Interview with Jameson Raid

Interview by Demitri Levantis

Interview with Terry Dark (Vocals)

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Following the release of their new compilation album “Raiderstronomy,” composed of classic singles and newly remastered versions, I caught up with NWOBHM veterans, Jameson Raid to talk about what the band has experienced in their long history, and what they have set for the future.

Hi and thanks for joining us, let’s begin with the band itself, you guys are veterans on the UK metal scene so could you give us a short history of the band, please?

The band formed in 1975 as Notre Dame. Just before I joined in late ’76 the name changed to Jameson Raid. Two original members left in 1980, myself and Phil Kimberley continued until 1982. The band reformed for a reunion in 2010/11 & continued with different members up until today with Luud Tilly on bass, Neudi Neuderth on drums, Kalli Coldsmith on solo guitar and myself

Were you guys ever acquainted with any big-name bands like Maiden or Priest?

We played with these bands plus bands like Saxon and Def Leppard & used to hang out sometimes with KK from Judas Priest.

Why did you decide to change your name from Notre Dame to Jameson Raid, and what inspired the new name?

One of our roadies, called simply Boz, heard the name at school & suggested it to the band who agreed it was better. The Jameson raid was a historical event that took place in 1895 in S.Africa under the leadership of Leander Star Jameson.

Your new record, “Raiderstronomy”, what is its importance to your discography, for anyone new to your music?

Raiderstronomy truly captures the mood at the start of the NWOBHM. All the songs are originals & the first two EP’s featured on Raiderstronomy were self-made and funded by wellwishers.

What inspired the release, is it an anniversary edition?

Haha, it was going to be an anniversary edition but C19 got in the way. The original EP’s are difficult to come by and also rather expensive at auction so with this release we are giving people the opportunity to have the originals plus the track Hard Lines from the Metal4Muthas 2 album at a reasonable price. Also, if your copy is scratched, unplayable etc, you can now replace it.

When listening to this new release, how does it compare to when you first recorded these songs?

Kalliphonia Studio, together with Patrick W. Engel, has done a great job with the restoration & mastering of these tracks, giving everyone the chance to hear them at their best & we’re proud of the result. Having said that, we’re also still proud of the originals, after all, some of the songs are considered classics of the genre.

Do any of these songs have interesting backstories or were they inspired by anything fascinating?

Having read J. D. Sallingers wonderful book, Catcher in the Rye, I was inspired to write the song of the same name. I wanted to capture the mood of the book in a song & add my own twists & turns. Phil Kimberley wrote the lyrics for Hard Lines & it’s the first time we’ve added this original recording to a CD or album.

Do you still enjoy releasing music through vinyl or do you favour the newer formats?

Vinyl has something special. The Royal Blue transparent and red and white Splatter albums are a pleasure to own and most people agree that the sound of vinyl is superior to many other formats. However, this is a new age & Jameson Raid is also available on Spotify & all the new music platforms as well but not with this release.

Why did Jameson Raid come to an end in 1982, was there a particular reason or moment when you decided enough was enough?

Phil and I decided whilst unloading the van at 3am on a cold winter’s night that we’d call it a day. We were tired!

Did you ever think you’d ever get back on the road after the band came to an end?

I wasn’t planning to and started thinking about it in 2009 when I saw a resurgence in interest in the band and all things Metal. I enjoyed the reunion so much I decided to continue for as long as possible but with new songs as well.

In the 26 years between Jameson Raid ending and reforming, how do you feel the metal world changed in your opinion?

Heavy Metal, in all its forms, is high energy music & that hasn’t changed but the genre has expanded with many side branches which I welcome. These additions bring new fans, curious fans, who want to discover the roots of the music they love.

What was it like to work with High Roller Records, who are releasing the new album?

High Roller is a very compact organisation. Communication flows easily and they are very efficient. Thorsten Thormann and Alex von Wieding have done a brilliant job with Raiderstronomy and I think it’s a top product with great sound, packaging & presentation. Love it!

As music veterans, do you find it easier to make new music now or to tour than when you first started?

Yes! Both things are easier; making new songs because of the giant leaps in technology and touring because as veterans we are asked to play at festivals etc. For any new band, it’s always difficult to make a leap forward and that won’t change.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the band, did you have to cancel anything big?

Like all bands, we have had C19 problems. The worst is that the festivals we had planned in Sweden, France, Germany and the UK were necessarily postponed. Hopefully, we’ll get there in the end.

What can you tell us about the remastering of these songs, were they done by anyone particularly good or did all the band have an input?

Kalli Coldsmith & Patrick Engel collaborated on this project. Luckily, I still had the original 1978 studio tapes of the first EP which helped them considerably with the quality. The rest of the band left them to it. Myself, I’m not technically gifted! We did, of course, listen carefully to the results before agreeing to the final mix but nothing needed changing.

What are the bands you listen to most at the moment, new and old?

All my career I’ve avoided listening to other bands in the genre. Naturally, you still hear many great songs but for example, I don’t have any Maiden, Priest or Metallica music in my house. My musical tastes include these bands but also all kinds of other music forms. My CD collection has often surprised visitors to my home.

Of all the time you’ve spent on the road, what are the most memorable anecdotes you have to share with us?

There are too many really but in 2010 for the reunion, JR agreed to play Headbangers Open Air in Germany which was the band’s first-ever gig outside the UK. We had all the original players & as many of the original road crew as possible and I hired a large house through the internet near the gig, big enough for all of us. When we pulled onto the driveway I was absolutely astounded to see written above the entrance that the house was built in 1895!! The year of the Jameson Raid. Coincidence?? No! That can’t be, can it…

What do you enjoy most about being a musician?

I love both studios and live performances so I’m very lucky. Both give you the chance to be creative and present your music to an audience. I also get to work with talented musicians which is an honour & a privilege.

Finally, do you have anything you would like to say to our readers?

Dear readers, value the things in life that bring you joy & value the joy that those things bring.

Thank you so much again and I wish you all the best for the future.