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Words and Video: Mark Taylor


Hard rockers Stray formed way back in 1966 in Shepherds Bush, London when the band were still attending school. The original line-up featured Steve Gadd on vocals, guitarist Del Bromham, bassist Gary Giles and drummer Steve Crutchley who was soon replaced by Ritchie Cole.

Their classic debut album, the eponymous 'Stray', was released in 1970 and was followed by a plethora of strong albums until they split in 1977.

There has been various versions of Stray on the road in the intervening years, most notably in recent years with sole survivor Del Bromham along with bassist Stuart Uren and hard hitting drummer Karl Randall and returning guitarist Pete Dyer who originally joined in 1974 keeping the Stray name alive and well to a faithful and ever growing fan base.

History was made on 18th November 2016 when in celebration of their 50th anniversary, what many consider to be the 'original' line-up and who recorded the debut album, namely Steve Gadd, Del Bromham, Gary Giles and Ritchie Cole would reform, for the first time in twenty-three years to perform a few numbers.

Before the show MetalTalk's Mark Taylor spoke to the foursome about the early days of life in West London, their gigging days which included exploding dustbins and supporting major band like Kiss, Status Quo and Black Sabbath and how they ended up being managed by the notorious Charlie Kray.

The gig itself was a triumph. Sold out months in advance, the show was a rare occasion that Stray stuck to a well constructed set list.

The show ran for over two-and-a-half hours with leading man, the chirpy Del Bromham, starting acoustically with three numbers including the uplifting 'Around The World In 80 Days' which the crowd faithfully sang the chorus to.

Joined by Stuart Uren and 'youngster' Karl Randall things got electric with the older tracks 'Time Machine', the crushing 'Jericho' and the sentimental and rarely performed, due to the addition of keys, 'Son Of The Father', which was a pure delight.

Pete Dyer then joined the band on stage to complete the current line-up, performing songs from his era including the groovy 'Percy The Pimp' and 'One Night In Texas'.

But after two hours of an exhilarating show, the anticipation was on an all time high when Del was join by the original line-up whose first time together for nearly a quatrer of a century was for a quick brief soundcheck before the show.

For the band it was just like getting back on an old Penny Farthing as they rolled back the years with 'Come On Over', 'Our Song', 'Pretty Thing', the dimensional 'After The Storm' and the epic belt of 'All In Your Mind' complete with madcap solo antics from Bromham.

A europhic feeling came over the disbelieving crowd who were witnessing history in the making. The chemistry was still intact and their beaming smiles were wider than the Uxbridge Road. An encore with their ignitable version of 'Cold Turkey' ended a most memorable and magical evening.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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