MASQUED Guitarist Eric Halpern Interrogated

A sextet of musicians from the Houston, Texas area, Masqued contains some veterans within the underground metal scene, especially to those who follow power, progressive or thrash. Guitarist Eric Halpern has ties to Helstar, Destiny’s End, and Leatherwolf, drummer Jon Allen with Testament, Sadus, and Dragonlord, plus bassist Shane Dubose and keyboardist Adam Rawlings spent time with Eric in Z-Lot-Z. Masqued is the latest foray together, rounding out the lineup with second guitarist Drew Creel and vocalist Steffany Johnston. Via Dead Rhetoric.

How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?

Music was always around my house with radio and vinyl records. My step-dad played guitar, so that got me started at an early age. I got more into rock and metal from friends in school.

How did you become a guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments ?

Like I said, I started on guitar at home with my step-dad. I don’t play any other instruments.

What was the Houston local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?

When I arrived here in 1989, the rock scene was really good. All of the live music clubs were packed every weekend. I really liked STRIDE back then. Now, I’m not as much into the local scene, so it’s hard to say.

How would you best describe your sound?

American progressive power metal.

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

The first music, I don’t even remember. But I have bought many Priest, Sabbath, Accept and Maiden records!

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

My biggest show probably was playing Bang Your Head festival with Helstar. I was nervous then, but normally are not.

Is commercial rock radio dead?

I don’t listen to it, so I don’t know. lol

Favorite songs on the new album and why?

Probably ‘Hypnotize’ is my favorite. I like the chorus hook and the vocals and riffs that change up through out the song.

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

The Call

Are there any political or social issues hidden in Masqued songs?

We are not really a political band, but I think the lyrics touch on various topics that include politics and social issues.

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What was the process of putting the songs in order?

We just tried to find an order that flows well.

What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?

I personally don’t have any, but certainly would be interested in them. An Ibanez or Mesa endorsement would be wonderful! Shane recently picked up a DNA bass amp endorsement. Some of the other guys have endorsements, but I’m not sure who has what, so I won’t speculate.

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

I’d love to tour with Priest, but we may be a bit late for that. ha ha I’d like to meet and talk with Glenn Tipton, Tony Iommi and Steve Vai.

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

I don’t want to speculate on my funeral, but as for albums…..Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath, Accept – Restless and Wild, and one of my favorite guitar albums – Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush – What’s Next?.

Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?

I’d like to say thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope the fans enjoy our new CD and just know that we all really appreciate the support!!

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