DESTINY CALLING – in conversation with John Roach guitarist with North East metal band Mythra

On February 13th 2017 an interview with North East heavy metal band Mythra saw the first post on the Alikivi blog. Over 75,000 views later and for the 250th post is appropriately an interview with John Roach…Last year our vocalist Vince High left the band for personal reasons, but we’re still mates. I met Vince when I was 16 in the training school at Swan Hunters shipyard in Fisher Street, Wallsend. We liked the same music and hung around together at work. I was in a band called Zarathustra with Maurice Bates, who was originally the singer now current bass player with Mythra. Vince was in a band called Freeway and eventually he joined us. Pete Melsom was on bass.

53719219_2164098597236599_4408484686087585792_n

Where did the name come from ? We needed a shorter name really, one that was easier to remember so after a few idea’s were thrown in the hat I came up with the name Mythra. We went with that one and around the same time Barry Hopper joined. Our original drummer Kenny Anderson wasn’t really 100% into the band so Barry stepped in. When Barry first came to audition his brother dropped him off in his car. We took one look at his beatuful silver Tama drumkit and said ‘He’s in’ (laughs).

As the original 4 piece Mythra, we all went to gig’s together. Not just Purple or Sabbath at Newcastle City Hall but local bands Warbeck and Axe with Keith Satchfield, Southbound and Circus. There were some truly great rock bands around at that time. Watching them saying ‘this is what we want to do, this is just like Top of the Pops… but real’ (laughs). Axe were probably the most influential band for us they had a huge p.a. and lights and they wrote their own songs, that’s what we wanted.

We were all learning from each other really because we knew the lads in other local bands Saracen, Hollow Ground, Hellanbach. It was like ‘Dawsa (Steve Dawson, guitarist Saracen) has got a Marshall stack…What, really…let’s go an’ see it. Or ‘Metty (Martin Metcalf,  guitarist Hollow Ground) has got a Les Paul. What, a real one ? (laughs).

The band were all around 18 year old, we had bought a Bedford van, our own pa and started earning money from workingmen’s club’s in the North East. Getting our own van was a milestone really instead of our dad’s dropping us off in their cars.

We gigged from Hartlepool, Teeside right up into Northumberland. Maurice got us tied up with Ivor Burchill the main agent in Newcastle. We were getting loads of gigs right through ’76-‘80. We played Sabbath, Wishbone Ash, Humble Pie rock stuff like that. I was earning more money from playing than I was for being an apprentice fitter in the shipyard. You can’t do that anymore (laughs)!

We had a couple of roadies helping out with the gear plus Lou Taylor came along with his home made lamps, lights, flares all sorts (laughs). He was always singing in the back of the van. He used to do these Rob Halford screams and they were spot on. I think Vince thought he was auditioning for Mythra (laughs). Lou ended up singing in various bands like Saracen, Satan and down London with Blind Fury.

52762406_2024617097652306_4576230401973944320_n

In 1979 Def Leppard released ‘Getcha Rocks Off’, Iron Maiden the ‘Soundhouse Tapes’ and Mythra recorded the Death & Destiny ep at Guardian Studio in Durham making them one of the original NWOBHM bands. Yes, we never said we were the best, just one of the first. The single was recorded around September or October and we released it in the November. Actually we just wanted to record a demo at first, put it on cassette, send it around record company’s and hopefully get a deal. The producer and owner of Guardian Records, Terry Gavaghan, said for the same money you can get it on record and it will look more professional than tape. So we bought 200 records at first. We sold them and went back a fortnight later to order more! We sold most of them at Second Time Around Record Shop in South Shields.

Gavaghan got us a distribution deal with Pinnacle Records so it was sold all over the country. Rod MacSween at International Talent Booking agency heard Death and Destiny on the Friday Rock Show hosted by Tommy Vance. That opened a lot of doors and got us bigger gig’s nationwide.

By the time 1980 came around we had done a lot of gig’s and recorded the ep but I couldn’t see the band going any further. After 5 years, I felt as if I had enough so I left in the February. The rest of the band got a guy in called Micky Rundle to replace me and he played on the Headbangers Ball in July ’80 at Stafford Bingley Hall with Motorhead, Saxon and a few others.

Looking back on the ep, we are really proud of it because we were the first of the bands like Fist, Hellanbach, Hollow Ground and Saracen to release a record. We were at the front of all that.

Did you work with any other musicians ? I had a break for a few months then started rehearsing with Saracen. Lou Taylor, Les Wilson, Dave Johnson – and Steve Dawson was the other guitarist. But Steve and I had different playing styles and it didn’t work out. I don’t think Saracen was destined to be a two guitar band. Around 6 month after that Harry Hill (Fist drummer) got in touch and I joined them. We played the Gateshead Festival with Diamond Head, Lindisfarne, Ginger Baker and headliner Rory Gallagher.

Did you have a manager in Fist ? Our management team were based in Manchester and were called Rhino Promotions. I think they had a clothing company making jeans – which were like Geordie Jeans.

I remember a gig in Manchester when the back window of our hired car got smashed and they pinched everything from the boot including my leather trousers, cowboy boots and skimpy black t-shirt that I wore for the gig. They also took a pair of red shorts and an orange bag belonging to Harry Hill. He was livid! And I’d only wore the leather pants once. We drove back to Tyneside with Glenn Coates, Norman Appleby and me in the back, freezing our arses off sitting on tiny bits of glass from the back window (laughs).

How long were you in Fist ? I was in Fist for about a year and a half, originally with a singer called Colin Johnson before Glenn Coates joined. We recorded the album Back with a Vengeance and played a few gigs. The rest of the guys decided they wanted to be a four piece so after a rehearsal in Felling – Glenn and Norman came to my house and told me I was out. It was a bit of a shock!

We had a side band going called Centrefold (Harry, Glenn, me and a great guy called Peter Scott – who sadly died very young of a brain tumour). This continued for quite a while after Fist so there were no real hard feelings. After Peter died we were going to start Centrefold up again with another bass player but my heart wasn’t in it – I think Steve Dawson took it on – small town Shields !

61546111_10211159663346540_864351645650124800_n

Bringing your story up to date, what have Mythra planned next ? Well we are all just enjoying it. Earlier this year we were at the Grimm Up North festival and Negasonic in Belgium, where we showcased some new material. We’re currently finishing pre-production on 12 new songs and we are going to record a new album for High Roller Records with our new singer Kev McGuire later this year. Kev is a great guy with a lot of live experience on stages in the North East and he has a great rock voice. Our next gig is in France at the South Troopers Festival in Marseille on 21st September.

Contact Mythra on the official website http://www.mythra.co.uk/

or through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mythranwobhm/

 Interview by Gary Alikivi July 2019.

ASHES TO ASHES with Bill Beadle, singer & songwriter with UK heavy rock band Sacrilege

57083523_2413932681958290_5656422047081824256_n

Influenced by the big beasts of Metal – Sabbath, Priest and Purple – singer, songwriter & guitarist Bill Beadle formed UK heavy rock band Sacrilege in London in 1981.….Sacrilege’s first ever gig was at the 101 club in Clapham Junction, London in 1982 then we played across the South East and London including the Ad Lib club in Kensington, Green Gate in Bethnal Green and the famous Marquee in Waldorf Street. We also supported an early Iron Maiden line up.

Were the band labelled as NWOBHM and what did you think of it ? I think we are more tagged with the NWOBHM label now than we were then. I didn’t think of us as a particular genre I thought we were a heavy rock band. It didn’t worry me at all but people like to categorise.

I liked the Spellbound album by the Tygers of Pan Tang but didn’t really listen to many other bands of our age really as I was still into Sabbath and Priest then. I knew Weapon were doing really well supporting Motörhead. They are a top band and nice guys. But I was so preoccupied with Sacrilege I didn’t get that much time to go to see other bands.

What bands were gigging at the same time as Sacrilege in the 80s ? Warrior, Tobruk, Demon, Vardis, Spider, Dervish and Angelwitch to name a few. Bands I was still going to see were the bigger bands like Lizzy, Whitesnake, Kiss and Motörhead. They were all great bands.

Are there any recordings of your first line-up ? We recorded a demo tape for £100 at Elephant Recording Studios in Wapping, London. We recorded it through the night as it was cheaper to do it then. We also recorded a track called Ratrace at Teddington Studios. The song was to go on a compilation album with Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon and Angelwitch to rival the Metal for Muthas album, but unfortunately it got shelved. There was a pop band on the record label called Go West, they just had a number one so the budget was poured into them.

Were Sacrilege active in the media, any newspaper stories or appear on tv shows ? Yes we were in Melody Maker and Sounds and the odd magazine. We played on the David Jensen Rock TV show as one of the new bands in the metal genre of 1983. In fact we were chosen out of thousand’s of tapes and records and were billed as the band of ‘83. Also appearing on that show were U2 and The Stranglers.

After that show we were booked to play in a club in Dover. We got down there done a sound check then went for a quick beer. We found a Heavy Metal club about 100 yards away and it was packed so we thought they must all be having a beer and then coming to see us. When we got back to the venue the bouncers on the door said no jeans or trainers!

We said we are the band and it’s heavy metal! They let us in and we found it was a Disco! We thought we are gonna go down like a lead balloon here. But after playing a couple of tracks and letting off a few pyros the crowd seemed to really enjoy our show, even if they weren’t exactly head banging (laughs).

 Sacrilege called it a day in 1987 but Bill started writing and recording again in 2007 and by 2012 looked at starting the band again…Yes now with different members who are based across the South East. Gillingham, Whitstable, Andover and Bristol. We’ve got Neil Turnbull on drums, he was with The Dervish. He joined in 2013 along with Jeff Rolland on bass. Paul Macnamara joined this year on lead guitar. Paul was former guitarist with UK rock/metal band Salem.

What has the new line up got planned ? We have been busy lately appearing in Fireworks magazine and have played alongside bands like Hell, Quartz, Onslaught and Witchfynde. Earlier this month we played a couple of dates in both Belgium and Germany.

We have Court of the Insane, our 7th album coming out on 16th August on the Pure Steel label and we have a couple of dates booked in at The Musician in Leicester 27th July and The Carlisle in Hastings 3rd August. More are being planned.

 Interview by Gary Alikivi May 2019.

HUNGRY FOR ROCK – with Hollow Ground mainman Martin Metcalf.

Martin is guitarist for NWOBHM band Hollow Ground who formed in South Shields in 1978. He also played in Geordie, Powerhouse, Fist and Sabbatica.
The day we were due to meet was as cold as Russia. I walked up to his front door knocked a few times and rubbed my hands together trying to get some warmth. Knew I should have worn my gloves. Door opened and I was greeted by a smiling Martin Metcalf  ‘How ya daein howay in I’ve got the kettle on’.

8
I asked Martin what were his earliest memories of music and his biggest influences. ‘I first listened to glam rock bands like TRex, Slade and Bowie with my first guitar hero being Mick Ronson. Then got into heavier sounds like Alice Cooper and progressed to bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That was the catalyst of wanting to play music.
I got my first Satellite Les Paul Copy guitar and Sound City Amp and started rehearsing in Tyne Dock Youth Club in South Shields’.

2

When were your first gigs ? ‘We played a few pubs around South Shields around 78-79 and then later some more local gigs with Fist and Hellanbach. We also played in clubs with a more commercial set doing cover versions under the name Horizon. This financed our first time in a studio, recording at NEAT records’.

What was your experience of recording ? ‘My first one was at NEAT’s Impulse Studios in Wallsend basically a live recording of most songs from the Hollow Ground set. I think it was Keith Nicholl who produced the demo and the tape operator was a guy called Conrad Lant aka Chronos, who later became the bassist in Venom. We were just young lads then, sort of finding our feet in the studio. That one cost £50 and was recorded totally live’.

HG3
‘One night we went to Newcastle Mayfair to watch our mates Fist who were on the bill with Raven. Steve Thompson who was producer then at NEAT records pulled me to one side and said theres a deal at NEAT if I wanted it. I liked the idea but told him we had just sorted something out with Guardian. We went down to the studio in Durham and recorded 4 tracks Flying High, Warlord, Rock On and Don’t Chase The Dragon. It cost around £500’.

5

What was the story behind Roksnax the compilation LP that Hollow Ground appeared on? ‘What happened was we met up with producer Terrry Gavaghan and talked through the idea of a compilation LP with a couple of other bands from the North East. So we went down to Guardian and recorded a further 2 songs – The Holy One and Fight With the Devil. Our mates from South Shields, Saracen were also going to be on the record’.
3‘We were in the studios for 2 days and slept overnight there. The studio was basically 2 terraced houses knocked into one. I still remember the smell of the brown cork tiles in the studio and having to sellotape the headphones on my head when recording as they kept falling off!  In hindsight maybe NEAT would have turned out better for us in the long run. Although a good thing was that Lars Ulrich from Metallica bought a copy of the Roksnax LP in Los Angeles and that led to our track Fight With the Devil being played in the Metallica documentary A Year And A Half In The Life Of Metallica’.

What caused the break up of Hollow Ground ? Hollow Ground lasted until our singer Glenn Coates went for an audition for Fist. The writing was on the wall because they already had a following and a record deal with NEAT plus they had recently toured with UFO. Glenn got the job and in the end there was no hard feelings about it, all the lads in Fist were and still are good friends’.

6

Where did your career go after that ? ‘Around ’84 I had a 5 year stint with Geordie, who changed their name to Powerhouse following an album release. We played gigs and recorded the album (Powerhouse) at Redwood Studios in London for Mausoleum records’.

577880_293251164129519_846241940_n‘Redwood was owned by the Monty Python guys Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison. The studio was run by a guy name Andre Jaquemin who in 1980 set up some studio work for Brian Johnson, who at the time was on the brink of leaving Geordie and joining AC/DC. Small world eh’.

7

What are you up to now are you still involved in music ? ‘I’m still working in music, just not as much on stage. We do a few Hollow Ground gigs at Metal Festivals in Europe and I still play, but nowadays I mostly work behind the mixing desk engineering live sound’.

9

‘I do loads of gigs for North East bands in fact I’m booked up for pretty much the rest of the year. So yeah, I enjoy that and get just as much a thrill out of it as I do when playing on stage’.

1

I drained the last few dregs of my coffee, put my coat on, said our goodbyes and walked out into a cold wind howling in from the North sea. It’s Baltic out here. Head down and quickly walked along the street catching the sun going down over the river Tyne.

Interview by Gary Alikivi on 12th January 2017 .

ALL ABOARD -Getting the band back on the right track with Dealer frontman Trevor Short

Formed in 1979 New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Dealer are from Cirencester, in the South of England. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Trevor Short got in touch…

18424728_10213382527297309_1475073037_n‘We had quite an entourage back then, to accomodate everyone and our gear we got a massive 28 seater ex US Airforce bus, and our first proper gig was at a pub in our home town, we ran it all from one plug socket – lights, PA and the back line haha!’… but where did it all begin ? ‘I was in the church choir as a kid and when I was 15, a local band were looking for a singer and asked if I was interested. We all had similar influences, basicallly anything metal from the late 70’s and 80’s like AC/DC, Budgie, Diamond Head and Scorpions’.

18034777_10213163528822484_1813778098_n
‘Originally we were called Lone Wolf but had to change the name as Paul Di’Annio, who was sacked from Iron Maiden, formed a new band called Lone Wolf. We looked into fighting to keep the name but eventually gave up and that’s where Dealer started’.

18015703_10213163498701731_1712800970_o

When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘We played all pubs and clubs up and down the country with memorable gigs in Swindon, then over to Oxford and into Cardiff. Then a couple of gigs where we supported Gary Moore and the mighty Motorhead at Chippenham Golddiggers. The whole experience will stay with me forever. Motorhead and their crew could not have been more helpful. We spent most of the evening in their dressing room having been practically dragged in by Lemmy ‘Help yourself to beer and food guys’. When it was time for us to go on, Lemmy and Philthy stood in the wings and watched our whole set. It was a sell out gig and everyone was up for it. We actually got an encore but we didn’t think we would be allowed to do one more and started to leave the stage. Lemmy was having none of it and insisted we go back out for our encore. He was a very kind and generous man. The crew worked their asses of for us too. Nothing was too much trouble’.

18049538_10213163506741932_1554963362_o
‘All in stark contrast to the Gary Moore gig. The man himself was quite friendly, he seemed almost shy but their management not quite so. We had to wait outside while the band sound checked. Then we were bundled on and off and pretty much made aware of our place. Good gig though’.
18034813_10213163501341797_1925663324_n

What were your experiences of recording ?  ‘Tudor Studios in Swindon was our first time in a proper studio that was around 1980. I remember we recorded 3 songs but amazingly with all the archive material we collected there is no recording of this session, not a tape or receipt so I cannot even tell you how much it cost !
We have one track Strip Jack Naked which has survived from the 2nd session we recorded at a studio in Reading. Again we haven’t got much info on the name of that studio but I can remember we were struggling to find a place with a producer who understood heavy metal’.

17974072_10213163498581728_1034975207_n

‘I’n 1982 we wanted to record an album’s worth of songs, but this would of cost a fortune so we converted our rehearsal space into a studio. We got all the necessary gear, a recording desk, quarter inch reel to reel and plenty of mics. Then went for it, totally live! The end product we called Boogie, Booze & Birds and put it out on cassette’.

18049809_10213163531062540_1187184611_o

‘Not long after, we met a guy who owned a studio in Cardiff, we found that he really knew his stuff. He was a real saviour for our recorded output so for the next few years, Studio 2 was our real go to place. The result was our deal with Ebony Records’.

18049947_10213163530782533_1706088734_o

‘Our next recording was at Ebony Studio in Hull. It was a pretty hectic time because we only had one week to record and mix. But we knuckled down and came out with the First Strike album, that was released in 1986 on the Ebony label’.

18042860_10213163530302521_1946827280_o

Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ?  ‘I mentioned that we got a massive ex US Airforce bus, well that was a V12 Chevy that was very slow and very thirsty! We added our name on the destination board at the front of the bus, we thought this was great but proved not to be one of our better ideas as the police would stop us on a regular basis. We had just done a gig in Guildford when we were stopped and hauled back to the police station. We were strip searched and held for over 5 hours…finally we were let go’.

18361719_10213382527417312_1411484260_n
‘The bus wasn’t the most reliable as it would reguarly break down and to get going again we’d have to push it. I remember supporting Spider in Newbury, we were late after breaking down again. We pushed the bus into the venue’s car park and all the people in the queue were watching us. It was like a scene out of the TV spoof documentary Bad News’.

17974148_10213163501301796_1336643311_n

Have Dealer been active lately and is there any future plans for band?  ‘In January 2010 we played a ‘one last gig for old times sake’ gig in our hometown of Cirencester. To our surprise that gig was quite a success and I have to say it kinda stirred up the juices again. Also ONR, a Greek record label, released an album of our demo’s which was later released by German label High Roller Records’.

18042787_10213163532942587_308611517_o
‘By 2011 of all places to gig, we were asked to tour Russia ! A 10 day tour was set up and that was an absolute blast. Our album First Strike was also remastered and released there. More festivals followed including the Heavy Metal Maniacs in Holland’.

18015672_10213163500181768_1572748859_o‘Then Dealer was put on hold after the tragic death of original bassist Pete Gentil. This was absolutely devastating. After a year of contemplation Dealer returned with new bass player Tom Bull to play gigs in the UK, we went back to Holland again and also got on the Lechlade Festival bill supporting Status Quo’.

18015817_10213163525702406_1138638468_o‘Things were starting to look up again when Steve our lead guitarist developed a problem with his hand meaning Ash Doulton, was brought in to fill on guitar duties. This year with gigs ready for Europe, USA and India we are ready to keep the Dealer train rolling’.

19143298_1581009148596756_7833543286879900181_o

Dealer full line up:
Trevor Short: lead vocals & rhythm guitar
Rupert Irving: drums & backing vocals
Tom Bull: bass & backing vocals
Ash Doulton: lead guitar & backing vocals

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

 

MEN AT WORK – On Call with Steve Dawson from Oliver/Dawson Saxon

drHZZBsEcoAQCgC1XINFXuUOUmb-9S-lvWAZJ5_SkU4BvnXARiyXtxBXzephw9Y9ALrmjngl5i_fueDmdslK1c0uSns8gRsoBeAXuRI15mbbGn3fBWnTPrs-PN6R6W110747, Wheels of Steel, Heavy Metal Thunder, Never Surrender, And The Bands Played On are just some of the Heavy Metal anthems recorded by Saxon during the late 1970’s and early ’80’s. After the band split up, original members Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson formed their own version of Saxon. Here Steve talks with honesty and humour about those early days and how he is still enjoying the music biz.

saxonvintage
‘Looking back on my career so far I’d say my proudest moment was the first time going on Top of the Pops with Wheels of Steel and my mother finally accepting that I had got a proper job!’

Who were your influences and what got you playing music, was there a defining moment of hearing a song or watching a band when you said ‘I want to do that’ ?
‘What started it all off for me was listening to The Beatles particuarly Day Tripper and Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkeys’.

saxon1

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, what was the feeling betwwen Saxon and Iron Maiden who were leading the charge, and did you realise how influential the movement was on bands like Metallica ? ‘Of course we did many shows with Iron Maiden, loved them all. And bands like Vardis, Samson and the Tygers were around then. We didn’t think too much about the future, we were just going for it you know, to be honest we were just happy to make it to the next week !
As far as Metallica goes I remember first time coming across them when they supported us at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. It was not until much later that we heard Metallica were heavily influenced by Saxon, the drummer Lars Ulrich came out and said that. It’s nice of him to acknoweledge our influence but we didn’t know about it really we were just playing the music we loved’.

d0n01982-Cover

Have you any memories of the day’s when Saxon played on the bill of the Monsters of Rock festival in 1980 & 1982 ? ‘First time in 1980 we were playing with so many of our hero’s. We were listening to records like Killing Machine by Judas Priest and Long Live Rock n Roll from Rainbow and here we are on the same bill! We just hoped we got through the set without making any mistakes. At that time it was the biggest crowd that we’ve ever played, so you could say we were a bit nervous’ !

donington
‘In 1982 Gillan were on after us then Status Quo were headlining. Anvil and a few other bands had been on before us but it was over very quickly and at the end we got a good fee for playing, so that turned out to be a good day’s work’.

brofest

Is there a cameraderie between musicians when you are on tour ? ‘We are all in it together, and we are just musicians at work having a great time. Unfortunately there are some arseholes in the music biz so it’s best to keep away from them as much as you can. You never stop learning in this job and we are forever gratefull that we can earn a living doing what we love’.

Steve-Dawson-whose-Oliver-Dawson-Saxon-are-headlining-this-years-Brofest-festival-at-Northumbria-U

Does your experience of the early Saxon days help you enjoy performing now ?
‘You know life on the road is one big adventure and like all musicians we have stories from the road. When we are together we can talk for hours about the laughter, the tears and the heady nights so this is a nice lead into telling you Graham and I have a new book coming out, called Saxon Drugs and Rock & Roll, the Real Spinal Tap. It’ll be packed with lot’s of stories of life on the road, so that’s one to definitly check out soon on Tomahawk Press’. (The 1984 mockumentary Spinal Tap was based on Saxon, plus a few other bands have claimed an influence on the film which follows a fictional British Heavy Metal band on tour. The writer Harry Shearer went on tour with Saxon and took notes which formed the basis of the script for the film.)

MI0001567701

What has music given you ? ‘Music has given me a good job that I love, lots of great times, and more sex than I could have wished for. Oh and a failed marriage’.

oliver-dawson-saxon-intervista-05-08-2015_02-1

What are Oliver/Dawson Saxon planning for the rest of the year ? ‘Later this year we are recording a new album, we have a few idea’s for that already. It’ll be produced by the band and Paul O’Neill in his Wigan studio. We are keeping the same team together who recorded Motorbiker in 2012 because that went really well.
We’ve also got load’s of shows this summer around the UK and a few festivals in Europe like Stormcrusher in Germany, British Steel Festival in France and November we’re in Holland. It’s hard work but we love it’ !

With that Steve is off to work to put another rock n roll shift in.

612a5b3842e8eedb85983194fd9e2353

All tour dates and information available on the official website http://www.odsrock.co.uk

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

UNDER THE BLADE – Against all odd’s with Tokyo Blade

Andy Boulton, Lead Guitarist for NWOBHM band Tokyo Blade talks about the high’s and lows of being in the music biz…

andyboultonOur first big break came when we did two big festivals in Holland and Belgium with Metallica, then our second big break came when we supported Mamas Boys throughout Europe. We were received in an unbelievably positive way and in a heartbeat we were back out on our own headlining tour. That was really incredible, there we were all in our early 20’s with a big flash tour bus and an Arctic truck full of gear playing sold out shows of 3-4000 capacity venues all over Europe which continued almost non-stop for three years. Then it was the USA tour and back home to film Live in London, a one hour show from the Camden Palace and a live session for BBC Radio One’s Friday Rock show with Tommy Vance. It was all travel, birds, booze and rock ‘n’ roll so we wouldn’t want that for a lifestyle in your mid 20s haha’

13557915_1740017842943788_7955417764141836333_n

That being the high, what was the low ? ‘At the risk of being overdramatic and sounding like a pompous arse the cost has been very high both financially and personally and on more than one occasion I’ve questioned why the fuck I still continue to play guitar with Tokyo Blade !
I think the biggest tragedy in our heyday was Vic Wright leaving the band to live in America just after our first US tour. We were on the verge of signing a major deal with WEA when he left and we never really recovered from that. Plus the fact that we were screwed for an awful lot of money forced Blade to fall apart’.

10606433_1491186361131863_6631244714440475842_n

Let’s go back to the beginning Andy. How did you get involved in playing music was there a defining moment when you said ‘I want to do that’? ‘I think if you’re a real musician then it’s in you somewhere. Your soul or spirit, it’s there from birth. My mother was a fantastic pianist and had an amazing ear. She could listen to something once and then play it perfectly, it’s definitely from her that I got my gift for music. I guess that something triggers inside you it must be DNA I guess, that sort of inner feeling to play music.
If I had to name one defining moment that moment would be when I was about 12 year old. I was at a friends house and his elder brother had just bought the second Queen album, he put on the first track of the second side Ogre Battle and that was it for me, my journey to the dark side was underway!
I started digging out my sisters albums she had Schools Out by Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin II and of course the almighty Led Zeppelin IV. I just soaked up everything I could. I begged my mother for a guitar and being a musician herself she understood and bought me one as soon as she could afford it. And I started with a red Jedson a sort of Telecaster’.

hqdefault-1

When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ?  ‘We started in the way that most bands start, at school with friends just playing youth clubs. As the band got better we started playing pubs, just local stuff at first. As time progressed we all knew that what we wanted to do was to play rock and metal but we desperately needed decent equipment, so we decided that playing working men’s club’s was where the money was. This meant we had to play a load of material that we didn’t like, including country and western !
But we worked our asses off and saved some money to record a demo, we gave a copy to Tommy Vance who played it on the Friday Rockshow, and from there we gigged all over the country’.

C--_oafXgAEK3td.jpg-large

‘We did two big festivals in Holland and Belgium one was the Aardschock around ’84 on the bill were Metallica and Venom. We were really surprised by the number of Blade fans there and the amazing reaction from the crowd. Then our first big break came with the support for Irish band Mamas Boys throughout Europe. There were more tours and albums that followed and Tokyo Blade became a well respected part of the NWOBHM genre.’

nightfrontlp

What were your experiences of recording ? ‘A fucking nightmare in short, everything we ever did was with no real money. We signed to an awful record company who eventually took every penny we made. The first album we done was at Wickham Studios and was recorded and mixed in four days. We slept on the studio floor and lived on chip butties.
The second album Night of the Blade was little difference other than we had two weeks to record and mix it, real luxury ! We slept in a rough Bed & Breakfast it was a working man’s dosshouse really, with bedbugs and really greasy breakfasts, yep the whole 9 yards’. (The album got a USA release in 1984 under the title Midnight Rendezvous). ‘We financed the third album ourselves, Black Hearts & Jaded Spades and had a slightly better time of it and successive albums have been recorded under more or less similar circumstances’.

Tokyo Blade - Live At Camden Palace Theater London - Cover
‘We had a call one day from our agency, there was a proposal from London Weekend Television who wanted to film one of our gigs and would we mind playing at the Camden Palace and have it recorded for broadcast? Oh theres a fair bit of money in it for you as well. Where do we sign ? haha…the whole thing turned out great, a huge part of the Tokyo Blade history’.
(It’s worth checking out the concert Live in London filmed in 1985 also recorded for the show were Girlschool, Rock Goddess & Warlock. Also the newly released box set CD ‘Knights of the Blade’ received a favourable review by Philip Wilding in May 2017 edition of Classic Rock magazine ’sounding like a fledgling Def Leppard some songs could of bought them their own tour bus).

16842_l

Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ?  ‘Millions my friend far too many to tell but if I had to pick one it would be the tour with Mamas Boys and what follows is 100% fact and perfectly illustrates the luck or rather lack of it that Tokyo Blade has endured throughout its entire history’.

mamasboys-discographywty9n
Sharp intake of breath and here we go –
The 1983 European support tour with Mamas Boys had been set up and dates arranged and confirmed. The problem was our record company had persuaded us that our vocalist was not good enough as a front man and we must find a new singer. So we searched but had no luck. Our manager was going to pull the tour when a few days before we were due to leave a demo tape arrived at his office, we listened and it sounded promising. The singers name was Vic Wright. So we called him up and asked him when he could come for an audition. The catch being that he lived in Bradford 300 miles away and had no car. The audition would be the sound check for the first show of the tour !
He eventually made it to my house in Salisbury. How, I’m not sure ! I handed him a Sony Walkman with a cassette of the songs and some of the lyrics. We sat there all night and left my home at five a.m next day for the ferry’.

What sort of budget did you have for the tour ? ‘We had no money for hotels or food, and only a small amount for diesel. The money that we were to receive from the shows would only just cover our diesel to the next show, so our saving grace was to be two boxes of Tokyo Blade T-shirts which our manager said we would need to sell in order to get cash for food.’

nightlp

What type of transport did you have ? ‘A large Fiat Daily, it had to be large enough to carry five band members, four road crew and all our gear. To be honest there wasn’t enough room to scratch your bollocks plus with no money for hotels we were going to have to sleep in the fucking thing…yes all 9 of us!!!’
We eventually got on the road down to Calais where the charming French Customs Officers searched the two cardboard boxes full of T-shirts. This being pre-EU days we had no license to sell anything in Europe. Oh how we laughed as they deprived us of the T-shirts and they also added a lovely little fine which took care of most of our diesel money.
Anyway we still had all our duty free fags, until that is when we decided to stop and cheer ourselves up with a beer and in the very short time it takes to down one small beer some friend of humanity decided to smash the van window and nick all our duty free and my Sony Walkman which our new singer had conveniently left for them on the front seat.
To look on the bright side we had youth, enthusiasm and testosterone on our side so unanimously we thought ‘we’ll be ok, we’re gonna get through the next 14 days of this tour somehow’. We headed for the first venue’.

11223703_484709868366781_3240638747163275532_n

What happened when you arrived for the first gig ? ‘When we arrived we were allowed to do one song for a soundcheck and luckily for us our new vocalist Vic Wright sang fine. So with half a ton of gaffa tape one of our road crew stuck his lyrics sheets all over the stage.
The gig itself ? We went down an absolute storm, the entire place erupted from the moment we hit the stage until we left ! We couldn’t believe it we knew this was going to be hard but it was going to be made a helluva lot easier playing shows like this every night. After the show the crew had piled all the gear into the van and we drove to the next venue in a better mood’.

12002038_484709835033451_5150314637862281474_n

With the first successful gig out of the way, what happened next ?
‘We arrived very early in the morning and parked in some woods nearby to try and sleep. I’ve always been lucky in as much as I can sleep on a tight rope. Having said that sharing the front of an extremely cramped Fiat Daily van with nine very sweaty guys is not conducive for a good nights shut eye. It was at this point that our drummer Steve Pierce smugly announced that he had brought a tent for him and our bassist Andy Wrighton to share. It was pissing down with rain though.
Apparently during the night the tent leaked, a lot, and while Steve was having sweet dreams of steak and chips in a four poster bed, poor old Andy decided he couldn’t take anymore and being soaking wet, extremely tired and pissed off decided to go for a walk. A nice little woodland stroll.
Meanwhile the rest of us who had slept sitting upright in the van began to stir and decided to leave for the venue in the hope that there would be showers inside so we could at least get rid of some of the previous night’s sweat. We all crawled out of the van to discover one very damp drummer and zero bass players. The only conclusion we could reach was that poor old Andy couldn’t take any more and had decided to just go home. So we all piled back into the van and decided to drive about hoping to find him, meanwhile he had returned from his woodland walk to discover no tent, no drummer, no van, no band l!!’

TokyoBlade-OneNightInLudwigsburg

‘To say the poor bloke was in a state of extreme panic would be an understatement, he was left standing damp, cold and very much alone in the middle of the woods somewhere in Northern France with no money, no fags and no idea of how we was going to get anywhere. Remember these were the days before mobile phones. Meanwhile we scoured the nearby area to no avail so unanimously decided to return to the woods where we found a very distressed but a very much relieved bassist. It turned out to be a very emotional reunion and Andy’s vocabulary was now confined to expletives clearly designed to upset our more sensitive little personalities. He hadn’t taken our departure from the woods in good spirit, to say the least’.

17498595_1349515771782709_2186815812215163858_n

With no money for food how did you feed yourselves ? ‘Our roadie Cliff was very adept at stealing things and for the next three days he stole all the food he could get from various shops. This led to some very interesting meals, strawberries and bread, crisps and jam, apples and ham, those meals stick in my mind. After about three days our luck turned and Mamas Boys came to learn of our wild style of existence if you ever read this boys although I’ve said it 1 million times thank you from the bottom of my heart Pat, John and the late and much missed Tommy (RIP brother).
Not only did they allow John and I to sleep on their tour bus but also their catering ladies gave us the left over food they had cooked. All the bunks on the tourbus were taken so John and I slept in the seats at the front but it was a damn site more comfortable than the van.
And so we completed the tour and returned home to good old Blighty in high spirits like conquering warrior heroes. Successive tours saw us in our own tour buses and artic lorries carrying all the gear. Total luxury and as a result of that tour we always treated our support bands the same way we’d been treated by Mamas Boys’.

MI0001395276

What are you doing now and did this experience put you off music ? ‘Trust me when I say I am incredibly proud of what Tokyo Blade has achieved over the years because everything we’ve done has been against overwhelming odds. It’s all helped to turn us in to the tough, determined and tight band we are today. Although the music business chewed us up and spat us out, my band of brothers and myself battle on, still making new music still touring and still doing what we’ve always done to the best standard we can.
As I’ve said in more than one interview for me personally Tokyo Blade captures the spirit of the underdog our spirit lies with the working class and the downtrodden or dogged persistence against all odds means we are still out there doing what we do best. I make no apologies for Tokyo Blade and I’m fucking proud of what we’ve achieved’.

17862350_733729040131528_6776055309878823947_n
‘As of today with our original vocalist Alan Marsh back on board I think we are the only New Wave of British Heavy Metal band still going with an original lineup and the new album to be recorded this year plus more tours to come. Unless I die I’ll crack on with that! Life is not a rehearsal, you get one crack at it so why waste it being unhappy? what ever life chucks at you just duck so it hits some other fucker and laugh your arse off, all the hard times make for the best stories and memories and that’s all we have left at the end of the day isn’t it?’

18582001_755097631328002_5818263790065441664_n
‘Let’s face facts we were hardly the darlings of the UK music press who slagged us off at every available opportunity and continue to do so, but thanks to all our fans worldwide last year alone we headlined two British metal festivals, several in Europe plus a tour of Chile, Brazil and Ecuador. Apart from anything else music is my raison d’être. If anyone is to blame for my persistence with it blame Brian May for ever recording Ogre Battle oh and my late Mother’s DNA of course!

God bless you all xxx

Tour dates and information is available on the official website at Tokyoblade.com

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

Recommended:

SALEM: To Hull and Back, 6th April 2017.

CLOVEN HOOF: Shine On, 20th April 2017.

WEAPON UK: All Fired Up, 6th May 2017.

SAVAGE: The Mansfield Four, 8th May 2017.

TYTAN: Back in the Ring, 25th May 2017.

CLOVEN HOOF, On the Hoof, 21st August 2017.

SATAN’S EMPIRE: The Devil Rides Out, 4th October 2017.

 

JUST A MO’ – Greece is the Word for Maurice

Mythra bassist Maurice Bates talked ahead of playing on the Up the Hammers Festival in Greece on May 27th ‘It was great when we reformed Mythra in 2014 and now we’re just enjoying the ride as they say’.

17097823_388390371543903_6983592376338733157_o

How did you get involved in playing music and who were your influences?
‘When I was 12 years old my parents sent me to a guitar teacher to keep me out of trouble. My Influences were The Beatles, Kinks and The Who, then got into heavier stuff like Sabbath, Judas Priest and Rush, that stuff packed a bit more of a punch.
Me and some friends formed my first band Revolver in Newcastle and played Beatles songs. We played our first gig at school when I was 13. We auditioned for the TV programme Opportunity Knocks, we played in front of Hughie Green, but sadly we weren’t successfull haha’.

12742349_953251554763346_7826335651901686545_n

How did Mythra get together? ‘When I was 15 I met John Roach, Peter Melsom and Kenny Anderson. We formed Zarathustra and rehearsed in St Hildas Youth Club or sometimes the Lambton Arms, South Shields. We started playing gigs at youth clubs around South Shields. We went through a period of changing members and brought in Barry Hopper on drums, he was originally in Obilisque. Then Vince High was brought in as the singer and it was at this point we changed the name to Mythra’.

16402773_1337851442940270_409232415408218936_o
‘We started playing the social club scene around the North East where they would have rock nights on. After the gigs we’d pick up the cash then on the Saturday take it up to Newcastle where Ivan Burchall had his agency, he would take his cut. He’d also sort out the next weeks bookings, the same for the Mel Unsworth Agency and a few gigs through Beverly Artists in South Shields’.

15826122_1314240321968049_7586577793798951069_n copy
‘I remember playing at Boldon Lane Community Centre in South Shields around ’79 we had Hellanbach as support, to publicise gigs we used to get out on the streets late at night with a bucket of glue and paste up the posters in bus shelters around the town, it was a right laugh and it done the job to get the word around for the gig. Hundreds turned up. It is very different now using social media where it can take a few minutes to advertise a gig’.

11219319_1095379463854137_1935540714137821083_n copy

Did you ever think of basing the band closer to the capital ? ‘There wasn’t much discussion about basing the band in London cos we had regular gigs all around the North, we worked really hard and had fairly settled lives, we just needed a few more Bingley Hall type gigs to get noticed but sadly they never happened’.

Have you any stories from gigging ? ‘We supported Saxon at the Mayfair in Newcastle and were surprised to find them drinking tea instead of alcohol, they had their own industrial water boiler. We thought this was a great idea so we copied them and always carried a baby Burco water boiler to gigs to make our coffee and tea. So much for sex, drugs and rock n roll eh !
We once played the Old 29 in Sunderland and our friend Lou Taylor was the lighting guru, he was like a sixth member of Mythra then, and to his mothers dismay he made all the lighting rigs for our shows in his garage and bedroom.
On this particular gig he let off a smoke bomb which gave off so much smoke the pub had to be emptied. Another time I managed to get hold of an aircraft landing spotlight. When it was turned on and pointed at the audience it was so powerful it blinded everyone in the room, it was like looking into the sun haha’.

DSC_0310.jpg

What were your experiences of recording ? ‘The first recording session was a new experience and opened our eyes to another part of being in a band, to be able to hear a finished track was brilliant. The first recording we done was the Death and Destiny EP in 1979. We chose Gaurdian over Impulse Studio basically because of the price, plus you got a better deal for reprinting the EP so we went there. The owner Terry Gavaghan was more of an engineer than producer, he just said to us no slow songs lads keep it up this is good ! We slept upstairs to the studio so we could get on with recording straight away in the morning. But as we were recording our own bit seperately you know, guitars, bass, vocals, everyone else had to leave the studio so we ended up in the pub! Happy days’.

18358575_1292447650875674_8199448759995756181_o

What are you doing now and are you still involved with music ?
‘We reformed Mythra in 2014 and we have just released our new album Still Burning, and  getting ready to play a heavy metal festival in Athens…that’s not bad’.

15873393_1314731068550331_8216331982584606039_n17211960_1266181143470384_3030192939849362901_o

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

Recommended:

Mythra: Still Burning, 13th February 2017.

John Roach, Still Got the Fire, 27th April 2017.

Vince High, Vinyl Junkies, 11th December 2017.

TURN THE HELL ON – FIST drummer Harry Hill pull’s no punches.

Harry Hill is drummer with North East Heavy Metal legends Fist. I saw Fist a few times live but the memorable gig was at Newcastle Mayfair in 1982 when they supported Y&T.

1
Y&T loved Fist they thought the band was great you know and the plan was to do a mini tour but sadly it never came off. Thinking back it would have been Carole Johnson who got us the support gig. Carole was ex wife of AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, she also had Lynx Studio – we had some wild nights there haha. Another memorable gig was around 1984 we done two nights at Hammersmith Odeon with Motorhead and they were loud, very loud, you don’t try and out do Motorhead’.

12375151_1063311187053407_5315132051818883176_o

Who were your influences in music ? ‘Basically the important guys John Bonham, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell and Bill Ward who in my opinion was one of the most underated drummers. The other one of course was Brian Downey out of Thin Lizzy who was also a great player. Modern day now I love listening to Mike Mangini from Dream Theatre, and of course Dave Grohl it’s good to keep up with them. Sometimes if I think I’ve done a good gig I’ve played well and then I watch one of these guys it’s ohh back to the drawing board mate haha’.

3

How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘It was the old story of four mates at school, one was going to be singer one was the guitarist the other on bass and I was the drummer. None of us could actually play anything! I was around 14 then and lived in Shields with just my mother as my father had died a few years earlier. But he had a beautiful piano which he used to play in the front room. So in my wisdom I thought I would sell the piano and buy a drum kit which I did for £45. I put the drum kit where the piano was and thought my mother won’t notice I mean you never went in the front room did you haha. It was lock the door, close the curtains and off I go. I was totally oblivious to the neighbours about the noise I was making. They’d bray on the door and shout ‘will you stop hitting those drums Harry you’re giving me a headache’.
It was a tough instrument to learn then because there was no tuition or coaching like there is now. When I was at school I passed my exams for the Oxford University entry exam and I remember walking into the careers officers room he said well done Hill what’s your plans now, I said I’m gonna be a drummer in a rock band he screamed GET OUT! haha.
I was one of the first around town to get a kit with double bass drums and I locked myself away for weeks in my flat to learn them, it was the only way, the only way to do it is to get stuck in. I came out of that pretty competent at playing’.

2

Where did you rehearse and when did you start playing gigs? ‘Keith Satchfield came round and said he was putting a band together with two drummers do you fancy joining. We were called Axe at this point. First rehearsals was upstairs in the Cyprus Pub in South Shields. The other drummer turned up in a MG car with Jackie Stewart gloves and I rolled up on a £3 push bike I got from the second hand shop haha. Dave Urwin was there and on bass we had Chris Nolan. Later we got in John Wylie. Eventually the band went with just the one drummer, the other guy was a nice lad but a bit sloppy and Keith was very much into keeping it tight, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse you gotta know your stuff learn your lines you know. So I was in. I thought this is it I had my house picked out in Los Angeles all ready to go!’

rock-on-the-tyne

What venues did you play ? ‘I remember the Gateshead Festival gig in August 1981 with Diamond Head, Ginger Baker and a few others it was a good line up. We were playing in a Warrington nightclub the night before and we got out around 3am. I was pissed on the bus on the way back when we finally got home I only had 2 hours kip before turning up at Gateshead. The guys working our backline where already there and were checking the drums, (one of them was Kev Charlton bassist for Hellanbach who will feature in a later post)  so with the bass drums banging away and my splitting headache from a huge hangover it wasn’t a good entrance. It was a two day festival and Rory Gallagher was headlining that night, top of the bill on the second day was Elvis Costello and halfway down the bill was an unknown band from Ireland called U2… whatever happened to them haha’.

fist-flyer

What were your experiences of recording ?  ‘We started recording pretty much straight away the first was in Impulse Studios, we were still called Axe then. We recorded S.S.Giro which we still play to this day. It was never released as a single it was just a demo tape. The track ended up on the Lead Weight compilation cassette put out by NEAT records. The first single we put out was Name, Rank and Serial Number and You Never Get Me Up In One of Those on the b side. We done a lot of reheasal and prep work so we were tight, ready to record. When we done Name, Rank we were on Northern Life TV. The cameras came down filmed in the studio the whole thing was coming together very quickly, that was 1980. Would love to see that again’.

The Wanderer
‘Strangely the only piece of vinyl I have is our single we recorded The Wanderer and I’ve an awful feling it was my idea to do that song haha. We started putting it in our set and we thought it was ok to play and sounded good so yeah went in and recorded it. Status Quo released a version a couple of month after ours but honestly thought our version was better haha’.

16252307_1338248126233935_8337311360988315866_o
‘When Iron Maiden took off all the labels were trying to sign NWOBHM bands. We went down to London and signed with MCA. There was a meeting in London in their offices and Stuart Watson was the A&R guy he signed us up’.

FIST-Turn-The-Hell-On
‘We done the Turn the Hell On album in De Lane Studios in London there was four studios, in Studio One there was Queen, in Studio Two there was Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Studio Three was Wishbone Ash and in Studio Four was us, not bad eh !
Our problem was they gave us Derek Lawrence to produce Turn the Hell On, don’t get me wrong he was great producer for Wishbone Ash he done a fantastic job on them but that’s not who we were. When the final mix was done Keith heard it on bloody massive speakers in the recording studio so it was pounding but on a normal system it sounded weak as piss. We were so disappointed with the final mix. Ideally we should have had somebody like Mutt Lang or Martin Birch who done some Black Sabbath stuff. People like Ted Templeman who got a great sound for Van Halen. Production is so important and the producer would be an extra member of the band to help create the sound. North Eastern band Dance Class had the same problem as we did, they were with RCA, the album came out and didn’t have any punch to it you know’.

17351158_10155055236203972_604549925_n

Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘We worked through an agent Ivan Burchall, and we were out 6-7 nights a week in the clubs, we got to Durham, West Cornforth, Easington all over the North of England. We had a residency at the Legion in South Shields then after that we would drive over to Mingles rock bar in Whitley Bay. We were still Axe then before becoming Fist. The reason why we changed names was because there was an American band called Axe so we changed to Fist but we found there was a Canadian band called Fist so we became Fist UK and they called themselves Myofist when in Europe, complicated? nah not really.
In ’79 UFO were promoting their album The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent and we supported them on a 21 date tour then 23 dates in 1980. We had a great time with them, fantastic. We were playing the City Hall’s and Hammersmith Odeon and all the rest of it, magic time’.

UFO x 3
‘There was a guy in Jarrow, Mick Lewis who made these drums for me called Viking with two 24inch bass drums they were huge and the sound out of them was phenomenal. He made them out of orange boxes or something like that. Well Andy Parker UFO‘s drummer was playing a plastic Ludwig kit and he couldn’t get the sound I was getting. He was complaining about the support band getting a better sound so they flew in a guy from Ludwig in America to meet Mick Lewis at Newcastle City Hall. He asked Mick what was the secret to these drums, he thought there would be something technical and Mick just said I make them out of these orange boxes, nothing special. He was gutted haha.
But we had to buy on to that tour it was about £6,000 and we were only on £50 a night. That had to buy our fuel to get to the next gig and we had to pay the sound guy and the lighting guy £15 each for a good sound you know, unbelievable. But it was great exposure for us because we had our album out Turn the Hell On’.

16707591_1588063794554792_1602774941166523659_o
‘We were playing the Marquee and for two nights we were supporting Iron Maiden when Paul Di’Anno was in them. We were going down an absolute storm the place was chocca I’m not sure what the band thought about it but their road manager Adrian was kicking off, shouting and screaming ‘you’re just the support band you’re not supposed to go down like that’. We won him over in the end and he came in the dressing room with a crate of beer. Yep we give them a run for the money’.

Did Fist have a manager ? ‘Dave Woods was around for the Impulse recordings but he wasn’t manager, Carole Johnson took us on around 1982-3. Carole was ex wife of AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson, she also had Linx recording studios. John Craig was producer there. But it was party time there with drinks, dancing girls and illegal substances. We thought should we rehearse, record or… well you know. Some bad decisions were made there. We also had a company from Manchester looking after us, John Linnen and Kieth Maddox he was DJ on Radio Piccadilly they bought us a van and PA equipment but unfortunately that was all knicked’.

What are you doing now and are you still involved with music ? ‘Despite the songs written over 30 odd years ago they seem to be timeless you know. We went to Germany a couple of years ago and done the Keep It True Festival. I was gobsmacked there was about 3,000 people there and the first 500 people sang back to us Name, Rank and Serial Number. I was sitting behind my drum kit thinking how do they know the words cos after all these years I don’t even know them haha’.

14701010_1136808763062653_1615725606466257141_o

’It’s surreal really because back in the 70’s and ’80’s we were in unknown territory. I remember I got to 25 thinking I’m too old to be a rock drummer now. I saw the Rolling Stones at Knebworth in ’76 and thought they are a bit old for a rock n roll band they are getting on a bit, just after Lynyrd Skynyrd had blown everyone away like. But I think that I’m a better drummer now with the experience you know. I believe now that 80% of what you do is work rate and 20% is ability, you’ve got to nail it and do it again and again. I’m fitter now, keeping the standard up and still hitting the drums hard haha’

16298745_1848553588763754_6748316571333646454_n

‘I remember signing to MCA and runing back to my mam shouting Ma, Ma I’ve got a recording contract with a major label, but I didn’t stop and think whats our cut, how much do we make, what does this cost ? But thats what happens when you’re young and in a band. But I’ve got no regrets what so ever, cos I’ve had a fantastic time, still am’.

1591_logo

Interview by Gary Alikivi March 2017.

Recommended:

Lou Taylor, SATAN/BLIND FURY: Rock the Knight, 26th February & 5th March 2017.

Steve Dawson, SARACEN/ANIMALS: Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

John Gallagher, RAVEN: Staring into the Fire, 3rd May 2017.

Kev Charlton, HELLANBACH/BESSIE & THE ZINC BUCKETS: The Entertainer, 23rd June 2017.

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws, TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Tyger Bay, 24th August 2017.

Robb Weir, Doctor Rock, TYGERS OF PAN TANG: 5th November 2017.

 

 

TRUE FAITH – 100% Belief with Paul Di’Anno

A-397979-1452258640-7854.jpeg

Paul Di’Anno  speaks candidly about his proudest achievments to date, and reveals a defining moment where his music career began. ‘You know it was Punk that woke me up, it was like a giant kick in the bollocks ! Before that I was always listening to music like Nazereth, Led Zeppelin and the like but Punk got me fired up. My influences have gotta be the Ramones, but I remember I was in my bedroom listening to The Sex Pistols when it really hit me you know, that’s what I needed to do’.

17PaulDiAnno

What has music given you ? ‘You gotta understand music is my life, it’s all I’m good at. It’s been faithful and true to me, as I am to it. I play all around the planet to some truly wonderful people. I don’t like to use the word fan, because these Brothers and Sisters are all friends. They are truly awesome I love them and I think they know that. Having said that I still get nervous as fuck before shows. I’m a wreck but it’s the greatest high in the world, I absolutely love it’.

12138549_1015164705184901_2241791258975474915_o

What other music do you listen to or go to see live ? ‘For checking out any musicians or bands I haven’t been out much as I’m waiting on surgery for a medical problem. So I’ve not seen any bands in England for ages but when I’m back in Brazil I always check out the usual suspects Sepultura, Krisium, Shocker and a few local club bands. I had a great night at the Glen Hughes concert in Buenos Aries not long ago and of course my bands over in Brasil Scelerata and out in Argentina Doble Nuclear !’

Di'Anno Vorterix 2012

Is there any music or musicians that you admire today ? ‘Of the music that I admire today there is too many too mention cos you have all the old Punk stuff, but at a push it’s gotta be Judas Priest and Metallica’.

89

In your music career so far what are you most proud of ?‘Looking back on my career the music I’m most proud of up to now is Running Free and the second Iron Maiden album Killers. After that in ’86 I released some good albums, Fighting Back by Battlezone, and the Killers albums. But you know the way I feel I’m sure there’s more to come’.

Paul-di-Anno

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

SHINE ON – the atmosphere is right for a new album say’s Cloven Hoof’s bassist Lee Payne

17800042_10154603936783721_9015983629521319908_n

On the eve of the release of their new album on the 21st April on High Roller Records, I spoke to Cloven Hoof bassist Lee Payne ‘We are just about to release Who Mourns For The Morning Star. This new album explores the full sonic width of the band. There are epic tracks next to more hard hitting numbers that build and cover a whole spectrum of moods and atmospheres. The album combines all the best qualities of the trademark Cloven Hoof sound played with precision and feeling with a vocal delivery that is off the scale. I feel it is our best ever album that we have done and really stretched ourselves on this one’.

17425929_1218182388230874_2800974639502465942_n

Who were your first influences in music ?  ‘The 70’s was a very good decade for me and I spent every penny I had buying albums and listening to music. Over the years I saw hundreds of metal bands. The first live show I saw was Rainbow at Birmingham Odeon in 1975, then Black Sabbath on the Technical Ecstasy tour in 1977.
For influences I thought Cream were great and I loved Alice Cooper but I always go back to the old tried and trusted favourites like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Rush’.

sounds-05_05_1979-cover

Was there a defining moment when hearing a song or watching a band when you said ‘I want to do that’? ‘I got into music because of Highway Star by Deep Purple. I heard that song and it hit like a bolt of lightning. I was an immediate fan, no question about that. I knew I just had to learn how to play it! First I learned it on guitar then switched to bass because I wanted to play with Ritchie Blackmore one day haha’.

1stalbumClovenhoofcover

‘I started Cloven Hoof way back in 1979. It was a fantastic time for me growing up in England at a very exciting time in metal history. Everyone would go anywhere to see a live band and with the British media supporting Heavy Metal it was an inspiring time. Geoff Barton, who formed Kerrang magazine, was the most important writer at the time. He worked for a music paper called Sounds and all the metal kids bought it. Even before we had a singer I sent a tape to him asking what he thought of the music. He loved the fledgling Cloven Hoof sound and when we eventually got a singer I went down to London and was interviewed by him. It was very prestigious and that gave Cloven Hoof respect even from day one thanks to Geoff. He tipped us for success in his Breaking through in 82 article along with Motley Crue and Venom’.

15578392_10211907637991346_3694411102594002746_n

What venues did Cloven Hoof play ?  ‘1983 saw Cloven Hoof touring throughout the length and breadth of the UK, earning ourselves a sizable underground cult following. In the summer of that year the band recorded a four-track session for Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on Radio One and a similar session for a local radio station for DJ Mike Davies. Things were starting to happen for the band, we were really in the mix’.

15941144_10212125208990485_2975583008302918667_n

‘On the strength of the bands popularity Tyneside based Neat Records signed us to record the album Cloven Hoof. The album notched up figures of 24,000 units in 1984 alone. And off the back of some very successful overseas sales a European tour was organised. The tour was great and it culminated on the Shockwave Festival in Belgium. The Dynamo Club in Holland was another good memory of the gigs abroad. These venues provided some of the most enthusiastic Heavy Metal fans we had experienced. The reaction from the crowd at the end of the set’s was astounding.
 A big highlight of our recent gig history was playing on the Sweden Rock Festival in 2014 amongst Heavy Metal greats such as Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper’.

sultansransomcover

What were your experiences of recording ? ‘In the old days we used Mad Hat studio in Wolverhampton. I recently saw our old producer Mark Stuart and we had a great time reminiscing about A Sultans Ransom which we recorded in 1989. He agreed that it was a killer album and he was proud to be part of it, I think we all felt that. For our recent recordings we have used a variety of studios for putting down base tracks’.

Unknown-1

‘We are with High Roller Records now and are really happy with the relationship, they care about metal and nothing else. They have some awesome names on their books Onslaught, Witchfynde, Exodus, Tokyo Blade to name but a few, we are in great company!
High Roller have been good to us, they were responsible for releasing Eye of the Sun for the first time on vinyl. The album was previously available only on CD but now it will be available on both formats and downloads. Through High Roller we also have access to one of the most respected audio engineers in the shape of Patrick Engel. He is an absolute wizard, when we got sent the final mix for approval – it was jaw dropping’.

eyeof thesun

What’s next for Cloven Hoof ?  ‘We have a few gigs already confirmed this year, we can’t wait to take the new material on the road. On 25th August we’re playing at the Blast from the Past with Riot V in Belgium and the next day we’re at the Trueheim Festival in Germany. Then it’s the Britsh Steel Festival in October and we are hoping to get a few more confirmed for this year, can’t wait. Music is my life.

blastbelgium

Interview by Gary Alikivi March 2017.

Recommended:

SAVAGE: The Mansfield Four, 8th May 2017.

TOKYO BLADE: Under the Blade, 26th May 2017.

CLOVEN HOOF: On the Hoof, 21st August 2017.

JAGUAR: The Fast & The Fury, 24th October 2017.