SAVAGE began their career in the 1980’s during the NWOBHM explosion. They released the legendary heavy metal album ‘Loose & Lethal‘ in 1983, described as ‘probably one of the finest British metal albums ever released.’
A young METALLICA covered ‘Let It Loose‘, one of the songs from the album, but it was only ever released as a bootleg.
SAVAGE are now back with a brand new album ‘Sons Of Malice‘ with two original members still in the band – Chris Bradley and Andy Dawson. I recently had an interview with the band:
Hi and welcome to METAL SHOCK FINLAND, how are you today?
KB: Awesome, cheers!
AD: Fine thank you; watching G Britain smash the Olympics!
CB: Good here hows you?
Ali Blackdiamond: Good thanks!
‘Sons Of Malice’ album released this year is your first since 2001, what was the reason for the long gap and can you tell me what was happening with the band during that time?
AD: The band never split , just dealing with personal stuff, suffered many bereavements in that time most notably my Dad and my Brother only 2 months ago. Plus I became a Dad in 2004. I work in music and the arts so I was never far away from it. I’ll be making music until they put me in a box! The time was right and we just got on with it.
CB: Yeah pretty much as Andy said, he missed a couple of divorces out in there also, basically personal lives just got in the way, and it wasn’t until 2009 we found ourselves in a position to kick start everything again, All the other guys play in various other local bands too and that’s always there, for me though there is only Savage, my spare time is taken up with doing my Bachelors Degree at Nottingham Trent university, but only one more academic year to go! Woohoo!
I have read some good reviews of the latest album and Andy has stated ‘It’s by far the best sounding album we have ever done.’ How do you all feel about how it has been received and can you tell me about the process you went through to make it?
KB: We basically spent 10 days solid in the studio, just us 4 and we had a blast. No egos. No clashes of personality. Just a real good time making some real good music!
AD: The reviews have been great, which is a relief after so long a gap. Sometimes you’re just too close to it to know. The sound of the album is a lot down to Mark the drummer. He’s a great musician and engineer. He still feels he could do better so you never know! We took our time to write the stuff and when we had 16 tracks we put them down and then picked the 13. I feel that the 3 extras are just as strong, in fact I wished they were on it! There are plans for a limited vinyl release with all 16 which will be immense.
CB: Not all the reviews are great, laughs, you just cant please everyone, but to the most part probably 95% are good to great, its always nice to get the critical acclaim, but the way the industry is they just don’t translate into the sales you would expect, as its so easy now to get everything for free off the internet. I do understand why the public do it but they forget that most of us hold down jobs to pay for all this and the official sales are what keep bands financially viable and able to keep making music. As far as the sound goes I would say this is the first album that truly captures the real tone of the band and Mark is the man responsible for that!
Have you planned to do any touring in support of the album?
CB: We’ve got a few in the bag for the end of the year, at the moment we have been totally focused on promoting the album and ensuring the fans know we are back in business, but yes we want to get out and play as many territories as humanly and financially viable as possible, including the ones we have never done like Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South America, Australia and Asia!
AD: At the end of 2012 in to 2013 we should be playing at a few events, we are open to offers from promoters and want to play all over the world.
KB: We’ve been waiting patiently by the phone since it’s release.
You’ve been around since the early NWOBHM days, how have things changed for you as a band and within the industry over the years?
AD: Everything has changed, especially the industry. The digital world has opened everything up for bands; you can have total control if you want. The downside is illegal downloading which is inevitable; it could kill a bands ability to make enough to sustain a band to carry on. We are older and a little wiser and we can make the music we want and not try and follow trends. We felt under enormous pressure to be like the press wanted, we should have ignored them!
CB: I agree with Andy but would also add that I actually feel totally confident for the first time in our career that the other two members of Savage have the strengths and abilities to positively contribute to the band as equals!
How does it feel now, that Metallica, a band now so huge, covered your song ‘Let It Loose’ back in their early career? Did they pay you the license fee?!
AD: Show me the money!!They are the biggest band ever and I am pleased we had an influence on them. I’m still waiting for Lars to call…
CB: No, the version available was always a bootleg so neither band got a penny for it, I was always disappointed that they never included’ Let it Loose’ or ‘Dirty Money’ on the ‘Garage Days’ album, if you check out the sleeve notes you will see them listed in the live set lists found there! We would have made some serious cash from that, laughs.
When you started out in the music business you had many band influences, can you tell me about that time for you and how it has changed regarding influences for you now?
CB: I think that everything influences you, not just music but life in general, yes I still listen to the bands I listened to when I was a teenager, Deep Purple, Queen, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Van Halen, but I also listen to lots of other bands that have come up over the years. I appreciated some of the bands from the Grunge movement specifically bands like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. I like a lot of the Nu Metal bands; Avenged Sevenfold, BFMV, Slipknot and specifically Disturbed, I just love David Draimans voice and Dan Donegans riffs, I can also appreciate some of the pop punk bands like Good Charlotte and Sum41, maybe because being from the era of post punk here in the UK I can appreciate the energy, and of course how can you not listen to Iron Maiden and Metallica? I could talk about this all day, but we need to move on so I’ll shut up now, laughs.
AD: The influences for Savage remain the same. Lizzy UFO, Purple, Van Halen, ACDC. I like newer stuff, Audioslave, Foo Figters, Slipknot but they don’t influence Savage. Listen to Lights Out by UFO and I still get goose bumps!
KB: My influences obviously differ. Whilst I come from the same school of music as the other guys, my main influences are more modern and certainly a LOT heavier!
‘Loose And Lethal’ was described as ‘probably one of the finest British metal albums ever released’ by Garry Sharpe-Young in the 2002 ‘Rock Detector A-Z of Thrash Metal’ book. How do you feel about that and the impact the album had on the metal world?
CB: Nice one Garry! And he was right! Laughs. We just didn’t think about that at the time, we liked the songs and that has always been the bench mark for us, I guess its always going to be up to the listener. Bottom line is we write songs that we like and hope that others like them too; however each album was a reflection of me and Andy’s personas at that point in time. But I do understand that many of the fans want us to keep recording ‘Loose ‘n’ Lethal’ but that was that point in time and you can never recreate without sounding contrived, we just try to create something new while retaining our own distinct sound.
AD: Garry was a good friend and is no longer with us. He did the album artwork which was ground breaking at the time. I don’t think we understood how important it was, we were too close. You just go in a studio and make the best album you can. I still find the production hard to listen to, would love to re record it or at least put out a live version!!
The band folded in 1986 due to lack of label support amongst other things, can you tell me more about that and the situation now for you?
AD: We lost momentum and lacked the support and direction from management and label, were still very young, I was 22 I think and knew nothing. Now we have control, we have maturity, I’m certainly a better player but also I don’t take it so personally anymore. I know I’m a good player and writer and have spent many years supporting young kids through my work to have a go at music. Nothing is ever lost, wasted or forgotten’ quoted from Simon Dawson my brother, who died in June.
CB: We didn’t have the guidance that bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica had, both of whom have great management! We where young, naïve and spent far too much time listening to certain members of the British music press, their comments which we should have ignored led to factions within the band and to all intense purpose the others left and started a new band without me, which left me not wanting to carry on, my musical brother Andy had gone and I just gave up for a while; however in hindsight I can’t see how the band could have carried on at that point, the internal personal problems that had developed by then where probably insurmountable without a complete timeout.
How do you see the future for the NWOBHM scene and also for Savage, and what are your plans for the future?
AD: Maybe there needs to be a new NWOBHM ! It’s not important in Britain to be honest, it is only really acknowledged in the rest of the world. Many of those bands were brilliant and many were poor. All bands should be judged on their music. Most popular in our culture does not always mean best. Our plans are to promote the hell out of this album for now and see if we can build on that.
CB: I don’t see a scene for NWOBHM as I said earlier it was a point in time and that’s long gone, and you cant re-create that again. Honestly we never felt part of that movement as we didn’t feel much affinity with those other bands that many now remember so affectionately, we thought of ourselves as apart from that and were always heading in a different direction. Being tagged with NWOBHM has a certain amount of benefit because it gives us a tag to hang on to but can also be something of an ‘Albatross around your neck’ because it also comes with a pre conceived notion of what the band is and should sound like and that is not Savage!
I’d like to ask a question from Dennis, a big fan of yours – ‘What are your early tour memories?’
AD: Nothing outshines the Aardschok gig with Metallica, about 10,000 people going nuts.Local gigs were fun, playing to mates you are at school with is great.
CB: Yeah Aardschok was a high point, but the thing I remember most was the reaction from the fans, they where so into it! And I am sorry we didn’t do better for them.
How did you find Metal Shock Finland and what do you think about us?
CB: I came across you guys on the internet and was impressed by the website, so it was a forgone conclusion that we had to make contact, and I am so glad we did!
AD: Think you guys are great because you are pushing and promoting music to Finland and the world. No bands would be anywhere without support from you guys.
Please feel free to leave a final message for your fans and the readers.
CB: Thank you for all your support over the years, we are back in business and intend to give you our best!
KB: Keep it heavy; guys and girls!
AD: Be brave, be Bold, open hearts, minds and ears to good music old or new!
Thank you for your time and have a great day! Hope to see a show sometime!
AD: Thanks, have a great day yourself
CB: No, thank you!
Check out the new video for ‘Sons Of Malice‘ video below:
Chris Bradley – Vocals, Bass
Andy Dawson – Lead Guitar
Mark Nelson – Drums
Kristian Bradley – Guitars
For more information about SAVAGE check out this location
All photographs by Metal Mike.