Tony Moore / Steve Harris Has Been Really Supportive

Tony Moore will hit the stage at The Cart & Horses tonight, supporting British Lion. Moore, who joined a pre-deal Iron Maiden in 1977 as a keyboard/synth player, spoke to MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie about those early days, the run-up to the shows and how Steve Harris has been supportive of Tony in his new Awake Project.

MetalTalk caught Tony Moore playing Burr Fest in 2019. “I love Burr Fest,” Tony says. “I’ve been three times, and I played twice. What was really interesting about Burr Fest is it brought together just the most wonderful mix of people that obviously have Iron Maiden connections. Some family members would come, and some of the band’s ex-members would be there playing.”

Tony Moore - Burrfest. Photo: Steve Ritchie
Tony Moore – Burrfest. Photo: Steve Ritchie

“There’s been a lot of members of Iron Maiden. I feel very, very proud to have played a small role in a long history of an incredible band. I went and saw them in the O2 in July, and it’s like two nights sold out. There’s nothing like an Iron Maiden concert, right?

“I’ve always loved all the shows because when I was in the band early on in the ’70s, Steve Harris and I would talk about exactly this thing that I’m trying to do with the Awake. This kind of old-school thing. We’re gonna give people a big show. We’re gonna be like Genesis, and the band is going to be massive. Steve and Iron Maiden have done exactly that. You get a show unlike any other. They are one of the biggest bands in the world, and they were the cutting edge of New British rock back then.”

Tony joined pre-record deal Iron Maiden in 1977. For him personally, that was the start of a journey and an upheaval for a young lad because he left his home and moved to London to join the band.

“Yeah, that was a big change for a young lad,” Tony says. “I lived in Bristol, grew up in Bristol, which was nice. I had my school band. I’d done a little tour as a keyboard player for a soul singer called Al Matthews, who some people will later remember as the Drill Sergeant in Aliens. He was an amazing singer, and so that was a great little experience.

“But I was ambitious and, obviously in London, the streets certainly are paved with gold. Everywhere you go. Anyone who comes to London will tell you that. So I thought I have to move to London and I just answered an advert for a keyboard player and a synth player. I think it said rock band, Iron Maiden… key player and synth player. No idiots.

“I had a keyboard, I had a synth. I’m not an idiot. I can do this. So I went for the audition. It was the first time I had driven to London on my own. After about an hour or so of jamming and playing, the band went off to have a little chat. They came back and said, do you want the gig? It is yours. I went, yes. And, as you say, that was the beginning of my musical career. I moved to London.”

Iron Maiden 1977
Iron Maiden 1977. Tony Moore centre.

“I stayed with Steve and his nan for a little while at the very beginning to get into London before I got a little room sharing in Kilburn. Suddenly, that journey began. It was the most amazing time of my life. I was doing the thing that I loved. I was enthused because anyone who knows Steve will know that he’s like a runaway train of energy.

“He has a focus, and nothing’s gonna derail him, whatever happens. As history has proved. People have come and gone. They’ve had problems, but Iron Maiden is a fast train that never stops. That’s partly why he and British Lion still tour so much.

“I mean, people say, Steve, you’ve just done these mammoth Iron Maiden concerts, and you’re back in clubs again with British Lion. But it’s because he loves to play. He loves the energy of being in a club, and there are not many people at his level who would do that. It’s hard graft.”

Steve Harris was at The Cart & Horses in May for Tony Moore’s show. Did he give Tony good feedback?

“He’s actually been part of the whole Awake process from day one, to be honest. During the lockdown, he was in a different part of the world. Although it didn’t really matter when we were locked down, we were all in different parts of our world but in a different time zone. I was doing my live streams until 10 o’clock at night. Then, I would have a quick bite to eat, and then I would go back into the studio and work on the album.

“Then, about one or two in the morning, I’d come back into the kitchen. My mom was in the other room in a hospital bed and still wide awake, and I was chatting to her. But Steve and I would talk about stuff. I would be sending him music because I knew we both come from the ’70s period of loving things like Genesis, Todd Rundgren and Floyd and all of these things that were of its time.

“I’m a little bit of an anomaly. I’ve been more of a singer-songwriter and keyboard player than what I’m doing with Awake now, which is channelling those ’70s vibes. I’m kind of a little bit of a lost chunk of the ’70s doing my thing now. But I was sending him all the tracks, and he was giving me great feedback. We were talking about production ideas.”

British Lion - Islington Assembly Hall - 18 January 2023
British Lion – Islington Assembly Hall – 18 January 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

“I’ll give you a world first here because I’ve never mentioned this before. But, as I’m gonna be doing the tour with him… Halfway through the album, I came into the kitchen from the shed. We were talking, and I just said, listen to this. I’ve given myself two months to make this album. To write it, record it and finish it in two months. And I don’t even know where the end is yet.

“I’m obsessed with it. I feel like I’m going crazy in the shed. He said to me, ‘that should be the title of your next song, Tony’. All right. What a brilliant idea. So, I went straight back into the shed, stayed up till six, worked on it and finished it.

“So Steve has been really supportive of the album, and I haven’t really talked about it before because it seemed maybe a bit of a name-drop to just do that for no reason. But in January, I’m going to be taking a slightly edited and condensed version of the Awake out on the road, opening for British Lion and Steve.

“But he has been very incredibly supportive. He’s such a good mate, and he’s such a good mate to all of his original friends. When I talk to him, it’s just like it could be 1977 now. He’s not a different person. He’s exactly the same person. We get excited about the same crazy ideas. I’m very grateful for that friendship and grateful for the support and the input. I’m looking forward to doing a mad tour with him.”

Tony Moore to tour with British Lion
Tony Moore to tour with British Lion

It’s a good size for a tour. As support, Tony needs to trim his set, though. “By the time I have played the whole body of the show and talked in between a little bit… I only talk three times, but it’s enough time to really set the scene for each stage. It’s about an hour and 45. So I’m gonna be doing about 45 minutes. So I have to shave an hour off the show.

“But what this has made me do is actually kind of look in a more focused way at the different elements of the songs to see what really truly represents the narrative. It’s not like there is any filler track on the album, but there are areas where it probably requires you to be there for the whole show to be able to take that kind of extended journey.

“As an opening act, I certainly don’t have the time to do that, and people haven’t come to see me. They came to see British Lion. So, I need to create a set that’s a little bit tighter. So I’ve done that. I’ve got what I think is a great set.

“I’ve also had to rethink my tech a little bit because usually, it will take me about four to five hours to set up for a show. I need a 12 o’clock arrival time to be ready for about five o’clock. And you know, support acts might not get any sound check. So if there’s a problem in the building, we’ve got delayed on the motorway or something… So, I have to be very nimble with the technology of how to present it. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that, and I think I’ve got it together now.

“We will see on day one. We’re starting at The Cart & Horses and finishing at The Cart & Horses, which is another legendary moment that’s going to happen because this will be the first time Steve and I have played on the same stage on the same night since ’77.”

It promises to be a succession of amazing evenings, I suggest. “Oh, it’s going to be so, so much fun,” Tony smiles. “I’ve seen British Lion quite a few times, and they’re an amazing band. I always smile because it’s like Steve is just this powerhouse of energy. And that enthusiasm and that passion to play is just infectious, right? Driving it forward, and the band are brilliant.

“I know it’s going to be a technical challenge every night because every venue will be different. I do require a certain amount of space to be able to set everything up that I need because there’s a screen behind me. But we’ll just play it by ear.”

In Part Two, published shortly, we talk about the Awake and the plans to tour Britain after the British Lion shows.

january

03jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | London ** SOLD OUT **Cart And Horses

04jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | London ** SOLD OUT **Cart And Horses

05jan9:00 amBritish Lion | Milton KeynesCraufurd Arms

06jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | BradfordNightrain

07jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | LiverpoolFurnace

09jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | AberdeenLemon Tree

10jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | EdinburghLiquid Rooms

12jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | CarlisleBrickyard

13jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | ColchesterArts Centre

14jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | MargateBallroom

16jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | Merthyr TydfilRedhouse Cymru

17jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | FromeCheese & Grain

18jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | BournemouthOld Fire Station

20jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | Isle Of WightStrings Bar & Venue

21jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | GravesendLeo's Red Lion

22jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | SouthendChinnerys

23jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | HastingsBlack Box

24jan7:00 pmBritish Lion | London ** SOLD OUT **Cart And Horses

Tickets are available from here.

Steve Harris has visited the Cart & Horses this year more than once, including watching Tony Moore perform. You can read more about Steve Harris and The Cart & Horses here.

In 2021, the Cart & Horses was the venue where original Iron Maiden singer Paul Mario Day hosted a full-blown celebration of the very early years of Iron Maiden.

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