Coke and Haribo are enough to keep Cherry sweet

Black Stone Cherry play Sheffield on Monday.
Black Stone Cherry play Sheffield on Monday.
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With their long hair, sleazy riffs and outrageous music videos, you would hardly think of Black Stone Cherry as a group of homebirds.

But this hard-rocking American outfit – who shot to fame more than 10 years ago – are as inspired by their home state of Kentucky as they are by the rock legacy they are part of.

Rhythm guitarist Ben Wells says: “We are actually massively inspired by a lot of the folk music Kentucky’s famous for. Bluegrass and gospel are a big part of Kentucky music and we love that. There are so many great banjo players and mandolin players out in Kentucky and storytelling is a big part of what they do.”

And while Black Stone Cherry’s huge muscular rock sound hardly denotes the delicacy of Apalachian folk, the band does fuse folk sensitivity with its heavy licks.

Ben says: “We wrote a song called the Ghost of Floyd Collins about a man who tries to find Mammoth Cave, this huge cave near our hometown, but starves to death and gets stuck. It’s become a local legend and, when he died it was a massive deal.”

“We will always stay in Kentucky as that has a lot to do with our band and who we are. We haven’t changed much as people since we got signed as we don’t do the big rockstar thing.”

A testament to this blue-collar band is their rider.

“We only ever ask for Coke and Haribo sweets,” says Ben. “It’s pretty simple. As long as there’s something to eat we’re really not bothered.”

The band are now touring the UK in support of their fifth studio album, Magic Mountain.

Ben says: “This is a back-to-basics album. It’s a return to being the riff-led band we are. We are pleased with how the album sounds. There’s a lot of honesty to what we do – it’s not too overproduced so what people hear on a record they can hear live.

“There are bands out there who use production techniques that make their voices pitch-perfect, but that can’t be replicated live.”

n Black Stone Cherry play Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on Monday. For tickets, visit