Famously pictured on the front of Sounds was Thunderstick, drummer for New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Samson. By the 1980’s he had formed his own band, but that folded in ’87. Thirty years later, he’s back with a new album…but he has noticed a few changes in the music industry… ‘Back then a drummer would have to do an entire performance without any mistakes allowing the bass player and guitars to ‘drop in’ when they mess up. Today the stuff that can be done to make everyone in the band sound ‘perfect’ is in my opinion makes music kind of sterile’.
‘I released an album of past Thunderstick material back in 2011, it was called Echoes from the Analogue Asylum because everything on it was recorded in analogue. The truth be known I have used the basic principles of recording in an analogue way for the new album. Hopefully it gives that feel of a time gone by both in the songwriting style and the recorded sounds’.
Who were your influences and how did you get involved in playing music. Was there a defining moment when you said “I want to do that” ? ‘The way I got involved did have a defining moment. I was a young kid helping my uncle collect stuff for a jumble sale. Somebody threw out a pair of military drumsticks. Guess what …they didn’t make it – I kept them. The flame had been lit. I started beating up on my parents furniture until they were forced into buying me a drumkit just to stop the carnage……I was 9!’
When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘I started playing ‘serious’ gigs that had a beginning a middle and an end rather than just playing continually until it was time to pack up and go home, which was the way it all started. I was about 14 year old when we started getting structure to the songs and were ready for people to hear us. The band were called Innomina Patris (pic.above) and the supports that we did were for UFO, Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, and Steeleye Span. It felt amazing to do a real gig where we actually got applause’.
Did you realise the impact that NWOBHM would have ? ’No in a word! It all felt like ‘work in progress’ each band trying to get tighter and more proficient at songwriting. We would run across each other regularly. It all started for real when the term NWOBHM and KERRANG was written in a gig review of us, Samson, Iron Maiden and Angelwitch by Geoff Barton for the music paper Sounds. Coupled with putting a picture of me in the mask on the front cover. A movement had been born and suddenly each band was aware that we were part of something. Punk had been killed off after their little time of domination, move over, it was time for the musicians that could actually play their instruments to once again take the spotlight’.
Recording techniques are more fluid now, how and where did you record the new album? ‘I am fortunate that the musicians that I chose for this new album all live in the same country. Albeit scattered here there and everywhere in the United Kingdom. We did all of the rhythm tracks in a studio in Wales. I worked with Dave (Kandy) Kilford who was in my band back in 1986. We recorded his guitar parts on the south coast of England where I live. Then it was back to Wales for the vocals and rough mixes. Pre-mastering and eventual mastering I did with my brother in arms Rob Grain at his home studio’.
What are your plans for touring ? ’Yes, I want to get it out there. I have just had some knee surgery and have to train my bionic leg to play kick drum..!
I haven’t chosen my gigging band yet it all depends on availability. I will of course keep you informed. Bye for now ‘it’s been emotional’…
Scheduled for release at the end of July, the CD album ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ will be available for purchase via Thunderstick’s Facebook page.
Interview by Gary Alikivi July 2017.
JUST FOR THE RECORD.