Warrel Dane of Nevermore
Interview, live + interview pictures by Luxi Lahtinen & Kapa Kilgast
Transcription by Wyatt Marshall
Nevermore?s latest studio album, THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR, has been gaining rave reviews from critics all around the world so it shouldn?t come as a surprise to anyone that they are considered one of the biggest and most important bands for their own label, Century Media Records nowadays. The band?s journey through the years has been victorious for them since the day Nevermore was started from the remains of another short-lived, but successful group, Sanctuary.
Nevermore?s journey continued victoriously to Finland where the band played a special headline show at the Tavastia Club, Helsinki on 8th of September 2006, right before their tour with Disturbed and the DVD recording show in Bochum, Germany (which was unfortunately cancelled due to an infection of the band?s vocalist, Darrel Wane).
We met Warrel at the Restaurant Ilves in the downtown of Helsinki just a few hours before their first ever show in Finland, and had 20 minutes on our hands to inquire briefly from Warrel about the ongoing tour in general, the Sanctuary years, his solo project together with Peter Wichers (ex-Soilwork) – amongst other things, too…
Alright! Here is a metal journalism corner and here?s the "Lead Singer Disease" corner.
Oh no! Ha-ha… Quite the combination.
Yeah… Ok! This is your very first time to be in Finland..
What are your own feelings on playing here, knowing it is really your first time in this country?
Uh, glad to finally make it here, and, well, you know, we?re always playing Sweden… it seems like as far as we get most of the time, ha-ha, so, we?re glad we?re finally here.
We?ve been waiting for you guys to play here. Anyway, what are some of your first expressions about this country, or this city?
Cool. Well, it?s exciting to be here. We?ve never been to Helsinki, it seems like a nice city. I haven?t really seen much of it yet except for the hotel, ha-ha.
And I assume Hamburg was a great city to play, too?
Yeah! It was really good.
This forth-coming gig of yours here at Tavastia Club, Helsinki, will be your sort of final rehearsal right before your DVD recording in Bochum, Germany on 12th September. Are you going through exactly the very same set of songs here in Helsinki that you will do in Bochum for the actual DVD recording?
Well, we?re not playing the same exact set as we will be in Germany but pretty close.
Ok, how many songs are you going to play from tonight?s show then?
I don?t know, I mean, I?m not really sure. We were just fighting backstage about our set list, so, ha-ha!! – we never know ?til we get onstage.
ABOUT DVD SHOOTING
This is also going to be a double-DVD recording from you, which not only the whole show from Bochum, but will feature all of your promo videos, a full Nevermore documentary and so on. As the current trend seems to be nowadays, many bands are putting out so many DVDs. I would like to ask you when you started planning this Nevermore release, did you want to give a very special DVD release to the Nevermore fans that would be worth their hard-earned pennies?
Yeah, well, we?ve got so much footage from starting over a year ago when this record first came out and we went on tour in the US on Gigantour with Megadeth, and we?ve had a documentary filmmaker with us for the whole tour and he?s been to most of the shows. One half of it is going to be documentary about one year on the road with the band and the other half will be live concerts. It should be very interesting, there are all kinds of fucked up stuff that he filmed while we were on tour, so, we?ll see what happens!
So it?s going to be kind of a special DVD -release for your fans?
What made you to choose Bochum for your DVD recording anyway? I guess you have played there before, right?
Yes, yes, we?ve played that venue before, the crowd is always really good, and it seemed like a good choice. I would have actually liked to have done it in Greece, but I guess budget-wise that wasn?t very sensible. It would have been good though.
There is gonna be only the magical 666 tickets for sale for that special DVD show.
That?s just silly, I don?t know. [laughs]
Some sort of idea from the organizer of the show?
Yeah, that?s not coming from the band. [laughs]
Sort of King-Diamond?ish style…
I think the venue only holds like 700 people, and with all of our guest there is probably going to be more than that, but, I think they just thought ?Ooh wouldn?t it be cool if we only make 666 tickets!? That?s so original, isn?t it? [laughs]
Has your label, Century Media, set any final date when they will put this DVD thing out?
Well, they?re planning the end of April of next year. It should be done by then.
You?ve also got this support slot for Disturbed on its European tour, how did you get this spot?
I?m not really sure how we got it. I don?t know if their management wanted us or if the band actually wanted us. We were offered the tour but I?m not sure where the offer came from exactly. Of course we?re not going to say no to a tour like that it?s a chance to really expose ourselves to a little bit different crowd. I mean, we?ve toured with so many different kinds of bands, from Black Metal to Death Metal bands, and now touring with Disturbed will be kind of exploring a different area for us. It should be… interesting.
And after the tour you are going to South America for a couple of dates, one in Argentina and the other in Brazil I think.
Yeah, Sao Paolo.
What expectations do you have for those shows?
I don?t really know, I know they?re big festivals. To tell you the truth I don?t even know what bands are playing!
It?s like a larger festival.
According to your website, the show that you will play in Argentina, is going to be a stadium show, and you should play at this Live? Louder Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This show is gonna be on 12th October and the stadium has been named after a very famous Argentine football player, no less than Armando Diego Maradona. Have you played there before, by the way?
No, no. Never been to Argentina. I?ve been to Brazil before, but never Argentina.
Do you have any expectations for Brazil then?
Well, I remember last time we played there it was kind of like Greece: very hot and fucking crazy metalheads, very into their music.
Touring wise you seem to be quite busy because right after those dates you have six dates in Australia. Do you feel like that?s going to be too much for you? I mean, that?s a really long tour.
No, not really. We?re kind of used to it by now, ha-ha. We?ve been out since July 2005, that?s when we started the tour for this album and it?s still not over. Just the fact that we?re able to do this many tours I think is good.
Sounds like a good promotion for you all.
Are you going to do a US tour after all these tours?
But, nothing has been put on paper?
Nah, not yet. But I?m sure that by the time this is all over we?re going to do one more headlining tour in the US. THEN we?re done.
Then you start recording new stuff?
[breaks in laughing] No! We all take a nap.
WARREL DANE + PETER WICHERS = SOLO ALBUM
I heard a rumor that you?re playing some kind of solo album…
Yes… well, that?s true.
A rumor from Blabbermouth. Can you tell us more about it?
I?ve been working on it for like the last year off and on, just writing songs with Peter Wichers, ex-Soilwork and at some point we?ll finish them then go in the studio, I?m not really sure when yet.
What kind of material is it?
Well, it doesn?t sound like Nevermore, and I think, you know, if it did, there wouldn?t be much point in doing a side project. If it sounded like Nevermore I think it would be a little redundant.
Well is it Heavy Metal, not traditional…?
Of course it?s metal!
Ha-ha! Well you never know…
Kind of like metal infused hard rock, I think.
It?s different and it?s a chance for me to –
[breaks in] Explore yourself!
Explore myself! Explore myself in other ways! [laughs]
Well for me, and for Peter from Soilwork as well, it was kind of a chance for us both to ?step outside the box? because people expect a certain thing from both those bands and with this we don?t have to fulfill any expectations. We can do whatever we want.
Yeah, just go and rock out.
Yeah, so that?s really cool.
WHAT ABOUT CENTURY MEDIA THEN…?
As for your label Century Media, would you say they have been supporting Nevermore enough through all the years from your point of view ? or is there something that they could actually do more for you so that the band would be even more pleased?
They?re doing a good job, I mean, right now I think we?re one of their biggest bands so they have to do a good job. [laughs] But they?ve always been very good to us. You know, we?ve had our problems with them, though, just like any band will have problems with any record label at some point. But for now they?re doing a very good job.
What do you think of the established Century Bands? Like Into Eternity, this relatively young band from Canada, Mercenary from Denmark – and Arch Enemy of course…
All of whom we?ve toured with. [laughs]
Do you like them personally?
Yeah, yeah! Of course. Especially Arch Enemy. That?s one of my favorite bands.
Ok, and now "The Lead Singer Disease" corner attacks!
The disease. [laughs] It IS a disease.
Yeah, as Eddie Van Halen called the Lead Singer Disease, it?s called LSD, "Lead Singer Disease".
[Laughs] Well, you?ve got to remember who he was used to for so many years. David Lee Roth is a fucking nutbag. He?s crazy! That guy?s nuts! I think he drinks bong water for breakfast.
[Laughs] Well now we?re going back to your past. When you were a young singer, really young, who influenced you as a singer?
Oh boy. Well you know, back when I was a kid I was listening to all the classic stuff, like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. So of course there was the holy trinity: Halford, Dio, and Dickenson.
There you go. That?s basically where I got all my inspiration to become a singer.
THE SANCTUARY YEARS
That?s the way. About the Sanctuary years: That was probably quite interesting to work with Dave Mustaine…
[laughs] Well, wait, that?s a loaded question! Quite INTERESTING!
Yeaaaah…!! You produced REFUGE AND DENIED album with Dave. At the time I think he was a little bit ?dazed and confused.?
Do you have any great or funny memories from those days?
Funny memories… I just remember him dressing us all in stretch jeans and he brought in this big bag of t-shirts for us all to wear in our photo shoot the first time we did one and it was all pretty funny. I mean, he?s a lot different now than he was back then. When we toured on Gigantour last year it was really nice to just kind of reconnect with him because I hadn?t spoke with him in over ten years and our relationship back then wasn?t so good at the end. We were able to kind of get past that and repair that and hang out again which was cool. He kind of has a bad reputation with the press and I can understand why but at the same time I don?t think it?s really all that accurate. Like I?ve said before, if you believe most of the stuff you read about him you?d expect him to be throwing Bibles at people backstage. That?s just not the way he was. I was a little bit nervous for him to read the lyrics on our new record. [laughs] I guess he never did, which probably is good.
Now you?re re-releasing a few Nevermore albums with bonus tracks ? was this your idea?
Of course not! Of course that?s not our idea, ha-ha! That?s the record company trying to milk more money out of our fans. [laughs] It?s nice that they?re putting those extra songs on it, though, because that way there is something that makes it more worthwhile.
Like getting liner notes done for them, too…
Yeah. Personally I don?t really think that they needed to be re-mastered because there was nothing wrong with the sound to begin with. I had a long talk with the producer of those records, Neil Kernon, and he thought it was OK. If he would have been opposed to it I don?t think we would have agreed to do it.
Do you have any kinds to release those Sanctuary albums again?
No. Why? I mean that?s not up to us. Sony owns those… They still make them. You can still buy them. They were out of production for a long time, until the first couple Nevermore albums, then they decided they were going to re-release them. A lot of people have said, ?maybe you should remix and re-master them?.
It?s a different sound at that time.
Yeah it is. That?s one thing that I notice. If I go back and listen to Refuge Denied it sounds like 1988. It really, really does. So why mess with that? That is a period in time that I would just like to leave. Leave it where it is because I think if you try to change those records it would take away from what made them so good in the first place.
Have you noticed nowadays that there is a Sanctuary following? There are Myspace sites…
Yeah I know. Back when we were together we were always considered a cult band and that whole cult status has just kind of grown and Nevermore has definitely helped with that.
It?s nice that so many years later people still remember this band. It?s funny because the other guys, you know, I see them occasionally. Actually the drummer from Sanctuary I?ve been talking about playing on this thing with Peter, that might happen I don?t know. I hope so, because he?s a great drummer. Since they [Sanctuary] haven?t been to Europe in so long, I don?t think they really understand the cult status of Sanctuary. They don?t know. I keep telling Lenny the guitar player, ?Dude, you?re a metal GOD in Europe!? He?s not into that kind of music anymore so he gets pissed off when I tell him that. It?s just really cool that people still remember that and still respect it.
Well it?s good stuff. When I was a little boy I bought REFUGE DENIED because of the cover. Then I heard those loud screams, Rob Halford?ish kind of screams, and it was a BANG!
It was mad!
Yeah, but it still sounds like ?88! [laughs]
Yeah, most definitely. We?ve just got one more question and it?s going to be difficult.
Difficult! Oh God!
If you had to choose just five songs from your whole career from Sanctuary to Nevermore which songs would they be?
I know, it?s a tough one.
Let?s see… five…? five!?
So I have to start with Sanctuary. I would take "Die for My Sins" off of REFUGE DENIED; I would take "Epitaph" off of INTO THE MIRROR BLACK… oh boy… "Dreaming Beyond Black", the song, "Politics of Ecstasy", the song, and "This Godless Endeavor", the song. Title tracks. I?m all about title tracks today!
OK! I guess out time is up, so thank you Warrel for this conversation with us and good luck to your gig tonight as well.
Thank you guys!
From L to R: Kapa, Warrel & Luxi
The official Nevermore homepage: