|Country: United Kingdom
Genre: heavy metal
Questions: H., Ježura
Hello Blaze! First of all, I would like to ask how are you? What are you doing these days?
Hello, I am very busy at the moment. I have started my European Leg of the King of Metal world tour and it has been going really well so far.
You are now preparing a tour called „The King of Metal Tour“, which also contains five dates in the Czech Republic. How excited are you about this tour? Have you prepared something special for the fans? I suppose there will be songs off the new record „The King of Metal“… what else? Are you going to play some stuff from Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden, or will you concentrate on your own albums?
Yes, I am very excited about this tour. It is one of the biggest I have done for years. I am looking forward to all the shows in the Czech republic as the fans there are great. I have played at a festival last summer with the band Seven and that was just fantastic. The set will have songs from my full career added with songs from the brand new album.
As it is written in your biography, you are currently a solo performer without any stable backing band. How do you deal with line-ups for recording and touring? And how do you plan to deal with it in the future? Hiring new musicians for every tour would be exhausting, wouldn’t it?
Yes, i am now a solo artist. It is very hard to keep a band together. you have to pay for everybody’s rent. When I hire musicians I only need to pay them for the time they pay so when there are no shows, I don’t loose money. I have been really lucky because this way I get a chance to work with some really good musicians. On this tour, the band that has recorded the album, plays the tour.
In 2011 it was the second time you were left by the whole line-up of your band. How is it possible that something like that happens twice in mere five years? I don’t know you personally, but you always seemed to me as a nice person, so I don’t believe it happened because they couldn’t get on well with you (laughs). So what’s behind the 2007’s and 2011’s departures?
It always comes down to the finances. People want their bills paid but as an underground band, there is not always the money to pay for that. So people choose to get a normal job. With the last band, I couldn’t afford them anymore and they didn’t want to play with me on a hirebases, so I decided to look for different musicians.
Both the tour and your new album are called „The King of Metal“. Why did you choose this name? I bet there will be some people who will see it as an egocentric title. Just to prevent this – could you explain why is the album called like that?
Too many musicians take the fans for granted. They look down on them and forget that it is the fans that make it possible for us to do what we love the most. The fans are the kings of metal and I dedicate this album to the fans for all their support and trust in me. The titletrack is also called “The King of Metal”.
I have to confess that I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to„The King of Metal“ because it is not officially out yet, so I have to ask if you could tell us something about the record. Is there any progress in comparision with „Promise and Terror“? How would you convince fans that they should listen to it?
There is a lot of variety in the album. It has some real old school metal songs in there but also some modern ones. It is a lot more direct and in your face as “Promise and Terror” and more positive. It relates to a new part in my life where i refuse to give up.
I would also like to ask about some lyrics. I find the title „Dimebag“ very interesting… it seems like it is dedicated to Dimebag Darrell. Is it so? Do you like Pantera (and other Dimebag’s projects)? Anyway, what music do you listen to? Do you prefer metal or do you listen also to other genres? Do you know any Czech bands?
Yes, the song is a tribute to the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell that affected us all. I listen to all kinds of music when I am not working on mine. If I listen to metal I analise the songs too much and it becomes difficult to enjoy them. I do know the band Seven, that i have played with a few times now, and I really like the guys! They are great!
When talking about Czech bands… last year you performed as a guest with Seven at Masters of Rock festival. How did you enjoy the show? How did it actually happen that you shared the stage with Seven?
They got in touch with my management and asked if I could perform at two shows. One fell through but the Masters of Rock went ahead. It is a great opportunity for me to play with them and to reach out for new fans. It is also a lot of fun because i am not involved in any of the details so can just enjoy the performance and the evening. We are now trying to find some more shows to do together this summer.
Back to the lyrics. Are there any autobiographical lyrics? Names of some songs could imply something in that way, e.g. „Fate“ or „Judge Me“. Beside that, you are also pictured on the cover of the album. Am I right about the autobiographical elements or did you write rather about general themes this time?
This is a autobiographical album. But I am sure that it also relates to a lot of fans that are going through emotions that I have been through. It is about not giving up and fighting on. And about people thinking they know you, and base their opinions on that without really knowing you.
Another really actual topic is the new Wolfsbane’s album. I would dare to ask one a little bit idiotic question (laughs) – if you had to, which record would you choose as the better one – „The King of Metal“ or „Wolfsbane Save the World“?
That is a really difficult one. I would say “The King of Metal” because that is all me. With Wolfsbane it is more a cooperation with everybody so you can’t always get your way. But I also really like “Wolfsbane Save the World”.
There is a lot of easiness in „Wolfsbane Save the World“. It seems like all the recordings went absolutely comfortable. How did it feel to record with your old collegues once again? Have the right chemistry returned? Wolfsbane reformed for touring activities already in 2007 – when did you decide to make a new album? And how long did it take to compose the whole material?
We decided quickly after those shows in 2007 that we still had some songs left in ourselves that would work well for a new album. Jeff had some stuff and Jase and I also felt we could get some really good songs together. Jase and I got together at the start of last year and did a few days a month of writing together. The actual recording took about 3 months because everybody is still doing their own job and Wolfsbane is just something on the side. It was nice working together again.
Concerning particular songs, I would like to ask especially about „I Did It for the Money“. I suppose that it is your little provocation to the people who think that Wolfsbane reunited because of money?
Yes, that is right. But Wolfsbane is not for the money. It is a hobby.
Some screams can be heard in the background of „Buy My Pain“… Whose voice is that? Is that you?
I can’t remember. I would have to ask Jase lol
Which songs are Wolfsbane planning to perform live? Do you have your own favorites on „Wolfsbane Save the World“? I like e.g. „Teacher“ or „Child of the Sun“ very much…
I really like “Blue Sky”. I love riding my motorcycle so I really like that one. The setlist changes most of the times during the tour. We all know the songs well so we are free to change around. “Kathy Wilson” seems to be doing really well on tour and “Temple of Rock” too.
Another thing concerning Wolfsbane which crosses my mind… is this reunion only one-time matter, or are you planning to continue playing and to record more albums?
I don’t know. Everybody’s curcumstances change with time so who knows if we will still have time for it in the future. If there is, we will do some more. We will also have to see if there is any more inspiration left… We are trying to get some shows this October in the UK. That’s the only thing we are planning for the future at this point.
Wolfsbane originally split up in mid-90’s when you joined Iron Maiden. Have you ever thought about how the things could have turned out and where Wolfsbane could have been nowadays if you had stayed? Furthermore, your engagement with Iron Maiden didn’t end up so good because many orthodox fans didn’t accept you within the band whithout any objective reason … Are you satisfied with how all the things turned out, or would change anything if you could?
I can’t blame the fans from Iron Maiden for not accepting me. They lost their favourite singer. I did my best and really enjoyed my time with Iron Maiden. It was such a great experience and something I will never forget. I am not sure what would have happened to Wolfsbane.
Regarding the last question… why do you think that many fans still don’t like Iron Maiden’s albums with you on vocals? I have to confess that I never understood why is it so because I honestly like both the albums and „The X Factor“ is even one of my favorite Iron Maiden’s albums ever. What is your opinion about this?
My voice is different to Bruce Dickinsons. I had to sing songs that weren’t written for my voice and couldnt perform to my best that way. The albums Maiden have done with me are different to the ones before that, so I guess some fans don’t like change.
I guess I’m right when I say that you experienced both underground and absolute top during your career. It’s a dream of almost every metal musician to play with Iron Maiden, and you lived this dream for six years. While considering this experience, is there still some frontier for you to cross? Something you want to achieve?
I just want to keep doing what I am best at: performing. As long as I can combine that and have a happy family life next to that, It will be a great achievement.
Regrettably, I haven’t attended any of your shows yet but the references talk about an atmosphere that reminds british clubs in early 80’s – the birthplaces of legends. It sounds really amazing for me as a fan but I wonder what is your benefit from this and what’s your motivation for such a performance besides fans’ gratitude and effort for the best possible performance. Ain’t that some kind of nostalgia for the golden age of heavy metal for you?
I like the smaller gigs. The reaction from the fans is a lot more intense at a small venue than at a big festival. Of course I like those too but I like grabbing hold of the fans hands or their heads and sing right in their face. It is a moment where everyone forgets about everything else.
Surely you have noticed the boom of popularity, which mostly young bands playing 80’s -like heavy metal are passing through in the last few years. I will mention swedish Steelwing for example. What’s your opinion about these bands? Do you think they are doing a good service for the whole genre or do you have a different opinion? After all, many of these bands just copy the music of your generation…
I am not familiar with Steelwing. I think that as long as they can find their own sound in that style, it is ok.
If you had to compare current records of the bands from 80’s with albums of those young bands, which would you prefer in general? Do you follow all the new music around, or do you concentrate just on your own production? Many people say that 80’s were the best times for metal music… do you agree with that? Do you think those times were better or do you prefer today?
I agree that metal was at its highest in the 80’s. But metal has never died and it is still great to be able to perform soo much. I don’t really listen a lot to the new bands. I try to relax on my time of and enjoy my family.
Thank you very much for your time, it was our pleasure to ask you some questions. At last I would like to ask for a message to our readers. We wish all the best and keep rocking!
I would like to that all the Czech fans for their support and look forward to seeing them on this tour or maybe this summer! Cheers