Hard Talk

Seven Witches: Alan Tecchio & Jack Frost

The Seven Witches/Wasp tour made a stop at Crocodile Rock in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is where this interview was conducted. I got to the club a bit early…a bit too early as the guest list wasn’t at the door when I arrived. So, I had to wait…and, during that time, I wasn’t sure if I should call Jack Frost or not, which I was supposed to do when I got there. But, I decided to just hang around, wait it out. Finally, the guest list arrived, I got my wristband and before I even got my first drink, I figured the best thing to do would be to call Jack and get the interview on tape. The funny thing about it…I get on the phone to let Jack know that I’ve arrived at the club and that I was no inside…and while I’m talking with him, I realize that he’s like five feet behind me. He was sitting at a table with his back to me and, since I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that it was him, I asked him if he was sitting down. He said yes. I said, turn to your right…and, wouldn’t you know it…it was him. So, I made my way over to his table. He had mentioned that someone had said that vocalist Alan Tecchio was supposed to do the interview or, at least take part and I was like, “If you wanna give him a call, I can wait.” After a quick phone call, Alan came to where we were sitting, introductions were made and we began the interview.

The one thing that really stood out was how down to earth these guys were. I’ve done in person interviews before and, for the most part, they were pretty cool. But, this one, I’d have to say ranks up there as the best experience I ever had. They were very gracious with their time, they were friendly, there were even a few jokes thrown around, some of which made the interview. I hope that you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it for you and, if I ever have another chance to speak with Seven Witches again, that’s an opportunity that I won’t pass up.

Paul Autry: Let’s start off with the tour. How did you guys get hooked up with Wasp?

Jack Frost: Well, it was brought to our attention that they were going out on tour and Danny Stanton, the booking agent, contacted him. We talked a little about it. We had a couple of shows offered to us and then Danny just said, “Hey, let’s have you guys do this tour.” We’re doing a number of shows in the area. It’s been killer, dude. I mean, they’re really nice guys. Honestly, I don’t know what other bands have said before or what happened on other tours. But, we have been treated like gold. You know, I’m not getting paid to say that. It’s like, honestly, it’s to the point where, it’s just…hey…you wanna play a little longer, go ahead. It’s been really cool and, like I said, they’re really nice guys.

Paul Autry: Alan, what do you think?

Alan Tecchio: Totally. I mean, it’s suprising. I’ve been out before on the road and the headliner would play good cop, bad cop with you and stuff like that and you’d end up getting the shaft. But, Wasp has gone way out of their way to make sure that we were happy. What Jack said is totally right. I can’t say nothing bad about it. The tour manager has been like a brother to us.

Paul Autry: That’s cool. I’ve seen other websites that attack Blackie left and right. They don’t give him any peace.

Alan Tecchio: Yeah…I’ve read some horror stories myself. But, it’s like we said, they’ve been totally cool with us.

Paul Autry: I was doing some quick research on the band last night and I see you’re featured on a Wasp tribute album.

Jack Frost: Yeah…we did “Widowmaker.”

Paul Autry: How did you get involved with that? Was it one of those things that you just wanted to do…because…I noticed you’re on a lot of tribute albums.

Jack Frost: Gotta pay the bills, brother. No, you know what it is? At the time, Dwell was doing a lot of cool tribute records. I’m a big 80’s metal guy. I have a huge collection of CD’s. Of course, I grew up with all this stuff. The guy at Dwell was like, “Hey, I’m doing this Priest record, I’m doing this Dio record.” What’s better in the studio…you go and knock out for or five songs instead of just one tune, especially since you have all your stuff set up.

Paul Autry: Has Blackie heard your version of “Widowmaker?”

Jack Frost: Oh, yeah. As far as I know, he thought it was really cool. The funny thing is…and I should’ve let you know this…Mike Duda, the bass player, is a really good friend of mine. He played on my solo records and stuff. He was another reason why we got this tour because he was like, “We’ve gotta tour together, it would be fun.” So, that was kind of cool because I used to like Wasp…I still do. Even as I was watching every night…I remember all these songs…I mean, they have an amazing body of work.

Paul Autry: Yeah, I know. I have most of them. Now, I was reading…you’re going to Europe next month. Actually, that’s probably where you’ll be when people are reading this interview. I mean, here I am, sitting here talking to you and, in three weeks, you’re gonna be overseas. Are you gonna go out by yourself?

Jack Frost: No, the whole band is gonna go out. No, I’m kidding. We’re going over there to tour with a band called Demon. We’re doing eleven shows, we’re gonna co-headline. Seven Witches has been over there about four times so far. But, this will be the first time with Alan and Kevin. So, it’s kind of cool. With the new record, we’re gonna promote it. You know, this will be like the first time where we get to co-headline more than one or two shows. It should be great.

Paul Autry: This is the first Seven Witches album that you’re featured on, right Alan?

Alan Tecchio: Yes, it is.

Paul Autry: So, how did this all come together?

Alan Tecchio: My buddy Kevin is a bass player that I played with back in the early 90’s in a band called Non-Fiction.

Paul Autry: Wasn’t a member of Mucky Pup in that band?

Alan Tecchio: Initially, yeah. Do you have the EP?

Paul Autry: No, I have a compilation disc.

Alan Tecchio: Well, if it has stuff from the other three records, then I’m probably on it.

Paul Autry: I’m gonna have to go home and dig that one out, check it out again.

Alan Tecchio: Yeah. It’s Kevin playing bass on those songs. Keep that in mind. Anyway, Kevin knows Jack, they’re like big musician buddy guys and they were out at the NAMM Convention in 2005. Jack said, “Hey, I’m doing another solo record, would you like to play bass on it? Do you think Alan would like to sing a song?” That’s how it initially happened. We did that song, a tune called “Hell Or High Water,” which is on his solo record. The recording session went great, it was just really, really cool. He pulled a really good vocal performance out of me. As a producer…you know, Jack’s a guitar player. But, I think his real strong point is in producing…and he was able to get some really good stuff out of me. The whole thing was really smooth and I was like, “Too bad we’re not doing something more.” Sure enough, he called me a week or two later and he was like, “I need a singer for Seven Witches, would you be interested?” We kind of hashed it out together, I made him pay me a million dollars and we started writing immediately.

Paul Autry: And now you’re doing interviews on twenty dollar cassette recorders.

Alan Tecchio: Big time.

Paul Autry: Since you have a number of Seven Witches releases out there, how has the band grown since the begining because, obviously, you’re not the same band now as you were back then.

Jack Frost: How has it grown? Well, it has matured for sure. One thing I have to say…and not just because he’s sitting here…Alan has brought a big maturity into the lyrical department for sure. I’m not gonna take anything from James or Wade or whoever. But, they were old school guys…metal…fist in the air…you know? Alan, to me…you know…I can’t speak for him…but…he’s got a political side, he’s got more…he’s just…intelligent. He’s not talking about picking up some chick at the corner bar or something. The words actually mean something. It’s a big change for us. Musicially, our first record was 1999. Now, it’s 2006, it’s how many years later…and…bottom line…the first record, I was learning. Learning how to be in the studio, learning how to get certain tones, how to do this, how to do that. Gradually, the songwriting got stronger. The sound changed. Also, six, seven years is a long time in the development of recording too. We started out recording on two inch. Now we use Pro Tools. It’s totally different. It has changed a lot. But, it’s still Seven Witches. It’s still a metal band, no matter how you look at it.

Paul Autry: You’re the songwriter then?

Alan Tecchio: Well, I’m the lyricist and I do all the vocal melodies and harmonies. But, I don’t write the actual music.

Paul Autry: So, you’re not writing tunes about fucking like a beast then, huh?

Alan Tecchio: No…I just write about stuff that I’m interested in. I don’t think it’s any big, great thing. That’s really complimentary of Jack to say it. But, you know, topics that seem interesting to me. It could be as stupid as…one song is about Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Paul Autry: She’s hot.

Alan Tecchio: Yeah, she was. That show, I thought it had some really good writing. So, I figured I would do something in tribute to it. Not everything I do is gonna make you pull out your dictionary to see what the words are. It’s just my personal interest.

Paul Autry: Who wrote the lyrics before Alan came into the band?

Jack Frost: Me and the other singers kind of worked out everything together. There’s a couple of songs on the last record that I wrote myself. This is the first record ever where I said, hey, here’s the music…just be yourself…and, to me, I’m glad because the stuff that he came up with, I would have never even gotten near to where he was. It was like having a new heart. You have a new meaning of life, if you know what I mean.

Paul Autry: Yeah…now…you also offer guitar lessons, right? With everything you do, when do you find the time to do that?

Jack Frost: I find time. I do it once a week. I have a deal with the people I teach…you know…if I go out on tour, we let the students know that I may be gone for three or four weeks and they understand that. It’s a lot of fun. I’m doing seminars now in college. How to get sound, what it’s like being out on the road…just letting people know. All the kids that come in there, young kids with their parents, asking all these questions. Some of these kids think that I’m out there doing drugs and picking up chicks every night. They don’t really realize that you’re away from your family all that time. You don’t see your wife, you don’t see your kids.

Paul Autry: You’re a family guy?

Jack Frost: Yes.

Paul Autry: Me too. I have three kids. How about you, Alan, you a family guy?

Alan Tecchio: Uh…yes…I’m expecting my first child in May.

Paul Autry: I know you’re out on tour to promote the new album and, it’s only been out for about three months now and it seems to be this huge monster, it’s like, everyone is drawn to this album. Does that suprise you? I mean, you’ve done those other releases. But, this one seems to be exploding.

Jack Frost: Uh…yeah. You know, I can’t answer that because it’s shocking.

Paul Autry: (whispering to Alan) This is where you’re supposed to take all the credit for it.

(Everyone laughs)

Jack Frost: Honestly, when I first handed this record into the label, they ripped me a new asshole. They flipped on me. They said, what are you doing…you guys sound like Disturbed and Korn and I go, what are you talking about….this doesn’t sound like anything that you used to do….and I’m like, what do you mean? It’s a rock ‘n’ roll record…it’s still rock ‘n’ roll.

Paul Autry: I don’t know about rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, when I first heard the album, I thought…power metal.

Alan Tecchio: Yeah, I would say the same thing.

Jack Frost: What’s so different than from what we’ve done? They said, when they heard it, they made it sound like it wasn’t a metal record. They said Korn should’ve made this record. I said WHAT????

Paul Autry: I think Korn sucks, personally. Not a fan.

Jack Frost: I mean, it’s okay with my chicken. But, not to listen to. Anyway, it was kind of an uphill battle. They wanted us to go back and change the lyrical content, they wanted Alan to re-sing some of the parts and I said, not a chance. Not a chance in a hundred years. They almost got to the point where they were gonna shelf this record on us. They wanted another Judas Priest record. I mean, sure, the last few Witches records had a lot of that Judas Priest vibe. You know what…there’s only ONE Judas Priest. We were never in their league. You know, there’s only one Sabbath, there’s only one Maiden. Anyone who comes after that…we just do what we do. I fought with them back and forth and I wasn’t gonna change it.

Alan Tecchio: And you’ve gotta put yourself in my shoes…the new guy coming in…and all of a sudden, the label that was doing the first of three records with is on him because they hate the vocalist. I’m like, dude, I’m so sorry. I just do what I do. It’s not like I’m sitting here trying to fuck things up for you…and he totally had my back. I can tell you, there’s people in the past that I’ve worked with for years who would’ve sold me out. They would’ve said, you’ve gotta go back in, you’re fucking things up for us, you need to fix your vocals, you gotta sing this way, you need to write lyrics about this or that…and this guy, who I haven’t even released a record with yet was like, fuck you to the label and he was like, dude, we’ll go find another label to release this even if it has to wait another year…whatever it is, we feel that confident in the music to go with it. Not to make this an ass kissing session. But, I was blown away by that, from this guy right here.

Paul Autry: Was the record changed at all?

Alan Tecchio: No, we didn’t alter anything.

Jack Frost: Not even a little bit.

Paul Autry: So, how much crow has the label been eating?

Jack Frost: Ah, brother, it’s like, give me a fork and a spoon. They’ve been eating it hard. They wanna kind of let it go away. But, I’m a little bit of a ballbuster sometimes.

Paul Autry: That’s the name of the publication where this interview will be featured too.

Jack Frost: There you go. There’s a nice way to get a little zing in there. We’ll e-mail back ‘n’ forth about tours or whatever and I’ll sign the message Jack, the record that you didn’t wanna release…and now, it’s like our best selling record. What are they gonna say? You know, you can’t kill ’em too much. They have their opinion.

Paul Autry: You’re already on your second pressing.

Alan Tecchio: We’re into the third in Europe. That’s the sad thing, it’s about money. As soon as they broke even and started making money with the record, it’s like, alright, yeah, cool…and you wanna think it’s because they listened to it more and they finally got it.

Jack Frost: I doubt if they actually put it on and said, wow, we love this record. But, at least with the next record, I know we’re gonna have…I mean, we had complete creative control over this one. The next one…there won’t be any hiccups in the road, that’s for sure.

Paul Autry: Did you expect this kind of response from the public?

Jack Frost: Well, I’m a little shocked that it’s on the third pressing. I mean, nothing against our band because I think our band is great. But, it’s kind of like…when I was getting my ass ripped apart, it killed me inside because I really liked this record. It was an enjoyable record to me. Now, with all this…it’s weird. It’s funny…people who didn’t like it are taking notice and people that like it are REALLY taking notice. It’s a shock. But, it’s a great shock…and I’m enjoying it.

Paul Autry: Well, like Blackie Lawless once said in an interview I’ve done with him, “Living well is the best revenge.”

Jack Forst: It feels nice. David Lee Roth always said, good press, bad press, it doesn’t matter….as long as they’re talking about you. It’s been great.

Paul Autry: (loud music starts playing in the backround) I guess the show’s starting…so…we should wind down here. Since we’re doing this interview while you’re on tour, let me ask you, how long are you gonna be on, what can people expect to see?

Alan Tecchio: It’s straight up metal, man. My raps to the crowd ‘n’ stuff have really just been about how great these shows have been, they’ve been amazing in terms of turn out and enthusiasm. The metal is alive and it’s much cooler now because, it’s not like the 80’s when everyone was into it. It’s got this underground status, which I think is great.

Paul Autry: Do you have any problem doing the older material?

Alan Tecchio: I kind of like it because I’m able to do my own thing to it without twisting it and making it totally different. I kind of do my thing to it, add a little variety while staying true to the melodies and stuff…and I like some songs more than others. Some of them, I even like singing more than the new stuff, believe it or not. It varies. I think the set list that we’re going out there with is really good because it covers almost every single record. It’s got a good mix, it’s got a good flow.

Paul Autry: Final comments?

Alan Tecchio: Thanks for doing the interview, man. This is awesome. Any kind of support we get is cherished.

Jack Frost: You know, it’s getting kind of old because I say the same thing every time. But, you know what, I’m not gonna change my feelings. What can I say…thanks to the fans, thanks to guys like you who keep metal alive…everybody. We play on a Monday night, we play on a Tuesday night…these kids come out, older, younger, everyone’s there. For me, all I ever wanted to be was a musician and to play on stage. That was my dream. I get to do this all the time. What else can I say…THANKS! I mean, it blows my mind that I still get to do this. It’s pretty special, it’s a dream come true. Thanks to all our fans and friends who still believe in what we do!

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