This is Lee Walker from Planetmosh meeting up with Ian Dick and Miles Goodman from nwobhm heroes Soldier.
LW –Thanks for taking the time out to discuss things Soldier related for the Planetmosh readers.
ID – no problem Lee. I will answer the early stuff and let our new guitarist Miles Goodman answer the rest.
LW – For the people out there just discovering Soldier as a result of this interview how did the band form?
ID – I was playing in a tribute band doing mostly classic rock covers and wanted play my own material so formed Soldier.
LW – What made you chose the name Soldier for the band?
ID – I cannot honestly remember. I really loved the Wishbone Ash album Argus so maybe it was the warrior on the front cover that inspired me.
LW – When you first started off what bands influenced you?
ID – There are so many guitarists that have influenced me I couldn’t put them all down.
I recall my friend coming round my house with Deep Purples Machine Head and thinking I want to play guitar like Ritchie Blackmore (I didn’t realise at the time that 35 years on I still wouldn’t be able to play like Blackmore).
From a song writing point of view probably not what you would expect from a heavy metal band . I would cite Wishbone Ash, Rory Gallagher, Montrose, Pat Travers, Sammy Hagar & Thin Lizzy amongst others.
LW – Your inclusion on the “Heavy Metal Heroes” compilation album alongside the likes of Jaguar, The Handsome Beasts, Bitches Sin, Witchfinder General etc, is often quoted as being a pivotal point in the bands early history. How did you become involved with that particular project?
ID – Soldier have had a long relationship with Heavy Metal Records. Paul Birch was very interested in the whole underground NWOBHM thing and saw an opportunity to tap into that with a compilation album. He asked us to submit a song and we thought Storm of steel was the best fit.
LW – Not long after this album inclusion you released your now classic song “Sheralee”. How did this song come together?
ID – We had a new guitarist join the band – Nick Bicknell who was in a band called Alien Heat. Nick had written this song for them called Sheralee which we thought was a great song so we metalled it up and the rest is history. Our new drummer Steve Taylor was also writing material for the band so we used his song Force on the flip side. I think both Paul Birch and ourselves always had a plan to release an album but due to circumstances it never happened.
LW – Around 2002 you decided to reform. What prompted this?
ID – Steve Barlow rang me and asked if I was aware of the buzz on the internet about NWOBHM as well as Soldier.
So we’d put so much work in gigging over the years we thought why not revive the band if there are people out there who want to listen to us and other bands from that genre?
LW – Since your reformation you have put out a couple of new albums (“Heavy Metal Force” and “Sins of the Warrior”) how do you think these releases compare to your previous releases?
ID – Soldier have a large fan base in South America and we were approached by Hellion records primarily about doing a proper release of the Live Forces cassette
We had done various label releases, demos etc over the years and so we re- mastered them and put them out as Heavy Metal Force.
I was pleased to see our very first recording/demo Magician finally on cd
Sins of the warrior was the album we always wanted release back in the day so it was nice to finally get it done
I’ll let Miles carry on from here
LW – You recently played at the nwobhm showcase event “The British Steel Festival” how did your set go?
MG – We felt we were well received by the audience, to be truthful totally beyond our expectations. We had only played one gig as this line up prior to the event two nights previously in our hometown of Northampton so to go out and play such an event so well recognised on the UK metal scene with the band having been off the live circuit for so long felt incredible. Opening an event like that was a daunting task especially due to the high quality of the other bands that followed us on the bill so our inclusion was a real honour. We felt thrilled that not only were people aware who we were, they were also aware of our material so it was a terrific way to relaunch the band into the public eye again. Luckily some of our set was caught on film and is up for viewing on You Tube should any readers of this fancy taking a look.
LW – You have been announced to play the prestigious Hard Rock Hell event in December this year. What can the Planetmosh readers expect to experience from your set?
MG – Again Lee, what a gig to land so soon into the rebirth of the band! After the British Steel event, we had people saying that they were disappointed we hadn’t played certain tracks which we were not expecting, so in order to address that demand we intend to revisit those songs and include them in the set together with a batch of newly written songs some of which we have already introduced to the current set.
LW – Are there any bands that you are looking forward to watching at the event?
MG – The majority of the line up so far reads like my record collection so everyone will be worth seeing in my eyes. Having been several times to this event in the past, with 3 stages running of music when you are a big fan of everyone you get horrible line up clashes and wish you could be in 2 places at once but I suppose that’s a good problem to have. To cherry pick one or two artists out, I would especially like to see Ten as I have never seen them live and they are a quality melodic rock band, Dan Baird as I am a huge Georgia Satellites / Jason and the Scorchers fan but from Soldier’s particular NWOBHM sub genre Tytan and More I hope I don’t miss.
LW – Besides Hard Rock Hell what do you have planned for the rest of 2012?
MG- The next big thing for Soldier is the website and the interactive stuff. We are currently undergoing a complete rebuild on the site and we should have it up and running within the next couple of weeks complete with You Tube channel, Facebook, Twitter all the usual stuff to hopefully keep momentum going on the interest shown in us again from the last few weeks. We currently lining up more gigs for over the coming months but principally we are currently recording a full length new studio album entitled ‘Operation Bedlam’ for release later in the year. As a cheeky extra track on the end to tie in with the 30 year anniversary of the song, we are rerecording ‘Sheralee’ as a tip of the hat to the past.
LW – Are there any bands out there you would recommend keeping an eye on right now?
MG – The rock and metal scene in my opinion is thriving in 2012. There are so many great bands coming out all the time from all over the world it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Rewind 10 or 15 years things were really bleak but now it’s all good again. For a top no nonsense great catchy rock band, Sweden’s Bonafide are well worth checking out, on the traditional metal front bands like White Wizzard, Cauldron, Enforcer and Bullet all have put at least a couple of quality albums out each so they all get my vote.
LW – Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to your fans?
MG – Thank you everyone out there for showing us your support, enthusiasm and encouragement towards what we are trying to achieve. We are so grateful that we have been able to be reintroduced to the British metal scene with such high profile events to play at and can assure you when the new album hits the streets later this year it will pack a serious punch.
For more information on Soldier please check out their Official Facebook page HERE or their Official Website HERE