“Marshall amplifiers and street fuckin’ attitude:” An interview with Evo Evans (Warfare)
WORDS BY ANANDA MARTINS
Was Warfare the first band to effectively fit under the "metal punk" title?
During a time when the two styles had their differences very well defined, a young man named Paul Evans decided it was time to go beyond any type of limitation or label.
Warfare was embraced by Neat Records, the record label credited with bringing some of the most relevant bands of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Venom, Tysondog, Raven, etc.) to the public eye. They ended up releasing Pure Filth (1984), Metal Anarchy (1985) and Mayhem Fuckin’ Mayhem (1986). However, Evo claims his band was never part of that movement.
With a dozen controversial stories and albums produced by figures like Lemmy, Cronos and Algy Ward, the band became a true underground icon for those who identified with either two of the most prominent rock `n roll scenarios ever created: heavy metal and punk.
FS: How did your relationship with music begin? What made you want to be on stage?
EVO: “Total escapism. I loathed the thought of working 9-5 in some crap house. I'd done 5 years of Grammar school creating absolute mayhem so I wasn't gonna waste another 50, but as a child I was always fascinated with entertainment… The lights and roar of the traveling fairground when it came to town… Watching TV and seeing bands like Slade & Sweet kickin’ arse and it all made sense… Destiny.”
FS: You played in bands like The Blood, Major Accident and Angelic Upstarts. How was the English street punk scene DURING THAT TIME and how did it influence the sound of Warfare?
EVO: “The period in the other bands was a fantastic way to learn my craft. The
scene back then in London was vibrant but had a dull loom ascending on it so I
knew it was time to get out and create my master plan Warfare. The former bands never really influenced our sound, it was totally original and had never
been done with that much volume and street lyrics before.”
FS: How Did punks and metal heads receive warfare when they first heard You?
EVO: “Warfare were the very first band to attract a proper crossover. The skinheads and punks followed me to my next band because of the (Angelic) Upstarts. The Neat Records label was famous for heavy metal and on our 1st single we had Mantas from Venom playing with us, so the reaction was fantastic.”
FS: You've probably heard this question a million times, but could you tell the story of the time Warfare playEd in the parking lot of a Metallica show?
EVO: “We were asked to open for Metallica at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1985, but we were told to pay for own expenses. As a big middle finger to the management, we showed up in our band truck, unannounced, to play in the parking lot during the concert. But it was a total fuckin’ mayhem. Police chases, thousands of punters head banging in front of the truck, smashed cars, arrests… It was fuckin’ great.”
FS: How did warfare's sound evolve in the early 1990’s?
EVO: “I always wanted to experiment rather than just stick with the same formula. Thus… Hammer Horror.”
FS: About Lemmy, Algy Ward and Cronos: How did this incredible relationship between British metal/punk icons begin?
EVO: “It started when I was living in London. I used to go down the Marquee and Ship. All musicians hung out there and I just became mates with them, I met Lemmy and Algy in London, however Cronos was a label mate at Neat Records.”
FS: In your opinion, what is indispensable for a rock 'n' roll band?
EVO: Marshall amplifiers and street fuckin’ attitude.
FS: which albums Have YOU HAD ON HEAVY ROTATION LATELY?
EVO: “Oh Jesus, I have strange moods sometimes playing classical punk. At the moment, I am listening to the Motorhead demos which Fast Eddie sang on… They sound fuckin’ great.”
FS: Can you talk about the day you guys filmed the "Burning Up" music video?
EVO: “Fuck, I don't remember a lot about it, I do know that I wrote the lyrics
the night before at 4 in the morning. It was shot at the Neat Records studio in Newcastle... I remember the slimy fuckin’ engineer who hated me, I kept calling him Keith but his real name was something ridiculous, so I changed it for the film. I took the piss out of him all day and I do remember going for a curry with my girlfriend on the night after the shoot and my throat felt like it was rotating barbed wire.”
FS: WhaT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR WARFARE? Any chance of you guys performING live one last time?
EVO: “Warfare have a new album released in 2018 on High Roller Records www.hrrecords.de. Also there’s a single available for download entitled “Misanthropy (The Fast Eddie Clarke Mix)”. It's in tribute to my good friend and it's his last commercially released material that he played on the B-side features 3 live songs from 1985. There are re-issues of the very 1st EP on Skol Records. The 4 original Neat albums that came out in June 2018… So like wise, I really don't know. It would have to be a really good offer as it's a pain finding musicians who can actually play like that. So I don't think so, but yeah, I never thought I would have released a brand new album 25 years on… So the future is unwritten.”
FS: What’s your advice for young rock ‘n’ rollers starting DOWN this LEGENDARY path right now?
EVO: “Belief is all.”