Around The World In 71 Dates : Interview with The Raven Age Part 1

It’s always great to see a band get the opportunity of a lifetime, and when The Raven Age got to jaunt round the world with Iron Maiden we knew it was something a bit special. We caught up with the band recently to get the lowdown on their adventure ahead of their eagerly anticipated Download Festival appearance.

MB : I’m going home for a long break after this. Thisis literally the last thing I have to do.

CB : You’re fresh off the stage at Hammerfest, How was that for you?

MB : Well fairly fresh… Really good, cool  I hate to say this but much better than I expected, purely for me that’s because we played a 3pm set and I actually got here last night and when I came in and saw what Hammerfest was all about I was thinking OK so theres a lot of people here having a really good time theyre really drunk, is anyone going to be out of bed at 3pm.. because i wouldn’t be.. I’d have just got absolutely annihilated and roll out of bed at 4 or 5 to catch the main bands you know. So about the slot I was a bit hmmm but it went really well.

CB : You got a good crowd, and you even managed to draw people in from the sunshine.

MB : Yeah I’m confused, people lie about wales

CB : Yes, it’s always like this

MB : people tell me it rains

CB : Well, it wasnt like this last year. We’ve got a couple of things we’d like to ask you about, both of which youre probably fed up talking about…

MB : No problem

CB : You’ve recently got back off a fairly big tour, 70-odd dayd in 30 countries I believe?

MB : I think we played 71 shows, yeah, in 35 countries. Not that I know the stats.

CB : Silly question. How was that for you.

MB : Hmmm, life changing, totally unbelievable and there are poeple out there who would chew off their own arm to be in that position. you feel very lucky and privelidged to be put in that and I think to some degree it was a lot of luck, especially on my part as I joined the band fairly late and found out what the deal was. I thought “this is a bit crazy” but we had to prove ourselves before that. You know, it was a risk for Maiden to take us with them if they didnt think that we could do it so it was kind of a nice reassurance to have the guys from Maiden say “yeah you’re allright, come out with us” and it went down really well. We’ve been told that the Maiden crowd are notorious for just wanting Maiden and being angry with everyone else. We’d seen our own idols and bands that we love fall in front of a Maiden crowd and I think “Come on, why you being like that?”. It’s very frustrating when, I mean, if I walk in and Britney Spears is on the stage, I mean, it’s not my thing but  I’m definitely not going to stand there and point my fingers up and say get off the stage I want something better than this.

I mean what are you doing? They’re performing and you’re standing in the crowd. It’s a frustrating thing. The tour (supporting Maiden) is something that I think I can say no one else has ever really done before. Not to that degree as a support band, seventy one shows 6 months away from home.

I can tell you as a front man in a support band going out for Iron Maiden it was absolutely ridiculous.

CB : You get transpoterd about in the 747?

MB : Yes we were on Ed Force One.

CB : Economy Class, in the back with the gear ?

MB : Well actually the plane was pretty much like a normal plane barring the fact with the seating, the first two sections were first class then you had two more seating sections then there was actually a section where they had taken all of the middle seats out so it was like a floor space and everyone used to stand there chatting and having a drink. It was good and then once or twice here and there we got bumped up. If there were less people on the plane because they were travelling overland by truck we got bumped up to the front and checked the first class out and, you know, i have to say it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from riding on that plane, its iconic, and to be able to just press down on the little seat thing and just end up laying back, you’ve got a vodka lemonade in your hand and its on an Ed Force One coaster.

You look out the window and think Life’s OK.

CB : Obviously you’ve got the connection with Maiden through the Harris family. Do you find that helps? Does it make it make it easier to get the tour, or did it make it harder? Do you find that it gives you more to prove, you’re not just there because of that, youre actually there because youre good enough?

MB : Well this is it. We do have more to prove as a result and theres a lot of people who immediately just cry nepotism and thats it. Well to be fair you still have to be capable of playing the music and dealing with that sort of stress and you have to be half sensible. I mean we were really lucky we did amazingly well with the Maiden crowd, it was just like “wow is this really happening”. We got so many people telling us it was just going to be really difficult you can get booed, stuff thrown.. once or twice that happened, In Costa Rica someone threw a can at me.

CB : Ouch

MB : Luckily it was literally in my peripheral vision, I had the mike in my left hand and just saw it coming in and just grabbed it. I didn’t drink from it or anything cool like that, I just threw it back.

CB : Probably not wise to drink from a can someone’s thrown at you.

MB : No, I wouldn’t have thought so. But yeah, it gets mentioned all the time and quite clearly there’s only so far you can go before someone makes that connection and they go blah blah blah blah but I would challenge anyone that says that just to come out and watch a couple of shows and if they dont like us they can not like us but at least they can not like us for us, not because of that connection.

CB : But I don’t think that connection would make it easier for you

MB : No. It’s opened doors to a degree and you’d be stupid not to use the contacts that that would bring. I mean why not. It’s so difficult to make a name for yourself and get anyhwere nowadays it’s a great thing to have, even when we toured with British Lion, walking off the stage and the first person you see is Steve Harris and he says “That was great”, what else do you need. If Steve Harris was there telling you that was great what do you care what anyione else thinks?.

It has been difficult, I mean George obvioulsy gets it more than I do “hi, hows your dad”, and it’s so.. come on. But it’s a link that’s there and it’s always going to be there.

CB : Do you ever think f**k you ?

MB : No, not really.

CB : Are you going to be defined by that tour ?

MB : Well, you know, he’s a god amongst men as far as music is concerned. I don’t think we’ve been defined from there, it was a massive thing for us to do but funnily enough a lot of the fans we see at places like this or if we go play in Bristol or Birmingham, a lot of the fans have been there from the beginninng and have seen us with other bands.  They were obviously delighted that we were on the Maiden tour and some of them caught us on tour and some didn’t. But we are our own engine now. We did that tour, and that’s great, and I can’t imagine ever doing that again.

To Be Continued….