Talking to Richard Taylor from British Lion - the Lowestoft rock band featuring an Iron Maiden superstar
- Credit: Archant
From the most easterly part of Britain, the Suffolk Coast has seen a real revival of some of the best rock music in the country.
Following on hard on the heels of the Darkness, British Lion have emerged in recent years as a real force to be reckoned with.
Featuring rock superstar, Iron Maiden's Steve Harris, the quintet has been making larger and larger ripples and are just on the edge of releasing their second album 'The Burning'.
We caught up with Lowestoft based Richard Taylor, lead singer of British Lion, at Norwich Waterfront just before the start of the opening night on their current UK tour.
As we sat down backstage in the bowels of the venue, he elaborated on the genesis of the band.
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For those who are a little late to the party, how did British Lion come about?
It all started back in the early 90's when I was in a band from Lowestoft and we used to go down to London and play all those great old places like the Marquee.
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I wanted to spend a lot more time down there and the other guys didn't. I ended up meeting a guy called Graham Lesley and a friend got a tape to Steve (Harris) who loved the music and we got together.
He helped us get a band together with someone called Ian Roberts who was a drummer and a big part of that early start and we were up and running.
Steve had some time off from Maiden at that point, was really into what we were doing and before we knew it had booked us some gigs and this was before we even had a name!
I kept on working as a singer songwriter and eventually met a guy called David Hawkins, also from Lowestoft, who I was really compatible with and had the same ideas, with him being a wiz in the studio we sent some material over to Steve.
He absolutely loved the new songs, saying it was even better than what the band had been doing before and wanted to get involved.
About to release album Number 2; 'The Burning'. How did that come about and how did the songwriting work?
We've really progressed as a band and it's all very natural to us now as we've been touring for six or seven years, in between things with Maiden. We've definitely found our own thing and the songs are very personal, coming from real stories. I'm the main lyricist and send ideas over to Steve or David, we get together and then work on them.
The first album took a while in coming and this new album was due out initially last year?
Yes, it was going to be released in 2018 but schedules were tricky and Steve was flying back to record between dates with Maiden. This one though is a lot more organic, with us all getting in the studio and performing the songs live and me being in separate booth to sing. It's very much a live album even though it was done in the studio and is a more cohesive than the first.
How does having Steve in the band effect the touring compared to past experiences?
Well, obviously, it's on another level and, no doubt about it, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing without him. The great thing about it though is that, whilst Steve is in Iron Maiden, known all over the world, he believes in British Lion so much.
I always have so much respect and, on a day like today, we're on the same level as to how we think. It's only when I went to see him in America this year and I travelled in a chauffeured limousine with him and people were rocking the car that you realise just what it's really like.
All credit to Steve, he gets down here and we're in Gorleston shooting a video for 'The Burning' today and it's absolutely freezing. We're out there for hours with the director and he could be somewhere in the sun! (laughing) But... he believes in us.'
It does seem very much more than just a side project to him.
Yes, of course when the first album came out it was Steve that got it where it was but it's been a natural progression and we all know our part now. People seem to have come to realise that it's a band now and not just a solo project, as was initially thought.
So, what does the future hold for you personally and the band?
Well, we're off to America in January and February touring over there for the first time and I'm really looking forward to that. The new album and we've already got material for the next one.
It's already at least halfway through and we have a title and a theme which is why it's easier. We had a song originally for this record and it stood out, but it stood out more than just a song, with the title and imagery it seemed more of a concept for a new album. It's a really big theme and kind of what's going on with this country now and how I see things.