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Massive Wagons' Baz Mills: the soundtrack of my life

Baz Mills
(Image credit: John McMurtrie)

Massive Wagons are on a roll. Formed in 2009, the Lancaster rockers have blossomed from local concern to national conversation, with the good-time anthems of 2020’s fifth album House Of Noise hijacking the UK Top 10. 

That breakthrough year will be tough to top, considers chatterbox frontman Baz Mills. But with new album sessions underway and talk of a victory lap through Europe, there’s no reason why the Wagons can’t get even bigger.

Alt

The first song I remember hearing

When I was a little kid I was bang into Shakin’ Stevens. I even had a little Shakin’ Stevens outfit. I thought he was amazing. He was the Welsh Elvis, wasn’t he? When I was six or seven I would have been dancing around to the big hits – Green Door and This Ole House.


The first song I performed live

I was in a covers band before Massive Wagons, and we opened our first gig with Dancing Shoes by Arctic Monkeys. But I played bass in that band, so if we’re talking singing in Massive Wagons, it would have been our cover of Rock ’N’ Roll Train by AC/DC. Some of Brian Johnson’s vocals are just horrific to sing. I don’t know how he does it.


The greatest album of all time

The top ones for me are Rainbow’s Rising, Powerage by AC/DC and Painkiller by Judas Priest. I got that last one on tape when I was twelve, and it was just that time in your life, y’know, the first album I could listen to on my Walkman on my own. But Ginger Wildheart is a recent revelation and The Year Of The Fanclub is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.


The most underrated band ever

I think UFO are a bit under-appreciated. Their songwriting is unbelievable, but they don’t quite make it into that ‘golden circle’ of bands. There’s a song called Profession Of Violence, and Tonka Chapman’s guitar solo is absolutely amazing. I think it stands up to anything that Michael Schenker ever played, to be honest.


The guitar hero

I can pick three. I can’t choose between them. That’d be Rick Parfitt, Gary Moore and Angus [Young]. There’s a video of Gary Moore doing Back On The Streets on the Whistle Test, and there’s Don Airey, Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham and Cozy Powell. It’s just incredible. Gary is on fire.


The singer

I was into The Who, passionately, for years and years, and Roger Daltrey is an incredible performer. You’ve got to listen to Live At The Isle Of Wight. Young Man Blues. It’s a cover, but it’s incredible.


The songwriter

Before I started going out with Terri [Chapman, manager/partner] about eight years ago, I hadn’t really listened to Pearl Jam. I’d sort of dismissed them. But she was into them, and the more I listened, the more I liked Eddie Vedder’s writing. I love the early albums like Ten and Vs, and I loved the singles off Gigaton.


The best record I made

I think House Of Noise is my favourite. It’s got Matter Of Time on it, which I wrote for my daughter. I’m really proud of that song.


The worst record I made

I think all of our albums have their place. They all signify a moment. But if I could get rid of one of them it’d probably be our live album, The Good The Bad And The Ugly – emphasis on ‘the ugly’. We did it on the cheap, and the live tracks on that, I curl up in a ball, because they sound so awful.


The best live album

Slade Alive! It sounds like it’s being played in a Working Men’s Club, and that’s the kind of band they are. Noddy Holder is a powerhouse on that album. None of the big songs are on Slade Alive! but it’s absolute gold. When we released House Of Noise, our label, Earache, without us knowing, got hold of Noddy and got him to do an audio advert, like: “The new album from Massive Wagons! Buy it now!” Hearing that was quite a moment. Like: “That’s fucking Noddy Holder!”


My Saturday night song

When I lived on my own and we’d go out on the piss, we’d always put on Airbourne’s Live At Wacken DVD and absolutely crank that. Runnin’ Wild is the obvious song, but anything by Airbourne gets you going.


My guilty pleasure

I do like The One & Only by Chesney Hawkes. Nik Kershaw plays the guitar solo and it’s absolutely rocking. Chesney Hawkes is now playing at Butlins eighties weekends – and probably making more money than most people.


The song that makes me cry

Romeo And Juliet by Dire Straits has definitely done that. It might sound a bit sad, but sometimes when I’m listening to AC/DC I get the goosebumps and start to tear up. It’s just pure elation, the power of those songs.


The song I want played at my funeral

Darling Be Home Soon, off Slade Alive! It’s a John Sebastian cover. The Slade version is quiet and gentle – until about three-quarters of the way through, when Noddy powers up and the drums go crazy.

Henry Yates
Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.