Death Rattle lead guitarist Ryan VanderWolk Interrogated

With one listen it’s pretty clear, New England groove thrash group Death Rattle exude classic early millennium NWOAHM and northeastern groove through and through – channeling groups like Shadows Fall, Lamb of God and Hatebreed while breathing in new life and authenticity.
Death Rattle is currently supporting the release of their new album Volition, on their upcoming tour supporting The Convalescence, Wings Denied and Shaping The Legacy. Death Rattle will appear on dates running from October 21 in Placerville, CA through November 18 in Englewood, OH. See below for a full list of tour dates featuring Death Rattle below.

Death Rattle lead guitarist Ryan VanderWolk  took some time to talk with Iron Serbian of Capital Chaos TV about things and stuff.

How did you first get into music?

Who turned you on to Rock/metal? Generally our older brothers, Dad’s and uncles showed us our first tastes of heavy music that we fell so much in love with.

We’re you forced to go to church as kids and did you participate? Choir? Altar boys?

Barring Jimmy we all were at some point. Trey was in a youth group for instance, and Chris was heavily urged to go to church until he made his confirmation. These are practices we do not take part in today and haven’t since we were young.

Were you Jocks or stoners in high school?

Trey and Kevin were heavy into sports, Kevin played football, Trey played soccer, Football and basketball. It’s safe to stay most of us were stoners but not all of us haha.

How did you become a vocalist, bassist, drummer, guitarist, and are you proficient at any other instruments?

Trey our vocalist was originally a bass player for a Led Zeppelin cover band, the singer got fired Trey stepped in and became a vocalist and has been ever since. Kevin has interest to learn bass and borrowed one from a friend when he was young. Jimmy wanted to play music but sucked at drums so he learned guitar and became proficient. Chris was interested in Drumming since very young and his parents bought him his first kit when he was 12. I myself (Ryan) gained the interest after my brother started playing. For Christmas when I was 14 my Dad bought me my first guitar which was my brother’s guitar that helped him upgrade to a guitar he wanted more.

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What was the local scene in where you are like in the beginning? Was there a particular band you aspired to be like? Favorite local bands back then? Favorite local bands now?

The local scene was much better when we were growing up than there is now. Most of us grew up in Massachusetts where there were tons of shows. When I was 12 I attended a metal show at a place called the Elks lodge in Hyannis Ma and it was my first time ever going to a local show. It was a blast. I discovered a Band called “Interfere” which I loved and got their CD. I still know that album from front to back to this day. It was called “Bruce in the disco tent” haha some of my favorite local bands from our area are Carnivora, Pathogenic, and the River Neva.

How did the band form and how did the band name come about?

Ryan Met Chris at a Lamb of God show in Boston May 12th, 2009. They exchanged phone numbers and 4 months later formed the band that would become Death Rattle. Ryan threw out the name after looking at the back of Pantera’s “Reinventing the Steel” guitar book. No name after that was really presented and eventually it just stuck.

How would you best describe your sound?

I would say we are a groove metal band with a touch of death metal, touch of thrash metal.

Does the current political climate in America scare you or make hopeful?

It is a very decisive time politically, but I truly feel that it still comes down to the people and not the politicians.we need to as a group Handle ourselves better in this world.

Was 9/11 and inside job and do you have a theory on chemtrails?

Well if you switch your car insurance to Geico you could save 15% or more.

How important are presales for a band as opposed to letting a promoter do all the work?

Every scenario is different which lends itself to different conclusions on this. I can say that doing pre sales has done very well for us in the past up until the recent past as well. I think a team effort with all hands on deck is what makes great shows.

What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once on different formats?

Trey -cassette he bought a Michael Jackson tape with money he earned from washing dishes at around age 6!
Kevin- Alice in chains self titled CD. Age 10
Jimmy- limp Bizkit- 3 dollar bill y’all. CD. Age 8
Chris- Rob Zombie- hillbilly deluxe. Age 11
Ryan- Metallica Reload-CD age 12

Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?

Our Mayhem Fest Dates in 2013 in Mass and CT were our biggest to date. There always a little bit of nerves before every big show, but that’s the rush! If there isn’t any nervousness then there is no more fun in it!

Is radio dead and do you listen to any local radio shows?

Terrestrial radio my not be what it one was but there is Sirius XM and Internet radio to take it’s place. We don’t listen to any local radio stations except for Sports radio.

How has the recent suicides of famous musicians affected you and do you have a theory on them?

Not so much directly as we aren’t die hard fans of those that have passed recently, but we are fans nonetheless, but it does present some questions that need answers. Things that range from if metal/rock musicians suffer from a form of CTE similar to football players from thrashing about and headbanging, to is there a connection with creativity and depression?

When can we expect some new recorded music and what is your writing process like?

That is undetermined as we will start the wrong process after we return home from this tour. Our new Album “Volition” is set for release Oct 20th.
The writing process is a very focus driven time and it is ever changing. We start with some guitar riffs and work on things until it becomes a don’t, then we voraciously fine tune until we are happy.

Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?

“Sentenced to Hell” off of our upcoming album “Volition” is the song we are most Involved in as a Band. It is also the first song we started writing for the New album.

Where do you see the band in 5 years?

Hopefully continuing to do what we love and play our brand of metal. Hopefully with much growth as well.

What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want? What gear is bringing us the Death Rattle sound?

We use a vast array of gear. Currently running ENGL artist edition amps and a custom buil5 Krankbass rig. Jimmy plays Esp and Jackon guitars. I play (Ryan) Washburn and Dean Dimebag models. Kevin plays Ibanez and Esp basses. Chris is currently playing a custom Mapex drum kit. We would like to acquire more endorsements. Mainly drum and cymbal endorsement. We currently have deals with Krank amps, In tune guitar picks. DR strings etc.

Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?

A top 5 want for us to possibly tour with would be Lamb of God, Gojira, Devildriver, Soilwork, Killswitch Engage.

Top 5 albums or songs released this year so far?

The Haunted-Strength in numbers
Scour-Self titled That’s all we can think of!

Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave or cremation?

Metallica-Fade to black
Lamb of God-Ashes of the wake
Pantera-The great southern trendkill
Metallica-And Justice for all..

Whats the rest of 2017 look like for Death Rattle?

We are releasing out new album “Volition” and supporting it with a full U.S. tour with “The Conavalescence”. When we return home we begin work on the next album!

What does metal mean to you?

Metal is everything to us. It’s our way of life, our way of healing, our way of feeling. The force that drives us. The ultimate release.

Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?

Thank you Capital Chaos for having us! We really appreciate it!

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