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Stage Buzz: Raven at Reggie’s • October 11 • Chicago

| October 9, 2022

 

Raven

Tuesday, October 11

Reggies

Chicago, IL

by Kelley Simms

Three-piece heavy metal stalwarts, Raven, has been slugging it out in the music business for almost five decades. Formed in 1974 in Newcastle, England by the Gallagher brothers – bassist/vocalist John and guitarist Mark — Raven was part of the burgeoning New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) scene along with other fledgling bands such as Saxon, Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang, Iron Maiden and fellow townsmen Satan.

The band is celebrating the 40-year anniversary of the release of their second full-length album, Wiped Out, and will perform the album in its entirety along with other shining gems from throughout their illustrious career at Reggies on October 11. With Raven’s long history in music, Chicago has been one of the band’s favorite places to play since their early days.

“(Chicago has) always been a great show for us from the very first one, which was at the Metro on the Kill ’Em All For One Tour (on Aug. 12, 1983, with Metallica),” John explains during a recent phone interview. “We played the Aragon (Ballroom) with Tank. We played the Aragon with Yngwie Malmsteen the day right after Cliff Burton died.

We’ve played Reggies many times, and Reggies is awesome; the people are super, and the crowds are great. It’s a great metal town; the fans really get into it. We’ve got a lot of friends from over the years, and it’s always a bright spot on the tour.”

Although some tracks from the album have made the setlist for years, playing the entire Wiped Out album from front to back is a special occasion. “Faster Than the Speed of Light” has been in every gig for many years at this point,” John says. “Fire Power” has been done quite often. We brought back “Chainsaw” a couple of years ago. We’ve played almost everything right around ’82 except a few songs; “To the Limit/To the Top,” “Battlezone,” and “UXB.” Simply because playing an entire album was a bit much for anyone to swallow. But when you get to an anniversary like the 40th, it’s a big deal.”
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of their *All For One* album, in which Raven will play it in its entirety in the UK starting in March.

Raven’s formation is considered to be a major inspiration for the development of the thrash and speed metal genres and was a huge influence on Metallica. Raven definitely deserves credit where credit is due. “We were one of the bands, but it definitely wasn’t us alone,” John admits. “We just came up with the concept of revving everything up and putting interesting parts in. When we were kids and playing the clubs, we did half originals and half covers. It was always the more aggressive, fastest stuff, and we’d speed that up and make it more so. And we created a kind of Bitches Brew from taking ideas from many bands and distilling it down into a unique sound of our own.”

Raven has their new album already recorded and in the bag, waiting for the final guitar tones and the final mix, with a tentative release date in May of 2023. In the meantime, the Raven touring machine will roll right along. At almost 50 years as a band, Raven’s legacy is firmly established, and they won’t be retiring anytime soon. “In everything that we’ve done, it shows that tenacity and hard work will move you along and get you to where you’re going,” John says. “It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are or what obstacles (are in your way); we always somehow managed to move past them and keep things going. To be here for 50 years is humbling, and there’s not many bands who’ve lasted that long. And we know that gives up impetus, it gives us motivation, and it gives us the responsibility to go out there and kick ass like maniacs at every possible opportunity. Which we are happy to do.”

— Kelley Simms

Raven appears at Reggie’s on October 11th.

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