Interview with Mike Tirelli of Holy Mother by John Haseltine
For some, Holy Mother needs no introduction. For others, they do. The band has been on a 17 year hiatus, so many of the younger or newer metal fans out there definitely do need a proper introduction to this stellar metal band. Mike Tirelli was kind enough to sit down and type out a few responses for us. So without further ado, here it is!
MR: Can you give us a brief history / introduction of Holy Mother?
MT: Holy Mother, the early years (1995-2003), and Holy Mother of today (2020-present) Mike Tirelli started Holy Mother with bandmates: James Harris on drums (formally of Dirty Looks), bassist Randy Coven (Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai) and guitarist Spike Francis. Holy Mother signed a deal with independent German record labels, and went on to record five successful albums, the last album on SPV/Steamhammer records. The highlight of Holy Mother’s early years was playing major festivals in Europe, including Wacken Open Air, one of the largest Heavy Metal festivals in the world, and one of the largest open-air festivals in Germany. Holy Mother is back with a killer new album called Face This Burn, released on January 22, 2021 in Europe and February 12, 2021 in the USA and worldwide, by Massacre Records. The album was mixed and mastered at The Hideout Recording Studio, Las Vegas, by the famous Mr. Kane Churko (Disturbed, Ozzy, Papa Roach, In This Moment). This time around, Holy Mother is still Mike Tirelli (vocals) and James Harris (drums), with now with a new guitarist and bass player. Greg Giordano (guitarist), known for his hyper-accurate blazing guitar leads and victorious riffs and the talented Russell Pzuto (bass) from Dee Snider’s (Twisted Sister) band to replace the late great Randy Coven.
MR: What led to the resurrection / reunion of the band?
MT: Putting HOLY MOTHER back together again has been the most uplifting experience for me in my whole musical career. And getting back with my writing partner, good friend, and drummer, Jim Harris has been priceless. Over the years, I’ve always been writing songs, but deciding where I should use the songs was a challenge. I didn’t want to use them for Messiah’s Kiss, because I wasn’t sure if it was the right fit for them. But when Jim and I recently reunited as song writers, we decided it’s time to bring HOLY MOTHER back, and this time with a vengeance! Jim and I always missed the camaraderie we shared, the energy we get when we write together, the style of writing we create, and we also missed being able to express ourselves in the lyrics and melodies of our songs.
MR: Going into 2020, we were hit with the pandemic. Were there any concerns that FACE THIS BURN would not see a proper release?
MT: Definitely heading into 2020 was very suspect as far as getting the proper attention, especially after the 17 year hiatus of Holy Mother. But so far we’ve been extremely fortunate. The band is getting a tremendous amount of great reviews and press. I’m thankful to Massacre Records for believing in us and promoting the album. Since we can’t tour just yet, we’ve been releasing new to keep the fans enticed until it’s time to get out and tour.
MR: Give us a rundown on the new album.
MT: The new album titled Face This Burn, has a mix of traditional heavy metal for fans of Black Sabbath, Dio, and Judas Priest. It also has a modern and dynamic element of bands like Disturbed and Soungarden. Because of this I believe that there is a song on this album for every rock and metal fan out there, and that was our intention when we wrote the songs. A lot of reviews are saying the same thing, so we know we were on the right track.
MR: I have been enjoying FACE THIS BURN the past few weeks. I was on track to review it for the site until I saw another writer picked it up. How have the initial reactions been?
MT: So far the initial reactions to the new album have been nothing but stellar! And we hope to continue to capture the attention of the press, radio and the fans. We can’t wait to get out there and tour and support the album to prove them right.
MR: What are your thoughts on playing shows prior to everyone being vaccinated?
MT: I believe playing shows prior to everyone being vaccinated is definitely not going to happen on a larger scale, and also traveling to other countries without being vaccinated will be a challenge as well. Right now as we know there are three different vaccines available. By mid-summer I believe we can get most of the people vaccinated, which will enable live shows to finally start; maybe at first with some restrictions. Well at least I’m very hopeful that we are moving in the right direction.
MR: Live shows have taken a hard hit with Covid. When they do come back, how do you think music fans will go about heading back out to see their favorite bands?
MT: When live shows do come back, I think most music fans are biting at the bit with so much anticipation that fans will put their fears behind them just to get out and hear live music again. Of course there will be some that will be hesitant, and they would be the ones to take more precautions like wearing a mask in larger crowds.
MR: Are there any plans for touring in support of the new album when possible?
MT: As far as plans for touring this year, we are optimistic and hopeful that we can plan some shows in the USA sometime mid-summer. As far as Europe and other countries go, we can only hope and wait on what their restrictions will be when they re-open.
MR: What does the future of Holy Mother look like? Are you back for good?
MT: Holy Mother is definitely back for good! We were excited to see what the fans and press had to say about the new album, and so far it’s been incredible! Jim and I are already in the middle of writing the next album! I am always writing and have at least 35-40 new great song ideas recorded. Holy Mother is my baby! And I’m totally enjoying every minute of it.
MR: Any other projects on the books?
MT: I like to keep myself very busy regardless of Covid-19, or any other obstacles that may hinder my time to stay focused on music. I am in a German metal band called Messiah’s Kiss since 2003. We are in the middle of completing a new album. I also play in a eight piece wedding band (for the last 15 years) called Entourage. I sometimes like to paticipate in other projects as well. Richie Castellano from Blue Oyster Cult has a Youtube show called Band Geek. I was featured on it singing three songs, “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake, “Children Of The Sea” from Black Sabbath, and “To Be With You” by Mr. Big. The songs have gotten a tremendous amount of views, and tons of mind blowing and flattering comments. Also Holy Mother most recently recorded Van Halen’s “Mean Street” to contribute to an Eddie Van Halen tribute album, along with 17 other Long Island bands. That album just got released in late Febuary, 2021. We were so pleased with the outcome of the song that we contacted our label to tell them we wanted to release a video for the song to show our fans exclusively. After hearing it, they agreed, so look out for Holy Mother’s version of “Mean Street”, coming soon!
MR: Thank you for you time and a great new album. Anything else you would like to add?
MT: I would like to add on my behalf, and the rest of Holy Mother, we are completely thankful for the amazing response to the new album “Face This Burn”, and will definitely see everyone out there on tour as soon as we can! We can all “Face This Burn” Together! Thank You.