Iron Maiden spiritual home Cart & Horses at risk of closure
20 November 2020
The Cart And Horses, in London’s East End, is the spiritual home of Iron Maiden. It is where the tentative first line-up of the band performed in early 1976 with Paul Mario Day on vocals.
Until June 2019 The Cart was still supporting bands hosting live performances, but the planned re-opening following a major refurbishment is in tatters due to COVID-19.
Now, former Iron Maiden members and a few special friends have teamed up to create an outstanding CD full of special songs and an accompanying booklet featuring some real collector piece photos.
Steve Harris has also announced his support for the project, and the booklet includes a personal message from him.
MetalTalk are encouraging everyone to buy a copy to help to secure the future of this historic venue.
MetalTalk editor Steve Ritchie spoke with Cart And Horses owner and ‘Iron Maiden Legacy custodian’ Kastro Pergjoni to find out more about the project.
MetalTalk: The Cart and Horses closed down for refurb, but its taken a lot longer and I read the plans have changed. What the latest news and when do you think you might be open again?
Kastro: “Yes, it is taking longer than we thought but we are getting there. We had everything in place to open before Christmas this year but with the COVID-19 situation everything changed unfortunately. Our plan for reopening is spring 2021, depending on the government restrictions.”
The CD looks great… Can you talk about when you had the idea for this and how you managed to get it off the ground?
“The idea came after a chat with Terry Wapram [Former Iron Maiden guitarist] and Mike Chudleigh.
“We were talking about Cart and Horses’ current financial situation and how much it is costing to try and keep this iconic venue as a live music venue. I already had some merchandise displaying the phrase ‘2020, Wasted Year’ which I felt was a commentary of how awful this year had been for so many people.
“Terry offered to donate a some of his material and Mike said he was happy to help out in any way he could.
“So then the idea came to ask all the former Iron Maiden members that played here, whether they would be up for donating a song to help out the pub. We all thought “if the fans couldn’t come to Cart and Horses, then the Cart will go to them” in the form of an album.
“It was decided creating an album to raise funds could also allow Cart and Horses to reconnect with the fans.
“To my surprise most of artists involved didn’t even think twice, they just said “YES, we would be honoured to do whatever we can to help Cart & Horses and live music venues in general.”
“After speaking to our extended former Maiden family I approached Terry Wapram. He agreed to help manage the project with Mike on his side, as well as allowing me to raid his archives for the project.
“Here it gives me a chance to THANK Terry and Mike for helping me out. Without you guys it would have been impossible.”
I imagine the extended Cart and Maiden family were more than happy to join in with this. How does that make you feel?
“I feel very proud, that in our hour of need people were able to give an almost instant yes to contributing tracks or speaking to friends, family or former-bandmates to enable us to assemble a great selection of music. Everyone involved has added their own piece of magic and history. I am truly humbled by their response and help with the project.
“Everyone’s willingness to help has been truly amazing and I really can’t thank everyone involved enough.
“Dave Smith and Terry Wapram have brought their experience to the project, enabling it to happen and Rob Grain agreed to help us bring everything together.
“A special mention should go to Paul Di’Anno too. He gave the project his full support by allowing us to use a track. Thanks also to Chop Pittman, as he brought us a message from Steve Harris and it doesn’t get better than Steve Harris giving your project his blessing.
“All the artists have left a nice message and a few pictures for our twelve page booklet that comes with the CD.”
There is some great unreleased material there too… Tony Moore, Terry Wapram, Tony Parsons, Ron Matthews… this could be a real collectors piece…do you agree?
“Totally agree. If you are a collector or, especially an Iron Maiden fan, you will not want to miss out on this piece of art. They are very talented musicians and I am honoured that they gave something so special and unique to me in support of Cart and Horses.
“I believe the CD gives special access to material that fans would never have had the chance to hear before.
“Barry Purkis took time out from his recording with his band Thunderstick to give us a track. Sam Samson gave access to an unreleased Sam Apple Pie demo featuring Tony Parsons, while Tony’s brother Steve Parsons brought a demo track from Press Gang. This was a band that, together with Tony Parsons, could name former Maidens Ron Rebel and Doug Sampson in its ranks at one time or another.
“Cris Martin donated a track from his solo album featuring Blaze Bayley. Unreleased tracks, classic tracks, never before heard demos and exclusive tracks, there are also some very rare gems taken from the former Maiden’s members personal archives.”
Can you talk about your personal highlights on the CD?
“That would be like asking me to pick a favourite child! Impossible, as they are all great.
“It is a fantastic CD in its own right and has some really rare bonus material. A lot of thought was put into the project to try and make it something special, with material spanning 40 years.
“Saying that, one of the highlights has to be the quick responses I had from the artists featuring on the album.
“They were eager to be part of the CD and donate their materials to help. Second one was the kindness from everyone who was willing to help when I asked them. There was no hesitation to help out.
One of the last events at the ‘old’ Cart, was the Paul Mario Day day…. do you have fond memories of that event?
“Yes of course. That was one of the best events for so many reasons at Cart and Horses. It will be unforgettable because Paul Mario Day [first Iron Maiden vocalist] made a special visit to the Cart all the way from Australia after 44-45 years.
“I must thank Steve Loopy Newhouse for inviting Paul, also Mike Chudleigh for helping out and making that day happen. There are so many great memories from that day.
“It was emotional for many of the fans, artists and special guests involved, especially the moment Paul Mario Day performed Wrathchild with Buffalo Fish and few more songs with Airforce later. They were then joined on stage by Terry Rance and Dave Sullivan resulting in tears of joy both on stage and in the crowd.
“The event sold out even before we could announce Paul was the special guest. We needed to keep it a secret as he wanted to surprise his mum for Christmas by coming over from Australia.
“We had promised something special and to sell out an event without fans knowing who the special guest was shows the faith that fans had in us.”
It is quite important to maintain the legacy from the early part of Maiden’s career and the Cart has an iconic place in that story. Do you feel a responsibility to maintain this? Does it weigh heavy on your mind?
“I do feel the responsibility to maintain the legacy purely on the basis of how much this place means to the music industry and especially to Maiden fans.
“Many of our fans have approached Cart and Horses regarding the legacy, some donating items for display and some have worked with the Cart and Horses helping to ensure the connection with the band remains prominent.
“Many bands containing former Maidens started to play the Cart and Horses to help raise it’s profile including Terry Wapram, Tony Moore, Doug Sampson, Bob Sawyer, Terry Rance others like Dave Sullivan, Barry Purkis, Dave Lights and Paul Di’anno hosting or attending events.
“All of these great people are part of the Cart and Horses’ family and continue to support the legacy of the venue through playing gigs, hosting meet and greets and attending shows and events.
“We also have had Steve Harris’s original band Gypsy’s Kiss, Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell and many other great artists along with some incredible Iron Maiden cover bands from around the world.
“It is worth noting our musical history predates Iron Maiden! Steve Harris used to regularly come to the Cart and Horses to see bands like Slowbone before he started performing here with Gypsy’s Kiss, Smiler and Iron Maiden.
“Having never forgotten his roots, he has kindly given us a few words about what Cart and Horses meant to him for the CD’s booklet.”
With so many venues in danger of closing due to Covid and even the pressures on venues before this time, how do you see the future of the Cart? Is there a risk of it never re-opening?
“As you mentioned, so many venues are in danger and Cart and Horses is in a far worse position than most of them.
“Cart and Horses is a privately run independent small business and, as with all small businesses, we are struggling to survive. We are doing the best we can especially during this difficult time.
“The future of Cart and Horses and live music is hopefully looking better, with the live music moving downstairs into the newly formed basement. It will be exciting for everyone as there will be more space than before along with a larger stage.
“In terms of the ‘risk of never reopening’, there is no chance!
“With all the effort and money that we have put in, we cannot let our fans down and hopefully, once we open the fans will not let us down too.
“We are very positive in our approach in reopening the Cart, as we believe that we have a lot to offer, but as with any business of course there are risks.
“However, we would like to become a mecca for Rock/Metal fans, who will visit the Cart and Horses to soak up its rich musical history.”
How important is that Maiden fans worldwide help to support their legacy by getting involved in this CD?
“Without the fans, no band or venue will survive, so YES it is very important, we need the fans!
“They have been brilliant and supportive whenever we are in need. By purchasing this unique album, it will raise money to contribute towards the refurbishment of Cart and Horses. This will enable us to continue to offer quality live music events in the future.
“We could have tried to crowd fund or ask for donations, but music is in the blood of Cart and Horses and we always like to give something in return. Due to the refurbishment project and the subsequent delays due to lockdown, our loyal fans can’t come to us.
“We hope that by bringing the music to them, they will be able to can crack open a Trooper beer and enjoy the album until we can welcome them back through our doors.
“Many fans from all over the world have visited us, but many more have not had the chance yet. I hope the album will give the fans that have not been able to visit a taste of the Cart and Horses’ musical legacy and to become part of it.
“This CD is special, so hopefully everyone will enjoy it.
“It is a collector’s item and a very rare CD. By pre-ordering at www.cartandhorses.london you get your contribution recognised in the CD’s booklet.”
Any message for MetalTalk readers, Iron Maiden fans or Metal fans around the world?
“Now is the time for all the MetalTalk, Iron Maiden and Rock/Heavy metal fans to show your extra support so we can continue our journey and revive the live music scene to how it used to be at Cart and Horses.
“Back in the good old days, Cart and Horses was THE venue to be at if you were a Rock/Heavy Metal fan or musician. It was very exclusive.
“We are optimistic about the future with the help of our Cart and Horses Troopers in making this live music venue buzzing again.
“Please support live music all over the world during these difficult times by attending events, when we are all able to open again, so that iconic venues like the Cart and Horses can continue to bring inspirational live music to future generations.”
PRE-ORDER NOW (limited time only) and don’t miss the chance to have your name in the booklet.
1. Witches Tower – Cris Martins Rock Dawn Album Ft Blaze Bayley and Barry Purkis (6.11)
2. Influence – Gypsy’s Kiss (5.52)
3. Guilty – Crimson Lake E.P. version Ft Paul Mario Day (6.27)
4. Power Of One – Lizards, Power of One album Ft Terry Rance (5.11)
5. Mr. K – Buffalo Fish, Ft Terry Wapram from the Soundtrack of the film Untitled (4.08)
6. We Can Win – Tony Moore, Previously unreleased (3.24)
7. The Break Up – Ft Terry Wapram exclusive Cart & Horses track (3.05)
8. Hit and Run – Sam Apple Pie previously unreleased, Ft Tony Parsons (4.58)
9. The Reaper – Airforce Exclusive Cart & Horses version Ft Doug Sampson (5.20)
10. Go Sleep With The Enemy – I Dare Ya! Thunderstick EP version Ft Barry Purkis (3.59)
11. 11. The Land God Gave To Cain – Paul DiAnno’s Battlezone Ft Paul DiAnno, (7.20)
12. Love is Blind – Space Chickens, unreleased demo. Ft Ron Matthews & Terry Wapram (4.56)
13. Fallen Hero – Press Gang Ft Tony Parsons previously unreleased (Parsons Archive) (3.34)