Graham Oliver is a legend – he is one of those musicians who rocked the NWOBHM’s flag and spread this genre of METAL music. He was one of the 5 musicians who formed SAXON in 1976. Now and after leaving SAXON, he formed another great band that perhaps you know – it’s OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON and as a front-runner of NWOBHM he has released 19 studio albums to date. He is also one of those guitarists who had the chance to share a stage with legendary singer and voice of METAL, Ronnie James Dio.
I feel so lucky to have had my chance to have an interview with him and believe me brothers and sisters, he is AWESOME and so down to earth.
Hi Graham, how are you doing today?
You’re one of those musicians who has had an important role in the NWOBHM movement, how do you feel that genre of Metal music is placed in the industry today?
It is so cool that the Music we created in the period of THE NWOBHM is regarded as influential 30 years later and we never imagined we could inspire bands like METALLICA who in turn inspire bands too so it goes round and round. The music of to day is so diverse and influences of NWOBHM can be heard even in Lady GA GA [EDGE OF GLORY] rock has a longevity like no other just look at ACDC simple straight and great songs ROCK WILL NEVER DIE.
Let’s talk about and introduce your upcoming book, “SAXON Drugs & Rock N’ Roll: The Real Spinal Tap”, how would you describe this book for people who like to read it?
The new book is not out until later this year but will be a great read with archive pics etc about SAXON in its most golden era.
Ok, cool, can’t wait to read that book but now let’s talk about the “Motorbiker” album, can you tell me how the recording process worked and the length of time it took? And why you chose “Bikers” for the name?
When we wrote the new CD MOTORBIKER the song Motorbiker was the last song along with HELL IN HELSINKI to be finished and it felt perfect to use as the Title to the Album.
OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON, Bulldog Bash
The album seems to be a returning point to the roots of old school heavy metal, by including issues about drugs, motorcycles, women … are we going to have some old school songs produced by new technology?
The style of writing is the same as we always have done as all SAXON classics were co wrote by myself and Steve Dawson and we will always write the same and sound like us as we are us and never could try to be a GERMAN METAL band for example.
Have you any plans to do a supporting tour for “Motorbikers” with some particular bands in 2012?
The shows live so far started in Scandinavia in December and we finished in Germany recently with more live shows an fests to come.
John Schaffer of Iced Earth has recently said “The music industry has changed and everything is different”, I’d like to know your opinion as a musician and guitarist, who has produced music for the Metal industry for a long time.
Modern times sees the decline of sales of CD,s and more tickets sold for live shows its just the changing times but i like to own a CD no downloads for me imagine if the STONES sold as many CD,s as CONCERT TICKETS would sell millions,,,,,,,,,.
Right, To continue that question i wanted to mention about the departure of Bill Ward from Black Sabbath. Do you think this is one of those changes as some people believe that is just about money, or did these kind of things happen in the past too?
You can tell who is in it just for the money they have no passion you have to play from the heart.
Graham Oliver and Doug Aldritch
You are one of those musicians who had that experience sharing a stage with the legendary Ronnie James Dio, R.I.P. Would you like to tell us more about that experience and share some memories of him? And how did you see Ronnie as a musician and Rocker?
I first saw Ronnie in 1976 with RAINBOW and it was a great show and jumping forwards to SAXON,s first tour of the USA in September 1980 we played some show on the HEAVEN AND HELL tour where we met Ronnie and our paths crossed a few times.
When ODS were promoting Angel Airs ITS ALIVE CD we were on the same show as RONNIE in ITALY and chatted a lot about all things music ect and to our delight Ronnie asked for ODS to be the guest band on the UK leg of KILLING THE DRAGON tour ,it started in LONDON and finished in PORTSMOUTH all the shows were great and sellouts and on the last show after our set i was asked to join the band on stage for RAINBOW IN THE DARK how great was that Steve Dawson videoed it thank goodness and introduced me as a legend. And coming from one of my legends that was the best ,he was always so nice with friends and fans after the shows and was one of the greatest rock singers of all time.
Graham Oliver and Ronnie James Dio
Today most of the young guitarists like to play guitar faster and faster and more technical and singers use a growling style more often. But some people and critics believe that we don’t have a such great music like we had in old school Metal-Era – I also had an interview with Steve “Lips” Kudlow of ANVIL and he said “metal needs good singing….cookie monster yelling is not singing!!”. I’d like to know your opinion, how do you see metal music today?
I am a little tired of Drop D bands they seem to all be doing it with no songs ,the most important thing great songs and great vocals will always shine thru.
Graham Oliver with his left hand 63’s Stratocaster, 1975
Are there any young rock or metal bands who impressed you recently?
I like all music from Bonamasa to TRIVIUM new band I SPIT ASHES are cool and INFLAMES rock.
Thanks Graham for giving me your time, feel free to leave a message for your die hard fans and our readers.
Listen to MOTORBIKER NOW in IRAN if we could come and play we would ROCK ON. Thanks for questions Mohsen.
If you like to know more about OLIVER DAWSON SAXON follow these links:
Interview by Mohsen Fayyazi
All photos taken from Graham Oliver page on Facebook.