Michael Fischer of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with MALICE guitarist Mick Zane. An excerpt from the chat follows:
KNAC.COM: So what's on tap for the upcoming MALICE reunion?
Zane: At this point, the MALICE reunion consists of three original members, which include myself, Mark on bass, and Jay on guitar. Throughout the years we've played with other musicians in different situations and we’ve decided to bring drummer Pete Holmes into the mix. And then through another band in Portland that Jay recently played in, we decided to audition vocalist Brian Allen. We contacted our original singer James Neal, and he said he didn't want to be involved with a reunion for now. Jay is currently out on the road touring with METAL CHURCH. So Mark and I are writing material and coming up with ideas for the new record here in my home studio sending songs to Brian to write lyrics for our demo.
KNAC.COM: How does Brian sound on the old MALICE songs?
Zane: Brian sounds awesome! (Laughs) I mean. I don’t think I would be doing this if I had any doubt in him. I was originally skeptical, because obviously James created quite a legacy to live up to vocally. James was a top performer and vocalist, and it was after we decided to go with another singer in the MALICE situation. It was really difficult to find a singer like James that could deliver that kind of high-level performance that we needed for the MALICE material. Jay came to me and said, "I got this guy, and he can sing all this stuff no problem." My response was like, "Sure, how many times have I heard that before?" Jay said, "No really, check him out!" Jay gave me Brian's band's web site (LastEmpire.com). We auditioned scores of singers looking for the right guy. So, for Brian to just walk in, and pick up the mic, and nail it was like a total relief that we didn't have to endure all that again.
KNAC.COM: What was the story with James when the band broke up back in the day?
Zane: Well, the band was going through a lot of stress after some of the tough situations we encountered. We were living in New York City, touring heavy all over the United States, Canada and Europe. The last straw was when we went to Europe with SLAYER. Basically from all the abuse, physical and mental. James' voice pretty much gave up the ghost. Upon returning to the U.S. after the SLAYER tour, we learned that he was diagnosed with nodes on his vocal cords. They are calcium build-ups on the vocal cords and require surgery. Nodes come from many situations, but I suppose it's from James abusing his voice. So we we're faced with him needing surgery. What do we do? Put MALICE on hold for two years until he recovers? At that point, there was some real divisiveness going on in the band with our direction and regarding just feelings about members within the band.
KNAC.COM: Atlantic Records wasn't really helping much either?
Zane: Atlantic Records was always in the background. I never felt like they were totally behind us. They gave us marginal publicity, and very little marketing support. Basically, MALICE felt like we were number 263 on a list of 500 of signed Atlantic artists. After James left, Atlantic said, "Look, you can get a new singer, we've still got you on your contract, and we'll do another record with you." But obviously Atlantic would want the first right of refusal, and they would want to hear the singer. Basically what it said to me was, "We were on our own." We were just trying to patch up MALICE. We were right on the edge of rock stardom, and then everything crumbled right in front of us. It was a tough situation because Mark and I were trying to audition singers and pull it together. And then Jay was kinda going off with his other interests, and was auditioning for MEGADETH. At the time it was chaotic, and there didn't feel like there was a lot of one for all, all for one going on. So Mark and I ended up leaving the MALICE situation and pursued forming a band with one of the singers we auditioned named Mark Weiss (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN). And then we hooked up with Pete. As we were working with the new project with Mark Weiss on vocals we decided that, "Hey, this isn't really MALICE, it's something else, something new." So we decided that we're going to do our separate project, which in time became called MONSTER.
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.