Who: The Subways, a British trio who turned two years on the road touring with the likes of Foo Fighters and Oasis and a potentially career-ending throat ailment into their edgier second album All Or Nothing.
Sounds Like: Led by singer/guitarist Billy Lunn, the Subways are a pop-perfect combo of three of the band’s favorite artists, mixing together Nirvana’s power chords, Smashing Pumpkins’ ferocious tribal drumming and Shirley Manson’s vocal prowess for a fantastic alt-rock throwback stew. The common bond between all three bands? Producer Butch Vig, who also produced the Subways’ new album. “The songs on All Or Nothing are like diary entries, essentially,” Lunn says. “We felt compelled that we had to open ourselves up, and Butch Vig was clearly the guy who was gonna do that for us.”
• Lunn and drummer Josh Morgan (the pair are brothers; Lunn uses his mother’s maiden name) first heard rock music when their father took them to see AC/DC perform at London’s Wembley Stadium. Lunn didn’t feel the urge to play music until he heard Oasis. “‘Supersonic’ changed my life forever,” Lunn says. “The lyrics, that guitar riff, that drum beat. I turned to my mom and said ‘I have to learn to play guitar.'”
• Starting out playing small shows and recording demos in England’s Welwyn Garden City, a friend recommended the band enter a contest that could make them big. “A month passed and we got a phone call saying we had won a spot at the Glastonbury festival. So we went from playing in front of 70 people to playing in front of 10,000 people.”
• Following the success of their debut album Young For Eternity and touring ceaselessly for two years, Lunn soon began losing his voice. What was originally diagnosed as wear-and-tear was in actuality polyps on his vocal chords. After getting them removed, he couldn’t sing for two months. “I went a little bit crazy, but if it had not been for that insular period where I could not speak at all, what I thought and what I felt wouldn’t have come out in my lyrics.”
Hear It Now: The Subways, currently touring Europe with some more continents lined up, just released All or Nothing stateside. Click above for Lunn’s acoustic performance of “Lostboy,” the final track on All or Nothing.