By “Jay Rollins”
Without the need for a formal audition Waylon Reavis was picked up by Mushroomhead because of his obvious talent. A young adult eager to explore the world through his music. He polished his talent within the group only to be let go on account of a notoriously controlling band leader. Mushroomhead assisted with the ushering in of a modern metal style, and Waylon’s signature vocal style combined with his dominant stage presence helped perpetuate Mushroomhead around the world after their original vocalist JMANN left the band in 2004. Reavis was then released after 11 years of service. However, for Waylon that may have been for the best. As an artist he felt suppressed, and now, thankfully for music fans, he is moving on in a massive way.
A KILLER’S CONFESSION is Waylon’s new band and they are starting out hitting the ground running. Thom Hazaert is once again spot-on with his ear to the street and understanding of band development. Recognizing that Waylon was an underutilized talent Thom encouraged the signing of A Killer’s Confession on to EMP Label Group. Less than a couple of weeks after Thom urged Waylon to continue singing with a new project, they are now in the studio together working their magic. The new album titled Unbroken, named so to reflect Waylon’s state after leaving Mushroomhead, is being co-produced among Thom and Waylon while Richard Easterling (American Head Charge, Doll Skin, Muse, Emperors and Elephants) takes charge of engineering/mixing.
Before we get to the good stuff about A Killers Confession I’d like to chat about some of the things you’ve gone through. You were hired to take over the mic for Mushroomhead on September 19th 2004 and then, just two weeks shy of what would have been your 11th anniversary with them, you were let go, or quit? I believe there was some sort of communication issue developing and members of the band were not allowed to talk to other members. Would you mind filling me on the matter?
It was just one huge cluster fuck of ego and greed. Being told that you were replaceable and pretty much unneeded was enough to turn anyone’s stomach. I do believe paranoia of losing of control has a lot to do with the state of Mushroomhead while I was there. I really don’t like talking about it too much because it did help me find who I am but at the same time it helped create a demon that I hated. But to clear the air I do wish them the best but I want nothing to do with them…….EVER!
On October 5th 2015 you released a short video commenting on your departure from Mushroomhead and asked your fans not to partake in any harassment toward band members that had nothing to do with the decision to part ways. The overall tone of the video is almost one of relief and you wish the band all the best. Clearly sentiments have mutated, to say the least, and you’ve identified some of your grievances. Why did you decide to become more vocal about your departure from them as opposed to your first comments?
I became more vocal because I got tired of being silent. I felt it was time to speak my piece and when I did so I treated it kind of like a bad guy in wrestling talking shit. I found it more humorous just say stuff just to piss them off. They had hoped I’d crawled under a rock and die. Unfortunately for them that wasn’t the case. I remember doing the interview and in the back of my head laughing my ass off because I was showing the world I wasn’t afraid to speak the truth no matter what it did to me positive or negative. So I guess the timing was just right for me to speak, because the next thing I knew music was back in my life, I had a new band and I was signed to EMP Label Group.
It seems as though the overall experience with Mushroomhead was bittersweet. You’ve expressed your gratitude toward your fans and the industry friends who have remained loyal to you, such as the guys in Korn who reached out in support when they heard what had happened. What experiences are you most appreciative of in regards to working with Mushroomhead overall?
The best experience was gaining the fans appreciation and loyalty. I got to travel the world meeting bands that I looked up to my entire life. The only sad thing about it was I had to go back to the bus with people I couldn’t stand. It was bittersweet I love what I do I just hated doing it with them. To this day I ask myself if I could do it all again would I? I keep finding myself saying no I would take my chances on my own. But on the other hand I met my wife and I had a beautiful son and I would never take that away. So I guess I would relive that so I would have them.
Enough about the past, the future is where you are really focused as an artist and A Killer’s Confession is gearing up for your debut album. It must feel great to walk away from a situation like you experienced and build a fresh band who is already backed by some serious music professionals, namely EMP Label Group. Can you tell us about who else is playing in the band with you and when will we finally get the name of the secret bassist?
When my bass player is ready to be known you guys will know. I met Matt Trumpy this summer when he sent me a song to sing on. I was so blown away by the sound of it I sent it straight to Brian “head” Welch and ask him what he thought. Well Brian gave me the answer I needed to hear and the rest is history now you can pick that song up on iTunes, it’s called A Killers Confession. Paul came along with Matt there like peanut butter and jelly and then Matt introduced me to Jon our drummer. So three of my members live in Illinois, I’m here in Cleveland my bass player lives in Pittsburgh.
The new single, which will be available on iTunes by the time we release this interview, is the band’s namesake song and features Brian “Head” Welch of Korn. Talk about starting with a bang! Korn has recently been experiencing a resurgence with their new album “The Serenity of Suffering” and have a tour on the way to support it. Making time for the song “A Killer’s Confession” when he is so busy just shows how much he believes in what you have going on. How did the lyrics for the song come about? They seem predatory in nature, to say the least.
First off I can’t thank Brian enough. He recorded that song while he was on the road in Columbus, Ohio. The lyrics of the song are simple truths. They are just manifestations of my inner feelings about my past and how I feel about it. And I can agree with you they are very predatory in nature. It was like taking 1000 pound weight and removing it off my chest speaking those words and quoting people from my past.
The song is intriguing and leaves me wondering what the rest of Unbroken, due out early 2017, will be like. Is there a theme that threads the whole album together?
I wouldn’t call them themes but lessons that need to be learned. Unbroken is a testament of how much the human soul can suffer yet still find itself unharmed and ready to move forward. Each song is its own experience in time and just like real life there are no moments that are the same as the moment before it. I love the fact that each song has its own life and it’s own sound. And the greatest part about all of it is each song is written organically, lyrics are true, The music is not forced and factory written. I’ve always been one to try to outdo what I did before and never rehash something I’ve done. UNBROKEN Is a testament to this.
How are the songs composed? Do you have a general idea for a song first and then bring it to the band, or is it a full collaboration?
I let the band write the music then they send me the song. After I receive the song I continuously listen to it and I come up with my idea for the lyrics and melodies. The guys in the band are very talented musicians and I’ll let them do what they do best. I try not to tear away from their idea of a song and let them be them. They in turn do the same with me, they know what I’m capable of and they let me do it.
A Killers Confessions first show is at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland and is guaranteed to be a landmark event. Are there talks of what A Killers Confessions live show will be like? More of a stripped down rock show or will some theatrics be added?
I would love to let you know but I guess you will have to be there to find out. I’m not giving away everything up my sleeve.
Are the fellas who are on the recording the same people who we’ll see live?
Well man it’s great to see you back in action and loving the new work with A Killers Confession. The next chapter in the Waylon Reavis music saga is looking savage. Is there anything else you’d like to touch on before we part ways?
Just thank you for taking the time to speak with me. This may be the next chapter of my musical career but it is the first page of a novel that we are writing with A Killers Confession.
With everything new in the works I know your schedule is tight. On behalf of myself and Metalheads Forever Magazine thank you for speaking with us. Keep in touch as A Killers Confession moves forth.
JAY ROLLINS / Metalheads Forever Magazine