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The Byron Band

The Byron Band

The name David Byron immediately reminds lots of people of epic songs and anthems. Just like Ian Gillan sang "Child in Time" with Purple and Robert Plant sang "Stairway to Heaven" with Zepplin, Byron co-wrote and sang "July Morning" with Uriah Heep. That was back in '71 and he went on to enjoy a further five year association with Heep only to leave suddenly and form a super group Rough Diamond, with the likes of Clem Clemson and Geoff Britton alongside him. The inevitable split-up--that's what usually happens to super groups---came a year later.

Since then very little has been heard of the lead singer except for a solo album on Arista in '78. He dropped out of "the band situation" and preferred to join forces with songwriter Daniel Boone of "Beautiful Sunday" fame, to write songs for himself or for others.

Now, at last Byron has got a new band featuring Mel Collins on sax (an old friend), Robin George on guitar, Roger flavelle on bass, Bob Jackson (ex Badfinger) on keyboards and Steve Bray 9 Ex toyah and who also replaced The Byron Band original drummer) on drums. An album is out on the small Creole label. It's called "On the Rocks". Make it a double please Dave. Cheers. When did the Byron Band come into shape.

"In 1980. I know a year and a half sounds a long time but first of all it had to be my band because I wanted to get things done the way I wanted them done, and secondly it did have it's trials and tribulations with a couple of managers. One of them fell very ill and the other died of a car accident. That and trying to get a record deal and everything took up all of that time. But I've never really been away for that long. People might say " I wonder what "X" is doing from famous group "X these days" and they immediately label you as a "has been" or a comeback when you've never really been away. You are out of the public eye for a few months and then you return to something which you've never really been away from".

The Dave Byon Band literally meant that after his previously successful years Dave had to start from scratch again playing the small clubs and going through the usual motions of getting a record deal. It is a very different situation from living in the dream world of big stadia, and many ex-big group musicians wouldn't even dare go through such experiences again. However, Ian Gillan did that and he succeeded. The two situations are almost comparable.

"First of all Ian was in a Much stronger situation than I've ever been in," he admitted. "I mean if it happens again I don't think the situation will be as hard because you've got to remember that in 1975 the music business was really going off hard rock and it was difficult probably very difficult for the Gillans and the Whitesnakes to make their mark and get any credibility for themselves. But now the music scene seems to have shifted more into the hard rock vein again. So it's not difficult." " However, it's that sort of condition of starting from scratch that makes it fun because it's very easy, like in the Rough Diamond situation, to almost start with the tag of "Super group", which really is your own downfall. It's not something that I or anybody in Rough Diamond ever wanted to be labeled as. It' only because there were a few well known names in the band." " If your a nobody and starting from scratch you've got enough problems on hand but you've also got problems if you've got a name because as soon as you come out you are always identified and compared with your past and most people are just happy to see you fall flat on your arse. Really all you are trying to do is get into something which you strongly believe in. Both situations have their advantages and disadvantages. OK, some people say it affects your ego having been in a band like Heep to start again. Well that's only a state of mind, and I can handle that".

While Byron was in the process of getting his latest project together there had been several rumors that he was to join forces with Heep again, especially since Heep started having problems and the original members were dropping out like flies.

! I'm really the last person to know what Heep are doing," he interrupted. " I mean I've heard those rumors but none were true. I think that I was vaguely approached a year ago when Heep gave me a cassette of a couple of their songs. It started out as a social thing....we are still friends though lots of people don't believe that..... and I was asked what kind of vocalist would be good for those songs. Then I was told "Well, why don't you do it?" And I said "Hang on,. Where is this going to. I don't really want to be part of it. It was good while it lasted fellas but now I've got my own thing to think about". I didn't take it seriously because I wanted my own group and that is the only way that I would be happy working in a group situation.

" But listen, " he continued. " OK, this group has got my name at the front but it's very diplomatic and everyone is entitled to write stuff and when it comes to arrangements of songs and stage stuff I probably take a little part in that. I leave it to them. I give the basic idea of how I want the show to go and that's it. It's all discussed between the six of us. I mean being my band I do have the ultimate say but I don't use that ultimate very often. You can put the guys in the band on a wage, which I haven't done, and you can say " this is how you are going to dress and this is what you are to do and what to say". "That isn't my idea because I have to have people being people around me. I have to see the problems, the sacrifices and be part of everything".

The bands stage show consists mainly of songs from the new album, plus other new songs and a couple of Heep numbers, one of which is......right, you've guessed it...."July Morning". We still do it because I wrote it. I know Hensley does it in his band but he cannot sing it like I can", he laughs.

Having the experiences of being in different bands, what would you say makes a successful band, apart from having a basic understanding between the members of the band? " It could be misunderstandings," he advised. " It's the actual chemistry of the friction between the members of the band sometimes that make s the material and the group successful. The fact that people agree to disagree and the fact your getting the best of everybody's endeavor, both musically and artistically. Apart from that I don't really know."

" I don't really know why Heep became successful or Why I got successful. That is the ultimate question. If anybody knew the answer they would be a millionaire tomorrow because you would just go and do it. As far as I am concerned I think it's important to go out and do what you think is best. At least I know that I am being honest with myself. I just basically keep on doing what I have always done. You could also say it's hunger for success that makes you successful, no matter how successful already you had been in the past".


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