Interview with Doug Blair of W.A.S.P.
Metal-Rules.com: Hello, Doug! I am very happy for this interview and greetings from Greece! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
Hey Helias, I’m doing great! I’m in North Hollywood, California… out here for a multi-purpose trip to finish some recording, have band meetings, attend a big music convention(NAMM), and do a Dreams In The Witch House event… I really just come for the sun!!
Metal-Rules.com: As Signal2noise is not as popular as WASP, could you introduce your bandmates to the people?
‘s2n is a “power duo”–so it myself and ONLY a drummer. John Anthony does all US work, and I use various EU drummers for work abroad’
Metal-Rules.com: As far as Signal2noise, how did you come up with the band name?
‘It is a widely-known term for the quality of sound in recording and amplification: the “signal to noise ratio” — meaning how much noise is included in the real sound you want to hear. I like to use the metaphor for us, that I create a wall of sound, and my drummer chops it up!!
Metal-Rules.com: A lot of bands are more respected in other countries than their homeland. How is Signal2noise received in USA?
‘s2n is an experimental project at this point and will likely receive more attention outside of the US, especially when tapping regarded EU drummers.’
Metal-Rules.com: In 2013 Dreams in the Witch House release the ‘A Lovecraftian Rock Opera’. Can you tell us some words about this work? Is it a side project or a full-time band? How did you decide to give the band that name?
DITWH is a joint US/Swedish production “Rock Opera” based on a 1933 short story of the same name, written by the infamous author HP Lovecraft. I was offered the chance to contribute two leads, and enjoyed recording them. Bruce Kulick, formerly of KISS, also contributes some great playing…as well as many other US and SE talents. There are events planned where we will perform live, and also hope to do festivals and real theater produtions someday!
Metal-Rules.com: WASP and you personally have been playing for the past 30 years. I’m sure you had many difficulties throughout this time… What makes you always keep pushing forward?
I’ve played with the group during two periods: 1992-94 and 2006 until now. I love to create and perform, and want to leave something behind to future players and groups to aspire to, and to reach far beyond!
Metal-Rules.com: WASP has not released any new album since ‘Babylon’ (2009). Don’t you think that almost 5 years are too many? When are you going to release such a new staff?
I cannot announce when the new CD will be released, but hopefully this year. 5 years may be more than other groups, but as life goes, it takes however long to let the pieces fall into place. That way it can be timeless.
Metal-Rules.com: Can you tell me a little more about the lyrics that you usually write for a Signal2noise song? What’s the thing that inspires you?
John Anthony and myself write lyrics for the songs we sing, so the inspirations can be quite diverse. I prefer commenting on the human or social condition in some way.
Metal-Rules.com: How important is it to you that people pay attention to your lyrics apart from listening to your music?
The lyrics tell a story on their own, and should be interpreted both inside and outside the framework of the music. They should also be supported fully by the music itself.
Metal-Rules.com: And now some personal questions. How did you get into playing music?
My father had a guitar around the house, and he played piano. So, music was in our home, and it was easy to get started.
Metal-Rules.com: What’s your opinion on other kinds of music?
I like many styles of music, except new pop country. All music can evoke feelings and connection, and that is great! I personally prefer rock and classical to say, reggae and self-indulgent jazz, but there are great instances in all styles!
Metal-Rules.com: As far as I know, you’ve been giving lessons for quite a while.
Yes, I feel it’s important to pass on your knowledge as much as possibly, and in return, I absorb the energy and influence of younger players.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you know any Greek heavy metal acts? Are there any Greek metal bands that you really like or want to share the stage? Rotting Christ, Firewind, Suicidal Angels to name a few.
I’m familiar with Firewind and Gus G., but I’m afraid that is the extent of it. I’m into Orphaned Land, who are from the Mid-East countries.
Metal-Rules.com: And now I would like to discuss about some deplorable events. We are in the beginning of 2014 and three big metal personas have passed away… Ronnie James Dio, Peter Steele and Paul Grey (SLIPKNOT) and finaly Jeff Hanneman (SLAYER) . Are the last 4 years the most depressing years of heavy metal?
No, I wouldn’t say that. These men have all had awesome careers and gave us such great music! We should celebrate their music and be thankful they existed at all. There is a time for everyone… but some seem to stay around forever!
Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general?
I think it has reached an incredible level of talent and innovation! I love Devin Townsend (CAN), Deathstars (SE), Lords Of The Lost (DE-whose new record I have contributed a lead to!), Porcupine Tree (UK), and many other relatively new groups that push the envelope even farther!! As far as the industry itself, I think it is more democratic, in that it allows the real best talent to rise to the top through hard work and diligence, instead of through payola and politics.
Metal-Rules.com: Is technology part of your life or are you still a “romantic”?
I enjoy the best of both worlds of analog and digital. There are pro’s and con’s to both, and one must be familiar with many ways to do things to succeed.
Metal-Rules.com: I have beholden that heavy metal changes through the decades. Heavy and Thrash metal dominated over in 80’s, Death, Black and Power metal in 90’s and Metalcore and Nu Metal in the 00’s in general. 2010 was the beginning sign of the new decade. What do you see for the future?
I’m seeing prog making its way back, and glam growing in the EU. It really depends on what region/continent you’re speaking about, because it is different everywhere. And often there are many types of music co-existing and thriving in the same area.
Metal-Rules.com: If you could pick only one musician to work with, who would that be and why?
Steven Wilson, for his ability to capture the true feeling of growing up and going through the many aspects of love and life–in both lyrics and composition, as well as sound and production. He’s light-years ahead of all of us with his various projects! And he’s mastered the concept of both “light and shade”, and bucking commerciality to seek out success.
Metal-Rules.com: Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:
Thrash metal: not educated, but enjoy it
Greece: Rabid Audiences
Politics: somewhat educated and interested… important to our planet
Prison Break (TV series): have not seen it… avoid network TV
Black Sabbath: Icons–can’t wait to see them at Sweden Rock!
Metal-Rules.com: Doug, thank you for this interview. I wish to you and the rest guys of ‘WASP’ and Signal2noise all the best!!!
‘Cheers!! I Thank You!’ Wish you luck and be safe!!!
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