Formed in 2001, Azrael’s Bane released 2 critically acclaimed albums (Wings of Innocence, 2004, and Modern Day Babylon, 2008). After 8 years of touring and the grind the band took a much needed break in 2009. With it’s members scattering to the winds, it looked like the end.
In 2013, after the untimely death of band crew member and close friend, Giovanni May, the boys got back together to discuss plans for a memorial concert for their fallen friend. Those discussions ultimately lead to a decision to reform the band and pick up where they left off.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
My parents bought me a turntable and a couple of albums for my 12th birthday. One of those albums was Van Halen 1. It’s been all over with ever since.
How did you become a vocalist and are you proficient in any other instruments?
I fell into singing by accident really. I started out as a guitar player. I’d never even thought about being a singer, but I was in a band playing guitar when our singer quit. We had a show in two days and we needed some rent money so the guys talked me into pulling double duty. I had never sung anything other than backup vocals in a band before but I knew the songs and we needed the money, so I agreed. After the show the guys informed me that we were no longer looking for a singer but we’d probably need a new guitar player. I’ve been singing ever since.
What was the local scene in Texas like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
I got a late start. I was well into my 20’s when I started, so I missed the real heyday of the 80’s in Texas. Hard rock and metal was huge then, but by the time I got into the scene grunge was in full swing and the scene here was on the decline. There were still some great local bands that were kicking ass during that time though. I’d name Z lot Z and Stride as two local bands that I greatly admired. Those guys were amazing.
Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
I’d say it’s the opposite. We have had our share of fun though.
How would you best describe your sound?
Im not really into labels, but I usually say we’re a melodic metal band with some prog elements thrown in.
Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?
Usually, yes. It’s a bit of a new thing in our scene. I can’t say I’m a fan of the practice.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
I think Shout at the Devil was the first record I ever bought with my own money. I’ve bought Operation Mindcrime several times. My first copy was on cassette. I wore it out.
DIY forever or signing with a label at first opportunity?
It depends on how hard you are willing to work on promoting yourself. I’ve done it both ways. These days I’d rather have someone else take on some of the work in exchange for some of the income?
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
Probably Monterrey Metal Fest, or Rocklahoma. Both were big shows for us. I don’t really get nervous often. We come in prepared so I’m usually confident that we’re going to kick ass, but I did have a touch of butterflies before both of those shows.
Is commercial rock radio dead?
I’m the wrong person to ask. I haven’t listened to terrestrial radio in probably a decade. I listen to satellite in my car a lot, but I don’t think people listen to radio like they used to other than when they’re driving. The net makes it too easy to find something you want to hear.
Favorite songs on the new as yet to be finished album and why?
We’re still writing it, so there will be more to come but we’ve got a song called “Burn” that I’m really liking right now. It’s just powerful.
Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?
Probably “Jerry’s Song”. We don’t perform it often, but I get a little choked up every time I sing it.
Are there any political or social issues hidden in Azrael’s Bane songs ?
I write about a lot of issues, and political and social themes definitely find their way into our songs. I’m not interested in preaching though. We’re in the entertainment business so the last thing I want is to alienate anyone based on my own opinions. With that in mind, I try to write from an observational perspective. There is no shortage of material to pull inspiration from right now.
What was the process of putting the songs in order?
We arrange our records a lot like we do our set lists. Pick a kick ass opener and closer and try to make everything in the middle flow.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
Both Chuck and Jeff use Diamond Amps and Brent uses Diamond basses. I’d like to get some more stuff for the guys, particularly perishable things like strings, sticks, drum heads etc and you can never have enough guitars. Personally, I’d love a beer endorsement:)
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
We’ve been lucky enough to hang out with and share the stage with a good number of our heroes but as long as I get to choose, I may as well go big. I’d love to hit the road with Iron Maiden.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Oh man. Tough question! I picture my funeral as being more Irish wake with everyone sitting around telling stories than somber, so it would have to be something upbeat. Maybe something to drink to. Something like Cowboys From Hell maybe. I’d have a really hard time only having 3 albums. My tastes are really varied and I mix it up a lot, but since we’re talking metal today I’ll go with: Operation Mindcrime, Savatage’s Edge of Thorns, and Maiden’s Piece of Mind.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
Thanks for having me! Stay in touch with us at AzraelsBane.net and Facebook and look for us on the road soon! \m/