Birthplace of the New WavE of British Heavy Metal


Welcome to the official home of the Heavy Metal Soundhouse. Based in London, UK, Neal Kay's Heavy Metal Soundhouse and The Bandwagon spans from 1975 to 2006 and is renowned as the birthplace of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

The rich history and archives relating to the 'The Soundhouse Story' includes Iron Maiden, 'The Soundhouse Tapes', Lemmy and Motorhead, Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Judas Priest, Pete Townshend, April Wine, Samson, Angelwitch, Praying Mantis, Saxon and many more.

With original Soundhouse testimonials from Steve Harris, Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, Kevin Heybourne, Geoff Barton of Sounds, Malcolm Dome of Record Mirror, MTV, The 80’s Pure Pop Website, The BBC h2g2 Website, Bob McGrath of Record Collector and Paul De Noyer of NME.

The Soundhouse Story

It was 1975 when I first walked into the Bandwagon one Wednesday night in September, to answer a call from the stage in search of a Presenter of Rock. I confess that I had absolutely no idea where treading that path would lead, or to the incredibly colourful and diverse characters that would subsequently surround me at all levels of my life in Rock 'n' Roll, from both sides of that stage!  

It has taken me almost until now, when life finds me in my late middle age, to realise and understand fully just how important those far-off times have been to all who grew up with, became a part of, or were touched by the magical Soundhouse years. Together, we created a real tour de force as far as the music industry was concerned, and as the years went by, a real 'family of friends' was forged lasting right up to current times. Indeed, in some cases, even leading to marriage, family and beyond!

They were our formative years in more ways than one, and, as I look across the period that spans our life and times, our many achievements, the few failures, the happy and sad parts, from the outrageous to the truly crazy and totally insane, I do so with a fondness of memory for all who took part, and, for one last time, the wish to do it all again without the slightest change!

The Soundhouse Website is a celebration of our lives together, and a lasting testimony of what can be achieved by ordinary people who banded together in difficult times, in order to fight for, and share in a passion for the music that they all loved so very much, and the resulting way of life that came from it! I welcome all of you to it and thank all who helped create our 'little piece of history'.

Neal Kay

"I suppose the most important thing was the demo tape was being played at the Soundhouse by Neal Kay, so that really was the first break ... It was with Neal Kay"

Steve Harris

"I am really impressed by this place. In America we don't have disco's like this. I didn't think that this many people would be here, or that it would be so intense. We have a place opening in America, but I don't think that it would be as good."

Sammy Hagar

"This place is where it's at, it's fuckin' A!"

Ted Nugent

“The actual term 'NWOBHM' came from this one night at the legendary Neal Kay's Heavy Metal Bandwagon when Angelwitch and Samson played and some journalist (Geoff Barton) wrote in Sounds that 'it was a new wave of British HM' hence NWOBHM”

Kevin Heybourne, Angel Witch.

"Neal Kay reminds me of a seafaring captain who stands on his bridge, exhorting one last mighty effort for king and country, from a crew who would willingly follow him to the depths, because they know he is one of them. His rapport with the fans is based on mutual respect and brotherly love."

Malcolm Dome. Record Mirror, 1980.

"Gigs at the Kingsbury club were followed by a general mellowing in the me(n)tal attitudes of the owners of the various other London venues, with the result that Iron Maiden were at least able to work regularly, graduating quickly from the pubs to halls of the size and status of the Music Machine."

Geoff Barton, Sounds. 1979.

"You can’t underestimate how important The Bandwagon and Neal Kay’s Soundhouse was … Neal would play the music and everyone would go along and the bands would turn up. But not just up-and-coming bands. People like Ted Nugent and April Wine ... It wasn’t even in central London … they travelled all the way up to Kingsbury! ... Kingsbury! ... It was very, very important and it worked."

Jerry Ewing. 20th Century Box Documentary.

"Unable to solicit a response from record companies, Iron Maiden sent a three-track tape to Neal Kay, DJ at north London's hard rock disco, the Kingsbury Bandwagon Soundhouse. Kay's patronage of Iron Maiden won them an instant welcome."


"The New Wave of British Heavy Metal  (NWOBHM) phrase was first coined by Geoff Barton at Sounds, but much credit is also due to DJ Neal Kay, whose help in giving bands like Iron Maiden and Praying Mantis (as well as many others) their first break was crucial. EMI Records were quick off the mark and with Kay's help they produced the compilation album, Metal For Muthas, which put many bands on the road to fame."

80's Pure Pop.

"The music from this period was even louder and harder than before, and the 1980's would produce some of the heaviest metal bands ever. Venues like the Hammersmith Odeon and the Marquee in London, Castle Donington and Neal Kay's Bandwagon became Meccas for fans."

h2g2 (BBC)

"The Soundhouse, with Kay's huge sound system and light show taking the place of a band, air guitars are brandished to the sounds of Rush, AC/DC and crucially to the tapes of struggling young groups. Under Kay's benevolent dictatorship, the Soundhouse has become something of a heavy rock shrine."

Paul Du Noyer. NME, 1980.

"A turning point in their (Iron Maiden) fortunes came with the opening of Neal Kay's Soundhouse Club in London which specialised in HM."

Bob McGrath, Record Collector.

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