An Interview with

'Andy Pyke'

Lead Vocalist of 'Marshall Law'

on Saturday 8th November, 2008.

Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.

Glenn: Hi it’s Glenn from Metalliville, how ya goin bro?

Andy: How ya doin Glenn, alright?

Glenn: Yeah, I am sound mate. Why did you decide to call the band Marshall Law?

Andy: Well the band was formed in late 1987/88 and at the time I was an avid comic reader and Marvel Comics or DC Comics I thinik it was had merged with whoever and produced a comic called ‘Marshal Law’ and it was spelt with one ‘L’ and he was a very sci-fi, futuristic sort of anti-hero type person and he was based in this weird place called ‘The Dead Zone’ and it was very red, white and blue, very patriotic but a very American sort of thing and I just liked the imagery of it and the name and obviously the play of it was spelling (the band name0 with 2 L’s) connecting it up with Marshall Amplification.

There was a band from America roundabout 1984 who were called ‘Obsession’ and they produced an album called ‘Marshall Law’ which I remember because I was in a band in Germany at the time called Damien. I was about 20 or something like that. I remember it being released on something like ‘Steamhammer/SPV’ back in the day and I remember seeing the album cover and it was just a wall of Marshalls. That kind of had a ring for me as well, so maybe subconsciously that’s maybe where it came from too. I put 2 and 2 together and made 6.

Glenn: Awesome, how did you come to get the gig at The Ruskin Arms in London on November 14th?

Andy: We played the Bloodstoock Open-Air this year – we played the Lavatent and it was like the pre-Bloodstock party thing, we were asked to do it. We thought we were gonna get a slot on the main stage but obviously because we hadn’t product out and weren’t sure of release dates. They gave us a chance to still play the festival but do it in the Lavatent which holds about 1500-2000 people. We thought there’d only be a couple of hundred people there – is it worth playing it? However we hummed and harred about it and decided, sod it let’s do it anyway and I’m glad we bloody did because there must have been 2500 people crammed into a tent that was spilling outwards and honestly we just ripped the roof off the place and we went down a storm and it was awesome.

From that we met a guy called Simon who is behind a lot of the Clive Aid stuff and he was really impressed with what we’d done and I’d bumped into him some time before at the ‘Rock Of Ages’ event in Birmingham with the Clive Aid event with Blaze Bayley and a few other bands playing like Tygers of Pan Tang. I spoke to him then and we met again at the Bloodstock and we became quite good friends quite quickly and he got back back to us and he goes, “Would you guys like to headline one of the last shows at The Ruskin”. We thought well obviously it’s two birds with 1 stone, A – it’s the closing of a legendary venue, B – it’s a London show and C- it’s in aid of a bloody god cause primarily because when I was a young man I actually knew Clive quite well and it means something to give something back and help the man during his unfortunate times.

Glenn: Yeah, makes sense that’s good that. What future gigs have you got coming up? Have you got like a full UK Tour or will be going on a European support kinda slot?

Andy: Yeah, what we are gonna be probably do is end up doing like a UK Tour but I can’t see it happening ‘til probably March next year to be quite honest with you because we are just seeing how the album goes over in the UK. In March we are playing in March and Italy anyway, either that or we are looking for a decent support tour because I don’t think that we could go along and play the Academy ourselves because I think there’s a lot of water gone under the bridge and some people have forgot who Marshall Law are or whatever but obviously this is like ‘back in your face and here we are’. So A – it’d be nice to do the UK probably I’d have thought Februarry or March time next year onm maybe like a Carling Academy type tour with a decent band or we’ll do a club tour in the UK with a couple of decent support bands to promote ‘Razorhead’.

Glenn: Excellent. Yeah it’s a good album.

Andy: Thank you mate.

Glenn: No problem at all. They are great vocals – high baritone, 2nd tenor type stuff.

Andy: Exactly, accessible vocals that most people can probably sing along to and enjoy it. I like to have my own niche and on distinctive sound and not be a copycat. I do what I do in my own range. What I’ve done with this new album is probably sang in places I’ve never sang before as well, finding different registers , different feels and different parts of my voice which has come with experience I suppose and they’ve been great.

Glenn: Who would you say has been a major influence as a vocalist and how has that helped you as a singer?

Andy: I wanna say Rob Halford but equally people like Ronnie James Dio. I mean not only is he a fantastic singer but he is an absolute gentleman as well as true is Rob Halford. Graham Bonnet and people like that have influenced me but I’ve never been able to sound like them, I’ve always tried to be me, but it’s the way that people percieve you and the way you come over I suppose.

Glenn: Yeah and I suppose some people are a bit narrow-minded and they’ve got a certain singer or metal singers in mind and think, ‘they sound like this guy or that guy’ and it’s like,’come on, let him sing for himself’.

Andy: Well exactly, I think that’s what people want. I mean, gimme a Saxon album and you know straight away it’s Saxon because it’s Biff – his distictive voice and I’d loike to think maybe, ‘Hey that’s Andy Pyke’ in years to come or whatever, you know what I mean?

Glenn: Yeah.

Andy: That’d be nice butI’ve been influenced by a lot of different vocalists – Jon Oliva, one for a start. I think he’s absolutely awesome and he’s probably more within my kinda range as well but I like a few grunters and shouters too – I just like frontmen who are in your face and bands like Savatage and Dio have influenced me but there’s been other obscure influences which really aren’t necessarily rock – probably people like Michael Ball and people like that which you’ve gotta respect because they’ve got a good voice.

Glenn: Exactly, that’s how I think, like your Elton John’s and even ypur operatic guys because the voice is there.

Andy: Absolutely, I mean I like Khan out of Kamelot as well.

Glenn: Yeah – good voice.

Andy: Oh great voice.

Glenn: Very operatic.

Andy: Very operatic but again accesible. Most people can sing along to what he does . It’s not sorta like Geoff Tate city or just slightly out the register or whatever. But again, you listen to some of the Geoff Tate stuff, he’s calmed it down as well. Especially the ‘Priest stuff – you get to 50 or 60 years old and you’ve got to be able to deliver.

Glenn: What made you sign to Demolition Records?

Andy: It was the best deal we could get – we it isn’t necessarily the best deal but we beleived in what they were telling us and they’ve delievered the goods and they’ve been absolutely brilliant to be honest with you.

Primarily it was.. the reason the album took so long as well is that we wrote the album and initially scrapped it and it was called ‘Access of Power’ we kept what we thought were the strongest songs off the album . I mean, if we had released that album at the time I think people would probabyl love it but we though it was crap and it didnt capture the band in its true delivery. So we shelved it, we knocked it on the head and started writing a whole load of new songs. So we eventually had around 30 odd songs to choose from and we chose what we though were the best 15. Maybe in hindsight we should have let a couple of them go maybe as bonus tracks because maybe the album is a tadge too long but we thought after all that time we and nearly 10 years, I mean Testament had a ten year gap and they brought out a great album too, so why not give something back to the people who might buy it and after all them years of wanting something. If it’s like a ten track album or a nine track album, then let’s give them some more songs. So we decided to do that anyway, I digress slightly, so with regard we had a big european label interested and they kept us on tenderhooks for about 3 months humming and harring, Demolition had already come forward anyway so we were humming and harring with them and waiting for the others to come back to us etc, etc. Then it filtered back through that we hadn’t had a product out for ten years, they’d love to do the album. I mean, I now do a lot of, not A&R for this particular company that were gonna sign us but I’ve been playing a lot of stuff on the Internet Radio Station I work for and I’ve made some really good contacts with them.

But Demolition were really, really geuninely came up to me and said, “We love the album, we really believe in it and we wanna work with you and we thuink it’s possibly one of the best albums we’ve got on the roster at the moment”. So we thought,’well if they believe in it that much, they are gonna get behind it and put their money where their mouth is and get behind it and work for us’ and that’s what they’ve done for us to be precise. So I think we have made the right choice, even if it’s a good springboard for us to come back. Demolition seem to be getting into that cutting edge kind of forefront of pushing themselves and they seem to have some good contacts.

Glenn: Yeah, excellent. In the future, who would you like to tour with if you had the chance?

Andy: I don’t know – current bands – anybody who is in our sort of genre. Obviously it would be great to do tours withm people like Megadeth and bands like that, Testament, Exodus and them kinda bands,your Kamelots and such like, your Dragonforces maybe, Primal Fear – those kind of bands, UDO. I am not really too fussed, as long as we can get out there and play to the right venues in the right towns, that’s more important to me than who we play with. I don’t care if we’d play with ‘Sphix Kitchen’ – an obscure one but if its right..

Glenn: And they’ve got the draw for the fans, kids, whatever you wanna call them they are gonna like your band then it don’t matter.

Andy: Well that’s right and if you’ve got a captive audience, they’re very appreciative, I mean when we played the Lavatent at the recent Bloodstock Open Air gig at the pre-gig party on the Thursday, I mean there was like 2,500 people rammed into this tent and most of the majority had never heard of us before and we absolutely ripped the roof off the place.

Glenn: Nice.

Andy: There were all these youngsters and older people and just a mixed sort of cross-section of age groups of people who had never heard the band or seen the band or might have heard of the band but never seen the band and we just absolutely squashed them. It was a fantastic reception so I think it’s important that we just have a decent audience there.

Glenn: Where did the design for the album come from?

Andy: Dave Martin the Guitarist actually did the artwork. Myself and Dave are obviously the co-founder members of the band and the idea ‘Razorhead’ was concieved about 10 years ago, maybe more but we never actually used the idea and we went on the 2nd phase of writing for ‘Razorhead’ and I was in Dave’s kitchen one day – it doesn’t sound very rock ‘n’ roll does it?

Glenn: Well all houses have got them.

Andy: But this is how it is, I got round Dave’s early in the morning, we started writing and had a cup of coffee and I was on about the way we used to look at some of the influences we had and the way we got ideas – back to the old school ideas. I said there was an idea that we once visited or never finished or never actually persued it and I said, “What about ‘Razorhead’?”. Dave goes, “Oh great”, so the 1st song we wrote for the ‘Razorhead’ album was actually ‘Razorhead’ the title track. We just sorted back into where we were like ten years previous and how we wanted this sort of character rising from the depths of hell and all this kinda stuff and coming onto the earth and ripping peoples souls out and draining their blood.

Glenn: It’s a killer song, especially when you’ve got that introduction as well.

Andy: Yeah, ‘The Summoning’ which I was a little bit against at the time because we always get saddled with this p*ss*ng Priest and I’m going, “It’s Priest again guys, what we doin’ like?” but then I sort of backed down and thought ‘S*d it’ you know.

Glenn: If it works, it works.

Andy: Exactly and I thinik it does and we’ve been using it on a few shows that we’ve played this year and it’s been going down an absolute storm.

Glenn: Excellent. If you had the chance to duert with a certain vocalist who would you want to duet with and why?

Andy: It’d be Jon Oliva mate, I’d love to sing with Jon Oliva from Oliva’s Pain and Savatage. I just think that he’s absolutely brilliant. I love his range, I love his delivery, I love his feel and I’d love to do some writing with him even. I would love to duet with him. Female-wise I haven’t got a clue.

Glenn: Not be Doro Pesch or someone like that?

Andy: Well yeah, I do love Doro’s voice and I’d love to duet with her, especially with no clothes on (we laugh). She’s a lovely gentle, lovely little lady.

Glenn: Totally. What would you say your favourite songs are on the ‘Razorhead’ album?

Andy: Obviously ‘Razorhead’. I think ‘Premonition’ is a sort of good foot on the monitor , let’s go kinda crack. I love ‘Headtrap’ as well – the influence from that came from watching the Saw movies which was at the time a trilogy which is now 5 movies amd obviously one of the chapters in that film is called ‘Headtrap’ amd that sorts me with the beartrap thing. I love ‘Night Terror’ which is about somebody who is visited by ‘Night Terrors’ obviously – to do with the 7/7 bombing and all that kinda stuff and somebody who couldn’t sleep. It’s an account of somebody’s torment who was on one of the buses that got blown up. I love ‘The Chamber’ as well. ‘The Chamber’ to me is really, reallysong that’s grown on me if anything. That came again from some of our early influences which were like horror movies and Hellraiser – that’s basically where that track’s coming from – it’s like from the chamber – the whole kind of going into the other world and that kind of stuff. ‘Divider’ – track number 8 is about 7/7 itself. I mean I was actually working at the time because I do some teaching of music and stuff like that and I work in a school and the school I was working at, one of the guys who was there was arrested on terror charges, believe it or not. The guy was sorta quite high up in the school and he was put in various positions by the Head Teacher and it’s all very political and it really angers me to a point. I got quite friendly with the terror squad lads at a point and I told them a few things which I knew about him and bits ‘n’ bobs and the song ‘Divider’ is obviously about the fact that for me, this guy divided white nation people because of his political views and the fact that he was, he was a convicted guilty felon so he was given 7 years for it. So it impacted on me and had a big effect so obviously ‘Divider’ means a lot to me lyrically because..

Glenn:’s affected you personally.

Andy: Yeah but there’s only a limited amount of things you can say . ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is a pretty strong tune, I love that. ‘Good Lines’ was conceived ages back. I wrote that in a summer holiday about 4 years back I think it was. ‘Another Bullet’ is kinda cool as well and that’s a bit more kinda old school, radio friendly, heads down, rock ‘n’ roll type tune influenced by Layercake and such like. But that would be probably my favourite 6 songs on the album.

Glenn: Excellent. That’s good. You mentioned the old Horror films, do you like the old cheesey Hammer films as well?

Andy: I love all that old stuff. I do, I really do. Some old Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and Twilight Zone – you know a lot of the old school stuff. Some of the kinda mid 80’s stuff as well..

Glenn: When it turned into more effects..

Andy: Well it was Evil Dead and stuff like that and Hellraiser and Freddie Krueger and all that.

Glenn: The reason I mention that is that, could you see yourselves being a band that would work on film scores and songs for films?

Andy: Well I think if you took a lot of the vocals away on the album I think you would find that some of it would make film score music.

Glenn: Yeah exactly.

Andy: You know we tried to. One thing that we importantly tried to do then was basically make every track that could be a very good video or even have that kind of within it being like a 5 minute horror movie itself. So that was important to us to get a lot of darkness in there. I mean, we’d never done it before, we’d wrote kinda what would be traditional Heavy Metal tunes but we though you know obviously we’d just like changing the way that the genre is and all that kind of stuff. It’d be good to come back with a more contemporary sounding album and I think it was important that each track in itself had something to say and had a mood to it so that’s what we tried to capture really.

Glenn: Got ya. Makes sense.

Andy: Hopefully we did to a point through our limited resources.

Glenn: Yeah, totally. Whereabouts did you record the album?

Andy: We recorded it with a guy called Mark Stuart who we’ve worked with on a few of the Marshall Law albums but we had a lot more say in actually producing it ourselves than probably any other album we’ve ever done and obviously we’ve paid for the album ourselves and we licence it to Demolition. So we’ve had a massive input on how we wanted the album to sound and how we wanted it to be the best. If you haven’t had an album out for ten years, I mean you listen to the new Testament album and they’ve been in the same position as ourselves and I think it’s good to come back with a sh*tkickin’ album.

Glenn: Are you licensed to the one album or have you got two or 3 or are you just seeijng how it goes with them?

Andy: Well we are licensed with this album and we are signed for 2 more.

Glenn: What would you say you are most proud of in your career so far?

Andy: Some of the proudest moments for me have been playing some of the bigger stages in Europe and playing Bloodstock Indoor festival in front of like 2,500 people and things like that which totally blind you and some of the support tours where we’ve played with some bigger bands and playing with the likes of Dio, Metalium, WASP, Pretty Maids and bands like that and Hammerfall and Primal Fear. I think it’s been fantastic because Marshall Law, given the right weaponry can hold its own amongst any European or Foreign band without a doubt.

Glenn: You many know one of my buddies Stet Howland who was the drummer in WASP.

Andy: Maybe yeah, absolutely lovely blokes, I mean Chris Holmes, when we played at ‘Bang Your Head’, he spent most of the time in our caravan going, (does a Chris Holmes impression), “Hey man, you guys are great, f*ck*n’ hell man”, and we thought he was off his face but he was totally normal. He was a lovely, lovely man and I had my photo taken with him – it’s like dad and son almost – it’s really funny the photo is – it’s on my myspace site. You’ll piss yourself laughing, I’m about 5’7” and he’s about 6’7” – he’s gotta be at least 6’ 5” – a maasive bear of a man – a lovely man. Also playing with Motorhead’s been a massive thing as well as was Deep Purple.

Glenn: They are all cool guys as well.

Andy: They’re brilliant. I mean, one of the biggest things for me was, it shows my sort of punter side I suppose which is a good thing because I do have a big punter side because I am a fan of Metal as it is, we’d done the festival that we’d done and right next door to me was Ronnie James Dio, and I know Ronnie from about 1984 really onwards and he bumped into me, we shook hands and we had a bevvy afterwards and talked the hind-legs off each other. Then I think it was Dio who was supporting Alice Cooper some years back and I phoned up the tour manager and he said, “Yeah Andy, no problem come down for the show and I was out after the show and I was pouring myself a glass of wine and I got tapped on the shoulder and it was Lemmy. My mate was like, “F*ck*n’ Hell, he knows you, tapping you on the shoulder”, and I was like, “Oh God” and that was awesome.

Glenn: Right, I’ll let you get off, although I know we could talk for ages.

Andy: It’s been good talking to you mate.

Glenn: You take care.

Andy: And You Glenn. Take care buddy

Glenn: See you later.

A Big Thank You to Jen & Polly @ DR2/Demolition/Global Music for setting up the Interview