The NWOBHM leg­ends re­turn, with dates in Novem­ber/De­cem­ber.

Classic Rock - - Live! -

Hailed at birth as a New Wave Of Bri­tish Heavy Metal su­per­group, Lion­heart re­united last year fol­low­ing three decades away. Gui­tarist Steve Mann pre­views their co-head­line tour with fel­low 1980s refugees Air­race.

Af­ter so long apart, how was the mood in the dress­ing room be­fore play­ing at the Rock­ing­ham Festival last year? Re­hearsals had gone so well that it was amaz­ing. We felt as though we had never even stopped.

And then your key­board was out of tune in the first song! [Laughs] Yeah, that was a shock, but it didn’t ruin the show. We were hav­ing such a good time it just made us laugh.

So who said: “Let’s carry on”? [Ja­pan’s] Burrn! mag­a­zine in­ter­viewed us af­ter­wards, and al­though the thought hadn’t even oc­curred to us we were asked right away, fol­lowed by Face­book com­ments and fan re­quests. In the end it wasn’t re­ally a band de­ci­sion as such, more that so many peo­ple told us we should do it. The new al­bum, Sec­ond Na­ture, is a mix of left­overs, re-record­ings, newly writ­ten tunes and cov­ers. Was it easy to make?

Yes, and once the ball be­gan rolling, it be­came eas­ier still. Lee Small [Lion­heart’s new lead singer] is a very cre­ative guy, and the ideas al­most poured out. But for the cut­off point for Ja­pan [where it was re­leased first], there would have been even more new songs.

The re­sponse has been pos­i­tive. Yeah. We knew it was a good record, but of course it’s all sub­jec­tive. You’re about to co-head­line a tour across Bri­tain with Air­race, an­other band that dropped out of the lime­light for aeons, only to re­turn.

Rocky [New­ton, bas­sist] is on dou­ble duty and both bands know one an­other very well. To­gether it’s a great pack­age – take Lion­heart and dou­ble it. They’re just as vibed up about ev­ery­thing as we are.

Hav­ing been a part of the McAu­ley Schenker Group, you’re now work­ing with Michael again. What changes have you seen in him?

Michael was al­ways very, very shy, but meet­ing him again last year he was a com­pletely trans­formed man. He’s now – and a bet­ter gui­tar player than he ever was. And if he makes a mis­take then he smiles and says sorry [laughs]. Ba­si­cally he’s a lovely, lovely guy.

An al­bum fea­tur­ing Michael Schenker Group’s mul­ti­ple lead singers – Gary Bar­den, Gra­ham Bon­net and Robin McAu­ley – and their best-known back-up play­ers is cur­rently be­ing recorded. What’s it like? Doo­gie White is on it now too, and it’s go­ing to be bril­liant.

The al­bum is be­ing mixed by Michael Voss. I wish we could play some of its songs on Michael’s UK tour [in Novem­ber] but it’s a bit too soon for that. DL

“The tour is a great pack­age – take Lion­heart and dou­ble it.”

The tour ends on De­cem­ber 6.

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