Dream Evil Drummer Snowy Shaw
When Dream Evil came to Copenhagen on their Scandinavian support tour together with Saxon I had the opportunity to interview the legendary drummer Snowy Shaw in Dream Evil, in both Copenhagen and in Malm?. Right now they are out supporting their new album "THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL" and of course I asked Snowy some questions about the album but also some question about himself.
By: Anders Sandvall
Pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Your third album "THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL" has been out in the stores for a while now and how has the media greeted it?
Extremely well, In fact I don?t think I?ve seen or heard of any reviews or scores that?s been less than top notch, 10 out of 10. So I?m pleased, with this album I aimed for the stars and landed in the treetops, but that?s only my perception of it of course.
Personally I think that Dream Evil is moving towards a more heavy metal sound rather than a power metal sound, what do you think?
I agree, not that I know the difference really, except that you are supposed to have fantasy based dungeons and dragons lyrics in Power metal. Personally I?m terribly sick of all that at the moment and have been for some time. So it?s been a conscious choice from my point of view. All members in Dream Evil grew up with the heavy metal music in the 80s and we are doing the exact same style of music as it was then, except that now people call it power metal.
You are involved in most of the lyrics this time, where do you found your inspiration for the lyrics like example the titletrack "THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL"?
Well, I wrote the music as well not just the words. The whole lyrical idea behind Dream Evil is the heavy use of clich?s, which makes it quite easy to write, at least for me. I guess The book of heavy metal is actually about myself in my teens and early 20s.
Why did you chose to release the titletrack as the first single?
Because it was the best song with a direct approach. Very heavy with a catchy melody and still quite varied, which keeps it interesting and makes it a good song for a promotion video. We also managed to act out accordingly in our new look. The super duper director Patric Ulleaus insisted that we better deliver the goods if we?d do that song.
Are more singles coming out from the album?
Maybe, we?ve talked briefly about doing another video for Man or Mouse or Chosen Twice, but at this point it is still in the open.
You?ve added a bonus DVD on the limited edition of "The book of heavy metal" but it only consists of when you guys meets fan?s and in the studio way not any live song or videos as well?
Well my friend, Opinions are like assholes...you know, everyone?s got one, but I have never heard anyone except you having any complaints about the direction of the DVD, on the contrary we?ve gotten such great response for it .I supervised the making and editing of it and as far as I can remember there are clips from live songs in it. In order to use whole songs you need to record and mix it properly because the microphone in the cameras can?t provide the desired sound quality, and that is quite a big deal and far more expensive. It is a limited edition bonus DVD for the diehard fans. The day we decides to do a real official live DVD from one show, we?ll save no expenses. Most people are more interested in seeing their band in funny real life situations when things are not choreographed and edited.
Are you content with the album from a drummers point of view?
It works, as far as I remember. I haven?t listened to it.
How many instruments can you play except for drums?
Guitar and bass, I also sing and play a little keyboard.
How does it work when you write lyrics with the fact that you are a drummer, you can?t write songs on drums or?
No, that?s why I don?t play drums except when I have to nowadays. I can?t see why being a drummer would stop you from writing lyrics to a melody, but writing the music and the melody pretty much requires another instrument than drums, like piano or guitar for example. Look at Neil Peart for example, he writes extraordinary lyrics, and I bet being such a demon drummer that he?s able to play other instruments as well. At a second thought, his lyrics are probably written more like poetry that they later put music to. I do the other way.
The line-up has been intact until now when Gus G left, why did he leave?
He fell in love with Peter and mixing business with pleasure is never a good thing! No seriously, He wanted to focus on his very own band Firewind where he?s in total control.
Are you and the other guys in the band still friends with Gus?
Absolutely, there are no hard feelings between us whatsoever. I consider him one of my best friends.
Mark U Black replaced Gus G, why did you choose him and did you knew him from before?
No, he was a friend of a friend and I had heard he was a great lead guitarist, so I just called him.
Have Mark played with any well-known band before he joined you?
Not really, he was part of a King Diamond tribute band called Kung Diamant right before he joined Dream Evil. He handled all the leads which meant that he couldn?t possibly be all crappy. Andy La Rocque told me he?d seen them live and that he was impressed with Mark?s skills. in the past he played in a band called Ton of Bricks which included the singer Yonas who used to sing for ill will. I just remembered that Mark asked me during the tour if I would consider being the new singer in this King Diamond tribute thing, talk about bad career moves, I declined of course.
Is Mark a steady member or are you just testing him right now?
Right before this European tour with Saxon , he became a full member but we?ve been testing him during the summer festival gigs, just to make sure he could handle the situation and to make sure was no freak, pedophile, drug addict or anything. He?s alright, reminds a bit about Ace Frehley, not musically but in other ways.
Have you done any gigs with Mark before the Saxon tour?
Yeah, 4 shows.
How has the fans welcomed Mark?
With open arms..and legs.
You have only Scandinavia left to do know before it?s over, how do you think that the fans are going to greet Mark further up in Scandinavia?
I see no problem there, sure, Gus is a fucking great guitarist but it?s not the end of the world, Mark is doing a great job playing his solos . Dream Evil still sounds like Dream Evil. I think it?s a lot bigger deal if you change the singer in a band. And Niklas if fully aware of that and takes advantage of that fact, he demands a private Jet on our trips while the rest of us have to hitchhike to the gig.
You have been out in Europe now and played with the legendary Saxon, how has that been?
Great, the Saxon guys have been treating us really well and we?ve had lots of fun. Prior to this I hadn?t really heard anything they?ve done since Crusader but their new album seems to be a great album. I totally fucking love The eagle has landed album though. We?ve also won lots of new fans and sold out all CD?s and lots of merch, which indicates that we have attracted new fans who initially came just to see Saxon. but that?s the general idea about supporting an already established band.
How did you end up as a support act to Saxon? I know that they like Swedish hard rock/metal a lot, is that why they chose you as a support act?
Yeah they do, I heard Tommy K?rberg was support on their previous tour. But they seemed a bit terrified about the alcohol habits the Swedes have. I?m not sure how we got the offer in the first place, probably via Leif at Century Media.
Which show has been the greatest so far?
Personally I think Stockholm and the last show in Malm? were the best. And also the shows in Belgium and Holland were great and Astoria in London of course.
Which one has been the most boring to do so far?
No gigs are boring, there might be circumstances that truly suck but nonetheless playing live is fun and if one start feeling it is boring than one should quit doing it,.. just like I did for several years after Mercyful Fate.
Which song does the fans scream to hear the most?
The book of Heavy Metal and Touch me with Samantha Fox, but we don?t play that song!?
What are the plans for Dream Evil after the tour with Saxon? I know your going to do a show in London too is that correct?
We play at Tr?dg?rn in Bor?s, Sweden on the 5th of November and then Notre Dame play a Halloween special gig in Gothenburg the day after, then the following weekend Dream Evil play at the Underworld in London just like you say.
How has the Scandinavian gigs gone?
They?ve all been really great with one exception, we didn?t seem to have a lot of fans in Oslo on a Monday night.
How was the show in your hometown Gothenburg?
It was great, great crowd and a fucking good after show party. The day after, hungover like owls we went straight to do a live radio thing in Stockholm, and did a cappella versions of our songs, where we imitated our instruments, quite fun and very appreciated. I felt a little lame on the Gothenburg show though since I had a bit of problem with my equipment. You know I hit the drums so hard that they fall over and go into pieces, I better stop that lumberjack shit and start playing nice and easy again.
How did the Gothenburg crowd greeted Mark?
Half the town of Uddevalla were there to cheer him on, that?s where he lives.
When I saw you in Copenhagen Denmark I thought you looked more tight and you felt more like a unit than before, how do you comment on that?
We had just had a 10 day break before that show in Copenhagen but before the break we had been on the road for 2 and a half weeks, so it would be strange if we weren?t tight.
How does it feel now when the tour is over?
It takes me a couple of days to get back to normal again. I?ve just been sleeping and eating and I?ve been sick. I better get in shape soon for the upcoming Notre Dame show, there?s so much to take care of and prepare since we gonna film and record the spectacular stageshow.
I know that you?re going to film the show today in Malm?, Sweden for a DVD when is that going to be released do you think?
I guess parts of the show will be included on the next DVD that we?ve talked about for the next album. So maybe you will be more satisfied with it then.
How was Saxon to tour with? Were the guys nice to you?
Super, we all got along real well. They said we were the best support act they?ve had since Ozzy Osbourne! I jammed out with Paul Quinn who is one of my all-time favorite guitar players. He played drums and I guitar.
When I talked to Paul Quinn, the guitarist in Saxon, he said that he really liked Dream Evil and that he hoped that you?ll be around for a long time. How does it feel to hear that words from a legend?
Very nice of course. Biff dedicated their classic song Never surrender to us. Actually hearing that stuff sort of helps us stay together, realizing we have something good going on, in times when we?re arguing and fighting in the band.
In which country do you have the biggest fan-base do you think?
Dunno really, we sold more than 10 000 copies of the book of heavy metal the first week in Japan, so maybe there. We?ve been getting a lot of interest from America lately but have unfortunately not played there yet. Sweden is quite good too.
If I said that I think that the Copenhagen show was a brilliant show of how really well-played heavy metal should sound like what you think of that?
Strange, because I don?t think we?ve had a worse sound on stage ever than that particular show, where we all almost became deaf. But apparently it sounded good out and that is what counts.
This has been your third round as a support act, when are we going to see you as a headline act do you think?
From the next album on, I think we?ll be doing headline tours. We are already doing headline gigs though. But if we in the future could support lets say Maiden I doubt we would object.
How did you end up in Dream Evil?
I agreed to do the first album as a session guy after turning down the offer of joining as a member, but after the mastermind persuader Fredrik talked me into doing a couple of festivals with them, where I got to know the rest of the guys and we had tremendously much fun I decided to join as a full member, with equal say in every decision and that I?d be involved in the creative process and in the song writing.
When can we expect album number 4?
Hold your horses, We haven?t really discussed that yet, but we?ll probably enter the studio in spring /summer sometime. But I already have a couple of song titles for you in the meantime:
Alright, in the night
raise your fist if you are a fan of metal
doomlord (the domherre)
Medusa- the queen of the serpents
Stand up and Scout
I love to headbang.
Let?s born to metal
The night the king died
drag queens in dragonland
Evil are the snakes in paradise who fear no darkness from beyond the grave.
Ylgo The Evil On-bird
Tormented with disco
Harre-Djaevlar in the night
Let?s heavy metal ourselves to death
Watch out! the grim-reaper comes for you
the master of nonchackos
The sphinx ( opus: II)
In search of the holy Grail
Do you have any plans of releasing an EP in await of a new album as you did the last time?
Haven?t discussed that either, I doubt it, but you never know.
How does the co-operation with your label go?
There are always a battle of opinions but things are working fine with Century Media. Me and Fredrik fought like fuck for the book of heavy metal, to get things the way we wanted and I think they now realize that we aren?t as retarded as they might first have thought .
How many bands are you currently involved in except for Dream Evil?
Notre Dame and Kee Marcello?s K2
Do you have any role models or persons that have inspired you in your drum play?
Mick Tucker from Sweet has always been my favorite. Mikkey Dee had a huge impact when I first started playing and snuck in to see him practice in my school?s auditorium. Vinnie Appice and Nicke Andersson (Entombed) have influenced me but initially I became interested in drums because of Peter Criss... like everyone else in my generation basically.
You have been a part of many different bands and project through the years, which one has been the funniest and why?
If I emphasize of "funniest" Dream evil has been, but playing with King Diamond in 89/90 was the absolute coolest. Why? because it was cool to be a part of a great image and stageshow band at the peak of its career in the still glamorous 80s.
How long have you played the drums?
Since I was about 13, so it should be..hmm 7 years now. oh shit , it?s more like 23 years.
I would say that you are a living legend, what do you think of that?
It?s flattering of course.
How big priority have your own band Notre Dame right now?
My very own band will always be like my baby.
Is Notre Dame a project or a band?
Neither, it?s a freakshow, you wanna join?
How would you describe what kind of music Notre Dame plays?
Shock metal is probably the best description, people have knocked themselves out trying to categorize it.
How many albums have you released with Notre Dame so far?
3 albums , 2 mini CD?s, one live single and a VHS video collection called Thrillogy.
Have you done any live shows so far?
With Notre Dame? Yes of course, this summer we?ve been the highlight on a couple of festivals and we?ll do the annual halloween show in Gothenburg this year. This year, we?ve played more frequently than ever before.
Notre Dame sounds very different from what Dream Evil plays, which music style is the funniest to play?
I don?t see it that way, things are good for different reasons...but I enjoy being the frontman a lot more than to be the drummer in the background. When I said Dream Evil was the funniest band I?ve been with, I didn?t necessarily mean on stage or the music itself, more socially actually. that we party a lot and having fun like schoolboys on a fieldtrip. Notre Dame is more rewarding in a deeper way. If I was only after having "fun" I would have chosen other easier ways in my musical life.
When can we expect something new from Notre Dame?
Sometime next year we?ll release the DVD and live album Creepshow Freakshow Peepshow. Haven?t yet inked with a new label though but I?ve been in contact and negotiations with a few. We?ll see what happens.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Can?t think of anything really,.. well, except visit my site www.snowyshaw.com and shock on...
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
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