the audience with the message, energy and passion. So I think it works fantastically well on that basis alone.

Focussing on 2018, we’ve had hints of a Spring tour, hints within our conversation today that there could be new music at some point, we know that’s important to you. What can we expect this year from Wayward Sons?

My plan all along has been using 2018 as a way of getting out and playing as much as possible and we’re starting obviously, straight out of the traps, with a really good tour with Steel Panther, then playing the Winters End festival, and we are in conversation with our agents about a tour which we’ve booked for the Spring but we aren’t allowed to release details until the Steel Panther tour is over because that’s a caveat in their contract with us. So rest-assured it’s going to be about playing gigs. We’re talking to festivals at the moment, there are a few things that are really exciting that we’ve already confirmed which I can’t talk about yet. But it will be a year of playing and we are going to try and play wherever we can. We are going to try and break into Europe and we have several things in Europe through the summer into the autumn, and it won’t be the only time we are headlining in the UK. I’ve got plans for the late autumn/beginning of winter to do some more headline shows hopefully, but that will all be dependent upon how the rest of it goes. I’m not going to get ahead of myself. We’ve got to get back in the saddle again over the next couple of weeks, we’ve got to reignite the idea of Wayward Sons again and get the songs back on the radio. We are thinking about releasing some new material which was recorded in sessions from Ghosts Of Yet To Come that hasn’t been heard as yet. So we are thinking about releasing that at some point, perhaps at the same time we do the first headline tour, but that’s not a guarantee. We are just talking to Frontiers about that at the moment. So there’s lots to play for! I really want to make a success of this. I want it to be real, and for people to look on this entirely on its own merits. I don’t want it to be souped-up and over-inflated. I want it to exist because it’s good and because what we are doing is great. We’ve only just started to scratch the surface of what what we’re about and where the audience is. We’ve done well with the record sales but we haven’t even started. I believe this record has another 18 months in itself yet, but that will depend on how well it carries on. I’m very realistic about that. So there is a good chance that I will be at this point next year in the writing room, though I’ve already started writing ideas for another album. It will continue and it will grow, and I’ve already got big plans for the next record. Watch this space and let’s hope it can all move into a position where the next bit can happen and be the springboard to the next level.

As our conversation draws to a close, we reflect on Wayward Sons’ huge achievements throughout 2017 and applaud the innovative and massively creative approach they have taken. But above all, as Toby himself said, it’s all about the music. Ghosts Of Yet To Come is a staggering record and that must surely mean 2018 will be an incredible year for the band.

Find out more at www.waywardsonsband.com and check out the video for the band’s lead single Until The End below.