While attending Brofest in Newcastle, UK in February me and Rich “The Meister” Dillon took the opportunity to talk to Paul Macnamara of Salem (UK). We had chatted with the band about doing an interview in Newcastle as Salem (UK) was headlining the pre-party at Trillian’s Bar on Thursday evening. When we arrived on site we caught Paul selling T-shirts and merchandise for the band at the merch booth. We had a brief conversation with him, bought a couple of Salem (UK) T-shirts and patches. I learned that the rest of the band was going to drive back home that very same night after the gig and we did not want to bother Paul too much in his merchandise business. The other guys in the band were not available for an interview and so we booked an interview with Paul at a typical British pub the day after at 1 PM.
Salem (UK) played an excellent gig on Thursday evening (read my review of the gig here) which set Trillian’s on fire and added to our excitement of meeting up with Paul the next day. For those of you who are not familiar with Salem (UK), the band formed way back in 1980 in Hull and the band is generally counted as part of the NWOBHM movement in the early 1980’s. During the first period of the band’s life until they disbanded in 1983 Salem (UK) produced a couple of demos and a 7″. All these recordings have been released on a CD called In the Beginning by High Roller Records. In 2009 the classic line up reunited again and has since put out two excellent albums called Forgotten Dreams and Dark Days. A third disc is in the making as we speak. Both these albums contain melodic metal at it’s best and are well worth checking out. It is well worth to give them a listen if you are unfamiliar with Salem (UK).
We met up with Paul Macnamara in the early afternoon on Friday and he turned out to be a very nice guy and the conversation went on for hours until all of us had to get ready for the second day of music. Some of this conversation we have recorded as an extensive interview for all of you out there to enjoy! This interview with Paul covers the entire history of the band from the very early days including a couple of the member’s previous endeavors in the band Ethel the Frog right up until today. Even plans for the future get discussed in this lengthy interview.
If you listen to the interview you can hear that Paul cannot recall how lead vocalist Simon Saxby became part of the band in 1982. Paul got back to me a couple of days later when he had time to think more closely on the subject and provided this answer to the question:
“I do remember that he turned up to the audition looking like a rock singer with all that hair and skinny jeans. I asked what he’d like to sing? He said Doctor Doctor (UFO) so I played the chords and he knocked us over with his singing!
I couldn’t remember how we came to be auditioning him. So I’ve checked with Adrian – we reckon that we simply put an ad in the local newspaper (Hull Daily Mail) and he replied to that!”
We would like to thank Paul Macnamara for taking his time to talk to us and provide answers to all of our questions. He really went beyond the call of duty to let us know more about the band and its history and future plans. Looking forward to reviewing the new album in a not too distant future.