Interview with Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church
Hello Kurdt! It’s JP from Metal-Rules.com. Thank you for agreeing to the interview. You may or may not recall we met on 70, 000 Tons a few years back and I interviewed you (and the entire band) at that time. Time for another one! Thank you! The new album is charting and selling extremely well. To what do you attribute this new success?
I really don’t know other than the fact that having Mike back in the band has really grabbed fans attention. And apparently people think the record is good?
Where did you record the new album? Did yo have a chance to jam out the songs in the studio with the band or was it a matter of everyone learning their parts and sending them in?
We recorded it at my studio. We built it up around the drum tracks after the demos were completed.
As always you wore many hats for this album; lyricist, songwriter, producer etc…was it hard to switch roles back and forth during the project?
Not really but, it does help to have input from the rest of the band. It can be a bit difficult to keep perspective when you are so close to the project.
I realize you have been asked this many times but how the return of Mr. Howe come about? Were you at all apprehensive about the state of his voice after so many years away?
I was a bit concerned at the beginning but, after speaking with him the 1st time he said he was still able to sing and had taken care of himself so any apprehension was gone quite quickly. And the when we started doing the demos it became very clear that he was singing better then ever!
My friends and I often discuss the singers of Metal Church. Three studio albums by Wayne, four albums by Monroe and now four studio albums with Howe. With the return of Howe, does this in a sense, make him the official, ‘one -true’ singer of Metal Church…or ‘the voice’ of Metal Church if you prefer?
Well, in a way but he is THE singer for Metal Church!
Can you tell me about the inspiration for the album cover art? I must admit it seems a bit plain as compared to some of the other album covers. Did you make a deliberate decision to move away from the iconic ‘cross-guitar’?
It is the cross guitar. I made a deliberate decision to stay away from the cartoony typical metal album covers.
All of the Ronnie-era albums were excellent but XI seems to have a newfound energy? Where did that come from?
Im sure it was from the excitement of having Mike come back to the band and the fact that he was sounding bettr than ever. It gave us a new injection of life. And I also new that with him in the band that the atmosphere within the band would finally be a very positive one.
Many of the ‘classic’ US Power Metal / Thrash bands are experiencing nice career resurgences with Vicious Rumors, Helstar, Flotsam and Jetsam and you guys all putting out new albums this year. What is it that gives these bands the longevity?
I believe that its just the nature of the music. You never really outgrow it and you really never stop loving it. Besides with the new music biz totally affords us to keep doing it.
Considering the strength of the new material, will you be playing many of the new songs on the current tour? Will you being playing any songs from the Monroe era or leaning more heavily on the Howe era tunes? If yes, how do you feel about playing the songs that he sang on from the albums that you were not a part of at the time?
We are playing 3 songs off the new album and we are concentrating on the Mike Howe era for the rest of the set. We are doing a few from the David Wayne as well. WE wanted to play more of The Mike Howe era because a lot of these songs are new for this band and we wanted to play some newer material then what we have played in the past. We will not play any Ronny Munroe material.
When we last chatted on the 70, 000 Tons cruise, we discussed the possibility of a book, a DVD or a nice big Double Live album. Have there been any discussions along these lines?
Yes, we are still trying to figure out the best time and place to do a proper DVD and have a proper LIVE album. That is something that I very much want to do.
Lastly, what is your next step in world domination?
To play as much as possible and continue to make new music!!