Five Bands That Changed My Life: Simon Humphries of Failsafe
U.K. melodic rockers Failsafe have spent the better part of the last four years touring throughout Europe. Their travels have found the quintet sharing stages with everyone from Set Your Goals and Gallows to Paramore and Twin Atlantic.
After releasing two successful albums, Failsafe has returned with Routines, their latest collection of dynamic pop melodies and post-hardcore informed guitar hooks. Signed to Hawthorne Heights‘ Cardboard Empire Records, Routines is available now.
To celebrate the album’s release, Noisecreep asked Failsafe guitarist Simon Humphries for a list of the five bands that changed his life. Check out his eclectic list below!
“I was about 13 or 14 at school when I first started really listening and getting into music and more specifically indie rock and Brit pop which I guess was quite popular at the time. My younger brother had a friend from school called Rob (Catlow, Failsafe Drummer) who I started hanging out more and more with and probably introduced me to a lot of cool music via his older sister Vicki’s massive CD collection. We started listening to stuff like Oasis, Blur, Mansun, Ash, Shed Seven and our first gig was to see The Bluetones at Preston Guild Hall which was good but it was nothing in comparison to when we went to watch Reef a week later at the same venue! They were indie rock and maybe relatively tame now but at the time it had so much more energy than I was used to. They played a blinder and the atmosphere was amazing, it totally captivated me and I think I wanted to learn how to play the guitar from that point onwards. Both Replenish and Glow are great albums.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers
“I was around 15 when I started learning how to play the guitar and went to my first festival which was Leeds Festival 1999. Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined the last night on the main stage. I’d been listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik a lot and in a way had a similar sort of funky rock sound to Reef but just more! Heavier, rockier and more funky in places but then a lot softer and more melancholic in places too and as a guitarist John Frusciante was totally on top of his game. Songs, riffs, solos, interesting chords…for me it was all there. Then I saw them play and I’d never seen a show like it, from the stage set up and backdrop to how good they were and how good the set was and the improvised jams between Frusciante and Flea. John Frusciante is probably the closest thing I have to having a musical hero and his playing totally inspired me and still does.”
“I got into the Foo Fighters through hearing them at a friend’s house not long after hearing the Chili’s and quickly bought The Colour and The Shape I loved the album but really loved the stuff like “Monkey Wrench” that was just fast, direct and in your face and was almost the stop gap between the Rock and Indie stuff I’d been listening to and getting into more aggressive rock and punk. I saw them the next year at Leeds Festival 2000 where they played third from headliner on the main stage on the first night but they totally punished the bands that went on afterwards (Primal Scream and Oasis) and every time I’ve seen them they’ve never faltered and always been amazing.”
“I don’t feel too cool bringing this band up as they’re pretty embarrassing to listen to now, and they’ve always been pretty ropey live, but If it wasn’t for a copy of Dude Ranch that I borrowed from Rob’s sister Vicki on cassette in the last year of school then I probably wouldn’t be into half the bands I listen to now. It was really fast and pretty raw but was melodic and catchy as well and because of that album I eventually started listening to other punk bands and stuff like Green Day, Millencolin, Alkaline Trio, Rancid, NOFX, and older stuff from my dad’s vinyl collection like The Jam, The Clash, Ramones and eventually through certain degrees of separation, led to me checking out bands like Thrice, Boy Sets Fire and Hot Water Music. Listening to all these bands also had a big impact on my guitar playing, lots of power chords, aggression and playing fast!”
“I first got into Rx Bandits through listening to other bands that were on the same label as them (Drive Thru Records). Stuff like Allister, New Found Glory, Homegrown and The Early November but it was Rx Bandits and their album Progress that really got my attention and changed the way I looked at music really. They were combining so many different styles from punk to hardcore, to reggae and ska to rock and the song structures were so interesting, it made me look at music and writing music in a totally different way. Then when I didn’t think they could really top it, they went and totally smashed it again with The Resignation which even had elements of jazz, soul and classic and prog rock. Watching them play was also different because they didn’t really play big gigs compared to the aforementioned bands but mostly intimate places but still totally blew me away with their songs, musicianship and DIY ethic which influenced Failsafe a great deal. Failsafe were lucky enough to play some gigs with them before they split up which was a proud moment and for me, trying to learn their songs through College and Uni both influenced me and made me into the guitar player I am today.”
Failsafe’s Routines album is available now via Cardboard Empire Records at this link.