Ian Dick guitarist and founder of New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Soldier recalls some of the lighter times on the road… ‘Usual stuff like trousers splitting on stage, fighting with the audience and a few times we had to send our original vocalist Garry to pick up money when the promoters were holding back payment. He could handle himself if you know what I mean haha’.
What music influenced you ? ‘The 70’s were an exciting time for rock music and the guitarists from that time really influenced me, players like Richie Blackmore, Pat Travers, Robin Trower and Jeff Beck. More up to date stuff from Mark Tremonti and Joe Satriani is pretty cool stuff as well’.
When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘I formed Soldier in 1979 and we were always a busy gigging band. Back then there was always places to play, the big workingmen’s clubs would book practically every night. In a week we would go from Northampton to Oxford travel over to Chesterfield, down to Brighton then back up to Blackpool. We had our own P.A system and were able to record a lot of shows straight out of the desk onto a tape recorder. Live Forces and Live @The Heathery were done like that’.
What were your experiences of recording ? ‘My first time in a professional studio was the first recording session with Soldier. That was at The Beck Studio’s in Wellingborough where we recorded Magician. It was all analogue gear back then so it was like being in Frankensteins laboratory with all this machinery around us waiting for a lightning strike before recording could start ! The guy running the studio had a small transmitter radio hooked up to the desk so you could hear your music back as if it was played on the radio’.
‘Other studio’s we used were Elephant in London to record several tracks Circuit Breaker, Blind Destiny and crowd favourite Dirty Doris. We recorded the single Sheralee and b side Force at Spaceward Studio’s in Cambridge. That was released by Heavy Metal Records.
We put out a compilation of demo’s, live song’s and the two tracks we recorded with Phil Lewis. Music for Nations initially showed some interest in us but nothing concrete came out of the meetings. After that we went our separate way’s, Phil went on to front LA Gun’s and Soldier called it a day’.
Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ? ‘One night in Scotland we were playing a gig and Bob our roadie plugged the lights in, got a massive electric shock and was thrown across the stage. Then at one gig we wanted to make a big entrance so we started the intro tape, went on stage, tape finished, then on the first chord the band jumped in the air but the weight of all of us coming down at the same time collapsed the stage…but like true professionals the band never missed a beat haha’.
What are Soldier doing now and have you got any plans for the future ? ‘SKOL Records have been really good to us they released the Sheralee single and since 2012 we have released two albums worth of material.
Over the past few years we have constantly gigged around the UK and festivals in Europe but currently we are taking a break from gigging and concentrating on recording. Digital has made the whole process easier and we are in the middle of recording some new Soldier material which is planned for release later this year’.
For more information about the band visit their site http://www.soldiernwobhm.com
Interview by Gary Alikivi May 2017.