Metal Church

Metal Church are back with their new album “Damned If You Do”. The band’s songwriter and guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof talked to Grande Rock about the new album, the “fake news” of our time and the album title, among other interesting things. More below…
Metal Church band pic
Hi Kurdt and welcome to Grande Rock. Your new album, “Damned If You Do”, is a great follow-up to “XI” and rocks right to the point! Kudos!
 
K: Thanks very much! Glad you dig it!
 
 
“Damned If You Do” is the second album with Mike Howe after his comeback. Was it easier to work together now and get things straight regarding the new album from the beginning?
 
K: It was a continuation really. Mike and I always have had a great working relationship and we really enjoy the process.
 
 
Which were the reasons that urged the band and Jeff Plate (drums) to go on separate ways?
 
K: He was very busy with the whole Trans Siberian Orchestra thing and it was time for him to make a change.
 
 
How did the cooperation with the new drummer Stet Howland (ex-Impellitteri, ex-W.A.S.P., ex-Blackfoot etc.) come about and how did he affect the new album with his drumming?
 
K: Steve brought him in. He was in a band with Stet when MC took a break. It was a perfect fit and it was a very smooth transition. He brought a different feel to the band, more a kind of a bounce so to speak.
 
 
Which are the main differences between your previous album and the new one?
 
K: A new drummer and I think this album has a bit more teeth.
 
 
I think that the new album is a bit darker than the previous one. Did you plan to do it that way or it just came out naturally?
 
K: It really just came out that way. I never really plan a new album unless it’s a concept or something. I try to create as organically as possible.
 
 
What does the album title “Damned If You Do” declare? Is there a specific message behind it?
 
K: Sort of yes. It’s about in the age we live in of “Fake News” and the internet becoming the new media you have to be very careful who and what you listen to and believe. Test the Spirits!
 
 
Is there any connection between the album title and the cover artwork?
 
K: Yes, just because you are sitting in a church it does not guarantee that you are hearing the truth. The devil’s biggest lie is that “he doesn’t exist.
 
 
Do give us a hint about each track…
 
K: “Damned If You Do”: Careful what you believe…
“The Black Things”: The dangers of playing with the occult…
“By the Numbers”: The digital world we live in…
“Revolution Underway”: The Great Awakening that is happening…
“Guillotine”: Not really sure…
“Rot Away”: Again, not really sure…
“Into the Fold”: Taking responsibility for your decisions…
“Monkey Finger”: People who blame others for the problems…
“Out of Balance”: Keep life in perspective and having balance…
“The War Electric”: Keeping up with the pace of life these days…
 
 
What are those things that you’ve changed this time production-wise in comparison to the previous Metal Church albums?
 
K: I wanted it to have more of and old school sound. Guitars that don’t take up the entire mix and not having that over digital sound.
 
 
Does the video for “By the Numbers” showcase that some people are something else than they seem to be? I think that it ain’t the case, especially for the metal heads right?
 
K: Well sort of, it’s about doing what you love even when you can’t do it all the time.
 
 
What are the band’s touring plans for 2019 apart from the Summer Festivals? Do you plan to visit Europe and the UK before summer?
 
K: Yes we are doing a US tour this spring with Doro Pesch and Europe festivals and some shows with Armored Saint this summer.
 
 
What are your expectations from “Damned If You Do” and what are those things that you want to achieve with Metal Church in the near future?
 
K: Just that fans like it and that we can continue as band. I had no idea that we would be able to do this long!
 
 
There’s a big movement that has grown over the last years and it is called “NWOTHM” (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal). The weird thing is that the young fans do not know about the old classic metal bands that have influenced that “movement” but only the new ones! What do you think of that?
 
K: That's awesome that metal is getting back to the roots. I’m not a fan of the modern scream metal stuff at all. I hope it gets bands to get more musical.
 
 
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Metal Church initially?
 
K: It was the name of my apartment in San Francisco when I was trying to form the band. That where would party and listen to all the import NWOBHM albums. So the name just stuck to the band.
 
 
Which are the best 3 Heavy Metal albums according to you?
 
K: “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Wheels Oof Steel”, “Killers”…
 
 
Fill in the phrase… “Heavy Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
 
K: Rob Halfords vocal style…
 
 
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
 
K: Bruce Dickinson, and Anne Wilson (I know she’s not metal but I think she is the best female rock voice)…
 
 
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
 
K: Kansas…
 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
K: “Quadrophenia”. It really captures the frustrations of growing up and trying to fit in to a world that you feel has left you out.
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
K: The Beatles – “Revolver”…
 
 
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
 
K: London 1972. All the best rock music was being made then.
 
 
That’s all for now Kurdt! Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care dude!
 
K: Thanks very much!!!