Hi Marc… it’s good to have Wrathchild back with a new studio album after 22 years!! That’s a long time dude!
M: Ha! I don’t know so much, I have enjoyed some wines that have taken longer to bring to the table. And every drop was worth the wait! (interviewers note: sure dude!)
What happened all those years and Wrathchild was inactive? I know that you had some legal issues with the band’s name in the mid-00s and you had formed Psychowrath… but all those years before the mid-00s? Why did you disappear after the release of your third album in 1989?
M: After the “Delirium” tour we had some personnel issues and a lot of thinking to do and stuff to sort out. We’d started negotiating a tour of the US which I personally was really excited about but given the circumstances we were confronted with we had no choice but to call that off.
Then I got sidetracked with a band that got signed almost immediately to London Records in the UK which actually was a ‘major’ label in all but name ‘cos it was cool in those days not to be associated with a ‘major’ record co. So I got to tour Europe and play European festivals and do all the stuff Wrathchild never got round to doing and it was a very pleasant distraction… but the Wrathchild flame has consistently burned throughout these years to the point where we just had to put another record out – ‘cos no other band could come close to doing what Wrathchild is capable of….
Why was the name Wrathchild so important to you… and you faced all those problems in order to acquire the trademarks of the name? After all, isn’t the music that matters the most? You could have gone on with any other name… or not?
M: I spent my entire youth putting together and propagating the band known the world over as the mighty “Wrathchild”. Wrathchild as a collective is unique, we forged an entire new glam-metal scene borne of mine and Eddie (Star’s) punk roots. We lived anarchy in the U.K. – we grew up in that scene from spitting at Sex Pistols gigs to fukkin’ punk babes behind the P.A. at ‘Generation X’ gigs. We took that sense of destruction and nihilism into the rock scene. When we got there we took a look round and decided, ‘f**k it’, we’ll do our on full on glam-metal shit and if people don’t like it they can f**k off! Ha! some people did indeed but as it happens a lot more joined in our ‘wrath’ beliefs. And that is why it is so important to me to see this thing through.
When did you start the writing sessions of the new album? When did you start recording it?
M: Some artists get ‘precious’ about their creativity – like every darned thing they ever wrote must be appreciated by the whole world or something and must never be allowed to die, but my approach is more relaxed – if the moment is right then the idea created will take shape and flourish. The only thing that matters is that the ideas were relevant and ‘ripe’ for putting to disc at the time of recording “STAKKATTAKKTWO”. Six months earlier or six months later we would have delivered a different batch of songs. Stuff is constantly in flux. This band is constantly in a state of chaos or creative flux.
You know most of the bands that re-unite from the late 80s/early90s decide to go on a more modern music direction… and that’s a thing that basically fails the expectations of their fans… Did you think about the music direction of the album when you started composing the songs? Was it a difficult decision?
M: Never crossed our minds to be that ‘premeditated’. We just went ahead and recorded stuff that we want to hear on a Friday night before hitting the clubs or whatever. You still can’t beat a colossal guitar riff or chanty chorus to get you in the mood for a good time.
Are there any details about the album that you would like to share?
M: We probably spent more time in the studio than was affordable and I still don’t know how the bills got paid but when you’re having such a good time recording and being creative, the practicalities don’t (or shouldn’t) matter. We even spent another two whole days getting the finished volume to be louder than any other record we possessed between us. Now that is attention to detail – but some radio stations have been none too impressed – it messes with their ‘levels’ or something when they get to play “STAKKATTAKKTWO” on air!! If you pay attention you will hear a sudden scramble to hit the faders ‘down’ as soon as the track starts playing!!
Who did the production of the album? Was the album mastered in the end… ‘cause I believe that you didn’t do it on purpose…maybe to achieve that free live rockin’ sound that the bands used to have in the 80s… right?
M: Andy Scott of “The Sweet” and Jimmy Lea of “Slade” discussed producing us back in the day. We also hooked up with Mike Leander of the ‘Glitter Band’ at one time and any one of them would have been a great producer of Wrathchild and who knows what record they would have come up with – but at the end of the day, if you have got such a burning sensation in your own head of what the songs should sound like, then from that moment on all you gotta do is try to recreate it on record.
All of the band’s previous records were the result of handing over all that creative control to a fifth person, usually a stranger to us personally, to produce and we were always in too much of a rush or too distracted to pay that much attention to what sounds were actually being produced. But for “STAKKATTAKKTWO” we had much more control. Who needs someone else to tell you what you already know?? We like our meat “raw” you know! (i.n.: yeap I got it… I believe that you must always take care of your business!)
And then you decided to name the album “StakkAttakkTwo”. Why? I know that “Stakk Attakk” is the debut and a very important album for the history of the band… but why did you have to make a part two of it?
M: Well, we had like ten minutes to come up with a name for the album. Somebody came up with the suggestion. We all looked at each other and thought, yeah, that is actually a pretty good summary of the situation. We are making a statement here. “Stakk Attakk” was a seminal album for us. It launched us. And this release is a “second coming” situation. (i.n.: perhaps a more dynamic one…)
Can you give us a hint about each one of the songs? Just a line…
M: “Goin’ Down”: You’re goin’ Down – muthaf**ker, Touch the Ground!… need I say more ?? (i.n.: hell no!)
“All About U”: Yeah, self-obsession, to the exclusion of all others…
“Cherie Cherie”: First time lust!
“Trikk or Treat”: You are HOT – but you still piss me off! (i.n.: that’s so true!)
“Hollywood or Bust”: Selling sex on the freeway, but life could have been so different!!
“Nice ‘N’ Eazy”:Just chill, relax, and bring me off!!
“White Hot Fever”: Bitch from Hell!
“I’ll Be Your Rokk ‘N’ Roll”: Whatever it takes (life suxx) – I am here for you!!
“Bad Billy”: Sheer f***in’ psycho, roaming the streets!
“I Luv The Nite”: Yeah, nite time is the best time! (i.n.: couldn’t agree more fella!)
“Psychophantic Suicide”: Drugs taker – and now you’re on your last ever ‘high’.
What kind of changes would you make to the album… if you had the chance to be back in the studio again?
M: Short of Mutt Lange or the guy who produced the early Montrose and Van Halen albums showing up for the mix – nothing at all!!
I found 4 videos on the net. Are they official? Which were the criteria so as to choose among the songs and shoot them?
M: There is no official video as yet. We are working on that though. This is a “media” age after all.
Are you planning to tour to support the album? Will you play in any Summer Festival this summer?
M: Oh yes. We are complete whores and will perform, to order, at any festival that is looking to book the true “Godfatherz” of metal/glam. We can’t wait for that. (i.n.: do not miss these guys on stage…)
Did you look out for a label when the album was ready for a release or you made the deal with the label beforehand? Are you totally satisfied with Perris records?
M: This record needs to be out. It’s like lancing a boil, you just gotta get the thing ‘out’ of your system and then you can start thinking about the next record. We considered a number of avenues to release “STAKKATTAKKTWO” but Perris seemed the natural choice given their enthusiasm for the album and their commitment to the cause.
How do you see things in the music industry nowadays? Are things better than they used to be back in the 80s… or worse?
M: Getting records out has always been pretty straightforward in my experience. Nobody expects to earn a living from it which is a shame. It’s like there is a rule somewhere which states that no musician will ever earn loadsa money from recording and every musician signs up to this expectation (or lack of it) in their starry eyed eagerness to ‘live the dream’. But that just makes it easy for a whole bunch of money grabbing leeches to pretend to be rock’n’roll whilst all the while stashing away the royalties. They do this ‘cos the whole industry is geared to making it as difficult as possible for anyone to gain a faintest idea about how much money their efforts have actually generated! I guess it’s the same now. People will go it alone but they will still be reliant to a certain extent upon some corporation or other deciding on how much royalty to pay less the usual baffling deductions tucked away in the finer print.
What are the expectations from this album? What should we wait from Wratchchild in the future?
M: This album puts Wrathchild back on the map. Love us or hate us, we are here, and soon gonna be pissing off all those people who hated us first time around, want back dated child maintenance payments, or who are still recovering from injuries and burns sustained during previous Wrathchild concerts.
What do you receive from the reactions of your fans/press for the new album? Are you absolutely satisfied?
M: Great reaction so far! And long may it continue. But you should never trust everything you read in the media. It’s the fans’ reactions what counts, And they are loving it!!
Allow me to ask you a hypothetical question… If you hadn’t disbanded in 1990… how do you imagine Wrathchild’s career would have been like today?
M: Well, firstly we never strictly disbanded as you put it. Like I said certain persons had their own priorities going at the time and left the band but the Wrathchild spirit never disbanded or ceased to exist.
Having said that twenty years between records is a long f***in’ time so naturally we have some ground to make up! Had we put out more records we might have been richer or fatter by now – or the whole thing might have imploded in a drugs and sex fuelled binge-fest in the middle of a world tour! Actually that might not have been so bad. Ha! We don’t dwell on what might have been. This is the present and the future. And we’re really pleased to still be here and to be even remotely relevant! (i.n.: we’re pleased to have you here as well!)
I have written it thousand times before, that grunge music tried to “kill” rock music in the mid-90s but nowadays all those “trendy” 90s grunge bands have gone for good… How difficult was it, for you, to experience a change of music in the 90s… what do you think? Do you believe that it was worth the waste of time and money on behalf of the music labels in order to promote this kind of music that caused so much damage to rock music?
M: I like all kinds of music. I am not tribal – or affiliated to only one type of music over another one. Grunge was OK to a certain degree. Just as punk rock killed off all those bloated super indulgent prog-rock and ‘super’ rock bands, (like even Black Sabbath at the time) so grunge gave the hair-metal scene a probably overdue (in my opinion) kick up the leopard printed backsides. I mean everything was getting too formulaic; the scene was created by barely a handful of bands, including ourselves, and got to the point where anyone in a wig and wearing lycra was deemed to be a Rock God till the public finally thought enough is enough. I have not got a problem with that ‘cos the only ones making capital out of that situation, once again, were the ‘suits’ behind the industry. (i.n.: those damn “suits” have the power to make things the way they want them!)
Can you tell that hard rock music is here again and stronger than ever (if we also consider the fact that most of the big 80s hard rock bands have re-united again)… or hard rock music has passed to a new more “modern” path than in the past?
M: Everything goes round and round. Just like the Motley Crue song. (Or was it The Beatles – I can never tell). The only problem with Rock music today is that there are so many bands! Who has got the time to listen to all of this stuff?? And they can all play and sample drum and guitar sounds so you don’t even know who you are listening to anymore. At the end of the day you have to size up the offerings and then decide who to spend your money on. It’s like gambling at the casino. You want to be seen to be championing the ‘winners’ right? Or else you’re gonna go with the cool ‘underground’ shit? Either way you’re going to want to be seen associated with a band acceptable or admired by your peers. But whatever happened to going out on a limb and spearheading a hitherto undiscovered rock ‘secret’?
I believe that quality is what our music is missing on this time period. Everything is so similar and so easy-going that most of the fans are truly confused. Which is this “force” that will bring things back to what they used to be… to a time period that music was art…?
M: Kill all computers and digital sound emulators. Get back to recording in real studios with real amps and faders. And get rid of all the’ X Factor’ type audition shows on T.V. That should do it. (i.n.: that would have been a good start…indeed!)
Do you believe that the internet has given a helping hand to the bands… or it has caused them problems? Some bands have decided to call it quits due to downloading problems. What do you think of that situation?
M: Internet is a great resource for communicating with fans and commentators but I fear it also is taking the ‘magic’ out of rock and roll. The internet in my opinion is democratizing talent in a way which is dumbing it down. Over-exposure of any one particular activity, whether it is rock music or something else, may eventually desensitize the masses to the point that they just won’t be interested anymore. The consequence of speeding up exposure will be to speed up the boredom factor. Once everyone is a Rock Star or a Pop singer there will be no point wanting to be one in any case. Because the whole point of rock and roll is to be one of the few, not the many. (i.n.: you’re so damn right… buddy!)
How difficult is it to survive and succeed in a music world that is ruled by irrelevant people that promote shit-wannabe-good pop music all the time… without caring about music quality?
M: It’s not difficult. So long as you create great metal music. You record it. You put it out and perform to the masses. If people wanna hear you and connect with you, they will come. You have to get your message across of course. All they need is a reason to hear you. Give them the reason. They will come.
Do you believe that it is very easy for a band to differ in today’s music industry than in the past? And if yes what shall it do in order to achieve it?
M: Wow! You are covering a lot of ground in this interview! In Britain, the only way to succeed now is to audition for the ‘X’Factor, (mind numbing weekly whore-fest on national T.V.) win through some heats to gain enough T.V. exposure and then get caught doing drugs or something. That will guarantee you legendary status for a fortnight and sell enough records to keep your record company in limousines for the rest of (their) useful existence. Ha!
And some weird Questions now!!! Is rock & roll music only about sex and drugs… or has that motto changed throughout the years?
M: Of course it has changed. Get real! The motto used to be “live fast, die young”… till anyone with a brain realized that actually you need to stay alive to enjoy what you got ; aka The Stones, Aerosmith, KISS, and so on. Nobody “dies” anymore. Even Nicky Sixx (Motley Crue) can’t or won’t finish himself off! He knows life’s too good!! Rock and Roll is dead and now commercialized almost beyond salvation. Only the bands brave enough to exist on their own terms can save Rock ‘n’ Roll. It is worth saving. And I say that from the bottom of my heart. (i.n.: of course it’s worth saving… but the fans must also help by supporting the real bands and not the much heralded ones.)
What is missing from today’s music industry? Are most albums missing that quality they used to have back in the 70’s and 80’s?
M: Yes some are! I don’t hear the passion anymore. Most records these days have a guitar and drum sound that is for the most part programmed to sound like somebody else. Mostly ‘cos everything is recorded on computers and nobody gets to manually adjust the faders anymore. I used to love being in charge of a ‘fader’ on the mixing desk! To physically be part of the final mix on an analogue desk was awesome. I would spend a whole year telling everyone I met that the cymbal crash in the chorus of “Teenage Revolution” (“Stackheel Strutt” EP) was mixed by me!! (i.n.: the analog sound is always “sweeter”.)
Which are the things that piss you off from today’s music industry?
M: Don’t get pissed off! Get even!!
Are you playing music to become popular or you just want to give your own messages to the people through your music and your lyrics?
M: Ambition burns. ‘Course I want to be the most famous person on the planet. Who doesn’t?
What would you do if you were not afraid to fail?
M: Bet on myself to have sex with one hundred beautiful women in just one week! (without paying for it obviously). (i.n.: only one hundred?! )
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
M: Oh, something that hibernates a lot, with an ‘attitude’… like a grizzly bear or something! I do like to sleep.
What would you do, if you had supernatural powers?
M: Mass hypnotize the remaining half of the world population that has no intension of purchasing “STAKKATTAKKTWO” to go order it. (And send their money to me an’ the boyz!.) (i.n.: don’t wait to be hypnotized… go out and buy the CD now!)
Imagine that your girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy for herself an expensive ring. How would you react? J
M: I would get her to agree that all her sisters, female cousins and all of their girlie friends will have sex with me on demand until they had all learned to sing and play every single track from every single album that had been sold off. (i.n.: hahaha… the best answer I’ve read so far!!)
Those were my questions Marc. Keep up the good work dude, please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
M: It has been a pleasure! I salute you and all of your esteemed Grande Rock readers. I look forward to meeting some of you at some future wild festivals and shows. Long live ‘Wrath’n’ Roll’!