- Hey Larry, thanks for taking your time. First off, what are VICIOUS RUMORS currently up to?
VR just got back from 6 weeks in Europe! 23 amazing shows, starting with the reunioun with Mark, Keven Albert and Tommy at the KIT festival..ending with the “Rock Hard ” festival…absolutely awesome that one was! almost 10,000 screaming fans!…although Geoff remains in europe as we speak, me and the rest of the boys fly back august 10th for 4 weeks more of festivals and shows!! Keeping busy for sure!!
- You have just released “Razorback Killers”; how’s going its feedback both from fans and press?
Since the release of the new cd, weve had nothing but great things happen…Number 1 in Rock Hard magazine sound check..and many other great reviews and such…and the fans seem to really love it! Many saying its their favorite since Digital Dictator!! Ive been getting nonstop adds on facebook for sure!!
- And now that you can listen to it carefully, is there anything you would like to change?
Change?..of course….but thats impossible so its a moot point about now !! once its pressed, you have to simply accept it as is!! besides, Id hate to disparidge the work after the fact.
- We had to wait 5 years between “Warball” and this new record; why did it take you so long? What were you guys up to during that time? Or will we have to get use to these periods of time between each album after “Sadistic Symphony”?
as for the time lapse, Hmm sorry! we dont plan these things people! its always a work in progress and we all have lives to live outside of this rock and roll fantasy, and that does sometime get in the way!! But with “warball” we got such a great response and lots of work so we toured a lot!! alot alot!..then around the end of 07 we parted ways with James..and began the all too familiar process of trying to find another singer!! (ugh) we worked with another charachter from Texas oddly enough, did some touring and shows..and were in the process of writing new material…but he didnt work out so well, and yes 2 tears dragged on..but finding Brian in 09 gave us a new “shot in the arm” so to speak…Geoff and I had been working non stop on the new material and it was coming together nicely..a couple of sessions later, we were ready to record Razorback Killers!!…..as for the future, who knows!?..were kind of busy right now, hopefully we’ll get to writing some new stuff soon, but if I know Geoff, hes already got some new riffs, its just a matter of getting together in a loose environment to jam it up and see what works!! (thats how we do it!)..but at this point, it could be another year or two…sorry!.. and as for “Sadistic Symphony”..I actually helped with some of that material but quit the band in 98 so I wasnt on that cd!! (I tried to be married)…but after she divorced me in 04, I rejoined the band!!
- This is your first album without James Rivera, how do you think fans have reacted toward this?
I would hope the fans just see it as another change that couldnt be avoided!! Shit Happens!!
- I also guess some people may be wonder how’s now your relationship with James Rivera after he left the band…
we had a rough go of it at the end of the warball run..we actually let him go…there was no quiting! there was a few incidents and such…but weve worked it out and were all friends with James now, hes an amazing guy, we love him!
- Now focusing on your present with Brian Allen; how did everything start with him? And what does he provide to the band James couldn’t?
Thanks to Matt Mcort from “wild dogs” whom we ran into at the Headbangers open air festival in 09..we met Brian Allen!! He was in a Judas Priest cover and we checked out the vids and went YEAH!! I told him, if he could emulate that Halford voice so well, then give some Carl Albert vocals a shot! I was on him constantly about Carls vocal stylings…He had never even heard us before..(not too surprising really!)..but he was more than happy to try his hardest…most earlier vocalists always hated being compared to carl, a certain inevitability! But Brian was ready to take it on!! and he fun with it!! He kept saying how pissed he was he hadnt been listening to us longer!! He truly loved the material! and he certainly could handle the parts, something the band had been lacking for quite some time!!
- You have shooted a video for “Murderball”; could you please shed some light on this?
we shot the video with the help of some locals and stuff, no big budget or anything but we just wanted to get something out there! obviously we’d love to do somethingofthecalibur of our early videos..When we signed to Atlantic, it was another world! Did you know the producer of those videos “Gore Verbinski” went on to much bigger things?…Hes the guy behing all the “pirates of Caribbean” movies!! yup, before he was telling Johnny Dep what to do, he was telling us!! He owes us dammit! we gave him a good start!! You listening Gore??..Put us in a movie!! I love Pirates..RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!
- You are now working with Steamhammer Records; why did you move? And how’s everything going with them so far?
We only move because we need to!! we look for the best offer, and in SPV, we found a label that really was interested in us…theyre behind us all the way! so far so good! But Really, Its Geoffs dedication and hard work that has made everything happen.with little or no budget help from any label!
- Both Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER) and Eric Peteron (TESTAMENT) have done appearances in this record. How did you come up with this cooperations?
Brad and Eric have both done work through the studio we record at..and theyre also our hometown friends in the bay area here, and when recording, sometimes we just want to put more “ear candy” on the cd..Vicious Rumors has always been a heavy guitar band and that will never change! Im one of the few drummers who will say, more guitar solos dammit!! I love it!
- Yourself and Geoff are now the only “older” members remaining. Do you ever feel nostalgic about your past? And do you prefer the 80′s/90′s Metal scene or the current one?
yeah Geoff and I always joke about how old we are! Living legends in our own mind…etc..etc..! “hey man,,, hows that prostate??..anybody got vitamins>>??) we got our bald spots and a few health issues but the music keeps us young!! 19 forever man!! but the great thing about being so frickin old is when life may be sucking for any reason, you have great memories to fall back on, you know it wont suck forever, .youve got to hang on man! theres something around the bend!! I certainly do miss the old scene of the bay area…its practically non existent to me now…we had some great times 20 years ago…its all changed…but the festival scene in europe is amazing right now!! that would never work in america cause everyone who falls down would sue the promoter!! In europe, they just grab another beer and keep partying!! YEAH!
- From 1986 to 2001 the band released 8 albums, from 2001 until now the band has released just a couple of records. Was there any reason behind this? What happened after “Sadistic Symphony”?
Like I said, we dont plan these things! Obviously, the VR of yesteryear with Mark and Carl was a phenomenon, we didnt even know what we had back then, we were just a group of guys in our 20′s making music having a ball..We got lucky too…we released albums when it mattered! and they are good ones that I believe stand the test of tiime well, Im very proud of them! They are the reason we continue today….Id hate to be a new band! where the hell do you start now??..nobody sells cds anymore what with free downloading and all..and the saturation of the internet is magnanomous!!.. but i know that will never stop kids from rockin out!! I have drum student named Chris Rigling, hes 11, so is his whole band! “Haunted by Heros”…theyre out there doing gigs and such, they rock!! everything I showed that kid on double bass he did!! (right after he said he couldnt!)..like I tell his mom,I dont know whos teaching who sometimes!!
- You’ve been many years into the music world; how do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
10 years from now??..Hmmm..Im just trying to get through the day man!! Ill be 50 next month, getting out of bed is a miracle!!
- What could you say is the best album you have ever recorded? And the worst?
oh boy…well this is a tough question…which one of your kids do you love the most??..each cd represents a different period of life..its the soundtrack of my life, as well as my 23 yr old daughters…etc….the time after Carl died was particularly rough…oddly enough, the last show we did as that line up, with Mark, Carl and Tommy…I met a woman who would change my life beyond comprehension..in good and bad ways…my life changed in one night!! at a gig!! but thats another book!! The cds we made after that were not much to my liking really, so theres an answer…I have not even listened to them in years!! But some people say they like them…I do like my last 2 though!!
- And what have been both the best and worst moments in your career?
best and worst…?..The best, hard to say…maybe the crowds at the dynamo in 90 and other festivals..thats always a high point…the worst obviously was losing my best friend, Carl Albert, the best singer EVER to hold a mic…PERIOD!!
- As I said, VICIOUS RUMORS has been around for a while now, and you are one of the most respected Power/Speed Metal bands, at least in Europe. What are the main differenes between playing the US and playing Europe?
Well we hardly ever play the US anymore! we go where the money and the demand is, and right now thats in Europe…we had big plans for Japan as well but those are on hold for a bit…were a strange breed, never really accepted in the bay area Thrash scene as on par with our friends, Testament, Exodus, Metallica, etc..we were always considered too melodic or something, its hard to pin point where we fit in..but we know were appreciated in Europe and Japan,…I hope our fans are okay over there, I was so worried when I heard about the earthquake..I bet some VR fans were affected! …its only a matter of time before we get one…but I love california! I aint leaving..except to tour!! unless I fall in love with some girl overseas!! (yeah right!)
- And after a lot of touring, many albums, some DVDs… what’s left for VICIOUS RUMORS?
whats left??.you just said it…more cds, dvds..,,etc!! Its the only thing Im good at!! I’ll either die playing or fuckin!!.. maybe I’ll start that country music career…nah..!!I really have no idea what the future holds!!
- One of those bands you are playing in is CHASTAIN, which we haven’t heard anything from for a while. Does the band have any future plans?
I basically only did that Chastain CD because the singer was…MY WIFE!! It did introduce me to a new concept though…playing to a click track!! all those early VR cds were strictly off the cuff…the drums and bass laid down first, and the guitars to layer after, then the vocs..etc…but here is a guitar track with a drum machine and I have to play to it? record trax in a studio??..it was all new to me..and I never even had met David Chastain until he came out for a photo shoot!! I dont know what Chastain is up to these days! But he did introduce Kate to the man she left me for and a new band for her, “Vain Glory” thanx alot dude!
- And I know this is a hard one but, Leather Leone or Kate French?
Yeah its a hard question cause Kate and I have a 12 yr old son together, unfortunately, i hardly ever get to see him, but I must admit, it was listening to her on her early works with Chastain and dating her at the time when I fell in love with her….so actually, those would be hard to listen to now…and I never really listened to that band before…i do remember hearing Chastain back when we were label mates…on shrapnel, and i was very impressed with Leathers vocals!! We just did a gig with her a few months ago! shes still got it!! they are both very sexy beautiful women!! I could get in alot more trouble these questions so I’ll stop!
- Now talking a bit about you personally, what bands or drummers have influenced your playing style?
FINALLY!! an easy one!! There is one answer for this! the main reason I even play drums is JOHN BONHAM!! Led Zeppelin turned me into the rock and roll animal I still am today!! My father was a Jazz Musician..he played Clarinet and sax, he was absolutely incredible! He played with Turk Murphy and gigged right up til he died in 04..he was 73 I miss him dearly…he would have band rehearsals in the living room so that really inspired me but mom knew better, she boght me this brand new album with a 20 minute drum solo! ” In-a-godda-da-vida”.. I was hooked! I played flute for 3 weeks in 3rd grade but instantly dropped it and picked up drums!! I got 2 lessons before moving out to the bay area with my mom..I was 9, it was 1970…my sisters only listened to pop music and I was lost…but my new friend Mike Casson gave me a few zep albums and some sabbath and deep purple and i was on my way to being a rocker! and still am! He always told me, “Play like this guy” (Bonham)..I lost him to suicide in 1986, Ill always miss him..my favorite drummersremain, John Bonham, Alan White, Cozy Powell, Terry Bozio, Ansley Dunbar, Billy Cobham, ….of course, Stephen Kaufman of Accept really showed me what to do with 2 kicks for heavy metal in 83..but it was really Bonham who started the classic fast heavy metal drum beat,…in the live version of Dazed and confused…he does the beat I do on every VR album!! I know there are guys out there who do amazing fast stuff and all, but screw that..im all about the groove, besides, theres always gonna be someone better, you just gotta do the best you can and HAVE FUN!!
- And finally, what are your near-future plans beside touring Europe?
Near future??.well after our august tour, Im hoping i get to see my son, I really miss him, he lives far away…but living closeby, I also have a 23 yr old daughter from another woman and she has my beautiful grandaughter! I plan on taking her forahike or to the beach! I love the little wild one so much!..shes 6 and cute as a bug! but dont call me Granpa..its Papa!!
- Anyway, I haven’t seen any Spanish date, haven’t you got any offer to come back and visit our country? What are your memories from Spain?
Ah Spain!! my first experience was back in 91 on tour with death Angel and Forbidden, we played in Barcelona and it was a GREAT gig! A truly amazing city! and yes we have been there a lot since, but my favorite was the Atarfe Vega festival we played in 05 I think..they liked us so much, they let us play both nights!! but i think the promoter got mad that we went on to play many small clubs all around Spain in the years to follow, he wanted us exclusivly, thats the only reason I can think we havent been asked back, we just love to tour, we drove all around your beautiful country, from BilBao in the north, (we really love San Sebastian)…to Vigo out on the coast…what a bunch of party animals!..to our friends in Madrid, and of course the great city of Barcelona…People are blown away when i tell them that there are young people in their 20′s who are total metal heads, hair and all, still waving the metal flag….and the group of special fans of oursLike Marta and the others, we call them, ‘The Spainiancs”…we love you guys so much!! They are what true metal heads are all about, it dont get much better then them!! Fucking animals they are!!! But im sure we will get back there soon…we always do!! As a matter of fact, I happen to be a quarter spanish!! YUP!! My grandmother, “Lola” was a little 5 ft firecracker!! I never knew her but heard the stories, i have this picture of my mom and me as ababy, in black polka dot diaper cover (they were cloth back then) and my Grandma lola, my mom with a soda and lola with a beer!! she was a hoot for sure!! But supposidly she was from the south of Spain, by Granada…my dads mom! …Now lastly I ‘d like to thank you all for listening!! I rarely do any interviews and i appreciate that you care!! Hope to meet each and every one of you personally out on the road there someday~!