|GG: On behalf of MaximumMetal.com, thank you for the interview opportunity. First of all, Hell Destroyer is my first introduction to the band and without having read any of the lyrics, I take it that Hell Destroyer is a concept album. Can you tell me what Hell Destroyer is all about and how the story came to fruition?|
Well if you haven't read the lyrics or seen the artwork you are missing out brother! Yes, it is a concept album that takes the end of the world story and the battle between Heaven and Hell and chronicles it in full metal detail. It follows Revelations from the Bible with a lot of fantasy elements to make it as metal as possible. It comes packed with a 30 page "Heavy Metal graphic novel" complete with extra text for the story, lyrics and some killer comic art by comic artist Forrest Butler. Packaging has always been a priority for CAGE to make sure the fans get a big value.
|"Lots of beer and tons of horny college bitches for the taking but, I digress."|
GG: Hell Destroyer is an awesome Power Metal album, but it is much more than that – I hear a lot of 80's influences as well as various forms of extreme metal. Do you consider Cage to be just a power metal band?
No, I have always said we are a heavy metal band. I grew up on Priest, Maiden, old Queensryche, Metal Church, King Diamond, WASP, and old Crimson Glory and Savatage. Those bands are what fueled my metal transformation and with other bands like Testament, Forbidden, Exodus, and Death Angel we formulated the CAGE sound. Now some black metal finds its way into some parts as I love Dimmu and Cradle as well and we have played with them at festivals etc. CAGE started 15 years ago when Grunge was thought to have killed metal. We wanted to Defend the Faith so to say and continued to play our brand of metal which many people labeled 80s etc. Now the 80s moniker has vanished and it is just power, true, or heavy metal. Now we are trying to push the genre to the limit as many have said we have done with HELL DESTROYER. The kids at the all ages shows are just loving it and the metal youth movement of today has really been excellent for CAGE.
GG: I love the vocal layers throughout the CD, especially during a lot of the chorus parts. Who are you inspired by vocally?
Well the key for any singer is to sound unique so that when he is heard they instantly know what band it is. But of course when I started getting into metal I was trying to sing along to Judas Priest records and the Queensryche EP. I would blast out Victim of Changes or Queen of the Ryche and my friends would dig it. I was not in any band or anything but was totally air guitaring like all kids in my room to all the killer albums of the day. When I went to college in San Diego some band was playing a pool party and had no singer. They had a Radio Shack mic with a 2 foot cord and I went up and sang the Trooper with them. They asked me to join and I did. That is how I started in bands. But between Halford, King Diamond, Dickenson, Tate, and Tony martin is the other guy I love, that is who I grew up singing to. Now, I try to rip off Ripper as much as I can also. I hope he reads this ha! He is a cool dude.
GG: I read somewhere that Cage won several "Battle of the Band" contests back in the early 90s. Is this true, and if so, did it help launch your successful career?
Yes we won some but the big break in Europe was winning Rock Hard magazines best new band contest. That got us to play the Dynamo and get our first deal. A journalist entered us without us knowing anything about the mag or the contest until we got a phone call from a heavy accented German saying "Congratulations you are going to play Holland with Metallica and Manowar". I thought it was my friend playing a joke on me.
GG: Were any of you involved in other bands before launching Cage?
Yes and we have released some of that material on iTunes as well. NOMAD was my band and CRUSHER was Dave Garcia's band. Both are really good bands with great musicians. San Diego in general has always had tons of metal talent. My college band was called TAX EVASION and we sucked but played huge fraternity parties at San Diego State with literally thousands of people. We would play Louie Louie and shit and then bust out Enter sandman. It was awesome. Lots of beer and tons of horny college bitches for the taking but I digress.
GG: Getting back to Hell Destroyer – it's a pretty lengthy CD (clocking in at around 75 minutes). How long did it take to work on this album (from conception to release), and what was the inspiration behind the writing process?
First I came up with the title and it sounded so metal we all loved it. I then wrote the story basics and all of them loved it so we went with the whole concept cd approach. I did not want another lame ass concept story that no one gave a shit about so I wrote about the biggest concept of all and fully metalized it. The amount of recorded material includes another unreleased track as well and is basically 2 cds worth of material and in fact we considered a 2 cd release at one point. It took about 4 years to write it all and record it. The next one will come out much quicker than that.
GG: Tell us a little bit about the bonus track (for the European release) King Diamond. Musically, it is a great track, but lyrically it has nothing to do with the Hell Destroyer concept. What is the lyrical vision of this song?
Well, I always am trying to be on the cutting edge in the idea department and a song about King Diamond referencing his past works was a cool idea. The King himself said he was honored and gave it his "blessing". It did not go into the story and that is why we made it a bonus track. It is now on the US version as well for those reading this and want to get their hands on the CD. The song goes over great live and it is cool to see the people chant KING DIAMOND. I think he should do a cover of it.
GG: Do you have any plans to tour internationally in support of Hell Destroyer – other than the occasional metal festival?
2008 is shaping up to be the busiest year yet for CAGE. We are doing a lot of Mexico and maybe 2 Europe runs as well. We are going to Florida, Puerto Rico, the Midwest again and probably the East coast also. The longest run we do is 2 weeks. Other than that my real estate empire would suffer.
GG: How can we (the fans) get a hold of your back catalog? They seem to be rare gems on the online shops that I've visited.
Anyone can go to www.cageheavymetal.com and get the product directly from the band. All 4 CDs are in print and we always send extra goodies with every order. All of our CDs have been critically acclaimed and raved about by the fans so hook it up!
GG: Once again, thanks for the interview opportunity. Would you like to add any final thoughts for your fans?
Thanks so much and mostly I want people to know we do this for the love of metal and the fun we get ripping up the stage and meeting the fans who are totally into it. We are metal fans and appreciate everyone who corresponds with us at www.cageheavymetal.com or www.myspace.com/cageheavymetal. Thanks so much and rock on!