Nathan James, lead vocalist with rock band Inglorious, chats with Kevin Cooper about performing with Uli Jon Roth, getting drunk in New Orleans, their second album Inglorious II and their forthcoming tour of the UK.

Nathan James, front man with English based hard rock band, Inglorious, originally sang with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth.

Inglorious were formed in 2014 when James was looking for like-minded musicians that desired to make rock music in a very honest fashion. He joined up with rhythm guitarist Wil Taylor, lead guitarist Drew Lowe, bassist Colin Parkinson, and drummer Phil Beaver. After gaining attention on YouTube with their live version of Deep Purple’s classic Burn, Drew Lowe left the band and was replaced with Birmingham guitarist Jack Edwards, who was then replaced by Andreas Ericksson.

After supporting Steel Panther on their 2016 tour, Wil Taylor announced via instagram that he had left the band on December the 13th after writing and recording the second album with Inglorious. In an interesting turn of events, Drew Lowe, the band’s original guitarist, rejoined the group as Taylor’s replacement.

Whilst preparing for their forthcoming tour, Nathan took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Hi Nathan how are you?

I’m very well thank you Kevin, how are you, are you having a good day?

Thanks for asking and I am happy to say that all is good with me today and before we move on let me just thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

No problem at all, and thank you for being interested in what we are up to and wanting to talk to me.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

Life at the moment is wonderful. We are all currently having the best time ever.

The latest album Inglorious II I think that it is a great body of work. Were you happy with the fans reaction to the album?

Yes I was, absolutely. They are always the most important when it comes to new music and getting stuff out there so to have them love it like they did and buy it in such quantities to get it to the chart position that it reached, was just unbelievable. In fact the whole experience was really humbling and we are all now looking forward to getting out there on the road, playing these new songs that the fans keep tweeting about just how much they love them, so all in all it is going to be good.

You now have Drew (Lowe) back on board how does that feel?

(Laughter) it is like a really lovely leather glove. It feels perfect. In fact it is so perfect because Drew is the consummate professional. He’s a lovely bloke and he is the cousin of my bass player Colin (Parkinson) and so the vibe is fantastic. Everyone is really happy and it totally feels like it should. It feels proper.

At this moment in time I am really into Black Magic, the song not the practice or the chocolates come to think of it (laughter). Am I correct in believing that there is an interesting story behind that particular track?

(Laughter) I’m so pleased that you like that track because it is one of my favourites too. But more to the point just who the fuck have you been speaking to (laughter). I suppose that I had better tell you about the story behind that track hadn’t I. I was on tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and we were in New Orleans at the time and I actually initially wrote the song on the piano with a New Orleans kind of vibe to it. The song came about lyrically when my best friend Jodie and I visited a witch shop whilst we were there. This insane woman behind the counter started shouting at us, she was speaking in tongues and she claimed to have put a hex on us.

Then for the rest of the day really weird things happened to us the whole time that we were there. For example stupid things like a cycle fell over in front of us despite being chained to a lamp post, and for the rest of the day really random things were happening. The worst thing about the day was that I was feeling really sick at the time and had taken some codeine tablets for my headache. I forgot that I had taken the tablets and started drinking and I drank the whole day. I literally drank for eight hours straight through whilst eating some fried chicken, a few doughnuts, a plate of macaroni cheese together with all manner of other awful things (laughter).

In one of the bars that we visited I met this lovely gentleman who just so happened to be an artist and he gave me shall we say a special cigarette of dubious origin that I smoked on a balcony overlooking New Orleans (laughter). I literally do not remember a thing after that other than waking up in my hotel room, fully clothed covered in my own vomit (laughter). And I swear that all of this happened because of the woman that we first met in the shop who had put a hex onto me and my friend (laughter). It was the most bizarre day and I keep getting flashbacks to it now (laughter).

At least you managed to make your way back to your hotel room.

Only just because apparently one of the promoters put me into a taxi after I had apparently been kicked out of a night club. I can’t even remember being in a night club (laughter).

As they say it could have been worse (laughter).

(Laughter) yes it could have been much worse.

Handcuffed naked to a lamp post for example.

It’s funny that you should say that because apparently there is a picture of me from that night actually lying in the gutter pretty much holding on to a lamp post (laughter).

It’s all about rock and roll and keeping it real (laughter).

Yes it’s all very rock and rock, codeine and fried chicken (laughter).

Swiftly moving on, are you already working on the infamously difficult third album?

Yes we are and we had our first proper writing session together last week. However, prior to that the boys had already been sending me MP3’s of tracks that they have been working on individually so we have now spent a bit of time working on them and hopefully we will be turning those thoughts and ideas into full blown songs for the third album in the very near future which will be a lot of fun.

And what about the title, will you be sticking to the same theme and we will be seeing Inglorious III?

I don’t know about that but it would look nice on a t-shirt though so we shall see (laughter). I like the idea of people collecting the tour t-shirts as well as the album covers. After the fourth album they would have four t-shirts displaying Inglorious I II III and IV which would look nice I think.

Well I have to say that it worked well for Peter Gabriel didn’t it (laughter).

(Laughter) yes it did, it worked really well.

I think that he is currently up to Peter Gabriel 99 at the minute (laughter).

(Hysterical laughter) let’s just hope that we can get up to somewhere near Inglorious 99 (laughter).

You are touring the UK later this year, are you looking forward to getting the new songs out there to the fans?

Absolutely, we can’t wait to play the new songs together with the old favourites. Listen to me, old favourites, the first album was only released a year ago (laughter). It will be good to get out there and obviously this time around we have got a couple of albums worth of material which means that we can now play a ninety minute set of our own songs, and that is going to be really great fun for us.

You will be here in Nottingham on Thursday October 12th when you will be playing at the Rescue Rooms, what can we expect?

Well it is most probably going to be sweaty because it sold out in the first couple of weeks I think, so it is going to be a packed show full of lots of fun. We have got an amazing support act opening for us, Wayward Sons who are very good label mates of ours. So it is just going to be a really good night of rock and roll music. There may be a few little surprises because we are toying with the idea of incorporating an acoustic section into the set. We are thinking of playing an acoustic medley covering the songs of our heroes who have passed away over the past couple of years. So I will be in a position to honour a few of my favourite singers together with some of our favourite bands and artists who we have lost in the last couple of years. I really do think that will be a nice moment in the show for everyone to sing along to and remember those great artists with us.

Now please don’t read anything into this but I would have expected you to play Rock City over the Rescue Rooms. What is the reasoning behind that decision?

Don’t, we all wanted to play Rock City as well but the problem is that on the night of the week that we wanted to play the gig they have to kick you out of there early so that they can turn the place into a stupid club night. Apparently they turn it into a stupid pop music night for fucks sake. So that is basically why we are playing the Rescue Rooms and not the main hall at Rock City. Let’s just say that I am annoyed. We sold out the Rescue Rooms really quickly and it is our third time there now so it is obviously working which is good to know. One day we will play Rock City. When people have paid all of that money to go along and see proper live music then I think that it is a bloody rip-off to have some fucking kids come in listening to a fucking DJ.

The thing that I find frustrating is that if for some reason the band are late getting onto the stage you are only going to be getting a forty-five minute set.

I know exactly what you are saying, however, we are never late getting on stage and that is something that we pride ourselves on. We as a band want to play as many songs as possible. It’s not like we don’t enjoy doing it; we are not one of those bands who want to sit backstage and chill. Also the sooner that you get off stage the more you can drink (laughter). That is also very important especially as the singer because I can’t have a drink before the gig.

Well if you like a drink then perhaps you should have played The Bodega. They brew their own Pilsner lager and its only £2 per pint (laughter).

Really, oh that’s brilliant (laughter). But I really do feel that we will play Rock City sometime next year on our own but hey, we will see. I personally really do love that venue.

Do you enjoy your time spent here in Nottingham?

Yes I do, absolutely. This will no doubt make you laugh but I have actually played at the Theatre Royal some years ago now (laughter).

Have you really, tell me more?

I was in the Michael Jackson show Thriller Live and I sang Beat It, Dirty Diana, She’s Out Of My Life, Black And White and a couple of other Michael Jackson songs. I got to spend a week up there in Nottingham on that tour and I have to say that I fell in love with the place. I personally found it to be such a cool place and even though most of the students have such a terrible taste in music (laughter) it is really a fun night out in Nottingham. So I am looking forward to getting back up there and if we stay over that night then hopefully we will be able to get out in the town for a few beers and have a good time.

On the subject of you doing other things, what was it like performing with Uli Jon Roth?

What can I say, it was amazing and as loud as hell (laughter). Anyone who played a guitar back in the seventies, take it from me, they are loud. At least that is what I have learnt. It was so fucking loud I couldn’t hear myself on stage. It was at that stage in my career that I had to start wearing ear monitors because it was so loud. Having said that Uli is a lovely bloke, and everyone who has met him affectionately calls him the Yoda of Rock (laughter). I think that is bang on (laughter). He is so knowledgeable and so sweet he truly is a really lovely bloke.

And from loud to Spinal Tap loud; how was it opening for Steel Panther?

That was totally mental (laughter). We have been told that we had a good time; however, I have absolutely no recollection at all (laughter). It was to be honest exactly as you would expect. It’s not an act, those guys really are the real deal and they are having a great time living the dream. They drink, they party, and they have a good time. Those guys are as legitimate as it gets. They are all really nice people and we had so much fun on that tour, it was totally brilliant. As a band that tour was a huge learning curve for us, we really did learn a lot from it.

Do you enjoy getting up close and personal with the fans at your meet and greets?

One hundred percent yes. We try to come out after every show but the only times that we won’t come out is when there is a strict travel schedule that we need to adhere to. For example, if we need to get to an airport or we are booked into a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Remember at the end of the day we as a band still need to get some sleep in order to perform the next day so that is the only thing that would stop that. We love meeting people, we love having a drink, and I think that is upheld on our social media. We are all very active on social media; we try to reply to everyone, we try to give people the knowledge that they want, and in fact we try to include everyone.

I have to say that I am personally impressed with the price of your meet and greets at only £40. That to me is very reasonable.

Do you really think so, £40 to come and meet this lot I suppose it’s alright. However, having said that I wouldn’t want to pay £40 to come and meet me (laughter). I am very much a stickler at keeping the prices as low as they can possibly be because it would be so easy to put the price up and then half of the people can’t afford it and so you then have to do it for half the amount of people whilst making the same money. I don’t think that is fair. I think that it is currently at an affordable rate, it is the same price as a hoodie and so in my opinion I think yes, I think that it is alright. It is great to meet the fans, they get a proper VIP package and they get to hear us in sound check which is sometimes quite interesting (laughter). It is good fun and it is a nice thing to do.

With some of the prices of meet and greets nowadays the phrase pants down springs to mind at times.

Yes it does, I know exactly what you are saying. I will give you a perfect example of things getting totally out of all proportion. I can remember the time when I managed to get a cheeky free meet and greet with KISS. I was standing in the queue waiting with other people to get my photograph taken with the band and as you can imagine we were all really excited. I turned to one guy and said “god was this expensive, how much did you pay” and he said to me “man I have paid one thousand five hundred pounds for this”. I looked at him and thought to myself ‘you fucking what’ (laughter). I said to him “you could go on holiday for less”. In all seriousness you could go on the KISS cruise for less and still get a photograph taken with the band.

It’s even worse when you look at some of the merchandise that certain artists and bands are selling.

Really, go on, give me an example or two.

Ok let’s take Joe Bonamassa for example. If you want to start collecting Joe Bonamassa fridge magnets you are in for a treat, he has millions of the bloody things (laughter).

(Laughter) no way, really?

Yes he has and he has even branched out into the limited edition Joe Bonamassa bobbly heads (laughter).

Fuck off, really. I will have to get some of those made of me (laughter). Really, you can’t do things like that. It sounds to me like Joe has lost all sight and concept of what he is in the game for. I have to be honest and say that I think that it is such a shame. People are constantly asking us for more merch stuff, and the super fans will always be asking us for the more silly things, beanie hats, mugs, fucking place mats, mouse mats and all manner of ridiculous things. We have even been asked to produce fucking hip flasks and if we did I would honestly feel as though I was robbing the fans and totally taking the piss out of them. If you want a T-shirt buy a T-shirt, if you want a vinyl then buy a vinyl, at least it has got a use, you can listen to it, it’s our music, which is why you are at the gig in the first place. However, I think that anyone who rocks up to one of our gigs wanting to buy a stupid fucking beer holder doesn’t make any sense at all to me. I honestly feel that at times people really are taking the piss a bit.

The problem is that people no longer go to concerts to hear the music. They simply go so the next day at work they can say ‘I was there’.

I totally agree with you on that. They will put a picture up on their Facebook account saying ‘here I am’ at such and such a gig. It is all about bragging rights isn’t it and I find it all to be total bollocks.

Anyway back to you and your influences. What is it about a certain Mr Dave Coverdale that has influenced you?

That’s easy, to me Dave Coverdale is the epitome of a rock star. He really is an out and out rock star. He has swagger, he has stage presence, and back in the day he had one of the most soulful rock voices on the planet. I am a big fan of his song writing with the various great guitarist’s that he has worked with. I just love everything about him. I love just how he talks to an audience. I love his interaction with a crowd. The more that I see him now, to me, it is getting so panto, I love it. I now know exactly what it is that he is going to say and I smile to myself just before he has says it. I was actually fortunate enough to see Whitesnake in Nottingham last year.

Was that the triple header with Def Leppard and Black Star Riders?

Yes it was, what an amazing evening. Me and our drummer Phil (Beaver) went and god, it was such a great night.

What was the first record that you bought?

(Laughter) it was a cassette and it was Michael Jackson’s Earth Song.

Who did you first see performing live in concert?

Let me see, which one should I admit to (laughter). It was most probably, oh god I can’t tell you. If I tell you who it was you will have to include the fact that I was dragged there by a friend from school. Here goes, the first live concert that I went to see was Steps (laughter).

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

Wow what a question. Let me actually think about this. It was a song by Edgar Winter called Dying To Live. It has to be one of the saddest songs that I have ever heard in my entire life. It really is heart-breaking. Go and listen to it, they are the saddest lyrics that I have ever heard. The chorus is ‘why am I dying to live when I am just living to die, what I am trying to see when there is nothing in sight, what am I trying to give when no one gives me a try, why am I dying to live when I am just living to die’. Edgar wrote the song when he found out that he was ill and I just think that it a heart-breaking lyric.

Nathan on that note let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been fun. You take care and I hope to see you here in Nottingham.

It’s been lovely talking to you Kevin, you have a good day. Please do come and say hi when we get to Nottingham. Bye for now.