Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Breathe Fire

Bob Mayo
 Musician, Writer and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Muthas, I had the good fortune to interview Bob Mayo about the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Bob was the lead singer and bassist for the excellent thrash band Wargasm which you can check out here - I highly recommend all of their releases. Bob also has a superb blog - Mayonoise - which I cannot recommend enough. Bob's writing is clever and insightful and I love the way he discusses music. Read or die!  Okay, without further ado, let's hear what Bob has to say about NWOBHM. Enjoy! 

MBOM: Bob, let me start by saying thanks so much for doing this interview! I know you are in the midst of reissuing the entire Wargasm catalog, but what else are you currently up to?

Bob: I have been recording songs under the name Robot MonsterArmy for 10 years, and I have put together a live band for a gig in November.

MBOM: I first became aware of Wargasm back in the 80s when a friend recommended your band because he knew I was a big fan of Tank. How much did Tank and the NWOBHM influence you and Maniac/Wargasm early on?

Bob: Tank's influence was huge on me specifically, but Wargasm's sound was a combination of mine, Rich's and Barry's influences. Barry was way into Venom, Rich was into Accept, Raven, and Angel Witch.

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Bob: Probably Iron Maiden's Killers album. In America, we new Metal was coming back, starting with Van Halen's debut in 1978, but the NWOBHM kind of snuck over here in a very underground way around 80/81.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single?

Bob: I love all of the Gillan singles, the Tank and Raven singles. they're all my favorites. Def Leppard's 1st ep is great (damn shame what happened to them!)

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Bob: I think Angel Witch's album is the very best NWOBHM album. The Tygers of Pan Tang's Wildcat is a favorite, Tank's 1st 3, Maiden's debut, Raven's Wiped Out are all up there.

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo
MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Bob: Metal for Muthas 1 & 2, also Axe Attack, which was the first time I heard "Earth Mother" by Samson, a great song.

MBOM: What's your favorite retrospective NWOBHM compilation released in 90s to today?

Bob: Don't know of any!

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Bob: Angel Witch! Maiden's might have been the best if the production was better...

MBOM: Was Motorhead a NWOBHM band or are they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Bob: Motorhead defied categorization from Day One.

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo

MBOM: Do you consider Gillan to be part of the NWOBHM?

Bob: Yes I do.

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.


MBOM: Which NWOBHM band do you wish had been more successful/well known?

Bob: Angel Witch! I wish they had continued early on instead of just collapsing right after the 1st album.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax - White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Bob: Crucifixion seemed to be more 'together', and had a better singer, but I do like the energy on Mythra's ep, and the album.

MBOM: Can there be a Tank without Algy Ward?

Bob: NO! Ridiculous! 

MBOM: Your cover of Tank's "Power Of The Hunter" is excellent. Any plans of any other NWOBHM covers?

Bob: Thanks! No plans.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Bob: Um... Trespass?  (Editor's Note - I'll take it! Five bonus points for Bob!) 

MBOM: Are there any recent albums by old NWOBHM bands that you can recommend?

Bob: Saxon's last few are great, but they really don't sound like a NWOBHM band anymore...

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo
MBOM: Do you have any cool NWOBHM rarities/collectibles?

Bob: I have all the Gillan and Tank singles, I used to have all of the Raven singles on Neat, can't find 'em!!

MBOM: Is there a particular NWOBHM rarity that you'd like to have in your collection?

Bob: There's a version of "Don't Take Nothin" by Tygers w/Jess Cox that sounds like a 1st album outtake, I had it on a vinyl 'various artists' comp but I am trying to find it on CD. The deluxe reissue of Wildcat has a version of this song, but its not the same recording... HELP!  (Editor's Note - I think that version is available here. Bob ordered it so let's hope I'm right!)

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM! Any last words or anything else to add?

Bob: That was really a magic time for metalheads! Metal seemed to be asleep for a while until we started to hear the buzz about Maiden, Saxon, Def Lep, etc. The one place that sold all of these records was about 40 miles North in Saugus, MA, called Rockit Records; we used to drive up there once or twice a month and spend tons of money buying up all this stuff. It really was exciting, discovering new bands all the time. The same thing happened with Thrash a few years later but the NWOBHM was really something special!


Muthas, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Bob Mayo and it inspires you to do the following - buy some Wargasm, read Mayonoise, and listen to more NWOBHM!


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