Interview with Mike LePond
(Silent Assassins, Symphony X)
You are one of the only guys in Symphony X who has not done some sort of solo work outside the band. Do the other guys tease you or was it a matter of seeing how fun those outside project can be? In a related note, you also seem to be the busiest member outside of Symphony X. Where do you find the time?
Hahaha!! No, the guys never teased me about this. I have always dreamed of releasing a classic heavy metal album. When Symphony was touring the world for the Iconoclast, I put all the songs together and now it’s finally done!! Yes, when we are off the road, I love doing other projects. I just love to play.
Symphony X takes a long time between albums, does that get frustrating, or does it just give you time to other fun stuff?
It’s frustrating because I love recording and touring with the band, but I understand these amazing songs need time to be perfected. So, during the downtime, I keep myself busy.
Onto your current project, tell us about the formation of Silent Assassins. How important is it in this digital age to have physical product for the few remaining loyalists? In a related note, how did the fund-raising campaign go? What was your experiences with it?
In the modern age, digital downloads are taking over, but there is no greater feeling for me, than holding a physical product in my hands. We will always carry physical product for the faithful. The fundraising campaign was an amazing experience. It allowed me to forget about the record companies and deal with the fans directly. I believe that this is the future for music.
Explain some of your inspiration for the cover art. It reminds me of a Trojan horse. In a related not, tell us about your choice of title and the meaning behind it…or is it just one of those cool sounding names?
The cover art is based on the title track called Silent Assassins. It is all about the Trojan war. The Silent Assassins were the Greek warriors hiding inside the trojan horse. You could also call the players on my CD, silent assassins.
Tell me about the performance of Alan Tecchio. To me it seems to be one of his finest performances in a while.
Alan’s vocals were exactly what I needed for this record. His voice is tough and hard, but with tremendous melody and class. And he performed magnificently in the studio. One of the best vocalists out there I think.
I know you have a lot of star firepower on the album, who played drums?
Yes, lots of star power on this project. Besides Alan, I had Metal Mike on lead guitar. Michael Romeo programmed the drums, played keyboards and played some leads.
Did you and the guys in your solo project get together and jam at all, or was it a matter of everyone working apart and assembling it later?
There were no rehearsals for the record. I did scratch vocals for Alan to hear and gave Metal Mike the songs to play lead on.
Do you have any plans to tour the album, with this lineup or another?
I would like to do some festivals or cruises with this project. It would always be me and Alan with other hired musicians.
How has preliminary response been?
The Preliminary response has been wonderful. All the reviews have been very positive and I’m really excited for the release date.
Tell us a bit about your gear for our gear heads out there! Did you use a special set-up for the recording?
For the recording, I had my bass direct on one track. On the other track I used my Tech 21 Sansamp for overdrive. When I play on stage, I use my Peavey 8×10 cabinet with a Peavey Tour 700 head.
What is next on your horizon?
Symphony X is now recording our next CD, so next year I will be on the road with them. I will also begin working on a second solo album.