Scotty J of Rock Titan recently conducted an interview with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof of West Coast metal veterans METAL CHURCH. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On getting vocalist Mike Howe to rejoin METAL CHURCH in 2016:
Kurdt: "It wasn't a lot of arm twisting more than an explanation of how we do business now. Mike had been out of the business for 20-plus years since METAL CHURCH kind of broke up back in the early '90s. A lot of that was due to how the business was run and management and all that kind of stuff. That's why we got out of the business. I can totally understand, because I had kind of removed myself to a point too. But what happened was is that we were in contact, and at the same time, a week prior to Ronny Munroe leaving, I had just been in contact with him just as friends because we hadn't really chatted or been in touch for a while. Then Ronny left, and it was, like, 'Hey, how would you feel about doing this?' Because I did not feel there was a fourth singer. I didn't think… Having a fourth singer would really beat a dead horse, so to speak. Maybe keep the band going with a fourth singer and not call it METAL CHURCH, call it something else. That was my thought process. Then I was talking with Mike, and we started talking about it. Then we got it to the point where, 'Hey, let's write some songs. Let's see if it's good. Let's see if we still have the magic when we did 'Blessing [In Disguise]' and 'The Human Factor' and stuff like that.' That worked out great. In the process of that, I explained to him how the business worked and how we do business. We're independent. We make the records; I make the records in my studio. We're in complete control of how we do it. This is how the new business works now. It's all independent. We control it for the most part, other than we turn it over to Rat Pak [Records], who is fantastic. They're great, but we work with them. They work with us, we work with them. It's a phone call away. It used to be calling the office and leaving that message and hopefully somebody who is in control of your career would call you back in a week. Those old-school things went out the door. At that point, we managed ourselves and so it was just kind of all the things that made him get out of the industry had changed. So, the next concern was, 'Okay, let's write some songs, as long as it's good. I'm not going to do it if the songs are going to suck.' We liked it, and the songs came out great. 'XI' was proof of that. Prior to that, that was when we came back. It wasn't a lot of arm twisting. It was more of us showing him how we do business and avoid all the problems we had before."
On METAL CHURCH's latest album, "Damned If You Do" returning to the "glory days" of the band's sound:
Kurdt: "That was the intent. A lot of that is because I'm so tired of every metal album from a production standpoint, it all sounds the same. It's just, everybody has the same guitar sound. Everybody has the same drum triggers. All the drum tracks are completely beat detected and digitized and everything is perfect. Which, to me, is like 'Use a freaking drum machine!' The whole idea was to have a real drummer play because they have a feel. Different drummers have a different feel and a different push and a pull and little things like that. My approach to this record was that I still use analog tape because you can't really cheat that much. It just has a sound to it. I wanted this record to sound [like that] because I knew we were going to put it out on vinyl, I wanted it to sound exactly like you said. The guitars aren't so fat that there's no room for bass guitar. There's the drums and everything are so compressed and the mastering and the mix is so loud that everything is in your face; there's no dynamic range. All these things I miss and why I only listen to vinyl these days is because it's musical. The production standpoint, that was really important. That was the whole idea: To have it sound like an album we grew up with in the '80s."
On the band's live show plans for 2019, including their appearance on the inaugural MEGADETH-created Megacruise:
Kurdt: "That's going to be awesome. That will be October, 2019, I think. We're setting up our touring now. We'll do a U.S. run for about a month or so probably in the spring. Maybe earlier, but we're setting all of that up now, a couple of trips to Europe doing festivals. We're doing Heavy Montreal in Montreal this July. And, doing some festivals like Bloodstock in the U.K., but we're setting all that stuff up right now."
"Damned If You Do" was released on December 7 via Rat Pak Records.
Photo credit: Melissa Castro