I often have satisfactions doing what I do, such as being able to interact with artists and bands who in some way formed my musical tastes, just like this time with an interview to Badge.
Graham Waudby is the original vocalist of Badge band, named after the Cream song, best known for the single
"Silver Woman" single which reached #27 in the Heavy Metal charts.
Well, now the band is back with the new album "Supernova", already reviewed here, and I have the pleasure to have a chat just with Mr. Waudby.
Hi Graham and welcome to Rockers And Other Animals and above all, welcome back to the music scene.
How and when did you get the idea to put together the Badge again?
The re-birth of Badge started really at the First Brofest festival of nwobhm in Newcastle in 2013. We had been invited to play the three day festival at the University there. We were apprehensive at first wondering what reception we would get, we had no need to worry. We went down a storm our fans had not forgotten us. After the gig people from all corners of the world came to chat, take selfies and get autographs. Me and Baz Gregory our bass player decided to keep the band going, well we had little choice after the great reception we had from the multinational audience who loved seeing us again on stage, it had to be more than just a one off re-union gig so we got the band bug again.
A few demo tapes, “Silver Woman” single in the eighties, the album “Stormrider” in 2012 and now the second full-length “Supernova”. Why did you actually disband in the early '80s? And
how did the Badge story evolve from that year until the release of the new album?
We didn’t really or formally disband in the 80’s. I got married and put my efforts into work and family I am a cabinet maker by trade, woodworking. I thought that was it! As far as music was concerned it was a past phase in my life. Well honestly you never lose the stage bug and music stays in your blood. Badge continued with various line ups through the eighties but never regained the lost ground of previous years or the chemistry of the Silver Woman days, the door closed on Badge.
The band played at a famous night club in Bridlington for the final time at the last night of the golden gloves gig.
From then the band just fizzled out with promises of re-forming which never really came to fruition.
Then in twenty twelve, High Roller records from Germany released the first Badge album Stormrider, an album compiled by singer Graham Waudby and local guitarist Pat mount from old remastered Badge demo tapes. At this time Pat and Graham wrote a new song called Natalya from the Volga, a song about a girl trapped behind the Berlin wall in the sixties, not your average rock song theme. Then Brofest happened in 2013.Badge played the first night of the NWOBHM themed festival at Newcastle University with Tony Dixon back in the band, Baz Gregory on bass, Tony Dean on rhythm guitar, Twig Johnson on drums and Graham Waudby on vocals. Well the audience went wild, they hadn’t forgotten us, we wowed the multi-national audience... The old Buzz was back, really once you have been on stage it’s all you ever want to do, it’s a drug.
“Supernova”, very appreciable and honest album to me, sounds to capture the old-school spirit of Badge. How did you approach the recording session? Are you the main songwriter?
I approached the recording session with optimism and hope of creating a good album, it may sound obvious but its quite a hard thing to do, to produce a piece of music based on your own influences and experience and in the hope the general public will like it . Of course in any song there is a “build” which takes place, Florin Huluba and Baz Gregory provided the tunes and I write the lyrics , Mikey Bolton of Powerstage studios provided the excellent drumming and we like to think of it being a band effort. I wrote all the lyrics to Supernova .
When composing a song, what is the most important element for you?
Variety always, I hear lots of song writers who seem to get stuck in their subject matter and produce songs along the same theme all the time. I look for melodic variety too, change the tempo add interest where we can, basically in an effort to keep the audience’s attention and to keep them entertained, I always try to be imaginative in my song writing, changing the theme of the lyrics to suit a wide cross section of people.
As for the lyrics, do you prefer to have the music already composed and adapt the words or vice versa?
I often listen to Gaelic Irish music, I don’t understand the lyrics in the song but instead it creates an emotion in me and paints a picture in my mind, I create my own song out of it, the same goes for writing songs for Badge I prefer to hear a finished tune and melody with everything in place I then listen to it until I get a picture in my mind of what the song will be about, once I have the first line then that’s it, the song is on its way.
If you had to pick three songs off “Supernova” that best represent Badge’s style and sound, which ones would you choose?
“Blizzard”, I love this song, from the early 80’s it just trucks along a steady heavy track and recorded for the first time as it should sound for the album Supernova. “Valkyrie” I love, as it reflects my own Nordic beliefs but is also reflective of the Badge sound its racy heavy and bluesy .”Dogs of war” paints a moving and emotional picture in my mind , the song is about the futility of war, I like to think Badge songs can be thought provoking as well as entertaining.
I really like the songs “Valkyrie” and “Black Heart Soul”two intense and darker tracks we give, to define them, as I like the two more catchy and more rock like “Cry in the Night” and “Rock
Chics”. Can we say they represent the two sides of Badges?
Yes I suppose they can but isn’t that the nature of human beings to share both sides of life, both light and dark equally, life can be intense and dark and also light and enjoyable, the essence of song writing is to recognise these traits and put them down in a song, I’m sure people can relate to these emotions in their own way. The Supernova Badge lyrics are just a collection of my own philosophy and outlook on life be it dark or light Yin and Yang .
Is there a particular reason why you have included two songs that were in two of your first demos?
Yes, the songs you are pointing out are “Blizzard “and ”See me gone“ these songs were never recorded as we would have liked, Blizzard is laid down on Supernova as it was always intended to be a good heavy grinding song, see me gone again a good song which never had the right sound and feel to it ,we have put that right on Supernova.
What do you recall from the time of the beginning?
Early days well, the original band came together in nineteen eighty during the budding period known as the new wave of British heavy metal. The singer Graham Waudby had just returned from working in Holland and was introduced to Tony Dixon who shared common interests in music and drinking .There followed and explosion of new songs which produced the acclaimed single Silver Woman. This single was recorded at the metal minded/Neat records studio at Wallsend in Newcastle the very heart of the NWOBHM sound in nineteen eighty one. Recording engineer was Micky Sweeny, also making the Badge line up was Stu Mclean on rhythm guitar, Rob Zipfel on drums, the gentle giant Mike Cooper on Bass. Badge music at that time was a blend of bluesy melodic rock with an intentional bent towards song variation.
Silver Woman our 45 vinyl single sold really well achieving number one on many independent record shops play lists and made number twenty seven in the Sounds music papers heavy metal charts. As a result of this there were talks of supporting slots with Judas Priest and Budgie by the promoter Dave woods. This tragically came to nothing as the band split due to in-band clashes, a critical time for the band ..
Badge continued with various line ups through the eighties but never regained the lost ground of previous years or the chemistry of the Silver Woman days, the door closed on Badge.
The band played at a famous night club in Bridlington for the final time at the last night of the golden gloves gig.
In recent years we have seen a return to "old school" metal, especially for the nwobhm movement. What do you think of this return to the past?
It’s not so much a return to the past, more a return to good melodic rock ,I personally find it hard to get into music which is over complicated and lacks melody. This kind of music is making a resurgence simply because people can relate to it ,there have been too many “twangy”guitar bands, as I call them, around lately its time again for some good heavy metal mayhem and we are glad to be a small part of it.
How easy was to struggle with so many bands in early 80’s? How easy, or difficult, was back then comparing it to nowadays for a band in order to spread its music?
In our part of the world it was easy to get gigs in the 80’s lots of pubs and clubs would have you on, so we got well known and had our own following of fans who followed us around and would turn up at most gigs. The single silver Woman did a lot to boost our image and exposure, in those days we didn’t really take things too seriously, it was one big blast, the best thing any young kid could do …Its different nowadays , music is everywhere, it’s not that special anymore, radio, online, mp3, the kids don’t want to see a band live anymore , it’s all about image and not necessarily about talent and quality and they can see that on any device. Gigs are still available but pubs and clubs only want tribute and covers bands something “safe” to please the punters and not willing to take a chance with a live band they have never heard before. We really want to get on the Festival scene it’s the one area where rock music has taken off and the best place to spread our music and entertain the audience.
What do you see for the future of your band, which plans do you have?
The future, well it really depends on how Supernova our new album is received, that will give us a finger on the pulse and see if it is worth getting on stage again, like I say ,we would
love to get on the festival scene and all we need is a foot in the door ,play one festival then hopefully get on them regularly.
Where your fans older and new, find your CDs and merchandise?
Merchandise, gear and cd’s can be got on our Facebook site Badge, we can take orders and get whatever you want ..I will even let you take me out for tea and cake.
Would you like something to add to our readers? Maybe fomenting I didn’t ask you’
Its just really great to be back in Badge, we really hope to rock our fans again and hopefully Supernova will have a great effect on people, already we have had great reviews comments and response to this album and hopefully that will continue to grow...Rock on Everyone!!
Cry in the Night
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