Fashioned in Birmingham in 1972 by vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin, Magnum started their profession taking part in as the home band on the metropolis’s famend Rum Runner membership. A want to observe their very own musical path ultimately value them the Rum Runner gig, however spurred Clarkin to disclose a present for crafting the type of majestic, uplifting onerous rock songs that made them a much-loved band amongst their many loyal followers, particularly of their 80s heyday.
Their stirring sound has attracted an viewers adequate to maintain them over six many years, from hit albums and enviornment reveals within the 80s, by way of a short hiatus throughout onerous rock’s 90s downturn, and on to a hard-won resurgence prior to now 10 years.
As they have fun their fiftieth anniversary with new album The Monster Roars, Bob Catley guides Traditional Rock by way of a few of their important albums.
Kingdom Of Insanity (Jet, 1976)
“We acquired the sack from the Rum Runner for doing stuff we thought was cool – Steely Dan and Steve Miller, not simply Prime 40 stuff. Tony Iommi, John Bonham and Cozy Powell used to come back down after their gigs and get on stage. That killed us off, they acquired a DJ.
“Tony mentioned: ‘I’ve acquired some songs, let’s file them.’ We made demos at Nest Studios in Birmingham. David Arden [Jet Records manager], Sharon Osbourne’s brother, appreciated them and invited us to file an album at De Lane Lea studios in London. We recorded it in 1976. We needed to sleep within the cafeteria. The subsequent morning the London Symphony Orchestra had been coming in, saying: ‘Who’s this load of tramps?’ It was us, sprawled over the carpet.
“We appreciated Queen’s harmonies. You’ll be able to hear the Queen affect big-time in our harmonies on the album. It took two years to come back out. Punk was happening, and we thought: ‘That is going to go down like a lead balloon.’ However it went within the charts [No.58]. begin. It boded properly.”
Chase The Dragon (Jet, 1982)
“Chase The Dragon was when our sound began changing into the Magnum you’d anticipate to listen to, with the epic keyboards and the magnificent guitars. It was recorded in 1980 with Jeff Glixman producing. Some nice songs; Soldier Of The Line, and I really like The Spirit. That has nice lyrics, it means lots to me.
“Folks say The Spirit has saved them getting in instances of being down. Tony has written lots of songs like that. If you happen to’re down, they carry your spirits. We had been supporting Krokus within the UK when Chase The Dragon got here out. Their album went in at quantity thirty or one thing, ours went in at seventeen!
“The UK success of the Chase The Dragon album led to us touring with Ozzy Osbourne in America, the second a part of the tour, after [Ozzy’s guitarist] Randy Rhoads’s horrible accident. Ozzy was doing huge arenas at the moment, it was utterly new to us. They hadn’t heard of us there, however we actually went down properly.”
On A Storyteller’s Night time (FM Polydor, 1985)
“Certainly one of my favourites. A brand new starting for Magnum, barely extra business songs that individuals may get into extra simply. We toured the songs earlier than we recorded them, to see how they might go down. The viewers cherished them. We thought: ‘That is going to work.’
“We recorded in UB40’s studio in Birmingham in early 1985. The songs had been nice; How Far Jerusalem, Simply Like An Arrow, Les Morts Dansants. For a singer, to sing these songs is great. It labored, we opened ourselves as much as a wider viewers within the UK. We did many excursions. We performed Monsters Of Rock in 1985, and acquired supplied a world cope with Polydor. They put it out once more, and it bought once more
“On A Storyteller’s Night time put us within the limelight. I don’t suppose we’d have executed lots with out the success of that album. We nonetheless do lots of these songs, they’re nonetheless related to the followers. They wouldn’t allow us to not play them.”
Vigilante (Polydor, 1986)
“We had been on the lookout for a ‘title’ producer. Roger Taylor was talked about, and we mentioned: ‘Oh yeah! Can we’ve got him?’ We went to Queen’s Mountain Studios in Montreux in 1986, for about three months. Improbable whenever you’ve been a Queen fan all these years.
“Queen had the Magic tour developing, so Roger saved popping off. Dave Richards, the engineer, took over and was nice. That they had the loudest audio system on the earth. He put Lonely Night time on, and mentioned: ‘Do you wish to hear it loud?’ We mentioned: ‘Yeah.’ He turned it up full, and we ran for our lives out of the management room [laughs]. It simply blew you away.
“We acquired invited to Wembley the following 12 months, to look at Queen’s final present on the Magic tour, and to the after-tour get together. It was nice, a loopy get together. It was good to be ‘Roger’s band’, beneath his wing. I really like When The World Comes Down and Again Road Child. We nonetheless do Vigilante.”
Wings Of Heaven (Polydor, 1988)
“Tony began writing as quickly as we acquired again from the Vigilante tour. It was deemed that we’d file at Polydor’s Wisseloord Studios in Holland, with their new producer Albert Boekhold. It began off alright, however acquired slowed down with new expertise, keyboard and drum stuff. It wasn’t sounding nice. We listened to it once we acquired again, the Christmas earlier than it got here out, and it was: ‘Oh no! We are able to’t put this out.’
“We employed Joe Barbaria and Ross Cullum to remix the whole lot in two weeks, as a result of it was due out in April. They turned it round and saved our bacon. It got here out to rave evaluations and was the best-selling album we’ve ever had – quantity 5 within the UK. No one knew that we practically didn’t have an album.
“On tour, I loved taking part in the Birmingham NEC enviornment however I nonetheless longed for the golf equipment, actually. On the NEC, you flip round and ‘The place’s all people gone?’ I’m used to Tony on my proper, and the drummer up my backside behind me [laughs]. However I’d like to do it once more, carry it on.”
Goodnight LA (Polydor, 1990)
“The label mentioned: ‘Do you fancy writing with different folks?’ Tony went together with it, I didn’t fairly associate with it. I wasn’t taking a look at it as our label would – the right way to make the band extra profitable in America. Tony began writing with Russ Ballard in London, and got here up with Rockin’ Chair, which was nice. He went to America and wrote with Jim Vallance [one of Bryan Adams’s writing partners].
“We went over to file with Keith Olsen at Goodnight LA studios. It was an enormous push for Magnum to enchantment to an American viewers. There was disagreement between Keith Olsen’s administration and our UK administration on who would deal with Magnum within the States. They couldn’t agree, so in any case that it didn’t even come out in America.
“Which is a disgrace, as a result of it’s a bloody good album. I’m certain the People would have lapped it up. Lots of people cherished the album. Some thought we’d gone American. The next 12 months we put out a dwell album, The Spirit, to say: ‘We’re Magnum, we’re English, actually!’”
On The Thirteenth Day (SPV, 2012)
“Was the upper chart putting an enormous deal on the time? [No.43 in the UK, Magnum’s highest placing since 1992’s Sleepwalking] Yeah! On The Thirteenth Day is a good album. On stage we used to start out with All The Dreamers. That was huge when it kicked off.
“Dance Of The Black Tattoo, that’s a correct Magnum epic, an excellent anti-war track lyric-wise. I like it. I believe we’re most likely bringing that again for the following tour. It’s an excellent title. We did a compilation referred to as Dance Of The Black Tattoo final January.
“The duvet for On The Thirteenth Day was nice, by Rodney Matthews [legendary album cover artist closely associated with Magnum, who did 80s favourites including On A Storytellers Night and several recent albums] once more, with the little satan on the entrance.”
Misplaced On The Street To Eternity (SPV, 2018)
“The 12 months earlier than, me and Tony had been on one thing referred to as Rock Meets Traditional, taking part in arenas round Germany alongside an orchestra from the Czech Republic. We struck up a relationship with the conductor, Wolf Kerschek, and Tony requested him to orchestrate two of the songs on the album. The complete orchestra sounds great on the title monitor.
“Tony additionally mentioned: ‘Would you like your mate Tobias Sammet [vocalist with Avantasia and Edguy] to seem on a track?’ I mentioned to Tobias: ‘I’ve been on sufficient Avantasia songs, you come and return the favour!’ He sang on the title monitor with me, in his personal inimitable manner. We acquired him up on the Birmingham Symphony Corridor on the tour, and that went down nice.”
The Monster Roars (SPV, 2022)
“In March 2020 we spent three weeks rehearsing [for the Serpent Rings tour] with our new bass participant, Dennis Ward [ex-Pink Cream 69]. With three days to go, the information got here by way of that the tour must be postponed.
“Tony had some songs partly written, so as a substitute of sitting at dwelling feeling sorry for ourselves we began recording the brand new album a 12 months up-front. We took a break, and began once more this 12 months. In that point Tony had completely rewritten one of many tracks, as a result of it wasn’t working. It grew to become Your Blood Is Violence, one of many epic songs on the album. Dennis is a improbable bassist, and his voice matches mine for the harmonies. I’m trying ahead to working with him on the fiftieth anniversary tour.
“Me and Tony have gotten an extended approach to go but. We’ve come a good distance collectively, and we get pleasure from working collectively. We ain’t completed but.”
The Monster Roars is out now.