Ravage – Awaken the Spectral RiderThursday, 22nd June 2017
Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider some of the highlights for Ravage career-wise, either in terms of specific shows, albums, milestones?
Ravage: We’ve been fantastically blessed in a lot of ways. We got to experience the major label system, which very few bands get to experience. We were signed for a short period of time, we had a label rep who was promoting stuff on the radio. Even though that went away a few months after we started- our label rep was laid off and a lot of the promotion dried up because it was a time when all of the record labels were downsizing- it was cool to experience getting signed and being a part of the (Metal Blade) system for even a short period of time.
On the live front having the opportunity to play overseas is the most awesome thing. To get to play in another country where somebody knows your music, singing along to the lyrics, and actually likes what you are playing and you’ve never met them before. There’s nothing better than that.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been asked to contribute to a few tribute albums of Ozzy Osbourne, Warlock and Running Wild as well as record material from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in the past- which of those covers have been your favorites, and do you feel these tributes work well to get younger people into some of these older artists while also broaden your appeal to new audiences?
Ravage: Hmm. As far as which one is my favorite… interestingly enough, I’ve never really liked a lot of the cover choices that we’ve had. We’ve done them by committee in the band, and a lot of times it ends up being the song that we don’t all necessarily like, and I end up liking the least (laughs). For whatever reason. For instance, Painkiller by Judas Priest is one of my favorite albums of all-time, definitely in the top 3 – and “Nightcrawler” is my least favorite song on the album. We recorded that because it was close to the material we had on the album, and fit a lot of the themes of the record. So some of those decisions are pretty arbitrary.
I have good memories of covering Iron Maiden’s “Be Quick or Be Dead”. Just because of the time we had in the studio, Pete Rutcho was the producer and we had some drinks doing it, plus some interesting screams on that. I think the best one we did was the Warlock cover of “Cold, Cold World”. Because that was a time where the band was firing on all cylinders. Everything came together cohesively as a band, it was a song that we all liked.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you let the readers know about the other activities that members of Ravage have going on with acts like Iron Will and Seax, and how do you juggle the different activities and responsibilities while keeping Ravage on course?
Ravage: It’s not too difficult to be in other projects and other bands. Over the past decade we haven’t been that active, relatively. We get together to practice, and we are going to start recording and playing out more. So far, it hasn’t been a problem for the other guys to be in other bands. Eli is the guitarist in Seax, they are doing a lot of touring and they just put out a new album called Speed Metal Mania, which gives a nod to Ravage which is pretty cool on the cover. One of the punks has a Ravage patch on his jacket. They are different musically, as they are pure, unrelenting speed metal. He gets to shred, and he likes that. I recorded an album with a band called Steel Maid, that’s a German band with members of Ritual Steel and Ivory Tower. We did an album with them, but that’s an inactive project at this point. And we have Iron Will, which has been going since 2001 with Tony ‘The Metal Duke’ on vocals, and Ravage backing him musically. We recorded an album, we hope to get that out sooner or later, before the end of this year. It’s a concept album called Life is Your Labyrinth, about the life of Tony. We want to present that to the world shortly.
Dead Rhetoric: What is the worst piece of advice you hear or see being dispensed in the metal world?
Ravage: That’s a good question. I don’t know who is advising who right now with a lot of the labels having closed up. As far as selling out or changing your sound, that may be a good thing commercially in some ways but that’s never something we have subscribed to. We have always gone our own course, playing the music we wanted to play. It was very rare that something like that was ever suggested to us. I remember one time somebody from a label that contacted us said that we should record a ballad- and we told them that we don’t have any plans to record a ballad right now. My advice would be go your own course, be true to yourself and play the music that you want to play- and hopefully success will come to you in some form. Just somebody getting into your music is the greatest success you can have in any band.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the relationship you and Eli have as brothers in a band- do you believe you handle conflicts well, and as a result consider relationships and band chemistry essential to the health and well-being of Ravage?
Ravage: Well, we are brothers- so there are times where we get along, and then there are times where we don’t get along. The music has definitely kept us together- we are close in that sense, we found a common bond early on. There are a lot of siblings who don’t end up hanging out with each other. We’ve had a common interest for over 20 years now, and a common passion for music. It’s kept us close, but we have the same conflicts that can happen musically. There’s never been anything major that’s happened in that regard with this band- we tend to have the same influences in the same genre of music.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you define success – and has the outlook changed over the evolution of Ravage?
Ravage: The outlook has definitely changed. In the beginning, we set out like any band wanting to be rock stars and be famous. We wanted to get everybody in the world listening to our music and think that heavy metal is the greatest music ever. The focus has changed, everybody has jobs and lives- and the reality of the music business is that it’s not even really being in business, it’s more of a hobby. The main goal is to get our music out there and to have people enjoy it. The big goal is to offer up some albums that can be placed alongside the great albums that make it into the pantheon of heavy metal. That should be the goal for any band. Having looked back on this, to put out recordings that you like to listen to, that other people enjoy, and live-wise the most fun you ever have as a band is probably playing live. To get out to the biggest audiences you can and rock people, have them experience something in life that they enjoy and remember.
Dead Rhetoric: Did you have any specific takeaways that you had recording The End of Tomorrow with Pete that you applied to this re-recording?
Ravage: We have learned a lot every time that we’ve been in the studio. We always pick up new things. Eli who produced the new album, definitely learned a lot from recording Seax and other local bands. From Pete, we learned how we could sound, and it’s a matter of getting back there in the best way possible- the most live, raw way without sounding fake. Pete took our recordings to the next level for the first time ever. So we enjoyed working with him, it was a great time.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the next Ravage album that’s already been recorded – how would you place the material in comparison to your previous work? Do you believe you are getting better as far as songwriters and recording yourselves?
Ravage: As a band, since we’ve been around for such a long time and we’ve put out a few recordings relative to other bands, we are kind of cheaters in that we have this store of material that I’ve been listening to for years. We’ve been listening to demos and able to weed out the best pieces. The next album is going to be awesome, the best album ever. Part of the reason why we recorded Return first was to have a test to see what we could do production-wise for that new material. I’ve always felt that you really shouldn’t put out a lot of material. There are some bands who can consistently put material out there, and do a great job, but I think there is something to be said of making an album an event. Getting the best material out there, and having it be all killer and no filler.
Dead Rhetoric: Are you amazed looking back at the 80’s scene and how productive bands had to be, putting out material sometimes on a yearly basis?
Ravage: It’s amazing. The number of bands that did that, and did it as their job, it’s mind-blowing that they were able to consistently pump out those songs. And everybody succumbs to a lack of quality after a while, things get old – that’s why they are the greatest, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Because they were able to make these albums that you consistently wanted to hear again and again.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on tap for Ravage as far as videos, shows, touring, etc. over the next twelve months?
Ravage: We are trying to get any shows that we can get, anywhere we can. Locally, national festivals, international festivals. We are hoping to get onto bigger shows to promote ourselves and the album. And we will start recording the next album as soon as possible. We wanted to record all the new material at the same time- but we felt we should test the studio with this recording. We will work on some videos- with us not being able to do any extensive touring right now, videos are very important to get out there for the music and keep us fresh in people’s minds – so we don’t have to be away for another nine years. YouTube is an amazing tool- you have pretty much any music from any genre, on demand 24/7. It’s unbelievable, so it’s important to have your best material out there so people can find it and enjoy it.
Pages: 1 2