Hi Mike. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions so far.
Thank you. So far, the reaction has been really really strong. I'm very happy with it. Especially since I feel that the album hit the right place with the hearts of Metalheads. This means the most to me. I made the record as I heard it from the Metal lover's standpoint and by doing that I felt that others will share the same taste with. So yeah, after the work I'm very relieved that the fans appreciate it. It's a great place to be.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
Well, I care about two things mostly, first that I'm happy with the music, that it comes from a pure place and that the fans like what I do. If I was doing something with 100% of my heart into it and the fans hated it, then at the end of the day I could still sleep at night. But, with the tendecies that I have, which are basically doing great Metal albums that are not affected by trends and bullshit like that I think it is easy for the fans to see that and like the results. I mean to me there is not formula, it's very simple I have set myself free, I do what I feel I do best and that is connect with fans through great Metal albums and great live performances.
My favourite song is "Speak The Name". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
Yeah, we actually just shot a video for this track a week ago, I can not wait to see the results. Speak The Name was a song we wrote in the middle of writing sessions for the PainmuseuM album, and when it was done I got this great feeling. I said, wait PainmuseuM is different than Halford and that was very exciting to me. After that song was written, I knew that we were onto something very cool and Tim wrote the lyrics to it. I also saw at that time the he was a great lyricist and generally, I was very excited about my own band. That felt really good, you know? To see PainmuseuM grow stronger each month is extremely rewarding.
Which one is your favorite song from the album and why?
All of them are like kids and have their own little special things about them. "Hosanna Hosanna" is great in my opinion. So heavy, very interesting. "PainmuseuM (Metal For Life)" is a kick ass track that has plenty of guitar solos and is very cool in arrangement. I like every song on the album, otherwise they would never be on the CD. We kept a very strict standard as far as the songwriting and quality of the material on the CD. Last thing I wanted this to be is an offshoot band from a guitarist from a bigger band with a shitty record. We got one chance and we took it.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
The song "American Mertalhead" is a special one. It talks about standing proud. It is a lesson to the US Metal scene and the trends within. In the Us we have this wave of New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, which some would like you to believe that is led by Shadows Fall, Lamb Of God, Hatebreed. I have no problems with any of these bands, some of them I like but, I'm against anyone telling me what is the New Wave. It's not these bands' fault, it's more of the industry deal. So, no thank you, I'll make my own choice there. So, I'm saying there is room for Traditional Approach in there as well. PainmuseuM is not 100% traditional Metal, but we have parts in there that are and we are proud of them. We are not flavor of the month and we are individualistic which is the basic message to me behind Heavy Metal, to be your own person, do what you feel is correct. I do not like when Metalheads get sqeezed into boxes saying you are this and you are that. No, we are not. This album speaks a lot about things like that. Lyrically and Musically I also want PainmuseuM albums to have great content that has lines of hope attached within. The lyrical concepts might be dark, but I do not want to take anyone into a darker place when they put on the CD, I want them to come out on the other side when they are done. Sort of, listen to the album, get your agression and feeling out, set them free. To me those are great albums that bands like Priest or early Metallica, Megadeth made in the past.
I think you concentrated very hard on your song writing and did a great job. Where do you get your inspirations from?
Basic feelings that cloud my mind daily. I feel the same things out fans feel, daily troubles and so on. So, as explained above, I wanted to lyrically give someone something to hold onto and subliminal message of hope, of getting to a better place after the album is done playing. To do something that is certainly way above the music. You know, the music is just the medium. It's not about notes and theory that's fundamentals. I don't care about records like, the ones that have nothing to say. So, with these ideas I stayed true to quality and purpose. And, I think it shows.
Any plans for some further stuff of "Metal For Life", like singles or DVD?
Well, yes we just shot the first video for "Speak The Name" and it will be a true stab of Metal. Again, something you don't see anymore. And we are always compiling footage for some home DVD, but that will have to wait for a bit. We have to allow the band to grow, gain new fans, more fans.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
The process took a while. The actual time to record individual parts was fairly quick, but finding studios and schedule openings was tough. This was mainly due to the fact that my company CMM Entertainment has to pick up the initial cost of the album production. So, you know to make the Cd sound the way that it does, which I think is pretty damn good, and work under contraints was quiet a work out. But, as with anything, if there is a will, then there is a way. Stories, well, when we were doing drum tracks in CT at my friend's Mike Vescera's studio the lights went out for 2 or 3 days and were were like oh shit, Bobby has to fly to California in 2 days but, well, the lights did eventually go on and Bobby had to majorly kick ass to get all the parts down for the CD. He did and we all could not believe it, he's amazing.
How would you describe your own music?
A good mix between old Heavy Metal, classic Thrash with small elements of Death or even Black Metal. But, that's if you press me to explain. Otherwise, Its HEAVY FUCKING METAL,
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
I suppose bands, that I like. My musical tastes were always outside of the norm. I liked weird bands that my friends who also liked Metal did not get. Like early Grave Digger "War Games", Chastain "Voice Of The Cult", EZO "Fire Fire", WASP - stuff like that. Later when everyone was loving Metallica, I already moved onto Death, Carcass sort of always outside of the norm. I like early Megadeth, Overkill as well. Testament. So, well thinkin of this its no surprise that PainmuseuM sounds a bit different you know.
What do you think: How will PainmuseuM sound like in let's say five years? Is there a masterplan?
It's hard to say because that will have to depend on natural evolution of the band and us as musicians and songwriters. But, honestly, I think we will always be a pure Heavy Metal band, wearing studs and things like that. To me personally, that feels very natural in everyday, I don't wear Spider Man shorts, I'm not the type of musician that "dresses" up for the stage I mean maybe I put on some more studs for a visual representation a bit to reach fans that might not be close to the stage, but I don't have a masterplan, PainmuseuM is an extension of my daily life. Therefore, having a masterplan would be a disaster for a band like ours, there can not be one. This band will grow as it sees fit.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Reissue of EZO "Fire Fire", New Cradle Of Filth, The Amenta, Anorexia Nervosa, Death "Human" and "Individual Thought Patterns", Doro "Call Of The Wild".
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Yeah, I like to get out when I can because you know I don't go to baseball games or things like that. Sometimes I do go to a soccer game though. I have seen a few concerts lately, just to get out of the environment and see what's happening. That's what I love living close To New York City, there's a lot of music going on here. Ones that impressed me.
Some were good, but I'm still waiting to get blown away maybe the new Judas Priest tour.
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
New Jersey is fairly strong musically. Many bands are playing the more trendy Metal type approach for which I don't care about. Not too many local bands come to mind that I really like. I like to go to New York and also my friend owns a great Metal Bar in Brooklyn, NY called Duff's it's so Metal that they even have the PainmuseuM album on the jukebox. I'll drink to that, ha.
How important is it for you to play live on stage and are there any plans to visit germany?
It is extremely important to me to play live. I don't make a record for just staying busy. It is so I can go out and promote it. I love playing live, to me it's the ultimate reward for the hard work making a good album. We just got into an arrangemnet with a good German booking agency, so yeah it looks really promising that PainmuseuM will visit European soil. That will be something that we would all like here. We are doing our best to catch a nice package that makes sense.
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
Why don't you like Nu-Metal? My answer: because Nu-Metal bands suck !!
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best wishes to you all. Any last words?
Thanks so very much for the German fans for their belief in our vision and for their strength in supporting True Heavy Metal which by your standarts will never die. We are here and we are Metal For Life. We are sincerely looking forward to seeing everyone on tour in Germany.