Interview with Robert Church, Heavy Metal Fury, USA

transcript of a telephone interview

first published in Heavy Metal Fury, USA 1992
transcribed by Vengeance Incorporated editor

This band from Florida is really on the ball lately, as they are set to appear on two compilation albums, the first being “Animal Magazine Presents” by Hans De Wyngaert of Animal Magazine, Holland, and the King Klassic LP “A Tribute to Phil Lynott” due out this summer. Vengeance appears on two tracks, both Thin Lizzy songs, “Don’t Believe a Word” and “Suicide”. With the addition of a new guitarist, Mike, and former lead guitarist Curt’s return to the band from a sojourn in Alabama for the last year, Vengeance has delayed the release of the new recording, “Malicious Intent” until some tracks can be re-recorded with the new members. The rest of the lineup is: Guy, bass and vocals; Chuck, drums. For this interview, I talked to Guy, the bassist, lead vocalist and frontman for the band.

Heavy Metal Fury:What are some of the main factors that brought the current members together?Guy:I think we all share the same philosophy about music and have similar tastes, although each member brings a particular style and different take on a song. It just seems to gel when we get together to work out our individual ideas. Every member of the band has come in with ideas and the band has hashed out the arrangement and song structure. Its always been like that, sometimes I write a complete song, Mike or Curt comes in with a riff and a rhythm pattern, Chuck comes up with a drum pattern like on “Reign of Terror” on the new record.

On another note, 3 of us, Mike, Curt and I went to highschool together and have been friends for years. You stay friends after highschool with someone because of common interests, in our case music of course. After a lot of people who dabbled in music when they were kids fall out, the more serious, and I would hope talented people remain. I think those guys are 2 of the most talented musicians who came out of Brandon, which was and is a hotbed of heavy metal, a dozen or more signed bands came out of this one little ‘burb of Tampa. I’m just along for the ride with them.

HMF:Even with Mike rejoining, it seems he was always in the band in some way.

Guy:Yeah, Mike and I were the original guitarists for Vengeance back in our keg party and bar gig days. He left the band, Curt joined and I eventually switched to bass, mostly due to a lack of good bass players. I had planned on getting back on guitar. But Mike helped with production and backing vocals on the Predator album and he and I have been doing a lot of studio work on solo projects together, so it was a really natural thing for him to rejoin.

What really brought it to a head was that we needed a solid rhythm player live, the guitarist after Curt just wasn’t cutting it there, even though he was a great soloist. Eventually, that wasn’t enough and we canned him, and Curt moved back into town and all the sudden we had two fantastic guitarists, and I’m singing lead anyway, so I resigned myself to bass live. But I play plenty of guitar in the studio, so I’m good. I don’t have to prove I can play lead solos every night to be a man. (laughs)

HMF: Do you recall the first song you put together with Vengeance?

Guy:Oh sure, we had been messing with a song that was a combination of a song I wrote years before along with a riff idea Curt had been messing with. We recorded it on a Teac 4-track I bought and played it for everyone who would listen! We thought it was the greatest thing we had ever heard, and if we could just get someone in power to listen to it, we would be the next Led Zep or something. By the next week, we thought it sounded like shit, which is good, because it did. We continued writing and upgrading our studio until we really could put out a decent product, but that song always has a special place in my heart, jeez, I’m all choked up. For some reason, it never made it on Predator, but it has been resurrected on Malicious Intent with an extended instrumental intro as “Cry Havoc”.

HMF:Does the current metal explosion kind of freak you out, I mean one day you are playing bars in Tampa, the next your music is all around the world, getting airplay in Europe and South America?

Guy:Sure, I’ve done telephone interviews just this week with radio stations in Holland, Germany, France and Australia and they all really do treat you like some big rock star or something, they don’t know when we come back to the States we are playing the Buffalo Road House on Nebraska Avenue for $150 a night for the entire band. You just have to keep it in perspective, and realize that the metal scene is huge right now, and that the market is hungry for product and new bands, so its possible for any band with a record out to have the prospect of a lot of exposure and success. What will separate the worth-while ones are who lasts and who fades with the fading of the fad. I think we will be around for awhile.

HMF:In the past few years, Florida has really been a breeding ground for new talent. How does Vengeance fit into this scene?

Guy:I can’t speak for all of Florida, but in Tampa Bay we are well-known and respected. We get the nod to open for national acts regularly, which is cool for a band without a contract.

HMF:I guess there are a lot of advantages to recording in your personal studio?Guy:Oh yeah, since its my studio, we don’t have a recording “budget” really, we can almost endlesslyrerecord and do new versions of songs, change parts, record alternate parts, remix the songs highlighting different instruments, different solo versions, vocal versions, etc. I think its a big part of our success that we are all so experienced in the studio. No producer has been able to tell us “You can’t do this or that”, we can say, fuck you, we’ve done it, it can be done, get out of the way and I’ll show you how!

HMF:Thanks for the interview, anything you wanna say in closing?

Guy:Just watch for the new record, Malicious Intent, I think it is a really unique record among the hordes of metal releases these days. I believe we have a distinct sound and writing style that sets us apart, plus some great musicians to pull off some intricate songs. Thanks for the support, Robert.