The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was a springboard from the disco and new wave trends of the late 70s to set rock and roll back on its rightful path. While most casual NWOBHM fans may not recognize the name Savage, the diehards are well aware of the band’s significance and early impact. Recently Metalholic Radio connected with three of the band’s four members via Skype to discuss the early years, and what brought them back to the studio two decades after their inspired vinyl debut, Loose and Lethal.
While the band had its initial incarnation in 1978 and a year later the heart of the band would come together to create the Savage fans would come to know. The powerhouse vocals of bassist Chris Bradley and the crisp, thick guitar work of Andy Dawson remain the foundation of the band to this day. Add to that mix new drummer Mark Nelson, and Chris’ son and Andy’s nephew, Kristian on guitar, and you have Savage 2012.
While the band made a name for itself in the late 70s and early 80s which impacted the likes of Metallica. It is the current line-up and the current album, Sons of Malice, which is arguably the band’s best. The raw purity of the early Savage sound is still the foundation, but it’s clear with age and wisdom that they have refined and clarified their sonic true signature.
The band got its first taste of notoriety when Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich brought a compilation album called Scene of the Crime (Suspect records) home from England. On that record where two Savage tracks, “Let It Loose” and “Dirty Money”. Young Ulrich was so taken with the band that he convinced his fellow ‘Tallicas to record a demo with both tracks, though only “Let It Loose” ultimately made the 1982 Ron McGovney’s Garage Demo. That demo also featured covers of Diamond Head and Sweet Savage songs.
Andy said he and Chris had a chance to sit down with Lars some years ago to talk about it:
“He said they learned both songs. And they recorded both songs on a demo that they sent to Megaforce along with some other stuff and that’s how they got signed up. Interestingly enough if you look on the Garage Days album: If you look on the covers and inside you’ll see lots of playlists from San Francisco gigs. If you look down those playlists, you’ll find the songs on the playlist. Although the song’s aren’t on the album, unfortunately–cause that would have made us a quite a few pennies.”
What set Savage apart from other NWOBHM bands was the speed element inherent in their relentless and aggressive guitar attack. Savage were arguably one of the precursor band’s that led to what ultimately became the thrash movement.
You can listen to our full 30-minute interview with the guys below, and get your ears on the new album, Sons of Malice (read our review). In honor of Savage, Metalholic is also offering up a free download of the original Scene of the Crime compilation. Just click on the album cover or album link above.