The New Golden Age of Piracy: An Interview with Alestorm

Since the dawn of the early 2000s a great and terrible thing was born out of Perth, Scotland.

Alestorm Booze

Cresting the tide of the success of the Pirates of Caribbean franchise, a brazenly boisterous band of brigands, purveyors of pure pirate power, and fine folk metal came to call themselves ALESTORM.  From the depths rose a new creature entirely “true Scottish pirate metal” and “bacon powered pirate core.”At the helm armed with a keytar stands Captain and vocalist Christopher Bowes. The current line up of this cut throat crew includes Dani Evans on guitars, Gareth Murdock playing the bass, Elliot Vernon on keyboards, and the drummer is Peter Alcorn.

AlestormThroughout the course of a decade sailing under the colors of Napalm Records Alestorm fired off albums such as Captain Morgan’s Revenge, Black Sails at Midnight, Back Through Time, as well as their newest release Sunset on the Golden Age. The brave conquerors of Scotland regale countless leagues of fans with grandiose adventures of terrible curses, lusty wenches, a multitude of monsters, brave battles, and enough alcohol to sink an armada. Today they continue to inspire a whole new generation of fellow pirates and rum-swilling lunatics.

The band currently wrapped up the PIRATEFEST AMERICA 2015 tour where they were joined by the likes of Swashbuckle “three dudes with pirate ‘tudes,” playing Pirate Thrash/Death Metal hailing from Central New Jersey. The Dread Crew of Oddwood forerunners of their own genre called Heavy Mahogany which blends Heavy Metal, Celtic Folk, and Progressive Rock all with acoustic instruments. Rainbowdragoneyes is a one man act by the drummer of Swashbuckle which combines death metal with primitive video game hardware to form Extreme Chiptune Dance Metal. Together the fearsome fleet sliced a booze soaked swath from coast to coast as they skirted up from Florida into Canada, onward to the Great Northwest, down the pacific coast, and into Texas.  From PIRATEFEST AMERICA Alestorm shoves off for more heroic adventures overseas in the year to come.

Jessica Hopsicker: How do you think the band would fare if you were somehow transported back to the Golden Age of Piracy?

Christopher Bowes: Bitch, take look around you, this is the “Golden Age of Piracy”.

Jessica Hopsicker: What would be your weapon of choice if confronted in battle?

Christopher Bowes: Canons, Silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: What was it that drove Alestorm to piracy in the first place?

Christopher Bowes: Again, Canons…. Silly;)

Alestorm Booze 2

Jessica Hopsicker: Was it hard to gain a foothold in the metal scene in Scotland? If so have things improved since you paved the way?


Christopher Bowes: Relax there, silly;) and maybe I’ll tell you of the time we conquered Scotland.

Jessica Hopsicker: What is your favorite drink to fight the scurvy and what word would describe your blood alcohol content?

Christopher Bowes: Rum, silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: It has been roughly a decade since the band started under the name of Battleheart, what do you attribute to Alestorm’s longevity?

Christopher Bowes: Again, Canons and stem cells….silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: Given the wealth of seafaring subject matter to draw from everything from drinking, sea monsters, wenches, and various forms of piratical punishment what would happen if god forbid the well runs dry?

Christopher Bowes: Snow blindness in cats, and Canons….. Silly 😉

Jessica Hopsicker: It appears the band has sailed the seven seas and toured all over the world, is there a place that you haven’t played at yet?

Christopher Bowes: The lost city of Duluth, the Cairo of the north…… Silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: Would you ever consider setting sail to Cincinnati, Ohio?

Christopher Bowes: At Skyline Chili, their secret ingredient is Chocolate….. Silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: What is life like on the road as a Bacon Powered Pirate Core Band?

Christopher Bowes: Bacon!!! Yum!!!

Jessica Hopsicker: How has the Piratefest America Tour been so far?

Christopher Bowes: Great! Silly;)

Christopher Bowes: How many members of the audience attend your shows dressed in piratical attire?

Christopher Bowes: No one dresses like pirates, they are pirates, silly;)

Jessica Hopsicker: What kind of new and exciting albums and events does Alestorm have on the horizon?

Christopher Bowes: More Canons!!! Silly;)

 

 

Pirate FestSHIPWRECKED AT PIRATEFEST

Rum. Rum is the reason why I threw myself headlong into an attempted car jacking without even registering the consequences before we even entered the venue. Rum is why I leapt blindly into the mosh pit forgetting my body mass compared to the rest of the guys around me and my subsequent blood alcohol content only to end up ass over tea kettle on the booze slick floor on multiple occasions. Rum is how I lost my prized pirate hat. Rum is the reason why at the end of the night about forty percent of our belongings were lost or broken and why we both woke up the next morning feeling as though we’d had been tied to the yardarm and flogged repeatedly.

It was the night of Friday the 6th of February during the mid-western leg of the Piratefest America 2015 at The World Famous Agora in Cleveland Ohio. The show featured some well known pirate bands such as Raindowdragoneyes, Swashbuckle, Dread Crew of Oddwood and of course Alestorm: A band that I’ve listened to for years and finally had a chance to see. It was ridiculously easy to get swept up in the spirit… Or spirits.

After making the five hour trip and successfully signing into our hotel room the two of us sat dressed and ready in the unplowed parking lot of the venue pregaming in the car, smoking cigarettes, and gearing up for the adventure ahead. We could only find the large bottle of Blackbeard Spiced Rum in a liquor store next to a gas station in god-knows-where Kentucky. “This rum is starting to taste good.” I said excitedly as I turned to my plus one, traveling companion, and partner in crime as he sat in the driver’s seat. “I no longer taste the burning.” That should have been the first indication it was bound to be an eventful night.

Alestorm 2As we exited the vehicle it was a last minute decision to leave my heavy winter coat in the car so we doubled back to dispose of it. Upon departing I realized I was alone. Sensing a commotion outside back by the drivers seat I turned to see a pair of thugs ganged up on my mate who was easily twice the size of them. “Give me your keys!” One of them shouted and he blurted out, “no.” It was then I was thrown into a blind rum-rage. Hissing and spitting I dove into the altercation. In a matter of minutes the street kids tore free and turned tail to run. “We cool, we cool” they muttered nervously and raised their hands in resignation at the edge of the snow covered parking lot before disappearing into the night. It wasn’t until we wove our way through the lines and I flashed my press credentials and made it inside that I realized the enormity of what had transpired and I finally came to my senses. “Wait a minute, were we just involved in a car jacking?”

Alestorm Poster“Yeah, I know the difference between a finger and a gun. I felt someone’s arms around me and my first thought was ‘why is this guy trying to hug me?’ then I was like, ‘wheres my Rossi?’ I reached behind my kilt for my gun and remembered its been a long time since I had that thing. Then out of the corner of my eye I see this flurry of skirts and one of them goes ‘oh shit!’ And they’re off running.”

“You know what that means don’t you?” I laughed, “I almost took a finger bullet for you… Hot damn, I need another drink.”

Alcohol coursed through our veins. Riding the tide of adrenaline, sweat, and the sweet seafaring songs of Rainbowdragoneyes, Swashbuckle and the Dread Crew of Oddwood, the night built up to a grand and glorious climax as the headlining act took the stage. “With a hi hi ho and a hi hi hey! We’re hoisting the flag to be free. We will steal the show, Jolly Rogers go. We are wolves of the sea!” Part way through the set I hoisted my nearly empty tankard and shouted along to the lyrics, this is the goddamned song of my people! We heroically fought our way to the front. Throughout the course of the evening chaos erupted in our wake as everywhere we turned a mosh pit broke out. Swept up in a sea of writhing appendages that belonged to people much larger than myself a fist flailed nailing my cheekbone sending me sailing into the air and I landed hard on my knee.

Alestorm 4“You okay?” my mate asked coming to my rescue and righted me as I reconstituted myself beside him.

“Yeah,” I muttered waiting for my vision to clear. My head pounded to the driving rhythm and musical madness that is Alestorm. Guided by a force far greater than myself for a brief instant of pure insanity I was compelled to jump back into the melee, but then common sense kicked in and I thought better it. “No, I think I need a break.”

“I lost my pirate hat.” I said sadly already missing the damned thing. Deep down I knew it was lost to the depths. In answer he held up his glasses to reveal a lens was punched out. “I tried looking for it.”

The rest of the night, hell most of the night, was a booze soaked blur as we left a trail flotsam and jetsam in our wake of cast off water bottles, our booty of free e-cigs and Camel coupons, and various accessories and accoutrements.

Alestorm 3“You want me to drive?” I slurred at the end of the show as we slipped, slid, and staggered in the snow slick parking lot back to the car to make our daring getaway.

“Um… no.”

Morning broke over the derelict of a city as the pale gray sun peeked through the hotel room curtains. We woke up feeling as though we were flogged, keelhauled, cast overboard in a veritable tsumami of rum, swallowed by a leviathan, regurgitated, and washed ashore on a deserted island. At first we could only communicate in pained groans. A brilliant multicolored bruise blossomed on my knee. Ironically, the Cleveland water from the hotel tap was more nauseating than the hangover. My cheekbone swelled and sternum ached from a regrettable choice of shoving the sturdy commemorative shot glass we picked up at the merch booth into my cleavage.

“I feel like I just went through a pinball machine.” My mate muttered and added with new resolve, “Alestorm is probably long gone by now. There’s nothing good left here. Let’s do the same and get the hell out of this place.” Much like the possibly flammable tap water, the city left a bad taste in his mouth. Basking in the afterglow of a magical night of misadventure we gathered ourselves together enough to make the long voyage home ready to leave the place in our rear view mirror.

Flourish 3

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