INTERVIEW WITH DHANI MANSWORTH AND RICK NEWMAN OF THE TREATMENT
Date: February 15, 2016
AFTER TWO STELLAR ALBUMS (‘THIS MIGHT HURT’ AND ‘RUNNING WITH THE DOGS’) AND TOURING ALL OVER THE WORLD, THE TREATMENT GOT THE BAD NEWS THAT THEIR LEAD SINGER MATT JONES WAS LEAVING THE BAND. IN ADDITION, THE GROUP HAD BEEN HAVING DIFFICULTIES PERMANENTLY FILLING ITS SECOND GUITARIST POSITION. THE TREATMENT RECRUITED SINGER MITCHEL EMMS AND GUITARIST TAG GREY’S YOUNGER BROTHER TAO MORE THAN SIX MONTHS AGO, AND NOW THE REVAMPED LINE-UP IS SET TO RELEASE A NEW ALBUM ENTITLED ‘GENERATION ME’ ON MARCH 18, 2016. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH THE RHYTHM SECTION OF THE BAND — DRUMMER DHANI MANSWORTH AND BASSIST RICK ‘SWOGGLE’ NEWMAN — TO CANDIDLY DISCUSS WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING WITH THE BAND, THE NEW ALBUM AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BRITISH ROCKERS.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on your new upcoming album ‘Generation Me.’ We will definitely be talking about that but first I wanted to back up a bit and talk about your not so recent line-up changes now. What were the reasons for Matt Jones’ departure back in March 2015 and how long did you know that things weren’t right for him before he left?
Dhani Mansworth: It was January 2015 and everything was going great for us. We were just about to head out on a headline tour through Europe and then travel to Australia to play Soundwave Festival. We had just all got back together after having a short break for Christmas when Matt told us that his heart wasn’t in it any more. Things were starting to get more serious for him and his girlfriend, and he decided that he wanted to settle down, get a normal job and get his own place. Rock and roll is the greatest thing to be involved in in the world, but it has its ups and downs. If your heart isn’t 100 percent in it, then there’s no point in persevering with it. We demand 100 percent effort and dedication, and Matt just couldn’t give us that any more. This being said, there are no hard feelings and we respect his decision.
Sleaze Roxx: When you found out that Matt was going to leave the band, and knowing how important a lead singer can be to a band’s sound, were there any thoughts on stopping the band and perhaps starting a new band?
Rick Newman: Absolutely not. As soon as Matt had informed us of his decision, our first conversation was about who we could get to replace Matt. We are all very driven and dedicated characters with one goal in mind. A bump in the road like this was never going to make us give up.
Sleaze Roxx: What was the process like to find Mitchel Emms as the new lead singer?
Rick Newman: Like I mentioned before, the search for the singer to replace Matt began immediately. Finding Mitchel was actually very easy and stress free. Dhani googled ‘UK Rock Singer,’ and a video of Mitchel singing was the first thing that came up. Once we heard him, we knew we had to get him down for an audition. We sent him a message, he came down, he sang two tunes with us and we knew he was our guy. He was the only person we ever looked at and ever auditioned. We knew he was our guy. Not only had we found a great replacement for Matt, we had found a guy that betters the entire sound of the band.
Sleaze Roxx: The Treatment also had its share of Spinal Tap moments with the lead guitar position since Ben Brookland, Jake Pattinson, Fabian Dammers and now Tao Grey have held the guitarist position in the last two years [laughs]. Perhaps I even missed someone [laughs]? Why all the changes with your lead guitarist position?
Dhani Mansworth: Quite simply, it is really tough to find somebody that is a good enough player, and also brings the stage craft and live experience that we need. A lot of people like the sound of being in a touring rock band, and talk a good game, but when the realities of being on the road come to life, some people are simply not tough enough to handle it. We were never really happy with the lead guitar position until Tag took over the reigns. Tao wasn’t old enough to join us when we first started, but now he has joined us, the line-up feels complete. It would seem the other guitar players were simply keeping his seat warm until Tao came of age.
Sleaze Roxx: It was reported that Ben [Brookland] had left The Treatment to take care of his ailing father. Was there any consideration in bringing Ben back in the band once his father passed away?
Rick Newman: I think looking back, Ben had probably decided that he wanted to leave the band long before his father passed away. Again, like Matt, I don’t think his heart was really in it as his circumstances had changed. I think this was probably the deciding factor for his decision to move on.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you end up selecting Tao to be the the band’s next guitarist?
Dhani Mansworth: I first suggested the idea of giving Tao an audition. We’d obviously know him for years through Tag and he had just recently turned 18. Most importantly, he’s a great guy and a killer guitar player. When I mentioned it to Tag, he said it was a bad idea, and we’ve never let him live it down since! Thankfully, it’s really worked out well, and again like when Mitchel joined, it’s taken the band to the next level. He’s added that extra dimension we were missing with the live show. Make no mistake, Tao is the real deal.
Sleaze Roxx: How is it having the Grey siblings in the band?
Rick Newman: To be honest, they actually get on really well. Off stage, they are both so laid back, and almost carbon copies of each other. We all live in the same house together, and thankfully it’s not Dhani and his brother that are in the same band. That would be World War III! Rock has a great history of having brothers in bands, and we’re very happy to have our very own toxic twins. Rock and roll obviously runs through the Grey family’s blood!
Sleaze Roxx: It’s been at least seven months now that you’ve had Mitchel and Tao in the band. How have they fit in and how much input and contributing did they provide for the new album?
Dhani Mansworth: As they both joined quite late, most of the album was already written. But saying that, Tao’s guitar playing and Mitchel’s vocals have obviously had a massive impact on the way this album has turned out. They have both brought in a huge amount of energy with them, and you can definitely feel that when you listen to ‘Generation Me.’ As we were mixing the record, we could really hear the difference from our last two albums. The energy levels were much higher, and Mitchel’s vocals seemed to fit our sound perfectly. Mitchel’s voice has also allowed us to vary the sound of the material on the album more than we have been able to in the past.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve only heard the two released tracks [“Let It Begin” and “The Devil”] from ‘Generation Me’ — great songs by the way — but it sounds like The Treatment has not missed a beat with the two new band members? How would you compare the songs on ‘Generation Me’ to your previous album “Running With The Dogs?’
Dhani Mansworth: I think we have way surpassed what we did with ‘Running With The Dogs.’ Like it was mentioned earlier, the energy levels have gone up tenfold on ‘Generation Me.’ We’ve made the album that we’ve always wanted to make. A real, gritty, high energy rock and roll album. It’s the same Treatment sound, but in our honest opinion, much much better in every way! Mitchel joining has also given us the opportunity to play around with some more melodious vocal melodies. One song that comes to mind is ‘Backseat Heartbeat.’ That song is a hard edged ballad, with melodies that we wouldn’t dream of using with our last line-up. We really cannot wait for you all to hear the album!
Sleaze Roxx: What was the recoding process like for ‘Generation Me’ compared to your two previous albums?
Rick Newman: Previously, we have multi-tracked during the recording process, and been relatively happy with the results. However on this album, we wanted to do something completely different. We’re all obviously massive fans of AC/DC, and our favourite albums were all the early Bon Scott era albums — ‘Dirty Deeds’, ‘High Voltage’, ‘Powerage’, etc… All of those albums were recorded the old school way. Getting the guys together in the room, turning the amps up loud and playing the songs the way they’re meant to be played — raw, live and loud! We took on that old school approach for ‘Generation Me’ and recorded all the bare bones of the album live. The drums, bass, and rhythm guitars were all recorded this way, and then we overdubbed the vocals and lead guitars. We are all so happy with the results of doing it this way! Like we mentioned a few times, the energy levels are through the roof, and we will definitely be sticking to this method of recording in future.
Sleaze Roxx: What are each of your favorite songs on ‘Generation Me’ and why?
Dhani Mansworth: My personal favourite song on the album is “Tell Us The Truth.” It’s a high tempo rocker a la Motörhead, and we absolutely cannot wait to play this one live. Most importantly though, I finally got to use double bass drums again! I haven’t recorded a classic double bass drum beat since “Coldest Place On Earth” and that was five years ago! I was getting double bass drum withdrawals!
Rick Newman: My favourite track on the album is “Bloodsucker.” We’ve been playing that song live for almost a year now and it always goes down a storm, so I was really excited about finally recording it. It’s a down tuned, groover that always gets the heads banging live. The bass and drums really drive the track which is always fun for me and the opening riff is also what I believe to be one of our finest to date.
Sleaze Roxx: In the fall, you had the opportunity to tour with W.A.S.P.. How was that tour and what would you say you learned from Blackie Lawless?
Dhani Mansworth: To be perfectly honest, before the tour, all we had heard was horror stories about Blackie Lawless. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the stories of support bands being treated terribly, but he was totally cool with us. He even came in to watch us soundcheck a couple of times. This was the first proper tour we’d been on with Mitch and Tao and we loved it. All the crowds were very responsive to us and we had a ball at every show. At the end of the tour, the tour manager let us know that Blackie really liked us and thought we were a great band. Even though we didn’t get to spend a huge amount of time with him in person, that’s still a really cool thing to hear! Cheers Blackie!
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve toured with some big acts now including Mötley Crüe, KISS, W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper. What has been your favourite tour thus far and why?
Rick Newman: We’ve been very lucky to have toured with some of our real heroes over the years, and can honestly say that we’ve loved every tour that we’ve been on. The Kiss/Mötley Crüe tour is one that really sticks out for me though. The shear size of that tour was insane. Three months on tour in the US with two of our favourite bands of all time. That has to be a dream come true in anyone’s books. And on top of that, they were all really nice guys! Sitting down eating breakfast with two of my bass playing idols, Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx, has to be up there with the most surreal and amazing experiences of my life! Good times indeed. However, the W.A.S.P tour will always stick in my mind as a very special tour too. This was the first tour with Mitch and Tao and it felt like we were making a lot more impact with the crowds than we have on previous tours. Honestly though, if we’re playing to 30,000 supporting Kiss and Mötley Crüe in America, or playing a toilet on a rainy night in England, I’m happy as long as we’re playing live. Being in a touring rock band is a blessing that we will never take for granted.
Sleaze Roxx: What are The Treatment’s plans for 2016?
Dhani Mansworth: Our plans for this year are to simply tout, tour, tour [emphasis added]. We are so excited about playing the songs from the new album live. Obviously the new album is out on March 18th which we’re really excited about, and we embark on a UK headline tour through April/May. We plan to play as many shows, to as many people, in as many different places as we can in 2016. This is gonna be one hell of a year.
Sleaze Roxx: For each of you, what are your three all-time favorite albums and why?
Dhani Mansworth: My first pick would have to be ‘Powerage’ by AC/DC. It was one of the first AC/DC album that I ever heard, and still to this day I can listen to it and not get bored. That’s always a sign of a great record. The drums from Phil Rudd on that album really influenced that way that I play today. My second pick is ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ by Judas Priest. Priest are another huge influence on me. In my opinion, it is their best album in regards to production and songwriting. My final pick would have to be Rose Tattoo’s self titled album. I’ve always loved the energy of that band, and how can you not love Angry Anderson’s voice?
Rick Newman: I always find this kind of question really hard! There have been far too many great albums released! However, my first pick would have to be ‘My Generation’ by The Who. John Entwistle is the guy that made me want to be a bass player, and he’s still my favourite bass player of all time. After hearing the song “My Generation” for the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do! For my second pick, I’m going to pick ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ by the Sex Pistols. I’m a huge punk fan, and this album was my introduction to punk. All the songs are bangers and the sound and energy of that record is killer. Obviously there’s all the rumours about who played on that album and whatever, but regardless, it’s a great album! Finally, I’m going to pick ‘High Voltage’ by AC/DC. Personally, I think the album speaks for itself. What an album! Has there ever been a better bass intro than the one at the start of “Livewire?” I certainly don’t think so.
Thank you to Jon Freeman of Freeman Promotions for facilitating the interview.