Jay Nanda of San Antonio Metal Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with FATES WARNING singer Ray Alder. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: At what point in time did you scale back completely from the high vocal range that you were known for when you first joined the band on "No Exit", and how difficult was it to realize that a change in style was necessary?
Ray Alder: I think it was "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" when I really came into my own and rearranged what I wanted to do with my voice. In the beginning, the whole thing with the high voice, that's what was going on, to me, in the '80s. I was also a young guy, I was in San Antonio and wanted to sing high, and as I got older, I realized I wanted to sing, not scream. And it was probably "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" when it came to me. And unfortunately, my voice changed. I grew up. Or whatever you want to call it.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Frank [Aresti, guitar] is not going to be on this tour. What's keeping him away, and what should we know about Mike [Abdow]?
Ray Alder: Frank, it was funny, we were doing the album and everything else, and he started a new job. And he's also recently married and moving to California. We tried: "What about this?" But there's no anger whatsoever, and we wish him well. He will be with us the next few tours, we do know that. But Mike's a great guy. We tried out other guitar players and auditioned a few other guys. Mike just seemed to be the guy that would fit. Really nice guy, quiet, but a great guitar player. For some reason, he was the best fit. So far, he's doing great.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: What were you doing musically when the rest of the guys were doing the ARCH/MATHEOS project [the progressive rock band featuring FATES WARNING/OSI guitarist Jim Matheos and former FATES WARNING singer John Arch], and did that create any awkwardness within the band?
Ray Alder: Well, it's funny because I talked about it before — the ARCH/MATHEOS thing had a few songs that were supposed to be the new FATES WARNING album. The music Jim was giving me, I worked on it, and whatever I gave to Jim, it just didn't seem to gel with him. Both of us agreed it wasn't something I was completely happy with. Then he asked me, "What if I did something else with it?" And I said, "That's up to you. Of course, that's fine, if it's not working out with me." Then he brought up the John thing, and I was like, "Well . . . OK." [chuckles] "Whatever you want to do." I was taken aback. I definitely was taken aback a bit. I never took it personally. But I was just like, "OK." But then, you know, at the end, Jim needs to make a living as much as the rest of us. It was fine. It was an amazing album, and I was actually curious to hear John's voice as well after all those years. Once I finished with this album, I sat down and listened to that album and, Holy crap! It's amazing — and John's voice!
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: It's great to hear how accepting you are of that because obviously a lot of bands wouldn't go back to that situation of reuniting with their original singer, then get back to their present singer. Just look at VAN HALEN. You don't see Sammy being accepting of going back to David Lee Roth.
Ray Alder: Totally.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: I guess that speaks a lot to where your mindset was at.
Ray Alder: Yeah, again, it was a conversation Jim and I had. He was like, "Hey, I just want to make sure you're OK with this. Is everything going to be fine?" I'm like, "Absolutely." The next album, we were all together. And we were wondering, how were people going to speculate? "Oh, the band broke up (or) John's back in the band." So we knew what was going to come of it, but again, it was a project Jim threw together. I didn't feel it in my heart, and I worked on it for a long time.
Read the entire interview at San Antonio Metal Music Examiner.