Don’t know if you’ve noticed but lately Tyneside’s metal bands are warming up ready to hoy the whole kit and caboodle into the pot, taking everything with them and leaving nowt and no one behind. Are you ready for the Great North East Metal Raid?
They first plugged in around the 1970s and never in a million years did they think they would still be dancing with the devil 50 years later. So a quick update on where they are now and what they are doing is in order.
Firing off instant messages and communicating directly to followers on social media is used to full effect by the Tyneside Metal Raiders with a message from Raven loud and clear…‘The album has to be all killer no filler, no messin’ around with 19 minute epics, its smash yer face in with an ice pick. The title sums up everything we do. We wanted to tear it up, which is what Raven are all about’.
After releasing three singles ‘Back for Good, Fire on the Horizon’ and the epic, ‘Edge of the World’, Tygers of Pan Tang officially release their ten track album ‘Bloodlines’ on 5th May 2023.
‘A week after its release we’ll be celebrating Bloodlines at the Nordic Noise Festival on 12th May in Copenhagen with our record company who are of course, based in … Copenhagen. They have promised us that the drinks are on them’.
After six albums and countless UK & European tours, battle hardened Satan reached out to the United States again this year.
‘After kicking off the Hell’s Decibels tour at the legendary Whiskey a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in April, Satan had a blast touring the USA with Night Demon and Haunt. You guys were a pleasure to work with, brothers forever and a piece of my heart will be with you until the end of time’.
Contact for sales, tours, photos & info:
Mythra are one of the original New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. They recorded their legendary ‘Death & Destiny EP’ in 1979.
‘The new album ‘Temples of Madness’ is out now and has been available in Brazil and USA for a week or so. We’ve started to sell them through our on line shop and business is pretty brisk’.
Southbound were active around the North East in the 1970s. The Sunderland band were regulars on the workingman’s club circuit, supported New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang at Newcastle Mayfair, and had a residency at the Gosforth Hotel in Newcastle.
Southbound have already featured on this site, interviews with Mick Kelly and the late Alan Burke have proved to be popular.To discover more of the Southbound story and find out what he is up to now, I met up with George at The Littlehaven Hotel in South Shields.
Growing up it was a very musical house. Although I knew that my Dad’s voice was classically trained, I never found out till late that he went to lessons for ten years. My mother used to sing and my brothers and sisters were also into music. We had a guitar and piano in the house, I took a few piano lessons and changed to guitar when I was 11 year old.
I served my time as a sheet metal worker in Jarrow and worked for another year, but it was too much with the amount of work Southbound were getting on the North East circuit.
Southbound had three sets, one all original material, then another playing Eagles, America West Coast stuff, and then more poppy stuff to get paid in the clubs. We were out regularly every week, in fact a few times we played nine gigs in one week!
The Ivan Birchall agency had us in the clubs till 10.30pm, get your gear off stage then double up and go do a night club, then a Sunday afternoon gig.
But our stomping ground was The Gosforth Hotel where we took over the residency from Sting’s band, Last Exit. Sting went to London and joined The Police, we were fortunate to get the residency.
He came to one of our shows around the Roxanne days, he had the dyed hair, the leather jacket, he’d be stood at the bar and we had a few words with him – nice fella. Playing the Hotel was good for us, it would get packed, the queue to get in would sometimes be out onto the street.
There were a few line ups of Southbound but when we were becoming popular there was myself and Alan Burke on guitars and we wrote the songs. Mick Kelly on drums, bassist was Dave Giles and Mal Troughton used to sing with the band. There is a photo of us standing against a van, this was taken around 1975 or 76.
I’m racking my brains here but Mick Kelly was great for all the names and dates, a real memory man for the venues we played. (Interview with Mick on this site – All Right Now 13th March 2019)
When punk came in 1976 the record companies saw us as old hat, they all wanted punk bands. But we still packed venues out and had a good following.
We played Newcastle Mayfair with Tygers of Pan Tang, we played with Raven and headlined there in our own right. Obviously, played the Sunderland Mecca a few times, some good gigs at Newcastle Guildhall and the Bedrock festival.
Bob Smeaton, who is a very successful film maker now and a great lad, used to be singer in Newcastle band White Heat and when they weren’t gigging he often used to jump in the van with us and help out with the gear.
Tom Noble, who manages Tygers of Pan Tang now, used to work on the Bedrock BBC North East radio programme during the 70s and 80s, he worked alongside Graeme Thomson. They managed a band I was in with Phil Caffrey called The Lions Share and then Caffrey. We got a publishing deal on the back of that band.
Graeme’s brother Steve, was engineer at Impulse Studio in those days and he recorded four songs on a Southbound demo. Actually, he released them on Cherry Red label not long ago. We also recorded at Linx studio in Newcastle.
In hindsight if we had more of our heads screwed on and business focused it might have been different, but we were just having a good time spending most of our money on brown ale and curries after gigs in the restaurants on Ocean Road in South Shields.
Looking back to those times we just took it in our stride and loved being with our mate’s playing music. You know Southbound never really fell out, we might have had an argument here or there but no, we were all good mates having a lad’s night out and getting paid for it.
After Southbound I teamed up with Phil Caffrey in a song writing partnership, we had a publishing deal with Axis music which was a subsidiary of EMI. We used to write songs and go down to London and record them. We were signed and managed by a guy called Nigel Thomas.
Nigel also managed the Heavy Metal band Saxon, Joe Cocker and Kiki Dee who recorded one of our songs and put it out as a single. This went on one of Kiki’s albums, Angel Eyes, with the likes of Dave Stewart and Daryl Hall, it was just nice to get our names to something like that. Nigel also managed Keith Emerson and Lynsey De Paul so we did some work with them.
It was late 80s when Saxon were recording a new album at Hook End Manor Studio in Berkshire, which had been Dave Gilmour’s house. It was a residential studio with horse stables in the grounds, a great facility, we were down there about a week. The Saxon lads were great.
Def Leppard had a huge album at the time (Hysteria, released 1987) with big sounds and plenty vocals on. The Saxon album (Destiny, released 1988) was nearly finished they just wanted to experiment with block harmonies using four male voices.
Through our manager Nigel Thomas, Phil Caffrey and I got the job, we got paid the session fee. There was another guy managed by Nigel called Steve Mann, who now plays with the Michael Schenker group.
We were waiting in the studio for the fourth male vocalist when in walked an old Sunderland friend of mine – Dave Taggart. I said ‘what you doing here?’ he said ‘what you doing here?’! I couldn’t believe it. Just a massive coincidence.
(Formerly in Danceclass, Dave now plays in the Belinda Carlisle band. An interview with Dave features on this site – Music Still Matters, 15th April 2018).
Dave told me that Stephan Galphas produced the album by Sunderland band Well, Well, Well and he had recorded some backing vocals on it. Stephan’s next project was producing the Saxon album and he asked him to come down and put some backing vocals on Destiny.
Don’t know how successful the album was but I heard the single Ride Like the Wind on national radio a few times.
Actually, we asked Dave to join Southbound at one time but he was playing with Tony McAnaney. Later I did record some backing vocals on the Jimmy Nail album they were working on, Crocodile Shoes.
What am I doing now? Well during lockdown I invested in a home recording set up, I’ve always worked with a porta studio facility writing and recording songs, but this was an upgrade to a digital studio. So late in life I learnt how to record properly and put down a lot of songs.
I originally had 50 then whittled that down to 12, I was doing drums, guitar, vocals, all recorded solo, a one man band. I hadn’t thought about releasing them.
Then I lost two musical brothers, Alan Burke, original guitarist in Southbound and Richard Archibald, who also played in a late Southbound line up. He also played in the Big Picture, a band from Sunderland amongst others.
This made me think profoundly differently. Why not release these songs on an album and why not ask friends of mine if they want to get involved? So I did, and was absolutely blown away when they all said yes. The album is called Family and Friends because that’s who’s on it!
It includes North East musicians Dave Ditchburn, Phil Caffrey, Don Airey, George Shovlin, Archie Brown, Terry Slesser, Emma Wilson and more, plus my brothers and sisters. I got some great performances.
The album got some great reviews and was in the blues charts at number two – Buddy Guy pipped me to the post!
At first I thought the logistics of playing it live would be too difficult, but after a longer think I went ahead and touch wood, after getting all our diaries synched up I’ve booked The Fire Station in Sunderland on the 10th June 2023. I’m really looking forward to it.
The Fire Station auditorium is a fabulous place. I had the tour looking on stage, checking the sound system and back stage – it’s a great place.
As a house band I’ve got ex Showbiz Kids guitarist Pat McMahon, Paul Wilson on keys, ex Circus and Lucas Tyson bassist John Taylor on bass, Jim Bullock on harmonica and not one but two drummers, Ian Hamilton and Barry Race.
Everyone on the album apart from Don Airey can make it – he’s touring with Deep Purple that night. Don’s a lovely bloke he still keeps in touch with his Sunderland roots.
Looking back at the Southbound days, we weren’t striving to make it we were just enjoying the journey, making it wasn’t the main focus. We were young kids playing in our bedrooms, wrote a few songs then took it to the next stage and it was great fun. We were just dead lucky.
I never thought in a million years that here I am 66 year old and still doing it …I still feel that I’m dead lucky!
Click here to buy tickets for The Fire Station on 10th June 2023
To buy Family & Friends CD contact the official website at: georgelambmusic.co.uk
The album is available to stream on Spotify, I-Tunes, Apple Music & Amazon music.
As well as being on a BBC Hot Housing writing programme, Alison has scripted Theatre in Education programmes for schools, written two short films for festivals, and also found time to tour the North East and played venues in London and Edinburgh with three of her full length plays – Hard,Bedsocks & Secrets and Life Of Reilly.
With all that you’d think Alison had enough on her plate, but added to her ‘to do’ list this year are another two projects.
Her play Life of Reilly is being produced by the Leah Bell theatre company. An interview with writer, actress and theatre producer Leah features on this site in Take a Bow, 1st July 2021.
We open with Reilly in May in the North East and then go on an autumn national tour. I’m really excited about this as it’s a great opportunity said Alison.
The old saying of if you love what you’re doing you never work a day in your life – that’s so true. My work is my passion and I’m passionate about telling stories of everyday people through writing and acting.
Alison has wrote about diverse subjects such as autism and sex workers, for her new play she has decided to tackle domestic abuse and control in relationships.
For research and during the writing process I had advice from Northumberland Domestic abuse services, Age Well Northumberland and also accounts of lived experience.
I’ve found that other plays on this subject tend to centre on younger people but my play is different as it looks at the relationships from the perspective of two people in their late sixties.
This play also looks at how they find their way around social media which is a relatively new thing for them as they haven’t grown up with it and they’re still finding their feet. This often leads them to be vulnerable, as they tend to take everything at face value.
The two characters, Viv and Bill, have met on-line and arrange to meet. Viv is conscious of keeping safe, so on advice from her daughter they meet during the day in a busy coffee shop. They get on well.
The male lead is to be confirmed soon, the female lead is played by Leslie Saint John. Leslie has acted in a number of TV roles including Byker Grove and Catherine Cookson film The Girl, but notable in her role as the glamorous Vicky in the classic TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Interview with Lesley on this site at Talking Pictures 19 February 2020.
Throughout the play there are ‘flash forwards’ where the audience get to take a look into the future to see what life will be like should the relationship develop. During these flash forwards we get to see the real Bill.
The abuse starts as a slow burn with Viv cut off from friends and family. Bill controls her finances and becomes physically violent.
Whilst the subject matter is serious and dark, the real time conversation in the coffee shop is light and I hope in some instances hilarious. I want the audience to feel almost guilty for laughing at Bill.
In one episode in the coffee shop they both declare they’ve had a lovely time and will do it again. I want the audience to be almost shouting out ‘don’t do it!’
As a writer my work is observational and a lot of what I’ve seen and heard goes into this. I think this play will draw attention to older people in this situation and make people aware this is a problem not restricted by age.
‘You Need to Say Sorry’ opens in Laurels in Whitley Bay on June 22nd and runs till July 1st 2023, tickets are on sale now.
Find out more about Alison in an earlier interview on this site at Dream Catcher 3rd & 5th June 2021.
Peter is employed by Gateshead Council teaching one to one lessons withpupils who don’t go to school.
He also goes into primary schools to teach aspects of local and regional history.
It’s a great feeling when a kid you have helped returns to school. One of the mothers got in touch saying two years after I stopped teaching her daughter to say that she had gone on to do A levels at Gateshead College.
From his North East history research, Peter has collected many stories and compiled them together for a new book – Radical Roots – the Human RightsHistory in the North East.
There are many interesting, positive stories of how people struggled for their own rights and fought for the rights of others too.
On the front cover is a picture of the Earl Grey monument in Newcastle city centre….
The writing on it is not about tea! It signifies people getting more rights to vote and the abolition of slavery because North East people have always campaigned for their own rights and worked for people across the world to get their human rights.
The fight against slavery was strong, for example in 1792 down at Newcastle Guildhall there was a petition of 3,000 signatures against slavery, which was quite a large percentage of the people living in Newcastle at the time.
We can protest about what is happening thousands of miles away or about our neighbours having to use a food bank. I don’t see a division there, it’s about human dignity and decency, where ever the person lives and whoever they are.
We can’t just fight for the rights of one group and not the other, it’s about everybody having the same rights.
My mum brought me up right, she taught me about Human Rights and in Newcastle there is an Amnesty book shop that I helped set up on Westgate Road in 2002.
We talk about women’s rights but how many Northumberland kids are taken to see the suffragette Emily Davison’s grave in Morpeth? I think it should be mandatory to learn about our history.
Kids are taught art and music from around the world which is great don’t get me wrong, but if they don’t know culture and history from their own area first, how can they relate art and music from around the world to everyday life?
In Radical Roots there are stories I think we should all know, and I’m still learning about our North East history.
We teach pupils about the Holocaust, Anne Frank and what she wrote in her diaries. But we don’t teach about the connection to the Durham Light Infantry and their role in the Relief of the Belsen camp.
I went to Hartlepool and interviewed the son of a DLI soldier whose father was there at the time of the relief and just after Anne Frank’s passing.
During the First World War, footballer and munitions factory worker Bella Reay played for Blyth Spartans, her story also features in the book.
(Bella Reay features in a play by South Shields playwright Ed Waugh, post 3rd December 2021).
I also took the presentation to a school in Cramlington. The teacher linked in the work by the Pitmen Painters, who aren’t in the National Curriculum, but linked them to the work by the artist L.S. Lowry – who is in the National Curriculum, which I thought was great that they saw the connection.
Also featured in the book is the Yemeni community in South Shields and the riot that happened in August 1930, and we discover why it happened. It also mentions over a number of years the eventual assimilation of the Yeminis into South Shields, some through inter-marriages.
I have worked with the Roma community on Tyneside. There are around 6,000 in Newcastle. If you’re a community coming into a place you have to have something to offer, rightly so, and it’s usually through their music or food.
Look at the Chinese or Indian. Bringing something goes down well because they don’t have the language.
The Irish came over to Tyneside as early as the 1850s after the famine. Jarrow has a big population of Irish. I think the Roma can look at what the Irish did with their music, while keeping their own identity.
Some of the Roma musicians that we have on Tyneside today are amazing. Perhaps one day there will be a Roma centre on Tyneside like the Irish Centre in Newcastle.
When I do a presentation about the Roma in schools, I finish with a power point picture of TV entertainers Ant and Dec. I ask people how many of you would describe them as Irish superstars? No hands. Then I ask how many would describe them as Geordie superstars? All hands go up!
But both their surnames and background are Irish and who is to say that kids from Newcastle in thirty to forty year time with a Roma background won’t be doing the same on TV?
Now I’m working in schools talking about the North East mining heritage which I think is important to remember. It is important to remember the community spirit and the great innovations, but we’ve got to keep fossil fuels in the ground now and work towards green energy and get the kids to understand that.
Hopefully we can get them to stand up in the future and shout for the North East to get more green investment, after all 20,000 County Durham miners lost their lives providing energy in the past.
It’s quite moving talking about the mining heritage, and in County Durham it’s all documented about 8 or 9 year old kids losing their life down the pit and that brings it home to kids of the same age.
I’ll also be at the Durham Miners Gala talking about this, that there was a lot to be proud of, but certainly not pointing the finger saying you caused all the problems of Climate Change.
Although we know now we need to develop green energy, without coal in the past we might still be stuck with the same lifestyles as the 18th century.
To contact Peter and buy copies of Radical Roots – the Human RightsHistory in the North East
A talk about the Cramlington Train Wreckers was held last month at Cramlington Hub, Northumberland (see post 16th March 2023).
The Wreckers were a group of striking miners who uncoupled a train full of blackleg miners in the General Strike of 1926.
Organiser & South Shields playwright Ed Waugh got in touch about the talks…
“The Wreckers meetings went great, the support for the talk was overwhelming with more than 160 people turning up”.
“The latest news about the Cramlington Train Wreckers is that we’ve secured rights to the 30-minute BBC film ‘Yesterday’s Witness’ made in 1970. We’ll be showing it this summer on Wednesday, July 26 at 2pm and 6.30pm”.
“The event will also have a speaker and hopefully songs plus more recitations – it’ll rock. Due to demand for tickets to the March 30th talks, the events are guaranteed to sell out. So not to be disappointed, I’d advise you to get your tickets early, they are only £3 each”.
To purchase tickets forWednesday, July 26 @ 2pm or 6.30pm at The Hub, Cramlington contact: