ANGELWITCH:

interview with Kevin Heybourne, somewhere in 2001


Who were in LUCIFER and when did this band start?
Kevin: "The members of LUCIFER were: Barry Clements (bass guitar), Rob Downing (rhythm guitar), myself (guitar) and Steve Jones (drums). The band started in early 1977."

Did you, Kevin, play in any other bands before you started with LUCIFER and when did you decide to become a musician?
"Yes, I played in a couple of bands before LUCIFER. My very first band was formed by a couple of people, that went to my school. It wasn't anything special (to say the least - it was awfull). They were looking for a singer, so I gave it a try. What a din!"

How did you get on the "Friday Rock Show" compilation with ANGELWITCH in '79 with "Baphomet"?
"Well, it actually had nothing to do with "Baphomet". That was already taken by E.M.I for "Metal for Muthas" earlier that year. We were asked to do a session for the B.B.C Friday Rock Show. Can’t remember exactly how we got it, but we recorded three songs for them: “Angel Witch” , “Angel of Death” and “Extermination Day”. A good production by Tony Wilson. This was obviously pre-Bronze."

Who's choice was it to use the painting of "The Falling Angels Entering The Pandemonium" for the sleeve of your debut album, and why just this painting. I must admit that I like the choice, but I imagine that somebody has made an obvious choice here.
"That was my choice. It jumped right out at me! Bronze liked it, so I guess this was the only time I had any say regarding anything with Bronze Records that' s just how it was. The record company had all the power all the say, but what they acheived in the short time ANGELWITCH was with them was quite a lot. I'm grateful for that."

Did you have something with black magic or occultism in those days or was it just the immage of the band?
"Back then I used to watch and read a lot of horror stuff, so you could say it was more to do with imagary and creating a feel never been a great love song writer."

Which song did you like the most from the early days and why? And what would be your all time favorite ANGELWITCH song? "That is a difficult question. Being a songwriter, it would probably be easier to tell you the songs, I dont like playing. They all have their own meaning to me. "Baphomet" will always be a special song to me. It was the first song that got put onto vinyl the night before going into the studio. I went to see "Alien" (quite inspirational for the noise in the intro). I also love "Angel Of Death" and "Atlantis"."

Didn't you think of making videoclips for songs from the debutalbum? The songs were very suitable to visualise in a videoclip!!
"Yeah, we only had one promotional video for the debut, and that was "Angel Witch". It would have been good to have done "White Witch" or "Angel Of Death", but I didn't have the choice back then. As a project, I always thought it would be good to have some animation for the songs. That's just how I see it."

How come we never saw anything at all from you on video. The only videofootage I can remember are "Angelwitch"/"Loser"/"Atlantis" from Rund TV and a private shot video of the Dynamo Open Air show. Wasn't it hard for you to playback on the Rund TV set and didn't you rather play live there on that show?
"You’re right. There isn't much video footage of ANGELWITCH. I haven't actually seen the Rund stuff myself. I’m sure Bronze were just trying to get rid of us by sending us to the Eastern block. Not realistic for a Metal band to mime, but I guess, it was an experience. I’ve seen the Dynamo video, not great."

Why didn't the lineup of the first album stay together. Was it the usual musical differences or what happened? And do you still have contact with Skids and/or Day Vog (a.k.a Dave Hogg)?
"It all started when we were touring for the debut Dave Hogg was the first to go. He just hammered the beer all the time and his playing became sloppy slow and amature, so after touring with GIRLSCHOOL and TANK, Kevin Riddles and myself decided he had to go. Dave Dufort was no longer in the E.F Band. We tried him out. We were due to go on the road for our own headline mini tour dates at the begining of 1981 with TANK supporting. It didn't feel the same. It was losing something in the sound. We went on to record "The Loser" E.P with "Suffer" & "D.R Phibes". The sound was losing its balls to lighter weaker material. I was becoming unhappy with this ANGELWITCH line up and decided to call it a day and agreed to do the last gig at the Marquee. It wasn't exactly inspiring. I have seen Kevin Riddles that was about 4-5 years ago playing in a covers band. We talked about old times and it was mentioned about getting together to play some old Witch stuff, but of course that was the last I saw of him.

Did you never think about releasing an album with all the tracks coming from compilations and twelve inches like "Dr Phibes", "Extermination Day", "Flight 19", "Baphomet" etc?
"Castle ComunicationS did re-release "Angel Witch" with all those tracks, except "Extermination Day"."

I read somewhere that your biggest wish was to do a big tour and to visit a Japanese bath house. The touring is obvious, but what's so special about a Japanese bathhouse?
"Nothing, but a tour in Japan would be good for us."

Dave Dufort, brother of GIRLSCHOOL drummer Denise Dufort, came from the Swedish E.F.BAND when he joined ANGELWITCH. How did he get in a Swedish band?
"I don't know the answer to that."

The "Give It Some Tickle" tape was very hard to get. It was only possible to get this tape from a mailorder company. Can you tell our readers which songs were on that tape.( I know there are songs on it like "Evil Games", "They Wouldn't Dare" and a cover of the BLACK SABBATH classic "Paranoid".) Isn't it possible to re-release these recordings on a CD or so?
"Some of the songs from that bootleg tape have been released on Zoom Club records and some other songs from old demos. It's called "Sinister History". The songs on it are: "Baphomet" / "Sorceress" / "Extermination Day" / "Flight 19" / "Hades Paradise" / a really old "Devils Tower" / "White Witch" / "Into The Dark" / "Devils Tower" live / "The Night is Calling" / "Angel Of Death" / "Confused" and "Evil Games"."

Who was behind the ANGELWITCH fanclub, based in Slough, and did they also release a fanzine about the band or what? "The fan club was a total let down usual kind of stuff. People sending money and having to wait a lifetime for it made us look really bad so we stopped using him."

What was the reason for you to leave ANGELWITCH and join DEEP MACHINE? And how did it come that you reformed ANGELWITCH already after a few months again together with Rick Bruce, Jerry Cunningham and Roger Marsden. (who, funny enough, also came from the Swedish E.F.BAND!!!)
"How could leave my own band? I just needed a little time out from ANGELWITCH. I did three gigs with DEEP MACHINE. I wasn't the one to fill the shoes of their old guitar player and felt like a spare wheel. Anyway, DEEP MACHINE disbanded and I asked Ricky Bruce and Roger Marsden if they would be interested in joining and starting up ANGELWITCH with me. ANGELWITCH has never worked with a front man vocalist, and Roger - he was a nice enough guy with a good voice and range - it just didn't gel with the band. Never knew he was in the E.F Band. Jerry Cuntingham came about through auditions good bass player."

"Evil Games", "Dream World" and "Fatal Kiss" were co-written by S.Heybourne, who is that?
"That was my ex."

How long did you play in BLIND FURY, together with Lou Taylor and why did you decide to take another sidestep from ANGELWITCH?
"I played in BLIND FURY for about eight months in 1983. I had got into other things musically. Lou Taylor is a very good singer and so I decided to work with him. It was a challenge playing and writing more standard material. It was quite good while it lasted, but ANGELWITCH was still in the back of my mind, which told me I had to do something about it. So the bass player came along with me to reform ANGELWITCH yet again."

Why didn't you release any singles from the "Screamin' N' Bleedin'" and "Frontal Assault" period accept the 12" "Goodbye"? What was on the b-side of this 12"?
"I didn’t know that it was released as a 12". It was released over here as a 7" and had "Reawakening" on the B-side. I think personally one single from those two albums was quite enough and it was really down to Killowatte to what got released."

In '87 you came to Holland for the Dynamo Open Air Festival, which was very small back then and was held on a parking place behind the Dynamo club, what do you remember about that day? It was in fact the first time you played over here, RIGHT?
"I can remember quite a lot from that day. It was my first trip to the Netherlands yeah. It was a weird set up, but still well organised and quite a few metal heads there. It didn't start that well though. The car in which we originally planned to travel out there in (bass player Peter Gordelier) broke down the night before. Just slightly worrying, but I thought that if he didn't get it repaired in time we could always go with drummer (Spencer Holman), but very quickly found out that was not an option. He was taking his girlfriend and her friend with him and turned us down. However, it worked out that broken car got fixed. All in all, it was an awesome gig excellent with good vibes. I can't wait to play Holland again!!"

Why did you decide to go to America and start a future there?
"In 1989, we had recently played over there for six shows supporting LAAZ ROCKIT. The organisation was abismal. We had a good hotel, but we couldn't take our own equipment with us. I was using guitars that I had never played before - it sucked! If it wasn't for Jon Torres, we would have been totally fucked for any kind of decent sound. Anyway, I digressed. It was the response from the people out there that blew me away so friendly and helpfull all. Except one of course, but that is something I would rather not waste time on. I had had enough of England and a lot of shit that was happening in my life at that time. I needed a clean break and told the band that I wanted to base ANGELWITCH in The States. They said that they had too many responsibilities to just get up and move to The States, so that was the end of that line up. There was no animosity about it, we just called it a day."

The ANGELWITCH live release was a perfect set of what ANGELWITCH was all about. How come this line up didn't maintain and why did you decide to work with a line up now that contained all American musicians?
"I guess the last answer partially answers this one. I had become quite good friends with Jon Torres. Jon had told me that he had always been interested in ANGELWITCH and that he would just love to play with the band. It was an enthusiasm that really hit home for me against the normallity of bland old England (how I felt then), so I just thought what have I got to lose really and took a gamble with merging English sounds with American."

Maybe it is a bit of a touchy subject but could you tell us a little bit more about the split up of the "Screamin' N Bleedin'" line-up. Is it true that you lost part of a finger at that time and how did that happen?
"Nearly lost the tip of two fingers index and middle fingers of my left hand. I think the story of how it happened is irrelevant. More importantly is the fact, that I can still play and how I perceive my guitar playing now compared to before I got them shut in a door."

How did you get in contact with John Torres (ex-LAAZ ROCKIT), Tom Hunting (ex EXODUS) and Doug Pierce (ex-HEATHEN).
"I had got to know Doug from our last '89 show at Ruthies in the Bay area. He offered his guitar for me to play at that gig, which was a luxery to what I had been playing in the previous shows. Doug was the last member to join ANGELWITCH. He's a good guitar player. I found out about Tom Hunting from another friend Ian Kallen. I had heard EXODUS and seen them before, but not enough to pay any real attention, 'til I heard "Bonded by Blood" at a Head splitting volume - I was blown away! I thought these guys are insane! Gary Holt - what a fucking guitarist and songwriter he is and as for Tom I was speachless! Ian had told me, that Tom wasn't involved with anyone at that time,so I called Tom up and asked him if he would like to come and jam with Jon and myself. He was up for it and it certainly happened for me. There you go: the first ANGELWITCH U.S line up."

Did you ever play songs from the aforementioned ex-bands of your bandmembers during your liveshows or did you stick to the ANGELWITCH material. After all you were dealing with people with an important musical history right now.
"No just ANGELWITCH material."

The next release we see is a live CD from the East Anglia Rock Festival in Mildenhall in 1982. Who did choose the extra tracks on this release and why did you choose to release these three studioversions.
"I didn't. Paul Samson phoned and asked me, if I wanted to make some money for some old rope as he has got the masters for the Mildenhall Open Air. I said “yeah go ahead!” He said that he also had old demo masters for the three songs we did that Paul produced, back in 1982, "Evil Games", "They Wouldn't Dare" and "Nowhere to Run". If it wasn't for Paul Samson, I would have thrown myself off the Tower Bridge!"

After a long absence, you returned in 2000 with the "Resurrection" CD, which is in fact a compilation of the "Resurrection" (demo), "Twist Of The Knife" (demo) and the four track EP "Psychopatic". Is the line up of the band the same on all these demo recordings?
"The first four tracks were from the ‘87 demo with Peter Gordelier and Spencer Holman. The 2nd three tracks was the U.S line up with Tom Hunting and Jon Torres. The last three was Jon & myself."

Why did it take you so long to release anything new and what did you do in the time inbetween?
"Well, nothing much really. I’ve been doing tree work for the better part of the last ten year. It’s my profession and also very challenging to do."

Of course we want to know about the WACKEN OPEN AIR gig in 2000… How was that experience for you and was it good to be back again?
"It was an excellent gig! It had been sooo long since, I had played in front of so many metal fans!!! It was certainly the gig of the year and I hope to do it all over again soon!"

After a few set backs in 2001, you have recently reformed again. Who is in ANGELWITCH right now?
"Kevin Heybourne, Richie Wicks, Scott Highham and Keith Herzberg."

What are your future plans for ANGELWITCH?
"First up, we play at Bang Your Head festival in Balingen, Germany this summer and probably a few other festivals. We are not going to rush things this time, so there’s no talk of recording or touring as yet, even though one record company has already enquired about our plans to release something. Right now, we want to enjoy the music, plan ahead for festivals, and just get used again to being one of the heaviest and most sought after bands on the face of this planet!"

Interview by: Toine van Poorten, copyright 2001.

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