Front row, Iron Maiden, A Matter of Life and Death tour 2006
Photo (c) Ray Van Horn, Jr.
In 2003, I began my journey into heavy metal journalism by starting a book project which underwent numerous title changes from Headbangers: An Endless State of Rebellion to Bonded By Blood: Headbanging Through History.
In that period of time, I was blessed to have interviewed 40-50 musicians, DJ's, managers and insiders such as Dee Snider, Geoff Tate, Bobby Gustafson, formerly of Overkill, Leslie West, Michael Schenker, Joey Belladonna, Joe Lynn Turner, Karyn Crisis, Bill Aucoin, Phil Soussan, Joey Vera, Lips from Anvil, Craig Nielsen of Flotsam and Jetsam, Chip Z'nuff of Enuff Z'nuff, Spike Cassidy of DRI, Brian Vollmer of Helix, Ron Keel, Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate, Jackie Chambers of Girlschool, Mark Gallagher of Raven, Eric Brittingham of Cinderella, Piledriver and the late Kevin Dubrow and Ricky Parent, amongst others.
In order to continue bringing guests to this project, I was inadvertently drawn into the scene by labels who of course requested coverage of their artists' current projects in exchange for my own interests. My first care package from The End Records arrived thereafter and my career as a metal journalist snowballed almost instantaneously. Humble beginnings, yes, but also on the fringe of then-huge designs.
I ended up following my newfound course and fortified my career with some of the finest editors and web hosts who were able to help build my name. To this day I'm proud to have been affiliated with Metal Maniacs, Fangoria.com, Dee Snider's House of Hair Online, Pit, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained, About.com Heavy Metal, Rough Edge.com, DVD Review.com, Caustic Truths, Angst, Loud Fast Rules, Pivotal Alliance.com, Music Dish.com, Pitriff and others.
Unfortunately, my deep involvement in the scene, which I'd planned to use to my benefit to boost my 2003 project kept me so busy other authors sprang up with their own books and with them, a lot of the ideas and concepts I'd strategized for my own. It happens, particularly when you're personally misdirected and focused on the wrong goals.
I have other objectives in my life now including raising a child who makes me laugh just by waking up in the morning, much less dancing like a freak to The Jam. I am of course in the wrap-up phase of the first draft to my second novel, which has taken precedence in my writing objectives while the situations, moods and attitudes are fresh in my mind. I am already outlining the next two novels and later in the year I will begin a screenplay to my first novel "Mentor."
Where does that leave all these voices who generously gave me their time back in 2003? A bit unfair to leave them locked up, right? I've found inspiration from my former Pit colleague Ryan Bartek, who has just released his own novel The Big Shiny Prison for free to anyone wishing to read it. Thus as my appreciation to the devoted readers of The Metal Minute who've stayed with me from its beginning, I have decided to release these interview sessions here on the site throughout the year. That's right, for fuh-reeee...
I believe you all will find enjoyment in these one-on-one chats complete with brief anecdotes to my time spent with these heavy music legends. In a few cases, you'll see me in a somewhat green state as I was interviewing these personalities as a complete rookie. It ought to be fun going back and seeing how I evolved as a journalist.
I will keep you all in suspense to the order these transcripts will arrive on The Metal Minute, but do expect to see the first installment tomorrow.
As always, gratitude is hardly the word for my faithful readership who keep my passion alive...