Raven (John Gallagher)
SpazioRock had a pleasant interview with John Gallagher, Raven's bassist and vocalist, on the occasion of "Walk Through Fire" new album's release. Enjoy it!
Article by Daniele Carlucci - Publish on: 07/05/10

Hi and welcome to SpazioRock. Let's talk about the new album. It really sounds rock n' roll. It seems that you came back to your roots. Doesn't it?

Hi! Actually...I don't think we ever left our roots, but this album displays them prominently! All the pieces came together: the right songs, the right sounds with the best performances we've put onto album in a zillion years!

Speaking of the new album's cover, what does it mean? There are only your hands holding your instruments. It seems a simple and meaningful picture. It probably means: "Ok, give us the instruments, 'cause all we want to do is only play fuckin' rock n' roll"...

Wow, I've never thought of that! It also looks like we are dragging ourselves through the fire...through all the shit...and holding onto our music to get us through! The cover was actually put together by our Japanese label: they wanted something that reflected the old covers and they nailed it!
In the last decade, you went through real personal issues. Did all that give you inspiration for lyrics and music of the new album?

Yes, it had to really...songs like "Walk Through Fire " address the struggle of just fighting your way through the barricades life sometimes sets in front of you...that kind of thing also tops up our aggression factor in the music!

With all these troubles that took place in the last years, did you ever in real terms think that the Raven history was to come to an end? And what was making another album like after almost ten years?

Although we did not really dare voice it...Mark's accident was one of those things that we just took day to day. I knew that if ANYONE could fight back from having two terribly crushed legs it would be my brother. And against all predictions he is 95% back to where he was. The doctors said he'd never walk again... and finally getting together in the studio with these songs, we just knew it was gonna be special...
What was the highest point of your career? The tour with Metallica?

No, that was probably the high point of their career...after all they opened up for us! Actually we are having a blast right now: playing Japan last year was a personal high point...the craziest crowds we've ever played to...and that's saying something! This year we will be doing about nine Euro festivals...so this years gonna ROCK!


For the time being, you haven't got any Italian show planned. When will we see you again in Italy?

Actually it looks like we will play the "Play It Loud" festival in October! So we hope to see you there! We played this fest a few years back and had a great time. And we still remember the wonderful gigs we did back in the 80's in Italy: crazy fans!
You're regarded as one of the NWOBHM pioneer bands. After more than thirty years, many of the NWOBHM bands are still among the best-known and most appreciated in the world. In your opinion, what is the key to success for heavy metal?

To be true to yourself, to make music that you enjoy and not to follow a trend...to contrive music to appeal to a particular crowd is not the way, unless you want to do dance music! Metal is from the heart and soul and the audience senses this very strongly.
What was the strangest thing that ever happened to you before, during or after a show?

Oh, too many to mention...my pants bursting open onstage in Cleveland, yes...the goods were in the window! Mark once had a rocket firing guitar: it promptly set the roof of the stage on fire resulting in complete chaos as roadies had fire extinguishers going, choking us! But my fave was a club manager coming onstage at a show in Philadelphia one minute into our set and shouting into Mark's ear...Mark almost collapsed laughing...I asked what did he say...are we playing too loud? Mark said "No, he said we are playing too FAST!".
When you ask a band which is their best album, the answer is always: "The last!". Can I ask you that?

I'm sure most bands do say that...in our case it's a good answer in that if it's not our best, it's one of the best! If not this one, my fave is either "All For One" or "Everything Louder".
ravenjginterview2_inThe worldwide economic crisis inevitably also affected the Labels, makin' worse their situation, already difficult. In your opinion, what should the record companies do in order to set the things right? Have you got any tips?

The main problem is the downloading of music for free...the labels were very short-sighted and greedy and now they have to deal with a lot less money...the artists are now reduced to making music as a free promotional tool in order to sell t-shirts! It's not a good situation...luckily metal fans want to have an actual CD in there hands and listen to actual audio instead of an MP3 which stinks sonically speaking...
What does Raven listen to, nowadays? Do you cling to the historic bands or are you interested to new and emerging bands? I mean all the music, not only heavy metal.

Oh, old and new. I'm digging out killer Slade bootlegs! And I love Tori Amos, Them Crooked Vultures...my kids turn me onto bands like Copeland...as for new metal bands we did shows with White Wizzard and Enforcer, two great new young bands!
Ok, that's all. Thank you for your time. Now you can leave a message to your fans and SpazioRock users. Thanks!

Thanks to all the fans: we'll see you in Italy in October!

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