Kieran Robertson: On Tour With Geoff Tate and Living The Dream
At 18 years old, Kieran Robertson has released an EP entitled In The Name Of Vanity – and as a twist of fate would have it, this Glasgow-based artist has also found himself on the road as a touring guitarist for the legendary Geoff Tate of Queensryche fame. One of the stops on The Whole Acoustic Story Tour would at be The Rose in Pasadena, where Geoff Tate and band unveiled an absolutely stunning set of tunes – all performed with acoustic based instruments complimenting Tate’s towering vocals. Prior to the show, we caught up with Kieran Robertson to find out more his standout solo album as well as touring across the country with one of the finest vocalists on the planet. Read on and live the dream with Kieran Robertson…
How is the tour with Geoff Tate been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been phenomenal. Getting to see America with one of my heroes is just insane and I’d say the highlight so far, I mean, just to go to Los Angeles. Me and Geoff went to Universal studios and played in New York City which is always phenomenal, so it’s been going amazing. I’m loving it.
How did you wind up touring with Geoff Tate?
I have no idea. A strange turn of events. My dad is a promoter and he promoted his show in Glasgow. So I came along to the show just as a fan because I love Queensryche, I love the old stuff, so I went and got talking to Geoff’s daughter, Emily. I was really friendly with her and then basically they needed a guitar player a month or two later. I had already done some songwriting for Emily, so I wrote some songs so they knew what I could do and what I was capable of. I just got a message going, “we need a guitar player do you want to come out to the US for three months?” I was like, “yup.” They were like, “cool – you’re leave on Friday.” I just had to pack my bags, quit my job and fly out here. So a strange turn of events.
Is this your first time here in The States?
Not my first time. It’s my first time playing in The States, but I’ve been to New York and LA, Florida, all the capitals of places on a family holiday. But getting to see places like Memphis and Nashville is really cool.
What are your impressions of Los Angeles?
I love LA. This is where I want to live. The Sunset Strip. I love bands like Motley Crue, I love that whole 8’0s thing too. Tomorrow, I’m going to lunch with Emily at The Rainbow. I love doing all that stuff. You’re walking down the street and you’re like, oh, Nikki Sixx worked here. I love LA. It’s insane.
What has it been like to play all these classic Queensryche songs acoustic?
Difficult. I had about four days to learn Queensryche songs and Geoff Tate songs and then they’re not the easiest stuff to play. They are phenomenal musicians. It’s been so much fun and so challenging, I feel it really improves my guitar playing and my singing as well. Singing along with Geoff being able to get these sounds – doing a harmony with – he’s always bang on so you have to be bang on and perfect. It’s been awesome. It’s quite funny, some guitarists are at the show and they just stare and scrutinize every movement to make sure you’re playing it the right way. It’s a lot of pressure but I love it, dream job.
Where are you based and what is your local music scene like there?
I’m based out of Glasgow. I spend a lot of time in Berlin. Most of this year I’ll be in Seattle with Emily. I’m staying at Geoff’s, so I’ll be in Seattle. But I suppose the place I’m based in is Glasgow. The music scene in Glasgow. The really, really heavy stuff seems to be popular. Like, hardcore bands, screamo stuff. The 80s stuff isn’t as popular. Guys wearing makeup doesn’t seem to go down too well either. Glasgow got its own vibe about it and it’s cool.
Is there any overall story or concept behind your album In The Name Of Vanity?
Yeah, someone actually said it to me as an insult. Somebody said “everything you do is in the name of vanity.” So I liked it, I stole it.
Select any two songs from that and what inspired the lyrics for you?
I think the whole album is, honest, about females, the whole album. Two songs: “Freak” is an interesting one because that’s about a party that I don’t really remember too much of. All I can string together, oh that’d be a good song title. That party actually ended up with a girl getting my name tattooed on her ass. Gotta write a song about that.
“My Everything” as well. That was about a girl, that is probably the most honest song I’ve ever wrote. That was a real serious “I wrote that song for you,” and she got “oh that’s cool but see ya later.” That song, yeah.
How close are you to writing and recording new material?
I’ve got my Macbook setup backstage there and I’m sitting and recording, getting it out. I’m making an album for Jeff’s daughter. She’s putting out an album, and then I’ve got my own album. I’ve got about 14 tracks for the new album, kinda demo’d. But the way I write, I write a lot of songs and “I like that, don’t like that.” It’s weird taking songs that have been around for a while and changing them. The new album’s definitely more modern sounding, a lot more synths.
If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past. Who and why?
Because my business mind is thinking, all these bands that would get me more fans. But then my minds like, I’d love to fucking open for Motley Crue or KISS. Like generally that’s what I would have said. All the 80’s bands. If I could open up for any, I guess, it’d have to be Motley. I’d just love to be Marilyn Manson’s best friend.
Will we ever see you doing any solo shows here in The States?
I hope so. We’ve worked with our management company out here about CB Entertainment, we’re actually planning an American tour for next year. I’m doing this first and I’ve got a lot more stuff coming up now. I’d really love to play out here, just a tour, love to play LA with my own band. That’s kind of a bucket list thing. Play The Whisky with my own band.
Will you tour with Emily as well?
Yeah, we will.
The Queen of England invites you to a Royal Command Performance to play one song for her and her guests. What song would you play and why?
The Queen of England can fuck off. And that’s on the record. Sorry, not gonna play for The Queen. [laughs] Kidding, if I had to play something for The Queen. What would I play for The Queen? I don’t know. I’ve never given it much thought. I’d probably play something really offensive – something really funny that’d give her a heart attack.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
It’d be jelly filled because it’s hard on the outside but soft and meaningful on the inside. That’s pretty good on the spot, right? Haha. Jelly filled donut, that’s what I’d be.
Do you have any messages for people reading this right now who should check your music out?
They can go to the Facebook Page. Also there is the album – it’s out on Spotify, iTunes and you can also order actual copies at VMerchendise.com. Buy some t shirts as well because I need to eat and food is good. Thank you guys for listening.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
Kieran Robertson on Facebook