Interview with Chris Bradley, Andy Dawson and Kristian Bradley from Savage.

De groep contacteerde me via mijn LinkedIn account of ik geen interesse had om hun nieuwste cd te bespreken. Ja, daar moest ik niet lang over nadenken en hapte meteen toe! De woordvoerder van de band, medeoprichter Chris Bradley vroeg ook of ik geen interview met de band wou doen via mail! Aangezien ik hun debuutplaat “Loose ‘n’ Lethal” als één van mijn favoriete schijven beschouw kon ik wel een paar vraagjes verzinnen voor deze vriendelijke mannen. Hieronder vinden jullie het resultaat van die vragenronde

 

First up guys, how are you all doing?

Chris Bradley (CB); I’m good thanks.
Kristian Bradley (KB); Awesome.
Andy Dawson (AD); Lost my brother to cancer so, pretty shit to be honest.

CB; Simon (Andys brother, Kristians uncle) was the first drummer in Savage, in fact if I had not met him then the Savage you know would probably not have existed. It was Simon that brought along his little teenage brother as a package deal to the band. It’s a difficult time but Simon was always one for keep moving forward and trying new things so that’s what we will do to honor  his memory.

Who or what was responsible for the second rebirth of Savage?
CB;
There were a lot of deeply personal issues that were getting in the way right after Xtreme Machine, so there wasn’t a split or anything, Andy lost his dad to cancer, then he got divorced (again), I split with Kristians mum (Andy’s Sister) and got divorced, so by the time all these things had resolved it was 2009 so we got straight back into writing again.

 AD; The time was right maybe, I have been throwing riffs around for a few years but then it came to knuckle down and do the album. When it’s right, it’s right!

 

I wonder how songs get created within Savage? Does everyone have some input or is it mainly Chris and Andy?

KB; We all have something to offer, but it’s mainly Dad & Uncle Andy, yes.

 CB; Something we did this time that went right back to our origins was to write stuff in a rehearsal room as a band, always start with a riff (Mostly Andy, but I sometimes have one, Cry Wolf for example) and we just go from there in a very organic way, we can usually tell right away if it’s worth going any further. We then just bang the idea down on tape (well digital DAT these days) and I tend to think up melodies and lyrics while listening to the play back in the car or at home, once I got an idea I will concentrate on that particular song until I have something pretty much finished then run it by Andy to get his feedback, sometimes Andy will suggest something with a few lines and a melody and I will expand or add to it, as I say it’s all pretty organic and not contrived in any way!

AD; Mostly I start with a musical idea, we then kick it around in a rehearsal room, do a rough recording, then Chris puts the vocals and melodies in. We both make suggestions though for music and vocals.

Did the coming of youngster Kristian had an effect on the sound of Savage?

CB; It’s always good to have other band members that will input into the songwriting whether that be by contributing riffs, arrangement ideas and so forth. For me this is the first time that I have felt like the other two members of the band had something real to offer including creative and technical ability, let’s not forget Mark engineered and mixed this album and made an awesome job of it too!

AD; It is great to have a proper second guitar instead of me double tracking, plus he’s a good player!

KB; I’d like to think my input has made the album a bit heavier than it perhaps would have been to be honest. Certainly my influences are a lot heavier than the other guys. Still love Van Halen (DLR era OBVIOUSLY!!), though.

 

In contradiction to that raw sounding and in your face classic “Loose ‘n’ Lethal” the new album shows far more influences from bands like Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Deep Purple. Why this change of style (not that it’s bad nowadays J )?

AD; The recording is the best yet, by far. Those influences were always there, but as you get older and better you can channel the vibe of those bands into the writing. I don’t see much of a change in style but as a player you have to develop or just stand still.

CB; As Andy said it was always there, it was there on ‘Loose ‘n’ Lethal’ but no one really recognized it back then, but I guess we were really young and it was more about an ‘in your face’ attitude with regard to song writing and playing back then in the post punk era, where as now being more mature and wordly wise other things come to the fore, but we can still kick very serious ass!

How are the reviews for the album “Sons of Malice”? I believe most (or maybe all) are good and find it just like me a stunning groovy disc!

AD; 99% great 1% shit, no middle ground!

KB; I think they’ve been awesome. There’s been the odd one or two where I’ve wanted to knock the guy out. I don’t take criticism very well.

CB; Yeah its really good, we got over 50 reviews so far and as Andy said they are pretty much all positive, but when you have an iconic album like “Loose ‘n’ Lethal” it can be something of an ‘albatross around your neck’ that’s hard to get beyond. Savage has never been a band about following trends or about throwing out the same shit over and over again, we like to move it around to keep our own creative interest, and it’s always been about the groove and a hook!

Back to the beginning of your story! The debut album got raving reviews and is still seen as one the best NWOBHM albums (also by me)! But still Savage didn’t become one of the main players. The same can be said with Jaguar’s “Power Games” and Cloven Hoof’s “Opening Ritual” and “Cloven Hoof”. Is there a reason that you missed the boat or is it just faith?

AD; We were poorly managed and supported plus our own naivety didn’t help. A great manager would have made all the difference. But regardless of that we were still a better band than most in my opinion. Luck and opportunity weren’t there for us but we could have done more too to make the most of the early reviews and support. Shit happens, I’m not bitter, I just make music.

CB; I guess for me the, pretty much what Andy said, bottom line is it’s just one of those things, There are so many things that could have been done differently but would it have changed the outcome, I don’t know. At the end of the day there are different levels of success and for me to produce a body of work that I am proud to be a part of, is a success all of its own and we are still here and still producing good work, greater critical and financial success would be better, but the lack of it is not going to hold me back!

But I’m very happy that those bands still can be found on stage! The NWOBHM is back in the picture! Bands like Praying Mantis recorded new stuff, Jaguar is still touring (saw them a few weeks ago). Are there some dates in the agenda of Savage as well?

CB; If only the offers were coming in, we would be there in a heartbeat, the NWOBHM tag is something of a burden and comes with a whole set of pre conceived ideas of what to expect from the potential listener. Truth is we never felt part of the NWOBHM. It was something that was happening around us and we never considered ourselves like those other bands, we always felt we had more to offer, we just need the opportunity to get back out there and prove it!

AD; We should hit the stage later this year and hopefully 2013.

KB; We’re anxiously waiting by the phone. Itching to get out there and take this album to the stage!

In Belgium there is a festival called Ages Of Metal. Have you ever heard about it?

AD; Nope but sign me up!

CB; No we haven’t but we are definitely up for it!

It’s not a big festival (700 people allowed at the venue), but every year it’s sold out! And every year there is a classic NWOBHM band who plays a classic album of their own in it’s entirely! I did see their play Cloven Hoof who played ¾ of their marvelous debut album. Jaguar played a year later the whole Power Games album. Last year Tank and Tygers of Pan Tang where on the bill! And this year Satan will perform their complete excellent “Court in The Act” platter! I believe Savage must be on one of the following editions! Don’t you agree?

CB; Funny you should mention it but 2013 is the 30th anniversary of ‘Loose ‘n’ Lethal’ and me and Andy have already talked about doing it as a double live album, side 1 and 2 the entire album and sides 3 and4 aselection from the other five albums, so it would be a great place to start. We would probably record a whole bunch of shows and pick the best performances for the album. Of course it would still be released on CD too but it would be great to produce a good old fashioned double live album on vinyl just like we bought as fans when we were kids.

AD; Yes book me in now!

KB; Hell yes!

The atmosphere is always awesome and the crowd has an excellent time (and so do I). Always nice when you got some reaction back isn’t it?

AD; Music is an art form that requires an audience and a response, otherwise it’s just self-indulgence.
CB; It’s the final affirmation of what you create and without it you have nothing!

When you come to Belgium, will you please perform my favorite track “Ain’t No Fit Place”?

CB: You’ll get the whole thing intro included.

AD; It’s a favorite of ours too, check the acoustic version on Babylon too.

KB; Get us the gig and we’ll play it twice, dude!

Greetings,

Rik

 

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