we’ve already done quite an in-depth interview about Triarchy’s past
some years ago, I guess we needn’t go through all that early days stuff
anymore, but rather kick off right away with the bands latest release,
namely the ”Live To Fight Again“ LP which got released a few months ago
on High Roller Records. How did you get into contact with the High
Roller guys and what were the main reasons for your decision to work
with them on the re-release of your old songs?
We were contacted by Bart Gabriel who was then running the Dragonight
Agency (now branded&exiled.com) around July last year, who mentioned the
High Roller record company and how they were producing high quality,
limited edition, vinyl albums of old NWOBHM bands, and he suggested that
they might be interested in working with us in creating a new release.
After speaking with Michael Honegger who runs the Canadian side of the
company, and Steffen Boehm who oversees the production in Germany, they
offered us their usual deal to produce 500 copies of what became ‘Live
to Fight Again’. We were keen to produce a new album (albeit of old
songs) as we had a couple of tracks that were recorded but never
released, namely ‘Rockchild’ and ‘Wheel of Samsara’, which were not
included in our 1995 CD release - ‘Before Your Very Ears’.
How has the cooperation with the High Roller guys been like? Was it
fun to work with them and did they involve the band in the production of
Mark: Once the contract was signed in August 2006, it was
then a matter of choosing the tracks we wanted to use, whilst Steffen
arranged the artwork and production. It took a while to find some decent
copies of ‘Wheel of Samsara’ and ‘Rockchild’ (as the only version we had
of the song was on a cassette, that was almost 25 years old), then we
provided the digital masters of the remaining songs, and of course the
lyrics, which until now, have never been published. I was in weekly
e-mail contact with Steffen, who is very easy going and enthusiastic
about the NWOBHM, who advised me on the progress of the artwork and
production, which I then passed on to the other band members as the
album took shape.
High Roller Records is quite known for the good quality of their
releases and for the Triarchy LP they’ve really come along with a
fantastic deluxe package!! New artwork, Gatefold sleeve, clear vinyl,
thick sleeve, etc... what do you think about the final product? Are you
happy with the way this LP turned out to be?
Mark: To be honest, when I first received the draft design of
the album cover last year, which was a rough, pencil drawn draft of an
apocalyptic horseman holding a decapitated head, I thought it may have
been a little OTT but, but when you consider some of our song titles,
the artwork for ‘Save the Khan’, and the designs used for earlier High
Roller albums, it ended up suiting the album extremely well. The band
members were very much surprised with the high quality of the album,
after receiving their complimentary copies, and all agreed, the design,
layout and printing is very stylish and packages the transparent 12”
vinyl record very well. You can definitely see and feel the time and
artistic energy that went into the ideas and production, which are
reproduced and work well in the gatefold sleeve format. Unlike today’s
age of CD’s and downloads, a 12” gatefold sleeve definitely gives the
artist and graphic designers far more scope to create something visually
songs on there are basically the same as on the “Before Your Very Ears”
CD. If I’m not mistaken, the only CD track that got crossed out is the
rather poppy “Marionette”. Why did this song not end up on the vinyl as
Mark: Our initial plan was to use all the songs from our
‘Before Your Very Ears’ CD, along with the previously unreleased
‘Rockchild’ and ‘Wheel of Samsara’, which we thought our fans would love
to hear, whilst also being a unique selling point for the record company.
Unfortunately, whilst it would have been possible to include all nine
tracks plus the two unreleased ones, if the album had been produced in
CD format, on a vinyl album there are time constraints to each side of
the record (approximately 22 minutes I believe). So, regardless of which
ever way we juggled the tracks, one side always ‘ran over’ time, so it
was decided to omit the track ‘Marionette’.
On the other hand there’s also two previously unreleased songs on
“Live To Fight Again”, namely “Wheel Of Samsara” and “Rock Child”. Can
you give us some additional info about these tracks? Since they both got
recorded in the late 70s/early 80s, I wonder why it took so long for
them to be officially released? And what does it mean to you that these
two songs have not vanished into oblivion, but finally been presented to
the Triarchy fans on an official LP?
Mark: As well as recording and releasing ‘Save the Khan’ and
‘Juliet’s Tomb’ with Graham Legg, we also produced an earlier demo tape
comprising ‘Play to Win’ and ‘Wheel of Samsara’. The latter track showed
a tremendous amount of creativity and pushed Mike’s songwriting, both
musically and lyrically, to a level far higher than had previously been
reached by earlier Triarchy line-ups.
with no record deal forthcoming in 1979, and having saved up around £600
for a transit van, we decided to ‘blow’ the money on a single and, from
the tracks we were playing in our set at the time (including ‘Wheel of
Samsara’), the band and fan favourite ‘Save the Khan’ stood out as
really encapsulating our sound and uniqueness, and the one which we
considered would make an ideal single.
In between Brian Galibardy finally leaving the band and before Pete
‘Tabby’ Moore and Eddie Webb had joined, Mike and I had found an
excellent guitarist named Justin (we can’t remember his surname now, I’m
afraid) who joined and played with us, albeit for a brief period of
time. Around this time we were approached by a local entrepreneur (for
want of a better term). He had produced a compilation called ‘Kent
Rocks’ which included one song each from about 10 local bands and had
been distributed throughout the UK. When he approached us he was putting
together ‘Kent Rocks 2’. The idea of a sort of showcase album appealed
immensely, since no record deal or offers were on the horizon and the
interest in Metal Messiah was on the wane. We decided that a new
guitarist and great tune (‘Rockchild’ – a high octane burst of hard
rock) would kick-start the band’s fortunes.
Unfortunately, instead of a kick-start, we were given more like a kick
up the arse, with Justin disappearing shortly after recording the track,
and the so called entrepreneur ‘legging’ it out of the country, with all
the contributing bands’ master tapes. This double set back was
compounded by not only being left with just cassette copies of this
great track, but also having the ordeal and hassle of finding and
recruiting another guitarist, although by this time, and with possibly
‘Rockchild’ in mind, we decided to take on two members to fill the
The band members are especially pleased that ‘Wheel of Samsara’ and
‘Rockchild’ (after all the furore surrounding its recording) have
finally been set free from the Triarchy archive, for fans to hear and,
after almost 25 years, to get the airing that they truly deserve. It
would have been very disappointing to know that these great tracks were
never heard by our fans over the world, had we not issued our new album.
Unfortunately, poor Justin will never get the recognition he deserves
for some ace rhythm and solo work on Rockchild, as basically, we didn’t
know who he was then, or where he is now.
Are these two songs the only previously unreleased relics of the
band’s early days or do you still have any other live, demo or studio
recordings up your sleeves?
Mark: In our set from the line-up that recorded ‘Save the
Khan’ (Wheeler/Legg/Newbold) were songs such as ‘Play to Win’, ‘Suicide
City’, ‘Hey Mister Death’, ‘Lies’, ‘Plastic People’, ‘Sex Electric’ and
‘All you Despise’, which have never been released. During this time, we
made various recordings of these songs (live and whilst rehearsing) but
these vary greatly in quality. We also recorded demo versions of ‘Play
to Win’ and ‘Wheel of Samsara’. The latter is now happily available to
hear. However, the overall quality of most of the recordings we have
from that period would prohibit us from releasing the remaining tracks.
The songs were very inventive and strong, and if there were any interest,
we might just book ourselves into a studio to re-record them in the
classic warrior artwork of “Live To Fight Again” is quite different from
the rather unorthodox sea lion cover of “Before Your Very Ears”. I
personally do not only think that the new cover suits the music way
better than the CD cover, but it does also represent some kinda homage
to the art of Triarchy’s very first single, “Save The Khan”... do you
like the new cover as well or would you have preferred that sea lion to
be on the frontside of the LP as well?
Mark: When we released our CD, ‘Before Your Very Ears’ In
1995, we didn’t really consider ourselves to be a pure Heavy Metal band,
and we wanted a cover that reflected the band’s diversity, so, rather
than use a run-of-the-mill rock album cover design, we chose my
photograph of a baby Walrus, to illustrate the point. You are most
definitely correct though in drawing a parallel between the hand drawn,
silk screened, early picture sleeve of Save the Khan, and the cut throat
horseman featured on the cover of ‘Live to Fight Again’ and, when you’re
holding the 12” gatefold sleeve cover, it not only looks superb, but has
a real feel of substance to it unlike a CD case. Likewise, if we had
only produced a CD with the same artwork, the design would have been far
less dramatic and, due to the limited space (unless you produce a small
booklet), little scope to include the lyrics or much other album
The new LP does finally contain the lyrics to all the Triarchy songs!!
And at least in my opinion, they’re surely worth reading. Why haven’t
you already included any texts to your earlier releases?
Mark: During the early 1980’s when we released ‘Save the
Khan’ and ‘Metal Messiah’ on 7” vinyl, although picture sleeves were
fairly common then, with some very elaborate artwork, they rarely
included the lyrics, mainly due to space constraints. As our first
single, ‘Save the Khan’, was self financed, and the picture sleeves
entirely hand produced by Mike’s father Dennis, it didn’t really occur
to us to try to include the lyrics with that record. The ‘Metal Messiah’
EP was never released with an official picture sleeve (although recently,
we were sent a copy of an eBay auction - for what we believe was a draft
design produced by Dennis, but never used by the record company - which
sold for over $470!). If we had been given the go-ahead to produce an
album by our record company then, I am sure that given that it would
have been in the 12” vinyl format, we would have ensured that the lyrics
Similarly, the lyrics were omitted from our CD ‘Before Your Very Ears’
as we were only given a very limited amount of space to work with, as
the inner paper sleeve, (a three page foldout), only contains
photographs of the band members and the track listings etc, whilst one
side of one foldout, was devoted to publicise other Vinyl Tap releases,
so I would imagine, that to keep costs down, they didn’t want it any
larger (or to produce a small booklet of sorts). For all intent and
purposes, it is a lot easier to include a lot of information i.e. all
the lyrics, when you have a large space within which to design and, a
12” gatefold sleeve allows you that freedom to include as much
information and as many images as you wish.
have the reactions on the LP been so far? Have you got a lot of feedback
from guys who’ve either just discovered the band through the vinyl
release or who’ve rather re-discovered it now and still dig your old
Mark: I spoke with Steffen at High Roller in mid-August,
who said that sales were going well and they expect ‘Live to Fight Again’
to sell out by the start of next year. We have heard from established
fans in Europe and the US, who were excited about our unexpected release
and, after listening to the album have all given the two new tracks,
‘Wheel of Samsara’ and ‘Rockchild’ a big ‘thumbs-up’ along with the
previously released tracks. Hopefully, as word spreads of our new album,
through the various Heavy Metal websites like this one, and mentioned in
chatrooms that fans communicate through, some people who maybe have only
read or heard about the band, will be tempted to purchase the album and
hear us for the first time.
On your website www.triarchy.co.uk there’s still a short note,
stating that a Triarchy reunion is not completely impossible... is this
still up to date and is there indeed a chance that your fans will see
you live on stage again some day?
Mark: Unfortunately, our website desperately needs updating,
i.e. with the news of our new release ‘Live to Fight Again’ along with
other information and images, that we can now share with fans and, on
the subject that a reunion “is not completely impossible”, at the moment,
I would say that it is fairly unlikely.
Whilst we say “never say never”, regarding having a Triarchy reunion and
playing live again, in all practicality, as Mike lives in Edinburgh,
Scotland, whilst Brian, Graham and I live in southern England, it would
only really happen if we had a specific event to aim for. For example,
if we were invited to play at a large, one-day NWOBHM festival somewhere
in England or Europe, with sets from other recognised NWOBHM bands, that
might well tempt us to set aside the time necessary to rehearse and get
on stage again.
And what about any other upcoming releases or even new recordings? Is
“Live To Fight Again” indeed the definite and final Triarchy record,
that can be seen as an epitaph to that legendary band’s outstanding
career? Or will you guys maybe enter a studio again and surprise your
trusty fans with some completely new tunes in the near or distant future,
as you did in 1995 with the awesome “Hiroshima” track?
Again, this would require a big commitment and a lot time to arrange,
and unfortunately, with our current jobs, along with the fact that three
band members have young children, would take quite a lot of organising.
However, as I mentioned earlier, we do have some material left in the
Triarchy ‘archive’, and if an offer was made for another album, then
there is always the possibility that these tracks, and any others that
are written in the future, could be recorded and released.
are many rock bands who were popular during the 1970’s and early 80’s
who are now touring today and, even recording new material (I have
recently seen the Scorpions play in London - as an example), so maybe,
once our children have grown up, and we all have a little more spare
time, we might get the artistic urge to dust off the amps, guitars and
drums, and get something together to release.
Ok, Mark, since I promised you not to send another truckload of
questions and keep you occupied for hours and hours this time, I think
this is a good point to call it a quits now and leave the famous last
words to you!!
Mark: Thanks Toby for giving me and the band the
opportunity to bring you up-to-date on our new album, and to share some
insight into the previously unreleased tracks ‘Wheel of Samsara’ and ‘Rockchild’,
which I know you are enjoying listening to. Cheers. Mark