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Interview with Wiley Arnett of Sacred Reich, Part 2

"When you’re 18, there’s nothing more important than signing tits in Holland or Germany!" -- Wiley Arnett

By Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

Here’s part two of New Times’ August 15th interview with Sacred Reich/Human Condition guitarist Wiley Arnett.

A lot of people must’ve been surprised, with a name like Sacred Reich, that you weren’t Nazis. Was that Phil’s idea?

It’s true that we had an opportunity to change the name when it really wouldn’t have affected anything, because we were a local band doing cover tunes, with a small handful of originals. So we were clay. We could have been anything we wanted to. Interesting story, Dan Kelly, Sacred Reich original singer, and Paul Stottler went out on a road trip to California and they went into Hollywood. There was a gang there that was tagging, putting graffiti on the walls. They were SR-13. They did the equal sign with the SR, and then a jagged 13 below it. Well, these guys were young and impressionable, and the SR stuck with ‘em. So when they came back, they started using the equal sign, and this jagged SR, which is hauntingly similar to date to the way we use SR. It’s pretty much identical to what this gang was doing in Hollywood around ‘83-’84-’85. We really fell in love with SR, but we didn’t want to be called “SR.”

So we started thinking of all kinds of things that SR could be the acronym of. I wish I still had the list ‘cuz there were some pretty fuckin’ funny ones. Sacred Reich came up, and one of the first comments, when we were looking at a list of a lot of different possibilities was, ‘well, look at this one --- I’ll tell you what, when someone reads that, they’re gonna know it’s not a fuckin’ country band.’ We started embracing it right then. Then we thought, ‘well, we’re kind of a thoughtful band, so we should probably be able to explain this --- which was all contrived, [laughs] because what came first was the initials. We really needed to put on our thinking cap and think of a way to explain why a Jewish singer, who really is not pro-Nazi, would lead a band called Sacred Reich. Now I’ll share with you what I came up with [assumes oratory tone]: “Sacred Reich is a sarcastic over-exaggeration of what can happen when people become apathetic and let people like Hitler rise to power.”

Well that matches anyway. It’s pretty much right-on with what the band was about.

It’s in the spirit of where we were coming from. And it’s an attention-getter. Honestly, there were some odd times. I remember pulling up to a show --- I think it was in Tennessee, or somewhere in the Bible Belt --- up in the little billboard where they put your name, it said, “Tonight: Sacred Reich, 8 p.m.” And there were police sitting under the sign. Like four cop cars. We didn’t know what they were doing. It turned out they were waiting for us. I believe Gloria was tour-managing for us at the time. We pour out of the bus, wanting to see the stage, asking ‘is there anything to drink?’ Normal stuff. And we get interrupted by these officers: “What the hell is going on here?” And we’re like “what?” So now we’re in this awkward position of explaining to the local police that this is not a Nazi youth rally. At one point, I believe someone fetched a record to show them the lyrics to “One Nation.” Slowly, you could kind of see them get that we were contradicting everything they’d heard. They were prepared to shut it down. They didn’t realize it was a rock show. It was all based on “Tonight! Live! Sacred Reich...”

But it was an intentional curve ball. It may have been obvious to some people, but...

I think “sacred” means holy, and “reich” means Nazi. It’s pretty misleading. [Laughs.] I’ll be the first to admit it. I even recall some nasty letters, back before e-mail, in the early ‘80s, when people heard Surf Nicaragua who’d gone through the whole Ignorance experience believing we were Nazis. I’m like ‘you’re not listening --- “State of Emergency” about Apartheid in South Africa?’ They’re not listening. They’re banging their heads so hard, they’re not listening. These were neo-Nazi skinheads, who definitely weren’t the people we were trying to light on fire. [Editor’s note: “State of Emergency” is actually on The American Way.]

Speaking of banging your head, that argument at the beginning of “31 Flavors,” how real or how staged was that? When someone in the band says “dude, that’s not metal!”

It was contrived. The idea was not to be cheesy, and we fought hard for it not to be cheesy. We did do it in one take, because we knew if we did it in two takes, we couldn’t sleep with ourselves. Because it was kinda cheesy and it wasn’t like us to contrive something. But the idea was --- we had interfaced with so many people --- we really liked all kinds of music. If you went on our tour bus in-between heavy metal shows, you would hear the Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Edie Brickell... [laughs]. I mean, if you rode with us hundreds of miles between rock shows, you were exposed to all these kinds of music. And every once in a while we would run into people --- sometimes professional, sometimes just fans --- and if they would see a Mother’s Milk t-shirt on Phil or myself or hear us rockin’ out to Edie Brickell, they would get so disappointed. So we started coining the phrase, ‘oh, he’s a metal dude.’ We’d kinda show the horns, like [sarcastically:] ‘Full-metal! If it’s not metal, it’s not real.’ It was ironic, because we were caught up in the middle of an underground movement, and we seemed like the last people who would be waving that flag. But that’s really how we felt. So we thought by doing that intro, we get people to stop and look in the mirror. [Exaggerates metal dude voice:] ‘Wait a minute, that ain’t metal!’

That was you.

Yeah, and if you look further, which many people didn’t, you’ll see that I also carry writer’s rights on that song. No, that wasn’t a microphone at rehearsal catching me disagreeing. I contributed heavily to the writing of that song. It’s a real badge of honor. To bring a horn section in on a heavy metal record was crazy and a lot of people thought we were nuts. But at the end of the day, it’s a real badge of honor that we pulled it off. I think it’s a great fuckin’ song. And Phil did amazing with the lyrics.

Moving into the future to shortly after that, why did Greg leave?

You know, I think Greg’s the only one who can answer that. I’ve heard so much speculation, ranging from bad feelings with the band or bad feelings with management, or concern about a mother who was getting older. I’ve heard so many things, but what I tend to tell people is that he may have been the first of us to mature, to have a priority change in his life. Where he started prioritizing time with his loved ones as more important than signing tits in Germany. And there comes a time where one is more important than the other. I mean, when you’re 18, there’s nothing more important than signing tits in Holland or Germany! Or wherever the hell you are. But, as you get older, you kinda go [deflated:] ‘oh, we could do this for eight weeks at a time, go home for two weeks and go out for eleven weeks --- we could do this forever. It feels that way. But what are we missing out on?’ Personally, I buried a few people over the phone. I think we all did. You know, you call home to check in and Grandma’s on her deathbed. And you’re like ‘well, I need to be there.’ And then you look forward and you realize that these promoters that you don’t know on different continents have invested money on posters, there’s pre-sales, and there’s 22 crew members who count on this tour to move forward --- what, everyone’s gonna go home because my grandma died? So it becomes and awkward thing. We were high-school dropout kids and we learned to be professional musicians, you know, on the road. And part of that is staying at work when home’s going to hell. It became harder.

No regrets --- we were really optimistic that if we kept at it, we would land at gold, even platinum, status, and we would share our success with our families. But what kept proving to be the reality was, the band was just successful enough to perpetuate this underground cult following but keep us not making enough money to bring everyone along with us. So it became a decision: do you wanna be away from your family for another eight weeks, or would you like to just come home for a while?

And be away to break even at a job you’ve been doing --- at that point, 14 years.

Yeah. I had to sit with my mom hours a day, a few days a week, a few weeks a month, a few months a year, for the first year to introduce her to her thirty year-old son. Because I never saw her! You come home from tour, and the girlfriend you left behind jumps you like a... it’s so great, when you haven’t seen everyone, you just get jumped and everything is brand new. You go from house to house, and you haven’t been around and you’re getting ready to leave again so you just kind of give everyone hugs, you show some pictures, and all of a sudden you’re back on the bus. Wondering where there’s a WalMart so you can get some socks. And I don’t want to paint a nasty picture, because those are some of the best days of my life. But I just don’t want anyone to be a bad guy for throwing in the towel. I guess I’m trying to push that it’s realistic at some point for your priorities to change. If we could have been more successful, we may have done it longer. And I don’t like saying that, because it was never about the money, but it became where he had to choose. Do we want to be part of our family, or do we want to continue to be an underground success in dark rock clubs? And it was a hard decision. I’m the only one who hasn’t had kids --- Jason hasn’t had kids either --- but I have been married for 17 years September 1st. And I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my wife better over the last several years who I love dearly. [Laughs.]

So lemme do the math there. That means at least five of those years there you were married on the road.

Absolutely. That’s a whole nother chapter. I actually met my wife, Paula, on a schoolbus in eighth grade. So when you take the big picture --- I’m 39 as we sit here today speaking --- I’ve been with her 24 years. It’s pretty interesting. She went and watched Sacred Reich play before I did. It was a different singer, bass player, guitar player, drummer --- Sacred Reich had had many members before it solidified as the four of us.

So, wait, the lineup we know had no original members?

I think Jason Rainey was the only member who was consistent through the entire life of the band.

I imagine that’s an incredible strain, to be married and away. Five years of the band, that’s the early ‘90s you’re talking, like ’90 to ’95, ’91 to ‘96 --- the Pantera Vulgar Display tour through your album Heal, right?

I was a married guy on that tour. That’s exactly correct. You’re good.

Now there are guys you don’t want to be hanging out with when you’re married.

Actually, I was ready. And that’s why I got married, and there’s absolutely no regrets there---

No, I meant the guys in Pantera and the stories you hear, the partying and all that stuff.

Oh sure, sure. I wasn’t actually exposed to a lot of it, god bless ‘em [laughs]. Those are some of the funnest tours I’ve ever done in my life. It was less about backstage partying with naked girls and more about recognizing that metal was breaking through. They went gold on that tour. We were in the middle of Independent, our first major-label deal where we had Disney dollars supporting us. We were getting spins on Headbanger’s Ball. Phil and I guest hosted an episode with Ricki Rachtman. It was really starting to feel like our genre was arriving, and it was becoming easier than ever to believe that we would achieve our goals of reaching an amount of success where we could start to share it with our loved ones. Unfortunately, we fell short. It was interesting. It’s like, on our first couple of records, you know, you come out swinging --- ten thousand, twenty thousand... thirty thousand? ‘Whoa, thirty thousand units sold.’ And then Surf Nicaragua, I think that was the first one to break a hundred thousand. After that did well, there was more interest in Ignorance. That then broke a hundred thousand. We get into the a hundred and fifty thousand range next with The American Way. Consequently, Surf and Ignorance start picking up again and both break a hundred and fifty thousand. You get into your third record, Independent. Now we lost fans. People thought we sold out. That was around the time Metallica did the black record, there were haircuts. People were like ‘aw, everyone’s selling out!’ Well really, we’re all just getting older and trying to keep ourselves interested. You can only play with the ball so long before you want a different type of ball.

That was a huge question I had. I actually saw that Pantera/Sacred Reich show --- and I also saw New Titans on the Block too [a package tour from the year before (’91) that featured Sepultura, Napalm Death, Sacred Reich, Biohazard, Sick Of It All, and others].

A couple of kick-ass tours, man. Where did you catch the Pantera show at?

I live in Rochester, NY. So it was here.

Oh, that was a killer show! I remember that night vividly. It was a killer show.

It’s always cool meeting somebody who went to the same show, but it’s kinda strange. Because even though you played the show, it kind of feels the same way as running into somebody who was in the audience.

Yeah, it’s like we were in the pit together.

Right --- because we both saw Pantera. I’m from New York City, so I saw New Titans on the Block there. That was the same summer as Clash of the Titans [the tour with Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Alice In Chains, which one can point to as a high point in the popularity of thrash]. Having cherished thrash metal for so long, it’s very curious to me, and mysterious looking back on it, why around ‘92-’93, the bands started shifting gears. I can understand the musical progression you were talking about, but everybody --- music historians and journalists, and even some of the musicians, like Dave Mustaine --- points to grunge. That never made sense to me, that it was because Soundgarden and Nirvana were big. A lot of people liked both, all that stuff together --- faster stuff and slower stuff.

As we went through our journey, on each record, we started to develop relationships with endorsements. I got with ESP guitars, Phil was doing stuff with Gallien-Krueger. We were using new equipment, so we were changing our idea of what things should sound like. Our first couple records were real outside-the-lines --- I picture a kid coloring and just getting real outside the lines. That was great, and it earned us an aggressive attention. When we recorded Ignorance, I was a 17 year old. Phil was sixteen. And it made perfect sense that we would be outside the lines. We were big-mouth kids going ‘fuck the woooooorld!!’ But that didn’t make as much sense after we’d been in the studio and spent a few months and a couple hundred thousand dollars on recording budgets. We started to change our expectations of the finished result. We wanted things to sound more professional --- because that was symbolic of our growth. It wasn’t because we thought we’d sell more records. It wasn’t because of grunge. It was because we’d already done a couple of dirty records, and we’re enjoying a minor success, so we have the ability to raise our expectations for equipment, mic, techniques, producers... Consequently, your sound starts to change.

Sacred Reich

And you’re also evolving and growing as a person. Piggy from Voivod --- a long time ago, actually I think this was when Nothingface came out [‘89] --- was saying, ‘yeah, there’s always going to be those kids that want thrash and that’s all they want you to do, but you have to understand that, when you’re playing this stuff night-in, night out, your taste is going to change. And you’re going to want to incorporate new stuff into it.’

Yeah, you want to explore your instrument and your writing ability, and you want to challenge yourself. If we wrote ten Ignorances a year apart, I think we would have stopped a lot sooner. I remember really respecting the Black record. I go ‘yeah, look. They’re going bald; it makes sense to cut your hair.’ I never wanted to be that guy with the big bald spot and these weird rat tails --- which I’m fast becoming, so I suspect I’m not far from a haircut. I haven’t done it yet, and I’m proud to be the last one in Sacred Reich to retain the locks! But it’s a perishable thing. I remember being young and judging that old fucker. And I’m not going to put young people through the pain of judging me. I’ll stick to my guns, and my integrity will be in my authenticity and my playing, enjoying my instrument with authenticity. Now, if I can consequently be entertaining, then god bless America. But I’m not going to jump through hoops of fire and death for a million bucks. I don’t know what the formula is for a hit record. All I know is how to follow my heart. We did it for many years in Sacred Reich, and I’m doing it now with the Human Condition.

So it sounds like you guys were happy with how Independent came out. And I was curious about what it was like working with Dave Jerden.

It was really exciting for a lot of reasons. A) we respected him. We were big fans of Alice In Chains. We were pretty well-rounded listeners --- not well-rounded players, but well-rounded listeners. So, when we had an opportunity to work with the guy who did the Rolling Stones and a platinum record with Alice In Chains, we were super-excited, big-eyed, and maybe even a little star-struck. One of the jokes that we had during that recording was “the biggest rock star in this group is Dave Jerden” --- because he had the biggest success. We were on Hollywood records, which made him possible for us. There’d been times we’d wanted big-name producers, but it wasn’t in the budget. I mean, Dave Jerden’s bill alone competed with the entire cost of recording The American Way. And you get what you pay for. We had years and years of proven experience with him. We learned a lot through the process.

Nowadays, with HC, I engineer our own home demos, using digital recording equipment and computers, and I still fall back on my experience, not only through every record, but in particular the one with Dave, where I learned some creative mic’ing techniques. Like putting a mic in the corner behind the cabinet --- makes no sense, right? It just makes sense to put a mic on the cone of the cabinet, like we’d been doing for years. Well, like we do in music, he was an artist that way, so he’s always challenging himself. Next thing you know, you’ve got a 1956 RCA tuba mic in the back of a corner, facing into the corner, with the speakers facing the other direction. It’s not only picking up the low tones, but it’s picking them up a tenth of a second late, because it’s got to bounce across the whole room before it gets there. Well, you blend that mic in a little bit with another mic, and all of a sudden you’ve got the fattest fucking guitar tone you’ve ever heard. Then you’ve just got to look at Dave Jerden and go ‘holy shit!’ I would’ve never thought of tracking down a 1956 tuba mic and plugging it in in a corner, not even facing any speakers, for ambience. That’s just a little look at how he comes up with different things. It was a two-and-a-half month process, and there were many, many little lessons like that. So I look back at that really fondly. It may not have been the best way to spend our money. We did not get a gold or platinum record out of it, but we did the best record we could.

I mean, records are almost like photographs. I look back on a lot of photographs of myself and I go ‘I can’t believe that shirt looks cool’ or ‘what the fuck was I thinking with my hair?’ And I’ll be honest, there’s times when I listen to records and I’m like “what the fuck was I thinking?” when I thought that was the coolest solo I ever did, or the most crushing riff. And then some of the stuff that I didn’t appreciate so much really seems kick-ass now. It’s kind of ironic looking back. I can not say enough about that recording experience. To work with Dave Jerden was a super pleasure. I think it widened us and made us more professional. Just to work at that level taught us a valuable lesson.

In the studio, some thrash bands --- like with Dan Spitz and Kirk Hammett --- the lead guitarist did only solos. And then, some bands --- I believe, Alex Skolnick, I know Sepultura, Megadeth also --- both guitarists did rhythm tracks. Did you guys do rhythm tracks as well?

I absolutely did. We would split up left and right. So, if Jason would start a song, you’d hear it in just the right speaker, and then as I came in, you’d hear it on the left. So now, today, when you go back and listen, you’ll hear the separation --- at least now that I put it in your head [laughs]: I’m on the left.

Did you guys remaster Ignorance?

Yes, Ignorance and Surf were remastered. We really didn’t participate in that process. We left it up to Metal Blade and their highly-tuned ears. We’re very pleased with the results. They do metal records here in the new millenium all the time, and they understand what has changed in the production realm. I really felt like they breathed a fresh breath of air into our old mixes and brightened them up a bit. They really complemented the old school attitude and, at the same time, refreshened them a bit.

Let’s talk about HC. I don’t think at this point, anybody would be surprised that it’s a different sound than your fans are familiar with. John Connelly, in ’93 when Nuclear Assault broke up --- Dan Lilker had already left --- he was talking about wanting to do something more rock and roll. And you guys were always really open about listening to different stuff. How much has this style that you’re playing in in the Human Condition always been close to your heart?

Like I said, in our early days of Sacred Reich, we had the battles to get my cropped hair down. I was taking influence from Warren DeMartini from Ratt, George Lynch from Dokken, Randy Rhoads and his leather vest and Capezio shoes was a big influence on my playing. Consequently, I tended to start getting into that vein of a look. Also Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions. I just thought these are really thoughtful soloists. I’ve never been a good singer or lyricist, but I really do feel like I have something to say. So I’m happiest and luckiest when I group myself with some like-minded people who have a message, and I can find a way to complement and deliver that message. And that’s slowly what’s occurred over a period of years with HC. It’s been a mix of pain and pleasure arriving where I am now --- which is really just the beginning of a lot more work. But I’m having a blast sharing the camaraderie of a common goal again. We kinda come at it like ‘hey, if we meet success, we’ll take it head-on.’ If we don’t, we’re following our heart, and we’ve still got this cool little social thing. We can gig locally, shoot over to California... maybe we just stay in the west. If it doesn’t become viable to go to Europe and go crazy and do major-label records, well so what.

What’s important is that we’re surrounded by people who agree and we’re expressing ourselves musically. But it does not sound like Sacred Reich. And, unfortunately, I have gotten some negative feedback from Sacred Reich fans, who are like ‘aw, man, dude! I was so pumped when I heard you were jammin’. I thought I would finally hear the Sacred Reich record that was never released.’ I’m like “hey, man, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m really just following my heart.” So, if you can get down with what I’m doing, I’ll say “thank you, nice sir.” And if you can’t, I respect that. I don’t want to be stand-offish, like “this is my band, if you don’t like it, fuck you,” ‘cuz I don’t feel that way at all. But I certainly recognize that diehard Sacred Reich fans are not going to get their fix.

Or they’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that this has always been a part of who you are. It’s a more traditional style of metal.

Yeah, we’ve had some interesting feedback. One of ‘em that I love --- I mean, perspective is everything and opinions are like assholes, so you’ve got to keep everything in perspective, but one that I attach myself to --- I was talking with a guy who was doing a demo review. At the end, he goes “so, in closing, I would say, if you took Pantera and Alice In Chains and ran ‘em into each other at about 1000 miles an hour, you’d have HC.” I went “whoa... that’s killer.” Because it’s speaks to my roots in metal, where I come from in Sacred Reich, that there would be something Pantera-esque. I don’t think it sounds like Alice In Chains or Pantera, but I could kinda relate to where he was coming from. Some heavy verses with some traditional 4/4 guitar work and crunchy tones, and then some big choruses that are more traditional, almost arena-rockish, where there’s melody in the vocal. And then solos that don’t just do dive-bombs and skiddly-bombs, they actually are a little bit more old-school and traditional.

Yeah, it’s like, not so much in the actual style, but kind of how John Bush and Armored Saint’s sense of melodies was right on that line where traditional metal was turning into thrash metal. It’s in that same ballpark. But a lot the melodicism, and the vocal melody, is definitely a prominent part of that record. Now how did you meet these guys? How did you end up hooking up?

It’s kind of a long story. This gentleman, Pat Flannery, also known as Prophet, plays in a band, St. Madness, here in town, who’ve been enjoying some success as of recently with a new cd called Vampires in the Church. They did a great song called “Arizona.” It talks about the state, and it’s been getting some airplay locally. John Finell over at 98 KUPD has really attached himself to it. Pat was in this weird medium where he was looking for a guitar player and approached me about joining St. Madness. Now, St. Madness is a really unique, cool thing, but it doesn’t speak to where my heart is. They do, like the title of the record, “vampires in the church,” it’s just nothing that I’m passionate about. I respect that sort of stuff. Like Slayer, I’m not down with the pentagrams and the devil and the blood, but I love the music and the lyrics and the arrangement. I think that Reign in Blood is arguably the blueprint of thrash music. But St. Madness, they do some cool things. I think they call it carnie metal. There’s some makeup going on, and some of the songs are a little bit longer to create space for some theatrics. So, while I really respected what they were doing, I didn’t know how to join the band and complement them. So I was very resistant. Well, he didn’t want to take no for an answer. I’d been out of Sacred Reich for a couple of years, so eventually I took some original work that I’d put through a four-track machine and I made him a tape. I was like “here, play with this. If you’re inspired, let me know, and we’ll go from there.” 48 hours later, he gave me a call and said “hey, can I come by? I wanna show you something.” He put the tape in my tape recorder and had lyrics to everything I’d written --- one hundred percent. And I thought “whoa, he’s interpreting my music kinda cool.”

I liked what he was doing. That started a process of putting ads in the paper and looking for bass players and drummers. We went through that whole painful thing of trying everyone in town trying to figure out who was the right fit with personality and ability. And, after a little bit of trial and error, we ended up with Muley [Brian Muley Webb] on drums and [Scott] Twitty on bass. We recorded a debut EP demo, four songs, with Pat singing. Around that time, personally I was struggling a little bit, going “hmm... it’s only four songs, but is this what I’m trying to be in? Where are we headed? How do we get it to the next level?” At the same time I was having those feelings, Pat was realizing how much he missed St. Madness, which is something he’d worked on for many years. So he made the decision to return to St. Madness, which really opened a door for us that we weren’t looking for, but looking back it needed to be that way. Because that’s when we had the opportunity to catch up with Rye [Ryan Chester], our current singer. I’ve just really been able to relate to him. Probably from my early influences, I’m a little bit more appreciative of the harmonies and singer’s singers. It is in-sync with my early-day influences, and I am enjoying bringing it back to that. And being a single guitar player is another part I’m really enjoying.

As much as I love Jason Rainey, and all the space he gave me to do solos by holding down the rhythm with his barre-chord acrobatics, I’ve always wanted to be the only guitar player onstage. Not because I’m selfish, but because I recognize it as a harder task. Some of my heroes --- Randy Rhoads would be the first one I mention --- were single guitarists. It can be a little tricky to hold down the rhythm and work with the bass player so that when you’re soloing it doesn’t sound empty. So that’s a challenge I haven’t had in my life. I never got to write and play songs with my early influences being expressed. I’ve been really enjoying thinking of Matthias Jabs when I’m working out solos for HC. And I hope that people who listen to it --- I mean, I suspect it’ll be a bunch of people who have never heard of Sacred Reich, who will be really open-minded to this. But it’s so important to me to appeal to the Sacred Reich fans, just because I’m a member of Sacred Reich. I have been for every record and every tour since day one, and I continue to be part of any reunion --- and it’ll be that way ‘til I’m dead. So if anyone’s enjoyed my contribution on that level, I hope that they’ll at least appreciate that I’m appeasing my soul right now. And if I can gather their support to “not just be a metal dude” and open their ears up, I think they may see that there are some similarities, in that there’s kind of an introspective message. It’s a lot less political, but it’s real personal.

I think it challenges people, who listen and are open-minded, to go ‘oh...’ and maybe face your ideology, maybe question things. Like the song “The Missing” is inspired by the Adam Walsh story. You know, John Walsh is most famous these days for catching bad guys [as the host of the TV show America’s Most Wanted --- Ed.], but his story starts when his kid was abducted and murdered. The song speaks to the angst and the pain a person would feel when someone is missing, whether it’s a kid or their wife, or even a passed-away loved one. And then throughout the record: “Golden Handcuffs” speaks to the way that we can get handcuffed to our jobs, and even though it’s our money that we worked for, somehow we got locked away from our freedom. I think that’s heavier than a lot of people get on the surface. Just like “Death Squad,” the first time some people hear that, it’s like ‘I don’t want my kids to hear that, it’s about the devil!’ So, “Golden Handcuffs,” I don’t know what the first impression is --- kinky sex? But if you look a little bit deeper, there are some real issues that all adults face. I love that about it. For me, that’s the common thread. It’s not politics this time, it’s authenticity. We’re playing what we want because we want to, and I feel fortunate to have a lyricist-singer saying something that I feel motivated to deliver through music. I just hope people will be open-minded and give this cd a try. We’ve gotten great comments about it, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and rock.

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