Play Video "Unleash The Beast"

The Story behind the making of “Unleash The Beast” video on Mt. Diablo in Northern California by Matt Bolender-TCI Channel 6

In mid march I found out that my heavy metal heroes from England, “Saxon” where coming to my hometown for a 2 day visit. Wheels of steel began to turn in my mind. The thought of not only shooting an interview and some concert footage, but the possibility of creating my first music video for guys I really looked up to was a dream. We all know the heavy metal music biz has been on a tumble for the last 8 years so very few music videos have been created due to the lack of MTV and VH-1 even playing them. With this in mind and the recent news that Drummer Nigel Glockler would not be on the tour due to injury, I thought the chances were slim that Biff Byford and company would even listen to my crazy ideas. Besides, they’d been doing a show every night for the last four weeks.

After doing a few sites visits in remote parts of the hills near Concord California, the site of 2 Saxon shows at Lindees night club, I then came up with a concept for the video. Castle Rock Park had always been one of my favorite hiking and climbing site as a youth, but it was a good 30 minute hike of semi muddy cow trails to the site. I’m sure there leather boots would love it, ha ha. The gothic looking rocks were the perfect setting for “Unleash the Beast”.

A couple of days later I met up with Biff Byford at the Edge Night Club in Palo Alto, California before they headed to Anaheim for a day only to return to Concord the next day. After a video interview for my rock show “C.C. ROCK”, I then approached Biff with pictures of Castle Rock Park. He liked the idea almost immediately. So much that he allowed me to shoot some extra video at the concert that night to use as fill for the beast video. Soon the show was over and I was on my way home when I suddenly I thought, holy shit. I’m going to shoot a music video in a couple days with Saxon. The stress of preparation and thought entered my mind. What kind of look will this video have? Will I have enough time to shoot the video? Will they be cooperative? On Saturday they arrived in Concord where we met the guys again and ended up going to San Francisco for a few hours so Biff, Nibbs and Doug could shop. Paul and Trevor hung out around the hotel back in Concord. Before I knew it, a couple hours had passed in the city and the road manager Twister along with the guitar and drum tech had to get back to prepare for the show. Since we were in two cars I decided take them back and leave my friend Steve on the Saxon shopping spree so I could head back to Lindees and see my wife at home who was 7 months pregnant and having a hard time swallowing Saxon weekend.

When I arrived back at Lindees’s I was then asked by Twister to take Paul Quinn to a local guitar shop to fix a bad ground on a pick-up. How could I turn down my one of favorite guitar heroes, but what about my wife Grettel. Oh well, off to the guitar store I went with Paul. When we arrived I informed the tech that this was a very special guitar. He knew of Paul’s work and went to fixing the problem. With time to burn I then handed a acoustic guitar to Paul as we started into “Absent Friends” and “Do It All For You”. A song I dedicated to my wife who was at home pissed off. With a raspy voice from yelling too much at Thursday’s show in Palo Alto and a video camera rolling capturing all, Paul made me promise I would not use this for broadcast. We’ll I guess my days of filling in for Biff are all but gone. After the only hail storm that year in the Bay Area we proceeded our way back to Lindee’s. All were eating dinner including Biff who was eager to talk about my music video ideas. With the rain and hail that day I was somewhat discouraged about the idea of tromping through the mud to Castle Rock Park as were the Saxon. Biff once again probed my mind for what we were going to do up on Mt. Diablo, better know to the Spanish explorers as “Devil’s Mountain”. I then proceeded on having another beer and eat my fish and chips to help my mind come up with a backup plan to Castle Rock Park. Before I knew it Saxon was on stage kicking ass as usual.

A blue, clear and warm Sunday morning came fast and with it the eager and anticipated shoot of the year. I gathered up Saxon who was a bit sleepy headed from the night before, and set out on a trip up Mt. Diablo looking for a picturess and viable spot for shooting the Beast. The weather was perfect. A few cumulus nimbus clouds and the warmth of the sun. Perfect right. We’ll it just so happened that everyone and their moma had the same idea of heading up the mountain. After we found a good spot known as picnic point at 3,100 feet we starting to set up for the shoot. Unfortunate for a young couple sharing a bottle of vino on a blanket. They must have not like heavy metal for their stay was short lived. After 2 hours of shooting and Nibbs falling on his butt a couple times on loose rocks the main body of the shoot was complete. That’s when Ranger Rick showed up. Time to talk my way through life again. I was informed a permit was needed to shoot on Mt. Diablo State Park. I had permission to shoot at, my rained out first choice location, Castle Rock Park, but not at Mt. Diablo. Some how my TCI credentials sold him on the idea that the video was for local production, which it was, sort of. We then headed to a couple more remote settings that we had to hike to. Biff and Nibbs seemed in good shape, Paul and Doug needed a bit slower pace. After 4 hours of pure fun and artistic video work it was time to get the guys to Lindee’s for sound check. We all felt that we had accomplished some good stuff for a few good hours on the Mountain. Not to mention the guys got some sun and good exercise. After dropping off the band I said my good bye’s and informed the band that I would not be able to come to the show tonight for I had to get ready for a trip to San Diego in hopes of winning an award for a video I had produced earlier that year. Biff seemed a bit surprised and enticed me by saying that they would perform “Broken Heroes” and a couple of other songs not played the night before. I had made my mind up that being with the wife and son that night was necessity for a good marriage.

After I ate my dinner at home and put my son to sleep that night, Saxon was on my mind. I then proceeded in explaining to my wife that I needed to pick up some of the lights that I allowed Lindee’s to borrow. She was not in the believing mood, but allowed me to do what I needed to do. I arrived as Lindee’s just before the guys hit the stage. What a show. Pure power and glory in action. Biff even referred to the fact that they shot a music video up on the mountain that day and was shocked to see me in the crowd screaming my head off. He said “What and the hell are you doing here you bloody twit” in a humorous way. When it came encore time I made my way backstage to ask Biff if they could play “Requeim”. Biff asked Trevor if he was ready for he had not played drums for that song ever before. Trevor gave the thumbs up and they blasted through one of the best songs of the night. After an hour of hanging out with the guys on the bus I proceeded in saying good bye again with the hope of doing another music video with them in the future. Those were 3 of the best days of my life with 5 of the best guys I ever met. Long live the Metal Militia Guard for Saxon.

Saxon and Matt In San Francisco

Mt Diablo Ranger and Matt

Paul and Matt

Paul and Matt on Mt. Diablo

Nibbs on Mt. Diablo

Matt Thinking

Matt ,Michelle and Biff - On the tour bus