A Band For Humanity | An Interview With Tom Collier Of Held Hostage

Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, I’m Keith Clement the Editorial Head, how are you today?

I am Tom Collier founder/lead guitarist/vocalist Held Hostage, Keith thanks brother for interviewing Held Hostage. Excited to talk to you. It’s always a pleasure to speak with   someone like you, who truly supports the music community.

January 17, 2020 you released your album “Epic” with The Legendary Tim “Ripper” Owens as guest vocalist for the album, can you tell me about the songwriting and production behind the album, and how it was to work with Tim?

Tom Collier, Epic I wrote the all the songs and I actually decided to produce the album myself. We had producers previously that did a great job but they changed the sound of Held Hostage. We are a raw rock and roll band that brings it every night.  We went into Subcat studios and tried something different. Normally we record each track, and person, individually by themselves. I wanted to record us live together, all at the same time to click tracks. We were in separate booths but could see and hear each other. I know it is different way to record but I felt it was the best way. . I actually sang the whole album while cutting my guitar tracks. We had Ripper Owens on board to sing the record but he wanted me to do vocal scratch tracks. Then Ripper recorded from his home studio. Ripper is an amazing singer. We talked back and forth as he sent me his vocal tracks. I was blown away by how incredible Ripper sounded.  It paid off for us big time. The record was a huge success. We sold thousands copies all around the world and got tons of radio airplay.  

Tracklist:

  1. Lightning
  2. Tonights The Nite (Dedicated To Bon Scott)
  3. Love Me, Love Me
  4. Hollywood
  5. Turn The Light On
  6. I’m All Over You
  7. Hot Night In The City
  8. We’ll Rock For You
  9. Stand Back
  10. Rock ‘N’ Roll Explosion
  11. Your Name
  12. Rockin’ The Night Away

Was there any particular concept that was put behind this album?

Tom Collier, The concept behind Epic is just what we named it, EPIC. I wanted to create an Epic album and by doing so, finally get the recognition Held Hostage deserved. This album captures the raw power and energy of Held Hostage as if we are playing live. Held Hostage is a band that has always flown below the radar since its inception 1984. We have toured as direct support for such legendary acts like, Uli Jon Roth, Manowar, Metal Allegiance, Joe Lynn Turner, The Rods, Eddie Money, Ross The Boss, Savoy Brown, Quiet Riot, etc, to name a few.  We have been rocking for over 3 decades and have lasted the test of time.

In 2021 you got back into the studio to work on new material, how is it coming up, do you have news on new release?

Tom Collier, Yes 2021 getting back in the studio was so exciting for us. The new record Great American Rock came out beyond our expectations. This is Epic in steroids. I wanted to get back to the roots of rock and roll and Great American Rock does just that. The Held Hostage Lineup of Myself (Tom Collier) on lead guitar backup vocals, Scott Gregg rhythm guitar backup vocals, Jeff Murray Drums and Dave Carroll bass and backup vocals. Is one of the best bands we have had to date. All stellar musicians.. We brought back Tim Ripper Owens to sing 10 tracks. This time Ripper had free reign to add his own spin on this record. All I can say is WOW. You won’t be disappointed when you hear it. Ripper is one of the most melodic singers on the music scene. He has such incredible range and his experience and knowledge of music made this record one of the best (told by many music critics) to be put out. This is one of the most diverse records we have every done. There is something for everyone on this record. We also take on the subject of Suicide with our song Rise. We had a few members of the band in the past that committed suicide and we are still trying to understand why. A quick story about Rise. I wrote it on a Friday evening and Saturday morning I get a call from this woman, Joanne Longley asking me if Held Hostage would play her Suicide awareness concert.  That’s was such a huge coincidence, of course we played it and was a big success for all involved. We will be headlining her second annual concert this fall. Also we have our first ever instrumental called Chaos on this album. We cut it live in the studio with audience and no editing on this song. We just had fun and let it rip. Not to mention the record will have a new unreleased acoustic/rock version of our hit song show me the way back home, with Joe Lynn Turner as guest singer, Mike Lepond (Symphony x, Ross the Boss) on bass and Ron Keck on Drums. Whether you are metal fan, rock fan or even like some great rock ballads, you will love, Great American Rock

You are doing a great service to mankind through music and most of the amount received is donated to the Veterans, Kudos to the great work, how do you feel about what you  been doing?

Tom Collier, You know the old saying freedom isn’t free. We all owe a huge debt to our veterans from all countries who have served to keep us safe and free. I think it is important to help people and not expect anything in return. My brother is a Vietnam Veteran and seeing what they had to endure is heart breaking. I have also became good friends with a Veteran who I consider my brother Eric Haynes, He is doing many things to help Veterans through wounded warrior project. He has new Album coming out in 2022. He is country singer but just a great guy, great friend. We all have a limited time on this earth so I try and do the right things in life and helping people is the right thing to do in my opinion. If I can do it through my music even better.

The history dates back to 1984, how has the road been so far?

Tom Collier, I have to say it’s been an incredible journey since 1984. When you have been a band this long, you experience many emotions and ups and downs but I wouldn’t change a thing. I have made some great friends/brothers through music I would have never met. I left the music business for little over 10 years to raise my son (Tom JR). Being a single dad was absolutely the greatest experience of my life. Now I am actually a grandfather and love every minute of it. I can tell you this, Held hostage is gearing up to have its biggest year ever and will continue on for many years. 

Your 2018 single “Show Me The Way Back Home” featuring the legendary Joe Lynn Turner was huge and was in Grammy’s how do you feel about the big hit of this one?

Tom Collier, I was very proud of the success of that Show Me The Way Back Home had, and still has. Working with Joe was always great. I mean the guy sang with Rainbow, Deep Purple. It is such a thrill to be able to put out a song to help people and then it becomes a hit song and gets Grammy recognition.  To me it is all about the music. Music touches your sole like nothing else can. Playing that song and seeing grown men tear up because they knew someone actually cared about what happened to them. That to me, is better than winning a Grammy could ever be.

You have worked with quite some legends over the years, how do you feel to work with them all?

Tom Collier, Held Hostage is a band rich in rock and roll history from its inception. We have been able to work some of the best in business. I would have to say, I feel like the one word to describe it is “honored” that these rock legends felt Held Hostage Music and the band was worth working with. We have worked with members from Judas Priest, Rainbow,  KK’S Priest, Deep Purple, Manowar, The Rods, Ross The Boss Band. Those are all incredible bands and the players, who I consider to be the best of the best. So Yes “Honored” is the best way to describe how I feel about working with them.  

Epic was nominated for Grammy’s in many categories, it’s a huge thing to get World acclaim for the music that you created, how do you feel about the success?

Tom Collier, I have to say when the Grammys contacted me in 2020 and said your album Epic is in 13 different categories for the Grammys. I was kind of shocked at first. I knew Epic was a great (IMHO) Album but I did not expect us to be in all those different categories. Anytime you get such a recognition from your peers it is a humbling experience. It is also a sobering experience because I am kind of guy that thinks well I better get to work and write a better album for the next Grammys..

Would you like to share some great moments that you had over the years?

Tom Collier, there have been so many great experiences. I remember when Manowar was on their, world’s loudest band USA tour and asked us to be direct support act. That was one of our first big concerts. I remember walking off stage to a frenzied crowd that loved us and the tour manager who turned out to be the tour manager for Black Sabbath at the time. Grabbed me and said you guys are one of the best bands I have ever seen, I was like thank you. He said you guys should be out headlining.  Then it happened again in California, We were playing the Nam Show as direct support to Metal Allegiance. We took the stage and the crowd went crazy. I remember looking over and seeing some of the players from Metal Allegiance start watching us from side stage by the time we were done they were all side stage cheering us on.  We came off stage to high fives and cheers from them. Their tour manager stepped in front of me and said I would pay to see you guys, You guys rocked.  I would say the biggest thrill was in 2019. We were headlining a concert in Syracuse NY and we had Ripper Owens singing with us also had Ross The Boss (Manowar) and Marc Lopes (Ross The Boss Band) join us all on stage and at the end of the concert Ross and I put on a show for the crowd as we exchanged solos back and forth, it felt like hours but probably 10 minutes. To be able to share the stage with someone I have looked up too and call my brother Ross was the best.

Helping people through music is something you been doing over the years, a fantastic service to humanity, can you tell me the ways you been doing this?

Tom Collier, This is something that is a passion of myself and all the members of the Held Hostage. We have raised to date now over a million dollars for people in need. We have done it through playing benefit concerts and sales of our music. I remember one particular benefit we played. We had been on the road and just returned home exhausted and happy to sleep in our own beds. It was early in the morning I had just got home and had just fallen asleep. My phone is ringing off the hook so I crawl out of bed and answer it, This lady on the other end is frantic and little rattled. She apologized for calling me so early but said one of the relatives had advertised Held Hostage to play this benefit for a family that needed money to be with their son who was being treated at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Was there anyway a member or two could show up and maybe just say a few words or something. I remember going to all the members houses and waking them up and saying here’s what’s going on. I am going to the benefit, is anyone else in. They all said absolutely let’s do this. We went and we played a full set and rocked the place. Also being able to help the Vietnam Veterans here in NY build their memorial in Cayuga County through free benefit concerts and sales of our hit song Show Me The Way Back Home. Doing our small part was a great feeling. 

Finally what would be the message for the fans?

Tom Collier, I would like to say Thank you to all of our loyal fans. The best is yet to come. We have one of the best lineups in Rock with Myself, Scott Gregg, Jeff Murray, Dave Carroll. We are going to bring it like it no one else can. Get ready for “Great American Rock”.  Keith brother thanks for doing a great interview with Held Hostage.

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