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Ronny Munroe – Vocals for Metal Church

Date: 08/16/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino

 1. Tell us about the title “This Present Wasteland” and what that is?

RONNY: Basically its dealing with the present day and what’s going on in the world like war, the computer/digital age, pretty much all the bad crap going on. All the songs basically lean towards that type of topic. Kurdt (Vandurhoof) only wrote the lyrics to the song “Monster” and that one specifically deals with the computer age, downloading, and people who basically just sit at their computer and hide behind the keyboard. The people that go to Blabbermouth, Hahaha.

2. Can you give us maybe some specific topics addressed?

RONNY: Sure. “Deeds of a Dead Soul” is about evil people that even in death still reek havoc from beyond the grave, “Breath Again”, which is my favorite on the album, kind of Maidenesque, is about starting over releasing your sins, and “Mass Hysteria” is about the news/media and how they blow everything out of proportion and how people believe everything they hear. Its also about how the media hypes everything up scaring the public. I mean we don’t need to be scared any more than we already are.

3. What are your thoughts on the MK III era of Metal Church which you are part of, and do you see it as a natural progression after the David Wayne and Mike Howe periods?

RONNY: Well I’d like to say that I am happy to be part of Metal Church, I am happy Kurdt chose to hire me. Its an honor to be in Metal Church they are a great classic metal band that will go down in history. Since I have been in the band, you know the reformation, I think the music is a bit different than old Metal Church but I think that just comes with maturity in Kurdt’s writing. As you get older you write a bit differently or maybe you just follow a little different process. Actually there is no real formula, Kurdt (Vanderhoof – lead guitarist) writes the riffs and music from the heart, he then sends it to me and I come up with the lyrics. The music usually dictates the lyrics.

4. So you write all the lyrics?

RONNY: Yeah except for “Monster” on the new record and also on “A Light in the Dark” Kurdt wrote “Temples of the Sea” and he is a very good lyricist as well but he gives me the honor of doing them.

5. The music on “This Present Wasteland” maybe is a little more progressive than “A Light in the Dark”? Am I right making that observation?

RONNY: Well actually most people say the opposite and think this album is a little more bare bones. Yeah but you know everyone has their own opinion and as long as you like that’s all that really matters.

6. What has new guitarist Rick Van Zandt brought to the table?

RONNY: Well in my opinion, and no disrespect to our former guitarist Jay Reynolds or Craig Wells, but I think Rick is the best lead player Metal Church has ever had. And I think Kurdt would agree with that. He is from my old band Rottweiler and he is also in my solo band. We had a lot of qualified guys try out for the gig but we decided to keep it back home in Washington State and bring Rick in.

7. Was he involved in the songwriting for “This Present Wasteland”?

RONNY: No he wasn’t. Kurdt writes all the music and our bassist Steve Unger wrote one song but it is not on the record. Just normally Kurdt writes all the music.

8. Shooting any promo videos in support of “This Present Wasteland”?

RONNY: Not as of right now but we do have some plans for the future and what not that I can’t really discuss right now. Just keep checking in with our website www.metalchurchmusic.com and our Myspace page for updates as well as the Ronny Munroe Myspace page (www.myspace.com/ronnymunroe) as well.

9. Since you write the majority of the lyrics, do you write all the melody lines or does Kurdt get involved with that also?

RONNY: Generally I come in with all the songs written and we go over them in pre production where Kurdt will give his opinions, suggest changes, and the two of us will go back and forth until the song is where we want it to be. But generally my melody lines stick.

10. What is Jeff Plate’s status in the band since is involved with the Trans Siberian Orchestra?

RONNY: O he’s been in the band since “A Light in the Dark” and of course he, and Kurdt, are involved with TSO but that doesn’t interfere with Metal Church.

11. Plans to record a show for DVD?

RONNY: Well I know there is a documentary being made called “Beyond the Black” and I don’t know when is going to be done, but we have also had some offers to tape some shows for a DVD. When we decide to do that we want to do it right.

12. Would you like to do it here in the States and at one of the big festivals in Europe?

RONNY: Either place man as long we get to play I don’t care where its at.

13. Touring plans?

RONNY: Things are being planned for next summer and some shows coming up soon but nothing I can confirm yet. We did have some things lined up but that didn’t pan out unfortunately because we didn’t have the right people working for us. Now we have the right people setting up shows so everything should hopefully come together.

14. Is the US included in the touring plans?

RONNY: O yeah man definitely.

15. How about songs in the setlist. I have seen Metal Church with you singing a couple times and usually from what I read online, the set consists of the classics from the self titled debut and “The Dark”, a couple from “Blessing in Disguise” and “The Human Factor”, and then newer stuff which you sang on from “Weight of the World” and “A Light in the Dark”. Do you ever include songs from the ‘Masterpiece” or “Hanging in the Balance” albums?

RONNY: No, we haven’t done anything from “Masterpiece”, I know just from the two shows we have done (with Queensryche) we have done “Date with Poverty” from the Mike Howe era. And yeah right now we mostly hit on the first two records but in the future and other dates we are gonna add more songs. On the last tour we did “Fake Healer” and from the newest record we are doing “In the Company of Sorrow”.

16. Are involved in any side projects?

RONNY: Yes I have the Ronny Munroe side project and Kurdt is producing/engineering it for me. And Kurdt also has the Presto Ballet project which is a prog rock thing and its very good if your into that kind of music. My album is pretty much straight ahead metal. We just started doing drum tracks and the goal is to do a couple tours on my own while the guys are out with TSO. Rick Van Zandt is playing guitar along with Rick Pierce, the bass player from Rottweiler, and Dave Van Zandt, who’s Rick’s son, played drums with us when we did Rocklahoma and he did great but I am trying to find a drummer who can tour with us.

17. How was Rocklahoma?

RONNY: It went great man. Thank God we played Friday instead of Saturday because that’s when the storm hit and knocked down the side stages. I went on around 5:30 on the Retrospec Records stage. I had a lot of compliments on my solo songs and people are anticipating the album’s release.

18. Has Metal Church been asked to play yet?

RONN1Y: O yeah they’ve asked so let’s see if we can get on next year.

19. Do you have bands you would like to take out with Metal Church when you tour next year?

RONNY: I would love to tour with Dio, Maiden, Priest, Saxon would be awesome since they never tour the States. We took 3 Inches of Blood out with us when Metal Church reformed and they were great. I don’t know, I’d have to think about that one.

20. Are there any newer bands you like?

RONNY: I don’t really listen to a lot of new metal I like more of the classic stuff. But I do really like Evergrey, they are a progressive band, that singer has so much emotion in his voice.

21. Closing comments.

RONNY: Well let the people know the record comes out September 23 in the States, the 22nd in Europe, and the 19th in Germany. Please everybody go out and buy the record don’t download it Hahaha and we will see you on the road soon.

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