It’s always a pleasure to talk to bands as WARRIOR that are alive history of heavy metal music. Born with the Nwobhm blast they are still alive with founding member Dave Dawson leading the band. This year they present their new album, Invasion Imminent, that will not dissapoint the legion of British Heavy Metal lovers.
Hello Dave, it’s a pleasure to talk to lead guitarist of British classic act Warrior. Warrior was born in 1979, although I think you enter the band a little later, is it right?
I am the only original founding member of the band and I was in Warrior right from the beginning in 1979. We were just a bunch of friends hanging out in “The Barn” which was a building on the other guitarists dad’s farm. So we could leave our gear set up there permanently. We started off playing cover songs by bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, UFO, Scorpions and ACDC.
In 1982 you released your first EP “Dead When It Comes to Love”. How do you feel about it 40 years later?
I suggested we should start writing our own songs so that is how I wrote Flying High, Warrior, Force It and Cruisin’ and Boozin’. These 4 songs were recorded at Impulse Studios (famous for a lot of the NWOBHM bands). They ended up on a demo. The song Flying High also ended up on Neat Records Compilation Album – Lead Weight. This was our first song on vinyl, although my photos on the album my name was printed incorrectly. Dead When It Comes To Love EP followed this and was recorded at Impulse Studios. Everything was recorded live in the studio with just a few takes of each song and the best was chosen. Absolutely no overdubs. I’m amazed at how it has stood the test of time and I feel very proud of it. Brings back a lot of happy memories with the original line up.
Warrior belonged to the well-known NWOBHM. In your opinion Dave, what made that wave so brilliant and everlasting?
I think bands from this NWOBHM era had a lot of energy and raw talent and this was captured in the recordings. There was certain honesty about it and it was full of youthful enthusiasm. The recordings were not high tech which gave the bands a rough and ready sound of their own, not manufactured and polished. This still appeals today as much as it did then.
I suppose you keep many memories from those years, any cool anecdote you can tell us?
I have many fond memories from these times. We used to travel to gigs on our Warrior bus and as we could not afford hotels we would sleep on the floor of the bus with our gear. One night someone had stood in dog crap which they had transferred to the bus floor which meant no-one got much sleep that night! There was nowhere open one night after a gig to get any food so we had one tin of beans and a loaf of dry bread to share between 5 band members and the manager. Our manager though it would be a good idea to use some flash bombs during our show. One went off with a blinding flash throwing me forward and blowing a hole in the ceiling. This made the local newspaper.
Hahaha awesome! Inside the NWOBHM there were several trends, how you would classified Warrior’s sound or style in those early years?
Our sound in the early days was definitely metal but with punk rock energy. By 1984 this had matured to a more classic metal sound.
You also released a live album in 1983, howwas it?
Our live album in 1982 was only ever released on cassette. This was still the original members and recorded at one of our gigs at a local pub, which is how it was given the name “Live in a Dive”. Once again there were no overdubs; it was exactly as it was recorded on the night. In 1983 we released a mini album “For Europe Only” which showed a change in the line-up. This line-up included the present singer Ed Halliday and Sean Taylor (of Satan) on drums.
What bands you used to share stage with in the 80s? Any especial show you remember?
We did shows with Satan, Avenger, Fist, Black Rose, The Starfighters (from Australia and had Malcolm and Angus Young’s nephew on rhythm guitar) and with Tony McPhee from Groundhogs. One of the gigs with Satan, Sean Taylor played drums for Warrior and then for Satan. On Bank Holidays we used to play gigs at The Lake District in Cumbria at a pub where bikers from all over the country gathered. These were always special as you could play as loud as you wanted and the atmosphere was electric.
You could write a biography, I believe. Afterwards there was another EP and unfortunately you quit. What was the reason to turn off the amps?
After the Breakout EP in 1984 I was sick of the constant line-up changes so decided to call it a day as I wanted to write new songs but we kept having to rehearse the old songs with the new members. I felt that we were going nowhere and quit. The band split up a week later.
What can you tell us about the current line up?
Ed Halliday and Gwaether Bloom joined the band when Warrior reformed for Brofest 2014. Elliot Sneddon joined 2 years ago and we recruited William Baxter (former Blitzkrieg) in January 2017. Gwaether and I have 2 totally different styles and sounds which blend together really well and we find it easy working together. Elliot is an extremely talented musician and has great suggestions for arrangements and gets the best out of everyone when recording. Elliot is responsible for recording the new album. William is proving to be a valued band member; he is an excellent and experienced bass player and an asset to the band. Ed and I worked together in Warrior in 1983 and were reacquainted in 2013. It’s been good working with him again. He’s produced some great lyrics on the new album.
But if we are still talking about Warrior these days is not only because of his great past. You have released a new album, “Invasion Imminent”. How did you decide to go for it?
In 1984 we had come up with a title Invasion Imminent for our next album, which never happened due to the band splitting. When the band reformed for Brofest I had no intention of writing another album but just doing the one off show. The reception we received at Brofest blew me away; I had no idea of the interest in the band as I had never played a gig for 27 years, even though I had never stopped playing the guitar. So after the show I decided to carry on and wondered if I could still write songs. For me Invasion Imminent seemed like a good choice.
“Invasion Imminent” sounds really classic and powerful, all songs are brand new or you have rescued something from the old times?
All the songs on Invasion Imminent are new songs which I have enjoyed writing and putting together with the other band members. I have had even more enthusiasm for writing than I did first time round. I feel that I have grown as a guitarist and was eager to present my ideas to the band which they then added their own style and touches to the songs. As well as Ed writing lyrics, I have also written lyrics with my wife for the album. This was a first and was great fun working with her.
Dave, your work in “Invasion Imminent” is really great, a bunch of electric riffs and solos. Is it in any way different to create riffs and solos now than 40 years ago?
There are different age groups within the band and I feel the young and old mix well together, which helps bring a youthful energy and power to the band both in the studio and live. There is an overall enthusiasm for the songs which is reflected in the playing which all adds to the power.
After your EPs in 2015 and 2016, at last your first full-length album, now you can take it easier or you are willing to deliver more in the future?
Since I have started writing again I have so many more ideas, enough to do another album so there will be no taking it easy. I’ve received some really positive feedback about the new album so I am definitely encouraged to do another one.
Are you thinking to make gigs around to present your new album?
Yes I’m looking for gigs now as want to play Invasion Imminent to a live audience. If anyone out there wants to book us please contact the band on facebook.
Dave, with your experience, it seems that heavy metal in the 80s was all fun and many bands could release even a biography book of themselves. Nowadays, everything looks like more professional, more business or boring?
Back in the 80’s it was a lot of fun, things were a lot rougher and less business like. There was little social media so you had to get out there and play live. Of course we were a lot younger and did not take life too seriously. Now I am older and wiser but it is still a lot of fun in a different way. Things are so different now. Recording is a lot easier due to technology, a lot of Invasion Imminent was recorded at Elliot’s home studio. Gwaether and I had a great laugh, eating takeaway pizza and recording our guitar solos at his house.
It sounds really good! Thank you very much for your attention Dave and rock on!