Bob Sawyer Iron Maiden interview 'Rob Angelo' guitarist, Astronomie, Praying Mantis, Nitro, Weapon - Iron Maiden fan site Legacy Project fans of Iron Maiden

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Legacy Project:  Thank you for sparing the time for the interview Bob.  Firstly, what inspired you to play rock?
Bob Sawyer:  9th November 1963 - 11 years old - I watched Duane Eddie and Little Richard take to the stage at The Regal in Edmonton, North London.  The crowd was going crazy, at one point a shirt was thrown into the crowd and even the men were fighting over it.  I thought if this is what it’s all about I want to be part of it!
LP: So what was the first single you ever bought
BS: I’m A Moody Guy by Shane Fenton 
LP: Who were your earliest influences?
BS: The Shadows' Hank Marvin, Just Iconic, Duane Eddy, Tony Hicks of The Hollies, Eric Clapton and then. of course, Michael Schenker.

LP: What were your first guitars?
BS: My first guitar was a barely playable Spanish acoustic. I moved on to a Hofner Senator acoustic guitar, it was huge. A Hofner Senator came after and was followed by a Broadway Strat copy with terrible action. I then progressed to a 1960’s Stratocaster.
Iron Maiden's Dave Murray, Dennis Wilcock, Steve Harris, Bob Sawyer and Ron Rebel
LP:  What guitars did you use in Iron Maiden?
BS:  In Maiden I had a black Gibson SG but my main guitar was a Les Paul Gold top.  I had it refinished as a flametop and still have it in my collection to this day.
LP:  What amplification did you use back then?
BS:  A Fender Twin Reverb.  I remember it had a push pull master volume, nice tone, good distortion and, of course, reverb, which all produced a creamy sound.  But best of all it was very compact.  I drove a Mini back them so size mattered.

LP: Any preference with regards to strings and plectrums
BS: For strings I choose Ernie Ball, sizes 9, 11,14,22,32,44 and for plectrums I go with Old Gold Herco plecs, medium stiffness.  
I drill holes in them for a better grip.

LP: You were a founder member of Nitro a band Dennis Willcock was the vocalist in can you remember much about Nitro.
BS:  Originally a three piece with me on guitar and vocals, Kevin O’Brian on bass and Kevin’s brother in law on drums we recorded a version of Sanctuary but we were not happy with the results. I decided that I wanted to concentrate on playing the guitar and we recruited Dennis Willcock on vocals, Alan Warner (formerly of The Foundations) and Vic Scott on drums. We recorded Sanctuary among other tracks as a 5 piece and Curly Clayton studios in December 1975.

Bob Sawyer with Dennis Wilcock in Nitro
LP:  Alan Warner in Nitro -  What was he like as a guitarist?
BS:  A very good rock guitarist and what we played was very different from his earlier band The Foundations, he has reformed a version of them which is his current band.

LP:  What were Iron Maiden like when you joined.
BS:  Well I had my audition in a trailer in a muddy field at a farm, Dennis was already using the blood and sword the whole act was there. The songs were already written, (Bob brought a certain song with him that he had recorded twice but not released with Nitro-Sanctuary). I can still remember Dennis traipsing through the farms muddy fields in a pair of metallic purple boots.

Bob Sawyer in Iron Maiden
LP:  Who were Iron Maiden’s influences back then.
BS:  Bands like Stray, Nektar, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Montrose, New York Dolls, MC5 which were a proto punk band, and Iggy and the Stoogies along with Aerosmith and the Blue Oyster Cult.

LP:   When you first played with Maiden you were based at the Cart and Horses can you remember why they stopped playing there.
BS:  The place was packed out it was getting rammed every week so rammed that when there was a bit of aggro he chucked us out.

LP:   Do you remember the missing Iron Maiden song from back then.
BS:  "Highway Road in Time",  yeah I remember it, the nearest Maiden ever did to 12 Bar.

LP:  Do you have any favourite gigs from the 70’s
BS:  I saw most of the top bands Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and many more, I saw Status Quo in 1971 and they did a storming set.  A favourite song of mine was Roadhouse Blues a great cover of the Doors song.  But the gig that really stands out was Golden Earring.  Radar Love hadn’t long been released and they were just amazing.

LP:  You have an obviously love for Science Fiction any in particular.
BS:  ALIEN -  it was so atmospheric, very imaginative, ancient monuments and face huggers.  As a kid my favourite was the television series A for Andromeda.

LP:  I'm pleased to share with our website visitors that you currently have a new album on sale with Science Fiction undertones, care to tell us about it?
BS:  I have always enjoyed dabbling in ambient music recording. I recorded it in my home studio, and I have always been inspired by film soundtracks which are the musical inspiration for this project. I was inspired by old Dr Who, The Quatermass Experiment and the Planet of the Apes.  Stark angular music.  The album though, is very atmospheric. Most of the guitar was recorded on a black Gibson SG with three pickups.

LP:   I've heard the exceprts and will share your youtube channel and facebook page with our readers.  How would someone go about buying their own copy of Astronomie?
BS:  Contact me through the facebook page - ALL albuums will be personally signed by me and in a very limited run.

LP:  I'm sure they will be a sell-out very quickly then.  Thank you for sharing your memories with us, it's been amazing.
BS:  Thank you, it was my pleasure.

LEFT - Album cover for Bob Sawyer's new album 'Astronomie'

RIGHT - Excerpts of Bob Sawyer's Astronomie Suite: Nebulae

BELOW - Astronomie Suite's facebook page
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