When Red Rum Club takes the stage at the 250-person-capacity Elsewhere Zone One on Saturday night, the Liverpool band will be a long way from home, and not just geographically. Just last month, the six-piece group headlined the arena in its northwest England town, and sold out the 11,000-seater.

“The night was special. I’ll never forget it and I don’t think any of the thousands who were in that room will either,” singer Fran Doran says via email. “There is a huge bucket list moment. I don’t quite think it’s sunken in yet what we achieved that night. But our initial response when we come off stage when we got back to the dressing room and looked at each other was control and comfort. We felt at home on an arena stage. Bring on the next one.”

The six-piece pop rockers are touring in support of their fourth album, “Western Approaches,” released in February. It is an album cycle that has seen Red Rum Club, which already had a following due to its energetic live shows, raise its star profile, playing larger rooms in the UK and even getting the attention of Elton John, who had the band on his “Rocket Hour” show in March. We chatted with Doran about all of that and more.

How did you feel when Elton John had you guys on his show and had some very positive things to say about the band?

It didn’t feel real. From the moment we got the email I was waiting for someone to prank us or the whole thing to fall through. We rushed off stage in Glasgow to a quiet place to do the interview and was in shock and awe when he appeared on our screen and said our names. A real pinch-me moment. Do you know how hard it is to stay sober in Glasgow? I hope Elton knows what sacrifices we made to make the interview broadcast-worthy.

How do you feel “Western Approaches” represents a change or progression from your previous albums?

I think “Western Approaches” represents a progression to how we record. In the past, maybe we’ve thought about things too much. This time recording “Western Approaches” we focused a lot more on the feel. The instrumentation, the sounds and delivery just had to be real. If the song was making us feel something we didn’t stress too much about anything else.

What was the writing process for this album? Are there primary writers in the band?

This album was defined by the location in which the songs come together. We moved studios from a city centre gentrified area with coffee shops and bars to northern Docklands of Liverpool. Tom [Williams], who usually brings in the ideas, would meet with the rest of us in our new cold, rat-infested warehouse. I speak to Tom about the ideas behind each song sometimes that were meaningful to me and Michael [McDermott] would produce demos with the themes and surroundings in mind.

Americans don’t know much about Liverpool besides the Beatles. What are some important aspects about the city?

Liverpool is very much a blue collar town in the far northwest of England. We often feel closer to Ireland than we do London. All amazing industrial industries have dwindled yet an amazing clash of people, cultures, sports and music have taken their place. Now Liverpool is known for it sporting clubs and icons, progressive culture and political views, its musical influence on the world and its amazing people and nightlife. Oh yeah, we’re funny as well.

How did Liverpool have an influence on the early days of the band? And on “Western Approaches?”

We probably took Liverpool’s musical heritage for granted when we were grow up. It was very normal for us to pick up a guitar and join a band when we were teenagers. It’s only in retrospect that we realise it was because we live in Liverpool and there were so many inspiring bands from the city that had come before us. They made us believe it was a path in life we could take. The band has taken us all over the world, countless UK [shows],  to festivals all over Europe and across the pond to the USA. Yet “Western Approaches” is very Liverpool-focused. The stories are about the people and the areas of the album and the artistic direction all inspires by the nautical history of our home city.

When the band started, what were some artists you all admired or were influenced by?

The first band I ever got into and felt like they were my band was the Arctic Monkeys. another northern group of lads. They were the points of the arrow that pierce my skin. And bands like Kings of Leon, The Strokes, The Zutons, The Coral followed to infiltrate my being.

You did your first American headline tour in 2022. How did that experience compare with touring the UK?

It’s safe to say our first us tour was more enjoyable than probably the first two years of gigging as Red Rum Club in the UK. The weather was great and the honour of travelling across the amazing country made us smile the whole tour through. But the shows are also awesome as the US people are so ready to have a good time. They feel like our type of fans.

Do you have any particular stories or memories about being in New York?

Our tour bus crashed three times in 24 hours. We hit a bridge in Brooklyn, hit a barrier in front of a bar that people were outside drinking and we hit a guy’s car in Manhattan and he got out shouting and screaming at our driver, Bill. We shamefully jumped off the bus and walked away leaving poor old Bill to deal with the situation. Sorry Bill.

What are you hoping to accomplish with this US tour?

We don’t like to put any pressure ahead of any tour, especially in America as we know we are small fish in a very big pond. We will be happy just to make some memories, maybe get people singing and dancing. If we get an SNL invite that’ll do too.

I can’t think of another band that’s somewhat in your genre, besides James, that has a trumpet. Can you describe what the trumpet adds to your band’s sound?

The trumpet is ear-catching. There is no way you can ignore it. I suppose it’s the filling and the icing of the cake. I don’t mind being the cherry. We’ve struggled for years to define our sound and genre.

How was your experience opening for The 1975?

Summer Well Festival, Bucharest, Romania. We didn’t see The 1975 all day. We were actively hunting them down backstage. Walking past their dressing room, acting cool, finally come to fruition. An hour before they were due on stage we managed to “accidentally” bump into them in the hallway and they invited us into their dressing room. Spent a good half an hour chatting to Matt and George. Great guys. The show was off the scale.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year after the US tour? Are there any festival dates you are anticipating?

Lots of UK festivals, a trip to Europe and hopefully, all being good, another trip to the US of A. We can’t get enough of your truck stops and Denny’s.

Is there anything I didn’t ask about that you’d like readers to know?

We’re really good live and like to drink beer and make new friends so come to one of our gigs.

Leave a Reply