ARMED AND READY 1982
Ian Gillan’s own studio is slightly out of place. For amongst the firms of solicitors and financial high-flyers, who inhabit the skyscraper complex in central London, which houses the studio. A steady flow of rock ‘n’ rollers are to be seen, heading for the basement and a rendezvous with days, and often weeks, of toil as album deadlines loom.
The scene takes on a more bizarre aspect because; the interview is with a Spanish band. Namely Baron Rojo (or Red Baron. as is easier to remember, with scarcely a word of Spanish on my lips and their knowledge of English being decidedly dodgy. To put it mildly, I feel more out of place than an unmarried man at a wife-swapping party does! To my eternal gratitude, two interpreters make the job easier.
Carlos de Castro and brother Armando provide the twin axe attack of Red Baron, and are ably assisted by Jose Luis Campuzano on bass and lead vocals and Hermes Calabria (drums. The band have had massive success in Spain with their debut album ‘large Vida AI Rock And Roll’, so why come to Kingsway in England, where Red Baron are totally unknown to record the follow-ups
“The main reason was that Kingsway is owned by Ian Gillan and it was he both in Deep Purple and in his own band, who has exerted a great influence on us all. What is more it is a legendary studio in the hard rock field. Many famous names have used its facilities, such as Jimi Hendrix.”
No doubt Red Baron are trying to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, so will the album be released in England Armando looks directly at my interpreter to reply, making me feel totally out of it
“That depends on a lot of different matters, not the least of which is the impact that our very presence here will create. We’d like to be able to get our records played on the radio and have the press write about us. We’re glad to have had the press we’ve managed to get already in Britain.
In fact, we’re all amazed, because we thought that nobody had heard of us here, and to read about ourselves was incredible’ When we saw out name we thought to ourselves ‘Maybe something is going on’
The main thing that should be known, however, is that something definitely is ‘going on’. And that is that a hard rock band is around that has something new to offer a music form that is sorely devoid of innovation -and it’s not solely the novelty value of a band singing in Spanish More important is the continual combination which Red Baron find in matching a US style melody with a UK hardness. Talk about the best of both worlds.
It is strange to find a Spanish heavy metal band, and it must be hard to keep a band that is so alone in action Armando
“Not as difficult as it might have been. Y’see. Carlos and myself have played in many other groups ever since we learnt to play guitar about 10 years ago. All these bands were small hard rock outfits but without contracts and the like when the opportunity arose to loin a fairly successful band, Coz, in 1975, we both took it. Naturally to begin with, they played heavier musk. But directives came from above and the style began to mellow by 1979, Coz was becoming unrepresentative of what we wanted to play and so Carlos and I left to form Red Baron.
We had obviously made many friends and contacts in our days with Coz and so had a fair amount of help in getting Red Baron off the ground. Even so, the vast majority of Spanish record companies are solely interested in commercial sounds, which is not us at all We are signed to a small label. Chapa Discos. And whatever we do as a group is tied up with the progress of the company, we might be looking for a contract over here however ”
Red Baron may tour Britain, and you’d better pray that they do Will I be there? You can bet your Motorhead sweatshirt on it busters
Kerrang! Issue 45 – July 1983
BARON ROJO ‘Metalmorphosis’ (Chapa import)
UP UNTIL now I haven’t had much time for the Spanish Baron’s brand of heavy rock, figuring their sudden rise to fame over here in Britain a quirk of a Ho-Jo brainstorm that stemmed from listening to all that American wimphem! (Only kidding Howard!). But just one spin of this, their third LP, has for me proved ‘I-can-pick-’em’ Johnson’s case. ‘Metalmorphosis’ really is an excellent album.
It’s far from the blatant riff orgy that I feared and instead contains nine numbers (and a freebie single with two more) that display power, melody and variety. Just one thing though, it’s all sung in Spanish. That may bother some of you but it made no difference to my enjoyment of the music and I reckon it’s far superior – and more interesting – to any dodgy English accents.
Whether by choice or because their previous British label, Kamaflage, has collapsed, this is a Spanish only album available on import. Buy it and dig out your old phrase book from the bottom of your suitcase if you really want to know what they’re singing about, but really it doesn’t matter. Baron Rojo let their music do the talking and this record shouts plenty loud enough to get the message across.
The de Castro brothers, Armando and Carlos, on guitars work well together producing good riffs and some smart solos – often reminiscent of Schenker. Listen to them on the furious opener and chosen single ‘Casi Me Mato’ or the following ‘Rockero Indominable’ (which sounds for all the world like a ‘Deep Purple In Rock’ out-take.)
They do let themselves down a bit with the last track on side one (‘Siempre Estas Alli’) which is a little too much in the mould of the Scorpions ‘When The Smoke Is Going Down’, but it’s a rare slip. Generally, their unique vocals work for the Barons, giving them a style and an identity all their own,
Flip it over and you’ll hear ‘Hiroshima’; a tried and tested theme of late but done here very well with strong harmonies, a swaggering riff, a suitably oriental feel and cataclysmic ending. Then comes ‘El Malo’…
I could go on, but perhaps you’re giggling at the titles. DON’T! This is far more than just another continental import. I think you’ll be as surprised and impressed