Life is good in the district of Brabant (in the South of Holland) and everyone knows that anyway. And especially in the famous eighties, when SAVAGE rises from the ashes from bands like HIGHWAY and TYRANT. Jack Nobelen has recorded a single with HIGHWAY, called “Times”. However, the flipside of this seven incher caught more attention, and that’s the heavier “Speedin’ Home”. It gains a cult status in the area of Breda. With singer Alex Heestermans, SAVAGE plays their first gig in Breda as support for RAYMOND VAN HET GROENEWOUD. But soon after that gig Alex leaves the band and is replaced by Carla Oonincx. With her on vocals, SAVAGE records their first 4-track demo. This already gives them a lot of popularity in the western part of Brabant. Guitarist Jack Nobelen shows his love for MICHAEL SCHENKER on this demo, in the cover “Into The Arena”. But also the old HIGHWAY classic “Speedin’ Home” can be found here. Carla leaves the band though soon after the demo is released and she’s replaced by Walter Lavent (ex-MUSTANG). This turned out to be a good move. A second demo is recorded and released. This great demo results in a lot of live gigs for the band. At their shows the band plays a set of their own work and covers from MICHAEL SCHENKER, GAMMA and Y&T. At this point everything works out well for the band. I can still remember, when the band takes down the roof in Ulicoten at the two day festival organised there by the local rock and metal fans. SAVAGE plays a stunning live performance next to PICTURE, BODINE, VANDENBERG and ACCEPT. Maybe it's one of the highlight performances of the band, that is actually ready to conquer the world. I cherish warm memories about that night.
However, black clouds are coming nearer and they are bound to explode. SAVAGE is struck by lightning, when bass player John van Gestel suddenly dies because of a tragic accident. Things turn different from then on. Soon after his death, Walter Lavent decides to leave the band. This also means the end of the band. Too bad that this band never came out of the demo scene, despite all the talent and success. Jack and Arthur moved on with HORIZON and Walter had his LAVENT BAND. Both were quite successful. HORIZON records an album, called “Master Of The Game”, which shows a more melodic approach than the rawer sound of SAVAGE. In 2004, the song “Hell On Wheels” (from the second demo) appeared on the “HM Maniacs part 3” sampler CD and brought back some attention on the band. At the moment Jack Nobelen lives in Belgium and is still active with his cover band STILETTO and a reunion gig with SAVAGE seems to be impossible. Jack also works as a producer at Jack’s Place, where he produced the album of MARTYR “Fear For The Universe” in 2009 and their upcoming CD, due in 2015. In 2014, SAVAGE contributes the song “Starbreaker” to the “Dutch Steel” compilation 2-CD and 3-LP box set, compiled by Robert Haagsma. Although it can’t get any better than this, in February 2015, Jack is being invited to play with MARTYR on the “Dutch Steel” release party in Hedon, Zwolle. What a blast!
(text conducted by Toine van Poorten)
Jack Nobelen- guitar (ex-HIGHWAY, ex-HORIZON, STILETTO)
Alex Heestermans – vocals (1981)
Carla Oonincx – vocals (1981-1982)
Walter Lavent – vocals (ex-MUSTANG, WALTER LAVENT BAND)(1982-1983)
John van Gestel- bass (ex-HEAVY NOISE)(R.I.P)
Marc van Reusel – bass (ex-TYRANT, ex-HORIZON)
Arthur van Loon- drums (ex-HEAVY NOISE, ex-HORIZON)
*Demo I (Demo 1981)
*Demo II (demo 1982)
*Heavy Metal Maniacs Part 3 (compilation CD 2004; SAVAGE plays “Hell On Wheels”)
*Dutch Steel (compilation 2-CD on Tonefloat Records 2014; SAVAGE plays “Starbreaker”)
*Dutch Steel (3 LP box set on Tonefloat Records 2015; available on black vinyl or red, white & blue vinyl (limited edition of 666 copies))