Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982

SAPPHIRE CAME together in their current form just over three months ago when vocalist and Kerrang! writer Steve Gett (wisely) decided to disband the Dirty White Boys and put together a rock band instead of a Celebrity Circus.

As Steve points out “The Dirty White Boys was a learning period, an apprenticeship served in front of a bunch of poseurs and liggers whose only thought is where the next free drink is coming from. But it was useful in a way because once you’ve played to an audience like that you can play to anyone. People like that don’t give a shit about the music and in the end I decided to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch again.
Sapphire as a band decided to do it the hard way, getting as many support gigs as possible and build up a following of genuine heavy rock fans. “After all it’s them not the liggers who buy the albums and pay to get into the gigs.”

How did you go about putting the band together?
“About a year ago I was looking around a music shop and I remember seeing this incredible black guitarist sitting by an amp playing Eddie Van Halen solos note for note, so when the Dirty White Boys split I made a few enquiry’s and found out he was playing in an East London band called Dragonfly. Anyway, we invited him down for a jam and Rudi’s been with us ever since. Fred Zeppelin, our drummer, was recommended to us by Phil Collen of Girl and our bassist Chris Boland used to be in a band called Stallion.”

Does Rudi (Riviere) ever come in for any stick from the audience as regards being black, because heavy rock audiences are not renowned for holding multi-racial views?
“One of the strangest things is that kids come up to him before the gigs and say ‘How can a black guy play heavy metal’, yet Hendrix was probably the first ever heavy metal guitarist, but Rudi treats it as a joke and he normally wins them over by the end of the gig.”

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