Interviewed on June 27, 1998 by EvilG
Well this is not so much an interview as it is an update from James that he sent to Metal Rules!!. As there is some really exciting news in here (his return to Testament) I’ve decided to post it here for your reading pleasure.
James Murphy as you may remember released a solo CD last year entitled Convergence. It was his first solo CD for Shrapnel Records. Many people, myself included, have had problems tracking down this CD. According to James I was not alone, “Many people contacted me about their difficulties in finding it in the stores in their local areas so I decided to make it available directly from me by mail order. If you’ve had trouble locating the disc you can still order an autographed copy by sending a $15 check or money order in my name to : James Murphy c/o Sound Temple Studio, 1234 47th Ave. #9, Oakland, CA 94601.
Another CD of note came out last year that prominently featured James entitled Working Man – A Rush Tribute. “Last year I participated heavily on Magna Carta records Rush tribute CD “Working Man”. Aside from engineering and production duties on the disc I also played on 5 cuts – “YYZ”, “Natural Science”, “La Villa Strangiato”, “Red Barchetta”, and “Anthem”, with such luminaries as Steve Morse, Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Deen Castronovo, George Lynch, John Petrucci, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend, Mike Portnoy, Sean Reinhart and more. Check this out if you can, I’m very proud of it.”
We’ve all heard, or heard about Konkhra. Although not that well known stateside, the Danish metal band Konkhra had several successful releases in Europe before losing their drummer and guitarist due to the usual “artistic differences” that split up most groups. Not to be daunted however, main man Anders Lundemark decided to keep it together and pull some strings to get Ex-Machine Head drummer Chris Kontos to play the drums for the new LP he already had written. Still short a guitarist, and at the urging of Chris, Konkhra contacted James about playing on the new CD. “I accepted a guest position for the LP, playing the majority of the guitar solos for the project as well as adding my own rhythm and texturing ideas to every song. In addition I took on a big chunk of the producing and engineering duties. The result of our efforts is entitled “Weed Out The Weak” and is already out in Europe on DieHard Records. Metal Blade Records has picked up the record for distribution in the U.S. , and it should start to turn up in stores here by July 14th. Check this one out, the songs are heavy and catchy, the sound is cool, Chris’ drumming really shines on it, and they let me go off. Also, I just returned yesterday (Jun. 23) from a 6 week tour with Konkhra over in Europe, playing in Denmark, Germany, Austria, France and Spain plus a few days off spent at a beach in Italy. It was a fun tour but unfortunately Chris couldn’t make it so the drums were played (excellently) by Per Jensen from the now defunct Danish group Invocator.
On Explorer’s Club “Age of Impact”:
“I’m very excited about this project. Although it is still in production it is shaping up quite nicely. The project is going to come out on Magna Carta Records in the U.S. and RoadRunner in Europe and it’s a complete progressive rock/metal tour de force!! Written by genius progressive composer and Magna Carta act Magellan main man Trent Gardner, the record features an incredible roster of guest artists, including drumming legend Terry Bozzio, bass phenom Billy Sheehan, Dream Theater members John Petrucci (guitar), James LaBrie (vocals), and Derek Sherinian (Keys), and, in addition to engineering a large portion of this CD, I also play some lead and rhythm guitar!! Not sure about the release date of this one but keep your eyes out for it.”
New solo CD- “Feeding The Machine”:
“Yes, it’s time I got around to doing the follow-up to “Convergence”. The album is already underway but I’m squeezing the time to work on it from between the engineering gigs I’ve had lately. Work is set to kick into to high gear here soon though and I’ve already written 8 new original tunes and decided on 2 covers; Al DiMeola’s 1977 classic “Race With Devil On Spanish Highway” and the Dixie Dregs’ 1978 masterpiece “Odyssey”, both amazing examples of early instrumental fusion music. The eight originals include 3 more instrumentals and 5 which will have vocals, and the guest vocalist line-up is looking good: Chuck Billy (Testament), Clark Brown (Geezer), John West (Artension), and Ray Alder (Fates Warning) are all set to contribute. There is currently no definite release date for this CD but it will be available in the U.S. on Shrapnel records and in Europe on DieHard around October. I’ll send out further updates on this as soon as possible. The title for this new has finally been decided: “Feeding The Machine.”
And now some REALLY REALLY exciting news……
James is back in the Testament fold!!!!!! James was with Testament for the albums “Low” and “Live At The Fillmore.” “I left the band only when they decided to break up the group “for good” in 1996. Well, the break-up only lasted for about 5 months but by that time I was committed to a number of other things and was not part of the reunited line-up. a while back however, the Testament guys started asking me to participate again and we were taking it slow to see if that would be a possibility. I was actually scheduled to go play in Japan with them in January, but bowed out when their recent touring guitarist decided he would really like to do those dates. This worked out OK for me because I was able to accept the gig engineering the Smith, Henderson, Wooten CD mentioned earlier , which I would have had to turn down if I had gone to Japan. “
“Well, I can now announce that I have officially rejoined the Testament fold and will be performing on the next CD and tours. The new CD (as yet untitled) should be out by March of ’99 and will also feature the legendary drumming talents of none other than Dave Lombardo! (Ex- Slayer, Grip Inc.). I’ll keep you all up to date as events unfold.”
“Some of you reading this will know that in 1993 I released a CD with a band that I created after leaving Obituary and guesting with England’s Cancer called Disincarnate. The album, entitled “Dreams Of The Carrion Kind” was released worldwide on RoadRunner Records, and was an example of death-metal heaviness and, I hope, creativity at it’s most extreme. I set this project aside in early 1994 in order to join Testament but the requests from fans for a second CD have never stopped to this day.”
“I’ve always wanted to do another Disincarnate CD and I’ve finally decided to record one toward the end of 1998. I already have some cool material for the CD, some of it new, some of it left over from the final days of the original Disincarnate line-up. Speaking of the line-up, it will of course be all new for the 2nd CD since the guys from the 1st CD are all living different lives now. I’ve set my sights on some very cool musicians for the album including Thomas Lindberg (Ex-At The Gates) on vocals, and Steve DiGeorgio (Sadus, Death) on Bass and I think it’s going to be great. I will be sending out further updates regarding this project as more details are decided upon.”
In the meantime check out the James Murphy webpage at http://members.aol.com/fongpang/converge/index.htm