In over a decade of thrashing and rocking in their home base of South Wales, Bullet for My Valentine have learned how to craft tunes that blend classic metal riffing and soloing with ultra-clean singing and pummeling, gated rhythms. More importantly, they’ve evolved into an assured metal act with a clear-headed approach to songwriting.
Bullet’s third album, Fever, is crammed with righteous riffs and memorable melodies, with soloing that’s dominant enough to draw attention but rarely distracting or excessive. Frontman Matthew Tuck and lead guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget show tight musical chemistry throughout the tracks, delivering one solid, machine gun-style punch.
Bullet for My Valentine are playing the 2011 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, which begins August 26 in Camden, New Jersey, together with Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether, Sevendust, Art of Dying and more.
Nearing the tour kick-off, Padge checked in with Gibson.com to talk about Bullet’s penchant for classic metal, when to expect a new album and the moment he realized Bullet had “made it.”
You’re going out on the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival this fall, playing the main stage with Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether, Sevendust and more. Stoked?
It’s going to be nice, because it’s a tremendous tour of rock and roll. I think the package is the most important thing. With a lot of tours, you get the same genre. You get metal packages, or you get the rock sort of packages, but with this, you have both. So, it’s the package that I think is the most appealing thing with this tour.
What should fans expect from Bullet on the tour?
There’s lots of new stuff, actually. We’ve put together a new stage set and a new selection of different instruments, and we really want to do something fresh. So, we have lots of new stuff going on, and I think we’re the second one playing the main stage, so we want to put on a show and get things going.
Would you say Bullet for My Valentine’s music harks back to classic ’80s and ’90s metal sounds?
Oh, yeah. That’s what inspired us to start playing, so we definitely have that element in our songs and on our albums… Metallica and Dimebag Darrell were all big influences, and even Kurt Cobain, when you look at the variation between rock and metal. But, I think classic metal comes out in our music, with big melodies and guitar solos.
Was there a moment when you knew Bullet for My Valentine had made it?
Yeah, it wasn’t instant, but we knew when we were getting signed and then going on tour with Rob Zombie that this was happening. When you go on tour with someone like Zombie or play with Iron Maiden and Metallica and do shows with Ozzy, it starts to become real. Over the past eight years, we’ve pretty much played with all of our heroes. That’s a dream, actually – to play with your idols. That’s the time you realize you’ve made it.
Is there anyone left with whom you’d like to tour?
AC/DC, but they’re a different sort of music, so I don’t know if that will ever happen. [Laughs]
Would you agree Bullet for My Valentine’s sound is very guitar-driven?
Definitely. Although Matt [Tuck, lead vocals, rhythm guitar] and I really focus on vocals in addition to leads, Bullet is very guitar-driven, and it always has been. It’s one of those things we’ve always done – the heavy guitars mixed with other melodic parts. But we write for ourselves, and that’s what comes out musically.
Your current album, Fever, dropped a little over a year ago. Should fans expect a new Bullet album by 2012?
Yes, once we finish the Uproar Festival, we’re going to come home and have a break, and then start writing for a fourth album. We’ll definitely start writing this year and hope to have a new album out next year.
The album’s first single, “Your Betrayal,” is your biggest hit in the U.S. so far. Did you know that song was special when you recorded it?
It’s one of those songs that happened in 10 minutes, so you know it’s special. The riff was in our heads and running around for months and months, but we didn’t know what to do or where to go with it. But it just happened one day, and most of the songs that happen like that are special.
What’s your biggest accomplishment on Fever?
Probably that the album as a whole shows a progression of the band. We show that we’ve grown up, and we haven’t changed our sound drastically, but I think it’s the strongest Bullet album yet, and obviously we hope the next one will be even stronger. It shows that we’re going in the right direction.
Do you have any playing tips for our readers?
If you want to play fast and be accurate, slow the riff or solo down and take your time learning it. Once you get it in your head, practice it slower, and once you start to master it, speed it up and see how fast you can take it.