We all know Steve Harris through his tireless and seminal work with Iron Maiden. But this is the legendary bassist’s other band – although to refer to British Lion as his ‘other band’ makes them sound like an afterthought. And the reality is that they deserve a lot more respect. On any terms, the quintet are impressive.
Harris first got involved with British Lion during the 1990s, when he produced, wrote and managed the original band. When they split up, the bassist stayed in touch with vocalist Richie Taylor and guitarist Graham Leslie. This eventually climaxed with the formation of a new line-up in 2012, and the release of their self-titled, debut album later the same year. What this did was showcase a determined, 1970s rock oriented record that nods towards The Who and UFO, with Harris playing in a different style to that which one has come to expect from him with Maiden.
Subsequently, British Lion have built on the positive response to the album on the road, with Harris, Taylor and Leslie joined by guitarist David Hawkins and drummer Simon Dawson. And once people saw them onstage, the Lion made so much more sense. There was a power and aggression to them that perhaps didn’t always come across in the studio, and it was clear this was no vanity project for Harris, but a fully fledged and focused band in their own right.
Heavy yet subtle, the five have continued to grow, and have become a thunderous, exciting combination of talents in their own right.