METAL CHURCH guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof recently spoke with WSOU 89.5 FM, the South Orange, New Jersey college radio station of Seton Hall University. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's longevity:
Kurdt: "For years and years, I didn't think I'd be able to do it this long, so it just keeps getting better. It's really a blessing. I don't take it for granted anymore – the fact that I get to do it at all, because I come from the era where if you were over 30, you were done. Thank God that's changed. Every day, I wake up and I think in terms of, 'I get to make music for a living — it doesn't get any better than that.' I'm very, very grateful."
On whether he expected the group to have such a long career:
Kurdt: "For me, I didn't see METAL CHURCH necessarily doing it. I did see myself doing it in some capacity for a while, and I think that's why in the '80s when I left to get more into the studio engineering and learned how to make records, I think that's kind of why I did it, even if I wasn't necessarily conscious of it at the time. But to be able to still be putting out records and touring now, I didn't see that, no. Not at my age – not at all. It's pretty amazing. I didn't see it happening at all, but I think that's wonderful."
On producing METAL CHURCH's albums:
Kurdt: "You wear a few hats. You're worried about the songs as a musician – you're worried about the performance — and then you take on the rest and then you worry about the sound and the mixes, and then you worry about the mastering and the blah blah blah, all that stuff. It takes a lot, but I love it. I love doing it, so there's really no downside to it. Yeah, it's a bit of pressure, but I love it. I love making records, and I always seem to be making one in one capacity or another. I hope to continue to be able to even make more. It's a real fun thing to do."
On his next recording project:
Kurdt: "I just finished my own rock record that I'm kind of putting the finishing touches on now. I'm not sure if anybody's going to hear it yet, but I'm finishing it up, at least for myself."
On his side projects such as PRESTO BALLET:
Kurdt: "I think I do other things mostly so I get a release, so I don't try to change something else. A lot of artists and musicians, and naturally so, will want to try to do different things and experiment with different things and try different sounds and styles. I think it's a natural progression — it's very important – but I wouldn't want to try to bring in different elements of things that I like into METAL CHURCH and change it up and reinvent the wheel. I want fans, if they buy a METAL CHURCH record, to know they're going to get a METAL CHURCH record. I hate when I buy a record by somebody who I expect this kind of thing [from], but they're trying to experiment and expand the definition of this and try new things and broaden their horizons. I totally get that, but I don't want to do that to a band that has an established sound and fan base. If people like what METAL CHURCH does, I don't want to experiment on their dime. I'd rather just do another project on the side to get that out without any preconceived notions of it. I always try to keep METAL CHURCH sounding like METAL CHURCH... Any METAL CHURCH fan, if they're going to buy a METAL CHURCH record, they deserve to get a METAL CHURCH record."
On striving to maintain a consistent quality:
Kurdt: "For the most part, I think the fans really appreciate that we do try to keep it consistent. I always say that every record that I make with whoever we make it with is always the best record we can make at that particular point in time. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. I think that goes for everybody."
On performing live:
Kurdt: "For me, it's really appreciating the fact that we get to do it — that we still get to play in front of people, and people show up and like it. The older you get, you take less for granted, so just being able to do that, we just have fun. I know it's metal, but we laugh and smile and stuff all the time. We can't help it. If we go up there and grimace and sneer and snarl and try to be all tough because it's metal, that would just be sullied, because we're having fun. It's like, 'Hey, let's just be ourselves. Let's have fun.' That's what we do, and I think that keeps the energy up. We don't try to censor ourselves, or pretend to be something that we're not and be all aggressive — all that kind of stuff like we used to try to do. We just want it to be real... We just want to be honest, but mostly for ourselves, so we continue to enjoy it."
On drummer Stet Howland (W.A.S.P., Lita Ford), who made his recording debut with METAL CHURCH on their recently released album "Damned If You Do":
Kurdt: "He brought a different feel to the band. He has a different style than [former drummer] Jeff Plate. Jeff is a great drummer and we love him dearly, but Stet has a different feel, so that brought a new vibe to the record — a little more of a bounce kind of feeling, I think. That was exciting."
"Damned If You Do" was released on December 7 via Rat Pak Records.
METAL CHURCH will join forces with DORO for a co-headlining American tour that kicks off April 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.