Not too many teenage bands can boast that a bona fide rock legend came to one of their gigs to check them out.
But when FlashFires played a recent show in London their manager turned up with Led Zeppelin guitar god Jimmy Page in tow.
Singer and guitarist Alex Gonzato recalls the gig: ‘We played at the Water Rats and Brian was over to come see us. He came through the door of the venue with Jimmy Page and Steve Strange.
‘We’re onstage at this tiny venue with these people watching you and it’s like: “damn”.
‘It’s really inspiring to see one of your heroes watching you. And we got to speak to him for about half-an-hour afterwards.
‘I didn’t want to bring up too much about Led Zeppelin because he must get asked that all the time, but he seemed interested in us and asking questions about what we’re doing. He had a real aura about him.’
The Basingstoke five-piece are currently readying their debut album for release. They recorded it in California with Brian Wheat of American multi-platinum rockers Tesla, after being hooked up with him through their label.
‘We were worried it would be a good fit,’ says Alex. ‘But he was such an inspiration, and he was in to Queen, The Beatles, the Arctic Monkeys – he has this really wide musical knowledge. I think it was two tracks in we looked at the playback and thought: “we’ve got something special here”.’
Brian was so impressed he asked to become the indie-rockers’ manager.
Alex says: ‘That whole trip has been life-changing, in two months out there, everything’s changed.
‘This time last year, we were all going to go to university, but that’s all been deferred, so we’ve got a good three or four years to have a crack at this, it’s going to be really exciting.
‘We went out on a couple of dates with Tesla and you saw how the big guns do it. We went to Fresno where they played to 10,000 people. Next day they’re in Santa Cruz doing the same thing again.
‘It was an eye-opener to see our boss in action.’
The band is completed by Liam Kinslow, bass, Jon Cullis, guitar, Fraser Roskilly, guitar, and Toby Bartlet, drums.
They’ve also been attracting attention from other industry heavy-hitters: ‘We’ve been picked up by X-Ray Touring, who represent people like Coldplay and Green Day, which is very cool.
‘And our new single and video Circus Boy has been getting a bit of attention, which has been good.’
They play at the Edge of the Wedge in Southsea on Sunday, August 17. Doors at 7.30pm and tickets are £3.
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