“It’s nice to feel more relevant instead of feeling like a novelty act.”
One of the things I love about the metal family is that the band members are pretty much laid back, down to earth. They go out of their way to make time for their fans. Sacred Reich is no exception. The Metal Channel editor Roger Schultz and I recently attended the Sacred Reich show at The Vogue in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lead guitarist Wiley Arnett was kind enough to spare some of his time, please enjoy some excerpts of our 11/5/2019 interview…
Mike Nease: How does it feel to release a new album after 23 years?
Wiley Arnett: Amazing, like giving birth! It’s been awesome, it’s nice to feel more relevant instead of feeling like a novelty act.
Mike: The new release Awakening kicks ass! How old were you when you first picked up a guitar and who were your influences?
Wiley: I think I was 12 or 13 years old. I had a couple of guitarists in the family. Uncle Jeff, actually two Uncle Jeffs and my cousin Guy who was a few years older than me. I used to chase him around a lot. He played baseball so I played baseball, he played guitar so I played guitar, we discovered some great guitarists together. Randy Rhoads was a super great influence. I spent a lot of time chasing down his riffs.
Mike: That’s awesome! Randy Rhoads was one of the greats. Your guitar work is fantastic, have you changed any equipment with the new album?
Wiley: Yeah, since recording the new record I joined the Fractal Audio family. That has been an amazing experience. I’m kind of an old school guy and certainly love tube amps, I think they just got it right. When you roll back the volume you can feel the squish of the tubes, tones and pinch harmonics, everything just works. It’s asking a lot of amps when you’re on the road, the back of these trailers beat the shit out of ’em. Tube amps don’t like to be shaken to death, so it’s really nice to just be able to click it on at the last second and have a consistent tone every night. The effects processing is next level.
Mike: Wow that’s kick ass!
Wiley: Yeah it is.
Mike: Where did you first meet Phil Rind?
Wiley: I met Phil back in our early high school days. I think he was 14 years old and we played a talent show at Coronado High School his freshman year.
Mike: So you guys went to school together?
Wiley: Yeah, I was a year ahead of him. He was 14 and I was 15, yeah same school. I dropped out early but he made it all the way to the end. He got pissed off at the administration and could of graduated but dropped out to just fuck the system. He got his GED the same week.
Mike: Back in the ’80s you were young and angry, so was I. We’re old men now, does the addition of ‘young blood’ Joey Radziwill push you as an elder musician?
Wiley: Absolutely and probably less to do with anger but just that juvenile way of looking at the world. Some of the things that we’ve accomplished, it’s easy to take for granted when you’re touring with others. For example, you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower 50 times and you kind of don’t bring it up any more because everyone else has seen it 50 times as well.
Wiley: But then you bring your spouse or children and they’re like “Holy shit, that’s the Eiffel Tower!” and you’re reminded this isn’t every day stuff. It’s a unique experience to be in a successful rock band.
Mike: Touring the world.
Wiley: Sure, so part of Joey joining the band in addition to being a hot young guitarist that’s disciplined and focused, he’ll keep you on your toes musically, is that fresh look on life. Being reminded of how cool what we do is through his eyes. It’s easy to say been there done that but when he gets excited it reminds me that its really cool, it brings me back. I was watching a video the other night, he’s just like this mad man, you know? Phil and I were joking like “Shit man, you’re standing still if you get near him!” I said “If you want to see us kicking ass like that, watch the early Dynamo Open Air footage.”
Wiley: We would have given Joey a run for his money when we were younger on our first couple of tours. There’s a certain angst and energy level there.
Mike: Right, so from an elder musicians stand point, you’re looking down the stage thinking damn I gotta keep up with him?
Wiley: It’s not so much competitive but wisdom is a big deal.
Mike: Agreed. Is there any truth to the rumor we’re hearing that your stepping down from Sacred Reich after this cycle?
Wiley: No, no intentions what so ever.
Mike: I’m glad to hear that!
Wiley: We just signed a 3 record deal.
Mike: Kick ass! Phil and Dave are vegans, you have ownership of gourmet restaurants by the name of ‘Rehab Burger Therapy’ with 3 locations in Arizona. In a touring situation which involves close quarters, does this create any conflict due to specific diets?
Wiley: No, we try to accommodate everyone’s needs. I think vegan is a real noble diet choice, I think there is something cool about it. The balance is easy, everyone respects the others position so its not about debating what to have when its lunch or dinner time.
Mike: They don’t give you any shit for eating meat?
Wiley: Not really, from time to time but it’s in good spirits including all the vegan memes.
Mike: I was watching ‘Bus Invaders’ the other day and Phil said “Who would want to eat salisbury steaks anyway?”
Wiley: Right, right… it’s an interesting thing, veganism. But I like the idea of a more humane way, I think there’s always a balance of life. Just like the animal kingdom you have vegans and meat eaters.
Mike: What’s the status of your band The Human Condition?
Wiley: Ah, indefinitely on ice. Right when it felt like we might try to record something all of us became busy, it was difficult for Eric “A.K.” Knutson (Vocals/Flotsam and Jetsam)and I to keep up the momentum. We had 7 songs that were in a position of being mature enough so we could have recorded them. We were just starting to toy around with these songs. We had some interest from a couple of independent labels. Right when we were starting to consider other offers that might be out there, we became busy so we parked it for a year. Then we just stayed busy and that was around six years ago. Since then, they (Flotsam and Jetsam) have released a couple of records. I became busy with opening more restaurants which was a distraction as well as my daughter recently turning 18.
Wiley: Thanks, I was real involved in making sure she graduated high school.
Mike: Right, so The Human Condition is pretty much in the tank then?
Wiley: We own the name and we have songs that people haven’t heard so we reserve the right to come back to it when it feels right.
Mike: There you have it, Sacred Reich has had an ‘Awakening’. Thanks for your time today Wiley!
Wiley: Nice talking to you… enjoy the show!