Liz Medhurst: Photos by Simon Dunkerley
On a warm Sunday afternoon at Cambridge Rock Festival, I watched the current incarnation of the NWOBHM band Persian Risk deliver a triumphant adrenaline-fuelled set of old and new tracks, with a band who had all the chops, and then some.
Their performance engaged and impressed the crowd so much that the entire batch of CDs completely sold out five minutes after the band left the stage.
I caught up with Carl Sentance to find out the latest in the Persian Risk story.
Tell me the story of how Persian Risk came to be reformed, and with this line-up?
CS: “Well, it’s something I’ve been wondering about for a long time, what would it be like if Persian Risk got back together? It’s something that I was thinking about while working on my other projects, and it’s a thought that stayed with me and got stronger.
“I contacted the original members of the band, and they were all doing various other things, the most high profile of course being Phil Campbell who is on the road with Motörhead as we speak, so I had to get a new line-up.
“As for the timing, the Don Airey album ‘A Light In The Sky’ (released 2008) and my 2009 solo album ‘Mind Doctor’ sold well and got really good reactions, so it was a logical next step to go for it now. We put out the album ‘Once A King’ last year and we were back.
“This touring line up is new for this year, I’ve been playing with these guys for a while in various projects, I asked them, and they were up for it. It really works, it feels right, and we’re having a great time.”
How did it feel to start the band again after a long gap?
CS: “I was confident that the band worked well together so it was exciting to see how the gigs worked out, and Persian Risk were never a massive band the first time round so that was easier.”
Do you mean that there wouldn’t be a huge weight of expectation, with audiences only wanting to hear the old stuff?
CS: “Yes, exactly that, we have some freedom and space to build on what’s already been achieved and see where it takes us. We’ve been amazed at the reaction to the new material so far.”
That was a great set you just did – I could hear the difference stylistically between the old and new, is that a deliberate choice, or your own evolution in songwriting?
CS: “I wrote the main structures of the songs, but then they evolved once the band started working it all out together. Everyone contributed, adding licks, fills and riffs and the collective experience made the songs what they are. I think this will continue, this is only our third gig together, so there’s plenty still to come, and songwriting happens in the rehearsal room.
“Howie has such a lot of experience from his gigs with Towers Of Stone, The P.L.O.T and of course the Howie G Revue, Tim has played in so many local bands, and Wayne comes with a fantastic pedigree. He’s done loads of work with Robin Gibb, Blaze Bayley, Joe Lynn Turner, Matt Prior – the list goes on.”
So what’s next for the summer and beyond?
CS: “Well in the main we need to get the album out, it’s in production but we’ll get it out there as soon as we can. I’m doing some more writing with Don Airey, who is such a hero of mine, and there’ll also be some gigs with Towers Of Stone and The Classic Rock Show.
“We’ve had such a good time already this summer, not just with Persian Risk, but also there’s a gig coming up at Bogiez Rock Club in Cardiff in the autumn I hope, which will be full circle, right back where we started – Phil Campbell is also playing there next week. Then it’s a case of getting a promoter and agent and building up the fanbase as much as we can through putting on some great gigs.
“I will be back at Legends of Rock in Yarmouth in March 2014, we’ll be putting in sets with both Persian Risk and Towers Of Stone.”
Well that is great news to me, and I’m sure many others. MetalTalk wishes you and the band every success.