Thanks to their frankly outrageous moniker – a nod to drug-fuelled erections, if that wasn’t already apparent – Raging Speedhorn are easily (and perhaps surprisingly) one of the best known ‘names’ in music – of any genre – to call the East Midlands home. With them well and truly back after a 6 year hiatus, we caught up with bassist Dave Thompson ahead of their return to Leicester later this month.

“My girlfriends Gran asked if it was an ancient breed of cattle. Classic.”

“My girlfriend’s Gran asked if it was an ancient breed of cattle. Classic.” Dave laughs. Somehow the ‘Speedhorn name has outgrown even the band it describes – routinely cropping up as a go-to metal band name touchstone in popular culture. It’s outrageousness defined a particular point for UK Heavy Metal, and continues to resonate with people today, whether they know the music it represents or not.

It’s been almost two decades since the bands formation, which even despite their split in 2008 and subsequent hiatus until 2014 shows some pretty incredible longevity. “It’s been a long long time, ha ha.” Dave remembers “There’ve been good times and bad times. It’s all true, boys do become men!” An understatement, given the amount the band achieved during that time. Tours with Slipknot, Slayer, Pantera, Cradle of Filth, Earthtone9, Will Haven, Skindred, Kittie, Defenestration, Biohazzard, Amen, Mudvayne, Ill Nino, Johnny Truant and Dir En Grey, and basically every festival of heavy music that matters – Ozzfest, Sonisphere, Download, Summer Sonic…

“All the crowds hated us on that tour”

The list is endless – but not without it’s faults. “We’ve toured with many great bands and some not too great bands” laughs Dave. “One that sticks out for me is the tour we done with Carnivore – Pete Steele from Type O Negative’s band – All the crowds hated us on that tour which just made us have more fun! Pete was a great guy as well.”

After six years apart – a gap long enough that countless other bands formed and split up again within it – the band reformed in 2014 for a run of festivals and sold out reunion shows. They couldn’t have asked for a better way to get back in to the swing of things. “It all came back fairly easy in the end. The idea had been floating around for about 2 years – We’d spoken about it and decided the time was right. We got offered Sonisphere Festival and Damnation Festival, which were two great shows to get back into it.”. 

At the start of 2016 they returned to the studio for the first time since 2007’s Before the Sea Was Built – a record they recorded with Larry Hibbet of Hundred Reasons almost a decade earlier. This time they headed just down the road to Kettering’s Parlour Studios with Russ Russell producing. “Russ is a very old friend to the band and to us all. We’ve all worked with him on different projects over the years so we knew how it would go: lots of drinking, lots of work and talking about the good old days!”.

The resulting product was 2016’s Lost Ritual – Slicker and more measured than their earlier work but never short of the intensity that cemented their career a decade before. The signature knife-edge sound is still there, but it’s refined and considered – then spat out through the same booze-fuelled machine it always was before.

So where do they go from here? Is the reunion a temporary blast from the past, or is there longevity in the ‘Speedhorn name? Dave’s pragmatic about it. “We take everything how it comes. We’ill carry on until we have had enough of it all, ha ha!”

Catch Raging Speedhorn at Firebug on Friday 18th November.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester's creative community for over a decade - promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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