Lars Chriss of Lion’s Share
Interviewed by Alan Gilkeson
Since the release of DARK HOURS earlier this year, there’s been a slow and steady build up for Lion’s Share around the world. Recently inking a distribution deal in Russia and their video for ‘Judas Must Die’ appearing on ‘The Headbangers Ball’, the Swedish trio seem poised to bring their metal to the masses as word of their unique brand of US influenced Power Metal spreads across the world. Recently, founder and guitarist Lars Chriss answered some questions for Metal Rules.
I’m really enjoying the new album, especially since it doesn’t sound like typical Euro Power Metal, but a mix between American and Euro. Your Comments?
Thanks! We’ve never been influenced by the Euro Power Metal thing and bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius etc. We are influenced by the classic Metal bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Megadeth etc. I always liked the US Power Metal style better if by this you mean bands like Savatage, Anvil, Riot etc. I also grew up with the NWOBHM movement in the early 80s. Angel Witch, Samson, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Tank and all that stuff.
What’s different about this album from your previous album? You seem to have gone a bit heavier?
To me “Emotional Coma” and “Dark Hours” are sister records like for example Black Sabbath “Heaven & Hell” and “Mob Rules”, or DIO “Holy Diver” and “Last In Line”. Especially since 3-4 songs from “Dark Hours” were written at the same time as the songs on “Emotional Coma”. For some reason people seem to like DH better? The only decision we made was to use triggers on the drums this time and to feature more up-tempo songs. Maybe EC is a bit darker sounding and DH a bit more happy and direct?
All of the songs seem to be about events from the 1960’s in America. What was the inspiration behind this?
It started when Patrik read a book about Charles Manson. 3 songs on the album are about him and then we moved on to cover other big things that happened around 1968. We cover the Vietnam War, the Presidio riot in San Francisco, Martin Luther King etc.
The album is doing well on American charts, what’s the chances of playing over here?
We would love to that’s for sure. As long as it make sense economically and we find the right package to go out with.
There’s some great riffing on this album. Are you the riff master and who influenced you in this way?
Tony Iommi is the master of all riffs and my biggest influence. Lion’s Share is a riff band. All our songs on all 6 albums are built around great riffs. Then we like a strong catchy melody on top of this. Our riffs are like a mix of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Megadeth I would say.
Why did you take a six year break before the last album?
Because it’s very tough to be involved in everything from writing to producing, negotiating deals, tours, doing most of the interviews etc. I got burnt out and needed a break to re-charge my batteries. During this period we wrote “Emotional Coma”, half of “Dark Hours”, did a side project called Road To Ruin (more 70s like Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple Mk3), and I was also heavily involved in an album called Audiovision “The Calling” with members from Whitesnake, Europe, KISS, Thunder, MSG etc.
What obstacles have you had to overcome personally to keep the band going?
Obviously I didn’t go for another career in a well paid day job. I don’t have any children either.
How has your music evolved since you first began Lion’s Share?
It’s heavier and more to the point. In the beginning we were much more prog-metal with keyboards and stuff. Now I feel I have returned to my roots. The style we are playing now is very natural for me and the kind of music I listened to as a teenager.
Were the original members not as interested in re-joining the band or were you trying something new?
None of them fit the vision and sound I had in mind for the last two records. Sampo and Patrik are my brothers and we work and get along great. We’re borne only 3 months apart the same year which I’m sure helps too. We have the same kind of influences.
Since the reformation your band seems a bit more focused compared to the first four albums, which at times seemed to be trying to do to many things. Do you think this is true?
Like most people I like different styles of music and it’s true I tried to cover all my influences under one umbrella in the beginning. During the break I decided Lion’s Share should only cover my metal influences. This is why Sampo and I did the Road To Ruin album with Matti Alfonzetti. That style is much more 70s and Rainbow, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy sounding.
In my opinion your playing, though always good, has vastly improved. To what do you attribute this?
During the break I finally had time to focus more on my lead guitar playing technique. I changed my style a bit too. I’m very happy with my playing on the last two Lion’s Share albums and also Road To Ruin. This is why we can have guest on there like Glen Drover (Megadeth) and Michael Romeo (Symphony X), and people can’t tell because they think my playing is up there with them. A good review of where I stand as a player these days I think.
Your last album was on a different label and now you’re employed by the label you record for. How did all this come about?
I’ve been in this business for a long time and know how things work plus have a very good worldwide connection net. With a 90% royalty it was hard to not bring my band along with me…
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?
I suppose it’s to keep everything together with people forming families and egos getting bigger with fame etc. People are changing and so is the band. That’s just a natural part of life.
Official website: www.lionsshare.org
2009 video for "Judas Must Die"