Ugly Kid Joe triumphantly returned to the UK earlier this year after a lengthy split with an appearance at Download Festival and a one off London show. They return to the UK this week to support the legendary Alice Cooper alongside Duff McKagan's Loaded. We caught up with front man and all round good guy, Whitfield Crane to talk about the tour, getting the band back together, and how 2012 is treating the band.

MUSIC NEWS: It’s been a long time since UKJ last did a full tour of the UK, are you looking forward to it?

WHITFIELD CRANE: Yeah for sure, we’re going out with Alice Cooper who is a legend in his own right and we’re also sharing a stage with Duff McKagan which is pretty cool because we’re all Guns N Roses fans and we’re excited to check out Loaded. We were in the UK on June 6th, we played the Underworld in London and on June 10th we played Download Festival where we played second stage at 3:45pm in front of 60,000 people and it was awesome, California brought the sunshine for sure.

MN: Ugly Kid Joe split for a while and now you’re back together, what’s it like to able to come back and be able to play with these big name bands like Alice Cooper again?

WC: I think it’s a gift, we didn’t know what to expect when we did those shows in June and we were super grateful to see the response so to get this tour with Alice Cooper you know we’re all super fans. I’ve never even seen him play in concert and I’m a student of rock and roll so it will be good to be able to learn from the guy.

MN: So what else is going on with the band right now?

WC: We also have our EP out, it’s called Stairway To Hell, by the time we get to the UK we’ll have our new single out too, it’s called ‘I’m Alright’. We’re shooting a video for the song in the next couple of weeks and we’re really excited about the whole process of it. We’re the label, we’re the management so it’s all in house, Dave Fortman, our guitarist is the producer so it’s some real good times for us. At the beginning of our career 20 years ago we needed a label and needed a manager but the world’s changed drastically, now we find ourselves in the driver’s seat so we don’t know what to expect but we’re very grateful and excited that it’s manifesting. Life is good for Ugly Kid Joe right now.

MN: You’ve been working on the video for ‘I’m Alright’ and used Kickstarter to raise the money for it, how much impact has today’s technology had for the band than when you were last around?

WC: It’s our first try with such a technique but yeah it’s wide open, the interesting thing about music now is no really buys it and no one is going to sell a million records, we did that with ‘America’s Least Wanted’ but those days are over. As you well know, the music industry is dead and gone as it was so something like Kickstarter is the new way, it’s the first time we’ve ever used anything like that, I’m excited about it because once again it’s in house, I love to connect first person with the fans and it’s all new us.

MN: What was the catalyst in bringing the band back together after so long?

WC: I never thought it would go down personally but Dave was producing a band called Godsmack and in that band there’s a magnificent drummer called Shannon Larkin who of course is the Ugly Kid Joe drummer, so basically you had Dave Fortman producing Shannon’s band and those guys were just talking and having a good time. I guess they talked about it and called Klaus, my best friend and guitar player of Ugly Kid Joe, they said ‘hey man we should make some music’. Klaus shot me a call and asked me if I wanna play some heavy metal music and obviously I said yes.

MN: Why the split in the first place?

WC: In late ‘96 and January ’97 when we officially spilt no one was into it, you could feel the wind out of the sails. We were sick of each other and we had the courage to leave, it’s okay to leave a toxic situation so that said fast forward 16 years later and everyone wants to be in the room, we’re excited to be around each other and be creative. We’ve all gone off and done this myriad of stud, some of us are married and have kids so now when we’re armed with all these various experiences and it’s really exciting and cathartic in some sense. We didn’t know how it would work out, if we would get any shows and being asked how we feel about being able to support Alice Cooper, we’re blown away.

MN: Are you looking forward to getting over here and playing the new EP material?
WC: The song that we’re releasing soon (I’m Alright) it’s going to go off, I mean you could get a whole stadium floor pogoing it’s that awesome. What’s interesting is that it feels really great to play these songs, the last record we made, ‘Motel California’, when we played those songs live back in the day I kinda shrugged but with this new stuff we’ve got a real heavy killer set.

MN: What can we expect for your shows when you’re over here?
I shall leave that as a surprise but we’re going to bring it for sure. California is bringing the sunshine!

Ugly Kid Joe are touring with Alice Cooper from October 24th to November 3rd. Keep your eyes out for their new video 'I'm Alright' which will be released soon.