Dave “Bucket” Colwell is one of the most respected guitarists you haven’t heard of. The UK axe-slinger has played with everyone from Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith to hard rock legends Humble Pie and Bad Company. With that kind of pedigree, you would think that more of the public would be aware of him. That should change on August 17th when Colwell releases Guitars, Beers, and Tears – his new album under the Bucket & Co name. Featuring guests like the aforementioned Smith and members of bands like Thunder and The Quireboys, the record will surely appeal to any fan of straight-up hard rock. SMNnews spoke with Colwell and asked him about his storied career.
Dave, you have such a colorful music history so far. When you look back at everything you’ve done, it must be gratifying.
Thank you. It has been a great ride and I am hoping I can keep it going. I have had some great experiences, played with some amazing musicians and I still wake up wondering how I got here.
Which guitarists had the most impact on you early on?
Paul Kossoff, Steve Marriott & Mick Ralphs. With Paul K & Mick I loved their economic style of playing just the right notes at the right time. This adds to the passion particularly when soloing. Koss’ faster vibrato and Mick`s slower, looser style just drip emotion. With Marriott it was the raw power & dynamics of his rhythm playing which floored me the first time I saw Humble Pie at Hyde Park in the early 70s.
Since you were already playing the club circuit in England during the late ‘70s, I wanted to ask you about the punk scene. How did you feel about that scene’s “less-is-more” approach to musicianship?
Well I liked the energy, not so much the tuning – lack of – or the spitting (laughing)!
You’ve been a go-to guitarist for a slew of bigger artists throughout the last 3 decades. Do you attribute that to your diverse playing style?
I like being well prepared & love being in a band. Although 10 years younger than a couple of the bigger bands I`ve played with, I`ve always been on the scene as it were. The music business is a surprisingly close knit, small community & people get to hear & hopefully recommend other players. I guess my style is neither the classic lead guitarist or just a rhythm player, more a combination of both. I enjoy being the only guitarist in the band & sometimes it`s easier to control the dynamics making the quiet bits really quiet so the loud bits sound more powerful.
You’ve replaced some celebrated guitarists in your career. How faithful are you to the solos and little nuances they originally laid down? Do you like to stamp everything with your own flavor?
Yes pretty much, most of what I do is music I really love in a style that I play anyway. I`ve never been a session player in the sense of a producer telling me what to play.
Tell us about your upcoming solo album, Guitars, Beers and Tears. How long have you wanted to do it and was it tough to track the songs with so many different people guesting on it?
To play my songs without any restriction such as this band or that band wouldn`t do this, was fantastic. Choosing & writing the songs with certain singers in mind came together very quickly, the actual scheduling the guys proved a bit difficult as they are all in touring acts. The backing tracks were laid down in 2 weeks with Harry James (Thunder), Jaz Lochrie (Bad Company) & myself.
You have a long history with Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith and he’s one of the featured guests on Guitars, Beers and Tears. You decided to record a new version of the song “Reach Out,” which you originally wrote for Maiden in the ‘80s. What can we expect from the new version?
Well, I`ve always loved Adrian`s voice & approach. We`ve changed the feel from the Maiden version having the verses in half time which makes it groove a bit more.
When did you first meet Adrian?
We were playing the same pub circuit in the early 80`s, he was in a band called URCHIN. When I met Adrian we had so much in common with the bands we loved & always went to see each other play. We`d always jam, along with another guitarist Andy Barnett who was in Urchin also. When Adrian came back from a Maiden tour, we put together The Entire Population of Hackney, us 3 guitarists, Nicko from Maiden & our mate Martian on bass. We wrote some new songs & played a couple of shows in London. This evolved into us writing an album ASAP, with Zak Starkey taking the drum stool.
You also have Spike from The Quireboys singing on the album. He’s known for his Keith Richards-like behavior, so we wanted to see if any of that legend is true or not.
(laughing) If you mean being a true Rock Star, absolutely! He is a great artist & an incredible frontman…a troubadour!
You’re also known as a gifted songwriter and as a member of Humble Pie you wrote most of the Back on Track album back in 2001. How much of the material on this solo album did you originally write for another of your bands?
Only “Reach Out” — the rest was written for this project.
When can American fans check Bucket & Co. in live venues? Will you have guest stars jump onstage when you’re out promoting the record?
We are looking to do shows in the fall & we are planning on special guests along the way, whether they played on the album or not. I look forward to getting back out on stage and playing.
What newer bands have you been listening to this past couple of years?
I Love DAUGHTRY & liked a UK band called ROOSTER.
Cheers & thanx very much, I hope you enjoy the album!
Guitars, Beers and Tears will be out on 7/17… pre-order the album here.
By Christian A.