Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, how are you today?
Hey there! I’m doing great. I’m super excited about everything that’s going on in my world right now. Thanks for reaching out!
You have released an EP “Revelator” recently, can you tell me a bit about the EP and the production behind this?
Yeah, definitely. The Revelator EP is a precursor to the full concept album that’s coming out soon. The reality is that I got impatient because the recording process, especially for vinyl, takes a really long time to get right. There are a lot of details to focus on every step of the way. So I was itching to get some music out and have some fun promoting and playing it. I named it the Revelator because the EP reveals some things about what’s to come in the full concept album. There are also some Easter eggs in the cover art and CD insert that will make more sense when the full album is released. Along with the song The Revelator, which is more closely related to the album story, I also had fun with some guitar based cover songs, covering Jimi Hendrix’s Third Stone from the Sun, an instrumental guitar version of a haunting Leonard Cohen song called You Want it Darker, and the classic Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows. Incidentally, that last one has taken on a new life. I never released it as a single, so it was kind of hidden on the EP and I just posted it a few weeks ago for the heck of it, and it’s gotten a great response!
You mentioned earlier that you have plans to put up a full-length album in a few months’ time, where are you in the process, have you come up with ideas of the album name, completion of songs, any chance to leak some information to me haha?
Yeah, it’s coming along great! It’s a concept album so, it tells an epic tale of good versus evil over the course of the album. The songs are all written, recorded and mixed. It took what feels like forever to get them just right while telling the story through the music. I’m currently working with the mastering engineer to get the final mixes cleaned up and then it’s off to the vinyl pressing plant. The cover art is also pretty close to being finished and it’s looking quite epic. I haven’t talked about it yet, so here’s a little exclusive for you, but think KISS’s Destroyer cover mixed with a great Iron Maiden and DIO cover. Definitely some dramatic artwork going on there, and it’s a scene from one of the stories in the music. The vinyl version is also going to come with an illustrated book with images that go along with each of the songs in the album. As for the music, there are lots of epic guitar solos, lots of light and shade, heavy parts, mystical parts…all mixed with a pretty cool story of good versus evil, and culminating with a giant guitar battle at the end. Whew, sorry, I’m getting excited, but I have been working really hard to create something that I wish I saw more of out there in the music world.
You have two homes, one in the Great Tundra Area and another you live in Cincinnati, do you travel often to the beautiful Great Tundra, man I would love to be there? What do you prefer among the two places?
Well, yeah, as you know, I was born and raised in the Great Tundra Area by two she wolves, but was then discovered by humans when my double she wolf parents were shot by poachers. I bounced around a lot after that, as you can imagine one would after such a tragic event, but I eventually landed in Cincinnati. Today I split my time between the two locations. I kind of follow how I’m feeling, spending a lot of time in Ohio, but then heading back to the Tundra when I’m feeling like I need to get recharged. There are a lot of things in common between the two places especially during the winter and lots to be inspired by in the wilderness and outdoor scenery. When a mystical looking cloudy sky rolls in, and I see the light poking through the clouds, crows in the distant trees silhouetted against the sky, wolves running in the distance…I often think, wow, there’s an album cover right there! I would love to have you up to the Great Tundra Area sometime, but you better pack a coat. It gets pretty cold!
You are heavily influenced by the theatrics of Kiss and have been a fan for years since your childhood, can you tell me how Kiss influenced you and how it made a huge impact in your life?
Well, yeah. When the Destroyer album came out and I saw the cover, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. From the characters on the front, each having a persona, and the illustration style was so cool, plus the theatrics that everyone was talking about – Gene blowing fire and spitting blood, Ace with his guitar smoking. It was all so cool. Then I put on the first track – Detroit Rock City – with that movie soundtrack-like intro and it just got my imagination running…so then I got more into some of their other stuff and they always have such a great presentation in addition to the music. I moved on a little from their music, getting more into Zeppelin and then Van Halen, Rush, and some of the shredders, but Kiss really inspired me to want to do something even bigger along with the music.
Can you tell me about your studio “Wolf Den” ?
Well, I always wanted to have a space to create the way I like to, and have everything set up and ready to write and record the way I like to, so I built a room in my house with insulated walls and a heavy door, which became the Wolf Den. I’ve pulled together a decent collection of guitars over the years, so I finally have all those out of cases and up on the wall. My amps and pedals are all set up and ready to go and I have a small drum set for working out songs, a pretty good set of mics, plus a 16 input interface that goes to my laptop. So I can get in there and pretty quicky get ideas out and start recording. I did all of Revelator EP in The Wolf Den and also all of the upcoming album. I was even able to fit a larger drum set in there when it came time to record drums. Ben Lacy played all the drums on the album and he did such a great job. He can groove when the song calls for it, but then he can totally tear it up when that’s needed too. His double kick footwork is like a machine gun. Anyway, The Wolf Den is really my safe place. Sometimes I go there when I just need to think or be inspired. Being surrounded by music gives me comfort.
Tell me how music started in your life, can you take us back where it all started for you?
Well, back when I was running with the wolves, I can remember finding a rubber band, a stick, and a nail in a pile of litter, and I fashioned those items into a makeshift stringed instrument that I would try to play on. I also have fond memories of taking sticks and hitting on hollow logs to make drum sounds. So I always had a big interest in music from early on in life. Once I joined other humans, I can remember being in a music store one day and seeing an electric guitar hanging high up on the wall, and it seemed so out of reach, but I really felt drawn to the instrument. When you combine that with my discovery of Led Zeppelin it was pretty inevitable that I would give guitar a try. Once I was able to get myself a cheap starter guitar and try some of the Zeppelin riffs, I was pretty much hooked. Then I got more into Van Halen, which led to discovering the shredders, plus I was trying to learn all the great vinyl that I had, like AC/DC, Rush, and on and on…then I started getting into my own bands and writing some music here and there, and it all just kept building from there. Now, I can’t imagine life without a constant stream of music, and expressing myself on the guitar has really become like a lifeline for me.
“Take the theatrics of Alice Cooper, add the mystique of Led Zeppelin, combine it with the storytelling of Pink Floyd, and you get a pretty good idea of what my music is all about.” A quote of yours, You should be the future of music, with the likes of Alice Cooper, Led Zepp and Pink Floyd, man you should be making more music and the whole world will turn towards you, what would be your plans in the near future?
Wow. Thank you so much for believing in what I’m doing! I have to say there are more albums coming after this upcoming release, so I can only hope to make some kind of impact on the world of music that I find myself a part of. I have a ton of ideas and a ton of more music to write, more stories to tell, and some days I literally have the recurring thought “there’s so much music to write!” The main frustration is getting it written and recorded fast enough, especially because I get really particular about making it as high quality as possible, so that probably slows me down a little. But for the near future, the big push is to get the album to the vinyl pressing plant and out into the world, and then hopefully put together a band to play the songs live, which is going to be the beginning of pulling together some rock and roll theatrics for an even bigger live show eventually.
Being a multi-instrumentalist, can you tell me about the stuff that you use, and the specialties and why that makes a big difference?
Yeah, I think the gear does make a difference. Well, I should say, as long as a piece of gear inspires you and can produce what you’re trying to create, that’s what any given artist should be using. I have two Kramers that I just love and I used them all over the EP and the upcoming album. They sound great and do what I want them to do, and translate what I’m hearing in my head pretty well. And I think it’s important that a guitar inspires the player when they pick it up to play. So while a lot of a player’s tone is in their hands, I think the instrument has to inspire the player and my Kramers do that. The guys at Neck Illusions made a really cool fingerboard decal for the guitar that will be on the album cover, so that’s pretty inspirational when I pick up that one. I also have some custom Clayton picks on the way with some graphics that go with the album, so that’s going to be cool. Along with that, the bass that I play, a Yamaha, I have been using forever, so it really feels like ‘home’ when I pick it up. And I can get a mix of the pumping part of the bass, and also some gritty top end that cuts through. It’s kind of like the Geddy Lee or Billy Sheehan thing, which I like because that comes up under the rhythm guitars for a really powerful sound. And then there are a ton of different pedals that inspire me too. The Whammy pedal, the Boss OC3 octave pedal, I recently picked up a Voodoo Labs Proctavia pedal which is really cool. It kind of fights back a little which is really fun. So it’s a blend of the tried and true gear while always mixing in new stuff for inspiration.
How did you achieve the dream that you wanted to come to reality, can you tell me a bit about your road to success?
Well, it’s interesting because I’m always looking forward to the next creative idea or creation, and I don’t really stop all that much to look at what I have done so far. But I guess the success is that I have been able to pull together the experience that I’m trying to create, with music and storytelling, and everything else is icing on the cake. Every once in a while I do stop and say whoa, that’s pretty cool that I managed to release the music that I have, and I’m almost done with a concept album that has over an hour of fairly complicated music…and then I just hope it all affects some people in a positive way. But I think for an artist trying to do anything, just making their vision a reality can be called success. So I guess I would say that making a dream into reality just takes persistence and making progress one small step at a time.
What would be some of the greatest moments in your life?
Well, joining the ranks of human kind would definitely be up there. Living with wolves, as I did as a youth, can understandably be a bit primitive. But honestly, when someone makes a comment on my music that it means something to them is pretty rewarding. There’s not a ton of feedback in today’s world of releasing music, so It’s like, “Oh, someone out there is listening!”
Finally what would you like to say to the fans and readers through Metalheads Forever Magazine?
I’ll just close by saying that I’m eternally grateful for anyone who checks out my music and can connect with it in some way. I hear from people who say that they love a certain track, or that they listen to it while they drive, or someone messages me and says they’re listening to one of my songs on volume 11, and I just appreciate it so much.