How are you doing?
I'm well, and glad to meet you, man.
Present yourself to the audience.
Hi there, audience.
Tell us about PHARAOH. Is there any relation between the name of your band and Egyptian culture?
The band started out a couple years before I got involved, and from what I've been told, they intended originally to steer clear of Egyptian subject matter in the songs. Only recently was there a song that touched base with it. I think Chris Kerns missed that band meeting.
What is the next for Pharoah?
Another CD is in the works. This will be the 3rd for us, and hopefully the one that makes all things possible for Pharaoh.
What are your touring plans?
At this time it's not very likely that we'll tour. We'll see later in the year, and if the CD sells well enough, perhaps we’ll be able, but for now it just isn't possible.
How is everything going with your album "The Longest Night"?
What do you think is your best vocal performance on "The Fragile Art Of Existence" and why?
Tough question. I'm one of those people who doesn't listen much to there own work after it's complete. I did just listen to TFAOE on the anniversary of Chuck's birthday, so from that listening I can recall Cut Down as the strongest vocally.
Tell me something about your story with Psycho Scream, and the differences between Psycho Scream and Control Denied?
Psycho Scream is harder to describe in terms of precursor semantics. It was metal done in a classical style, progressive, but brutal. It's hard to make a comparison between the two bands. I'd say PS was more traditional, and CD was more progressive. Both were excellent bands.
When and how did you get into heavy metal?
Actually when I was very young, maybe 11 or so was when I first heard Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath etc. I've always enjoyed all styles of music from a musician's point of view, but my passion was heavier music in all styles, not just metal. When I was in my mid teens, there were a lot of hard rock and heavy metal bands that I was into, but it was a different sound than what we call metal today. Bands like Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Zeppelin, King Crimson, and many others paved the way and then in the late 70's along came the new wave of British heavy metal. It wasn't all British, but typically. Sabbath replaced Ozzy with Dio and became much darker, Ozzy picked up Randy Rhoads, and that changed things for a lot of guitarists. Eddy Van Halen was king then for the strange way he played and the odd sounds he made, and there were a lot of killer musicians emerging from all corners of the world, but the cool thing about metal was that it wasn't so much in the mainstream; you had to be cool enough that someone else who was into metal would trade tapes with you, or turn you on to it somehow if you wanted more than what the radio was willing to play. You could read a little about a band in Karrang or Fangoria or one of the very few metal publications there were, and take a chance too. Your best bet was to go to an import record store and ask someone who worked there to play the latest Riot or Venom or whatever, and also see what they recommended. Once you found the albums or tapes of the bands you liked, you took them to parties and wherever there were cool people to turn them on. You could always tell who the un-cool people were because they didn't know any metal bands, or have any records you couldn't just buy in the local K-Mart.
What would you like to say to your fans out there?
To my fans? Ok kids, when you hear the secret word, begin the slaughter (just kidding). Mostly, just stay cool, and spread the word to all the cool people out there.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Chuck?
Chuck and I knew each other for only a few years, and over those few years we became great friends. We considered each other brothers, as well as all the guys in the band. We both planned on making Control Denied the best metal band in the world and the job we'd retire from when we grew old. I was lucky to have known him and worked so closely with him, and just as I miss my real brother who died during the making of our CD, I miss Chuck very much. One rarely finds a friend or better yet a band mate who is that commendable.
What do you think about American heavy metal ? There's always been a difference between European and American heavy metal.
It's really been a whole different animal than European metal. There have been some great American metal bands though. Metal Church, Queensryche, Riot, Savatage, Slayer, Testament, Racer-X, and of course Metallica are some great American metal bands, but the sound is a bit different from the European metal sound. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath sound different for several reasons. For one thing the electricity used to run the equipment is different. They use 250 volts, and we use 110. An amp setup to run on 250v sounds so much fucking better. The recordings sound different too. The brits always had a thicker, darker, angrier, tougher sound. And for whatever reason, I just feel that European style metal has more integrity. That's not to say that there's anything weak about American metal. It's just two different things, typically.
What other bands do you like?
Oh god, how much space do you have here? I love music, period. It all depends on what kind of music you mean. I love many kinds of metal, so Symphony-X (more Americans who sound European), anything Jorn Lande graces, of course all the old school metal bands; AC/DC, Judas Priest, Maiden, Riot, Sabbath, old Yngwie, mostly classic or classic sounding bands. Some metal sucks though. Nu-metal is gay; there's no music in it. I'd rather listen to bad classic metal than good nu-metal.
When you joined Death, did you find Chuck or did he find you? How did it all happen?
We had a local shortage of competent musicians to fill the positions open in Psycho Scream, so Dofka and I were looking worldwide for recruits or recruitment into an established band and Chuck happened to be looking for a singer then, so he asked Jim if it would be cool to borrow me. Jim was very supportive about it, and I wanted a break from Psycho Scream for awhile anyway because by the time we even found a capable drummer to work with, let alone until he learned all his parts, I was working 60 hours a week as a manager in an office and 40 hours as an engineer in a recording studio, and I just physically could not drive for an hour each way to sing at 1 in the morning and get any good results without risking my life by falling asleep at the wheel, and the band refused to bring the tracks to where I was working, which would make it possible because I was already there when I finished working, it was a 10 minute drive to get home, there was a million dollars worth of architecture and pro gear and the recording time was free. So anyway, I auditioned in Orlando at Chucks, hung with the band and rehearsed, accepted the offer to sing for the band and came back home to work while Chuck shopped around for a decent deal. The rest is history.
Do you have a favorite song off the album?
I feel the album should be listened to as one performance, not individual tracks.
If you're invited to play here in Morocco, would you accept this invitation?
I hope we get the chance; I'd love to rock out with Morrocco.
Talk about "After the Fire".
Killer… ok, so first of all we had put out a couple tunes on compilation CDs prior to ATF. I was hired to sing the tracks with no expectations of joining the band. Then I joined Control Denied and eventually we recorded The Fragile art Of Existence in 1999, and Chuck got sick, so we couldn't tour. I had been working again with Psycho Scream while we waited and prayed to see Chuck recover, and about midway through the completion of that, along came Matt with the tracks for ATF and he again paid me as a session singer. He told me the band was signed to a brand new label – Cruz Del Sur. My friend Chris Zenner helped me record my tracks on my studio gear at home, and I sent stem mixes to Matt so the whole thing could be mixed back at the main studio. Chuck died and I was finished with Psycho Scream, and singing with another band by the time ATF was released. Then the press got hold of it and they really liked it. Next thing I knew, Pharaoh was becoming a household word with the media. Not long after the CD was released, a friend of mine invited me to sign up at snakenet radio and when I was filling out the form to join up, one of our songs came on, and it was one I wrote the lyrics for. I figured that was a sign that maybe I should join the band permanently.
Control Denied or Pharaoh?
I was already a permanent member of Control Denied but our band leader, who wrote all the songs, passed away. I became a permanent member of Pharaoh because they seemed very serious about taking the band to the highest level.
Any last words to say about Pharaoh?
Stop by the band’s website http://solarflight.net and find out more about us, get the latest news, hear some cuts off of our CDs, and say hello. Most importantly, buy our CDs, you won’t regret it.
Edited for Empty©Words 12-13-07