Steve Negus Interview
"Saga" is "on the loose" again! The Canadian quintet has just released a new album titled "Heads or Tales" (Portrait Records), which has already climbed into the Billboard Hot 100. They'll be out on the road in support of the album, opening for Eddie Money. Drummer. Steve Negus talked with us about the "Saga" success story!
Q. Let's start off with a quote by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, "Everyone has the feeling that all you have to do is achieve stardom and once you're there you can relax. It's jut the opposite. Once you get there, then the war really starts. The pressures get larger, because getting hit records is a miracle." Have you found what Phil Everly is saying to be true?
A. I'll say. It couldn't have been said any better, that's for sure.
Q. When I first heard "On The Loose," I knew it was going to be a hit record. Why didn't rock fans in your own, native country of Canada pick up on that too?
A. I don't know. I guess it's just a slightly different attitude. Each country has slightly different tastes, you know. A particular song off an album that appeals to one country doesn't necessarily appeal to another. They seemed to favor "Wind 'Em Up" which did well there, but didn't do so well here. The same with Europe, they chose "Wind 'Em Up." It's different tastes in music.
Q. This band is six and a half years old. In the last year you've experienced great success, but how about the five and a half years before that, what were they like?
A. We started from the ground up, basically working clubs and writing material. We took five months to put the band together initially. Those were tough times. I didn't pay my rent for about five months, eating peanut butter sandwiches and that kind of thing. And then we went on the road, and we
were paying our crew pretty good, and we were making ten bucks a week for the first few months. So, it's been a slow growing process, but everyone had enough belief to stick it put. It's getting better, the tours are getting bigger.
Q. When you perform behind the Iron Curtain, are there any restrictions or limitations placed on your show?
A. Not really. They usually research things like that beforehand. They're fairly aware that we're a non-political group. Our lyrics, our music, and our attitudes are pretty much non-political. There's no limitations other than the normal laws you have to abide by.
Q. Saga topped the popularity polls in Germany, coming in ahead of both Pink Floyd and The Stones. Last year The Stones played more dates in Germany than any other European country due to their popularity there. It must've been a great honor for Saga to top the polls in Germany.
A. It's definitely an honor. We just played twenty shows in Germany, all about 10,000 seaters. One of the most rewarding things is it's not just based on one song. In America it sometimes has a tendency to be based on one hit single, whereas in Europe, when we play in front of an audience there, they know every single song. It's like every song is a hit. It's much more of an album oriented situation. Singles don't have as much importance as they do in America, so they know all the songs, and they sing throughout the whole show. They sing some of the most obscure tracks we play.
Q. "Saga" was heavily influenced by the British groups of the early Seventies. Very few of the Seventies groups are still together. Do you find it strange that their influence is still being felt by today's groups?
A. Well, I think things have to keep changing, you know. There's got to be new influences and new players. It's great to see the bands doing things and moving on. There's so many facets to making music, and it's not just touring with one particular band. A lot of the people who have had great success, branch out and do different things,, and yet they still, manage to put out albums once in awhile.
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