Australia's Heavy magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Mike Howe of Seattle metal veterans METAL CHURCH. You can listen to the entire chat via the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how the songs from the band's latest studio album, "Damned If You Do" are translating live:
Mike: "I'm pretty happy about the way they've gone over live. It's incredible. It just shows how great heavy metal fans are and how accepting they are to the new music. They're cheering us and we're giving it back to them, and I think they really eat up new music. I know I do. So far so good."
On whether Howe has had to "pinch himself" regarding his well-received return to METAL CHURCH:
Mike: "Every day. Every day. That's the main thing that Kurdt [Vanderhoof, guitar] and I and the bandmembers say — we keep our eyes on reality and say we're not only pinching ourselves, but we're grateful to have this opportunity. We're living in the moment and enjoying every moment with each show, like it was our last, because we know how precious it is."
On how METAL CHURCH ended up as part of MEGADETH's forthcoming Megacruise:
Mike: "We were asked by MEGADETH to do it, and their agent, too. Since my return to METAL CHURCH, the band that has been very gracious to us and helped us out, is MEGADETH. The two Daves [Mustaine and Ellefson] have been gracious to us, to let us open for them on their tour of the States in the fall of 2017. Then when we did some shows in Oslo, Norway and Denmark, they let us open for them at a couple of shows there. Like I said, the two Daves have looked at METAL CHURCH and the whole '80s metal scene as something they want to help perpetuate and keep attention on. They're very altruistic that way."
On whether he enjoys taking part in the various metal-themed cruises that have popped up of late:
Mike: "The first time for me back in the band, the previous singer [Ronny Munroe], they went on the 70,000 Tons [Of Metal] in '09…I can't remember exactly. They did a cruise, so the first cruise for me when I came back was the Monsters Of Rock cruise in 2016, March, then we did 70,000 Tons in 2017. To be honest, when Kurdt brought it up to me, saying, 'We've got this cruise they're offering us.' I was scared. [Laughs] Back in the day, honestly, I was a little bit overwhelmed by fans. I was a little bit shy and a little bit reclusive. I like meeting fans, but I like to also when I'm done meeting them, get away and have my private time. So I was a little bit leery of this, going on a ship where you can't get away from fans. But I was totally wrong, and I loved it. I'm a totally different person now. I just love being around the fans. They're very gracious. Heavy metal fans are the best fans in the world. I'm just lucky to be part of the scene and have the fans keep us alive."
METAL CHURCH is continuing to tour in support of its 12th full-length studio album, "Damned If You Do", which came out last December via Rat Pak Records. The latest release is the follow-up to 2016's "XI", which saw the return of Howe.
Howe originally joined METAL CHURCH in the late '80s and released three albums with the band: "The Human Factor", "Blessing In Disguise" and "Hanging In The Balance". Mike was also the face of group's popular music videos "Date With Poverty" and "Badlands" that aired during MTV's heyday.
"Damned If You Do" features Stet Howland (ex-W.A.S.P., LITA FORD), who joined METAL CHURCH as the replacement for longtime drummer Jeff Plate. Soon after hooking up with the group, Stet was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Miraculously, his treatments for the aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma worked and he was able to begin recording the new album.