NAMM 2008: Conversations of Steel
I met Danny White from Omen at the end of the day on Friday. I actually met Danny by chance as I believe he needed to borrow my lighter or something. Upon realizing I was talking to another Texan, I briefly shot the shit with him only to realize I was talking to the drummer for Phantom X and the mighty Omen!
MR: What brought you to the NAMM convention Danny?
I always go to the NAMM Shows, I keep in contact with the companies I endorse and I also work with different musical instrument companies as a rep for music stores.
MR: Omen has remained fairly active on the live circuit the past five years and it was recently announced that there are plans for a live album spanning the band’s entire career being a first for Omen. When can fans expect this and what other details about the live album can you fill us in on?
Well as far as a label goes, OMEN will be going through different distributors around the world. Labels usually only distribute their product in certain countries. We do not want to limit ourselves and be restrained where we market our music. The live CD will be unreleased live recordings that Kenny is cleaning up the quality and remixing it. The recordings were not the best quality so it is taking quite a while to get them CD ready.
MR: Just a few short weeks ago news was made available that original Omen bass player Jody Henry had fractured his skull in a bad fall he took. Can you comment on his current status and where fans can donate to his trust fund?
I am sorry to say that I have not heard an update on his status. All of our hopes and prayers go out to him and his family and friends.
MR: When Omen’s last cd “Eternal Black Dawn” was released in 2003 I can remember reading a lot of positive reviews for the album. The follow up album Hammer Damage was scheduled for a tentative 2007 release, what is the current status of that disc?
We are still writing the music and hope to have it released asap.
MR: Omen had a couple high profile gigs this past year with an appearance at the Texas Hellfest with Prong not to mention you guys are scheduled to play the 10th installment of the Keep It True Festival in Germany dubbed “Reign Of The Tyrant” later this spring, yet it seems that Omen presently only plays one off shows, can you say with any certainty whether or not Omen will tour for the as yet unreleased new album? There certainly are a lot of metal legions that would love to see Omen live.
OMEN would love to tour with the new CD, we will be negotiating and speaking with different booking agencies and promoters to see if touring the US will be possible. We are touring Europe in April, the European market for metal is huge and that makes it possible for us to tour over there.
MR: You also play for another American Heavy Metal band “Phantom X” who is slated to play the Keep It True festival. What is new within the Phantom X camp?
Phantom-X is currently finishing up with the writing and final preps before going in and recording the tracks for the next CD do out sometime early 2009.
MR: Dave Harvey has now been playing guitar in the band a little over a year, how is he working out so far for you guys?
He is doing great, We had guitarists from all over the world send tapes to fill the slot, to tell you the truth, we were blown away by some of the tapes we received, they were some very well known players. although it was very tempting to take on a guitarist that well known, we weighed our options and decided that taking in a very well known guitarist would make us feel like we had to compete with his style and what he had already accomplished. When we decided on Dave, we felt that he fit with us perfectly and would help bring us forward to a more progressive style of metal. The new songs are great Kevin and Dave write well together.
MR: Phantom X have certainly been making waves within the underground metal community, especially considering the amount of time you guys have been together. You released both full length albums through Mausoleum Records and did a European tour dubbed the Mausoleum Metal Masters tour. How has it been working with Mausoleum thus far? Would you say they are doing a good job helping to promote the group?
We actually just finished up our contract with Mausoleum and havent decided on what we are going to do yet. Mausoleum still has an option to pick up our next release but our options are open and we are going to wait until Kevin’s appearance on a VH1 reality show hits in April to see what options are available to us.
MR: Danny you seem to gravitate towards killer metal bands with cult like underground followings, the last band I’m gonna “ask” you about is ASKA. What can you tell me about your time playing in ASKA and what made you decide it was time for something new?
Early in 2002, I received a call from a friend telling me he gave my number to a band that had been looking for a drummer for about 18 months or so. George Call called me from ASKA and asked me to come out and audition, he sent me a CD and I really liked the music so I went out and played 3 songs and was offered the job. We were playing live shows while recording ASKA’s new CD. About this time Phantom-X was forming and Jason Sweatt (ASKA’s former drummer) showed interest in returning to ASKA so it just worked out for both of us. I am still friends with ASKA. I still do shows with them from time to time when Jason can’t make it. I also play on a song on their latest release.
MR: I’d certainly like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me, I hope to see both Phantom X and Omen in concert real soon. Before we wrap this up is there anything else you’d like to address or promote?
We are planning for our European tour that starts in Germany in April, we will be doing about 10 countries in 3 weeks. Phantom-X and OMEN both will be doing the tour so I will be doing double duty again. I would like to thank you Robert for the interview and hope to see you on the road this year.