» Nigel Glockler - Saxon
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Interview conducted June 10 2022
Interview published July 13 2022

"I'm doing something I love and I feel so grateful for that."

Metal Covenant got to talk a little bit at Sweden Rock Festival with Saxon's seemingly ever nice and happy drummer Nigel Glockler.

Tobbe: Who would you consider to be your best friend in the band nowadays?

Nigel: We're all good friends. Obviously, I mean, we live all over the place. I live in Texas, in Dallas. I mean, the person I see the most is Doug [Scarratt, guitar], because when I'm staying in England I stay in my old hometown which is where he lives anyway.

Tobbe: It's kind of funny with Doug still. The new guy… [Joined the band in 1995.]

Nigel: He's been in 20 odd years and he's still… No, it's great. We get on great. We sort of meet up and jam and stuff. But we meet socially, so it's great, you know.

Tobbe: Let's talk about the last record a little bit. If someone doesn't know that Carpe Diem was out in February, what has that someone missed out on?

Nigel: They've missed out on a great album, I think. You know, originally, I mean, I did the drum tracks for it in the end of 2019, because it was due to be out the following year. But then of course we had the pandemic. So, finally it came out this year, you know, so. [Laughs]

It was quite strange actually, 'cause I hadn't sort of listened to much of it until the real sort of thing came out. I mean, we did a couple of videos for it and stuff, but it was nice to finally get it out. I sort of think if you liked Thunderbolt [2018] and Battering Ram [2015] you'll love this.

And, I mean, a lot of people have said that some of it sort of sounds back to sort of classic Saxon times, you know. And I think it does. You know, you've got a couple of tracks on there. For instance, I mean, Pilgrimage has typical Saxon groove, you know. And for me, the groove of a song is the most important thing.

Tobbe: The artwork is a bit special. I have heard a lot of words, negative and positive, about it.

Nigel: You can't please everyone, you know. It was Paul Gregory again, that has done a lot of our albums, and that was his kind of vision, I guess, you know. But hey, it's an album cover, you know.

Tobbe: So what does a new Saxon album mean to you today, personally?

Nigel: I mean, from the point of view when we were writing and recording an album, I think it just shows that we're still relevant. You know, there are a lot of younger bands around, obviously, but I think, you know, the fact that people love it, it makes us feel good, actually.

Tobbe: What is cool about a band like Saxon is you still keep putting out albums, which is kind of the opposite to a lot of bands from the late '70s or the '80s.

Nigel: I mean, that's because we enjoy writing and recording. People ask me, "What do you prefer, live or studio?". I mean, to play live is great because you get the vibe from the audience. I mean, there's nothing like it. You know, that adrenaline you get from an audience reaction.

But in a studio it's great because you're creating, and I like the creative part of it all as well. You know, getting the drum sounds and all this stuff, and creating the songs and making them sound right. So, there's two different ways, but I enjoy both. I think we all do.

Tobbe: And without being mean or anything, and don't take this wrong, but is there anything you or I can say about this record that hasn't been said about a Saxon record before?

Nigel: Hmm. I think, I mean, for me, you know, the production of this album is great. Actually, you know, it sounds very fresh to me. A lot of that's due to Andy Sneap. Personally, I love working with him, because he always gets me a great drum sound. And, you know, we sort of talked when we were away from the studio, and he'll send me, "I've done this to the drums. What do you think?" and then I'll go, "Well, what about trying that?". That's how it works, you know.

Tobbe: Is it even remotely possible for a lot of people to distinguish each and every album that Saxon has put out during the last 20 years? Because there are a lot of 'em now.

Nigel: [Laughs] Yeah, there are a lot. I mean, this is a problem, and also when we try to decide a setlist, you know. But I mean, for festivals we usually keep it like a sort of greatest hits. It's party time, really. We don't sort of throw a lot of, like, new stuff out. For instance we're saving the new album for when we tour, you know. Because we wanna have a good stage production and everything. You know, every tour for us has got to be special.

Tobbe: Saxon is obviously an album band, but have you guys ever talked about releasing standalone singles and just put 'em up on Spotify?

Nigel: Oh yeah, I mean, there are. Carpe Diem was released as a single, I think.

Tobbe: But that wasn't standalone, because it is in fact on the album.

Nigel: Oh, I see what you mean. Separate ones. In the past we did it, but then it ended up on albums, so. No, I guess, you know, we just go in and write, and generally, if it doesn't make it to an album, for instance, we might save the idea, and then we'll look at it again for the next album maybe.

Because sometimes you write material, and say, for instance, you have 12 songs, and maybe number 11 doesn't quite fit with the other ones. So you take that out, put another one in. So it's like a jigsaw puzzle almost. But nothing ever gets wasted.

Tobbe: So, obviously you're an album band, but how did you listen to music when you were in your younger days? Were you an album guy back then?

Nigel: I must have started to listen to music when I was about 4 years old, and then, you know, you bought a 45. You know, a single. If I heard something on the radio it was like that. And then gradually, as I got older, it was like, "Oh, there's a big one, with more songs of the same band.". So then it gradually just changed to that. But no, I mean, I just like good songs. Sometimes I might listen to something, the single is great, and the rest of the album is a bit hmm, well, you know. Because I mean, I listen to all sorts of genres of music.

Tobbe: You would never wanna hear that about your own record. That people just listen to one song.

Nigel: No, no, no. Definitely. No, I was just saying, you know. But then other people might love them, you know, what I didn't like.

Tobbe: Music is always a matter of taste. It's kind of hard to actually say to someone that they don't have a good taste in music, because that's their opinion.

Nigel: Exactly. And what makes your opinion more important than theirs?

Tobbe: But, you know, people are people, and you want everyone to be just like you.

Nigel: I mean, I've turned people onto bands, but people have turned me onto bands, you know, so.

Tobbe: You mentioned that you wanna do more a full tour for the Carpe Diem album. Is it kind of weird that you will probably play, like, 4 or 5 songs live from that album when you go on tour, but then when the next record comes out Carpe Diem will be kind of forgotten, maybe apart from one song?

Nigel: Yeah, it is strange, because you think, "Why aren't we playing this?". But I mean, there isn't time to play everything. There is just not time. I mean, what we might do in the middle of a tour is sometimes pull something out from the deep. "Let's try this." and we might rehearse it a few times in soundchecks and stuff, and then put something in.

Tobbe: You have a couple of staples in your setlist, but would you prefer personally if you played other classic songs live instead of, like, for instance, Princess Of The Night or Crusader?

Nigel: I think, for instance, Princess and Crusader, I mean, we just got to play them. You know, we played a festival in Gdansk in Poland last weekend, and towards the end of the set Biff started asking the audience, "What do you wanna hear?" and they all started chanting "Crusader, Crusader" and it wasn't on our setlist. So you never know.

But I think generally Crusader and Princess, those two have definitely got to stick in, I mean. But, you know, who knows? As I say, we swap around sometimes, so.

Tobbe: But pretty good songs, I must say. [Read: amazing songs]

Nigel: [Laughs] And again, it varies from country to country, you know. For instance, a lot of the South American countries, they wanna hear Ride Like The Wind. So you just never know. You just try and sort of work this out, so.

As I said, on tour we sort of might change the setlist around a minute, because we might put something in. "Oh, what do you wanna hear?" and suddenly they start yelling one song, and it's like, "Oh God, we got to play that one now." and then you think, "Yeah, that went down fantastic, so let's keep it in.".

Tobbe: I talked to Paul [Quinn, guitar] and according to him plenty of wine is what keeps you guys going.

Nigel: Plenty of wine. Oh God. Yeah, you know, we like wine. I mean, personally I'm a wine or a beer drinker, you know. Put IPAs in front of me and I'm in heaven, you know. [Laughs]

Tobbe: When you're not being Nigel Glockler in Saxon, what else do you do today?

Nigel: Well, I also write what they call library music. So it's music that's used on documentaries and TV and stuff like that. So I do that. And a lot of those times I write with Doug with that as well. And just, I mean, last year I did some session work and stuff, so. You know, I played a couple of tracks on the latest Alcatrazz album [V].

Tobbe: Do you think that you have ever missed out on something because of choice of career?

Nigel: You know, how many people actually love what they're doing? You know, like an office work. I'm doing something I love and I feel so grateful for that. I mean, when I was 14 I wanted to be a vet. You know, an animal doctor. But in those days you'd need your Latin, and I was crappy at Latin. [Laughs]

So that went out, you know. And again, that I'm grateful about this job, is that I've been to a lot of countries that I would never have dreamed of going to. And made a lot of friends, you know. So it's really cool.

It's like coming to a festival, you know. So many friends in other bands. Sometimes you don't see each other, apart from texting, because you're on tour, they're on tour, or, you know, they're in recording. So, something like the festivals or going back to these countries are great times to talk with old friends again.

Tobbe: Don't hold back now. It's your time to brag. What is the greatest thing about being Nigel Glockler of Saxon?

Nigel: [Laughs] Again, like I said, it's just doing something I absolutely love, you know. And I've got to say this. You know, it's not bullshit. I'm just so grateful for the fans that appreciate what we do. And I always say "We're nothing without the fans.". It's the fans that have put us where we are, and "Thank You!".

Tobbe: It's actually quite special being a touring musician of your caliber, because not a lot of people get to do this, at your level.

Nigel: Exactly. And again I say, it's all down to the fans and that stuff, and I must say "Thank You!" to all of them. I really appreciate it, you know.

Tobbe: And I think that Saxon is a band that has also gotten new fans. It's not only old people.

Nigel: No, no. All the time. When we're touring, I mean, again, at the festival in Poland, it was a lot of youngsters up the front. They were singing the words and it was like, "Wow!", you know. It's brilliant. And so we're constantly turning over, getting new fans all the time, which I think is really healthy for a band.

See also: a review of the gig the same day

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