KURDT VANDERHOOF OF METAL CHURCH

August 21st, 2005
by EvilG

KURDT VANDERHOOF OF METAL CHURCH
Interviewed on Saturday, August 8, 1998 By EvilG

For those not with it, or perhaps born on a distant planet in a galaxy far, far away, Metal Church have been and thankfully still are one of the great purveyors of “true” heavy metal. We’re not talking punk, hardcore, noise, techno-industrial shit here…this is the real deal. Metal Church have always stood for METAL. Hell, their name says it all.

The interview was done with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof. There’s a lot of cool stuff below so I hope you read on. If you have any comments on the interview let me know.


Metal Rules:
Well, let’s cut right to it. The big story everyone wants to know is – why did Metal Church breakup and now why a reunion?

Kurdt:
I was not in the band at the time of the breakup, but I’m pretty sure it was due to bad management and poor record sales.  Why the reunion, It sounds like fun and because we are in a world wide musical crisis. We would like to contribute something valid to its hopeful resurgence.

 

Metal Rules:
For the record — please list the current members of Metal Church.

Kurdt:
Kurdt Vanderhoof (guitar), Kirk Arrington (drums), Craig Wells (guitar), David Wayne (vocals), Duke Erickson (bass). Please keep in mind this reunion is in the very embryonic stages.

 

Metal Rules:
So Mike Howe is not in part of this reunion? Why Not?? Where is he now and is he in a band?

Kurdt:
Mike is living in Tennessee, with wife and new baby and it would be geographically impossible. No disrespect to his contributions to the band, he’s a great singer and one of my favorite people in the world.

 

Metal Rules:
There is to be a live album to mark the reunion…what songs will be on it? Since Mike is not back in Metal Church will you only have stuff recorded with David Wayne? Is this a live show that has been in the can for a few years, or was it recently recorded?

Kurdt:
It was recorded in 1986, A recently uncovered and undocumented performance featuring the original band lineup. It features songs from the first 2 albums.

 

Metal Rules:
As you may have ascertained by now I’m a big fan of the Mike Howe era Metal Church. I got into the band in 1989 after hearing “Badlands” – still an amazing song nearly 10 years later!  So how will someone like myself, take to the new/old singer and material? I’ve heard the pre – “Blessing in Disguise” stuff and it’s OK, but I think Metal Church kept getting better as time went by – the best CD was the last “Hanging In The Balance”

Kurdt:
As far personal tastes, it remains to be seen how the album will be accepted. You will have to answer this question for yourself after you have heard it.

 

Metal Rules:
Will your role in this reformed band be like it was from “Blessing In Disguise” onward? Or will you now be a touring full member?  If so, what changed your mind?

Kurdt:
No, I’m in the band. As of right now it’s just a new album. As far as touring is concerned we will have to take a wait & see approach. Except for myself, everyone else is leading pretty normal and stable lives (wife, kids, jobs, mortgage, dogs, etc., etc.)

 

Metal Rules:
Until the mid-80’s you were a full member of Metal Church. However, you then left and went on in the role of writer/producer. Why did you leave the band yet still remain a part of the creative process?

Kurdt:
To pursue songwriting and production skills. And the others wanted me to continue contributing to the creative process in order maintain the trademark sound.

 

Metal Rules:
You were replaced by John Marshall, a previous Metallica-roadie and member of the band Blind Illusion. So where is John now? Is he included in this reunion?

Kurdt:
John is “Married with children” and living and working in the San Francisco Bay area. Again a geographical problem. (By coincidence or by fate the original line up have all come to roost within about 30 minutes of each other).

 

Metal Rules:
After you left Metal Church you formed “Hall Aflame.”  What happened to that band?

Kurdt:
After our first album and our tour we ended up coming home to work on a second album with a record company that basically didn’t do anything with the band. So we left them and continued to play the clubs in the Northwest until it burned itself out. We have talked about making a second album form the songs we had written at that time, because We would really like to give those songs a home. I loved that band and was heartbroken when it fell apart.

 

Metal Rules:
Rumors were going around for a while about a new album (Killing Elite?). What’s the truth behind that? Were any songs written/recorded (were they with Howe on vocals)…and if so what will become of them?

Kurdt:
That would be “Killer Elite” and yea we heard that RUMOR too. Complete fabrication.

 

Metal Rules:
Tell me about your solo 70’s rock band “Vanderhoof,” also featuring drummer Kirk Arrington.

Kurdt:
We’re not a seventies novelty act. We’re just using some of those influences. We have 1 album on SPV of Germany We did a tour in Europe with the band Savatage. That album and a 2nd one which we will putting out next year will soon be available in the states on My recently created label, (Great Northern)…again in response to the pathetic state of the music scene.

 

Metal Rules:
Now that Metal Church are reforming, what is the status of Vanderhoof?

Kurdt:
Just on hiatus, until the Metal Church project is done.

 

Metal Rules:
I’ve read that you still played a couple of Metal Church songs with that band? Was the response so overwhelming that it in a way prompted you to re-form Metal Church?

Kurdt:
We played Start the Fire, and No, that had nothing to do with it.

 

Metal Rules:
Will the “Vanderhoof” sound be incorporated into new Metal Church material? That is assuming that this reunion is not only for the live CD??!?!  I hope not!

Kurdt:
I’m just mixing the live album now . The reunion will be new material of the Heavy Metal that MC was known for.

 

Metal Rules:
So if you’ve been writing any new material – how has it been sounding?

Kurdt:
I have not started writing yet, I have to finish the live project first.

 

Metal Rules:
When you hear the term “heavy metal” – what do you think of? Why are so many bands afraid to associate themselves with the term when in reality they are playing metal?

Kurdt:
When I hear the term Heavy Metal, I think of long hair, Walls of Marshalls, and the ability to play. Everybody is so cliche-phobic that they don’t want to face the fact that their cliches because they work. By not admitting that they are Heavy Metal they can get away with substandard writing and musicianship.

 

Metal Rules:
Here’s a question I’m sure you’ve been asked before, but I’ve never seen it. Tell me about the name “Metal Church.”  Do you consider heavy metal a religion of sorts?   Some people might think that, or perhaps that it was a Jesus band…that makes me think Stryper yuck haha…

Kurdt:
Well, at the time, that’s the way we felt about it (it was our religion). The name was originally a nickname that we had given to the flat I lived in San Francisco.

 

Metal Rules:
What do you think of newer metal bands?  What are you listening to now?

Kurdt:
Newer Metal bands? I don’t think of them much, that is to say I don’t know of any really good ones. At this time I’m severely into early 70’s progressive rock i.e.. Genesis(w/Gabriel), old Kansas, ELP, Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Gentle Giant etc. but I’m a total fan of Oasis, And I love Fu Manchu. and the old standards, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, The Who, Zeppelin you know the rest…

 

Metal Rules:
So to clue it up what is the North American Street date for the live CD, and where can we get it / order it from?????

Kurdt:
At this time I don’t know the date, But it will be available on Great Northern and I will let you know as soon as it is.
 


Thanks to Kurdt Vanderhoof and to Steve “Regi Man” Johnson for making this interview a reality.

 

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