METAL CHURCH founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof spoke to Metaleater's Tony Antunovich a few days ago about the band's much-anticipated new album, "XI", the return of vocalist Mike Howe, touring plans, illegal downloading and several other topics. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how Mike Howe ended up rejoining METAL CHURCH:
Kurdt: "This project with Nigel [Glockler, SAXON drummer] and I, we've been talking about it for a couple of years, but we're both trying to find the time between our respective bands and stuff, and we've become good friends and have a lot of musical kinship and things like that of things we wanna try. But so we were talking and I was trying to think about singers and who else we could get involved, and I go, 'You know, I haven't talked to Mike for a while. I wonder if he would be up for doing just like a project thing' — just something fun, to get out and make a record, be creative and work together again. And I talked to him, and he was open to the idea. We were obviously gonna get into more details and see how things go and etc., but we had started communication again. And then literally within a week — literally to the day a week after that conversation — I found myself in need of a singer for METAL CHURCH. And so I got back with Mike and said, 'Well, forget this little project. How would you feel about coming back to METAL CHURCH?' And he said, 'Well, I'm definitely open to that.' And he wanted to take it very systematically. He didn't wanna just come back just to come back. He wanted to write some songs, see how they go, and make sure that the music was there, and make sure that the record was gonna be the best it could be, and make sure the way we were doing business now was good and just kind of step by step rather than, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, I'm back. Let's go,' and have it kind of blow up like the whole 'Masterpeace' thing did. So it was kind of methodical. And I wrote some songs, sent 'em to him and we collaborated on those, and we loved those; it was great working together again. I wrote another batch of tunes, and then we collaborated on those, and that was even better. And then the whole new business model of the new music business of how things are, where it's pretty much 'do it yourself,' that was very appealing to him. So, it just kind of, step by step, piece by piece, it worked out. We, for one, couldn't be happier about it, obviously. But it wasn't just like an overnight thing; it was, like, he wanted to make sure thatit was gonna be good."
On whether METAL CHURCH had any other singer options besides Mike Howe:
Kurdt: "When we found ourselves in need of a singer, I sat there and thought just for a few minutes, 'I just really, honestly in my gut do not feel that there's a fourth singer for METAL CHURCH.' I was, like, if we had to go down that road to find a fourth singer, I was probably gonna hang up the METAL CHURCH thing — maybe call it something different. But, no. So Mike coming back was perfect. It was, okay, this is not only gonna keep the band going, but it's gonna kick it up a level too. So, yeah, there's no doubt there. There was not a fourth singer for METAL CHURCH. It was either Mike or it was done."
On illegal music downloading:
Kurdt: "Whoever posts [somebody else's music online] and thinks that's okay to do that… This generation, there's a lot of people that have no idea what goes into making these records or making these songs that they're stealing. They're not really hurting a big record company or anything like that anymore; those record companies are gone. Who they're hurting is us, and that makes it impossible for us to really go out and tour, because we don't make enough money now to live, so everybody's got day jobs, which is the way it is for us now. But we, fortunately, we can come and go. But we don't make enough money to be able to go out and do it, so everybody still has day jobs and we're making records. The number of people that have it, we could all be making a living and continue to do what we do, but the fact that people are out there stealing it and not paying for it, it makes it… It's really hard to take that, when you work so hard on something and somebody just thinks it's disposable. That's disconcerting, and it's not right — it's not right. People say, 'Well, it's okay to do that.' No, it isn't. It is stealing. Any way you slice it, it's stealing, and you're only hurting the artist. And if you're a fan of the band… It's only fifteen bucks, or ten bucks. If you download it, that's fine, but just pay for it. Everybody works. We do it because we love music and we would do it anyway. But if we don't make enough money to live, then it really limits how much we can go out and play, how often we can make records. It's, like, if you go to work every day and somebody decides not to pay you, how would that make you feel? Hey, I'm making this product, but people aren't gonna pay for it; they're just gonna steal it, they're gonna take it. I don't know… I can go on and on and on about that, so I don't wanna bitch too much."
"XI" will be released on March 25 via Rat Pak Records. The album is available for pre-order in various exclusive bundles at this location. A limited number of the deluxe international version are available on the web site and features a bonus disc of eight extra songs. Other bundles include guitar picks, stickers, a special-edition behind-the-scenes photobook, t-shirts and even a limited number of personal phone calls from Mike Howe himself. The album is also available for pre-order on Amazon, Google Play and via iTunes. Fans that order the digital version will receive an instant download of the song "Killing Your Time" from the new album.
METAL CHURCH has released an official music video for the debut single from "XI", a song called "No Tomorrow". The clip was filmed in the Satsop Nuclear Facility, an abandoned nuclear power plant in Elma, Washington, with Seattle filmmaker and documentarian Jamie Burton Chamberlin (of Black Dahlia Films), who previously worked with DUFF MACKAGAN'S LOADED on "The Taking" series.
METAL CHURCH 2016 is:
Mike Howe (vocals)
Kurdt Vanderhoof (guitar)
Jeff Plate (drums)
Steve Unger (bass)
Rick VanZandt (guitar)