This gritty 5-peice will hit you hard with all they’ve got from get go, with a Live performance that not only leaves you shell shocked, but fighting the crowd for your own pole position amongst a sea of heads at every gig, as they let you have it, raw, dirty and in your face, and not letting go of you until they are satisfied you have had your fill.
Their stage presence dominates every venue, leaving you climbing the walls and punching the air for more. Once in the company of Rhabstallion, you will witness, mind blowing crunching riffs, solid powerful drums and baselines, laced with hard gritty vocals as they prey on your very soul from the footlights.
Past and present, Rhabstallion have performed a great many venues and festivals such as Bradford’s St Georges Hall, The New Electric Warriors Tour, Lowestoft Pier, Huddersfield’s Polytechnic, Bradford University’s Great Hall, recording live for the BBC including a sell-out show at the St Georges Hall, beating Wishbone Ash who had played there played there only the week earlier.
Over the years, the lads have had the pleasure of sharing stages with well known acts of the day, including Son of a Bitch, Saxon, OD, Saxon, Diamond Head, Hanoi Rocks, Stampede and Trust, whose drummer Nicko McBrain went on to join Iron Maiden. Along the way, they have appeared on many TV shows and in national media features, dominating stages wherever they went.
Since 2018, the boys have played throughout the UK, from large bars with a 200+ capacity, to festivals such as Nightrain in Bradford, Brofest at the Newcastle University, Mearfest in Slough and are currently in the lineup for The Cambridge Rock Festival 2021 with their original a line-up consisting of – Andy Wood – Lead Vocals/Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Stuart Toddington – Lead + Rhythm Guitars, David Thompson – Lead/Rhythm/Acoustic Guitars, Graham Hooper – Bass Guitar and Jack Himsworth on Drums.
But from the very start of this band, the fire was stoked by some very influential inspirations forming the nucleus deep within.
Andy, joined in 81-84, rejoining in 2018 to present with Free, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Judas Priest setting the standard within his performance that you still hear today.
Stuart, stepped up in 79-84, rejoining in 2018 to present, and cut his teeth with influences from Saxon, Chuck Berry and AC DC.
David, joined in 79-84, rejoining in 2018 to present, leaning on Michael Schenker, Status Quo and Keith Urban to tailor his craft.
Graham, stepped into the fray in 79-84, also rejoining in 2018 to present, mentored by Deep Purple, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden over the years.
Jack, first sat on the riser from 79-81, rejoining in 2018 to present, and has pounded the skins over the years with Rush,
Ian Paice and Led Zeppelin by his side.
As a band, the member’s influences are allowed to breathe, for what comes out at the end of a session is what they get, and needs to be honest and have feeling, as a number of their latest tracks demonstrate.
“We missed out on a record contract first time around, and whilst it took a while to get over the disappointment of not sealing a deal at that time, the determination and love for music was never diminished.
After many years following separate musical interests, the opportunity arose in 2018 to put the band back together, nobody needed a second thought. From the first rehearsal in a cold bleak Yorkshire mill in January 2018, the only thing on our minds was get back on a stage and play – fast, furious and Loud”.
So with that said, I went on to ask what the meaning was behind the band name, they explained;
“Rhabstallion was originally Stallion but on hearing of another band had already bagged it, we decided to do what a lot of the other bands were doing add something to it Like, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard etc. So on a beer assisted night Stallion became Rapcallion, then Rabstallion, and one more beer later it was Rhabstallion, otherwise known as The Rhabs.
I followed this up by asking what they have learnt about themselves on their journey so far in the music industry, they went on to add;
“I think that we pretty much have the measure of each other these days, and learnt that when something is not going well, we just back off, revisit or come back to it at a different time, because in the cold light of day, everything seems better and our friendship survives”.
I went on to ask about their songwriting process, and how they would overcome any creative blocks, they explained;
“Because we have so much experience and such an eclectic mix of ideas, songwriting is a joy. Dave and Andy are prolific writers, but the input from the whole band in the rehearsal room is the key, and we try to keep it like a family with all options explored.
Dave is our Musical Director, and has a wealth of experience in songwriting and arrangements and gets the best out of us all.
As for creative blocks, it’s never been a problem, we don’t think about it, just let it flow”.
Ever intrigued, I asked the band if they had the same persona on and off stage, they went on to tell me;
“I would say yes to that. Stuart is the quiet wordsmith amongst us, Andy is mad as a box of frogs, but I mean that in a good way, he is the youngest member and his enthusiasm and exuberance shines through strong and bright. David and Graham like the cut and thrust of playing to a live audiences, feeding off the atmosphere, whilst Jack beats the hell out of his drums, gets a beer and smiles. What I would say is that Rhabstallion are most comfortable whilst playing Live and always have been”.
Finally, I asked them what they enjoy most about being in the band, and if there was anything they wished they had known before starting their career in music, they went on to say;
“Everything apart from when we were our own D I Y Roadies, getting back to HQ unloading the gear and hitting bed at an unearthly hours, that is the hard part, but again the reward of getting on stage again makes all that disappear.
Having all the contact numbers required to try and make a breakthrough into the industry, that would have been very useful in the early years. But hey ho, not to worry, life has not treated us that badly”.
“We would love to talk to you at one of our shows, however with playing out of the question at the moment because of Covid restrictions please visit our website and sign up to join the Rhabs family email list so we can keep you up to date on our activities and show dates. It is you the audience that make the show, we certainly appreciate that and would love to meet you all”.
So why not clear a space in your collection and give Rhabstallion a try for 2021.
For any pre-existing fans, this is your chance to broaden that collection again and join them Back In The Saddle.
© Stargazer Music Magazine 2020
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