Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice spoke with Lee Payne bassist and leader of the N.W.O.B.H.M. band Cloven Hoof.
Payne spoke about the bands new album ‘Age of Steel’, how Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant helped the band in the early days and the the bands back catalog.
What is the musical direction of the new album Age of Steel from the last album?
” The musical direction was a natural progression from the (last album) ‘Who Mourns for the Morning Star.’ The last album did so well it got us our first headline tour of America, so when we did the ‘Age of Steel’ album it worked like a charm because we all had that experience on the road together now on the new album. I felt quite a bit of pressure though (writing the new album) because when you release a really good album, the expectations are really high on the next one. So we had to dig deep on the new album and I wanted it to be everything that Cloven Hoof does really well. We have some songs on the new album that are stand alone and the rest of the album is a mini concept. The concept’s character comes from our second album Dominator (which was a concept album), so we brought the Dominator character back. Hopefully this concept will continue on the next album as well. ”
Did Cloven Hoof Pioneer the Power Metal genre?
“A lot of people think we are pioneers of Power Metal. Back in the day it wasn’t a conscious move there was no such thing as Power Metal. Our songs were sort of epic, muti-time changes, fast and powerful. We sometimes abandoned the contrived verse chorus verse song structures. Our songs sort of tell stories like min movies. As well our songs have various movements which help tell the story.”
How did Robert Plant and Rob Halford help the band in the early days?
“We were aired on Radio One BBC, the Tommy Vance Show Rob Halford from Judas Priest took our demo tape in and Robert Plant did as well. The BBC offered us a session, Neat Records heard us and then they offered us a deal for the debut album. ”
“How it happened was Rob Halford was doing an interview on one of the local radio stations and at the time we did not have a singer, so we wanted the radio station to announce it on the air (looking for a singer). So we waited for Rob Halford to come out (from the radio station). We were sitting on the wall and Rob came out and we told him we got a demo tape and we cant find a singer. He liked our attitude so we all went back into the radio station and he listened to our demo tape. Halford was blown away and he said when you get a singer I want to listen to this and I gave him my number. I thought Rob Halford was not going to call me back but sure enough when he went on tour with Screaming for Vengeance I got a phone call from him. He was true to his word I couldn’t believe it, Halford said did you get a singer yet? I said yes. So I met him and gave him the tape. He said I am doing Radio 1 Tommy Vance show and I will take it in for you and from there we got a deal to play Radio 1 (BBC). We owe Halford a lot for that one. As for Robert Plant he lived near us, so I found out where his house was and he too said he too would bring the demo tape to BBC Radio 1 Tommy Vance show. So we had both Halford and Plant take our tapes in. So it shows you what kind of people they are, camaraderie giving support to a young band.”
When asked what the band plans on doing with the Coronavirus downtime
“We recorded our set at Bang Your Head Festival, the footage is absolutely breathtaking, recorded in HD 24 cameras involved. So maybe there will be a release of it in June a DVD and a Live CD as a box set. And since we are in isolation we are also going to rehearse for the next album as it is already written and maybe try to get it recorded this year. So next year we can devote to playing live if this terrible virus is gone.”