The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

SAVAGE

CHRIS AND ANDY TALK TO PAUL

 

 

AFTER 11 YEARS THE NEW ALBUM IS HERE...

 

 

 

Savage is a heavy metal band from Mansfield, England. Formed way back in 1976, Savage was invited to participate in the seminal compilation album: ‘Scene of the Crime,’ recording two of their compositions. One of these tracks – ‘Let it loose’ was later covered by Metallica after Lars Ulrich bought the album.

 

Savage released their first album ‘Loose N Lethal’ on Ebony Records in 1983 which was pronounced the best-selling metal import album in America. Savage also has shared the stage with Metallica and Venom at gigs in Europe.

 

 

 

Paul (and Mark) talk to Chris and Andy about their recent album ‘Sons of Malice.’

 

 


Mark: Welcome guys, Thanks for chatting to us at the Rockpit. We all love the recent album. How long have you guys been playing together?


Andy: Too long, Me and Chris have been together since we were teenagers which is almost 10 years now (laughs) I met Chris 1977-78, so on and off we’ve been together since and different members of the band throughout that time too, so we’ve got different guys now and we have had about 4, 5 different drummers.

 
Paul: Spinal Tap then (laughs)


Andy: yeah very Spinal Tap


Paul: So it’s always been the core of you two then all the way through?


Andy: Yeah always yeah,


Paul: So just for the people in Australia who aren’t too familiar with your music tell us about the origins of the band?


Andy: In terms of Savage as we know it, I joined and I was only 15 at the time with my elder brother who was a drummer, and as Chris will tell you, all he really wanted was a drummer and I came along too as a package deal really, so I got in by default! At that time another guitar player that was in the band and he left so I started to write and learn covers and all sorts of stuff and things got moving quite quickly and I think within a few months we were gigging. I think the first gig we played at was a youth club and then we very quickly started writing and demoing because we didn’t want to be just a cover band. Then we got the opportunity to be on a compilation album called ‘Scene of a Crime’: this was an album that was mostly regional bands, not local bands. This turned out to be an album that was picked up by Lars Ulrich and he took it back to America and started playing our stuff and after a few little bits and bobs. We ended up getting our first album deal (which came out in 1983) called ‘Loose N Lethal’ and its kind of become a landmark for us and other people, the album came out in the all new wave British metal scene but we never really felt ourselves to be part of that. We were doing just rock music and we were listening to early bands like Purple, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Queen and Cream. Then we all kinda got into Van Halen strangely which was just a bit different at the time. So we put all that in the mix and we put out our first album and then we kinda got sucked into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal platform. At the time we thought that some of the bands weren’t great and some have obviously gone onto great things but we have always been kinda linked to it, but it’s strange that it’s only through hindsight that we have really been recognised as part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul: I was going to ask who sculpted your sound but I think you have just covered that in the last question (laughs)

 

 


Chris: There are rock bands of the 70’s that helped form our sound really. I think you have got to remember as we were very young teenagers. At the time what was around were bands like T-Rex, Slade, Sweet, the more old glam rock figures of the early 70’s and we were very, very young, I think I was 13 at the time, and I was a big Sweet, Slade and T-Rex fan, and I was a big fan of Queen, so I decided to buy their albums from day one. It was school friends and their older brothers and sister’s album collections back in those days: we would get those albums out and congregate in each others bedrooms and say ‘listen to this new album’ and that’s how I got into bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash was another one at that time. That was like the mid 70’s. Then I heard Thin Lizzy and UFO and it was Thin Lizzy that did it for me, there’s something very magical about Thin Lizzy and I have been a big Thin Lizzy fan since then. The first Thin Lizzy album I bought, I think it was ‘Fighting’ then I went out and bought all the rest: ‘Nightlife’ ‘Vagabonds of the Western World,’ ‘Shades of the Blue Orphanage’ and then carried on buying them every time a new album came out.

 



I was only really a UFO fan because of Schenker, but as we said, we started writing songs quite quickly after getting together as a band and bear in mind this was the first time we had written songs as well. Three of the first four songs that we wrote are actually on the tail end of the ‘Loose N Lethal’ CD.

 

 


Andy: The fifth song we ever wrote was ‘Let it Loose’ and that was written after we heard Van Halen and Van Halen sort of changed the way we did things.

 

 


Chris: I suppose I was trying to come up with a piece of music that was trying to almost be Van Halen meets AC/DC. It was kind of a mixture and ended up being called a definitive New Wave of British Heavy Metal release. It wasn’t what we were trying to do, but you’re naïve, you know, when you are 15, 16, 17 and you play stuff you think sounds good.

 

 


Andy: I’ve never seen what the ‘Thrash’ connection was anyway, Thrash to me, I always thought, was any band that played fast, Motorhead should be considered ‘Thrash’ if you’ve heard ‘Overkill’ everything is double bass drum beats, that’s Thrash! Some of the stuff that is referred to as ‘Thrash’ I don’t see it at all, and we get a lot of stick now for the fact that ‘all your songs are medium tempo’ and we have to say ‘our songs have always been medium tempo’!

 

 


Chris: I think AC/DC has been a big influence as well, and some of our bigger songs were inspired by them.

 

 


Mark: Yeah it is interesting; I think that sometimes people just reach for those comparisons, because I guess when Lars heard you, that obviously means you were suddenly painted a Thrash band! (Laughs)

 

 


Andy: Yeah I suppose as reviews go, some have said we sound like ‘Quiet Riot’ I mean where’s the Quiet Riot? (Laughs)

 

 


Paul: How come it took 11 years from ‘Xtreme Machine’ and the new album?

 

 


Chris: Ermmm, easy answer is ‘life’ got in the way, the whole band was going to do something after ‘’Extreme Machine’ and then we all as individuals suffered some real personal tragedies, got a couple of divorces in there, 4 or 5 bereavements, births, marriages, you name it, it just seems to be as one of us cleared the debt, the next person was suffering with something, it was a nightmare and it wasn’t until 2009 when there seemed to be respite from it all we started writing the album. So by 2010 we got the 16 songs together and we started to record, and on the whole it all kicked off again, more bereavements and divorces, it became a bloody nightmare again! I suppose we’re getting to that age where this is going to be quite common, so it has been a real stress.

 

 


Mark: Have you been playing recently locally?

 

 


Andy: As Savage, we haven’t, and I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t been out with band for a while, we did a guest appearance at ‘The keep it True’ Festival in Germany we went as guests for ‘Roxxcalibur’ I don’t know if you are aware of them; but they are a German band, they asked us to go over and perform ‘Let it Loose’ for them, so me and Andy was flown over and got the Led Zep treatment! Did one number and that was it! All the way over there just to do one number! There is a video of it on our YouTube site if you want to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul: My next question was going to be what was the inspiration for writing the album’, but I think you have just covered that with all the tragedies, would you say that was the big inspiration, that in those 11 years you are just writing about ‘life’?

 

 


Andy: We have been accused recently of being a very political band and we said no we aren’t political at all, we just find that the sociological type issues of the human condition interest us. Putting it another way, its things in life that interest us most, you know we’ve been the devils and demons and all that stuff to other people. We sort of stick with things we know and that we can experience, I don’t think any album has been any different really, I’m very much cut in the vein of Phil Lynott: its more about telling stories and commenting on social aspects of situations more than anything else.

 

 


Paul: Out of all the tracks on the album, what are both of your personal favourite tracks?

 

 


Chris: That’s a difficult one because there’s quite a lot I like…. Erm….

 

 


Paul: It’s hard to choose because it’s a great album, and it’s pretty consistent.

 

 


Chris: Erm I think its ‘Now,’ I like ‘Now’ because it’s as close as we can ever get to being like Thin Lizzy, we aren’t actually ripping Thin Lizzy off, but I just imagine Phil Lynott singing the song, the actual lyric is a bit tongue in cheek, it refers to a condition of men of a certain age suffer from, and I just thought it was a bit funny.

 

 


Andy: Obviously none of us suffer from it, (laughs) we are all rock god studs!

 

 


Paul: Who came up with the title for the album? And where did it come from? Was it just something that just popped into your head or from a point of reference?

 

 


Chris: It was me that came up with the title and that was just an idea that popped into my head, I don’t know why, it was the chorus first. How we tend to write or how we have gone back to writing is like we used to do when we very first started. Andy would come and say ‘Right I’ve got this riff’ then we’d pick it around as a band altogether. Pretty much we would know very quickly if we liked an idea, and then we would drop it down on crappy little two track cassette players. These days we put it on 2 track app machines. Then I would take it away, put it on a CD and drive around in the car listening to it until something popped in my head: it might be a lyric or a melody, and then once I had a basic idea I’d always sing it to Andy to see what he thinks before I took it too far. That is generally the way of our songs, Andy does the riffs and I do the melodies.

 

 


Paul: Are there any bands that you are following at the moment that you’ve heard and think I wouldn’t mind touring with?

 

 


Chris: Hundreds, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind touring with anybody. (Laughs)

 

 


Andy: Black Country Communion, they are a new and an old style band, I think they are great and I like the new metal bands believe it or not, one of my favourites is ‘Disturbed’ I think they are really heavy and I like Dave Draiman’s voice. I like the fact that they don’t stick to the general formula, I also like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine…

 

 


Andy: We get a lot of stick for this but we don’t just sit and listen to bands from years ago, there have been great bands in each decade. There’s a lot of great grunge bands, a lot of great New Metal bands, I was just listening to Planet Rock and heard a track by ‘Rival Sons’: great band who have a real  Led Zeppelin feel to them, there’s just good and bad music really throughout.

 

 


Chris: I think pretty much our criteria is: Has it got a good riff? Is it heavy? And has it got a good ‘umph’ to it? I’ll listen to Bon Jovi, certain stuff, even one of them hair metal bands! Like Andy says, there’s good and there’s bad, and I don’t think it really matters much which, if I like the riff and its heavy enough then I like it.

 

 


Andy: We are enjoying the new Van Halen album.

 

 


Mark: Yes it’s not bad, it took ages to grow on me, and it’s like one of those albums where you are anticipating it for so long that you think it’s going to surprise you when you hear it.

 

 


Paul: It’s still growing on me...

 

 


Andy: I also like the ‘Chicken Foot’ album, that’s pretty good.

 

 


Mark: Yeah they are an amazing live band if you ever get the chance to see them, on stage they are 10 times better than their recorded work, they are just fantastic. Talking of Black Country Communion, we’ve actually got Joe Bonamassa in town next week, so I will hopefully be asking him if they are going to stay together!

 

 


Andy: Well ask him if he fancies playing with us (laughs)

 

 


Paul: I think Glen Hughes will play with anybody at the moment, so ask Glen; he is back home at the moment if you want to ask him! (Laughs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul: With a decent back catalogue behind you is there any chance of a live album? Maybe when you get out on the road?

 

 


Andy: Funny you should mention that but that is the next plan of the next stage really because we are still pushing ‘Sons of Malice’ but its been 30 years since the first album came out, so we are just looking on how to do it. We need to be out on the road really, but yeah, the plans are to try and get to record one of those gigs and probably put a live release out next year, but as we are old school it will probably be a double live album one side will entirely consist of the ‘Loose N Lethal’ album and side two will be a mixture of track of our back catalogue.

 


 
Paul: Finally, we ask in all our interview’s, what’s the meaning of life ?

 

 


Chris: (Laughs)

 

 

 
Andy: Bloody hell! Well for me, having just lost my brother, its all about living life and loving the people in your life and giving love to the people you love cause at the end of the day there’s nothing else. Because when you finish with this life its all about the love you have given. I know it sounds a bit soppy but that’s what I believe.

 

 



Chris: Yay! (we all laugh ) Life will grind you down and its all about sticking your head down and moving forward at all times otherwise you will end up in a mess and you will give up. It’s my philosophy to keep your head down and keep moving.

 

 


Mark: If you could have been involved in the creation of any piece of music at any point in time what would it be and why?

 

 


Chris: The Boys are Back in Town: Thin Lizzy. It’s just an awesome rock song that easily passes over into mainstream.

 

 


Andy: I would have to say the same.

 

 


Paul: Well guy’s from Paul and Mark and the Rockpit thanks for taking time out for a chat.

 

 

 

Chris and Andy: Our pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Paul Hadlington