Can you tell us about the origin of the band name, a history of the band and a little bit about the various members?
The band was formed when Dave Strathearn (original bass player) and I went to watch a local gig in December 1980 where Steve McGuire and Nick Cookson were playing in a band. I had known Steve since school days. On the way back Dave and I decided the band were good but would be much better with us in it….I went to see Steve a few days later to advise him of the fact and very soon after Troyen was formed. When we formed in January 1981 we were originally called Trojan but soon found out there was another band of the same name just up the road in Wigan. We were at Steve McGuires house discussing this when we noticed one of his dads opera albums by the turntable called Les Troyens. Troyen is French for Trojan…..so that’s was that!!
Our first Demo album was recorded at Amazon Studios Nr Liverpool and engineered by the now legendary producer Gil Norton’s in his first ever studio job. The demo’s sold out of two runs of 250 and Troyen enjoyed good radio play alongside the promise of a contract with Neat records for a three-track single and a possible LP. Rough demos for the single were done, but the band split prior to completion of the single. In the time spent together in 1981-1982, we played approximately 130 gigs and supported Spider, Girlschool and Diamond Head amongst others and also enjoyed a 1982 European support tour with Nightwing.
In early 2014 I was approached via Facebook to see if it was possible to put the band back to play at Brofest#3 February in 2015. After a little searching to find the guys and get in touch with them I got the four original members back together for a meeting “down the pub”. We soon decided that the band was to re-form and we have since played across the UK and Europe at the likes of Drunken Monkey Festival, Heavy Metal Maniacs in The Netherlands, British Steel in France, Mearfest, Grimm Up North, HRH Xmas Rocka at the O2 in Sheffield, Blast From The Past in Belgium and Giants Of Rock in Minehead to name but a few.
The line up has changed several times both in the 80’s and since reforming in 2015. The current line up is:
Jeff Baddley – Drums
Steve McGuire – Lead Guitar
Steve Haslam – Lead Guitar
Mark Nortley – Bass Guitar
Mark Walling – Lead Vocals
As a kid I was encouraged to have piano lessons and got to grade 7 but I always wanted to be a drummer. I used to watch Top Of The Pops with the likes of Marc Bolan, The Who, Slade and The Sweet. Then I discovered Led Zeppelin and John Bonham. This inevitably lead to a series of garage bands with like minded school mates (where I first met Steve McGuire). These bands increased in stature until Troyen was formed.
Like me Steve started out learning and playing the piano, then moved on to guitar after watching bands like T.Rex and Status Quo on Top Of The Pops. His parents first bought him a classical guitar. After some persuasion he managed to get a first electric guitar and started out in my first band with me in my garage!!
Steve can’t pin point how or when he fell into music, it was always been there. Heavily influenced by bands like Van HaIen and Dokken have made him what he is today. Steve joined Troyen in early 2018 following the departure of Nick in December 2017 due to ill health.
Mark joined the band in early 2019 following the departure of the then bass player Andy Stephenson. Playing Music was a big thing from an early age and he soon discovered bass guitar was his thing. He’s gigged heavily over the years and must be approaching 400th gig soon.
Like all kids he wanted to be like my musical hero’s. He started to learn the drums but was never happy at the back so tried his hand at bass playing in covers bands in the early 90s around Bury and Bolton. When the singer quit on one of the bands he moved from backing vocals to lead and found that he wasn’t too bad at it. That lasted for around two years before it all went Spinal Tap and imploded. He was asked to join Sister Rose as their bass player but due to circumstances at the time, had to decline and then drifted away from bands and just became a bedroom guitar player. Mark joined Troyen in April 2021 when we decided to add a fifth member in a dedicated vocalist (we had been a five piece in 1982).
Are you all from the same area? How did you get together as a band?
How we got together was covered earlier and we all live in and around the Bury / Bolton / Warrington areas in the North West UK
Who are your favourite artists/bands and how have they influenced your own sound?
Personally I was influenced back in the 70’s and 80’s by bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, UFO and Rush and their drummers John Bonham, Ian Paice, Andy Parker and Neil Peart but without trying to be like them I hope I have developed my own style and sound. Troyen’s early sound came from our favourite bands we had grown up listening to, we never thought of ourselves as a NWOBHM band it was a category others put us in.
Did you always have the ambition to be a musician and in a band or did you originally have other plans?
Yeah I always wanted to be a musician and tried to make a go of it from leaving school after ‘A’ Levels as did the other guys in there own ways. Unfortunately “real Life” got in the way and after 2-3 yrs and the demise of Troyen I walked away from drumming altogether and didn’t start playing again till 2008.
What songs or albums are on your current playlist?
This changes all the time but I’m currently in to the new Thunder album ‘Dopamine’
Do you sing in the shower?
Unfortunately yes….ask my wife
Do you have any plans for the band for this year and into next year?
We have a few gigs planned for this year, mainly dates brought forward from pre/during the covid pandemic the feature dates are probably ‘Love Rocks’ festival in Bournemouth 25th June and ‘Headbangers Open Air’ Festival in Germany at the end of July. Plans for 2023 dates are already underway with several festivals on the cards in UK and Europe but I can’t reveal any details yet.
Do you currently have any new songs/albums ready to be released?
We brought out our latest album released on Classic Metal Records ‘Falling Off The Edge Of Forever’ in October 2021 and we are already writing a new album, as yet un-tiltled again to be released on Classic Metal Records probably in late 2023 and possibly a live album too.
If you could play at any venue in the world where would you choose?
Personally I’d love to play Madison Square Gardens in New York and The Budokan in Tokyo. Both iconic venues played by all my heroes.
Do you have a favourite album? If so, what is it?
I have a good few favourites but as a life long UFO fan, (I’m writing this wearing my ‘Last Orders’ Tour t-shirt) it would have to be the classic UFO live album ‘Strangers In The Night’ probably the bands strongest album and Michael Schenker is sublime.
Do you have any guilty pleasure songs/albums?
When I first heard the John Miles track ‘Music’ I hooked. I went on to see him several times, I also have a soft spot for Deacon Blue…..I blame my wife for that!!
If you were putting together the greatest show on earth, who would be playing?
WOW this is to hard a question to answer….. There are so many bands the gig would go on for days!!
Can you remember the first album you bought with your own money? What was it and do you still have it?
Bought from Woolworths in Earlestown in 1974, the Deep Purlpe album ‘Made In Japan’. Unfortunately the vinyl album has long gone but I do have it on CD
As your fans will be reading this, is there any message you would like to send out to them?
We REALLY DO appreciate all our wonderful fans and followers, we’d be nothing without them. We have always said we’ll continue to play as long as people want to see and hear us……long may it continue, there’s so much more to come yet.
Finally, let us know all your social media sites so your fans, old and new, can find and follow/like you!
We are on most social media platforms
You can stream our tracks on most streaming services including;
Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music etc
And all our merchandise is available from https://troyenmerchandise.bigcartel.com/
We, at The Metal Asylum, would like to thank you for your time. Is there is anything further that you would like to add?
It was an honour to have been chosen as a featured band on The Metal Asylum, we really do appreciate your continued support and spreading the Troyen word to the metal masses.
This interview is solely the property of The Metal Asylum.