BallBuster Exclusive!

May 16, 2016

After two decades, METAL CHURCH vocalist MIKE HOWE breaks his silence

by    Jym Harris

After two decades, METAL CHURCH vocalist Mike Howe breaks his silence... not only by singing on the excellent comeback album 'XI' on Rat Pak Records but also giving BallBuster Music this Exclusive Interview! Make sure to catch Metal Church on tour this summer! So glad to have Mike back in the Metal world! Enjoy!

Metal Church XI Cover

JYM HARRIS: HOW IS EVERYTHING GOING IN 'RESET' MODE SO FAR, MIKE?

MIKE HOWE: EVERYTHING IS GOING FANTASTIC, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! WE COULDN'T BE LUCKIER GUYS, AND HAPPIER IN THE POSITION WE ARE AT THIS TIME IN OUR LIVES. THE FANS HAVE BEEN RESPONDING BEAUTIFULLY AND IT'S JUST A GREAT TIME FOR METAL CHURCH AND METAL CHURCH FANS ALIKE.

ANY MOMENTS STAND OUT SO FAR?

WELL WE DID THE HEAVY METAL CRUISE IN THE CARRIBEAN... THE MONSTERS OF ROCK. THAT WAS PRETTY AWESOME! I'D NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE SO THAT WAS A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME BUT THEN WE WERE ON A 3 WEEK TOUR OF NEW ENGLAND, MIDWEST. WE JUST GOT OFF OF THAT AND THAT WAS ALL A GREAT EXPERIENCE. EVERY NIGHT WAS GREAT CROWDS... MEETING AND RE-MEETING FANS OF METAL CHURCH... FACE TO FACE PLAYING MUSIC TOGETHER... IT'S ALL BEEN GREAT!

THAT'S AWESOME! I'M A HUGE FAN OF YOUR WORK & PERSONALLY I THINK YOU'VE ALWAYS HAD ONE OF THE BEST VOICE IN HEAVY METAL MUSIC. TELL ME, WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR VOCAL INFLUENCES & SONGWRITING INFLUENCES AS WELL? WHAT BANDS HAD THE BEST SONGS THAT INSPIRED YOUR WRITING?

WELL THE TWO VOCALISTS THAT I SITE FROM MY YOUTH THAT I WANTED TO EMMULATE & DID SO IN DETROIT IN A COVER BAND WHEN I WAS GROWING UP WERE ROB HALFORD OF JUDAS PRIEST, WHICH IS A VERY OBVIOUS THING I THINK, AND BON SCOTT OF AC/DC! THOSE TWO GUYS WERE, WHEN I WAS YOUNG, VERY INFLUENTIAL IN THE FACT THAT ROB HAD THIS AMAZING 'METAL GOD' VOICE, FOR ME, AND BON SCOTT HAD THIS AMAZING ATTITUDE GOING ON BEHIND HIS VOICE. I KINDA WANTED TO MELD THOSE TWO STYLES TOGETHER FOR MYSELF. CONSCIOUSLY OR SUBCONSCIOUSLY, THAT'S WHAT I DID. I GUESS THOSE ARE TWO MAIN INFLUENCES WHO MAKE ME WHO I AM TODAY.

YEAH I CAN DEFINITELY HEAR THAT. YOU KINDA SOUND LIKE A MIX OF THOSE TWO VOCALISTS! WHAT ABOUT AS FAR AS YOUR SONGWRITING?

WELL I THINK IT GOES HAND-IN-HAND WITH THOSE GUYS, YOU KNOW? THE CLASSIC 80'S METAL SOUND OF JUDAS PRIEST! I WAS HIGHLY INFLUENCED, BUT Y'KNOW... KURDT VANDERHOOF! IN METAL CHURCH, HE'S THE INFLUENCE BEHIND SONGWRITING. Y'KNOW WHEN I GOT INTO THE BAND, THAT'S WHEN I REALLY PICKED UP AND STARTED SONGWRITING LIKE I HADN'T BEFORE. JUST BY EXAMPLE, BY HIS AMAZING ABILITY TO WRITE SONGS... HE'S AN AMAZING SONGWRITER.

SO YOU WERE A FAN OF METAL CHURCH ALREADY? I MEAN, WERE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE MATERIAL WHEN YOU JOINED THE BAND?

NO, THAT'S NOT TO SAY THAT I WAS, BUT WHEN I JOINED THEM AND I DISCOVERED KURDT VANDERHOOF, AND HIS ABILITY TO WRITE SONGS THAT'S WHAT GOT ME GOING, AND AWESTRUCK BY HIS ABILITY BUT I WAS PLAYING IN LOS ANGELES IN SOME BANDS. THE BAND I CAME FROM DETROIT TO LOS ANGELES WITH... I WAS THERE WITH THEM FOR A YEAR/YEAR & A HALF, THEN I BROKE AWAY FROM THEM & WAS IN A BAND CALLED HERETIC. KURDT CAME DOWN & PRODUCED HERETIC'S FIRST ALBUM & THAT'S HOW I MET HIM. I HAD HEARD SONGS LIKE 'WATCH THE CHILDREN PRAY' I BELIEVE AND 'START THE FIRE' ON KNAC DOWN THERE WHICH WAS A LOCAL METAL RADIO STATION. BUT HONESTLY, I KNOW & APPRECIATE HOW GREAT OF A METAL SINGER DAVE WAYNE WAS & I DON'T TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM HIM AT ALL, BUT DAVE WAYNE'S STYLE I THINK IS A MORE SCREAMER/SCREECHING TYPE METAL VOICE AND SO THAT IS GREAT IN IT'S OWN RIGHT, BUT IT WASN'T 'MIKE HOWE STYLE' AND SO I WAS NOT A FAN OF THOSE KIND OF SINGERS, PER SE, MYSELF. ALTHOUGH I KNOW THERE DEFINITELY IS A NICHE FOR THOSE GUYS AND PEOPLE LOVE THAT AND I RESPECT THAT, BUT THAT'S WHY I WAS NOT REALLY A METAL CHURCH FAN. BUT YOU KNOW, ONCE I GOT IN THE BAND AND STARTED PLAYING WITH THEM, AND PUTTING MY OWN STYLE ON IT, I DISCOVERED LIKE I SAID THE AMAZING SONGWRITING CAPABILITIES OF KURDT VANDERHOOF!

WELL I'VE HEARD YOU REFERRED TO AS 'THE BRUCE DICKINSON OF METAL CHURCH'. YOU CAME IN AFTER TWO RECORDS AND BROUGHT THE BAND TO A NEW LEVEL... DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT REPLACING AN ESTABLISHED SINGER, WITH YOUR OWN STYLE?

I THINK IT WAS A LOT EASIER FOR ME BECAUSE I BELIEVE, AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD AGREE, OUR STYLES ARE REALLY DIFFERENT. YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID HE'S MORE OF A SCREAMER/SCREECHER KINDA GUY AND I'M MORE OF A YELLER, LIKE OPERATIC GROWLER KIND OF SINGING, SO I THINK THERE WAS KIND OF AN ADVANTAGE TO ME, SO PEOPLE WEREN'T COMPARING US BECAUSE WE DIDN'T SOUND THE SAME.

SURE, YEAH. RUMOR IN THE 80'S WAS THAT WHEN YOU WERE IN HERETIC, THE TWO BANDS PLAYED SHOWS TOGETHER & YOU GOT ALONG BETTER WITH THE METAL CHURCH GUYS & DAVID WAYNE GOT ALONG WITH THE HERETIC GUYS BETTER SO YOU TRADED SPOTS!

NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE AT ALL, HAHA... IT'S A GOOD STORY, BUT NO. DAVE WAYNE LEFT METAL CHURCH, OR I DON'T KNOW, WHATEVER, IT DOESN'T MATTER IF HE WAS LEFT 'EM OR HE WAS FIRED. THE POINT IS MOOT, BUT HE HAD BEEN OUT OF THE BAND AND THEY WERE LOOKING FOR A SINGER SO WHEN I JOINED AFTER I WAS INVITED TO COME UP BY KURDT AND TRY OUT FOR METAL CHURCH WHICH I DID, AND HE HAD THIS SONG HE HAD WRITTEN THAT HE WAS JUST VERY PROUD OF AND WANTED TO HEAR ME ON IT. IT WAS CALLED 'ANTHEM TO THE ESTRANGED', AND SO MY AUDITION FOR THE BAND WAS RECORDING A VOCAL TRACK OVER 'ANTHEM TO THE ESTRANGED' THAT KURDT HAD WRITTEN THE LYRICS TO & DID IT ON A 4-TRACK, AND THEN JAMMING SOME SONGS IN THEIR REHEARSAL SPACE. THAT WAS MY INTRODUCTION AND THEN ONCE I GOT THE GIG, IT WAS DOWN THE ROAD I HEARD THAT DAVE HAD GONE DOWN TO LA TO SEE WHAT HE COULD DO IN METAL DOWN THERE & IT SEEMED I GUESS NATURAL FOR HIM TO JUST JOIN UP WITH THE HERETIC GUYS AND CALL IT 'REVEREND'.

YEAH, WELL, WERE THERE ANY OTHER BANDS YOU WERE INVOLVED WITH?

UH, NO. MY CHILDHOOD BAND, MY FIRST BAND EVER WAS SNAIR OUT OF DETROIT BUT WHEN WERE IN DETROIT WE WERE CALLED HELLION, AT THE BEGINNING. WE DID MOSTLY COVERS & THEN WE DECIDED THAT IF WE WERE GONNA GET SERIOUS, WE WERE GONNA HAVE TO START WRITING SOME SONGS AND WE STARTED DOING THAT AND THEN WE DECIDED WE NEEDED TO MOVE TO LOS ANGELES TO BE SERIOUS AND WE DID THAT & THAT'S WHERE WE CHANGED OUR NAME TO SNAIR BECAUSE THERE OBVIOUSLY WAS A BAND ALREADY IN LOS ANGELES CALLED HELLION, WITH A FEMALE VOCALIST. WE CHANGED IT TO SNAIR BECAUSE THERE WERE THREE BROTHERS IN THE BAND & THAT WAS THEIR LAST NAME. SO WE TOOK THAT NAME & WE BANGED AROUND LOS ANGELES... WE WERE LIKE A HEAVIER BAND, YOU KNOW? WE WERE AMONGST POISON AND RATT AND WARRANT AND ALL THOSE BANDS SO WE WERE KINDA LIKE RED-HEADED STEPCHILDREN THERE, HAHA.

YEAH, HAHAHA

YOU KNOW, IT WAS INTERESTING. MOST OF THE METAL & THRASH BANDS WERE UP IN SAN FRANCISCO SO WE WERE LIKE 'WOW... WE KINDA LANDED HERE & OUR STYLE IS MORE IN SAN FRANCISCO BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO MOVE AGAIN, HAHA. SO WE DECIDED TO BANG IT OUT UP THERE & WHEN THAT CAME TO AN END WE SAW THE END COMING, ONE OF THE OTHER BANDS ON THE LOCAL SCENE WAS HERETIC. THEY HAD JUST RECENTLY LOST THEIR SINGER AND IT SEEMED LIKE THE LOGICAL THING TO KEEP ON GOING WAS TO STEP INTO HERETIC. I WAS ONLY WITH THEM FOR MAYBE 8 OR 9 MONTHS MAX, Y'KNOW? I STEPPED IN, STARTED DOING SHOWS AND THEY ALREADY HAD A DEAL WITH METAL BLADE RECORDS. THEY ALREADY HAD SONGS WRITTEN AND READY TO GO SO I JUST STEPPED IN AND DID THEIR RECORD WITH THEM AND LIKE I SAID WE HAD A MUTUAL CONTACT BY A GUY WHO KNEW KURDT AND WAS TRYING TO HELP KURDT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS A PRODUCER AND HE PUT US TOGETHER AND THAT'S HOW IT HAPPENED.

THAT'S AWESOME. SO IT KINDA SOUNDS LIKE A NATURAL PROGRESSION: GOING FROM SNAIR TO HERETIC TO METAL CHURCH!

YEAH! I MEAN FOR ME IT WAS NATURAL. THERE WASN'T A LOT OF THOUGHT INTO IT, IT JUST SEEMED LIKE 'OH THIS MAKES SENSE' BECAUSE I CAME TO LOS ANGELES WITH MY BROTHERS, SO TO SPEAK, YOU KNOW, GUYS I STARTED WITH AND WE BANGED IT OUT AND WHEN WE ENDED THAT, IT WAS MORE LIKE 'OK NOW IT'S NOT SO PERSONAL', Y'KNOW ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, WHERE THESE GUYS WERE THE GUYS THAT I GREW UP AROUND THE CORNER FROM AND LOVED. NOW I'M IN A BAND AND IT'S KIND OF BUSINESS. THE HERETIC GUYS ARE GREAT GUYS, BUT THEN IT WAS MORE LIKE A BUSINESS DECISION FOR ME & IT WAS EASIER TO MAKE THAT DECISION BECAUSE I WASN'T WITH MY ORIGINAL BROTHERS TRYING TO MAKE IT BIG STILL.

SURE. YEAH, WHEN I WAS PREPARING FOR THIS INTERVIEW I ASKED PEOPLE IF ANYBODY HAD QUESTIONS THAT I SHOULD ASK AND ONE OF THEM WAS 'ASK HIM IF HE WOULD EVER CONSIDER DOING ANOTHER STINT WITH HERETIC'.

YOU KNOW, THAT'S BEEN ASKED, ACTUALLY! OBVIOUS TO ME, THAT WOULD BE A 'NO'. IT GOES ALONG WITH THE QUESTION 'WHY DID YOU LEAVE METAL CHURCH IN '94 & WHY DIDN'T YOU GO AND DO METAL WITH SOMEBODY ELSE' AND THE ANSWER IS THE SAME FOR BOTH OF THOSE. METAL CHURCH WAS THE BAND WHERE I FOUND THAT I FELT I BELONGED, YOU KNOW? I REALLY FELT LIKE METAL CHURCH WAS MY HOME AND I LOVED SINGING FOR METAL CHURCH AND IT WASN'T AN EASY DECISION TO WALK AWAY IN '94. I WAS VERY SAD BY THAT BUT I ALSO SAW THE THING THAT I LOVE BEING CRUMBLED BY BAD MANGEMENT & OUTSIDE INFLUENCES WERE TURNING IT INTO SOMETHING THAT I DIDN'T LIKE, SO I WANTED TO STEP AWAY BEFORE IT REALLY GOT WORSE AND MADE ME MORE MISERABLE. LIKE I SAID, METAL CHURCH I BELIEVE WAS AND IS THE ONLY BAND THAT I WANTED TO SING HEAVY METAL FOR AND SO THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I'M BACK AND THE REASON I WOULDN'T GO AND SING FOR ANYBODY ELSE IS BECAUSE METAL CHURCH WAS AND IS WHO I AM AS A METAL SINGER.

YEAH A LOT OF PEOPLE INCLUDING MYSELF I THINK RESECT YOUR STANCE ON THAT AND RESPECT SOMEONE WHO WOULD SAY 'I'M NOT GONNA HALF-ASS IT & I'M NOT GONNA GO DO SOMETHING NOT AS GOOD'. DID YOU EVER EVEN FOR A SECOND CONSIDER MAYBE CHANGING YOUR STYLE?

WELL SINCE I'VE BEEN OUT OF METAL CHURCH AND HOME THE PAST 22 YEARS, I SING, STILL. I TELL PEOPLE THAT, TOO. I'M A SINGER, I WILL ALWAYS SING WHETHER IT'S IN A ROOM BY MYSELF OR IN THE SHOWER OR IN FRONT OF MY FAMILY, BUGGING THEM, Y'KNOW... I HAVE FRIENDS WHO PLAY ALL KINDS OF MUSIC & I STEP IN SING DIFFERENT KINDS OF MUSIC & BE A SINGER, AND I THINK OVER THE YEARS THAT'S WHAT'S PROBABLY HELPED TO KEEP MY DIAPHRAGM WORK AND MY ABILITY TO SING CORRECTLY INTACT. I LOVE ALL KINDS OF MUSIC FROM HEAVY METAL TO BLUES AND ROCK AND AMERICANA... I LOVE MUSIC AS AN ARTFORM AND SO I CRAVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF STYLES AND DIFFERENT SOUNDS... I THINK THERE IS GOOD AND BAD IN EVERY GENRE AND I THINK IT'S WISE FOR ME AT LEAST TO BE OPEN TO THAT AND RECEIVE SOMETHING FROM MUSIC THAT EVERYONE KNOWS IS MAGICAL, RIGHT? WHEN YOU HEAR SOMETHING THAT MOVES YOU, THERE'S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT IT THAT IS LIFE AFFIRMING, SO I DON'T WANT TO BE LIMITED AND NARROW-MINDED IN MY SCOPE OF MUSIC BECAUSE I THINK IT'S ALL THE SAME, Y'KNOW?

YEAH SO IN THE LAST 22 YEARS YOU'VE HAD OFF, DID YOU KEEP UP WITH METAL CHURCH AT ALL? DID YOU HEAR THE RECORDS THEY WERE DOING IN YOUR ABSENSE?

I DID NOT. I MEAN, I HEARD SNIPPETS. Y'KNOW THEY DID THE 'MASTERPEACE' WITH DAVE AND SOMEBODY SAID 'HERE IT IS' AND I LOOKED IT UP, AND PLAYED A LITTLE BIT AND SAID 'OH THERE'S DAVE'. AT THAT TIME I WAS STILL JADED & WAS LIKE ' I DON'T WANNA HEAR ANY METAL CHURCH' OR ANYTHING... AND AS RONNY WENT THROUGH, IT WAS LIKE, I HEARD WHAT THEY DID WITH RONNY, BUT LIKE I SAID I'M NOT REALLY INTO THE JUST SCREAMING TYPE VOCALS. I LIKE MELODIES SO I WAS NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN THAT WHICH Y'KNOW I WAS VERY HAPPY FOR THEM AND GLAD THEY WERE CARRYING ON THE METAL CHURCH NAME. I HAD NO BAD FEELINGS TOWARDS THEM AT ALL. I WAS HAPPY FOR KURDT THAT WAS STILL BEING ABLE TO CARRY ON HIS CAREER IN MUSIC, BUT IT WAS JUST NOT SOMETHING I WANTED TO LISTEN TO.

NOW IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, HOW CONSCIOUS WERE YOU OF YOUR FANBASE? WAS ALL THE SUPPORT A SURPRISE WHEN YOU CAME BACK TO THE BAND? DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THIS ALL WOULD BE SUCH A BIG DEAL?

WELL WITH THE INTERNET AND YOUTUBE ALL THAT GOING ON, PEOPLE IN MY LIFE AND AROUND ME... FRIENDS & STUFF WOULD ALWAYS GO "MIKE, YOUR OLD VIDEO 'BADLANDS' HAS JUST GOT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VIEWS AND THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE SAYING NICE THINGS" SO I WAS AWARE OF IT TO A CERTAIN DEGREE BUT I COULDN'T EQUATE WHAT THAT MEANS. IT'S KINDA WEIRD WHEN PEOPLE ARE PRAISING YOU, HAHA. IT'S A WEIRD THING FOR ME. Y'KNOW I'VE ALWAYS TRIED TO STAY HUMBLE AND KEEP THINGS IN PERPECTIVE. IT'S ONE THING TO BE A FAN OF JUDAS PRIEST AND GO 'WOW IT'S AWESOME! I LOVE THEM!' BUT IT'S A DIFFERENT THING TO HAVE PEOPLE DO THAT TO YOU, Y'KNOW? IT'S KIND OF A WEIRD PLACE TO BE IN LIFE. SO I JUST GO 'OH THAT'S REALLY AWESOME!' BUT I DON'T REALLY GET IT, HAHA. WHY WOULD THEY LIKE ME? HAHAHA.

SURE, HAHA.

SO THAT'S WHERE I AM. WHEN I DID COME BACK, WE DID THIS RECORD TOGETHER IN OUR OWN TIME, IN OUR OWN WAY AND IT WAS VERY SPECIAL FOR KURDT AND I, GETTING TO PUT OUT SOMETHING THAT WAS COMPLETELY 'US' FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. WE WERE IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF OUR DESTINY ON EVERY ASPECT, FROM THE WRITING TO THE RECORDING TO THE MIXING TO THE COVER AND ALL THAT. THAT WAS VERY SATISFYING. IT WAS KIND OF TAKING CARE OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS, Y'KNOW? AND I THINK WE DID THAT SUCCESSFULLY AND I'M VERY PROUD OF IT. SO WHEN YOU PUT SOMETHING OUT THAT... THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO, AND YOU FEEL VINDICATED SOMEHOW WHEN PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGE IT, IT'S AN AMAZING FEELING! I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE AND I FEEL VERY LUCKY FOR WHERE I AM AT THIS MOMENT IN THE LIFE.

SO IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ENJOYED THE PROCESS OF MAKING 'XI' MORE THAN YOU MADE RECORDS IN THE PAST?

I ENJOYED MAKING 'XI' JUST AS MUCH... MORE! YEAH, OF COURSE MORE THAN MAKING ANY RECORD BECAUSE BEING OLDER AND HOPEFULLY MORE MATURE, HOPEFULLY MORE COGNIZANT OF WHO YOU ARE A PERSON AND WHAT YOU WANT, YOU'RE ABLE TO TAKE IT IN AND LIVE IN THE MOMENT AND ENJOY IT WAY MORE THAN IN YOU'RE 20'S AND YOU'RE STILL KIND OF SEARCHING FOR WHO YOU ARE AND TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT. OF COURSE I DID, Y'KNOW? BUT WE HAD A GREAT TIME WRITING 'THE HUMAN FACTOR' IN THAT LITTLE STUDIO UP IN ABERDEEN. IN THAT PRESS JUNKET WE TALKED ABOUT THAT, AND SO THAT'S WHERE WE WANTED TO KINDA GET BACK TO, IN OUR HEADS. IT'S LIKE IT'S JUST US AND THERE'S NOBODY OUT THERE THAT WE NEED TO IMPRESS. NO RECORD COMPANIES OR MANAGMENTS THAT ARE PUTTING PRESSURE ON US TO BE SOMETHING OR TIMELINES SO COMING BACK TO THAT, SETTING THOSE GUIDELINES IN OUR MIND AND DOING THAT WAS JUST A GREAT EXPERIENCE.

SO WHEN YOU'RE PICKING OUT MATERIAL FOR THE LIVE SET, FOR EXAMPLE, LET'S SAY FROM THE FIRST FIVE ALBUMS, WHICH SONGS ARE YOUR FAVORITES TO SING LIVE? ALSO WHAT NEW METAL CHURCH SONGS ARE YOU DIGGING THE MOST RIGHT NOW?

YEAH, HAHA... GOOD QUESTIONS! UMM, KURDT CAME TO ME AND SAID "MIKE HOWE! YOU'RE BACK! YOU'RE COMING BACK! WE'RE GONNA PLAY 'YOU', AND WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PLAY LIVE AND WHATEVER YOU THINK YOU ENJOYED PLAYING OR WORKED IN THE PAST, LET'S DO THAT!" SO HE WAS VERY GRACIOUS AS KURDT VANDERHOOF IS. HE'S A FRIEND OF MIND, AND A VERY GRACIOUS PERSON IN HIS WRITING AND ALL THAT, AND THAT BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN YOU, Y'KNOW? SO I WENT THROUGH A LIST OF SONGS THAT I REMEMBER FROM THE PAST THAT I LOVED PLAYING LIVE AND WORKED GREAT, AND PRESENTED IT TO HIM AND SAID 'ALSO THIS DAVE WAYNE ERA STUFF THAT I USED TO SING IN THE PAST I REALLY LIKE SINGING THESE SONGS' AND WE PUT TOGETHER A SET LIST OUT OF THOSE. OF COURSE I ENJOY PLAYING THE OLD SONGS AND IT'S FUN BUT I'M NOT REALLY A NOSTOLGIC PERSON, AND I DIDN'T COME BACK TO PLAY OLD MUSIC. I CAME BACK TO PLAY NEW MUSIC AND DO SOMETHING NEW. THAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. SO YEAH THE NEW SONGS ON THE RECORD, I'M JUST HAVING A GREAT TIME PLAYING THE ONES WE'RE PLAYING. YOU COULD PICK THE FIRST THREE SONGS OFF THE RECORD AND ANY OF THOSE ARE SLAMMERS AND WE LOVE PLAYING 'EM LIVE!

SINCE IT'S THE FIRST TIME BACK ON THE ROAD IN OVER TWENTY YEARS ARE THERE SOME NOTICABLE CHANGES IN TOURING, TODAY COMPARED TO THE OLD DAYS? OVERALL HOW IS THE METAL WORLD DIFFERENT IN 2016? WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED?

WOW, AS FAR AS TOURING YOU MEAN? AS FAR AS OUR END GOES, IT GOES BACK TO OLDER AND WISER AND MORE MATURE HOPEFULLY SO YOU CAN LIVE IN THE MOMENT AND JUST REALLY ENJOY IT AND KNOW THAT IT COULD BE FLEETING AND YOU'RE TRYING TO JUST TAKE THAT DAY BY DAY IN AND IT'S BEEN A GREAT EXPERIENCE TO DO THAT, AND LOOK AT ALL THE FANS THAT ARE COMING OUT. I THINK THEY FEEL THE SAME WAY, SO THE CONNECTION TO THE FANS, TO ME, IS EVEN DEEPER AND MUCH MORE PROFOUND. SO WE STICK AROUND AFTER SHOWS AND JUST SIGN AUTOGRAPHS AND TAKE PICTURES AND SHAKE HANDS AND HUG AND DO ALL THAT GREAT STUFF JUST TO SAY 'HEY WE'RE CELEBRATING SOMETHING GREAT HERE: THE METAL MUSIC THAT WE ALL LOVE' AND IT'S VERY SPECIAL ON BOTH SIDES... NOT JUST ON THEIR SIDE, ON OUR SIDE AS WELL! IT'S EQUAL. THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT AND SHARING IT WITH US. THAT'S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE FROM THE PAST IS JUST BEING AWARE AND MORE APPRECIATIVE THAN YOU EVER WERE.

THE FIRST VIDEO FROM THE NEW ALBUM JUST CAME OUT A FEW MONTHS AGO FOR THE SONG 'NO TOMORROW'. ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR ANOTHER MUSIC VIDEO? IF SO, WHAT SONG? DO YOU ENJOY SHOOTING MUSIC VIDEOS?

HEH, YES. THESE ARE GOOD QUESTIONS! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT DOING ANOTHER VIDEO AND WE'RE VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT! WE'VE HAD SOME MEETINGS AND WE'VE HAD SOME FEEDBACK FROM FANS. WE DO HAVE A SONG IN MIND THAT WE'RE GONNA USE BUT UNFORTUNATELY I CANNOT DIVULGE THAT AT THIS TIME BECAUSE IT'S NOT CONFIRMED AND WE HAVE NOT SET THE DATE FOR THE VIDEO SHOOT. I CAN NOT SAY BUT I'M VERY EXCITED IS WHAT I'VE GOTTA SAY AND WE TALK ABOUT IT AND IT GETS ME GOING JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER STUFF. MAKING ME FEEL YOUNG AGAIN, AND THAT'S WHAT I THINK IT'S DOING FOR FANS. THAT'S THE MAGICAL PART. WE'RE ALL FEELING YOUNG AGAIN, AND I LOVE THAT. YES, THERE WILL BE ANOTHER METAL CHURCH VIDEO. WE'RE GONNA BE WORKING ON IT I THINK WHEN WE GET BACK FROM THIS EUROPEAN LEG BECAUSE WE LEAVE IN ANOTHER WEEK AND A HALF TO HEAD OVER TO EUROPE AND THEN COME BACK AND I THINK IN JUNE WE'RE GONNA BE WORKING ON A NEW VIDEO AND ANOTHER SURPRISE IS OUT THERE BUT I CANNOT SAY. WE'RE WORKING ON THINGS. WE'RE GONNA KEEP THE METAL CHURCH MACHINE ROLLING AND BUILD THE SNOWBALL EFFECT AND HOPEFULLY IT GETS BIGGER AND BIGGER AND WE CAN KEEP ON ROLLING FOR AS LONG THE TRAIN KEEPS HEADING DOWN THAT TRACK!

THAT BRINGS ME TO MY LAST QUESTION. ARE THERE ANY TALKS SO FAR ABOUT ANY SOMEWHAT DISTANT FUTURE PLANS? YOU GUYS PLANNING ON MAYBE ANOTHER RECORD SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD, MAYBE A PROPER LIVE ALBUM?

WELL, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT WANTING TO DO A LIVE DVD, YOU KNOW A PROPER ONE ...AT THE ROCK HARD FESTIVALS AND THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT FILMING SOME SHOWS OVER THERE FOR THAT EXACT THING. AND IT JUST CAME IN TODAY SO I JUST WANT TO RELEASE THIS WITH YOU BECAUSE IT WILL BE A GREAT PROMOTIONAL TOOL FOR US, YOU HELPING US OUT ON THIS. IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE HITTING THE ROAD HERE IN JUNE ON THE WEST COAST. IT'S A SHORT TOUR, BUT WE'RE GONNA BE GOING THROUGH THE WEST COAST WITH ARMORED SAINT, AND WE'RE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THAT IN JUNE.

THAT IS CONFIRMED? YES, I WAS GONNA SAY I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE WEST COAST SHOWS! ANY LAST COMMENTS, MIKE?

I JUST WANT TO REITERATE HOW GRATEFUL I AM TO THE FANS OUT THERE AND TO EVERYONE IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS SUCH AS YOURSELF FOR SUPPORTING METAL CHURCH IN OUR REEMERGENCE AND MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO DO THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

 Jym Harris

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