MAGNUM - No Visitation For North America Page 2
by Martin Popoff
Magnum music also arises from an odd situation where guitarist Tony Clarkin writes all the songs, lyrics included, despite the band having a hugely regarded singer in Bob Catley.
"Yeah, it's one of those things," explains Stanway. "We still have a lot of input. Tony's songs would stand up if he just played them with an acoustic guitar, which to me is the ultimate test of a song. If you can sit down with an acoustic guitar and perform that song, then it stands up as a song on its own right. That opens the doors for us to go, 'How about this, about that, should we put this in here or should we put this in there?' But Tony has a particular style that suits Magnum. He writes with Bob's voice in mind the whole time. Whereas if I wrote a song, it might be much more suitable for Paul Rodgers or Coverdale - it would be different. Tony has been writing for so long for Magnum. I mean, over 230-odd songs he's written for Magnum, which is a stunning repertoire. One could argue financially, oh, he's making more money than me or than anyone else. But he's better at it for Magnum than anybody else. So rather put into it four different songwriters, etc., we'll leave the formula as it is because it works. We're all happy with it."
Going down the NWOBHM road with Mark, given that the band actually was making records as far back as '78, Stanway figures that, "Yes, I remember that when I joined the band in 1980. Okay, the birth of punk happened at the same time as this New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. But it's like the Reading Festival really launched us on a major scale in Britain. That really helped. So being able to play to 50,000 fans that might be coming to see Ozzy or the likes, suddenly they got to hear Magnum on a grand scale. And that album, in 1980, Chase The Dragon, although it didn't get released until '82, that was our first Top 20 entry in the charts. So that new wave did help, in spite of the punks and the arrival of punk."
Most definitely, the NWOBHM was the start of Magnum getting lumped in - fortuitously mostly - with metal. But one supposes they also gathered a little tailwind from the neo-prog movement, the NWOBProg, as it were.
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