MALCOLM COPE (Drums) [MC] - Following on from our successful reunion back in 2011 the band are now mainly involved in writing, developing and recording new material and new songs.
MICK HOPKINS (Lead Guitar) [MH] - We are currently recording and mixing a brand new album for release sometime in 2015/2016 and will be planning to play some gigs and festivals to promote the album.
Q2 You have an album coming out that consists of some unreleased material from the early 80's, can you tell us a little bit more about this album?
[MH] - Yes that’s correct. The compilation is called “TOO HOT TO HANDLE” and will be available through SKOL Records. The CD will be released on 31st January 2015 and will be exclusively premiered at The METAL ASSAULT V FESITIVAL at Wurzburg in Germany on that date. The album will include some unreleased rarities and demos from 1981/1982 plus alternative versions of songs from that era of Quartz music.
Q3 The band was broken up for a long time, when you made the decision to split up back in the day, did you ever think you would get back together?
[MC] - Given the vast amount of time, energy and effort spent plus the numerous sacrifices made in trying to break into the big time, I think it’s fair enough to say that we had all become very disillusioned with and jaded by the music business at that stage in our lives. However, there has always existed a very strong bond between the original band members who have remained very close friends and kept in contact with each other over the interim period of time. Family responsibilities and work commitments had to take priority for a while although we did still continue to write and play through various side projects and ventures. To be honest we never really thought about reforming until a few years ago. Now we have with the benefit of hindsight we all wish we would have done it sooner on reflection.
Q4 The band was one of the first bands in the NWOBHM movement, do you feel you inspired a lot of the bands back in the days and also what are your thoughts on the way metal has evolved over the past 40 years?
[MH] - We’ve never really thought about it until now. After reforming and getting back into the music scene we are discovering several new sub genres of Metal music exist like Black, Death, Power, Doom, Speed, Thrash, Proto and Epic Metal. The people and fans we meet at gigs and festivals tell us how we have inspired or influenced them which is quite uplifting for us to hear. We know that bands have named themselves after some of our song titles such as WILDFIRE & MAINLINE RIDER and that is cool.
[MC] - When Punk Rock exploded onto the music scene in the late 1970’s the Heavy Rock movement slowed right down and several bands we knew did not survive that period. We continued to write material and gig heavily during these difficult times with the support of mainly Danny Reddington from Reddington’s Rare Records. This gave us a lot of credibility with metal fans and in the music industry too and when we emerged through the other side we were rightly or wrongly given the label of NWoBHM.
Q5 Back in the day what where some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explored with the music?
[MH] - Back then, as now, any topic or subject is considered for lyrics e.g. drugs, dealers, death, demons, devils and even some topics not beginning with the letter “D” too. Many songs are from just general observations but some are from personal or real life experiences. Others come from watching films or are fantasies and others come from ideas that are brought slowly through to being and can be likened to having and raising children. Geoff Nicholls is a prolific song writer and that’s reason why Tony Iommi asked him to join him in the summer of 1979. Initially it was supposed to be for just two weeks but Geoff actually ended up staying with Black Sabbath for nearly twenty four years. In many instances though we all bring something different to the table for consideration and writing is a group effort.
Q6 The band was originally known as 'Bandylegs’, what was the decision behind the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Quartz'?
[MC] - From 1973 to 1976 we were known as Bandylegs and we worked the club scene around England as a cabaret act and were Jimmy Helms backing band for a while too. Our big break came when were asked to support Black Sabbath on their 1975 Sabotage Tour. Our musical style was constantly changing and developing at this time. We were writing heavier stuff and watching Sabbath perform night after night on stage simply confirmed what we all felt in our hearts. In 1976 we got signed by Jet Records and the rest is history.
[MH] - Whilst with Jet Records it was felt by all involved that a name change was required ahead of our debut album launch in 1977. The boss of Jet Records at the time was Ronnie Fowler and he seemed to have an uncanny knack of coming up with band names that began with the letter “Q”. He had been reading a book about various rock formations and rock geology and suggested “QUARTZ”. As quartz is a hard crystalline rock and the crystal was used in old radio sets to produce music we all agreed it was very apt and indeed appropriate as it reflected the type of music we were now writing and playing ….. So that’s what happened.
Q7 What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
[MH] - We’ve played on tours with some real heavyweight acts such as BLACK SABBATH, AC/DC, UFO, RUSH, GILLAN, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON and DEF LEPPARD and they were all great shows with nice people and great experiences in general. I personally think the best times were those with SABBATH and with RUSH. As far as our performances are concerned we just go out and try to enjoy ourselves on stage which is something carried over from our earlier Bandylegs days. More importantly we hope that the audience enjoy themselves too and interact with us and our music.
[MC] - Most of the times then were amazing given all the excitement, organisation and logistics involved with big tours and who we were appearing with back then. I do however enjoy the smaller and more intimate gigs too. Each has its own merits, place and purposes in my opinion.
Q8 Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
[MH] - Yes we do. We are planning a hometown gig ahead of us appearing at DESERTFEST in London on Sunday 26th April 2015 where we will share the stage with some old friends of ours namely ANGEL WITCH and catch up with some new friends of ours too AMULET. Hopefully with the imminent SKOL Records CD release, a new album in the pipeline and the increased exposure from interviews like yours then more gigs and festivals will naturally follow.
[MC] - We have some dates pencilled in at the moment but are keen to do more festivals especially in Europe and in America if possible so if any promoters are interested then message us at email@example.com
Q9 On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your reunion by long-time fans?
[MH] - The responses we have received since our reunion through e-mails and via the Quartz official Facebook page are simply over whelming. We have received messages from literally all over the world congratulating us on getting back together etc. Some are from fans that have followed us right from the very beginning but in the main a lot are from young new fans that have discovered us through the internet and on You Tube.
Q10 When can we expect a new album of material and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
[MC] - As both Mick and I have already alluded to earlier in the interview we have written several brand new tracks that have been recorded and are currently in the mixing stage. I think people are going to be very surprised at how powerful the new songs are as they are in my opinion some of the heaviest stuff we have written to date. So as they say “Watch this space ..........” then we’ll have to take stock and decide what’s next.
Q11 What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
[MH] - BLACK SABBATH, VAN HALEN and RUSH plus others too numerous to mention. I am listening to NICKELBACK on my Hi-Fi system at home at the moment.
[MC] - Many styles and bands have made a mark or lasting impression on the members in the band over the years but we still play with an energy and a driving approach allied with a strong conviction to our own material. I follow what METALLICA are doing because our sound engineer from the mid 80’s Mick Hughes aka Zoom joined them. So if by chance he reads this - Micky wants his Wah-Wah pedal back that you took to repair
Q12 What are some of your non-musical interests?
[MC] - Music has been and still is my whole life really, apart from taking some time out to raise a family and run a home, like many others during this economic recession I’m finding it difficult just to manage and cope.
[MH] - I like following my local football team which is BIRMINGHAM CITY FC, plus I spend time researching my family tree and I am also fascinated by conspiracy theories.
Q13 Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
[MH] - Hey thanks for asking us to do this interview it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Plus I want to say a very big thank you to all our fans that have supported us throughout the years. You can keep up with everything related to QUARTZ by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/QuartzBackintheBand
[MC] - If anyone reading this article gets the chance to see us performing “live” in the near future then please come up afterwards and say hello and share a beer with us because without you there would be no QUARTZ !