Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces Of Rock conducted an interview with frontman Kyle Thomas and guitarist Vinnie LaBella of legendary American metallers EXHORDER prior to their July 14 concert at Reggies in Chicago, Illinois. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what led to EXHORDER reforming in 2017:
Kyle: "[Actor] Corey Feldman. Corey Feldman is the reason we are doing this. It's true."
Vinnie: "He was the catalyst, let's put it that way. We wound up at a club back home in New Orleans where we kind of go to and me and my lady went and [Kyle] was there with his wife. We ended up watching about three songs of Corey Feldman and got tired of the fucking shit and we went outside and started talking. One thing leads to another and somebody said, 'Hey, man, how about this again?' You know, it was that easy. There was no grand scheme. There was no scheme."
Kyle: "It literally was that boring."
On how long it took EXHORDER to get back into playing shape:
Kyle: "That's probably a better Vinnie question because there's a lot more, probably physical effort that goes into the music delivery than the vocal delivery. The hard part for me is making sure I'm in shape physically for the performance. Vocally, it's easier to sing than any other thing that I sing. But, to deliver that live, I've got to be in really good shape, so I will defer to the musician."
Vinnie: "Yeah, he's a machine. He always has been. I'm sure he's got his thing he's got to do, but I can always count on him being ready whenever I'm ready. So, if it takes me two or three months or six months to get the guys all in shape to do it, he's going to be ready, no matter how long it takes. But, I tell you what: The show, it does take a lot to do it, especially now. You got three new guys. For me, it's like riding a bike. Of course, I got to condition and get used to it [again]. I haven't been on a bike in fucking 30 years either. [Laughs] Anyway, I think this run actually took the least amount of time that we've ever taken."
Kyle: "It speaks volumes for the guys who are playing with us now because they whipped into shape very quickly."
On whether EXHORDER faced any challenges in getting back together:
Vinnie: "Musically, I think the biggest issue is when you get a new guy into the band, the riffs and the style is not of the cookie-cutter variety of thrash or any other genre of metal. There's a certain feel that you need to possess and there's a couple of new things you need to learn technically, physically, to be able to come in and out of passages correctly and smoothly. So, those weren't the only challenges, but these guys are so talented, they picked up really quick."
Kyle: "They all got a good resume, too."
On why Thomas and LaBella are the only two original members taking part in the reunion:
Kyle: "Chris [Nail, drums], I think, is too busy. I think life is happening for Chris right now. He runs his business, he has a family, it's just really, really tough, not that the rest of us don't have families. It's just not in the cards for him right now. I think he'd like to be here, but it's bad timing, I think. I don't know… Jay [Ceravolo, guitar] is busy with a new aspect of his life. He's doing something with phone app development or something he's dived into. Of course, we can't have Frankie [Sparcello, bass] because Frankie is no longer with us. Jason [Viebrooks, bass] is probably the longest-tenured guy with us right now. He stepped into the fold in 2010, 2011-ish. But, he goes back further with us because he actually auditioned for a version of the band that never happened in 1993 when we broke up for good at that time. So, yeah, that's pretty much it. We got back together and we just started putting the pieces together."
On the response to their reunion:
Vinnie: "It's been good. It's been really good. I like to say I'm surprised or not surprised, but I am."
Kyle: "It's nice that this many years away, I joke with him more than once, I wish that every job that I ever had, I could walk away from for 10 years and come back and get a raise. It seems like every time we come back after a long hiatus, the interest in the band is higher and higher and higher. At this point, all we can really do is go out and deliver the legend as we did it back then the best that our 40-something-, 50-something-year-old bodies can do. So far, it's been great. The most encouraging thing to me is the amount of young people that are in the crowd. There's been a lot of kids, a lot of 20-somethings and these people who were not alive when this was happening back in the day. Give it to the generations before them for showing them the way."
On whether EXHORDER has any plans to write and record a new album:
Vinnie: "[Laughs] I'm not supposed to answer that question. Maybe we are. Maybe we're not. [Laughs]"
Kyle: "Let's just say we've sat down and batted some ideas around and we like the direction that those ideas are heading in. There's a very strong possibility that something could be in the works."
EXHORDER's lineup is rounded out by Marzi Montazeri (ex-SUPERJOINT RITUAL, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS) on guitar and Sasha Horn (FORBIDDEN) on drums.
EXHORDER released two albums in the early 1990s through the Roadrunner label — 1990's "Slaughter In The Vatican" and 1992's "The Law" — before breaking up, with Kyle going on to form FLOODGATE and also briefly appearing live as the vocalist for TROUBLE, which he later joined on a full-time basis (and is still a member of).
EXHORDER is cited by many as the originators of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA.