by Jeff Niesel
Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler was excited to see Saxon when they played his hometown in Southern England in the early ’80s. He had already bought tickets to the show when the band’s manager called to see if he could take the place of drummer Pete Gill. Glockler agreed and the rest is heavy metal history.
“I was in a new wave band and we were big,” says Glockler. “We had a lot of hit singles. The manager of Saxon used to be in the first professional band I ever played in. When [Saxon drummer] Pete Gill injured his hand, he rang up and he asked if I could help out. This was on a Sunday and the first gig was on a Wednesday.”
The ’80s was a particularly good time period for the band and it thrived alongside like-minded acts such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Though Glockler left the group in the late ’80s to tour with GTR, he returned to the group after only about a year and has played with the guys ever since. Despite shifts in musical trends, the group has never been on hiatus or entirely lost its fanbase. Earlier this year, it released Sacrifice, another solid album of wailing guitar solos and operatic vocals, and is now on its most extensive U.S. tour in years; the band plays Peabody’s on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
“A lot of it comes down to the fact that we enjoy what we do,” says Glockler when asked about the band’s longevity. “We enjoy the composition and making albums in the recording studio and the experimentation and we enjoy the playing live. As long as people want to see us and stuff, we’ll keep doing it. Like any band, once you stop enjoying it, there’s no point in doing it. We’re having fun and I see no changes in the near future.”
While there’s nothing cutting edge about Sacrifice, Glockler says he continues to listen to a wide range of music, some of it contemporary.
“Everyone listens to all sorts of stuff,” he says when asked about his current favs. “ I listen to mainly prog stuff actually. I’ve been going back and listening to stuff from the early ‘70s like early Genesis with Peter Gabriel. I love Porcupine Tree but I also love Rammstein. I go right across the gamut. Everyone has different stuff they like. I think that’s good. I started listening to fusion stuff like Chick Corea and Billy Cobham. I think the latest Sabbath album is great.”
With 20 studio albums under its belt, deciding on which tunes end up on the set list won’t be easy.
“We’ll rehearse them all, just the ones we think we can do justice to live,” says Glockler. “If the song is really fast in the studio, it’s a different thing. You can keep doing it until you get it right. Live, you have one chance. Sometimes, the fast songs can sound frenetic and a bit of a mess. We’ve been experimenting and we’re happy with the ones we’re going to play. We might throw something in one night that we haven’t done for the rest of the tour and that keeps us fresh and makes it a bit of fun.”