Hello and thanks for taking part in our by-now traditional end of year recapitulation – You’re the first to take the plunge… now, to the questions!

For the benefit of our readers, please identify yourself and what you do in the band… “Hi! I’m John Gallagher, lead vocals and bass for Raven”.

It’s good to have you along for the ride again! What sort of a year do you think it’s been musically, notwithstanding the chaos going on in the real world? And what were your musical highlights in 2020? “Musically it’s been a great year for us… finally completing and releasing our Metal City album on September 18th and getting two videos done with a third in the wings. We did get to do the Monsters of Rock cruise earlier in the year which was a blast for sure!”

Any lowlights for you? Or do you prefer to try and stay away from things that are going to make you disappointed? “Lowlights? Obviously we expected to be touring this year… a lot! But like everyone else we are on pause and have to deal with it!”

Indeed. I suppose we can’t talk about 2020 without mentioning COVID – how did it impact on your band specifically? And how did you combat COVID setbacks? And, moving ahead, do you think the way we do things like touring in the future will be able to take any positives from what’s happened since March? “We were actually very lucky. We had planned to release the album in May and tour around the same time but issues with artwork and scheduling the opening bands for the tour made us decide to postpone the release until September. And two weeks later the scamdemic hit us. We need to open up and attempt to get to where we were… and that will happen!”

I certainly hope so… If A worldwide pandemic had happened twenty years ago it’s arguable that the effect on bands may have been even worse given the absence of the internet and social media – Do you think the fact that fans now have a much more direct line to bands meant that social media played a part in helping bands survive this period of financial instability? What do you think of the rash of pay per view concerts we have seen spring up recently? “You are absolutely correct… the real time communication and online community has been a lifeline for us and many other bands for sure. To be honest I have not seen any of the pay per view concerts… at best it’s a pale imitation if seeing the real thing”.

I’ve seen some good ones, although it has been a mixed bag to be fair. And what about the ‘Zoom Jams’ that have also proliferated these past few months? are you a fan? If so, what ones should we be seeking out on the internet to cheer ourselves up? “Some of the “ zoom jams” have been inspired… others just rote cover tunes. I love the stuff Charlie (Benante) from Anthrax has done for sure. Personally I’ve been putting a bass “noodle”- an unaccompanied bass piece – every day since April. Well over hundred videos so far to great response! It’s been a fun challenge to come up with lots of different stuff… cover tunes… chordal pieces… solo freak outs… it’s all there!”

Yes, I must admit I’ve tuned in to more than a few of those – great stuff they are too! Now, shows are tentatively being booked again across the world for 2021 and beyond – what does the next twelve months hold for you? “We have a European tour booked for February which is almost certainly going to be postponed to May at the earliest… as soon as possible we will be out on the road. Other than that, we plan some more videos for the Metal City album, as well as more writing and recording with a mind already to the next album. We plan another Party Killers style covers album project… so lots to do!”

Lots indeed! But it is important to keep busy I think. It’s our end of year round up, so of course our thoughts are turning to the Holiday season. What’s best for you? Christmas or New Year? And what will you be drinking? “Christmas for me… hopefully a lockdown free one as I’ll be back in the UK! I’ll be drinking Yorkshire tea… the good stuff!”

As if the prospect of Yorkshire Tea wasn’t exciting enough, you’ve been invited to the Sentinel Daily office party -we’ve let you take charge of the stereo for five songs. What will you play? “Hmmmm… let’s open up the proceedings with The Power off our Metal City album… followed by Rock the Nation by MontroseThin Lizzy‘s Massacre, Highway Star by Deep Purple and finally Let There Be Rock by AC/DC”.

A nice list – I think we’re going to gather together everybody’s selections and put together a show on Sentinel Daily Radio on Christmas Day with the results! But that’s more than enough festive fun – here’s your chance to speak directly to our readers – what would you like to say to them? “All the very best to you and yours have a Heavy Christmas and a very Metal New Year and we hope to come back and see you lot in 2021!”

Thanks again for taking part!

Read Scott Adams’ review of Metal City HERE
Last Year Scott spoke to John Gallagher about Raven’s classic Wiped Out album as part of our Classics Track-By-Track series – read the interview HERE