Interview with NWOBHM - Legends
Hi, first of all thanx for taking some time doin' that interview with Metal Fields
Andy Dawson: You are very welcome, always happy to talk about Savage and spread the word.
Chris Bradley: Appreciate the opportunity to talk with you
You played Headbanger's Open Air in Germany some weeks ago. Did you have a good time ?
Mark Nelson: The whole weekend was great…especially the show. It was good to play some of the older tracks for a change
Andy Dawson: We had a blast, it was mostly the stuff from Loose n Lethal, some of which we haven’t played in years. Tracks like White Hot for example. The crowd were great we were looked after really well by the promoters. Maybe we’ll get back next year.
Chris Bradley: Yeah it was a great show, well organised and we were really taken care of. The fans are still the best!
Kristian Bradley: It was a great experience! People over their are so enthusiastic and really friendly. We were well received and the hospitality was second to none!
Isn't is expensive to play a festival overseas without continuing with a tour then ? How did you make it to this festival ?
Chris Bradley: Doing one off shows are expensive as it usually invloves fling over with a guitar; however tours are expensive too because then you need to transport all the gear and pay road crew which then means more hotel and catering costs too. The promoters paid our flights and accomodated us in a nice guest house close the festival.
Andy Dawson: Well, we don’t make any money from these festivals once you work out the costs of flights and hotels but we want to be out there playing for as many people as we can.
Mark Nelson: So long as we get the basics covered - flights, accomodation, etc we’re happy. We’re not in this to make money or we’d have quit years ago!
„Sons of Malice“, your latest album, was published some months ago. If you look back, are you completely happy with this album and how was the feedback to this one ?
Chris Bradley: Its certainly our best sounding album, and I’d say the heaviest sounding. Mark really managed to catch the essence and vibe of the band, but as any Savage fan knows we never produce the same album twice, but this can alienate some fans who just want to hear Loose n Lethal time and time again. Each album is a reflection of where we are creatively at that particular point in time, we just like to keep it interesting for ourselves!
Mark Nelson: I don’t think you’re ever 100% happy with anything you produce. There’s always something that catches your ear and you think - maybe we could of done that a little differently. The important thing is it has great tracks and the vibe of Savage is definitely there.
Kristian Bradley: I listen back to it and I hear things I feel I could have done a lot better. All in all it was a great record but it’s made us more determined for the next one to be even better!
Andy Dawson: The feedback and reviews have been really positive. We have only had good reviews for this so we are pleased about that. Obviously, we like the album and it sounds the best-produced and heaviest album we have done. We recorded 16 tracks and used 13 on the album. I don’t think you can ever be completely happy but we are pleased.
You are still two members from the original line-up and with Kristian there is a „new“ member in the band. How fits working together ? Did Krisitan bring his own ideas and influences into Savage ?
Andy Dawson: Yes Kristian brought some energy to the band as did Mark on drums. We sound like a freight train in top gear!
Chris Bradley: Both Kristian and Mark have added new dimensions to the band, of course the original core of the band has always been myself and Andy and as the lead singer and lead guitar player respectively and the main song writers in the band we still maintian the sound of Savage. Athough we hope that now Kristian and Mark have found their feet within the band so to speak they will bring even more to the writing of the next album. Incidentally we are just about to start that writing process!
Was there a main message at „Sons of Malice“ ? I mean...if you look at the artwork with a broker as fallen angel, all the money upon the earth.
Chris Bradley: Yes absolutley, the title track was a jibe at the bankers that brought on the global finacial crisis through gambling with our money! As a band we tend to write about social issues and the human condition as opposed to demons and wizards, its just part of the sound that is Savage!
Your signature album is without doubt the legendary „Loose 'N' Lethal“. What do you think is the main difference today producing albums if you look back to your classic ?
Andy Dawson: We are not a band that likes to stand still with our music, we like new ideas and directions. We do understand that fans still love the first album and we are happy for that and we are writing some new material that sounds a little more from that era but also new ideas that are a progression.
Chris Bradley: Modern technology has opened up the music world to far more people, you can now record at home on your computer mix it and post it online for people to hear so quickly and cheaply; However technology cant make a bad song great!
„Black 'n Blue“ from the new album is a dirty street rock'n roll song. Who had the idea to write a song like this that is shipping in waters with bands like...yes, AC DC ?
Andy Dawson: That was my fault musically because I like the idea of some really heavy blues and it has been working live too! ACDC were a big influence on Savage in the early days, They rule!
Chris Bradley: I love that song, another of Andys awesome riffs, made for two guitars and heavy as hell! Works well live. We never set out to write in the style of any other band, we start with a riff (usually Andy’s) and if everyone in the band likes it we work on it together as a band, I will then work out a melody and lyrics and if we all still like it at that stage it gets recorded! Simple, laughs!
Also a song that is a bit unusual for Savage is „The Hanging Tree“ with it's partly western guitars. Explain that song, please....
Chris Bradley: It was an idea for a song that myself and Andy had talked about for a long time, I had always wanted to use that iconic pocket watch chime sequence from the spaghetti western For a Few Dollars More. The song lyrics then developed into a little movie story of its own, the character Jack is a kid who has a hard start in life and realises hsi only escape form the hardship is to take it for himself (pretty cliche really). I used the name Jack as its the name of my Grandson (Kristians little boy) so its a cowboy song for my Grandson, laughs, just having a little artistic fun while paying homage to those type of movies.
Andy Dawson: Musically it has the acoustic intro that was written after the lyrics became clear. I like songs that tell a story and have a character at the centre. It’s not really a western, more of an urban tale but we gave it a western twist.
You as band were part of the NWOBHM. What was the reason for some bands of that time, including you, not to earn the success like others did ?
Chris Bradley: Luck! To be honest its just one of those things some get the breaks and some do not; However I do think there is a lot of reminiscing with rose coloured glasses over some of those bands from back then!
Andy Dawson: We were badly managed in those days and if we had the support of a good record company and management we could have done so much more. We sound very different tot he rest oft he NWOBHM bands, we have Lizzy, UFO and Purple influences, plus Priest and even Saxon are part of our DNA. Bands that last tend to have the best songs and can reach a bigger audience. It’s all about the money; it is called the music industry after all!
What are your plans next ? Is there a new album in the making ? I heard about an upcoming live album...
Mark Nelson: We’ll be recording a live album early next year. It’s going to be a first for the band so it’s really exciting. We’re writing a new studio album too, that will be released with the live album, so it’s a busy time.
Chris Bradley: Yes we have been trying to get one of the summer shows recorded for a live album but it proved to difficult to arrange at the time; however we are looking to do something back here in the UK before the end of the year that will be recorded Live n Lethal! We are also begining the process of writing the next studio album hopefully for release next year. We may put out both albums together a a double album package, a new studio album with Loose n Lethal played before a live audience to celebrate the 30 years since its release.
Kristian Bradley: We have a few things in the pipeline. This year has been a really good year for Savage and it’s important we maintain that momentum going into next year. We’re hoping for a lot more opportunities in 2014!
Andy Dawson: We are going to record a live album on February 1st 2014 in our home town, you read it here first. It will be an intimate gig and the hall is attached to a recording studio so we can really have full control over the recording. At the same time we are working on brand new material to release simultaneously.
Who is responsible for the lyrics and who is writing the music ?
Chris Bradley: Generally I write the melodies and lyrics and Andy comes up with the riffs, though there are exceptions to that rule; however we hope that Kristian and Mark will have more to contribute for the next album.
Andy Dawson: Usually I do the music and Chris does the lyrics. Kristian and Mark are throwing ideas in now which is exciting and on occasion I’ll throw lyric and melody ideas at Chris when he’s looking for an angle.
Mark Nelson: I’ve been a songwriter for the past 20 years so it’s good to contribute to the new album. We’ve had a handful of writing sessions and already it feels much more like a band effort this time round.
„Let it loose“ is your most famous song in history. Was it only a part of the album that time and why did it become your signature track....what do you think ?
Chris Bradley: Let it Loose was written because we wanted a fast opening number for live shows, its a really simple song to play but most bands that cover it dont seem to do it the justice it deserves. We like the song but never considered it to be our best work! Though i suppose for a metal band its a great title for a song.
Andy Dawson: I can remember throwing the idea at the band. It was partly Riff Raff by AC/DC meets Van Halen and Motorhead! It worked straight away and became something of an iconic song. You can never plan that kind of thing, it just happens organically.
Chris Bradley: Actually it was just me and you in your Dads brand new house extension, the acoustics were great and your Mum and Dad had gone away for a few days so we set the Marshall stacks up in there and got blasting, the song came really fast! laughs!
Why did it take 12 years between the albums „Xtreme Machine“ and „Sons of Malice“ ? What happened during that long period ? And what was the reason to come back ?
Andy Dawson: My Dad died, I got divorced, so did Chris. I then got a new relationship and had a son, just busy with life and death. I lost my brother only last year, he was the reason I joined the band at 15. He was our first drummer. It was Mark our drummer who suggested we do an album and then here we are. Life is a journey with stops along the way.
Chris Bradley: After we had finished Xtreme Machine the plan was to write another album but it seemed life conspired against us, we had a decade of really difficult personal highs and lows to contend with that seemed to always get in the way of plans, Death, Divorces, Marriages and Births. So it wasnt really a comeback more of the problems stopped long enough for us to get on with it again!
Describe in your own words what Savage stands for and what people can expect from you on stage ?
Andy Dawson: Savage stands for good, heavy traditional Rock, with killer riffs and melody. We have political views about unfairness in the world too.
People can expect more of the same but this time maybe heavier and faster!
Mark Nelson: For me it’s all about the vibe, just great tunes and sharing a good time with people who like great music!
Chris Bradley: For us its always been about the songs, a heavy riff, a memorable melody with real life lyrical themes tied to a groove to make you move! Both on record an on stage!
Kristian Bradley: For me this band stands for heavy riffs and catchy melodies. There’s usually a message to be told without being too preachy.
Thanx a lot....Savage.
Andy Dawson: Anytime!
Chris Bradley: Thank You Too!
Kristian Bradley: Cheers!
Mark Nelson:Thank You!
Interview by Kerbinator