An Interview with British Heavy Metal Band ‘Stairway’


stairwayClassic metal band Stairway from England has been busy making music since 1991. With six albums they have already gained a lot of experience. Their latest album “Power and Glory” has been released earlier this year. Later this month the band will play at the 2nd edition of Rock Alive in Enschede / the Netherlands. Recently we conducted an interview with the men of Stairway, check it below:

TMR: Hey guys this is The Metal Resource from Holland, how are things going there in
United Kingdom ?

Hi there, yes, things are going great, really enjoying the summer and looking forward to playing Holland 24th September.

TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

I am Graeme Leslie, lead vocals and bass guitar
Hi I’m Pete Jennens, lead guitar
Hello I’m Andy, drums

stairway_2016TMR: How did you get into metal?

Graeme: Queen and from hearing bands like Rainbow, The Sweet on the radio and later Saxon and Maiden
Pete: For me it was Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore and then Maiden
Andy: I got into metal from Maiden’s 2nd album Killers

TMR: What is your musical background ?

Graeme: I was bought my 1st guitar when I was about 7 years old and had piano lessons
Pete: I had piano lessons
Andy: I had piano lessons

TMR: Tell us the brief history of Stairway.

We started in the late 70s while we were at school with Graeme, Pete and Rob – Andy joined later in the early 80s as drummer and Pete moved onto lead guitar; we played a lot of gigs up and down the UK and were signed by Kingsway Music in 1991 recording 2 tracks for the White Metal Warriors compilation CD after which we released our 1st album No Rest: No Mercy in 1993.

TMR: Why the name Stairway ? Is there a story behind it ?

No story really, we thought of a few names, and Stairway was the one that stuck.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in Stairway ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influenced you for writing music and lyrics ?

Graeme writes the songs, I get lyric ideas from things that are happening in the world or from stories I’ve heard or from the bible – I tend to sit with the guitar messing around with chord structures, and ideas for songs come from that.

TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of Stairway ?

Graeme: seeing the audience singing the songs back to us when we’re playing –
Pete: Playing in Germany for the 1st time
Andy: one particular kid in Germany who wasn’t even born when the No Rest album came out and singing the song word for word.

TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one)?

Not worst, just funny – clearing the venue after letting off some dodgy pyros

TMR: What is your favorite drink and food ?

Graeme: A nice cup of English tea – and chocolate, which I can’t eat!!
Pete: Lager and curry
Andy: Lager and curry

TMR: So what makes you laugh? 

Graeme: Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Pete: People’s unfortunate mishaps
Andy: Only Fools and Horses TV programme

TMR: What is your biggest fear ?

Graeme: Waking up and finding I’m dead
Andy: Flying!
Pete: Being on a plane with Andy!

TMR: What is the last album you bought? 

Graeme: Pearl Handled Revolver’s album ‘ If the devil cast his net’
Pete: Lies of Smiles ‘Dreams of the Machinoix’
Andy: Jeremiah Ferrari

TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band? 

Graeme: Partaking in the gardening arts
Pete: Watching bands
Andy: Watching local bands

TMR: Are there some key principles or phylosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person?

For all of us: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again!

power_and_glory_35dTMR: Speaking of recording, your new album “Power and Glory” has been released on May 20th. what can you tell us about the album [such as the recording process, the songs/lyrics, record label etc.]

We recorded the album over a couple of years and released it on our own label. We were fortunate to have another Rodney Matthews piece for the album cover – another cracker! We mixed and mastered the album with Greg Chandler at Priory Studios who has done an excellent job! – The album talks about the false promises the world system and the devil give us and that we can take control of our own lives with the help of Christ.

TMR: About the cover artwork. Do you think it is as important as your music? Does it visualize the lyrics of your songs or what’s the actual story behind its concept?

Having the album cover mean something is important, and having it depict the subject of the whole album or a track on the album is something we try and get included in the artwork.

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

On social media, on our website and through the Stairway newsletter

TMR: Through the years a lot has changed. What is the difference between performing in the 80/90/00’s?

Haven’t noticed that much of a change really in the fans, Rock fans are the loyalist of fans and have always come to the shows, maybe in the 90s the numbers were lower than in the 80s and nowadays, but they are so dedicated.

TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?

Tends to be dominated by tribute and covers bands, but it is quite vibrant at the moment.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show? 

Graeme: Comb my hair
Pete: have a kip!
Andy: All of the above!!

TMR: Later this month you will play at the second edition of Rock Alive Festival in Enschede. Do you have any expectations? And what can the visitors expect from Stairway?

Looking forward to playing in Holland for the 1st time 
We’re playing a classic set of metal tracks off all the albums, so the crowd should be prepared to join in!

TMR: What is your favorite Stairway song to play live? 

Graeme: ‘What Lies Within’
Pete: ‘What Lies Within’
Andy: It changes, ‘Lucy Fuhr’ at the moment

TMR: What is your favorite concert that you saw and what made it so good? 

Graeme: Bowie, the stage and sound was the best I’ve been to.
Pete: All Maiden shows – always full on.
Andy: The Maiden Power Slave gig at Birmingham Odeon.

TMR: What is the most embarrassing music on your phone or in your collection and how do you justify it to others? 

All: Don’t have embarrassing music!!

TMR: If you could pick a band to tour with, who would it be? And where would the tour go?

Graeme: Queen – world
Pete: Maiden – world
Andy: Muse- world

TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked? 

This one! Lol

stairway_2016TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?

A huge great brick wall – find them difficult to get over! Both physically and metaphorically!!

TMR: As a band today, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face?

Getting Andy on the plane to the gig in Holland

TMR: Any plans for the near future ?

Doing more shows and working on new tracks

TMR: Guys thanks for your time and the interview. We wish Stairway all the best … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement ?]

Thanks for the questions – would be great to see everyone at Rock Alive Festival on 24th Sept – if you can get the show, come over and say hello 

“White Metal Warriors – Last Ship Home” Compilatie (1991)
“No Rest: No Mercy ” (1993)
“Bleeding Heart” (1999)
“On Hallowed Ground” (2002)
“The Other Side of Midnight” (2006 )
“No Mercy” [Single] (2006)
“Interregnum” (2010)
“Christmas Merry Christmas” [Single] (2012)
“Power and Glory” (2016)

Upcoming Shows:
Sept. 24 – Rock Alive, Poppodium Atak, Enschede, NL
Oct. 8 – Scruffy Murphys, Birmingham, UK

Weblinks: Facebook / Website / Bigcartel / Twitter

rock alive 2016

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