In 1974, Newcastle, England: three young guys suddenly decided to play together as a band. Several lineup changes to the battery didn't divide the messengers of Atlethic Rock. They found their stability in 1987. Personal accidents have not managed to keep them apart, away from the stage. They shared scenes with Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Testament, Kreator. In 2015 they offer us their thirteenth result of their art, "Extermination", a powerful and dynamic work. If you love the classic Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, influenced by a good Hard Rock, you have to pay them attention? And also a good reading, because we also propose you an interview with Raven! "Stay Hard!"

R&MIMB: 1974, Newcastle, England, Raven was formed. Could you tell us how the moment went when you said to yourselves you were going to form this band. What were you doing at the time when this idea hit you?
RAVEN: John Gallagher (bass, vocals): Well, my brother and our friend from the next street, Paul Bowden, came up to me and said: "We are forming a band.. And you can play bass!" We only had one classical guitar between us.. But got cheap electrics that Christmas and moved forward from there!

R&MIMB: Let's go on with a classic question: where did you get the name Raven from?
RAVEN: We made a long list of horrible names.. Raven finally got the vote!

R&MIMB: It's said your sound is rooted in British Hard Rock and Progressive Rock... Have you ever had any Metal influences?
RAVEN: We got into Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Budgie.. Then, basically saw every Rock band that came to Newcastle. That was our education really.

R&MIMB: A more general question, connected with the previous one: what have been your main musical influences?
RAVEN: Stuff like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin. But really the early Glam stuff that we saw on the few music programs that were on TV in the UK: Slade, The Sweet, Gary Glitter, Mott The Hoople, David Bowie, Status Quo, Nazareth.

R&MIMB: Why did you guys take to wearing sports gear during shows in the early days? Whose idea was it?
RAVEN: The gear looked good. It was cheap, and looked different to the regular 70's rock star stuff local bands were wearing!

R&MIMB: Why has your music been referred to as Athletic Rock?
RAVEN: Probably because of what we explained in the previous question.

R&MIMB: Let's talk about your last release! We would like to know what separates "ExtermiNation"(2015) apart from all your other releases. Ep or album, "ExtermiNation" is simply the heaviest, most kick-ass album you probably have ever recorded.
RAVEN: It was just the stars were being aligned: the right songs, right arrangements. We spent a LOT of time on that, that's really the difference. We recorded pretty much the way we always do: live. The 3 of us in the same room, no click track, and just add/fix stuff as we go.. But the initial basic tracks are LIVE and REAL. Kevin '131' did a killer job getting it all recorded and provided the perfect mix. We are very happy with the way it turned out!

R&MIMB: About the past? What was going on at the time "Glow"(1994) was made? The album definitely has a "far-out" feel and sound to it. Very opposite from the old school, heavy, thrashy sound of past albums. That was a bit out of character for you, wasn't it?
RAVEN: Far out?? It's heavy and a bit experimental. I had a mindset of avoiding many of our stylistic "quirks" so, many of the riffs were different. We even did a ballad. There was no pressure so we just did what we wanted. I think the album is an overlooked gem. There's such cool songs on it!

R&MIMB: The studio in which? "Glow"(1994) was recorded in, was literally connected by a strip club! Have you got any wild stories to tell about that one?
RAVEN: Well, it was difficult getting Mark and Joe back in the control room to hear mixes.. I can tell you!!!

R&MIMB: Where does all your energy come from? Since you first started, you have been nothing but a power packed energy ball, and your latest 2015 release, "ExtermiNation", is absolute proof. You have not slowed down a bit! Are you ever going to retire?
RAVEN: No! We are just getting started! It's a great time for us and we have such great ideas for the next album already. The energy is natural, it's the way we have always done it from day one!

R&MIMB: Did the sign on with Atlantic Records earlier in Raven's history have anything to do with the change in sound on the "Stay Hard" (1985), "The Pack is Back" (1986) albums?
RAVEN: Atlantic Records were involved in the "Pack" album which is why it's more commercial. "Stay Hard" was recorded before we had the deal with Atlantic R.; the only input they had was they wanted a cover of "Hard Ride". (Already contained in a previous Raven album, "Rock Until You Drop" (1981))

R&MIMB: What was it like for you, when you got signed to your first record label?
RAVEN: Pretty amazing. It was a different time, when things like that actually meant something!

R&MIMB: Looking back, how would you describe Raven's forty-one year career?
RAVEN: Extremely long!!! It's pretty astounding, isn't it? And we are nowhere near done yet!

R&MIMB: Looking back at past lineups, the other drummers stayed one, two, and seven years at the most. Joe, instead, has been drumming for Raven for 29 years. What's been the magic sauce in his long running tenure with Raven?
RAVEN: Joe is one of the best drummers out there, period! But the reason why we are still together is because we get on as personalities. We are very much a team and Joe contributes music all the time.. And is a killer guitar player, as shown on his solo albums!

R&MIMB: In 2000, a wall collapsed on Mark, crushing his legs. Raven was in hiatus for four years while he was rehabilitating from that accident. In 2004, you played some shows while he was in a wheelchair. What was that experience like? It seems like it would be difficult playing guitar in a wheelchair!
RAVEN: That was tough. Mark had just had some operations and still had anesthesia on his lungs, so occasionally he'd throw up on stage and just be nauseous in general but he wanted to get out and prove he could still do it.. He actually played amazing on those shows as he had to stay in one stop!

R&MIMB: In 2015, while performing in South America you guys were in an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter. What was that like?
RAVEN: Scary!! We were in Bogota, on the 9th floor of a hotel when everything started moving from side to side violently. We ran down 9 flights in record time. Luckily, there was no damage as the epicenter was about 150 miles away, but it was scary!

R&MIMB: What is in store for Raven in 2016?
RAVEN: We just did the 70000 tons cruise which was a big success for us. South America is next. Then Euro festivals, some USA dates and more Euro dates!!!

R&MIMB: Are there any plans for more albums in the future?
RAVEN: Yeah! We ain't opening a bakery or anything, this it's what we do! Probably early next year!!

R&MIMB: Where can we check out to see more about what's going on with Raven?
RAVEN: Www.ravenlunatics.com and the Raven page on Facebook!

R&MIMB: Thank you for giving your time for this interview for Rock & Metal In My Blood! We would like to see more of Raven in the future!
RAVEN: Cheers and THANKS to the fans! See ya soon!

Interview realised by Heather Williams, edited by Zuleika Cirio