We talked with Martin Helbo the drummer of Danish heavy metallers Savage Machine about 80s metal, rain and mud at Wacken, Pamela Anderson in a leather suit and the small Denmark.
Can you tell us your earliest memories of rock/heavy metal and was it love from the beginning?
It would probably my dad playing some Deep Purple or Black Sabbath records but I have a hard time remembering that. Other than that it might have been Van Halen, Scorpions or some other 80’s metal. I don’t know if it was love at first listen, but I do remember that I liked Scorpions and some of the more softer 80’s metal acts when I was a kid. After that I fell into some grunge. Where a big fan of Nirvana, and still is a big fan of Pearl Jam. That led to some heavier stuff as Metallica and Pantera.
Which is the most important rock/metal album you bought with your own cash back in the day?
It’s not exactly metal. But I think it was D:A:D – Helpyourselfish, the black one with the fish skeleton on it. It was hard rock, but had a very metal sound that I really liked. If it has to be metal, it would probably be The Black Album.
Any bands you loved as teenager and today you would think about “My God, What Have I Done”?
Nah, not really. I still like the old 80’s metal, and not ashamed of that, haha.
Who did you see at your first concert – what was your first experience with live rock/metal?
It was probably my uncles party band. It wasn’t metal, but that was when I first fell in love with live music, and wanted to play myself. When I was 12 I saw D:A:D the first time when they where touring with Helpyourselfish. I was blown away by the energy, and remember being pissed at my parents because we had to leave before the encore was over … not to get stuck in traffic! But it was probably when I first watched Iron Maiden live, that I fell in love with metal.
Was it hard to get info on the bands you loved as youngster – was there any big media coverage in your home area?
I come from a very small village with only two tv-stations. None of the had very much music. But I did subscribe on different music magazines and listened to a ton of radio. As a result I know almost every bit of music from the late 80’s and the 90’s.
Do you think the digital age has taken down the secret of being in a big band for young people & musicians these days? Do we know everything about our musical heroes in 2016?
In some way, yes. I remember how much fun it was going through the magazines and learning about the bands. Arguing with my friend about who played or had played in what bands. And as I started playing the drums myself, studying what brand of drums or cymbals Lars Ulrich, Nicko McBrain or Ian Paice used. On the upside, it’s a lot easier to connect with bands. We get a lot of mails and messages from fans. And since we are a upcoming band it is fun to get that attention.
Did you go to many festivals as a young rocker/headbanger?
Very. I loved festivals and still do. Not so much fan of sleeping in tents anymore though. The rain and mud at Wacken last year kinda ruined that. I have been to various festivals in different countries. It’s really fun to experience the festival culture in other countries.
Was it easy or hard for you to grow up with big gigs/festivals? Would you have travel long distances to see your fave bands?
Denmark is a small country. Nothing is a hundred of miles away, haha. When I was young it usualy required a couple of bus rides to get to the concerts. Luckily my parents are also big music fans (my dad used to play Sabbath, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and The Who), so sometimes he would tag along.
What are the five most important albums since you fall in love with rock/metal?
1. D:A:D – Helpyouselfish
2. Metallica – Black Album
3. Pearl Jam – Ten. Not metal, but damn it’s good
4. Deep Purple – Come Hell Or High Water. A live album and video that my friend from my first band used to watch over and over and over again
5. Iron Maiden – Brave New World. I first discovered Iron Maiden on their tour with Brave New World. Wickerman is a killer opener.
Did you had have a rock/metal big bang? I had big posters of Lita Ford and Lee Aaron on the wall of my children’s room in 1979 …
Haha. I had Pamela Anderson in a leather suit, does that count? But no I had posters with Metallica, Nirvana, The Offspring, Pearl Jam and Guns N’ Roses, but not that many metal chicks.
Anything more you’d like to give us insight about your good rock/metal breeding?
I had some good influence from my parents. A lot of classic hard rock was played at our home, and a lot of music in general. The only problem was, that I couldn’t do a teenage rebellion with loud metal music, because their speakers were bigger than my own, haha.