3. Marauders - But Only On Stage
The “Magnum II“-album was supported with a tour of Britain and a few gigs in Germany. The record company had the idea of recording a live album during this tour, which came as a big surprise to the band, as they had only two studio albums out then. But JET insisted and so the live album was recorded by Leo Lyons during the gig at the famous Marquee Club in London and mixed by Chris Tsangarides. An enthusiastic audience cheered MAGNUM to a stunning performance of twelve recorded tracks. Eight of them finally made the album which were “If I Could Live Forever“, “The Battle“, “Foolish Heart“, “In The Beginning“, “Reborn“, “Changes“, “So Cold The Night“ and “Lords Of Chaos“. The album was entitled “Marauder“ and featured a warrior's fist in an iron glove holding a bolt of lightning on the artwork. Treat yourself to a look at the photographs on the inside of the CD-booklet. Bob's and Tony's hairstyle used to be - let's say -“daring“ in those days!
Tony recalls one thing about the gig: “That was the first time we’d used dry ice during a gig and somebody decided to put the machine in that tiny little dressing room behind the stage. Those things pull all the oxygen out of the atmosphere, and when we came offstage we practically died. Nobody could breathe at all. We were turning purple!”
The new album was released immediately and reached No. 34 in the British album charts, which was the first financial success for the band. They made some TV-appearances in England and, accompanying the release of a single, went on tour supporting DEF LEPPARD. The new single simply called “MAGNUM live!” was a double pack containing the four remaining tracks from the Marquee-concert, “Invasion“, “Kingdom Of Madness“, “All Of My Life“ and “Great Adventure“ on two 7“. This pack entered the charts at No.47, which was quite a success, too. Now MAGNUM were able to go on their first dual headlining tour of Britain with the TYGERS OF PAN TANG and ALCATRAZ as support and to record for the BBC's Top Of The Pops.
In spite of business going well now, Richard Bailey decided to leave the band. He had to go into his family's business selling cars. He also intended to follow a different musical concept, more progressive and keyboard-dominated. He then played in TRAPEZE, ALASKA and WHITESNAKE, later joined the all-star-band PHENOMENA and eventually teamed up with Dave Morgan and Tony Clarkin again, when all three contributed to the TANDY AND MORGAN album “Earth Rise“.
Tony tried to recruit a new keyboarder immediately, but his first choice for the job, Grenville Harding, was the wrong man. He practised with the band and played on one tour supporting DEF LEPPARD but it was soon clear that he “couldn't handle the pressures“, as Tony put it.
Then, in April 1980, Tony met the 26-year-old keyboarder Mark Stanway from the Wolverhampton-based band RAINMAKER. He had been suggested by promoter Maurice Jones and Mo Birch, Mark's wife, who was already known to the band. Having undergone professional classical piano training from the age of 21 his musical career had started in another group called LITTLE ACRE and he had also worked with Alvin Stardust. This guy fitted to the band perfectly. When Mark applied for the job, Bob and Tony put him through a really tough test. He had to play “Invasion“ in an empty hall in the middle of nowhere after a band rehearsal. Tony showed him the harmony parts of “Invasion“ on the guitar and Mark was to play them on his keyboard afterwards. When he was still trying to cope with the song, Bob, Tony and a roadie started to do some gymnastics and even ignited some fireworks that were left from the last tour! Nevertheless, Mark convinced them at once and his fine, intricate play has enriched MAGNUM's music until the present day.
Mark's first contribution to a MAGNUM record was the remix version of “Changes“, which came out as a single in late 1980. It was backed by the tracks “Changes“ (from the “Marauder“-live album) and “Everybody Needs“, a new version of the song intended for the first album. Some of the singles contained a “Magnum II“ sew-on patch. In the same year the new line-up appeared at the Reading Festival for the first time.
In 1981 they started to record demos for a new album to be released in 1982. This was followed by another tour, this time supporting the TYGERS OF PAN TANG. That was quite strange as the TYGERS had been MAGNUM's support on their last tour, but “it was the only offer, so we accepted“, Bob said. In the autumn of '81, they played a headline tour again, supported by local bands. The new setlist already contained a bunch of tracks for the forthcoming album: “Soldier Of
The Line”/”Reborn”/”Sacred Hour”/”Changes”/”The Spirit”/”If I Could Live Forever”/”We All Play The Game”/”All Of My Life”/”The Teacher”/”Invasion”/”Long Days, Black Nights”/”Kingdom Of Madness”.
By the way, “Marauder“ was a pretty unfitting title in terms of the band's behaviour both on and off stage. They have never been seen smashing up equipment or inviting loads of groupies backstage so the newspapers have never had the chance to report any scandal about MAGNUM. In the late 80’s there were a few “lost weekends” with some invited journalists at which everyone got “a little tipsy” after Birmingham gigs at the bar. The only non-music headline about MAGNUM in the yellow press I know ran: “Top Of The Grandpops“. This was a headline from the Daily Mirror in 1988 when Tony became a grandpa during the chart successes of “Wings Of Heaven“. All members of MAGNUM are happily married and a chat or an autograph is all the girls can get backstage. You could really believe that they are the only rock stars who are doing it for the sake of their music...