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Warrel Dane – Vocals for Nevermore

Date: 6/10/10
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. What is the Obsidian Conspiracy?

WARREL: If I told you what it meant I’d probably have a few paramedics come through the door ready to commit me to a mental asylum, hahaha. I think that if you listen to the lyrics, well obviously I know what its about, but I think its kind of obvious there is an on-going theme to it, dark subjects like murder, abortion, suicide, capital punishment…I guess its more obvious to me. But I think people will figure it out. It’s not a concept record and we already did one, "Dreaming Neon Black", and I don’t want to do a disservice to "Dreaming Neon" because its my personal favorite record I have ever done in my entire career. So I don’t ever want to do that again.

2. To me, "The Obsidian Conspiracy", musically, sounds similar to "This Godless Endeavor". Do you hear that as well and did the band try to create something with a similar style and sound?

WARREL: Not really, we never go into writing an album with any preconceived notions of what it’s going to sound like. It just happens. Concerning "Obsidian Conspiracy", I’ve heard so many things from so many people, about what they think this record sounds like. I’ve heard it sounds like "Dead Heart", "Enemies", "Godless"…I’m just glad we finished it, hahaha.

3. What are some of your favorite topics to tackle in the lyrics?

WARREL: Well two of them I wore out already, I tried to stay away from the political thing this time around. That was kind of a challenge for the new record, to come up with something different.

4. Is the artwork for "Obsidian Conspiracy" related to the lyrics?

WARREL: O yeah…whenever I work with Travis (Smith), he is an amazing artist and I love all the stuff he does, and whenever he has done a Nevermore cover I am always working with him, swapping ideas. I think he has outdone himself this time. Do you have the cd? All I have is the boxset so I’m not sure what is in the regular version, but he did this one piece that is real erotic with the woman with the Washington Monument that looks like a cock, hahaha. It’s very noticeable. Whenever we do covers I think the artwork reflects the lyrical tone, and I think he is really good at that. Really, I think it’s some of the best work he’s ever done, for us.

5. Tell us about the title for ‘The Blue Marble And The New Soul’?

WARREL: Well…there’s a story there…one of my friends just had a child and when I met this boy I was so struck how perfect, and beautiful, and new this child looked. And that song I completely took apart and re wrote the lyrics after seeing this new little guy, he was so cool, haha. And the blue marble…your on it right now…earth. The song is welcoming this kid into life, it’s gonna be rough though because the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. Whatever you do, don’t buy anything BP is selling because they are evil and fucked up so much shit. Really its all about oil and money, but that’s nothing new.

6. Were any new ideas or elements introduced into the making of “The Obsidian Conspiracy”?

WARREL: Well not really because at this point we are really in a comfort zone. It’s pretty much Jeff (Loomis – guitars) and I who do the writing and we know each other really well and have a really good back and forth thing. We live close together also which makes writing the album more convenient. It was pretty much business as usual. There’s a little bit of piano on the album, that’s about it.

7. What songs will you be adding from "The Obsidian Conspiracy" to the live show?

WARREL: We have been playing the lead-off track "The Termination Proclamation", the title track, ‘Your Poison Throne’ (the Europeans really love the chanting, rise…rise…rise) and I think it sounds better than the studio version because at this point I think we are really a better live band if that’s possible at this stage, hahaha. When we start rehearsals for the show in the U.S. we will probably throw in a couple more, plus a few more from "Dreaming Neon Black", "Politics of Ecstasy".

8. Which leads into my next question…there are a few song that I don’t recall seeing in the setlist as of lately. I’m curious of your thoughts and the possibility of including them?

a. ‘Timothy Leary’

WARREL: Hahaha…I would do that if I could get the entire band’s support. That’s one of those obscure tracks and we have never played it live, I don’t think.

b. ‘Silent Hedges/Double Dare’.

WARREL: O man, we played that many times and it’s no secret that I like Peter Murphy and Bauhaus and that old school goth stuff, Sisters of Mercy. The shit coming out right now is not real goth, its re-packaged glamed up. Yeah, there is no reason why we can’t play it, its been a while since we’ve done it. The coolest thing, man, is when Peter Murphy played a show here in Seattle and I got a call from somebody at our label (Century Media), and they said Peter wants you to come to the show. So Jeff and I went and he came out, met us, and said he was so happy someone actually did a cool cover version, and I quote "Normally…its dreadful goth bands", hahaha. And I asked him how he heard about it and he said "daddy told me", and then I realized he meant Daniel Ash the guitarist from Bauhaus. I was like a little geek fanboy at that point.

c. ‘The Tiananmen Man’.

WARREL: I would love to play that again. We did it back when "The Politics Of Ecstasy" came out. See, one of the problems with us is we fall back on the easy things when we work on a setlist and I have always tried to push the envelope a bit, everybody likes their comfort zone. That song is one of my favorites and the subject matter is still relevant.

d. ‘Poison Godmachine’

WARREL: Yeah…we did that one live quite a bit, again, I would love to play it again but again it boils down to the whole democracy thing when we all sit down in a room.

e. ‘Deconstruction’

WARREL: You know that was one of my picks for the last tour but it never happened, its one of my personal favorites. I think there are plans to play that on our next stretch of dates. Yeah, I love that song.

f. ‘Forever’

WARREL: I think if your ever going to see the song ‘Forever’ performed live, its going to be when, if we ever, perform "Dreaming Neon Black" in its entirety, which is a definite possibility, however, its going to take a lot of convincing from me to get everybody else into that idea. Like I said before, it’s my favorite record because it came from a very personal place. I think a lot of people would like to hear that album live.

g. ‘This Sacrament’

WARREL: Well we have done that in recent years so I don’t know what shows you have missed. I think we played it last summer at the festivals in Europe, and of course they get all the good stuff, hahaha, which is a common complaint I hear from people in the U.S…"Why do all the people in Europe get all the good stuff"? well, because they are more loyal and there’s many more of them.

9. Who is handling the second guitar duties and will he remain in the band after the tour?

WARREL: His name is Attila Vörös, from Hungary, whom I found on Youtube. One of my ex-girlfriends recommended checking him out and so I did and was impressed by his playing. He ended up touring with me and my solo band, and he can keep up with Jeff Loomis which is not an easy task. And you know, people talk about the "curse of the second guitar player in our band", not sure what it is but I hope this guy sticks around. He’s real easy to get along with.

10. Was much changed with the first three Nevermore albums ("Nevermore", "The Politics of Ecstasy", "Dreaming Neon Black") when they were re-mastered and re-issued, and are you happy with them?

WARREL: Ughh, I think the artwork was a little weird, the re-mastering thing was fine, I guess that’s what ever band does at a certain stage in their career. I mean that has a lot to do with record company politics, so they can make more money, which is understandable. But yeah, I was happy for the most part. As far as the re-mastering I don’t think they sound any better, its all "hey, here it is re-mastered, buy it again", which in this day and age, from my standout, is a way to rape your fans of extra money, but in the same people want that.

11. Are you satisfied with the success of the band at this stage?

WARREL: Well yeah, I can pay my rent and feed my cat, I’m a pretty easy guy to satisfy. I think this record is good enough to take us to another level, I don’t know…if it doesn’t I’m not gonna cry.

12. What would you like see improve?

WARREL: I don’t know really, that’s a hard question. All we can do is put out the best records we can and see what happens. The music business is so unpredictable, so convoluted, and there’s not a whole you can do to guarantee success accept for write good music and I think we are covered in that department.

13. Is there anything you would like to get involved with outside of Nevermore?

WARREL: Well I already have three music projects, Nevermore, my solo thing, and now Sanctuary has started making new music, so my plate is full. I’m going to be the master of scheduling in the next few months.

14. And what is in the future for Sanctuary?

WARREL: There’s gonna be another record. Not sure of touring but I have heard some music and its really fucking good. I’m working with the same band who record those first two albums. I can’t say what it’s gonna be like but hopefully by then end of the year there will enough music to think about recording. Also, at the same time as Nevermore is touring I will be working on new music for my next solo album. I just like using music as a new drug, music is intoxicating and I have to fill up my former drunk time with other things, hahaha, and I think music is a good alternative.

15. Do you remember most of the shows and places Nevermore have played? Reason I ask is I saw you guys somewhere in northwest Jersey in what was like a skating rink, one side of the venue had a roller rink, the other side had a stage?

WARREL: O God the Penny Arcade, and there was a roller rink. There’s weird venues like that all over the place. In North Dakota, I think, was a place that had a bowling alley in it and I’m a bowler which was very cool. That kind of makes it more special and surreal. At least there wasn’t a puppet show with it…hahahaha.

16. Plans for the rest of 2010 into 2011?

WARREL: U.S. tour starts in September with Warbringer, Mutiny Within, Hatesphere which will be cool, I like those bands. Really like Warbringer and Hatesphere. I’m an old schools thrash fan so that tour should be good. After that we do a European tour that I can’t announce yet. Then we’ll see what happens.

17. If there were one or two bands you could tour with, who would they be?

WARREL: O…Porcupine Tree although it may not be as fitting as some other choices. I could give you the standard stupid answer (with a silly voice) "we want to tour with Metallica", but I’m pretty sure that’s never gonna happen, we’re not on the right label, but that would be nice. I’m a realist, I’ve been doing this long enough to know what’s probably in, or not in, the future. I’d love to do a Black Metal tour, I listen to a lot of that music and people would probably be shocked by what I listen to, and it’s not all metal. I love "Battles Of The North" from Immortal, Emperor.

I also listen to a lot of rock music, there’s a reason why there is a Tea Party cover on "Obsidian Conspiracy". Tea Party are so damn good, "Transmission" is probably my favorite. Concrete Blonde is also very good. There are a lot of records I always go back to, like "Bloodletting" from Concrete Blonde, if you like female rock vocals.

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