MEDIEVAL STEEL are no strangers to the fans of underground metal. Few days before their live gig in Athens, Greece at INTO BATTLE FESTIVAL, vocalist Bobby Franklin answers our questions and reveals details of the legendary past, the vivid present and the hopefull future of the band.
Do not miss the chance to experience Medieval Steel live at Into Battle Festival vol.IV, on 22-23/09/2023 at Kyttaro Club, Athens.
RockOverdose: Last year marked the 40th anniversary since forming Medieval Steel. Despite the breaks inbetween, did you see that coming that we’d have 2023 and you’d still be around? Which were your dreams and expectations while forming the band?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): Well of course in the beginning, it was my expectations to have a long fruitful career so that was the plan from the beginning. My dream was for the band to be a gigantic success and have longevity.
RockOverdose: In my eyes you are the epitome of fighting, as you’ve been rather unlucky by losing two crucial members, Chuck Jones and Jeff Boydstun, still you never gave up. Did you have a motive to honour their memory by going on, or was it something deeper than that?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): I’ve always been a tenacious person when I set my mind on something I go for it. But losing those two members was devastating especially losing Chuck for him and I formed the band. I know in my heart that those two want us to keep on going.
RockOverdose: You felt the rise of the whole metal scene in the States by releasing your self-titled EP in 1984. It’s considered as the year that set the spark for much more to follow. How easy was it to have a contract back then and to be a part of this competition?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): You’re right, back in those days there was a lot of competition and it was hard to stand out…..even though we thought Medieval Steel had more talent and was better than a lot of bands at that time, we didn’t always get the breaks that those bands got. Some of it might have been our location from Memphis, if we would have been in Los Angeles or out west we might have gotten more opportunities. As far as a record deal, we had several opportunities to sign with a label but they didn’t offer a good enough deal, they wanted our music and didn’t want to offer us anything for it so we turned them down.
RockOverdose: It wasn’t until 2013, 30+ years after your formation that your first album came out. How much important were the two compilations “The Dungeon Tapes” and “The Anthology Of Steel” of maintaining your name and not let you be forgotten?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): You’re right, it was a long time before we got to do a full length record, “The Dungeon Tapes” helped that process. We don’t recognize “The Anthology of Steel” cause it was “The Dungeon Tapes” renamed by a Greek Record Company.
RockOverdose: You had the addition of Tyler Hobbs recently behind the drum kit. How was he chosen and what new elements does he bring to the band? They say if the drummer plays well, the whole band will play even better, do you agree with that?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): After Jake Felds left, the guy that plays on the new record “Blood Moon”, we put the word out we were looking for a new drummer. Auditioned a few guys, Tyler came in and we could tell right off the bat he had done his homework, he was prepared. So after jamming, we offered him the job and he took it. The elements he brings to the band, no drama, quiet, unassuming and a solid drummer. You are right the drummer sometimes makes the band ‘cause they are the backbone.
RockOverdose: Your lyrics always explored the epic side of things, but in my mind they proved out to be prophetic on what everyday life would be after many years. How did you manage to survive the pandemic and stay strong on your feet and how can people find back the courage to not give up despite we live in rather rough times?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): As far as the lyrics go, in my mind songs must tell a story, they must say something. If they turn out to be epic, all the better. During the pandemic we had a lot of spare time on our hands, not being able to record or do anything, we got together and wrote enough songs for the “Blood Moon” album (2024) and “Savage World” (2025). You are right, these are very tough times for people but you can’t let it get you down, you need to keep pushing forward and keep a positive attitude if possible.
RockOverdose: Every band and member have their influences and a reason to start their own band. Which were yours back in the day? What set the spark inside you to do what your heroes did? Do you follow the new scene and find new bands or singers worthy to mention specifically?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): Well the reason other then sex, drugs and rock n roll, we all liked each other and wanted to jam together and write new music. As far as the spark, I think I picked it up when my mom made me go to church, Pentecostal church, and if you know anything about Pentecostal church, they get down with the music. As far as heroes go, that would be Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. I would say there are a few newer bands. I like Ghost, Shine-down is ok and I like Greta Van Fleet, that vocalist reminds me of a young Robert Plant.
RockOverdose: They say any great band has a great song to be defined from and your self titled track not only stood the test of time, but also manages to give strength to people whenever they listen to it. Did you feel magic was created while composing it? How does it make you feel you have something to accompany you always in people’s hearts?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): I would say when I wrote “Medieval Steel”, I thought it was a good song. Had no idea it would turn into what it has turned into for some people and anthem. It makes me feel good the song makes people feel good about that, because it is a song about the underdog and everyone loves an underdog.
RockOverdose: By all means Greece was always fond of Medieval Steel and you visited us 10 years ago. I believe you felt the love before coming here and of course during this decade people missed you dearly. How does it feel to come back and what should we wait from your performance this time?
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): It was 10 years ago the last time we were there and so I must tell you we had an absolutely fantastic time. The fans were terrific, the promoter was good, and we hope we can come back a lot sooner than 10 years, we would love to come back every year. How it feels to come back? I feel excited I’m going to get to see some old friends, hopefully make some new ones. As far as performance, we are going to do songs from the beginning to the present there are 3 brand new songs from the new “Blood Moon” record that will be released early 2024.
RockOverdose: Thank you deeply for this interview and for still being around. We would like to know what follows for you and a word of advice to newer bands from someone who was there when things exploded for the better and knows better how the music industry works. See you soon in Athens.
Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel): You’re welcome for the interview, we always take time to sign autographs and talk to the people because they are what matters. What I would say for newer bands, stay true to your music and follow your heart, don’t let anyone try to get between that, a job, a female, stay true to the music and it will come around. Ok my friend, thank you for your time we will see you in Athens! Stay heavy!