It was really awesome beyond belief, that SAVAGE GRACE had been announced on the bill of many festivals on the European continent. After seeing the band on several occasions many years ago and attending their recent gig at K.I.T. 13 in Germany, this is indeed a great opportunity to ask frontman Chris Logue some questions about SAVAGE GRACE. What started as MARQUIS DE SADE back in the very early eighties, slowly became one of the most successful metal bands, until they disbanded. 2010 is the year, that we can celebrate the return of Chris Logue and SAVAGE GRACE. Sometimes you have to wait a bit longer for good things to happen. But once Chris announced his come back with SAVAGE GRACE, everybody was looking forward to seeing the band live on stage again. Backed up by the main part of the NWOBHM tribute band ROXXCALIBUR, the band indeed sounds like reborn and nobody can stop them! It’s Chris Logue, who puts the plug back in and tells us all you ever wanted to know about SAVAGE GRACE....
I would like to start with some questions about the rich history of SAVAGE GRACE, if I may. Why did you actually change the name of the original band MARQUIS DE SADE into SAVAGE GRACE back in 1981?
Chris: “Nobody liked that name except me. They said it was too long and hard to remember. Kelly Rhoads suggested we change it to SAVAGE GRACE. I liked the name, so I said OK.”
In the line up of MARQUIS DE SADE we run into the name of Kelle Rhoads (RHOADS), brother of the late OZZY OSBOURNE / QUIET RIOT guitar player Randy Rhoads. This was not a very successful cooperation I believe, but what I would like to know, since I am a very devoted fan of Randy Rhoads, is have you ever met him? And if yes, what do you remember about it?
Chris: “No, I never met Randy Rhoads. He was supposed to come and see us rehearse, but it never happened.”
SAVAGE GRACE ended up on Metal Massacre II with the song “Sceptres Of Deceit”. Did this song represent SAVAGE GRACE at that given time or didn’t you have any influence at all about which song ended up on this compilation LP?
Chris: “I think “Sceptres Of Deceit” was our best song at that time. I was very happy with it. We picked that song for “Metal Massacre 2”.”
Many people come and go in the different SAVAGE GRACE line-ups, with more or less well-known names like Kenny Powell (OMEN), Kurt Philips (WITCHKILLER), Mark Marshall (AGENT STEEL) and Derek Peace (HEIR APPARENT). How come that you had so many line-up changes constantly going on? Are you such a difficult person to deal with, because I don’t believe that all these members left because of the so-called musical differences?
Chris: “The music business is very dynamic. We live in a very dynamic, constantly changing universe. When people are not happy, I can not stop them from leaving. I tried to get the best people I could find. I am hard to work with, because I demand perfection. Most people settle for mediocrity, I do not.”
If you could go on tour with SAVAGE GRACE, consisting of former members that were in the band during the years, what would the ultimate band line-up for you and maybe you can explain your choices for the different people a bit closer here too?
Chris: “Great question! I would choose Mark Marshall from 1987, Marc Marcum from 1986 or Marshall Lee Dickerson from 1991, Mike Branning from 1991 (after learning to play bass - heehee). The band I had in 1986 was the best technically, but the band I had in 1991 was the most fun. I would like to have the blend of technical proficiency and fun people.”
Are you still in touch with some of the former band members of SAVAGE GRACE or not?
The next thing, that will come to mind is the ‘political incorrectness’ of the artwork on the different albums of SAVAGE GRACE (as it was called in the liner notes of the remixed versions of your albums on Limb Music). That was ultra cool for the fans in the eighties, I know for sure. You were always surrounded by half naked ladies in the magazines and on the album covers. I wonder, if these ladies were professional models or if they were just acquaintances of the band? I am also very anxious to know, if you can still recall their names? (By the way, I have the picture discs of SAVAGE GRACE hanging in my study for this reason- lol).
Chris: “The girl on “The Dominatress” was a friend, not a pro model. On “Master Of Disguise”, the girl's name was Robin Bell, she was a professional model. On “After The Fall From Grace”, the girl was a friend of the band. On “Ride Into The Night”, Rose Vito was the tall girl. She was a girlfriend of mine. I don't remember the other girl's name. All of the album cover shoots were a lot of fun. I love all of those covers.”
Is it true, that on the “Master Of Disguise” album, there is a picture of Mark Marshall (AGENT STEEL) on the back cover, while he isn’t actually playing guitar on this album at all?
Chris: “Yes, the tracks were all recorded before Mark joined the band, but he was in the live band and stayed with us until 1989.”
Let’s take a look at the SAVAGE GRACE live shows now…. Maybe you can drop some names here of bands, that you have shared the stage with, while playing in SAVAGE GRACE in the 80s?
Chris: “ARMORED SAINT, ABATTOIR, AGENT STEEL, DARK ANGEL, SLAYER, EXODUS, POSSESSED, LIZZY BORDEN, METALLICA, VENOM, RATT, MOTORHEAD, MALICE, WITCH, HEIR APPARENT, HELIX, RUNNING WILD, DANGER DANGER, TANGIER, DEE DEE RAMONE, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, DRI, MURPHYS LAW, STEPMOTHERS and BITCH.”
Are there any particular shows, that you still have very fond memories about and can you recall which one was the biggest gig of them all?
Chris: “Hollywood Palladium, 1987 opening for MOTORHEAD. We had just done twenty dates with MOTORHEAD from New York to California. The band was really tight, I really felt like a rock star that day driving to the show in my car. I had a great looking girl with me, Rose Vito. El Duce from THE MENTORS was in our dressing room asking for beers and if he could tell jokes for a quarter. One of the best days of my life! Also, on that same tour, the show we did at Bogarts in Cincinatti, Ohio. A funny story I have never told in public before. The night before the show was an off night on the tour. We were in Cincinatti and the club was having a pre-show party. We went to the party and we met some hot girls. We started talking to them and we were using all our L.A. charm. One of the girls said to me: “You guys look like you have aids”, so they left. Mark Marshall and I were laughing at them. The next night after our show with MOTORHEAD, the same girls came to our dressing room and we had a great sex party with them. The one that thought I had aids, I had sex with in the toilet. It was amazing how fast they lost their fear of aids with us. The same girl later came to stay with me in L.A. I almost never let her out of my bedroom. I had a great timeand I hope she did.”
I attended the Metal Hammer Festival in 1985 at the Lorelei (Germany), where you played with bands like NAZARETH, METALLICA, VENOM and WARLOCK. What do you remember of this fabulous festival and the really outstanding show, that you played there?
Chris: “I remember how beautiful the place was, when we arrived. The dramatic scene overlooking the Rhein. I remember there was a wine festival going on in St. Goarhausen that night. I told the guys: “Please do not get drunk tonight, we have to play early in the day…” I stayed in that night and I went to bed early. The rest of the band went out. At 4 a.m., they came stumbling in and they were in terrible shape. Dan Finch was totally destroyed. I asked Dan what he drank and he said beer and wine. I said: “Oh, god!”. The next day, he was really in rough shape. After the show, he went to a tree and passed out for the next six hours. I know everyone was expecting Mike Smith and they got me, but I did my best.”
Did you know, that there is a vinyl live bootleg available from this particular live show at the Metal Hammer festival? (It was manufactured in Texas many years ago, I believe)
Chris: “Yes, I have heard it. Terrible quality, but it is part of history.”
I can also recall seeing the band playing live in Germany with HEIR APPARENT, which was also very good tour in my memory. Maybe you can share some memories about these concerts with us here as well?
Chris: “That was a great tour, my singing had improved since ‘85 and I was singing the material from “After The Fall From Grace” along with “Master Of Disguise” tracks. The band really sounded great, we were very tight at this time and Mark Marcum was an incredible drummer. One funny story, I drove with a German girl in her car from Ludwigsburg to Hamburg. About thirty minutes from Hamburg we saw a bus broken down on the side of the road. As we got closer , we could see it was our tour bus with all the guys standing around. We just kept driving and we had a good laugh.”
Was it there, that you discovered the talent of Derek Peace, who became your bass player pretty soon after these gigs?
Chris: “I liked Derek, he was an interesting guy. After Brian ‘Beast’ East quit, Derek was the third guy I called.”
How come there is almost no video footage available of SAVAGE GRACE from the eighties? I can imagine that a lot of fans, including myself, would love to see some good live footage from the old days on their TV screen. Will this possibly change in the near future with a DVD release, or this there simply not enough material available to put together a good compilation DVD of SAVAGE GRACE?
Chris: “There is a great video of us from Bochum 1986. I had a copy of it and I can not find it. I know someone out there has it. Metal Hammer taped the show. I have a couple of small shows from ‘84 and ’83.”
Can you please give us a brief but good overview of what you have done musically after the disbanding of SAVAGE GRACE and the resurrection of the band with members of ROXXCALIBUR and the reunion shows in Europe with OMEN?
Chris: “I am looking forward to doing more shows with my new band and writing new material. I was vey happy with the guys from ROXXCALIBUR on the last tour. They did a great job under very difficult circumstances. OMEN really did a great job. They saved our ass a few times. I had heard before the tour, that OMEN was very unorganized and unreliable and I was very worried. Once they showed up, I was blown away at their ability to find the venues with no GPS. They were actually very together in their own way. I also like them as people. It was great to see Kenny again after all these years.”
When did you get the idea that it was time for a SAVAGE GRACE reunion and how important is the gig at the Keep It True festival in this whole story?
Chris: “When I heard, that Oli wanted us for K.I.T.13, I knew this was a great opportunity to reactivate SAVAGE GRACE. I think, we showed a lot of people what SAVAGE GRACE can be at that show. Keep It True was maybe one of the best shows SAVAGE GRACE has ever done, musically and visually.”
How did you get in touch with the members of ROXXCALIBUR or did they get in touch with you to do these SAVAGE GRACE reunions gigs?
Chris: “Oli put me in touch with them. I felt right with them from the beginning.”
What took you so long to return to the music scene and what’s it like to be in touch with your European fans again?
Chris: “My life has taken many strange turns. I have done many things besides music. It was great to see a lot of the old fans again and all the new people. It really was powerful!”
What was the cooperation with the ROXXCALIBUR guys like and did you ever doubt if you should tour under the name of SAVAGE GRACE or not, because after all you are the only remaining, last man standing, of the original band line-up?
Chris: “After the first rehearsal with them, I had no doubts. SAVAGE GRACE has always been my band. No one doubts this.”
Who decided which songs SAVAGE GRACE would play during the shows? Was this a democratic decision or did you have the right to vote for this decision on your own?
Chris: “No, I put the set list together. Some people did not want the covers in there, but I loved playing “Motorcycle Man” (SAXON cover) and especially “Exciter” (JUDAS PRIEST cover).”
Which songs were the most difficult ones for the band to play live and why was that?
Chris: “Burn” is probably the most difficult, but the guys handled it very well. We have three singers now, so the vocals are much fuller than the eighties. Kalli sings great harmony with me. It is a pleasure to work with these guys.”
Did you also play any shows in America and if yes, did you play the same set as you did in Europe?
Chris: “We have not played in the US and there are no plans to do so at the moment.”
How long did the band need to study on these songs to know them by heart and did you rehearse before going on stage?
Chris: “We rehearsed for about one month before the first show in Greece.”
We attended your show at the Keep It True Festival in Germany, which was excellent, in my opinion. What did you think of this festival, the public and the atmosphere and which other bands did you check out during these two days?
Chris: “I think, it was one of the best SAVAGE GRACE shows ever. The crowd was very strong like ‘86. Our performance was strong. I was well rested and the onstage sound was great. I think, we really nailed “Exciter”. And that was a great way to end our set. I did see ADX, TYGERS OF PANTANG and DEMON. They all sounded good and a lot of memories.”
The only negative remark from my side would be, that you played two cover songs in the set. I would have optioned for one or two SAVAGE GRACE originals instead. What’s your opinion about this?
Chris: “I have heard that from people. My response is that these were very special songs that we may never do again. We will change our set in the future, SSAVAGE GRACE has a lot of great material to do at future shows. Enjoy the covers.”
Have you ever thought about inviting Kenny Powell on stage during the tour with OMEN? It would have been a perfect opportunity for you both to see, if the chemistry is still there…
Chris: “He did come up with us at Ludwigsburg and I would have had him up at again, but he had a serious injury to his finger. He was in a lot of pain and he could barely make it thru his own set.”
Are you also planning on recording any new material as SAVAGE GRACE with this band, or was this tour just a ‘one time only’ thing? And if you are, what will it sound like if you compare it to the old material of SAVAGE GRACE?
Chris: “I will be working on new material very soon. I can't say much now. ROXXCALIBUR will be involved.”
How come you don’t play guitar on stage anymore or do you like your role as a singing front man better, and don’t you miss it to pull them strings like a madman at all?
Chris: “I loved playing guitar, but it is really to hard to play and sing this kind of material. I must have been crazy to try it in the eighties. When I can concentrate on the vocals, it sounds great. I have two excellent guitar players now.”
What’s your all time favourite SAVAGE GRACE song (or top 5, if you like) and why?
Chris: “1. Master Of Disguise; 2. Bound To Be Free; 3. After The Fall; 4. We came We Saw.”
The back catalogue of the band has not only been re-released by Limb Music, but also by Black Dragon Music in France at almost the same time. I read, that for the Black Dragon re-releases, you had to dictate the song lyrics for the CD booklet over the phone, so the people in Paris could type them out. What an amazing story, if this is all true?
Chris: “Yes, that was true. Old technology – heehee!”
Maybe you can share some more interesting or funny stories about SAVAGE GRACE with us, if you want to?
Chris: “There are too many, I will have to write a book.”
What will the future have in store for SAVAGE GRACE and for Chris Logue, on the short and long term?
Chris: “I would like to do more live shows and then work on new material with ROXXCALIBUR.”
Do you have any hobbies or other interests besides playing music in SAVAGE GRACE?
Chris: “I am working on many other projects. My favorite video game is GTA 4.”
Do you have any personal messages for the fans of SAVAGE GRACE?
Chris: “Thank you to all, who showed up on the tour dates. Sorry about Helsinki and Lunen. I hope to see you all soon.”
Maybe you can give us a last newsflash or news update here?
Chris: “We are working on more shows for fall 2010.”
The famous last words in this interview are for Chris Logue and SAVAGE GRACE....
Chris: “The best is yet to come!”
Interview by: Toine van Poorten, exclusively for http://www.truemetal.org / Summer 2010.
Visit their official page @ My Space: www.myspace.com/officialsavagegrace