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Richard Christy – Drums for Charred Walls Of The Damned

Date: 1/27/10
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Richard…Its good to talk to not only another Rich (which doesn’t happen that often), but I was doing my homework and also learned from your website that we also have very similar tastes in Horror movies.

RICHARD: Yeah I know, I don’t remember having any other friends named Richard when I was growing up, hahaha. Well…did you see the new horror movie House Of The Devil? Its pretty good, not as good as I thought it would be but what’s cool is it’s in the style of an 80s horror movie which you don’t see all that often. They even put it out on VHS. It takes a long time to get going but it’s decent. But I gotta tell ya, my favorite horror film that recently came out is a Spanish one called REC. I cannot recommend that movie enough. It’s the first movie since I was a kid that made me jump and freak me out. The U.S. version is dubbed in English and doesn’t sound right, but I recommend the Spanish version with English subtitles.

2. You know what horror movie I highly recommend that came out in the last few years is Trick R Treat.

RICHARD: I love Trick R Treat…the director Michael Dougherty came to New York, he actually flew with the film reels and showed it to a small crowd at a little theater and this was before he even knew if it was gonna be released. He just wanted to get some buzz about it and it was delayed for a couple years. I was blown away when I saw it and tried to get the word out online. I’m glad it finally got released to DVD last year (2009). Its gonna be one of those movies that I will always watch during the Halloween season.

3. Your musical career took a backseat to your day job being a comedian/writer for Howard Stern. While working with Howard were you still involved in music?

RICHARD: O definitely, I went to all the heavy metal shows that came to New York city. I even got on stage and jammed with a few. Shadows Fall were playing a show in New Jersey and my good buddy Jason Bittner just handed me the sticks and I jumped on the drums for cover of Motley Crue’s ’Live Wire’ which was really cool. Several years back I had a few weeks off from the Stern Show I went on the road with Lamb Of God which was fun. Metal is always something I’m involved with, always practicing and playing, when I moved to New York I still practiced guitar and drums after work, and I always knew I wanted to get back into recording and touring. It was just a matter of when I felt like getting back into it and had some songs that I felt confident about. So a couple years ago that’s when it happened when I formed Charred Walls Of The Damned.

4. You have played in several bands; The Elite, Leash Law, Control Denied, Death, Iced Earth, and more recently Burning Inside. Which band were you most involved with in the creative process?

RICHARD: Funny you mentioned The Elite cause I think some of it is on YouTube. It’s a friend of mine who is kind of a character, Skip Skifington, who sings and its kind of a fun project that I do with my buddies in Missouri, but as far as creative process I probably had the most input with Burning Inside. I wrote some of the lyrics and riffs, wrote a full few songs towards the end. But really every band I have been in I have been fortunate enough to be involved someway in the creative process mostly in how the drum parts would be. But with Charred Walls Of The Damned I have really taken the reigns and am in charge of everything. But at the same time when I contacted Jason Suecof (Guitar & Producer), Tim Ripper Owens (Vocals), and Steve Digiorgio (Bass), I told them I want them to be part of the creative process and hear their input. But since everyone is from different parts of the country it was just easier for me to write and demo all the music here in New York City and then when we get ready to go into the studio that’s when we start collaborating on ideas before we record the finished product.

5. Being a big horror fan, how was it to play on Iced Earth’s "Horror Show" album?

RICHARD: Well I remember talking to John Schaffer on the phone right when I joined Iced Earth and he told me that the next album was going to be a horror themed album and I was like jumping up and down for joy because I don’t even know if at the time he knew I was such a horror fan. It was just so cool and exciting. And John is such fan of those old classic Universal Studios horror monsters and so am I. I have all those movies (and box sets) and still have all the Iced Earth T shirts with Dracula, Wolfman on them. I mean I was already a fan of Iced Earth, then I get in the band, and the first album I play on is horror themed…I was just ecstatic.

6. Do you get involved in the Horror industry, be it movies, collecting, soundtracks, haunted attractions?

RICHARD: O yeah absolutely. I am involved with the genre as much as I can. I was recently in a movie called Albino Farm that was released on DVD last year and it also features the wrestler Chris Jericho (also from the band Fozzy). Chris is also a big metalhead and it was so cool for the whole time we were on the set we hung out and listened to metal when we weren’t workin. I play a creepy religious fanatic type guy in this small town in Missouri, and since 1994 I’ve been filming low budget horror comedies, one is called Evil Ned 3. I did three horror and one comedy, one movie was almost three hours long and I had to cut it down to two hours. I even did a short that was like a Viking metal comedy rock opera called Majestic Loin Cloth (which is on YouTube) and that came from the idea of doing a movie about Viking’s singing metal music. The good guys sing in power metal and the bad guys death metal. Its something I do on weekends for fun. Most of what I have done, as far as directing, is super super low budget.

But I did write a horror script that I am shopping around and have been working on for seven or eight years that I’m really proud of. Its something I love doing. I’ve been such a huge fan of horror since I saw John Carpenter’s The Thing at the Drive In when I was 8 years old.

Now, I am even writing an article for Decibel magazine, its called Richard Christie’s Horrorscope. My first article was about my love for Halloween 3 Season of the Witch which I think is very underrated, people either love or hate that installment in the Halloween series because Michael Myers is not in the movie. Its my favorite of the Halloween series (aside from the first one of course). And my next movie I’m writing about is REC from Spain.

I go to all the conventions and made a lot of friends with different actors and directors, special effects artists, I appeared at the Fangoria convention last year in Vegas which was a lot of fun. I’m in talks with some other directors right now to be involved in a few more movies, I just did a horror movie that Fangoria magazine was involved with called Killer Hoohas. Yeah man, horror, metal and comedy are all passions of mine so luckily I can be involved in all three.

And something else that happened last year that was really cool was I became friends with this horror writer Brian Keen. He’s written some amazing novels, and put myself and Sal Governale (who I work with on the Howard Stern show) in his novel titled Castaways and it was really weird to read about me getting ripped apart these creatures on a remote island.

I have also been working on filming a horror short with my good friend Mike Schiff (who directed the video for ‘Ghost Town’ off the debut from Charred Walls Of the Damned). That video was a lot of fun and it was like filming a mini horror movie. We actually got to film at a haunted attraction called Shocktober Fest which I go to every Halloween in Pennsylvania ( I travel all over the country every year to see different haunted attractions). The owner Pat, from Shocktober Fest, basically just opened the doors to the haunted house and said lock the doors when your done. And come to think of it, the song ‘The Darkest Eyes’ on Charred Walls Of The Damned, is actually inspired by my love of horror, John Carpenter and Stephen King. Because one day I was thinking about how there are certain who have a vision of just how and what scares people and that really is a gift. Not everybody can envision horror creatures, planets, etc, that really scares people.

7. What are your Top 5 Horror Movies?

RICHARD: I am a total John Carpenter worshipper. Halloween, The Thing, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, and George Romero’s Creepshow, and actually I got to hang out with George in 2000. I had some frequent flyer miles from touring with Iced Earth and Death and I flew to L.A. for a 22nd anniversary screening of Halloween and there was an invitation only pre party near the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. So we stood in front of the restaurant where the pre party was and George Romero was standing outside smoking a cigarette and he just comes up to me and my buddy, starts talking to us and he goes "are you guys coming to this party" and we said no and he goes "come on you guys are with me". So George takes us into this private party for Halloween where Bruce Cambell (from the Evil Dead movies), Jamie Lee Curtis, Ashley Lawrence from Hellraiser, Kevin Williamson (writer of the Scream movies), and pretty much the cast of the original Halloween, and George goes up the bar and says "what are you guys drinking"? I said "I want whatever your drinking George". It was one of the coolest things ever.

8. What are your Top 5 Monster movies?

RICHARD: All of the Godzilla movies, I remember when I was a kid living in Kansas I would try and work the rabbit ears on our TV to watch the movies. I even had one of those Godzilla toys when the plastic tongue lashed out and the fist goes flyin.

# 2, I have to put the same movie into two lists and again say The Thing. That has one of, if not, the coolest monsters in a movie. The special effects artist Rob Bottin was like only 21 when he made that creature and I don’t think there will ever be another creature like it. Having the actual monster on set with the actors is just so much more natural looking than something computer generated and that creature from The Thing still holds up today. I am not a big fan of computer effects, I love traditional special effects, and I don’t think you can achieve a look like what they got with The Thing with computers. I saw it at the Drive In when I was 8 years old and I think its still one of my favorite monster movies.

# 3 probably Alien, the scene where the Alien pops out of the guys chest is just a classic moment, shocking and gruesome.

# 4, An American Werewolf In London. That scene in the subway where the guy is crawling up the escalator and you see this massive werewolf on all fours coming towards him is just one of the scariest scenes ever. And Rick Baker, I am so excited about this new Wolfman movie, because I am such a huge fan of Rick’s work.

The Wolfman maze at Universal Studios Horror Nights was really cool too. I always said if there is a heaven it would be that I could spend an eternity at Halloween Horror Nights. I have been to Universal Studios Horror Nights since 1996 and remember being on tour in Europe with the band Death in 98 and being so bummed because they don’t celebrate Halloween in Europe. When I got back home (to Florida) before Halloween and I went to Halloween Horror Nights and watched horror movies all day every day because I felt like I missed out on much.

# 5 would be Cloverfield, I think that creature looked really cool and I liked the style it was shot in.

9. How long have you been working on this band Charred Walls Of The Damned?

RICHARD: Its been about two years but the riffs I’ve had for several years. I’ve been playing guitar since 1992 and really started playing when I moved here to New York. About two years ago I really got serious about writing songs and putting my riffs together and once I had about seven good songs I started to form this band. Its very exciting. I finished writing all the songs about a year ago, went in the studio last summer and signed with Metal Blade Records. Going from just some riffs to releasing an album in two years, I’m pretty happy with that.

10. In what direction did you take the music?

RICHARD: I wanted it to be heavy but melodic and catchy. When I wrote these songs I knew I wanted it to be heavy metal but not in a specific genre. I think it even applies to the heaviest of metal, the best stuff is heavy yet catchy, it can even happen with the best black metal. I’m into all styles of heavy metal so I tried to throw a little bit of that in this album.

11. The band who played on the album will they also do the live shows?

RICHARD: Yes. When I put this band together I let them know I wanted to do some touring and understood everyone in the band was busy. The other guys play in other bands so we will work schedules out and play some shows. I want to play some shows in Europe and the U.S. this summer, maybe the New England Metal Fest. We want to go to Canada and South America. We wont be able to tour for a month straight say but we can make some things happen.

12. Do you write both the music and lyrics?

RICHARD: Yeah I do. For this album I wrote and demoed all the music and lyrics, and then when we got ready to go into the studio I went in with Jason Suecof and I knew that the songs would change somewhat from the demos because I’m not a great guitar player, just good enough to write some songs. I wanted Jason to improve on the riffs, plus he is a great songwriter. And Steve is an excellent guitar player so I told him to do his own thing. He’s such a creative player. Same thing with Tim, we somewhat followed my demos but Jason came up with a lot of ideas and Tim contributed as well.

13. Who are some of your favorite newer heavy metal bands?

RICHARD: Well they are not really new but they are becoming much more popular now, Amon Amarth. I’m psyched they are on Metal Blade records, I think "With Oden On Our Side" is one of the best metal albums of all time, every song is perfect on that album. I really like Volbeat I just saw them with Metallica at Madison Square Garden. I’m a massive fan of Coheed and Cambria and got introduce them at Madison Square Garden. They are coming out with a new album in April. And then there are the classics who I still listen to like Wrathchild America, Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, Maiden, Priest, Testament, Megadeth. There are just so many.

Official website: http://www.richardchristy.com


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