I N T E R V I E W S
"Scenes and Cycles"
Guitarist and founder Kevin Wilson discusses some history and status of the progressive metal band
By: Eric Compton | Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2003
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I just recently discovered the band while doing some research on the web trying to locate the whereabouts of vocalist Wade Black. I had enjoyed his previous work for Crimson Glory and Seven Witches and had learned that he was out of both of those bands. I stumbled on an old interview he had done and he mentioned that he had recorded some albums for Lucian Blaque. I ordered four of those albums from you just before the holidays. I can't believe I haven't heard about this amazing band before! |
Maximum Metal: For new fans such as myself, how would you describe your sound?
Kevin Wilson: Im glad you finally found us. Lucian Blaque is a high energy, progressive metal band. Melodic, yet powerful. Quite a few different influences coming together to make something that, hopefully, has its own sound.
Tell us a little bit about your first album, "Blind Man's Bluff" What was it like going into a big studio like Tampa's Morrisound to record your first album, knowing that you hadn't even secured a vocalist?
KW: Exciting! We knew from past experience that a quality product was what we needed to sell ourselves. Morrisound was the best thing going. We were all big fans of Crimson Glorys 'Transcendence' and we wanted a product as close in quality to that as we could get. We got in touch with Jim Morris and found out that we could record there, with him, and achieve that. Jim was the perfect choice for us in that he has so much knowledge that he is willing to share, and as easy to work with as anyone out there. As far as not having a vocalist, we were just hoping that situation would work itself out. There was no guarantee, but we were very hopeful.
MM: The band used a session vocalist, Todd Plant for "Blind Man's Bluff". Was there ever any chance that Plant could be a permanent member of the band?
KW: Not at all. And we all knew that up front. Todd had some other projects going, and at that time wasnt really looking to be a member in a metal band. Especially an unknown one.
MM: How did Wade Black get involved with you? What was he doing prior to Lucian Blaque?
KW: Wade had been the vocalist in my previous band, Astaroth, for a time. Before that he was in a band called Slash Maraud that shared the bill on some local showcases with my bands. At the time that Mike and I started putting Lucian Blaque together, just a drummer and guitarist in a warehouse putting pieces together, Wade was in another band and pretty happy. After Todd recorded the first four tracks Wade had been in contact with us and we were talking about him being a permanent member. The release was already set in motion of "Blind Mans Bluff", though, and we all agreed that would not change.
MM: After the release of the second album, "Judgement Insanity", Lucian Blaque were offered opening slots for legendary bands like Savatage, Vicious Rumors, and Quiet Riot. What was it like playing with bands like that so early in your career?
KW: It was great. Savatage were the hometown heroes. Vicious Rumors was a great band with killer musicians. We felt so lucky on one hand, and felt like we were right where we needed to be on the other. The crowds at those show were very kind to us. The Quiet Riot show was great as far as the crowd was considered, but we didnt even meet those guys. It was on their reunion tour. Savatage and VR on the other hand were real people. Nice to us and actually talked with us and shared some things with us that they felt would help us in the future.
MM: What kind of response did you get from the first 2 albums? Was there ever any label response at this time?
KW: We had some success with the first two. Locally we were showcasing almost every weekend. Playing with other local bands, and doing some opening spots for some national acts, the ones already mentioned as well as others. We were being nominated for the local music awards for the "Metal Band" category every year. Globally we were selling through fanzines and buy word of mouth. We were on play lists in Greece, Hungary, and Sweden. Interviews were done on a regular basis for some of the underground magazines. All of the inquiries we received from labels were offers that would not have been beneficial to us in any way. "Well print 500 cassettes for you guys, just sign right here. Money? Sorry!" We could do that ourselves. No thanks.
MM: The third release was a unique approach to recording an album. "Live At Morrisound" featured all new songs, but the record was recorded live in one take. How did that come about?
KW: Financial concerns were part of it. We had just funded the first two albums ourselves and didnt want to have a big expense again so soon. Also, we had a new bassist and second guitarist that had introduced material into the band and we wanted to make sure we had a constant sound. Recording live was a way of having a product to release to our fan club for outside input and do it inexpensively.
MM: After the band's fourth record, "Electronic Prophet", Wade Black went on to Crimson Glory, and then later joined Jack Frost on the third Seven Witches CD. What was happening with Lucian Blaque at that time? Were you guys still in contact?
KW: We were all still in contact but we were just going in different directions. I moved to Phoenix, AZ. Mike moved to Massachusetts. Wade was in the Tampa Bay area and recorded "Atronomica".
MM: Can you tell us what type of album Kevin Wilson's "Self Portrait" is? I have yet to hear that record.
KW: "Self Portrait" was recorded shortly after Electronic Prophet. It consists of songs that I had been working on for a time with just acoustic guitar and vocals. Wade and Frank Marsh, the vocalist that recorded Mean Machine on "Blind Mans Bluff", performed the vocals. "Self Portrait" was recorded at my house on a four-track recorder. I feel I was able to capture the songs very well in that setting. For the release I included six works from a classical guitar compilation that I recorded while we were in Morrisound.
MM: Looking back over your career, how has the city of Tampa treated Lucian Blaque? Is there still an active metal scene in Tampa?
KW: The Tampa Bay Area has treated Lucian Blaque very well. The scene here goes through cycles. Venues close, things get quiet, new clubs open, and things get loud again. It seems to be about a two-year cycle
MM: Without the support of a record label or distribution, you have basically ran your own form of distribution from the internet. Owning the copyrights to all of your albums, you can basically eliminate the distributor and the record label by making your own discs and promoting your own material via the online website, www.lucianblaque.com. In today's metal world, it is harder and harder for bands to get proper promotion and distribution from metal labels. A good example of that would be a fairly large label like Century Media. They are starting to lose big bands like Nevermore, Iced Earth, and Stuck Mojo for this very reason. Is it easier to just handle everything yourself and avoid all the complications of label budgets, or does a "true" metal band these days need the efforts of a good record label?
KW: I would like to be able to tell you which one is best from experience, but I cant speak from the point of view of having a label deal. We have always handled everything ourselves. Is that way easier? I doubt it. I like having the control. Once a decision is made you live with it and either take the credit or blame. But, it would be nice for a change to have some help with promotion. It would also be nice to spend someone elses money for a change.
MM: What are the current plans for Lucian Blaque? Any chance of a new album coming out soon?
KW: Wade and I are currently writing new material. He has been busy with other projects. He is writing with Emo for their project Tiwanaku, and writing and recording with guitarist Rick Renstrom. We write when time is available. We plan to have material complete this year and make it available through our website. Im sure we will have mp3 samples available prior to completion. I also have other writing partners and we are putting material together. I wont know until it is complete if it will be Lucian Blaque material or not. When you write with different people the songs can take on a life and sound unlike anything you have written before. If the material sounds unlike Lucian Blaque we will have a different name for the project.
MM: What types of songs are you and Black working on now, how would you describe the new sounds?
KW: Powerful. Heavy. Maybe even bluesy.
MM: In retrospect, what do you think was your biggest influence on the style of music you play?
KW: The music I listened to when I was younger. All of the great bands of the 70s and 80s. They each had their own sound and whether they were heavy or melodic or progressive certain pieces came from all of those bands. By the time Lucian Blaque was formed in 90, my roots were established. The 90s brought about new sounds though that helped mold our sound and caused some slight changes in direction. Today I hear new bands and certain things stick in my head that at some point in the future may come out in my own interpretation. I think all musicians and artists are a product of their environment.
MM: Any newer metal bands out there that catch your ear these days?
KW: There are a lot of good bands out there these days. I think it is great that a band like Disturbed gets radio play. I think Zakk Wylde is cool in anything he does. I have such a short attention span these days, like our whole country, that I hear a song on the radio I like, or a few songs on s CD that I like, and that is about a deep into any of the new bands as I can get. I dont seem to have the time anymore to listen to a whole release from anyone. Its unfortunate, but that is the way it is.
MM: Kevin, once again we want to thank you for helping us out and giving us a little in depth history on Lucian Blaque. We wish you luck in all your future endeavors!
KW: Eric, thank you for choosing me for this opportunity. We need all the help we can get to reach new people. We are trying to steer visitors to lucianblaque.com. All of the information you want, and then some, is on our site. Maximummetal.com is an excellent site. Keep up the good work.
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