Star Scene: John Fred Young of BLACK STONE CHERRY

John Fred Young‘s scene seems quite mellow.  The Black Stone Cherry drummer states: “My scene revolves around my daughter Scout and hunting old antiques when I’m home or on the road. Raising Chickens, playing drums, gardening and always hunting a great beer.”

Having just touched down in Australia, a jet-lagged Young takes time out of his busy schedule to have a chat:

Who were your influences growing up?

I personally was massively influenced by my dad and uncle’s band The Kentucky Headhunters. I grew up going on the road with them and watching them play. They had a huge hand in turning us into great music growing up and helping guide us in the business.

How did you form Black Stone Cherry and how were you received when you first began?

We started the band on Chris’s 16th birthday at the practice house. We started playing in high school as chris jon and myself and Ben came down to a party one night and he sit in on a jam. It’s been the four of us ever since

Having survived so many years as a band, and a successful one at that, what advice would you give to up-and-coming bands?

Be original and don’t try to sound like the current trend. Go against the grain and be true to yourself. We are living proof that you can be from the smallest farm town and achieve your dreams. Also find people to play with that care for each other and make it family.

What music do you listen to now?

I was just listening to Elle Goulding at the gym today on my iTunes. I love her stuff and have been a big fan for years now.

I grew up listening to classic rock such as Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones, and artists like Marvin Gaye and sam Cooke. Rod Stewart, thin Lizzy the list goes on. I was jamming to Foghat on vinyl the other day at home. Unreal band.

I love so many different types of music. I think you have to be very eclectic and open minded to really understand and appreciate music.

How does your fifth release, Kentucky, compare to your previous releases?

Kentucky was the first record that we had the pleasure of producing by ourselves. We recorded it back home at a great engineer friend David Barrick’s studio.

Are you able to describe your song-writing and recording process process for the readers? Do you ever go into the studio with something already worked out or is it all a matter of jamming on the day?

We all do write the lyrics and music to our songs and did it that way since the beginning. We are very fortunate that everyone can participate and bring their own touch and fingerprint the the creation.

How did the collaboration with Bob Marlette come about?

We worked with Bob on the Folklore and Superstition album which was released back in 2008. Bob was great to work with and we had a great time making that record. Our AR guy at Roadrunner had suggested that we entertain the idea of working with Bob. Glad we did!

On your latest release which was your most challenging/rewarding song and why?

The Rambler. The song was written by the Zuni Mountain boys and we added a lyrical/musical bridge and changed some other words around to give it a Kentucky vibe;) the song is amazing to play live it really connects with people

Are the lyrics reflective of your life?

Most of the time they are. Other times they are crazy things we incision haha

As songwriters to have to ways of writers in my opinion. It’s either heart felt things that you have loved through or been around or it’s deep space 9 crazy themes, party songs etc.

People love to hear both and that’s what makes us human. The yin and yang.

Is In Our Dreams about anyone in particular? Have you ever felt that you are in a “desperate time”?

It’s not about anyone in particular. We wrote the song with the movie Inception as visual inspiration. It was the first song we had written with Bob Marlette since Folklore and it came out really well. It was intended for the Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea album but the label at the time didn’t like how heavy it was haha! So it fit perfectly on Kentucky.

Tell me more about the story behind Rescue Me. Also why did you choose that arrangement – beginning with acapella and then launching into heaviness?

The song itself is got a great message and it nice to be able to have great songs like it to play live.

That was a moment in the studio where we were inspired by Queen and wanted the Bohemian Rhapsody harmony Empire.

Why did you decide to cover Edwin Starr’s War?

We were looking for a b side for the extended version and it came out so good we had to put it in the record!

Do you think music has a role in politics and social issues?



How do you feel about touring? 

We love touring because it’s playing live where we really shine. It’s hard being away from our kids and families but we can’t take any moment for granted that we get to play music with each other for our fans.

What were your impressions/favourite moments in Australia?

 I love the laid back culture and breath taking topography of the country. The people are wonderful here and love rock n roll!

What can your Australian fans expect from this tour?

Hopefully they will walk away with smiles on their faces and already wanting us to come back! 

What’s next for you?

We go home after Australia and start an American tour at the end of May. We will hopefully start recording in early fall and will continue to tour throughout the year

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

If our sound were a food we would be a stack of pancakes with maple syrup and 13 eggs sunny side up with hot sauce. Black coffee on the side.

Catch BLACK STONE CHERRY TOUR on their Australian Tour:

  • Friday 21st April – The Factory, Sydney
  • Sunday April 23 – The Corner, Melbourne
  • Monday April 24 – The Capitol, Perth

Brought to you by MJR Presents TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE 


The Cherry hit the stage first, and they hit it hard … a sound so chunky you could carve it. – 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

2016 saw US Hard Rock outfit BLACK STONE CHERRY release their highly acclaimed latest release KENTUCKY worldwide, tour extensively throughout the US and Europe and play major international venues, including the iconic Wembley Arena.  The band also made the long trek to Australia for the first time in their 16 year history – touring with Steel Panther. [pullquote]… vocalist/guitarist Chris Robertson has a soulful, gritty, growly voice that plays perfectly against the heavy riffage and guitarist Ben Wells’ flashy showmanship – AUSTRALIAN GUITAR[/pullquote] That run of impressive performances saw Black Stone Cherry win many more friends and fans here, and had them immediately invited back again for a 2017 tour.  Returning thismonth, the band have locked in a run of headline dates and are determined to pick up right where they left off –  this time being able to deliver their full headline stadium rock show that has impressed lovers of hard rock worldwide.

Sydney based trio CHASE THE SUN are set to open all shows on the tour with their blend of funk laden blues-rock.  Check out their new single Live It Up below.


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About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.