MRM recently had the chance to interview John Gallagher of Raven. Gallagher spoke about his origins, career and upcoming show at Mass Destruction Metal Fest in Atlanta, Georgia at The Loft on Saturday, November 5. Get your tickets now HERE.
MRM: Where are you “calling” from?
John Gallagher: Knoxville, TN…we are on tour!
MRM: Where did you grow up?
JG: Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.
MRM: What was your first concert as a spectator?
JG: Slade…with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band as openers…ruined us for life Lolol!!!
MRM: How did you start in the music business?
JG: By forming a band!
MRM: How was Raven formed?
JG: My brother Mark and our school friend Paul Bowden came up to me and said “we wanna form a band and you can play bass” and that was it really…all we needed was to get actual instruments…and learn how to play!!!!
MRM: What’s the origin of the band wearing athletic protective equipment?
JG: We were wearing running togs back in early 1980…the hockey pads and Rob’s helmet started in late 1982 after a visit to a hockey store in Madison Square Garden! The helmet stopped Rob from cutting his head when he nutted the cymbals…the pads protected Mark’s knees while sliding across the floor!
MRM: When did you first notice that Raven had an influence on the thrash metal scene?
JG: Pretty early on…but it was rarely acknowledged until pretty recent.
MRM: How was it taking Metallica out on their first tour?
JG: A lot of fun…we got along with them instantly, and it was like a big gang with the lot of us!!!! It was their 1st tour so they kinda took notes lol.
MRM: Speaking of Metallica, are you excited about playing with them on November 6th in Hollywood, Florida?
JG: Of course! It’s going to be an incredible show and well deserved tribute to the Zazula’s.
MRM: Do you have any Spinal Tap-esque stories from being out on the road?
JG: Far too many…I like the one where Rob’s helmet used to explode after his drum solo… it was flash powder on the helmet…and a percussion bomb positioned inside a ring of flight cases for safety…at a Seattle show he did the solo… stood up… “BANG”. Then we heard “BANgBanGCRASHBANG” as the bomb knocked all the cases down the loading dock stairs!!!! It took forever to untangle the mess!!!
MRM: Are there any interesting behind-the-scenes stories on the production of the classic “On and On” music video?
JG: It took almost 24 hours…we were visited by Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood of MTV…the staging was bought off Judas Priest for $1000!!!!!!!
MRM: What can you tell us about the recently released compilation “Leave ‘em Bleeding”?
JG: It’s a great snapshot of where we are now and the last 10-15 years it took to get here…so many killers off the last few albums plus all the extra track/B side stuff and an exclusive unreleased version of “Stay Hard” recorded live in 2017!!!!
MRM: What can fans expect when Raven plays the Mass Destruction Metal Fest in Atlanta, Georgia at The Loft on Saturday, November 5th?
JG: Pure unadulterated 1000% metal!!!!
MRM: Thanks for the interview. Anything else you would like to add?
JG: Thanks to everyone for their support…we have a new album almost ready – to be released in May 2023!!!