Stigger, mastermind of Brittish WARLORD, old guitarist of legendary SKREWDRIVER, ballad singer, patriot and son of working class. Enjoy this interview, work for which was really long… but “better late than never”.
Your albums come out rather seldom – for approximately 15 years of group’s activity were released only 4 full-length works. It is related to lack of free time, or you prepare the material so carefully? How much time did it take you to compose the last album?
The problem is time of course; I have lots of different hats I have to wear for working, music, politics, family life etc. so time is sparse to say the least. Also it is me who writes most of the music / lyrics, so I get little help from the others in the band in that aspect (partly my fault as I am a control freak!). So things take a little longer as when an album is written, I have to teach them all individually. The first two albums were not so far apart, but the gap to the 3rd was huge. In the time between there was major things happening professionally and personally for me, so music was not my first consideration.
The last album («Ascension») was a joy to make, and that whole experience has given me a new life and outlook on music. The enthusiasm and sincere belief of the new blood around me at that time opened my eyes and strengthened my resolve. The whole album to write from start to finish was probably 18 months on and off. I find music very easy to write, but I take a lot of time with the lyrics.
Why the Ukrainian studio was chosen for the recording of the new album? There was no suitable place for this in England, or there were any other reasons? Are you satisfied with the result you got?
The choice of studio was suggested to me by some German and Ukrainian comrades. I came to Kiev for the Perun festival some years ago, and after meeting such friendly dedicated people I had a chance to be exposed to Ukrainian / Russian nationalist music first hand. The power and feeling of this type of music inspired me to try something similar, and it was then I realised that the whole recording process and studios were something alien to me.
The studios in England are just money making ventures, and have no love or interest in what we are doing, and that reflects in the recordings. It is the same for a lot of alternative genres in music (folk, pagan, black metal etc.) Our 3rd album («The Last Command») was a victim of this. The producer had too many late nights as he also owned a pub, was designing a new house, and his wife had just had a child, so this bastard was half asleep most of the day, and so it was real hard work to get this project done. He also left the guide vocals on the record instead of the proper recorded ones. If I see him again, he will regret the day he met me.
Anyway, I was so pleased with the studio and the recording techniques, the engineer was quite a miserable individual, but boy did he know how to get the sound I wanted. Sometimes I think everyone should have the same enthusiasm I do for making music, but I forget it is a job for some, and they hear the same thing every day. My real inspiration sound wise was SOKYRA PERUNA and the quality of their recordings. I am a lucky man to call their singer a brother. Hail King of Kiev!
Would you tell about how the record progress went. Comrades from Russia and Ukraine took part in some studio work – did they help you or disturb more? :-) Who assisted you in instruments recordings?
True, I am always very cautious when people want to know names of people who I collaborate with. Needless to say, the King of Kiev and his voice of thunder gave the whole album a great tone. Myself and Mush (old SKREWDRIVER drummer) did vocals / guitars / drums. The keyboards and piano were done by another very talented brother from Russia, who, if I had my way, would be with me writing all the time, as he is outstanding for his age, in fact has joined me on numerous occasions to play the ballad gigs. (Hail the pipe smoker). The translator / bodyguard / financial advisor etc was another great comrade of ours, who I am lucky enough to meet all over Europe, and along with his wife and son, have become very good friends indeed, in fact he is responsible for arranging this interview (wild hail to him too;). Hail Vodka and caviar for New Year’s breakfast!
Everyone was a help, and there were very little distractions, apart from 2 ugly Germans sitting in the studio… but that is another story!
There is a really mighty song on the album named «South will Rise Again». Do you believe that there can happen some positive changes in America and south will really rise, or the text of the song has more a historical and descriptive meaning?
This song is really a historical overview of all that I love about the southern states of America. From the segregation side, the civil war, and especially the southern rock, which I have loved since I was a kid. Bands like LYNARD SKYNARD, MOLLY HATCHET, DOC HOLIDAY etc. have had a deep influence on me, and later in life when I met Ian Stuart, I found out he was the same. The older friends I have from Germany and Italy also share this passion, so I always try to incorporate a bit of rock and roll into the music. “Think about the Klansmen”, or even “Get Yourself Tattooed” I did with Ken (McLelan, BRUTAL ATTACK), all have that rock’n’roll feel.
I believe there is still a very strong spirit of the rebel in the south, and I, as much as you wish the south would rise again.
The material of your album «Last command» is good, but the sound, in our opinion, came out not fully suitable. Do you agree with it, and if yes, how did it happen so?
Think I answered that one earlier. As well as a bad producer, I was in a pretty dark place too at that time, so maybe the two things together didn’t help. I should have written some more up – beat songs for that album, but hey – you have to live with what feels right at the time. Maybe I’m just getting too old! Ha-ha.
Is there any ideas about the next album? It would be more pleasant to hear it sooner then usually!
The next album will be called «Home», and that will finish the Warlord story. The "old and angry god awakes", fights on the "theatre of war", in the battle before he falls he gives "the last command", on his death he has ascension to Valhalla, and then he is finally... Home. This will be recorded next year, and I have around 7 songs for it already, so if the gods allow, I will use the same process as the last album. That is if the King of Kiev doesn’t kill me with alcohol before we can record anything!!
You gave concerts in Ukraine many times – please, tell about your impressions from those trips, from shows and people.
The people were fantastic; I met some of the greatest people I know there. Also inspired me to write “Bonded by Blood”. Who would have thought that 20 years ago such a thing would have happened? To travel to these beautiful countries and meet good Nationalist people who for decades have been portrayed as brainwashed puppets of the communist era, only to find that we all think exactly the same thing and share the same values. We are indeed bonded by blood.
The concerts were great too. From playing in the open air, to playing on a ship, to playing in a club in Kiev was something I could only have dreamed of. The hospitality was out of this world, and still to this day I tell comrades around the world of our nights in the «Docker pub». Singing and dancing till 5 in the morning, with brothers of every white nation. Awesome. Drinking vodka and swimming in the Dnieper river from an old fashioned paddle boat will stay with me forever. Along with my Ukrainian tattoo!
Modern right-wing music scene probably doesn’t strongly influence your own creation. ;) Please, tell which musicians influenced you in the past and which music do you prefer to listen now (right-wing or not and, please, don’t forget about our countries).
I am really a rocker, my early influences were MOTORHEAD, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE etc, I liked some punk and skinhead stuff too at the end of the 70s, then I loved the new wave of British heavy metal and especially the black metal scene, VENOM, MERCYFUL FATE, DEMON. The southern rock of course, ROSE TATOO. Now of course all rock sounds the same but every so often a band or song will come along. I like the sounds and presentation of RAMMSTEIN, but of course they are perverts with perverted lyrics and not a good influence on our youth. From the RAC side apart from SKREWDRIVER I always liked SQUADRON and both incarnations of NO REMORSE. NEMESIS are probably the best British band now, on sheer song writing ability. There are too many bands around the world to list my favourites and maybe even individual songs. In Russia there is a very professional sound happening, and a very powerful delivery. Unfortunately for us island monkeys, we don’t understand the words, but the sentiment is still there. Of course we know of KOLOVRAT, TNF, ANTISYSTEM, etc. and of course my brothers in SOKYRA PERUNA from Ukraine, and we have a lot to learn about production from these people. Your pagan metal scene is also interesting for me, I remember hearing a song by a band called ARKONA with a female voice that was very beautiful, but when I think of pagan I think of NOKTURNAL MORTUM, and early BATHORY, this is music I can relate to.
After the sorrowful events in September of 1993 did you decide at once to create a new band? Didn’t you have ideas about continuing SKREWDRIVER without Ian Stuart? And why did you decide to play in other style, did you have thoughts about playing heavy metal before?
Ian was SKREWDRIVER. I was just a cog in the wheel. The whole music and lyrics were Ian’s. I contributed little to the build of the song; I just interpreted what he wrote. Hence I or anyone else could not have carried on the band without him.
Warlord took off 2 years later. In hindsight we knew we would do something new, we had the spirit, we were young and we wanted to change the face of British nationalism. The sound we have is due to me and mush both having a similar musical up bringing, although he likes punk rock much more than me.
When I was in my early teens I used to play on the rock circuit around Nottingham and Derbyshire every weekend. When I wasn’t making music I was watching other bands. Same with mush, he was playing in punk bands when he was an early teenager. In later life this caused a few problems as punks and skins have a bad history abroad. In England most punks and skins still get on fine, but Germany in particular can be funny.
But without Ian there would be nothing today. He is the reason I exist (good or bad), that there is a very healthy RAC scene all over the world, and that I am here today to answer these questions via comrades in Germany / Ukraine and Russia. Odin keep you brother.
What do you think, if Ian lived until our days, what would he act now and what music would play?
Sure he would have hated the hardcore – ha ha! I know he would have been impressed with the way the rest of the world have taken his ideals and made them a reality. I think he still would have played, but probably more ballads, he loved just sitting down with an acoustic guitar and singing from the heart. I think the true test of a song, is if you can appreciate it when it is performed by just a man on an acoustic guitar.
Think politics would have played a big part of his later life too. He was a good speaker, and had a good grip, not just on British politics, but also on the world wide scene. He lived long enough to see the first B.N.P councillor elected in England (B.N.P. – British National Party).
Please, tell, if it is possible, about SKREWDRIVER albums re-release problems. As we can see, mostly bootlegs appear nowadays – replicas of old albums with bad printing quality. Don’t anyone thought about a normal reissue with thick booklets, texts and archive photos – it could be very wholesome and pleasant! What is the problem? «Rockorama» doesn’t perform anything in this direction and block others? Why?
The bootlegging of cds is a whole industry now, some people have become very wealthy from this, and the biggest shame is the people who give nothing back to the movement, or donate proceeds to prisoners who are in desperate need of funds. After Herbert from «Rockorama» died, it seemed to be open season for bootlegs to be printed. I am not sure how it could be regulated as everyone with a pc and a printer can make copies. You would have thought that our movement having a foundation in trust and honour would behave responsibly, but sometimes greed is their god. I would welcome proper re releases with new booklets and pictures / information, and maybe that time will come. Just to give the other opinion – I also feel that it is better to spread the word to the masses, and if some people can’t afford the official price, I understand why they would buy a cheap bootleg. «Rockorama» is now in new hands, and I’m not so sure they are the people to re release the music, other record companies releasing our music would be a better choice.
Could you give any advice to starting musicians based on your age experience? A large part of them play like each other and the quality is rather low (though the last years the situation is much better). And what do you think about modern trend of near-right oriented fashion hardcore groups appearance?
My advice would be play from the heart. Look to your influences, but put your own stamp on the songs. Melody is very important, so try to not write music in the same key every time, and maybe look at different chord progressions to surprise the listener. Words are the life blood of RAC music, so if the listener cannot understand what you are trying to say, you have wasted a good opportunity. By this I am thinking of hardcore. I like M.O.D and S.O.D for example, Billy Milano is hardcore but you can understand the words, so you get the best of both worlds. I like some of the new hardcore stuff, in fact I was in Italy at the weekend watching path of resistance. Their sound was great, but the singing was just a blur and unless I have the c.d with the lyrics I have no idea what the songs are about. Just my opinion.
Do you follow the British scene? There is an impression that time stopped on your island and the most part of groups continues playing old-school RAC, inspired by the same SKREWDRIVER. What is your opinion about the reason of it?
Can’t tell you a lot about the British scene, haven’t been involved with it for years. Only play for the right people supporting the right causes these days. Got to a point where every gig there was fighting or back biting, and I was sick of trying to get people together who had no interest in unity. They probably do still play all the old stuff, that’s what happens when you don’t encourage the youth. Good job the youth are more political. That’s what we need, intelligent soldiers to fight the war.
Me and Ken are very different people. Although I liked their early stuff, it has spirit.
Good band, think Jonesy lives in Holland or Belgium now, haven’t seen him for a few years. (in Holland, as we know…).
One of my favourite old time bands. Great singer Andy really has the English voice for this music.
Liked their early stuff with Paul DiAnno singing. Seen them live on many occasions, always a good show, and very down to earth people.
Wattie was attacked in Spain by anti fascists for standing next to a lad with a «Hail the New Dawn» t-shirt on. Not a band I listen to very often, but Mush might tell you more than me.
We sure that you’ve heard Swedish singer Saga, who recorded 3 tributes to SKREWDRIVER. Do you like her versions of those songs? In general, how do you treat covers on SKREWDRIVER, which were recorded by various groups not less than thousand times?
Same as always, if they are done as a heart felt tribute to our fallen leader then I think that’s great. A whole album when no profit is given back to the cause – then I have a problem. Never seen Saga. Nice voice. Hope she has made a difference to other peoples lives that need supporting.
We heard dramatic story how one tourist came into a music shop in London and asked there SKREWDRIVER CDs. And the mad seller was going to call police - could it really happen so? Is it easy to buy disks of right music? What about concerts of respective groups?
London is a shit hole. The days of Carnaby Street and all the old hang outs there are gone. London is a multicultural toilet. The real England is in the north. SKREWDRIVER is blacklisted here, so there is no outlet commercially. There are plenty of places to buy cds you just have to look on the internet, or word of mouth. When they stop fearing us, then it is time to worry.
How is it – to live in one of the last constitution monarchies of Europe? Please, tell about modern political and social situation. How mighty are the nationalistic forces and how mighty are the leftists? Is the “Arthurian Spirit” still alive in the British?
The royals are for the tourists today, long gone are the days when we were led by a warrior king. Today they can be found talking to plants!
The parliament rules everything here, but every party is the same, no left or right just centre everything. Liberal bull shit.
The left only come out when they think they have the numbers. Alone they are nothing. They are not working class kids; they are middle class brainwashed spoiled brats.
Patriotic spirit is still very strong here; we have more councillors in every county of this country each election. The more they try to oppress us, the stronger we become. Even the brainless EDL (English Defence League) are now waking up to the real reason we are proud to be English. The media had them burning the German war flag on TV to ‘prove’ they weren’t racist, this has done them no good as the media still hate them and they still have the Muslim enemy. As for us... these colours don’t run.
We thank a lot our great comrade, without who this interview wouldn’t be done.
Originally published by Casus Belli zine