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Metal Mike Chlasciak - Guitarist for Painmuseum, Halford, Sebastian Bach, and Testament

Date: 05/2006
Interviewed By: Rich Catino



1. Mike, you are rather busy, playing in both your own band PainmuseuM and Sebastian Bach's solo band, along with part time stints in Testament. So tell us where your priorities lie. Is Painmuseum or Sebastain Bach your day job and what is your position in Testament?

METALMIKE: Yeah, I suppose you can say that I prefer to keep busy. It is very natural for me. My schedule fills up pretty quickly whether it is my own band PainmuseuM, Sebastian Bach or if The Metal God calls me
and asks to do a tour, an album or what have you. I must say that however that I treat my own band very seriously and much of my attention in spent on that, you know - just building it brick by brick. My schedule with PainmuseuM gets filled in first from now and then I go and tour with Sebastian when the opportunities arise. I enjoy doing tours with him, and have only missed one when I was in Los Angeles working on Rob's album. It used be reversed, I would await tours with other artists first and then fill-in the dots with PainmuseuM activities, but it is no
more. I have reversed those roles, because at the end of the day I need to take care of my own business first.
And then, I can go out and have some fun with others. I'm no longer satisfied with PainmuseuM taking a back seat to anyone else. With Testament, it looks like guys have been having a lot of fun with the reunion, and they always have my best wishes. I'm in contact with Testament and you know who knows ... maybe there will time for us to share the stage again.

2. If that's not enough, you also play in Rob Halford's solo band. So what is the status of that project? Is Rob, or yourself working on new music? Who else is in that band?

METALMIKE: Yes, above all I always will be Rob Halford's guitar player. Rob brought me here, so I will always be there when Rob is ready for a tour or do a records. Halford band line up is: Rob, Myself, Bobby Jarzombek, Roy Z and Mike Davis. We have been working on the new Halford studio album, tenatively called Halford IV.

3. You have worked with two of the most respected voices in Heavy Metal, Rob Halford from Judas Priest and Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row. So tell us what the difference is between working with both talents?

METALMIKE: Sebastian is like a wild cat .... crazy ideas going off million hours per minute, mayhem breakig loose all the time ..... Rob is very reserved, soft spoken, quiet but very powerful personality. I like it both - many know me for being a bit of a wild man, but I have a strong side of quietness, thinking over many things, stuff like that. Both Rob and Sebastian are great artists in their own right and I do feel greatful that I have have worked with and shared the stage with them and some of the best Metal vocalists in the world - some of them
are Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Chuck Billy, Bruce Dinckinson, Geoff Tate, Joacim Cans, Mike Vescera and the list goes on.

4. Comments have been said in the vein that Sebastian is "high maintenance", "difficult to work with", and is why he does not keep people in his band for too long. Similar comments have been made about John Schaffer from Iced Earth. What are your thoughts on this?

METALMIKE: Well, this is up to each and everyone's own perception of what difficult it. I have learned to walk the line of being a team member, and at the same time not letting anyone spit in my soup. When I join a project I like to agree on basic ways of how we will conduct things in the camp and after that initial agreement, things are usually pretty easy. I don't bring people surprises. We agree on how to do things, they pay me well and I deliver my end of the deal, that is all. After that, we just have as much fun as possible, which usually ends up
in high hotel room bills, ha.

5. What is the music sounding like that your working on with Sebastian Bach?

METALMIKE: I would say a mix of the stuff that people know him for as played with a metal band. Some more agressive things that people have not heard from Sebastian will make it into the CD.

6. How has response been to the debut album from Painmuseum and have you started writing a follow up? If so, what is that music sounding like?

METALMIKE: I am absolutely satisfied from the response to our debut "Metal For Life". It reached the hearts of fans that we are interested in - the real Metal fans who grew up on early Metallica, Death, Megadeth, Testament or Overkill. Press has been also very kind to us which is nice to have ..... Germany's HEAVY Order Was? Magazine said this about our debut "Finally a band that delivered ud an album in the tradition of Pantera's Vulgar display Of Power and Machine Head's Burn My Eyes. Any Questions?" So you see, we have hit the right chord with the press, but even more important to us as a band; the fans. For me it was not a choice whether I put together this band or what band soundling like this or that .... I found the musicians whose style I like and we put a record together that satisfied us as fans first. The business aspect of it - the marketing of the music and all that ... was left to check into later. This looking back, was a really dangerous move on my part. But you know, I only have one heart. I will not lie to myself or to our fans and I have to sleep well at night, so I make the music that speaks to me at the end of the day. We have been working on some things for the next album, but its early ..... I have about 6 songs completed musically and Tim and I wil continue to write together all the lyrics and such.

7. Do you see your singer using the same vocal style on the next album?

METALMIKE: He has no choice, its the way he sings, ha. ha. But with that said, the band does continue to grow, so some new ideas and approaches will enter the mix. While PainmuseuM will always keep the integrity and its own style in each record, we will not make xerox copies of our previous albums. This is not the band to do that. With doing albums with the best teams available, and I'm refering to Halford albums, I have a good persepctive on making a real album, looking at things from many angles, fitting all the pieces to make things work. To make something that will make sence 10 years from now. There is too many bands doing an album a year, playing the same festivals and then its doing another same album, like an assembly line. Sorry, that's not for me.

8. Any tour dates, either in the States or overseas, in the works?

METALMIKE: YES!! PainmuseuM will embark on our first headlining EAST COAST VIOLENCE TOUR 2006 ... we will start in NJ and end up in Toronto, Canada. Tour kicks off on June 8th in NJ. Please check out www.myspace.com/painmuseum or www.painmuseum.com for all the dates and info. We do hope to see everyone there and let's forget NU and put TRUE back into the Metal. You can also preview all tracks from our debut here: www.cdbaby.com/metalmike

9. You make the occasional stop into the studio for WDHA's Metal Mania with Matt Murray. Tell us about the Metal Superfriends and how that came about?

METALMIKE: Matt and I have become good friends through a hook-up by Skateboard Marketing guru Munsey. So, you know I would look into the fridge in my studio where I also have a bar and I'd grab a few cold ones and go over to the station to listen to Matt spin Metal. Just a laid back kinda vibe, very cool. So, we tend to know some of the same people from aroun dthe area like Jack from Seven Witches, Ted from Danger Danger or Queen V and Matt started calling us Metal Superfriends .... its just a joke really, untill one day we were presented by a local NJ artist F. Garofolo with this huge drawing that he did of all of us. Of course he painted me as a viking, go figure.

10. You have performed live Judas priest, Testament, and Skid Row songs. What are your favorites to play by each band and why?

METALMIKE: Well, ok ...Im sure there are others, but here are the main ones. Priest: Painkiller, Electric Eye, Riding On The Wind, Another Thing Coming Testament: Practice What Your Preach, Over The Wall, Disciples Of The Watch, Into The Pit, DNR .. well, what's the sence, let's face it Testament is fucking brilliant and I love all the shit. Skid Row: Slave To The Grind, Youth Gone Wild, Big Guns (Mostly because girls show their breasts during this one)

11. What is in the future for you?

METALMIKE: Immediate future? In about 3 minutes I'll be having a nice import beer. But, you know more seriously... just keeping things going ..... PainmuseuM will release an EP with a new studio track, Speak The Name video, animated menus, galleries, wallapepers and all that. In the Summer Halford will release its back catalog remastered with bonus tracks. I'll finish off the album with Sebastian. PainmuseuM tour, Bach tour, Festivals in Europe, new album from PainmuseuM and more touring. Like I said 10 years ago, I just want to make killer Metal albums and tour non stop.

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