TALKING NUMBERS

Big thanks to all readers of the North East culture blog as we reach the quarter million milestone these are the 30 most read interviews to date:

1.TALKING PICTURES Lesley Saint-John, Auf Wiedersehen,Pet

2.DEATH OR GLORY Danny McCormack, The Wildhearts

3.MAN FOR ALL SEASONS Dave Ditchburn, Brass Alley/Talisman

4.ANGELS OF THE NORTH Mond Cowie, Angelic Upstarts

5.MUSIC MATTERS Les Tones & Arthur Ramm, Beckett

6.MUSIC STILL MATTERS Dave Taggart, Danceclass/Belinda Carlisle

7.RUN FOR HOME Michael McNally, actor/musician

8.JARROVIANS Vince Rea, photographer

9.ROKSNAPS Motorhead, Newcastle City Hall

10.LITTLE IRELAND Jarrow documentary

11.KEEP ON ROCKIN’ Tom Hill, Geordie

12.BACKLINE Par Can stagehand/lighting

13.LETTERS FROM JARROW I.R.A on Tyneside

14.HOWARDS WAY Howard Baker, musician

15.WESTOE ROSE Amy Flagg, photographer/historian

16.1980 The Year Metal Forged on Tyneside

17.ENTER STAGE RIGHT Jon Deverill, Tygers of Pan Tang

18.THE BOY FROM BENWELL Bob Smeaton, White Heat

19.ALL RIGHT NOW Michael Kelly, Southbound

20.RUNNING MAN Ray Laidlaw, Lindisfarne

21.FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE Micky Crystal, Tygers of Pan Tang

22.GROUND ZERO The Fauves

23.BOLD AS BRASS Marty Craggs, Lindisfarne

24.THE ENTERTAINER Kev Charlton, Hellanbach/Bessie & the Zinc Buckets

25.THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT Ray Spencer, The Customs House

26.STORMY DAZE Jim Clare, Venom

27.THE FIXER David Wood, Neat records

28.THE HOUSE THAT OLGA BUILT Olga, Toy Dolls

29.TYGER BAY Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws, Tygers of Pan Tang

30. LAST GANGS IN TOWN, Tyneside band photographs

Click on ‘About’ for a full list of interviews and features.

To read an interview just enter the name in the white search bar on the home page.

HEAVY TALES – new book by Megaforce Records founder, Jon Zazula

Jon Zazula

Heavy Tales is the story of how one American couple who ran a flea market stall, helped create the golden era of Heavy Metal and released the most important albums in its history.

Marsha Zazula and husband Jon founded Megaforce Records in New Jersey, USA in 1983, and were instrumental in the careers of Metallica and Raven.

By the early ‘80s Raven had released two albums ‘Rock Until You Drop’ and ‘Wiped Out’ on the Neat record label based in North East England. But when Neat got a call from Zazula, Raven knew their future was Stateside not Tyneside.

Zazula has documented the story in his new book where he remembers listening to Raven’s first album Rock Until You Drop.

‘That album was recorded for about 1,000 pounds with a group of the greatest fucking musicians. You’ll hear the greatest jam, grooves and change up’s. I saw a number on the back of the cover and called David Wood, head of the label’.

I asked Jon if he can remember meeting Wood.

‘Yes the mastermind. This man had the key to the pulse and Neat records was his Kingdom. He came to the US and stayed at my home and we discussed the breaking of Raven and Venom in America’.

‘Venom were a crazy lot. They stayed with me in the States. Abaddon burnt down my kitchen and Cronos ate my glassware. There was blood and glass in my sink from when he spit it out. Mantas was quiet but always held the centre. No Mantas no Venom. But he had two maniacs at his side’.

Raven and Metallica.

Around this time, Zazula unexpectedly received a demo tape from an unsigned band.

‘As soon as I heard it I was blown away. I thought this was America’s answer to the NWOBHM. When I came upon Metallica it was like mounting a lightning bolt’.

We also worked with Raven on releasing their album and had them headlining a summer tour with Metallica. When Raven hit the stage nothing can compare. They tore it up. I can honestly say that Raven were heavily on the rise. When they toured with Metallica as their opener, they were still able to maintain headline status every single night’.

‘The Raven/Metallica tour was a success. We sold a lot of band merchandise and people took notice. Raven and Metallica played an amazing show in Chicago which we filmed in case they would ever use it for promotion’.

‘I spent some time in Newcastle. I stayed in a flat with Raven drummer, Rob Wacko Hunter. I was fortunate to meet John and Mark’s (Gallagher) parents. They were wonderful people’.

Zazula remembers offering the bands a place to stay when they were out on America’s east coast gigging.

‘There was a point when Raven, Venom and Metallica were all hanging at Casa Z ! I was trying to work in the basement with my desk surrounded by sleeping bodies snoring away’.

In 1983 Megaforce released Metallica’s debut album Kill ‘Em All and became the label in America for Heavy Metal. The book also includes stories of managing and releasing albums by Anthrax, Ace Frehley, Overkill, Ministry and more.

HEAVY TALES: The Metal, The Music, The Madness. As lived by Jon Zazula – out now on kindle or paperback.

As a mark of respect this post was held back due to the death of Marsha Zazula, on 10 January 2021. Rest in Peace.

On line interview and book extracts by Gary Alikivi  December 2020 & June 2021.

ART OF NOISE from the Tygers of Pan Tang new album ‘Ritual’.

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Just when you thought it was safe the aptly titled ‘Art of Noise’ comes at you head on, and returns for another bite. Opening with thick treacly rock sound ‘Worlds Apart’ to ‘Spoils of War’ and the single ‘White Lines’ with plenty of room for ‘Words Cut Like Knives’.

Then the MONSTER thunder of ‘Let’s turn up the sound and gather around, To hear…the art of noise’. Deafining indeed. Album closer ‘Sail On’ is a breeze after that.

The Tygers of Pan Tang, engineer Fred Purser and additional production from Soren Andersen are the creative team behind the new album ‘Ritual’ which can be added to any hard rock playlist in 2020.

For further info contact the official website:

http://www.tygersofpantang.com/official/

Gary Alikivi  March 2020.