Garry, Jaguar is generally considered as one the first speed metal bands along with Venom, Tank and Raven, do you agree with it?
Well if we helped to invent speed metal we didn’t know we were doing it! We just loved to play fast and the faster we played the more we liked it. We were just teenagers having fun that’s all, we had no idea what was going to happen.
In your opinion, did the band already have a name in the scene before you released Power Games?
Yes in some places like Holland for example, due firstly to our demo tape then the two singles that came out before Power Games. We were already regularly playing shows in the the UK and Holland, trying to build up a following long before Power Games was released in May 1983.
At which point did you start working on the new songs?
We were always writing new songs, that process never stopped and the songs that ended up on Power Games were the songs we considered to be the best when we went in to record the album. I think we were pretty good when it came to writing new songs, there was never any shortage of ideas or creativity.
You entered the Impulse Studios in November, 1982, to cut the album, were you prepared to record the material?
Yes as prepared as we could be. We had more than enough songs ready to go so we didn’t get stressed about that. The actual recording sessions were another matter though….ha ha!
What about the recording sessions?
We turned up and were basically told we had five days to record the album from start to finish. We thought Dave Wood was joking but he wasn’t and would not budge when l asked for more recording time. He said ’What do you want to do? Go on a fishing holiday?’…ha ha, this line has gone down in Jaguar history. We did the best we could but what can you do in five days?
Do you think, that the songs themselves all bear some strong riffcraft and excitement, the song structures are quite simple actually and the music is catchy?
Yes the songs were quite simple in arrangement and structure but we always tried to make them singalong and catchy, because that’s what we liked. To be honest l don’t care about complexity and technical skill, that’s not my thing, I’m more into the energy and vibe of a song.
Did the tunes also show great hard rock implementations that fit your image and various examples of straight rock of the mid to late 70s can be traced through some of the material?
Perhaps ’Master Game’ might be an example of that but that’s about it. I don’t think the rest of the songs on Power Games sound particularly 70’s. We weren’t trying to re-create that decade.
Is Dutch Connection a tribute to Jaguar’s early-career popularity in Holland?
Yes it sure is! We first played there in 1981 and the reception we got was completely overwelming, it was awesome! Every time we played there it was brilliant so we decided to honour our Dutch fans with a song, so we wrote Dutch Connection for them. When we play it there the fans go crazy and so do we! I played it for James Hetfield last year, (2022).
Ain’t no Fantasy was on the Demo in 1981, was it a renewed version? Did you re-record it?
We decided to re-record it for the album because we felt we could do a better version of it. I think it’s better than the demo version anyway.
Does Power Games have three key ingredients: earthiness, enthusiasm and naïveté, at the same time this is an incredibly fierce, ass kickin’, top-to-bottom classic with nary a bad cut?
People say it does which is great, we just tried to make the best record we could under the time contraints we were given. It could have been so much better if we’d had more recording time.
How do you explain, that musically speaking Jaguar had a unique style and a personal sound?
It just sort of happened, evolved. Of course these days it not cool to talk about chemistry but l believe that’s what we had. Just like all my favourite bands. I also think our sound had a lot to do with the way that my guitar and Jeff Cox’s bass locked together, kind of ’as one’. Jeff was a phenomenal bass player, totally underrated.
Rowdy, rampant, and aggressive, yet tight, coordinated and semi-polished, the loose and unpolished sound of the guitars blend well with the basic nature of the songs, correct?
Ha ha, yes l guess so! That’s down to the way l play and my ’keep it simple’ mentality.
You worked with Keith Nichol, was he the in-house producer of the Impulse Studios? Did you get on well, was it easy to work him with?
Yes he was the in-house Impulse Studios producer at that time so we had no choice but to work with him. We got on well and he was a nice guy but we would have worked with someone else given a choice.
Is it true, that the label’s financial problems delayed the printing for several months? How long did it take?
There was no mention that Neat had financial problems at the time but yes it took them seven months to release the album.
Were there any shows or tours in support of the record?
We were always playing shows, both in the UK and in Holland, some of them coincided with the release of the album. I remember playing a bunch of shows in Holland with Raven around that time.
How about the gig at the Siesta Club in Hengelo, Holland, December 17, 1982, that was released on cd in 2006?
That show was never supposed to have been officially released, it’s more of a bootleg than anything else. Majestic Rock Records were going to put it out, Geoff Gillespie from the label called me and said he’d obtained a ’superb’ recording of the show and wanted to release it. They were going to put it out whether we liked it or not and as the band didn’t have the money to legally stop them l was forced into working on the release to make sure we got something out of it. In the end I got five hundred copies of the CD out of them plus they were supposed to pay us £1000.00 but never did. The label went out of business owing us and other bands a lot of money.
What do you recall of the 1983 N.W.O.B.H.M. scene compared to the early (1979/1980) days?
I don’t recall an awful lot about the scene in 1983 as we were in the process of changing our style to the more melodic ’This Time’ era. What l do remember though is it wasn’t as exciting as the earlier years. Maybe it was just what we were going through that made it feel less exciting.
Is the album a kind of late-to-the-game N.W.O.B.H.M. classic, but on the other hand is a landmark of that era?
I think it was kind of indicative of the ’second wave’ of NWOBHM, after the Maiden and Saxon etc wave. Us, Raven, Fist and all the Neat bands, I suppose you could call it the Neat Records era.
How do you view, that you were probably a year or two late in getting your debut out to make much of an impact?
It’s possible that if it had been released earlier it may have made more of an impact, yes l agree. It could have been released a little earlier than it was though because as I’ve said Neat Records sat on it for around seven months before they put it out.
When it comes to being underrated, Jaguar may as well fit the description…
Ha ha, I agree, well l would say that wouldn’t I! Perhaps we are but there again so are Raven, a criminally underrated band, Diamond Head too. There are a ton of underrated bands who don’t/didn’t get the success they deserved.
Garry, thanks a lot for your answers, any closing words to the interview?
My pleasure, I’m always surprised and grateful that anyone remembers Power Games after all these years. So thanks for asking me to talk about it….keep on rocking!!!