Nev Larkin was a member of Marauder who recorded 2 tracks for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal compilation album Roxcalibur, released on Guardian Records in January 1982. The album had followed on the back of another compilation released out of Guardian Studio’s called Roksnax released in 1980. A future blog will include interviews with the bands who featured on the album. Roxcalibur featured 7 bands who contributed two tracks each they included North East UK metallers Black Rose, Battleaxe and Satan. Nev takes up the story…‘I got cracking on with some lads from Ashington who were in a band called Marauder they needed a 2nd guitar so I joined them. We played the pub’s around North Tyneside and Northumberland. Then we went into Guardian Studio in Durham around late ’81 and recorded 2 songs, Woman of the Night and Battlefield. We were in for about 20 hours on the Saturday and went back on Sunday night and finished about 6.00 in the morning. Half hours sleep then straight to work at the Department of Social Security’
Did each band share the production costs ? ‘As a band we had to pay £400 for costs, that’s £80 each. The recording studio was in a terraced house next door to where the owner and producer Terry Gavaghan used to live. The recording area was in effect, a front living room with a booth for the drums. The singers girlfriend had made some pies in trays for the length of our time in the studio. So when recording Battlefield it was suggested that we take the tray of pies through to the recording area, smash them about and re-create a ‘battle’. Which we did to a great deal of hilarity’.
‘The other song which is on You Tube is Woman of the Night which was going to be a single, but didn’t happen. The singer Steven Ireland is still singing for a band called F.M. Strangely enough I guested for one gig only, when they were called Lone Wolf. In the end we got twenty albums each to sell. The producer said that if we sold them for £4 each, we would get our money back – he should have been a mathematician ! I ended up giving them away, not long ago someone told me they were going for a fortune on E Bay!
There is a story of a resident ghost at Guardian studio, did the owner Terry Gavaghan tell you about it ? ‘He did the trick with the moving microphone that was on a stand after he had fed us the ghost story. He had sneaked in through a different entrance and pulled the cable along the floor. I got my own back by having a blast of the fire extinguisher while he wasn’t there’.
Did you know if the album sold many copies ? ‘As far as I know, none of the bands got any royalties from the songs. I think that he must have copped the lot. Dave King from Battleaxe who were also on the album was going to chase this up years ago. I don’t know if he got anywhere with it. I spoke to Malcolm Midwood a couple of month ago, who now performs under Wytchcraft, he never got anything’.
Where did it all start for you ? ’Seeing Status Quo as a teenager at the Newcastle City Hall made me want to learn guitar. My first band was called Redrock and our only gig was at Killingworth High School just a few miles from Newcastle. Then I joined up with some lads from Longbenton, the band was called Loser (appropiately enough) and we played only one gig at the Newbridge Dance Studio which is now demolished. There were more guitars in that band than Blue Oyster Cult ! Next was with some lads from Bedlington and we played around North Tyneside and Northumberland under the name of Scharnhorst. Steve Bird (guitar) Dean Heward (bass) Gary Young (drums) and me (vocals/guitar). Later we shortened the name to just The Horst. I can’t remember much about that band apart from one event at a gig in The Newton Park Hotel where we blew the mains circuit, leaving the pub in total darkness due to the amount of gear we had plus all the pyro effects, dry ice, medium maroon big bang cartridges the lot. Not long after that the band ended’.
What happened after Marauder ? ‘I got together with some friends and did 3 self-penned songs and video in one of our flats in Heaton, Newcastle. We called this The Bedroom Sessions. Needless to say the neighbours did not see the funny side or, the video for that matter. We did a tour of friends houses on our motorbikes to promote this. We did one gig at Darsley Park, Benton. It was at this stage I effectively called it a day. I just seemed to be constantly chasing my tail trying to make things happen. Still play guitar now but in the house only. I did try my hand at Stand Up Comedy (2001) but it got too tiring trying to do a day job then running all over to do gigs for ‘diddly’ (nothing). I appeared on regional TV on a Friday night feature called Stand Up Britain. I think it was one of the fella’s from Phoenix Nights who produced it. It was a ‘dial up’ viewer vote where the winner went through to a National final in Manchester for a £7k prize. It was not me’.
Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.