Fast Train Union's 'John Wetherilt'
Ottowa, Canada that
took place in July 2013.
by Glenn Milligan.
Why did you decide to call the band 'Fast Train Union'?
John: I originally came up with the name Fast Train and the guys all
really liked it as it evokes motion/movement and kind of has that 70's
coolness factor/sound. After a few days of getting use to it I started
to think that maybe a 3 word name for a band would be even cooler, ie
Grand Funk Railroad. We've all been friends for a long time but we were
all in different bands, so when Al Perrier and I decided to put this
together it was really a union of sorts so there you go "Fast Train
Union". Plus FTU has a nice ring too ( a little tongue and cheek).
are the influences of each member musically and what turned you onto
that particular role in the band?
John: Musically we're pretty diverse. Paul (drums) and I spent over
10 years working for HMV so we listened to everything, Al (bass) is
a huge Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk fan and Sean (vocals) loves the
Police, and Bad Co.. It`s funny now I come to think of it that we all
Never really analysed it before. I`m more from the Zeppelin, Boston,
Rush, Triumph, Lizzy and Schenker mold though (really anything with
great guitar work). I think that as the main song writer my past and
present influences definitely shape or guide our direction whether it`s
conscious or not. Musically we all seem to mesh really well. I think
that Sean`s voice adds a level of trueness to our music as his timbre
is very organic. Whether it`s Al or myself bringing in idea`s every
member has complete autonomy for their own parts. I think this gives
us a lot of individual breathing room.
is Ottowa, Canada like as an area for a band to come from and how did
the area influence you musically?
John: Coming from Ottawa (the capital city of Canada), we`re use to
a very reserved music community ( I think it`s all the government workers).
In reality though the music scene is diverse with more venues opening
for live acts every year. The bands that gig in Ottawa usually all play
original music exclusively which has led to a decent underground scene.
Our current favourite club is the Brass Monkey (great sound system,
great stage and a great layout for the audience. So far we`ve only done
headlining shows around Ottawa but if the right support gig tour came
up I`m sure we`d jump at it. In the past members of FTU have opened
for band such as Exciter, Alias (members of Heart and Sheriff), Trooper,
Blue Rodeo and Rik Emmett (Triumph).
did the front cover of the 'II' album come to be and where were the
pictures taken and when?
John: The album cover was done by a really good friend of Paul`s (Dan
Durocher). He`s done some amazing covers for many bands including `Live``
(they`ve sold hundreds of thousands of CD`s in North America). We came
up with a general concept and after a few tries he nailed it. We think
it`s a great representation of what lies beneath the cover. I think
he did it all on photoshop. Pretty amazing.
Who is 'Alethia and what's the influence behind the song?
John: Aletheia..... oh yes... an ancient Greek word that personifies
truth but used as that illusive perfect woman guiding with implied sincerity.
I actually thought it would be a great name for a song and there you
go! Don`t think I`ve ever dated an Aletheia though....
influenced the epic 'Fly Until Tomorrow' and what made you decide to
start the song with a very bluesy like riff?
John: Fly Until Tomorrow- I came up with that initial riff when we were
recording our first album. I thought it was a great riff and made sure
to put it aside for FTU II. When I started working on it again after
the 1st cd was done it all just kind of fell into place. I always had
that intro idea with the guitar and vocals coming through an old radio
and then breaking out with the main riff. I was happy how that turned
is your favourite song on the 'II' album and why and what influenced
John: I think my personal fav. on the album is the Truth. For me it
feels like the most polished song and lyrically just gets me, especially
the chorus (even after hearing it probably 100 times). I think it has
all my favourite elements of a good song, and the guitar solo could
be one of my favourites as well.
When will you be commencing work on the next album and what have got
ready for it so far?
John: Looks like we will be going into the studio this winter to start
work on our 3rd cd. If it`s any indication learning from our past experience
it should be done late 2014. I already have about 7 songs done and I
know the other guys have a few ready so hopefully we can start preproduction
in September. We`ve already started to rehearse one of my new songs`Falling
Down` and it`s coming along nicely already.
long did the first two albums take to record?
John: The first 2 cd`s took us about a year and a half from start to
we expect to see 'Fast Train Union' play over here in the UK & Europe
and if so when?
John: Unfortunately we won`t be in the U.K. any time soon, unless we
get some big festival show lined up. Who knows.... I would love to play
in the U.K!!!
goes through your minds when you hear your songs on various internet
John: I have to say that the best feeling in the world is hearing your
music on the radio, or seeing that one of your songs was downloaded
100 times or having someone order your cd from the website. To have
anybody connect with your music in some way is the best feeling in the
world. Music is a personal journey but knowing that someone in Australia,
or Brazil, or the Netherlands, or the U.K., or the U.S.A. is listening
to your music validates you as a musician and definitely legitimizes
what you love and do. I think that the musical landscape is more tolerant
for and perhaps hungrier for our style of 70-80`s riff guitar, NWOBHM
outside of Canada. I think our fanbase is definitely more global.
cool road stories do you have that are worth talking about that you
can actually talk about?
John: I do have some great road stories, but I`ll save those for some
point if we ever meet in person:) I can tell you that when Metallica
came 2 years ago we got to meet the band and gave them a few copies
of FTU 1. Not sure if they listened to them or not, but Lars totally
busted us on the track order and names. He asked me what my fav. song
was I and I told him 'Wasted TIme'. He then asked me what track it was
on the CD, and of course I got it wrong. Very embarrassing. He totally
loved seeing me squirm. It`s funny now looking back at it. I should
have known all the songs and the track numbers for them. Oh well, lesson
would you like to say to fans of the band and the readership of Metalliville
who have read this interview?
John: To all the Metallville fans that read our interview, THANK YOU,
and if you like multi-layered guitar rock a la 70` 80`s scene please
check us out www.fasttrainunion.com
thanks for that John!!