John "Wardi" Ward - Vocals

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Now the larger than life vocalist for 'Oliver Dawson Saxon', eccentric showman John 'Wardi' Ward has been talking to Shaun Fetzer of Genesis Events about his forthcoming appearance in Stara Zagora in July. 'Wardi' is no stranger to the Rock and Metal world having formerly fronted Shy, Trojan, Madam X, Hurricane, London and Shame to mention but a few. As he is keen to emphasise, "ROCKIN' IS MY BUSINESS!"

Speaking from his home in Southern Spain 'Wardi' reflects, "My biggest influences which started me singing & performing were the emerging 70's rock bands such as AC DC, Cheap Trick, The Tubes, Nazareth, Mott the Hoople and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band", pausing for breath he adds, "There were so many great acts during this era, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T-Rex, The Sweet, Thin Lizzy, U.F.O., Kiss, Magnum and Judas Priest."

I can feel the passion in his voice as he goes on, "We moved into the 80's and more great bands like Roxy Music, SAXON, Van Halen, Motley Crue and Billy Idol were producing a diversity of sounds, but it was still rock. Then there was Cinderella, Guns & Roses, Love Hate, Def Leppard, SHY, Alice in Chains, Duran Duran & The Bangles". Great times, great sounds", Wardi exclaims.

The passion fades as he reflects on the 90's era. Demonstrating a dry sense of humour he suggests, "It was all a bit of a haze as there was no hair spray or real rock stars around and we were all plunged into the grunge and Spice World". He laments, "Rock was killed big time". "Seriously," he adds, "Personality, talent & ability didn't count for much during this commercial period, and so many true stars didn't make it through to tell the tale." The passion is back in his voice as he tells us, "But some of us are still fighting for real music, and the performers from all backgrounds who can write & perform on stage (it doesn't hurt to sweat!), will live on. The corporate formula of miming to programmed music really sucks," I feel the sincerity as he adds; "It's an emotional thing."

'Wardi' is no stranger to performing in front of large audiences in Eastern Europe. While the front man for 'Shy' he played to a packed Winter Palace, St Petersburg in Russia, where he was mobbed by fanatical fans. "The fans there really love their heavy metal," he enthuses.
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"I understand the Bulgarians are big rock fans too" an informed 'Wardi' tells us, "All the great enduring bands, albeit with some line-up changes, from the 70s and 80s like Maiden, AC DC, Saxon, Guns & Roses and Metallica are all playing to huge crowds there."

So, what does Stara Zagora and 'Aero Rock Starz' mean to you I asked. Immediate and emphatic in his answer and leaving me in no doubt, 'Wardi' says, "Oliver Dawson Saxon never gives less than 200% whether playing to 500 fans or 50,000." He goes on, "The Bulgarian rock fans haven't heard us before so they'll get 250%"

"All the guys are really looking forward to it. Great country, great fans, great music. Does it get any better?" Do you know 'Wardi', I don't think it does.

As 'Wardi' proclaims, "Rockin' is my business". Bulgaria, you'd better believe it!