Storm of Perception's Brian Herring on The Band's Supernatural Past, and Metallica vs Pantera

I respect Prescott for a handful of things: eclectic art, historic buildings (Prescott has hundreds on the National Historic Registry), and for being host to the world's oldest rodeo. And, of course, Whiskey Row, where a friend and I decided to take a shot of Jameson at every bar before heading to the Lynyrd Skynyrd show and staying the night in a crank-elevator hotel that I swear had bloodstains on the walls.

But one thing I never really considered was the Prescott music scene, until the six-piece melodic/classical metal outfit Storm of Perception was brought to my attention. Storm of Perception moves from extreme metal to light keyboard interludes, and the intricate dueling guitar transitions are as smooth as velvet. They seem to channel power metal and growls, melodic bridges, and high, mighty vocals from such favorites as Pantera, Metallica, and Iron Maiden, respectively. And from what I've seen, they exhibit fantastic execution in their music, with all the members lost in deep concentration.

They also can come off as theatrical and slightly goofy, as in their debut single/video, "Tempest (Rebirth)"; though that might just be due to the Viking-style helmet adorning the bass player's head.

Storm of Perception is scheduled to perform Saturday, March 3, at Club Red in Tempe.

All the members have unusual back stories and its clear you don't want to fuck with them, which is pretty normal in a place like Prescott.

Stevie Thunder (drums) was born a Mormon and now manages Prescott's television station. Dylan Doherty (guitars/vocals) is a desert-dweller and astronomer, known for his skill of sucking juice from a cactus and eating mesqual worms. R.J. Felo (guitar/vocals) is an astronomer who came to Arizona for the stars, as well as a computer tech and martial artist. Mike Gim-Lee (bass) is a former sailor and works as a gunsmith. And Billy Fugate has been playing the keyboards since the age of 10, and also dabbles in archery and martial arts.

Storm of Perception vocalist Brian Herring talked with Up On The Sun about being struck by lightning, the uniqueness of the Prescott music scene, and working with music execs Heather and Alan Niven (Guns n' Roses, Great White).

Up on the Sun: How do you describe Storm of Perception's music?

Brian Herring: Melodic, aggressive. Entertaining! True to the mind, heart and soul. We very much pull from our influences of past and mix that with what inspires us today. Our music is inside the box; yet, outside of the box at the same time. Mostly our music is fun. We can crank it loud, play it soft, shred it to the bone, or floor you with creative composition; these guys are amazing players.

Think quick: who's better in your mind, Metallica or Pantera?

That's tough, these bands happen to be my top two. I'll have to go with Metallica. I know for a fact RJ would agree with me, not sure about the rest of the guys [laughs]. Both bands were extremely instrumental in my upbringing. Obviously, both bands helped shape what heavy metal music is today. But, based on longevity, live performances and content, I'm sticking with the boys from the bay.

All of the members have some sort of supernatural story to tell, it seems. Is true you born during Mt. St. Helen's eruption in 1980? And lightning has struck within three feet of you three times?

[Laughs] Yes, it is true that lighting has struck close to me on different occasions. The most memorable was the first year I lived in Arizona, my first monsoon season. I was sitting in a chair near a large cottonwood tree. Lightning struck it and the shockwave was so overpowering that it knocked me backwards out of the chair. True story. I was a very young pup when Mt. St. Helen's blew, but it without a doubt my earliest memory. I can still see everyone running outside to the backyard than to the front yard to get a better view. Some may say that is when the 'beast' awoke...

With all the crazy professions, skills and backgrounds in the band, how do you think all these elements influence the band's sound? What makes it different from other bands in your opinion?

Our character is our music. Each of us are different from the others in so many ways; yet, we are able to communicate to each other. We understand one another and respect our differences. This band isn't about perception, it is a storm. If you can take anything from our unique backgrounds, it is this: with all the things in our lives, we dedicate ourselves to it, we practice, learn and grow, we adapt and evolve, we strive to be good at what we do whether it be in computers or running an AM news program. All of that is reflected in our music, with this band.

You guys remind me a little of the band Three Inches of Blood, very fantasy based, heavy, really into a lot of personal instead of musical influences. Does this seem to ring true with Storms of Perception?

Who needs to read about the same bio fodder over and over again as one trolls through the pages of music history? Does it matter who I listen to or which bands influenced our drummer? Go out and find your own likes and dislikes, don't leave it up to someone else to determine that for you. Through out music may be influenced by t hose bands we listen to, the larger and more important influence on our music is our own personal lives. And, yes, there is a sense of fantasy with this band but don't think for one second that our fantasy isn't a reflection of our reality.

You guys have been working a lot with music execs Heather and Alan Niven, known for working with Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, Great White and Dokken. What are the future plans you guys are putting together? More shows in the Valley hopefully?

Yes, Heather and Alan have been a blessing to this band. Their courage and confidence in Storm of Perception, alone, has helped define what this band is about and what our goals are. Their experience within the music world is mind-boggling. We have learned so much already from them; yet, there is still so much we can learn. The history of bands like Guns n' Roses or Great White are incredible resources to Storm. What mistakes were made? What worked? How can we be better? Wiser? We most certainly will be playing more shows down here in the Valley. One of our short-term goals is to establish ourselves as one of the premiere bands in the state, especially in Phoenix. Our debut album is about to be released. We are very excited about that. A lot of hard work and dedication has been bled into this album, not just by the guys you see on stage. The storm is much larger than you think.

Storm of Perception is scheduled to perform Saturday, March 3, at Club Red in Tempe.

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise