It’s often a strange chain of events that are the catalyst for happenings in our lives, not to mention lucky coincidences. It was just this sort of combination of apparently random events that jump started the Aragorn reawakening back in March 2002.ARAGORN GENRES
Over the years, I had always kept an eye out for any mention of Aragorn, no matter how minor and friends and family would occasionally present me with some long out of print tome, with a small mention of the band. Cue misty eyed reminiscing of HM days gone. However, many years later, I was sat in my office finishing reading the latest edition of “Classic Rock”, I espied on the back cover an advert for Sanctuary Records latest releases. Amongst the new CD’s, was an album compilation – “The Flame Burns On”, the Neat Records anthology. Now I had been made aware of the “Essential Neat Records” collection on Pony Canyon in 1999, but despite my best efforts via the www, I was unable to find out any more information, much less get a copy. A quick visit to the record company website revealed that our magnum opus, the single “Black Ice” was included in the track listing on the new offering.
This pricked my curiosity as to whether there was any interest in the band I played drums so enthusiastically for some 20 years earlier. I found a couple of websites listing basic details of the single, but what intrigued me was a site I later found out to be run by Phil Lentz in the USA. In his collection, he listed not only the single, but a “demo” tape with three tracks, the tape turned out to be our follow up EP that was never released, what fascinates me is how did it get into circulation? I’d never had a copy of it as we recorded it and when our relationship with Neat ended – nothing more happened about it.
I contacted Phil, asking if I could have a copy as I played on it and had never heard the finished result. Almost immediately, Phil e-mailed me back somewhat pleased to have had a message from a long lost NWOBHM band member! He very kindly made a copy of the CD and sent it to me. In return, I dug around my old tapes and discovered not only a cassette of the album (again – unreleased) we recorded in 1982/3, but a number of tapes of demos and rehearsals and sent him copies. Upon receiving the tapes, he was of the opinion that there may be quite a few die hards out in the world who would be keen to hear this material. Surely not thought I, the band has been split up for 20 years, who would want to hear this old stuff. How wrong I was!
Encouraged by Phil’s enthusiasm, I contacted Sanctuary, mainly to blag a free copy of “The Flame Burns On”, but found myself being quizzed about the availability of more Aragorn recordings. So began the quest.
My first task was to track down the other members of Arargorn, Chris Dunne and Jon Hull. The last time I saw them was in 1986 when I returned from a European tour to attend Chris’ wedding and there had been no further contact since then. A little detective work provided Chris’ home telephone number and we had quite a phone conversation I can tell you! The search for the album multi track tapes began; Chris tracked down Jon, who in turn managed to find the engineer, John Harrison in Wales who thought he might still have the stereo master. Unfortunately, the multi tracks had been lost many years earlier and the stereo master was in such poor condition, it was unplayable. What astonished me, was Chris and Jon had never had a copy of the album, I had asked if they had any copies as I thought my cassette copy would be a bit worn out after all this time. This obviously filled me with terror as I now knew – I had the ONLY copy of the album – a copy that I had been merrily playing without a second thought for 20 years! This tape suddenly achieved diety like status, stored in it’s own wooden box, wrapped in bubble wrap, protected from the world and was never to played until digital remastering!
Since then, progress has been slow but steady, with help from Phil, I have been in touch with many organisations who appear willing to see our music released, Paul Newman at Antfarm Studios here in London has been fantastic in getting all the recordings off the fragile tapes and into digital, the legendary Dave Hughes from Real Scenes Studios in sunny Saudi Arabia has been superb with his non stop “gee-up”, not to mention sweating over a hot mixing desk removing all the hiss, pops and clunks from the recordings and last, but by no means least, Mario Corbella in Milan, one of the first people to get in touch, who has made himself indispensable so many ways, including finding old releases from all over the world, most of which I had no idea existed!
There has been a fantastic response to the news that the album is going to see the light of day, hopefully not too far into 2003, 20 years after the band finished recording it and split shortly thereafter. There is rarely a day without a message via e-mail or on the message board from the growing army of HM fans keen to know more about progress and it is extremely heart warming to know that the effort and enthusiasm we put into our music will finally be appreciated by a wider audience.
NWOBHM, Heavy/Speed Metal
ARAGORN LYRICAL THEMES
United Kingdom (Manchester), formed in 1978
ARAGORN CURRENT RECORD LABEL
ARAGORN CURRENT LINE-UP
Vocals : Chris Dunne
Guitars : John Hull (Touched)
Bass: Nigel Stollof
Drums : Mike Ellis (Meggido (UK), Avoidance of Doubt)
ARAGORN PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Guitar: Andy Halliwell
Bass: Chris White
Bass : Dale Lee
Drums : Chris Dodson (Chateaux)