Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, September 22, 2008

An interview for older readers...and new ones interested in NWOBHM

As mentioned here previously Sweet Savage are returning to Belfast on October 3rd, with a homecoming gig at the Spring and Airbrake.

On other forums there hae been a few philistines who seem to know nothing about the mighty Savage (did they think Garage Inc was all original 'Tallica tracks!).

Quick resumé - back in the days when bombs and gunshots still echoed across Belfast's overcast skies punk paved a musical path (all hail SLF and their ilk), with renegades such as Terri Hooley instilling a DIY attitude. From thence a small metal scene grew.

Over the water a new breed of metal band, led by Maiden, Saxon, Leppard, Diamond Head et al rose clenched fists, and a movement was dubbed the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Here a few misfits gathered together, and from those denim clad few grew a gathering of like minds. Among these Sweet Savage grew to prominence, and yes, a veritable metal legend - hell even James Hetfield has been known to come on stage and singalong with SS!

A wee while back Sweet Savage reformed, and on a combined wave of nostalgia and a hunger from younger fans for something other than jaded re-runs from American obsessed newbies Savage have come back fighting...it's a Belfast thing!

‘We have been playing in London, Sweden & Germany lately and have been getting fantastic responses to the shows, we had no idea we were so popular and were quite surprised to hear the people singing out songs back to us," Sweet Savage guitarist Ian 'Speedo' Wilson told Belfastmetalheadsreunited.

"We all can’t wait to get back to Belfast, we are just so looking forward to playing in our hometown and the the Spring & Airbrake is a brilliant venue to really show the band off to maximum effect.

"We have learned so much over the past year playing Wacken & Headbangers festivals in Germany , Sweden Rocks and by guesting with Metallica."

As to the current 'scene' Speedo is no doubt where we are in our hard rocking world.

"Metal is bigger now than it ever was. We were among the pioneers and we came onto the scene at the same time as Iron Maiden so it is great to be part of all again, great to be involved in the new wave of Metal out there, and we know that it is getting bigger all the time.

"The popularity and social acceptance of Metal has been surely proven by Metallica, at their show there was a huge divergence of fans, from 8 to 80, all in their black t shirts, it was awesome to see."

In the early and mid 80s when Sweet Savage were regulars supporting touring acts and headlining the few medium sized venues here (I hazily remember one gig at the QUB Speakeasy and a few more clearly at the Ulster Hall).

There was a swagger many bands struggled to match. But the swagger came difficulties and line-up changes that led to a hiatius - oh and Vivian Campbell pissing off to join Dio (and then Whitesnake..and then Leppard, where he denies his metal roots much like a Christian trying to convince all he was never a Satanist) didn't help at all.

But after all these years could Sweet Savage still draw a fanbase...

"At all the Metal shows we were unsure where, or if, we would fit in, but we played our thing and have returned home feeling very much a part of that Metal community, and we are ecstatic about it."

Playing 'our thing' epitomised the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The diversity of the acts (search yer Wikipedia for Blitzkreig, Raven, White Spirit, Venom and combined with Maiden, Leppard etc and you'll see how diverse it really was!).

Sweet Savage deserved the recognition afforded by Metallica covering Killing Time, but more than that they can really be cited as an influence, an original. And yet more than that, they continue being original. There's no need to be unsure.

And being original they know the value of mentioning who they will be playing with. Speedo again:

"Our old friends ‘Worldsend’ (Formerly known as ANNEX) will be guesting on the night & they are sounding red hot at the minute, so it should be a great package for everyone to witness, I’m looking forward to seeing the lads play.

"Also, we like to encourage up and coming acts & we have ‘Jane Doe’ doing support. They are a great bunch of guys & I think they will do very well.”

Tickets are £10 for the 3rd October gig.

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