2009. május 13., szerda
War Cry - Rich Rozek
Trouble, Zoetrope, Slauter Xstroyes, Witchslayer, White Cross. All of them came from Chicago at the late '70s/early '80s and put the city on the map of the US metal scene. I think, these bands -and the scene as a whole- weren't as big as the Bay Area or the Los Angeles ones, but it succeeded in making a name for themselves and were the faves of the tapetraders back in the day. War Cry came also from Chicago and became one of the best underground outfits. Singer Rich Rozek told the story...
Rich, War Cry was formed in 1982 when Marty Fitzgerald and Steve Ahlers both on guitars and Paul Speckmann joined their forces, but at which point did you respectively drummer Joe Iaccino get in the picture exactly? Were both of you the first choices of the band?I believe Joe had been in and out of the band before I joined, approximately in late 1983.
Does it mean, that with your and Joe's addition the line up became complete?
When I joined, Joe was not the drummer, Bill Schmitt (ex-Master) was the drummer.
Was it a hard thing to find the suitable members for a rock/metal band in Chicago back then?
Yes – extremely hard! In the Chicago area, where I lived on the South side of Chicago, the music scene was geared more toward copy bands, but on North side and Northern suburbs (Where War Cry was based) were doing a lot more original music based on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Paul's previous outfit called White Cross, but what about the musical background of the other members? Did you know them earlier by the way?
No, I didn't know any of the War Cry guys before hand. I was first introduced to the scene by seeing Thrust at their gigs and hanging with them at all the metal concerts. I had been in several bands before War Cry – my family has a large musician background. Never heard of White Cross.
Was Paul the most experienced musician among you or would you say, that all of you had the talent, that a professional band needs?
Talent-wise we were all pretty even.
At this time, the NWOBHM movement was in full swing, and War Cry found inspiration in acts from that movement, such as Witchfinder General and Angel Witch, but your approach became ever more doomy, as a result of listening a lot of Black Sabbath material, what made you to turn into that direction?
Personally, I was a Black Sabbath fan since I was a young kid. I think we turned more doomy after experiencing a Trouble gig – those guys have never got the attention they deserved. One of my favorite bands!
How did you view the Chicago metal scene at this point? Do you agree with, that Chicago was a hotbed for metal activity, such as Los Angeles, New York, Texas, the Bay Area, Cleveland etc. and War Cry,Trouble, Zoetrope, Thrust, Witchslayer, Transgressor Slauter X-troyes etc. all were on the forefront of the burgeoning movement to play everything louder and faster? Yes, I think it was a great scene to be part of, and it was because of us bands that played out and supported each other. Groups such as War Cry, Zoetrope, Thrust, Trouble, and Witchslayer.
Did you try to build up a friendship with these bands? Was a competition among you or did you rather help and support each other? Again, the bands I just mentioned did support each other, as well as play gigs together. Some bands were big talkers, but you never saw them play out, and when they came to our gigs they were just wankers that would bad mouth the bands playing out.
Do you agree with, that all of the aforementioned bands put Chicago on the map of the underground scene? The bands on Metal Massacre 4 put Chicago on the map with the help of the genius of Brian Slagel.
What do you recall of your rehearsals?
Half-ass, never consistent, playing in cold garages and even a storage facility. Nobody had cash for a practice spot or wanted to spend anything – except me and maybe Steve Ahlers. I would drive over 120 miles every weekend to practice, and I slept on Marty's parents couch.
Did you start writing originals with WarCry or were you jamming mostly on covers?
We did both.
In mid-83, War Cry entered Open Reel Studios in Lynwood, Illinois to record the legendary four song „Trilogy Of Terror" demo, do you still remember how was the demo recorded? That studio was by my house. We used it because my Uncle, a club entertainer, knew the owner. It was small but comfortable. Once again, the frugality of the band ruined an opportunity the band probably regrets. When asked if we wanted to pay to keep the master tape, or just use it and the studio would use it again – nobody wanted to spend the cash!
Was it the first studio experience for all of you? It was my second experience. I recorded a piece which was intended for Mike Varney who owned Schrapnel Records.
By whom were the songs, I mean the music and the lyrics written? Did everybody have a big hand into the songwriting or was/were there main songwriter(s)? I did all the lyrics and Marty and Steve wrote the music.
Can you give us details regarding the tape? Are you still proud of it after 25 years of its release? The tape is very raw, but it achieved it's goal of showcasing the band unique sound. Yes I am proud of it. I came up with the title, “Trilogy of Terror,” which I thought fit the music very well.
Did you sound like power Metal but with a doomier approach? Exactly...well put!
Did this demo open some doors for the band both in the Chicago area and in the States? Yes it did. War Cry had a nice buzz going on in the city, due to the songs we wrote, and the odd selection of cover songs, plus the theatrical show I put together.
To this very day metal fans and musicians comment on how heavy this demo was and how it helped to influence many bands, do you agree with it?
I'd like to thinks so, and I'm honored that bands say that about us.
Is it true, that War Cry had no clue how to promote the demo at the time, but copies of it rapidly spread through the tape trading network, and War Cry achieved a degree of cult fame in the metal underground?
No, that is not true. I knew exactly how to market it as marketing was and is still my background. What is true is that the tapes that did get out there were paid for by me. The interviews in fanzines like Kick Ass Monthly, and numerous radio show were set-up and done by me. Once again, the band would rather spend money hanging in the club scene, but were too cheap to give money for a marketing budget.
Does it mean that you could hard make a name for the band? Weren't you aware of the existence of the fanzine/tapetrading network or…?
Again, I just answered that. It was my opinion that we should have went with this small marketing company out of St. Louis, MO., I don't recall the name, but because of them, both Trouble and Exciter were really pushed.
How deeply were you involved in the underground by the way? Very. I was at all gigs and parties related to the scene. I had been reading Melody Maker, Sounds, Creem, and a ton of metal fanzines years before I joined War Cry. These magazines helped to give me the desire to create metal music!
Did you often get letters from Europe as well? Did you sent a lot of demos to Europe?
Yes I did get many letters and sent out a ton of tapes.
Do you still remember how many copies did you manage to sell from the demo? Would you have ever thought that you became so cult, legendary and unforgotten? That was over 25-years ago, so no I don't remember how many I sent – whenever I got paid from work, I would buy more tapes to send out. No I never thought that people would be listening to us years later. If we would have stuck by our guns we might have had some of the success that Slayer enjoyed, and worked very hard for!
Did you have a small, fanatic fanbase or a bigger one? I mean, were you known only by a couple of fans or rather by bigger crowd?
In Chicago, on a Tuesday night we could draw over 200 people. Pretty good I'd say.
By now, War Cry were opening for big acts such as Joe Perry Project and Mountain, what about your setlist? Did you perhaps have other materials written or recorded besides the demo?
Yes, we had more originals. Typically at say, Joe Perry, the club would tell us we needed to do two 45-minute sets. About half was covers and the rest originals.
You scored notable local success by gainig the honours of opening act for Twisted Sister and Queensryche as well, correct?
We got that gig when I noticed the gig in the local music newspaper, when taking a break from recording Forbidden Evil for Metal Massacre 4. I called the club up the very minute I saw that and secured the gig.
Was it a really great buzz around the band?As much as the other bands in the scene.
You got the opportunity to appear on vinyl came calling, in the form of Brian Slagel's Metal Blade Records, how did it happen exactly?
We went out to L.A. For the US Festival, I was hanging with Witchslayer out there. They were enough to take me to the record store Brian was working at, because Witchslayer had a meeting set-up with him. Craig and Jeff was gracious enough to inroduce me to Brian. I asked him if it was possible to get on MM 4 still? Brian said, “When you get back to Chicago send me your demo and I'll give it a listen.
How did Brian get your demo at all? I got back to the hotel and the guys from War Cry were all pissed-off at me for hanging with Witchslayer so much. Then I told them that because of Witchslayer we have a chance to get on MM 4. I also said when we get back we have to record the demo for Brian. Los Angeles is a great place to vacation. I go there still just about every year, but...L.A. Was also the beginning of the end for War Cry. I could see how much Marty was digging the scene out there. All the posers playing on the club circuit. The Motley Crue wanna be bands! It was only a matter of time before War Cry was going commercial. Paul left first and was a close second. In time they changed their name to Tommy Gunn, and went commercial. Then changed names depending on the current music fad in L.A.! Paul created Master with a friend of mine, Rick Manson (ex-Witchslayer). I jammed with a couple of bands, started Battalion, did a demo with them. Then I joined Dorian Grey. Stopped playing for a time after that, then I created and published Subculture Magazine featuring national metal acts. Did Subculture for five years.
Their Metal Massacre compilation series had featured many promising acts, and had helped to launch the careers of Metallica, Ratt, Armored Saint, Trouble, Malice and Slayer, among many others, would you say, that Brian Slagel was a great supporter of the underground scene and this compilation had a very important role in the underground back in the day? Yes, Metal Blade as well numerous other indies in the states, and Europe helped to bring metal to the consumer that wasn't aware of tape trading and the underground.
War Cry were offered the chance to appear on „Metal Massacre 4", alongside fellow Chicago acts Trouble, Witchslayer, Zoetrope and Thrust, but were you familiar with the first three compilations? Did Brian Slagel have a good sense choosing out groups for these compilations?Yeah, I was very familiar with the series. Brian did a great job choosing the bands, of course, many of the bigger acts were based in Los Angeles, or at least California. So I assume he knew those bands that a following or a strong buzz in the club scene on the west coast.
„Forbidden Evil" from the „Trilogy Of Terror" demo was chosen to appear on the compilation, so the track was re-recorded specially, was it Brian's idea or…?It was Brian's idea to use Forbidden Evil, as I mentioned before the band didn't want to purchase the master tapes of the demo, so we had no choice but to record it again.
Didn't you think about to record a brandnew, exclusive track for the record?That wasn't our decision to make. Brian called me up one day and said that he received the demo I sent to him, and he wants Forbidden Evil on MM4.
War Cry recieved a good response to their contribution, and the record helped you become noticed on the international scene, does it also mean, that the compilation helped you getting new fans and expanding your popularity in the underground?Yes, I'm sure it did. But remember, back then there was no internet, so news, reviews, etc., were not as immediate as they are today. The mail is slow, and there was usually a two to three month delay regarding magazines. So unless someone called you from Europe (which was also more expensive – no Skype) you never received that immediate gradification you enjoy these days.
Between the „Metal Massacre" release and the demo the band became quite popular - especially in Europe, right? Somewhat – read the prior question.
Future thrash act Forbidden even took their name from the War Cry song, „Forbidden Evil", is that correct?
Well, that's what I read and was told, but when I asked Craig and those guys face to face they denied it.
Is that true, that you were offered a deal by Brian Slagel and his Metal Blade Records, but nothing happened?
Nope. Not true at all. There are two things I would love to straighten out right now. First, Metal Blade never offered a album deal. Second, I never got paid any royalties from MM4. The band, main Paul wants to continue to beat a dead horse regarding these to issues. So back in, I believe, 2006, I read once again these same tired aqusitions. So I called Metal Blade, and talked to then CEO, Tracy Vera, if they have a record of anything being offered or paid to me. Her response was, no, War Cry never got an offer, and no, I never received any royalties. She also added, if someone doubts this, they can call her. Oh, buy the way, in case anyone thought we were going to get rich off of MM4, that would be a no too. Back then the contract stated that you got paid ONLY for albums sold in the states, none in Europe and no cassette royalties – and Cd's didn't exist. This was a standard deal. You don't do it for money, you do it for the honor and for the publicity. Oh, one more thing, the albums sold in the states? You get about 12 cents per copy - after expenses. All in all, it might come out to be a whopping $130 dollars approximately. Why did the signing of the contract turn out crabs?
Despite this taste of success, drummer Joe Iaccino quit in mid '83 and was replaced by Bill Schmidt, how did you find him? What about his musical past? I really don't know. Bill was in the band when I got there.
In 1984 the band started to go towards a more commercial sound and this situation led to the fact, that prompted bassist Paul Speckmann left the band and form Master and Death Strike along with Bill Schmidt, it means, that Paul wasn't satisfied with that new direction was he? Didn't fulfit his expectations that new style?
Paul was looking for the heaviest thing on Earth – he couldn't find it so he created it with Master, in my opinion.
Did he form Master because he wanted to play a heavier, faster and more brutal music and he discovered bands, such as Hellhammer, Venom, Discharge etc. at this point? Did you like Paul's new bands Master and Death Strike or later Abomination? Yes and yes. In fact I supported Paul at one of his first gigs with Master. It was at a place in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It was decent room that held a couple hundred people, and the place was packed. Master was very raw, but brutal. The thing I respected about Master versus, say Venom, was that Master had accomplished musicians. I thought a band like Venom were popular because of the shock value. Cronos could've used a few more lessons I thought. Paul was and still is I'm sure, one of the best bassists out there.
By the way, how would charakterize him personally?
A very caring person with an enormous ego.
Do you consider him as one of the most influential persons of the metal scene? Paul was always focused and knew what he wanted. He was obviously very influential in the death/thrash scene.
Did you record any material with Bill Schmidt or…? No. We were both on the first concert video. That was it.
In 1984 you recorded your second demo, what can you tell us about this tape compared to the first one? Did you cause a great disappointment for the fans considering the result?It was more commercial. I think I was terrible on it. I did like the song Tear it up! Many fans apparently liked it. I hated my singing. It wasn't me – the throatiness was gone. They wanted a clean vocal sound that just wasn't my style.
Do you agree with, that this second effort hadn't anything to do with the first one and while the first tape was heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, this demo was rather in the vein of Mötley Crüe and your voice was reminiscent of Vince Neil's (Mötley Crüe) one in my opinion?
I don't think it was that candy ass! It wasn't what the first tape was that's for sure. Of course, we used to wear all black too, but after the L.A. Trip and this tape, Marty said it was time to add some colors onstage...WHAT?!! NO MORE ALL BLACK ATTIRE?!!
What was the line up of the band at this point? Who wanted to push the band into that direction at all? Joe drums, Steve & Marty guitars, Vince (Marty's twin) bass, and I was there. Not me! I wanted a tighter sound yet still heavy. To get tighter we had to just practice.
Did you have some problems, conflicts considering the musical path/direction, that you wanted to achieve WarCry with? It was a lot of things. I was traveling very far to practice, to find someone either wasn't there, or we couldn't practice. No one wanted to invest any money in the band. When the style started changing, well, by that time I was burnt out and ready to move on.
Were the glam/hair outfits, such as Dokken, Ratt, Mötley Crüe etc. on the peak of the scene at this point and the band members –except you- were heavily influenced by them? Was the underground scene overshadowed by these outfits?
In magazines those bands were getting the press. People would listen to Slayer and say how god awful it was. I remember I was at a reviewers house, and she said you wanna hear Show No Mercy? She put it on and all I could think of was these guys are like Venom, but much, much tighter! Slayer could play! By the way, for the record, I do love Venom. Black Metal is one of the best albums. I still remember partying with Rick Manson (ex-Witchslayer – I got 'em the audition, and ex-Master) we were headbanging to Venom's Black Metal – and it still wasn't fast enough! So we put the album on at 45rpm and I think we saw hell. What an experience!
Next were you who left the band, what kind of reasons did lead to your departure?
Like I said before, I was just tired of all the bullshit.
How do you view, if Paul, Bill and you wouldn't have departed from the band would you have been a more known, bigger and more influential outfit?
You know back then, I thought the changes would have made things better. Especially because Paul would rag on someone, or Bill could never get to practice and was always whining about something, but I guess that friction is what gave us our edge. Too bad. When I listen to Slayer (one of my favorites) I sometimes think we had the potential to go that far, but the whole band has to have the same passion, and in this case we were split down the middle.
Do you agree with, that the band lost its originality and identity with that second effort?
Yes, very much.
At which point did the band move to L.A. and why did they change their name into Tommi Gunn?
I wasn't in the band at that time, but what I understand, they had gotten some rich lady to finance them. Give them a place to practice, pay for advertising, etc. All I remember is picking up an issue of Chicago's largest music newspaper, The Illinois Entertainer, it must have been in December of 1985 or January 1986. It was a full page ad with them announcing the name change. They were all wearing poseur clothes, new years hats, and blowing noise makers! Frickin' embarrassing! I think they moved to L.A. Shortly after that...and proceeded to change their name as they deamed nessesary, War Cry, Tommi Gunn, Kelly's Heroes, Tommi Gunn, War Cry...
The group tried to keep going, drafting in replacements and recording further material, but it was all to no avail, did you remain in touch with Steve Ahlers and Marty Fitzgerald? Did you follow the band's career later on? No, never kept in touch with any of them. I followed them as much as people would mention to me. I did bump into Ahlers once on Sunset, while attending a industry convention.
Who became the replacements of you, Paul and Bill?
Well Joe replaced Bill and stayed-on for a while, Pat from Witchslayer played bass, and Vince (Marty's twin) went from playing bass to singing.
You formed Battalion with Tyrants Reign drummer Gabriel Anthony and together you wrote the song „Reign of Terror" later played by Tyrants Reign, how did the band come into being?
I started the band with Jay Loudman, eventually we recruited Gabe. It was all about staying in shape really.
How did you get together with him, guitarist Jay Loudman and bassist B. R. A. T.? Did they play in some Chicago outfits previously? Nothing to speak of.
In 1986 you released a three track demo titled „Deafcon 4” featuring „War on earth", „Reign of terror" and „Cry of the wind", would you give us details regarding this material? It was a collaberation between all in the band. What about the recording sessions of this effort? We did all the recordings in one day at a small studio in, I believe Darien, Illinois – about 20 minutes west of Chicago. The owner of the studio was a husband of a member of Bitch – a popular all-girl band that was very popular in Chicago.
Did you try to keep War Cry's musical world alive or…?
Ya know, the answer is no. I was burned out on them and that whole attitude thing, which got worse with these glam/hair bands!
Didn't you think about to re-record some WarCry material? I kind of did with Cry of the Wind.
Do you agree with, that the Chicago scene became bigger and bigger at this point with bands, such as Terminal Death, Devastation, Sindrome, Infra Red, Hammeron, Iron Cross etc.
Yeah, the scene did get bigger, but it wasn't the same. It became deluted. Too preconceived...no more surprises or originality. All of the same old stuff heard before.
Why and when did the whole Battalion thing come to an end?
I think it was when Gabe decided to go back jamming with Tyrant's Reign. Gabe and I were the most experienced, so when he left I called it a day as well. It gets old playing with amatuers.
Have you ever gigged with the band, did you start writing a second demo etc.?
No, the band was just a place to keep our chops while looking for what each of us wanted.
What did you do after Battalion's demise?
Before breaking up the band, I had tried jamming with a band called Enforcer – just one time, and it didn't click or feel right. What can you tell us about your musical involvements and activities after Battalion? I found a band called Dorian Gray, which was right up my alley. They were huge Rainbow fans like me, so we decided to give it a try.
Did you also keep an eye on what's going on in the underground?
Somewhat. The underground that I knew was becoming something different.
In 2006 was released the compilation „Forbidden evil" by S. I. N. Music, how much/deeply were you involved into the making of this record? Very involved.
From where did come the idea to release this material?
Actually it was my sister who started it all somewhat. She e-mailed me one night, a story where Paul was once again accusing me of passing on a record deal offer from Metal Blade, and stealing royalties. So I contact the writer, and asked if he would allow me a rebuttal. The more and more War Cry interviews I read with Paul, Marty, or Vince; the more I was upset that they were disrespecting the bands image or legacy if you will. I went on the forum out of Europe, and many of the fans were very upset, pissed, and laughing at some new War Cry recording that the guys in L.A. Put out. The general consensus was that they were lame – nothing like the War Cry they remember. So I thought, we can't close the chapter on the band like that. I wanted to also prove that I was not only capable of producing the old stuff as heavy as it was, but also write new songs that would sit side-by-side the old songs and not embarrass the name.
Did you want to commemorate for War Cry? In my way...yes!
Would you say, that the fans beared the band in their minds over the years and they didn't forget it? That's why I put it out. All these fans were still digging the demo – after 25-years!
The band re-recorded old songs, and if one don't know them –I mean a lot of young or teenager fans- it's not too late to experience your dark power Metal that is heavier than hell, what do you think about it? I think your right. It was dark power metal, or as I consider it power doom! I think the band back then, primarily Marty was afraid to delve further into dark lyrics. That's why he was happy going glam, or whatever they considered themselves! They took my lyrics to heart. All I was doing was the same thing done by Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Hammer Films, Creepy Magazine, Rod Serling did...tell horrific stories! It's fantasy.
By the way, what are/were your favourite WarCry tunes?
Out of the old songs, we used to do one called “Fire & Brimstone” which I wrote. It was pure thrash ala Motorhead or Venom. Other than that one...The Executioner.
Do you consider „The Executioner", „Rip You To Shreds" or „Wicked Warlock" cult, power metal classics?
Well two out of three. Rip You To Shreds is off the Forbidden Evil Cd. Kind of new to be a classic, but I do love the hell outta it!
The addition of the original '83 demo merely affirms the gargantuan differences that surface between the band's two incarnations- everything on the '06 material sounds like it's being played by titans, and the sheer heaviness of the original demo has been harnessed, distilled and amplified for maximum effect, what's your opinion about it? Thanks to Dr. Dread aka Brian Ericson for his unbelievable production, playing, and writing skills. He's made of pure talent, and a great work ethic! People should realize that this release was recorded in about three sessions! With no practices! Hell, I hadn't sang at that intensity for almost 10-years. Imagine that!
Does it mean, that this demo stood the test of time?
Yes, most definitely!
Is Trouble's first demo a reasonable reference point, though War Cry have/had a far more streetwise, urban sound, attitude and spunk that bears the distinct stench of NWOBHM stalwarts like Savage, Jaguar, the first two Tygers Of Pan Tang, Tank, Weapon and especially Holocaust and in many senses, War Cry's philosophy is one shared by the likes of „Bonded By Blood” (Exodus), „Kill 'Em All” (Metallica), „Fuckin' Death” (Death Strike), „Heavy Metal Maniac” (Exciter), „Filth Hounds Of Hades” (Tank), „The Nightcomers” (Holocaust), „Amnesty” (Zoetrope)?Trouble's Live demo changed it for us! Trouble had no stage presence, but they didn't need any. When they played, it was so heavy, the guitars were tuned down, Eric's voice was like he was in pain, singing lyrics that mirrored the torment that his throat sounded like it was going through...you would just stand there in awe of them guys! That's a shame that they didn't become bigger – they had an original sound., plus Rick Rubin. Sound will say they took it from Black Sabbath, but it was different than Sabbath, so very unique...Just listen to Tempter or Bastards Will Pay – Brilliant! Frickin' genius!
WarCry's energy is captured to invoke the dark Metal forces, how do you view it? I touched on this earlier, it was a way for me to tell a horror story. Take for instance, The Executioner; I was inspired by the famous piece painted by Frank Frazetta, used on the cover of Creepy Magazine.
Is this recent recordings keep the dark side but tends towards a really powerful Metal that is a steamroller killing everything on its road?
It covers what was done in the past, but the new songs are written about the present. Things happening now, like serial killers, priests doing wrong, and Katrina, a hurricane that destroyed New Orleans.
Do you consider the stuff power metal played with genius? Yes.
Do you think that WarCry had a big effect on the present scene and you didn't get that acknowledge what they would have deserved?
We got what we deserved considering the band didn't stick to it's guns like a Slayer, or Metallica.
It's a shame that it didn't succeed for the band in breaking out from the demo category and you couldn't release a full length record back then, how do you feel about this?
It didn't happen because it wasn't meant to happen. We couldn't release an album with a lost direction. Look at what those guys did in L.A. - that isn't War Cry. You can could have, should have, all you want, but to keep it brutal, your heart and soul has to be into it. Obviously mine was, and Paul proved himself without a doubt. But after reading several interviews with the twins, they kind of remind of a David Lee Roth interview. They're more concerned about their looks...that Sunset Strip scene was where they wanted to be, and that was what was in their hearts and souls. You can't be part of a fad. You have to do what suits you. That's why War Cry didn't put out a full length album. It wasn't part of the bands destiny.
I mean, it was the case with Trouble as well, although they released a lot of records, but they never became as popular and known as they must have been…
True. Many others could say the same. The music business is a weird business. Just look at Raven, Savatage, Twisted Sister even. The label signs you, and you've sold your soul sometimes! The number of the beast is sales my brother. Much more than 666!
In 2006 you released a cd under the moniker of WarCry US, what made you change the band’s name from WarCry to WarCry US? To what does it refer?
A few reasons. Mainly the WarCry from Spain tours quite a lot and I respect how well they're doing so I didn't want there to be any confusion. Second, that's the domain, www.warcry.us. In this world of the internet, and making things easier to find – that was a no brainer. Last, there was such distaste for my ex-bandmates new War Cry songs, I wanted to make sure they gave this Cd a chance. So they could see the original singer, me, still is capable of writing heavy stuff that also respects the memory of the old material that made all those heads bang!
The material contains new tracks the remastered versions of the „Trilogy of terror” demo and the original version of it, under which circumstances did you write the new tracks? Can you tell us detailed about them?
Well I didn't have much time, because the musicians that played on the project are very busy people. So I really had about five sessions to jam, write, and come up with new material that lived up to the War Cry name – which was VERY important to me! I really enjoy the writing process – even more so when you're under pressure because of time constraints. To make it work though, you have to work with professionals. I was lucky to have that with Dread & V. At one point, for example, I had tried singing some lyrics from Rip You to Shreds to some music that was eventually used for The Church, Inc., well it wasn't working. Then I thought to try some other music Brian (Dread) had come up with. So we exchanged music from both songs and it worked perfectly!
The Blind Leading the Blind – This song is about the hurricane Katrina, and the lack of assistance the poor people received from our own government. In other words the people that we put our faith in by electing them and paying their wages AND their retirement were not prepared to help our own in our own country – but they can sure as hell set-up facilities for war in the middle-east quick!
R.I.P. You to Shreds – Kind of a clever song about stalkers, voyeurism, and mindless love...literally!
The Church, Inc. - A song about our largest corporation – The Catholic Church. The lyrics are self-explanatory.
We also had a couple of more songs that were not quite ready. One in particular called The Wicked Will Rise, which is just a great heavy anthem.
I tried to keep the new song concepts current and somewhat newsworthy so to speak, while retaining that War Cry power-doom feel, as I call it.
Is „Trilogy Of Terror” one of the foremost examples of single-minded, sinewy, red-hot, riff-slinging pummel in the annals of heavy metal history?I think it was recorded raw and came from our hearts. You can feel that at that point in the history of War Cry, we meant what we sang and played. There were no posers during that session!
Do you agree with, that WarCry knew, how to write good songs, correct?Yes. I do agree, but times writing can become too preconceived. It's like the difference between Trouble's Psalm 9 album and their later albums produced by Rick Rubin. I like the old stuff because Trouble wrote these long jams that took chances. Later release by Rubin, were too polished, arranged, and tight. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I would liked to have heard Trouble's old material produced by Rick Rubin, something like the Temptor or Bastards Will Pay!
Are these re-recordings far more spirited than certain similar endeavors and while you do not present new tangents on existing material the energy and sound of these updated classics more than justify the band’s endeavors?
If you consider that in no more than seven sessions this whole Cd was created – I think it's amazing, plus don't forget it was at least ten-years since I sang on a regular basis! Quite amazing!
How do you view the band’s career as a whole and what would you change on it?The band's career has been written, and it can't be changed. If things would have gone differently, you might not had “Master.” You can't look back only forward!
How about you these days? You mentioned me, that you have a very serious sickness…In 2001 I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease. This disease that most people know because Michael J. Fox has it, as well as others. There is no cure for Parkinson's Disease, but fortunately there are drugs to help manage it for most – to a certain extent.
How did this sickness start at all? What were the symptoms?It started on my left-side, which is the side for me that most of my symptoms are. One day I started getting an extremely sharp pain in my left shoulder...which eventually turned to atrophy. With PD there is no test you can take that tells you that you have it. It's a disease of exclusion. In my case it has progressed to where I have a bad tremor with my left arm, loss of function with my left hand, rigidity on my left-side, and I'm starting to lose the strength in my voice as I come off my prescribed drugs. Currently I take approximately 27 pills throughout the day.
Muhammad Ali and Michael J. fox have the same sickness, haven’t they?Yeah, both do as well as many other famous people. We, meaning my wife & I work with most of the major foundations including both of theirs. We do an online radio information and support progra
How much do your family and friends help you beating or at least surviving this disease?They help with their encouragement, plus spreading awareness, and raising money for research.
How do you/can you cure yourself?There is no cure. Basically what's happening is brain cells that we have that create a chemical called dopamine, that helps to send messages to parts of your body that tells your body how to walk, talk, move in general – are dying. So your body gets mixed signals that create tremors or shaking, plus the rigidity. There are drugs that help somewhat, but it's perfect, and everyone is different. The disease starts to progress – sometimes slow or faster. A big problem is the best drugs that help have side effects that usually start after taking the drug maybe 5 sometimes 10-years. A lot of what you see Michael J. Fox dealing with, are from the drugs that initially helped. In my case I take a handful of pills every 6-hours. They start to work or ease in the first 2-hours, the next 2-hours I'm as close to being without symptoms, then the symptoms start to come back in the last 2-hours. We repeat this process throughout the day & night.
What about the procession of this sickness? Does it kill fast or slow the organism?
Everyone is different. So one's person's brain cells could die fast others slow, but that's what makes this disease difficult – it's constantly changing.
Initially, everyone knew Parkinson's as a disease for the older person (60 to 75+ years old) but now thousands of people are getting it as young as 25 years old! We don't know why we get it, but we do know people get it from chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, chemical fumes, in the case of many that fought in wars – the Agent Orange has gave PD to many vets.
One thing that I have found is that many of the people I have met that have Parkinson's are people that DO NOT cry about it! We don't feel sorry for ourselves. We're very passionate about raising money to find a cure! Things are tougher for me, but I still sing, write songs, think, breath, and live. It is tough – but hell it could be worse!
My latest projects include helping others with the disease via our online radio program, writing songs, stories, lyrics. Writing for other bands as well. I also am working on my ambient music project, Tranquileyez. This month we start recording my son. He's got one of the best singing voices I've ever heard! He's 10-years old, into metal big time, has a natural vibrato, sings on key, and has a falsetto that would make Rob Halford jealous! Lookout for him. We'll probably release under The Zack Pack name and site. Www.thezackpack.com and www.WARCRY.us
Roar, thanks a lot for your answers, anything to add what I forgot to mention? Just a couple of things. I'm currently writing music and have written for other bands, so those interested can contact me at ROAR@WARCRY.US. Also, I'm currently working on some dark ambient songs in the studio for my project called Tranquileyez. I am considering doing a War Cry follow-up called ROAR ! Thank you to all the dedicated fans out there! You rule! Thanks again to everyone for all the support! Horns up! Cheers!....Roar
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