Hard rockers Saracen recently wowed Room Thirteen with their performance at Hard Rock Hell. We caught up with vocalist Steve Bettney (SB) and keyboardist Paul Bradder (PB) to find out more about this intriguing band.

R13: Can you sum up in your own words what Saracen is all about.
SB: It’s about making good-quality rock.

R13: What has been Saracen's biggest achievement to date?
SB: On a personal level, it’s been sustaining a quality in my voice. I thought by now I wouldn’t be capable.

For the band, it’s that people are still interested. For old farts like ourselves to still be relevant, that’s a big achievement. Having young people like yourself enjoying our music is brilliant.

R13: What's going on with Saracen right now?
SB: We’ve got some plans in the pipeline, we have a big catalogue of old material that we hope to take advantage of soon. I think what we want to do is get the band out there and see if there’s still interest because we feel that there is. We got a good response at Hard Rock Hell... thanks by the way for your review.
R13:(laughs) thank you! I spoke to a few people before you started and they were telling me stories from the last 20 years, it was a really nice friendly atmosphere - they were loving it.
SB: Funnily enough, we find that people are coming out of the woodwork and remembering us and it’s great that people are still interested. We’ll be getting back out on the road soon... hopefully. Because of our, uh, maturity we’ve all got commitments, families and so on, so it’s a difficult thing to juggle. We’ll certainly do our best.
R13:Well I thought your performance at Hard Rock Hell was great so I’d definitely be up for seeing you again.
SB: Were there any song in particular that you really liked?
R13: I loved the one near the end with the long instrumental.... ‘The Crusader’?
SB:Uh huh... it’s difficult to pitch these shows; the long-standing fans enjoy the older material but we try to do a mix.

R13: Do you think your sound has changed at all as the years have gone on or are you still playing the same sort of songs as Saracen 20 years ago?
SB: We are doing some very contemporary songs at present but because we’ve never had the opportunity to tour the new album, fans don’t identify with them. They’re good quality songs so what we want to do is play a few more of the newer songs off the Vox album. It’d be a shame if the fans didn’t get to know the songs. It’s one of those albums you need to listen to over a glass of wine, it tells a story; you need to listen to it in that context. How rock and roll is that? We’ll send you a copy.

R13: Thank you! Can you tell me something random about your band that not many people know?
SB: Our guitarist Mark, whose "guns" you commented about (laughs) he was deeply offended about the middle-age reference! We’ve got a mixed line-up of new and old guys and Mark is only 35. He’s rock n roll he is, he’s the real deal... so how old do you think we all are?
R13: Oh don’t put me on the spot! Early 40’s?
SB:No (laughs) we’re a bit past that.
PB: How old did you think I was?
R13: (laughs) I didn’t see you, there wasn’t room on the stage for you, was there?
PB:(laughs) No, I’m definitely not the face of Saracen.

R13: Thanks for your time guys, it’s been great chatting with you • all the best for the tour and I look forward to listening to your album!
S: Thanks Sian - bye.