Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces Of Rock recently conducted an interview with brothers John and Mark Gallagher of the veteran British/American heavy metal trio RAVEN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
69 Faces Of Rock: The energy of the new album is quite unbelievable, very reminiscent of the early RAVEN years.
Mark: We're a live band, and we love to play live. And one thing that was always difficult for us to record is that live RAVEN feel onto an album. Not because of us, but because of other factors like the people we worked with, or the studio environment. I was really happy with this record that it sounds like a live RAVEN.
John: And it's just a question of having the right performances with the right songs, and the right sounds. It's just a magical thing when the stars are aligning. It comes together well.
69 Faces Of Rock: The title "Walk Through Fire" couldn't be more right considering everything that had happened in the last few years. I suppose the title was very intentional, right?
Mark: It was intentional. I don't know where did I get that from, but it just came to me. There was a time where the doctors were gonna take one of my legs away. And when you're dealing with something as serious as that, it makes you think hard. If you listen to the album, 80% of the songs are about overcoming adversity, and that's something everybody has to deal with in their lives. It's a common theme for everybody, and I think people can get something from it. Over the last few months, we've had fans come up to us and say that certain songs got them through a lot of hard times in their lives. And we appreciate it. To have that type of effect on people is good, but that was personal thing for me. And it really sums up a lot of things for the band. We've had to deal with a lot of things, not just me being sick, but there were other things like management, and so on.
69 Faces Of Rock: Did the break affect the way you write music in any way?
John: No, not at all. We all come up with our little ideas at home, and we record on tape, or digital work station, play them to each other. Sometimes Mark will say he's got a riff that goes well with the riff I wrote. We may have parts that we mix, and then we'll get together as a band and jam stuff out which also spontaneously creates stuff as well, or we'll start with one riff and see where it goes. So, really, it's whatever works.
69 Faces Of Rock: Joe Hasselvander's been a "new guy" for the last 22 years, how would you describe the dynamics with Joe as opposed to the lineup with Rob Hunter?
Mark: Joe will always be a new guy. (laughs) The original lineup started real good. I remember when Rob came first to play with us in the rehearsal. And that's really when we started writing material. We really felt like a band. I remember towards the end, Rob kind of like disengaged with what was going on. He was more interested in drinking and whatever. He really liked commercial music, like pop music. He didn't really like real heavy music. He was off doing that, and decided to really drift away and call it quits. We had met Joe through different circumstances, and he became a good friend. The management was telling us who we should get, and we tried some of the people they suggested, and it was terrible. So, we finally got together with Joe to jam, and it was just perfect. It was the most perfect fit. Joe is a much better drummer than Rob ever was, plus he plays guitar, he writes, and is more involved in the whole process. Even though Joe grew up in the United States, we do have the same likes, and common roots. We really hit it off as friends which is really important when you spend a lot of time with people. Joe is like a triple threat. He has his own band going, and other stuff going on. So, it brings that extra dynamic to what we're doing. I think before people were excited because we had this wacko guy with a helmet and all, but we were dealing with all these problems because of that. Rob wouldn't go and meet any of the fans. He wouldn't do anything. He was like was just isolating himself, and getting kind of weird. Back in the day, it was weird, but it was good that we were able to get Joe because this is the real RAVEN.
Read the entire interview at 69 Faces Of Rock.