Heart of Steel: Interviews

Reawaken Your Love For PURE Heavy Metal:
An Interview With ONWARD Guitarist Toby Knapp

People often say, "they don't make them like they used to." In my opinion, Onward shatter that myth, that close minded thought pattern that things can never improve or be done as well as they once were. Onward play what I would call "heavy metal." Don't ask what sub-genre of metal they are, because it's straight up heavy metal! Something refreshing to hear! With the band's new album, REAWAKEN, I was very impressed...so much so that I gave it a 5/5! So I was pretty excited to get to have a lengthy chat with Onward's guitarist, Toby Knapp about metal, guitar, the scene, etc. 

So how's everything going?

Everything is going good. We're just getting ready for a record release party here in Vegas this Saturday, so we're just trying to spread the word. Sticking out flyers up everywhere. Just like the good old days.

 

So the whole band is based out of Vegas eh?

We're all over the place, I mean right now it's a really weird situation. My singer lives in LA and my rhythm section are in Montana right now so it makes rehearsing a bit troublesome, but whenever we have gigs everybody gets together and we rehearse extensively for a few days. So we've been lucky so far.

 

Cool. I've got a bunch of questions and I've kind of got them in chronological order, so we can start from the early days and bring it up to the new album "Reawaken". So I'll get started...
I know you began playing guitar at a very early age. Were you the type of guy who practiced five to seven hours every day, practicing scales locked away in your room somewhere, or were you the type of guy who was jamming in a band more, playing gigs when you were very young?

It was a little bit of both. When I first started playing guitar it was just you know, strumming chords and not really taking it that seriously, and then I started becoming obsessed with Jimmy Page and started learning all the Zeppelin solos, and then it progressed from there once I heard Yngwie Malmsteen and then it became a seven hours a day type of ritual. It started out kind of easy-going and then for awhile when I was like seventeen it was just, yeah, all day long you know?

 

Yeah. Was your focus when you were starting out always Metal, or did you study any other styles or take lessons from teachers who were probably not from the Rock or Metal arenas?

It's always pretty much been either Hard Rock or Metal. That's kind of what got me going. Aside from Yngwie Malmsteen and the Shrapnel shredders I had the influences of like, Jeff Beck and Hendrix and Clapton and Jimmy Page. Those were my first heroes. So I guess you could say that I've worked on blues quite a bit, because you sort of have to have your blues stuff down to play those guys' material. So I'm really glad, I think guitar players need to start with the blues and get a handle on that before they progress to other things.

 

So tell me about how after awhile you were recording your own material and somehow it wound up in the hands of Mike Varney at Shrapnel Records and your album came out. Can you tell me a bit about how that happened?

tobyknapp_front.gifWhen I was about sixteen or seventeen there was a point in time where the only records I listened to were anything that Mike Varney released. I was totally obsessed with that, and I was just determined that if I ever got a record deal it had to be with Shrapnel Records. You know, that's what a teenager thinks. They're naive. But yeah, so I was determined and I didn't care about anything except catching this guys ear because it would be a great honor to sign with his label. So I hit him pretty hard for like three years, with demos. You know, I'd send him a demo every few months, with absolutely no feedback from him but I just kept going for years. Days became years, and then I finally got the phone call, "Okay, I think you're ready to do a record!", and it amazed me because he was actually listening to me the whole time. And I didn't think he was. So that was a very nice day when that happened, haha.

 

How old were you when that happened?

I had just turned twenty, and the irony was I said to myself, "If I'm not signed to Shrapnel Records by the time I'm twenty I'm hanging it up and going to college", and like a few weeks after turning twenty I was seriously considering doing something else, and I got a phone call and I was like, "All right! I don't have to fucking go to school", hehe!

 

So obviously you were a big fan of the albums that Mike Varney had released during the day, like the Vinne Moore and The Cacaphony and all that stuff.

Oh yeah, very excellent. That was such an exciting time for guitar, unlike these days.

Yeah, I agree. I still often pull out my Marty Friedman DRAGON'S KISS, the old albums that he did with Cacophony.

Oh yeah, they're just incredible.

I always pop it on and say "Man, how come no-one is releasing anything like this, like even if it was two or three guys, but there's hardly anybody.

Yeah. I think what happened is, I was lucky enough to be part of the generation that had to shred to be taken seriously back in the eighties. And you know, once Nirvana came out the whole musician thing went out the window. So now we're experiencing a generation of bands who were influenced by Nirvana and stuff like that, and it just seems to be going downhill. This is as far as the mainstream goes.

 

tobyknapp_back.gifSo what kind of reaction did your album get after it came out, and what types of live dates if any, or were there clinics or things like that going on after it was put out?

The reaction to the record was pretty divided. The people who liked the album really loved it, and are still into it all these years later, and the people that despised it hated it very much, and there was no middle ground. It was a love or hate type of thing because the album didn't really focus on guitar solos, it focused on progressive Death Metal influenced rhythms, because that hadn't really been done before and Varney wanted to try something new. So he kind of told me what kind of record I needed to make. I wished I had pushed harder to get more solos in it, but I was just happy to be doing what I could do. And there was really no touring for that because at that point in time Metal was really in bad shape commercially and no booking agents wanted to book. I was playing strictly instrumental music then, and no booking agents wanted to mess with it. But I did get a few clinics in here and there. I went to Minneapolis and did some clinics for awhile. That was kind of fun. Good pay.

 

Yeah cool. So that came out in 1992 and I was reading your bio trying to find out what you did between '92, and the next mention of you is guest appearing or helping out in a band called Darken which were Black Metal. That was '96.

After Guitar Distortion me and Varney were having disagreements about what I should do next. He wanted me to form a band that had the Pantera kind of sound. And you know, that's all good and well but that just really wasn't in my heart. So I ended up asking "Let me go and pursue something else", because I didn't want to be told what I needed to play. So I just laid low for awhile, and sort of was like, "Well I did my record and had my shot, so I'll just play in the local bar from now on". But then when Black Metal came out and you had these bands like Emperor and Mayhem and Abigor, they really caught my attention as ground breaking music. So I just formed a little two man Black Metal project, and it was just strictly for our own entertainment. We weren't going to shop it to any record labels or anything, but just for a gag we sent it out to the labels, and within a week we had two or three offers. I was like "Well, I guess I'm back in the game." So that was kind of cool. But we just did that one thing, and that sort of led to the formation of Onward.

 

When you were playing in Darken I guess you were big time into the Black Metal. Did it seem kind of foreign to you, or was it along the lines of what you were listening to at the time?

Was Black Metal foreign?

Yeah. Was this something new that you wanted to try?

Yeah, it was something I wanted to try because musically there was so many different things going on. They were using different chords, different progressions, super fast blast beats, keyboards and the whole nine yards. It was interesting, the way I sat down and learned the Led Zeppelin licks in the early eighties, I was sitting down listening to Emperor "In The Nightside Eclipse", going "Okay, what the Hell is this guy doing", because I've not heard anything like this before. So I studied it for awhile and tried to put my own spin on it.

 

Do you still listen to any Black Metal today or have any desire to ever maybe play something remotely similar to that?

Yeah. We might do things with Darken in the future when the timing is right. I'd really like to do something really aggressive again at some point. I'm not sure when. I still do listen to Black Metal but I tend to only listen to the stuff that was the first wave. I really don't get into all the new stuff that's come out because I always think the first wave was the best. The most purest form.

 

Back at that time your record label manager thought you might have been better suited to playing a Metal band and at the time did he convince you to do something besides the Black Metal gig or do a Heavy Metal demo kind of thing I guess. Was that something you had in mind anyway or did it take a bit of convincing?

It was definitely something I had in mind but I just never dreamed that he would have encouraged it along because when I first met him and started dealing with him I was under the impression that he was strictly a Black/Death Metal enthusiast. And then we sort of realized that hey, we're actually both into total traditional Heavy Metal and we started talking about the old groups like Attacker and Accept and W.A.S.P. and Lizzy Borden and stuff like that. The timing was just good. He said "Instead of doing Darken, do you want to do something Heavy Metal oriented?", and I was like "Yeah, that would be great!". So in that aspect some of the Onward stuff sort of has, at least to my ear, a little bit of Black Metal influence. Like the chord progression in "Eye of the Nightmare" was the progression I was going to use in a Darken tune. Put Micheal's vocals over it and it becomes Power Metal.

 

So the demo's you did eventually led you to Sentinel Steel Records where the owner put you in touch with vocalist Micheal Grant. Can you tell me a bit about your first meeting with Micheal, and what did you know about him before the suggestion came up for him to be part of your new band?

We weren't aware of each other. He had done something for Dennis for Legend Maker and I had heard some of his demos and he called me up one day and we just agreed that we're going to work together, and at that point all the music for EverMoving was already written, it just needed vocals. So we sent him a tape and a couple weeks later he sends it back with his vocals on it. I didn't even have to tell him anything, he just took the music and ran with it. We just have a really good artistic camaraderie. It was really great to meet him and start working with him.

 

So he didn't have an actual formal tryout with the band, it was more like you talked to him and said "You're in" kind of deal?

Pretty much. It was just like that one conversation. Originally when we were thinking that were were going to be on Sentinel Steel we were looking at this as one album project, just a one shot thing. Of course when Century Media got involved we were like, maybe we should go ahead and do this permanently. Haha.

 

So where did you come up with the name Onward and what does it mean?

Micheal is sort of the guy who's in charge of the lyrics and the imagery and titles and stuff. He came up with the name Onward because he had wrote a song called Onward and we were just having trouble figuring out a name and somebody suggested it to him. Actually it was Dan Delushi from Destiny's End, "Why don't you just name your band Onward? And the album Ever Moving?". So there it was, you know. It was so hard to find a name at that point I didn't even give a shit what we were going to call the band. I wanted to call it Toby Knapp's Rising Force, Hehe. But Onward is great so...

 

So as you said, Sentinel Steel shopped the demo around a bit and Century Media picked you up. How many albums did they sign the band up for anyway?

I think their standard deal is like four, so I think we're going to do four, and a lot of bands on that label seem to do more than that. The thing that's great about Century Media, the bands just pump out those albums every year, and you don't have to wait too long to get the next record. So that's been really cool, so we're definitely already excited to get number three out of the way and see what happens.

 

After the release of the first album was there any touring done? I know you've played in some festival type situations.

Oh, we came so close to jumping on so many tours and they were so tentative and things would fall apart at the last minute. Right after EverMoving came out there was a strong possibility we were going to go out with Lizzy Borden, to the point where I was talking to this place called Digger International and it looked like a done deal but at the last minute, I don't know, it was a money issue or whatever but things just fell apart and that didn't happen. And then we've been up for other bands since then and things just aren't panning out. We did festivals like November to Dismember, Prog Power and Ultrasound, and then just a few gigs we booked on our own in between. So we kept as busy as we could.

 

So onwards to the new album Reawaken, how much time went into the writing of the album?

The album actually was written pretty quick. What's funny is, that album was written before EverMoving was released because EverMoving traded so many hands through labels. It took so much time to get it out, that we were bored.

We probably spent two or three weeks on the music, it just all came really fast, and then Michael probably spent a month with it. It was real quick, almost like it was channeled from somewhere else. Because now I can't come up with anything just because I'm now in the writing mode or some damn thing.

 

Right. Can you tell me a bit about the title "Reawaken", and what it refers to?

Well, our whole thing with Reawaken is, we would love to wake more people up to just traditional Heavy Metal, and that's sort of what musically the whole album is all about. For instance the first lyric on the record is "I recall the day of the fall", and what that meant to Michael when he wrote it was the day that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" got aired on MTV for the first time. That's what we refer to as the day of the end. We just hope that Heavy Metal can be reawakened and give more of a stronghold in the mainstream so that it can reach more people, because this Creed stuff has to stop! Hehe!!

There's a lot of crap out there man, haha.

The thing about Creed is, I know it's all about record sales but I don't know why this guy is on the cover of Guitar World all the time.

Yeah, I haven't bought a Guitar for the Practicing Musician or any Guitar  magazine since probably '92.

Same with me because it really has nothing to do with guitar the way that magazine... well it's not about the magazine it's about record sales. You know, if they put the big band on the cover all the kids are going to buy it.

 

Yeah like Yngwie put out his new album last year and you'd figure he'd make one of the covers throughout the year. But you look at the guy "Munky", or whatever the fucking guy's name is from one of those bands, I'm like "They don't even play lead! What are they doing?".

Uh huh, and then what really pisses me off is, these magazines come with pullout posters and I remember when it'd be Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Yngwie or some damned thing like that, the little bonus poster, and now you get a fucking Punk band who just bash three chords. You know, that's not art.

No, not to me. One man's art is another man's...

Bullshit

Bullshit! Haha! Yeah exactly.

You know that's the other thing is there's all this happy Punk stuff going on, and why do people listen to this? I don't understand.

 

So that's one thing you mentioned, you want to reawaken people to the traditional Metal, and that's one thing that I kind of got out of the band, when I first heard your your first album I was kind of like "Yeah, this is a Power Metal band", but after listening to "Reawaken" few times I don't think Power Metal, I'm thinking "this is Heavy Metal".

Yeah it's just Metal. Just spikes, and black, and Heavy Metal. I mean we're a relatively young band, and I think we're probably the youngest band in the US who have decided "we're going to go totally against the grain". There's a dress code. Everybody's got to have the hair, we got to have the the spikes, the whole thing, and just you know, the way that Judas Priest and Iron Maiden did it. You know, it's such a valid form of music itself and nobody's really carried on just a pure strain of Metal. Most of the Metal has influence of all kinds of things, and we're just like "We love Wasp and Accept and Dokken and Loudness and we want to pay tribute to that".

 

Do you think there's any other bands in the States right now, newer types of bands that are kind of in line of what you're doing, who are actually playing Heavy Metal?

There's a lot of good bands who are doing Metal, but nobody is doing it as traditional as we are, I don't think. Some bands will fall in line with what we're doing but maybe they'll be a bit more progressive. Or maybe they'll be total, I don't know, either more progressive or tuning their instruments down. I don't know, I think we're the only ones but I could be wrong.

 

There's always some band somewhere in someone's garage. You never know, right?

Yeah, there's got to be. There's got to be.

 

So about the recording of the new album, you said you wrote it fairly quickly. How long did it actually take to record?

Well, I think in a week and a half we got it all down. The drums were recorded in one day. The guitars probably four or five days at the most, and Michael only had three or four days to get his vocals down, so it was real rushed. The actual recording process was fast and furious. But, the mixing process and the mastering and all that, is what we spent more time on, trying to get it to sound really good. More was focused on the recording quality aspect of it so people would enjoy hearing it.

 

When you record your leads, do you ever consciously sit down and tab everything out, or is it a kind of "go for it" feel?

It's half and half. Usually when we're preparing for a record I'll sit down with my four track and play along with the chord progressions and try to come up with a preconceived solo. And whenever I can do that, I try to do it, if I like it. It saves time in the studio as well. But there's always a couple songs where I just can't come up with anything so I have to "wing it" in the studio, and luckily that works out. Actually I think the two best solos on the record were things that were just first take, just winging through it. Like "In Due Time", I had no idea what the Hell to play over that, and I just spit something out and it sounded alright. And then with "Who Saw the Last Star Fall", the solos in there were not worked out, but they sound like they're worked out, hopefully.

 

So have you gone back and listened to what you did and say "Well I got to play it like that live"?

Yeah, I've been trying to play the record live but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I like to improvise. You know like Yngwie does, he'll have a theme of the solo he'll stick to, but then he'll just let loose.

 

When you're recording your solos or writing do you ever hold back or say "That's too over the top", or do you ever look at it that way?

Um, yeah I suppose so. There's things that we could do, but we won't at this point in time, like doing odd time signatures and stuff like that. I love progressive bands but for the average fan, the people we're trying to reach, if things get too progressive they loose it. So we try to keep everything catchy and don't veer, and don't get too weird. Maybe eventually we will. But if you heard Guitar Distortion a lot of people complain that "I can't follow this. Every time I hear a riff that I like it's already gone, and it doesn't show up again".

 

Do you think your style, not you rhythm style but your lead style, has evolved? Or how would you say it has evolved since you did your solo album with Shrapnel?

I think I've just gained a lot of confidence that I'm an okay guitar player, and it's matured. It's so important now to try and make a solo that is really melodic and is catchy, where back when I was starting if you look at Guitar Distortion, it didn't have any solos on it but the demos I was doing, I was trying to do all this Alan Holdzworth stuff and just get it a difficult as I could, and that's musician's music strictly for musicians, and from what I know that music doesn't sell a whole bunch. I can tell you that first hand.

 

So in terms of the types of guitars that you play, do you only play Fender Strats?

Yeah, and I've tried several times to switch to other guitars just to change things up a little bit, and even when I knew EverMoving was going to be released I tried to switch to a Gibson Explorer because I thought it looked cool, and I tried a Flying "V" and stuff like that, because immediately when somebody sees somebody with a Strat playing that kind of music they're automatically going to say "Yngwie clone", so I was like "I gotta get rid of the Strat or I'm going to get trouble." But I tried all these other instruments and the Strat is the only thing I can play, or am comfortable with.

So what is it about the Strat? Is it just the neck or just the feel or...?

Just everything. I mean I think it looks great. As far as the Strat goes, it was another decision like, I decided that if I get a record deal it has to be with Shrapnel and I have to play a Strat because I did want to be and Yngwie clone at that point. So when I finally got a Stratocaster I couldn't play the fucking thing but I had spent so much money on it, saved, that I HAD to learn how to play it correctly, and once I started feeling comfortable on it then I can't play any other guitar. So I'm kind of stuck with it but that's all right.

 

So what modifications do you make to the Strat that you buy off the shelf? Or do you actually even own the Yngwie signature series or anything like that?

No. On both the Onward albums I use the completely stock Stratocaster that didn't have anything done to it at all. Lately I've been putting new pickups in them and swapping necks around and stuff like that, but for the most part it's right off the shelf.

Right. And how many Strats do you own by now? You must own a few.

Well, there was a point in time where I had like thirteen or fourteen and then I moved, kept relocating and was just tired of dragging all these things around, and so I've cut the arsenal down to seven. It's like the more guitars you have, the more it costs to keep them maintained because you're always destroying a toggle switch or dropping the damn thing and breaking a nut.

 

On the new album you covered "Clockwork Toy" by Loudness. I was wondering why you picked, say "Clockwork Toy" and not "Wok and Woll Cwazee Nights" or something.

Hahahaaaaaa!

It's kind of one of the songs that, like I never was a huge Loudness fan but that's not one of the songs that I remember. I more remember the ones they had videos for in the eighties that I liked.

Right. Yeah I've liked pretty much everything I've ever heard from Loudness in the eighties and early nineties. Well, "Clockwork Toy" for me was, I bought "Thunder in the East" early in my development and was just amazed at this album; this guitar playing. I used to play "Clockwork Toy", I'd get my tennis racket out or some damned thing and pretend I was playing it, thinking "I'll never play this godamned thing". And so, it's just kind of like my own personal triumph. You know, that little kid who couldn't play it, now has recorded it. Everybody is like "Why the hell? Why that song?", but then when they hear it, it totally takes them back to that record.

 

Have you any idea if anyone from the recording line-up for that Loudness song has heard it?

I hope so! I hope somebody hears it and we can get an opinion on it. It was really funny recording that thing in the studio because I played all the bass and guitar, and as I was laying down, I had laid down both guitars and I was recording the bass line, I like, had a weird vision of being in a studio in 1984 with Loudness. I think I thought I was their bass player just for a split second, like some weird cosmic thing. I was crazy because in the studio it was starting to sound really close to the actual "Clockwork Toy", and then when Mike laid down his vocals, I mean we were just grinning ear to ear. It was the most fun thing I've ever recorded.

 

Is it something you will add to your setlist?

Yeah we always play that one, definitely.

Cool. Were you playing it even before you recorded it?

Yeah. When Onward came together we all picked out a couple favorite songs that we'd learn on our own and then get together and play them, as like homework, and I remember I picked "Clockwork Toy". So that was one of the first songs we played as a full band. The reason we recorded it is we did it at Prog Power in Chicago and the crowd went absolutely nuts. So we were like "Well, we gotta record it so that we can keep playing it".

 

And what about on another album? Do you think you'd always throw on one cover song?

Yeah I think we will. I think we will always like to do a cover song. And they'll probably always be a bit obscure; trying to pick something that nobody would dream of. The other day I was toying with the idea....Do you remember that band called Death Dealer?

I remember their name but I didn't have any of their albums.

Yeah, I was thinking of doing one of their tunes. The people who would be familiar with that would go, "what the hell?!?!"

Yeah, like "where did they dig that up"??

Yeah, like there are songs I hear and think, "Onward can do that". Maybe another Loudness song.

 

I noticed that you did some guitar lessons that were available through Century Media's web site. Is that just a one off thing or is it going to be more coming, or on the Onward web site?

If there is a demand for it. If enough people show interest in it, I'll do it. But they requested me to sit down and show some licks, so I did it. It wasn't anything that I decided or suggested or pushed for. They are really marking this album as a guitar hero album, and when I was recording it I was like, "this is NOT a guitar hero album". So I'm happy they're doing that; it strokes my ego a little bit. I thought it was just pure heavy metal. The guitar playing is ok, but this is just heavy metal.

A real heavy metal man has to have guitar hero quality leads anyway, even if it's not throughout the entire song.

The critics and the reviewers are digging the guitar playing and I'm getting a lot of comparisons to Randy Rhodes (RIP), which makes me feel great. And also it pushes me...Since I'm being called a guitar virtuoso, I better damned well practice my instrument and not let anybody down. I don't consider myself a virtuoso at all, but I strive to be one now.

So you practice everyday?

Once I sorta have the technique that I like and felt that I was ok, I got lazy. Whenever there's a gig or recording session coming up, I'll sit down and work really hard to get everything back in order. But now since there's all this "Toby Knapp Guitar Hero" stuff, I've been practicing a lot more.

 

In terms of guitar playing, before Onward maybe you had a little more time; were you teaching guitar lessons?

Yeah that's how I survived through the 90's. I was really lucky because I never had to get a "real job". I was living in a little town in Wyoming and managed to have 30 students a week. So that was great because it was paying my rent. But I actually got burned out on it because when you give guitar lessons, this might have been the reason that I stopped practicing; when you give guitar lessons all day and then put the guitar down, you want to do something else; you want to drink beer. I then started looking at my instrument as my "work tool". So I actually kind of got away from teaching guitar just so that it would become more exciting again.

 

Right. Play for yourself.

Yeah. And I was giving so many licks away!!
(laughter)
So now there's like 10 people in Sheridan who sound like me. haha!

Hahaha. So when did you make the move out of Wyoming to Las Vegas?

This was last summer, and it's really funny. Everybody like all my friends from the last decade said, "If you want to do anything you have to get the hell out of Wyoming". (more laughter)
And I never would. I was like, "well I don't really care and if it's meant to happen it will happen no matter where I'm from". But finally it was like, "ok, if I don't make the move now I'll never make it". And I came to Vegas and it was the greatest decision in my life career wise. Things are busier and going better than they ever have, and living in Vegas is a big part of that.

 

Is there more of a metal scene or metal related things happening in Vegas?

Yeah. There's more places to play, I'm right next to LA, which is great for heavy metal. The recording studio was awesome here. It's just better to be here than out in the boonies somewhere.

 

Yeah haha. Did you look at your options? Or was it just like, "That is the place to go".

Um, it was sorta like, I wanted to live closer to Mike so that we could rehearse more and be more of a unified band. But I wasn't quite ready to go to LA because initially that place scared the hell out of me. But I had been to Vegas a few times and I was comfortable here; it doesn't have a big city feel to it. It's not a huge metropolis, so I get the best of both worlds. But the thing that sucks is I moved here with my rhythm section to Vegas and they hated it. They could only hang for 3 months and then they were like, "we can't fucking take this. We gotta go back to Montana." That's where their friends are and the jobs that they're used to doing. So they left and I was like, "well I'm staying here and I'm going to fire you guys unless you come at the drop of a dime anytime I say". And so they're like, "well, ok". So they moved, and a week later I called them and said, "Guess what? You gotta come back cause I booked a gig." Just a little torture thing for them. So they hopped in the car and got their ass here. We're well rehearsed and ready to go, so right now this arrangement is working, but it's ridiculous. From Montana to Vegas is like 14 hours and they've had to make the drive 3 times in the last 2 months. I sure as hell wouldn't do that. But it's working for now.

So that's both John and Chris live in Montana right?

Yeah.

Well maybe if the band gets big enough they'll........

Well what plenty of people think is it always shocks them. They think that we're making money and big because we're split up everywhere like a famous rock band like Led Zeppelin or something. "well you guys live all over the place, you must be the shit." Well that's not the case at all.

 

So you're release party is this weekend. Is it in LA or is it in Vegas?

We did one in LA a couple of weeks ago and now we have one for Vegas.

 

And you have played Vegas before I assume obviously.

Yeah

Do you have a good following there?

The first time we played here it was late in the summer and there wasn't a following at our show. We didn't think there would be either. But this time it's like our fan base has increased since the release of Reawaken with good press. Cuz we're playing down at this place called The Junkyard, and they've been getting a lot of phone calls and people dropping in saying, "Are Onward really going to be there?". Last time around nobody gave two shits. So we're actually going to have fans on hand around this time, so it should be nice.

 

Awesome. So after the release party will there be talk of some kind of touring for the band?

Yup. Century Media have options that they're looking at because they really want to get us out there. Right now the condition in the U.S. is hard for the traditional heavy metal band to do a tour here. But I think it's going to happen cuz there are some good prospects. They're talking about possibly doing something with Angel Dust, since our albums are out at the same time. So hopefully that pans out. If it doesn't, we'll just book our own shows and try to get all over the place on our own.

 

Any dates set for festivals in the states or even Europe or anything?

We don't have anything in stone. The label told us to go get our passports, but that's the only thing they've said. So we're just assuming they've got something up their sleeve.

Hopefully you get some kind of tour this time. That's how you get the fans I guess more than anything.

Yeah, we love playing live, and every time we play we reach more people and that's what we're basically living for; holding our breath to get out there. We know that the conditions are going to be rough, but we're dying to do it.

 

So do you see this type of traditional heavy metal making some form of resurgence or anything?

I really think it is. It's just that it feels like there's something magic in the air where some band is going to bring it back, and I really believe that because the 10 year period that Nirvana started is over. And all the bands on MTV and the radio are monotonous as hell. (laughter)
We did an interview with a Vegas paper here a couple days ago; a really big paper, and we read the journalist's article and he directly linked it with "Nirvana started something in 1991, and who better to lead the next resurgence than Onward".

So it's like FUCK!!!!! Those are pretty big words.

Yeah that's good press.
I was wondering if you saw the movie Rock Star?

Yes.

That bring back memories?

Yeah, yeah. I was a good movie. Me and Mike watched it and thought this was going to be such a great tribute to metal. But we were disappointed because at the end of the movie metal had lost the fight.

Yeah, I know....I loved the movie up till the last 15 minutes.

Yeah, then your heart sinks and you have to live it all over again.

Yeah, Nirvana all over again. Greasy hair...

......flannel shirts........

Fuck that!

.......baggy pants. And now it's bald heads and goatees out a mile.

Haha, yeah. And the baggy two-man pants!

Yeah, you could use 'em for a tent.

 

Well man that's all the questions I had for you! Are there any other news or things going on that you want me to pass along to people?

Our main goal is to get out on the road soon, so hopefully we'll reach our audience in the U.S. this year.

Is your biggest audience the U.S. so far?

As far as numbers go, interestingly enough we've sold more records in the U.S. than anywhere. Initially I think everybody assumed that Germany would be where it's selling, but we saw the numbers and we're doing more here. Which is pretty cool.

Great! I know it is because there is a lot of bands that go over to Europe and Germany and they do their big tours and come back here and they're lucky if they play at all.

It's amazing. That's something that just fucks with my head; that people can be mega rock stars over there and then come back here and resume laying tiles.

Yeah, haha.

Hahaha and that's gonna fuck with the artists head as well.

True! Well man, thanks alot for your time.

You bet.

All the best of luck.

Ok man. Thanks and take it easy.

 

Onward CD Reviews
- Reawaken
- Evermoving
- Evermoving

 

Thanks to Ronnie and Joel for the transcription!!!

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