Raven: No cheats – just a rock & roll band!
One of those bands that truly deserves the definition “legendary” – emerging in the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) era, inspiring the Speed / Power Metal scene with albums like ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP, WIPED OUT and ALL FOR ONE, touring the US with Metallica and Anthrax, surviving the Grunge era … Only an accident and a lengthy recuperation forced this power trio John Gallagher, guitar, brother Mark Gallagher, bass, and drummer Joe Hasselvander into a hiatus period, but 2010 they came back with the brilliant “Walk Through Fire” album, and also their brand new release “ExtermiNation” has already received rave reviews! STALKER checked with John Gallagher what´s happening now…
John, the new album is out . What is the critical reaction to the album, and fan reactions?
So far, both the critical and fan reaction have been incredible… People really “get” what we are doing on this!!
We knew the fans were on board as we have been playing a couple of the songs live for a few months now – to great reception.
It´s good to see critics being on board too! The only criticism I´ve seen is a few guys thought the album was too long – the reason it is long is that is been 5 years – we owe the fans a decent sized album – and we worked very hard, so this is a cohesive set of songs… all killer, no filler but they have diversity… so it´ll hook ya, then grow on ya!!!
Who are some of your favorite bands, John?
Oh, I could be on forever on this topic..Deep Purple, Zep, Sabbath, Montrose, BOC, Budgie, Status Quo, Slade, Pat Travers, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, Yes, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson and on the more far out end Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Mahavishu Orchestra… and more recently Winery Dogs and Rival Sons! We were lucky as kids – we got to see most of the above bands & learned so much from them…
What was your most “Spinal Tap” moment?
Cleveland 1986 – my tight pants burst – no underwear!!!! My roadie was desperately trying to duct tape me together and I kept “sticking out” – hilarious!!!!
Are you still in touch with your friends in Newcastle?
Yes, it was great to play there in 2013… all our friends came out, and we stay in touch on the web… it´s a smaller world these days!
Were you excited about going back in the studio to record the new album?
Very, it was time to do it. 5 years since “Walk Through Fire” which was a great album. We knew we had to raise the bar. This began we collating all our song ideas – we must had had 35-40 good song ideas, we worked on them until we knew which ones we wanted to go all the way with.
We then tore them apart – questioning each piece & making them the best we could. The actual recording process was very quick – as usual for us – around 5-6 days for 95% of the recording…. Unlike 99% of bands today we actually record the basic tracks as a BAND – all 3 guys in the same room – no click track…. no cheats… just a rock & roll band!!!
Who writes the band´s lyrics?
That´s usually me, although Mark did quite a lot on the new album – and we collaborated on a few which was cool!
What lies in the band´s future?
Looking real busy, which is great…we go to Japan in July, then we have a short USA tour of about two weeks, basically covering where we missed on last year´s tour…then we do an extensive European tour starting in September..and there´s murmurs of Korea… Australia… all exciting stuff!
Any RAVEN side projects that you wish to tell us about?
SIDE projects? Lol!!! No room for that at the moment!!! However, I do know a project Joe´s been involved in ( and I guest on bass on a couple of tracks) is getting finished up – band name is Armaggeddon… he also has a cover album under his Hounds Of Hasselvander name called “Ancient Rocks” which should be out soon!
author: John Wisniewski, transl. K. Weber, photo: band