IN July, Belfast quartet The Answer will be among the super-charged line-up at this year’s Sonisphere festival.
But when they aren’t selling their own wares, what are the sounds that get them all excited?
Guitarist Paul Mahon shared his musical secrets...
Tell us about the first record that you bought?
It was the first Dire Straits album.
While it’s not an album I have listened to much in the last 20 years, I did revisit it recently and was surprised at how good it was!
Obviously Sultans of Swing is still the standout track and Knopfler’s solo is still something to behold.
Water of Love has some sublime dobro playing on it too.
An album you can’t live without
AC/DC, Powerage. I think it is them at their most pure and natural sounding. They still had that raw edge, but the song craft was developing and Bon Scott’s lyrics were getting beyond the usual double entendre . They had some real venom to them.
The best guitar sounds ever committed to tape!
Most embarrassing record in your collection
The Shamen with Move Any Mountain
Your favourite cheesy disc
Frankie Goes To Hollywood with Welcome To The Pleasure Dome
What about your favourite artist of all time.
What is the attraction?
Van Halen. They had the same kind of energy and power of AC/DC, wrapped up with enormous pop hooks, guitar pyrotechnics and high kicks...with the best frontman and guitarist of the modern age.
If we could grant you a wish to meet one band or musician, who would it be and why?
What would you ask them?
Jimmy Page, who is probably my all-round favourite guitar player and composer.
I would like to see how he approaches writing, playing and producing. I would ask him how he put up with Robert Plant!
Name a song that never fails to pick you up
Dance The Night Away by Van Halen
And one that chills you out
Indian Summer by The Doors
The first gig you attended
Therapy? in the Ulster Hall, December 1992
Tell us about your favourite record store and what the attraction is?
It was Dr Roberts in Belfast, which is sadly no longer with us.
It had every style of music on every format with a strong bias towards vinyl.
You would often see David Holmes or Andy Cairns in there.
It was a great place to watch the growth of grunge and the music scene in Northern Ireland in the 90s.
You can step into the shoes of your musical idol for 24 hours.
Who is it and what do you do?
Mick Mars of Motley Crue.
I would give Tommy Lee a good kicking!
Is there a new or undiscovered artist you think we need to hear?
Swanee River, they are a great blues, soul, rock band for Belfast, led by Stevie Blues Horner who is an incredible vocalist in the Ian Astbury and Chris Robinson mould. www.swaneeriver.net
You can banish one artist to the bargain bin.
Who do you choose?
Kings of Leon, the sound of today’s ultra cool castrated rock.
No thanks, we like our rock n roll with some balls!