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John Gallagher – Bass, Vocals for Raven

Date: 4/15
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. I listened to the song for ‘Destroy All Monsters’, a title that has around for a long time, which also has a lyric video. The new album, from which that song is from, “Extermination”, is Raven’s 13th album. What were the goals?

JOHN: Well we did have the live album from Japan called “Destroy All Monsters”, from 1995-96, we always said we should do a song with that title. So when we were doing the batch for this one my brother said he had a few riffs. The goals were you want your next album to better than the one before. I was real happy with “Walk Through Fire” in 2009 after Mark’s accident. We had a lot to prove, and it was well received, did a lot of touring. Then after we did the DVD, “Rock Till You Drop”, and toured for that. After that we started working on “extermination”, had about twenty five songs, and narrowed those down. Talking about riffs, arrangements, song length, rearranging, etc. which songs would be on the backburner for next album. We recorded it like we normally do, we did this album where we did “Walk Through Fire” at Assembly Live Studios in Virginia because we had a winning team. We used some different equipment for this one because equipment changes all the time, and we were blown away with the guitar, drum, and bass sounds. We jammed, played without a click track. No file sharing across the country, its fine for writing, but the recording process needs to have the musicians together, if not, then its like word processing. Its all about feel, and you can only get that by interacting with the band together in a room. Can you imagine Led Zepplin doing Zepplin “II” on ProTools? “ O no, redo this, etc”. I actually had a chance to ask the guy involved, Eddie Kramer, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ breaks down near the end, and you hear Robert’s vocal, and that is a function of tape, when you wind it in a certain way the audio leaks through to the next layer of tape, and its like a pre-echo, you hear the part before the part. And when they got that they didn’t know what to do, but they decided it sounded great and left it. There’s an example of how accidents can sometimes work out to be the coolest thing, and we always leave a little room for that while recording. And you can’t get that with file sharing.

2. Looking back on the last album, “Walking Through Fire”, how do those songs hold up to what’s on “Extermination”?

JOHN: “Walking Through Fire” is a good album, but there are parts where I think it could have been better. With “Extermination{‘ we had more time to work on these songs, better sounds, tighter arrangements, there is a progression. At this stage of the game if you are not getting better, or as good as your classic stuff the band is known for, then why bother?

3. If someone asked you for recommendations to check out first from “extermination”, what songs do you think are the best?

OHN: ‘Destroy All Monsters’, ‘Scream’ a fast double kick thing with a couple nice mix of changes, ‘One More Day’, ‘Tomorrow’ is similar to ‘Seek and Destroy’. ‘Silver Bullet’. They are a few, but it is hard to pick out favorites on this one, a lot of good ones.

4. You used a Kickstarter program to help pay the cost of the production of the album. What did this afford you on recording this album, that you did not have for the previous?

JOHN: Most importantly it gave us more time, and money. The three of us are located in different places, so to make this a more collaborative effort we wanted to all be in the same room. And that costs money. So the Crowd funding suggestion came up to help out with the cost. And when it came to what to do for the fans who pitch in for the program we didn’t want to give em the usual T-shirt, autograph pics, etc. So when we were jamming in the studio I thought we should do some recording and it sounded awesome. It took a few days, eleven tracks of covers, called “Party Killers”, near and dear to our hearts that includes Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, Status Quo, David Bowie, Slade. It was a lot of fun and a great companion to “Extermination” and exclusive only to the Kickstater backers. But I’m sure we will release it at some point down the line.

5. Are you shooting any promo videos for “Extermination”?

JOHN: We did shoot some stuff and my brother is editing some stuff for a couple songs, but I just don’t remember what songs we picked. Hahaha. We did something for ‘Fireball’ the Deep Purple song.

6. What are the tentative touring plans as of now?

JOHN: Japan in July which is great because heavy metal still is loved. Two weeks in America in last two weeks of July. European tour in Sept/Oct if it comes together. No European summer festivals this year because they plan those so far ahead, and we just got a new agent so it delayed us, plus with the recording of the new album.

7. With metal music on the upswing in the last ten years, give or take, has Raven benefitted from this?

JOHN: Yes, it really has, even though during that time it was about Mark getting better and back on his feet again as well. We started playing again more in 2004, we did a couple festivals in 2005, a few more in 2006, and since then we really started getting back in action. Through that there is definitely a resurgence and interest in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands from the early 80s. And its cool because even though we have been pretty active since our start, now since heavy metal music has become more popular there are a lot of these bands who only had a couple albums come out in the early 80s and broke up who are now getting back together and having another go at it. Since we have become more active again we have gotten to do so many cool things, played South America opening for Metallica, playing Columbia and Finland for the first time this year.

8. Is there a Raven album you feel is underrated and why?

JOHN: “Glow” and “Everything Louder”, “Glow” has some good experimental stuff on it, even a couple ballads, and it never really had a US release. “Everything Louder” is my pet project one day to get a real mix of that one, it’s a good album.

9. What are your thoughts on one of my favorite albums, “Architect Of Fear”?

JOHN: I love it, actually I think “extermination” is “All For One” crossed with “Architect”. It’s a great sounding record, and we definitely wanted some of that back in this new album. We recorded that album in Germany, and there was definitely a mindset of making a heavy album, and the album before it, “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess” was also a great album. We sometimes throw in the live set the title track, ‘White Hot Anger’, we have done ‘Part Of The Machine’, ‘Blind Leading The Blind’, and ‘Relentless’.

10. What is the availability of the Raven back catalogue?

JOHN: unfortunately they are generally only available as bootleg copies when I make copies of them and sell em at the gigs. From what I understand the catalogue is changing hands again, the early stuff to BMG. So at some point someone will be in touch with me about reissues. It would be nice to get our rights back to that stuff at some point, and the original masters to do some remixing/remastering.

11. Have the Raven album ever been properly remastered?

John: Well it depends what you mean by “properly”, “Rock Till You Drop”, “Wiped Out”, and “All For One” have been twice, and the Century reissues are the best versions with extra tracks, etc. The Atlantic stuff on Mayhem is straight forward. “Stay Hard” goes for stupid prices online. Hopefully we can do some proper reissues at some point.

12. Do you have left over songs that could be included on reissues?

JOHN: I have some demos for the “Stay Hard” sessions, a couple ones, which were cringe worthy tho, haha, for “The Pack Is Back”, a couple demos before “Stay Hard”. We used a couple before, one called ‘Nightmare Ride’, which is on the “Raw Tracks” album, and ‘Savage & The Hungry”.

13. What new metal bands do you like?

JOHN: I like Air Raid from Sweden, Night Demon, Cauldron, Vulture, Bats, Rival Sons, California Breed, Winery Dogs.

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


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