Former SAXON Guitarist GRAHAM OLIVER Remembers RONNIE JAMES DIO

Mohsen Fayyazi of Metal Shock Finland recently conducted an interview with British guitarist Graham Oliver (OLIVER DAWSON SAXON, SAXON). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Shock Finland: 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?

Graham: 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 today is so diverse and influences of NWOBHM can be heard even in Lady Gaga ["Edge Of Glory"]. Rock has a longevity like no other — just look at AC/DC. Simple, straight and great songs rock will never die.

Metal Shock Finland: The [OLIVER DAWSON SAXON] 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?

Graham: The style of writing is the same as we always have done, as all SAXON classics were co-written 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.

Metal Shock Finland: 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.

Graham: Modern times see the decline of sales of CDs and more tickets sold for live shows. It's just the changing times, but I like to own a CD — no downloads for me. Imagine if THE [ROLLING] STONES sold as many CDs as concert tickets; [they] would sell millions.

Metal Shock Finland: You are one of those musicians who had that experience sharing a stage with the legendary Ronnie James Dio. 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?
Graham: 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 shows on the [BLACK SABBATH] "Heaven And Hell" tour where we met Ronnie and our paths crossed a few times. When OLIVER DAWSON SAXON were promoting Angel Air's "It's Alive" CD, we were on the same show as ronnie in Italy and chatted a lot about all things music, etc., and to our delight, Ronnie asked for OLIVER DAWSON SAXON to be the guest band on the U.K. leg of [the DIO] "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.

Read the entire interview from Metal Shock Finland.

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