“I mean, honestly, we were expecting that. We thought maybe we’d see a few here and there but it was literally every show!”
I’ve been working in this industry for eight years now and the one thing that has always been made abundantly clear to me is that it takes talent to succeed.
Artists are recorded for their skill but if you want to turn that record into stardom you’ve got to work hard but more importantly, you’ve got to work smart. This is your moment, it’s up the you to make the most of it.
Striker is a band that makes the most of their opportunities. Established back in 2007, the group’s evolution has been on an uphill swing. I recently had the opportunity to speak with vocalist Dan Cleary. Please enjoy some excepts of our 7/29/19 interview where we discuss music videos, volcanoes, and touring with Steel Panther.
David Halbe: You’ve spent this season on the road. How has the Summer of Shred been?
Dan Cleary: It’s been great man. We’re getting along great with these guys (Holy Grail, Bewitcher) the only bummer for us has been that it’s been really, really hot. We started the first show on this tour in Arizona and it was something like 110 degrees!
Dave: Holy shit!
Dan: Yea man, it was super fucking hot. That’s the hottest temperature I have ever experienced in my whole entire life cause we’re from Canada.
Dan: It just doesn’t get as hot there. Luckily, all of the venues we played had great air conditioning and stuff. It seems like the sweatiest shows we’ve ever played have been in Canada when it’s hot and they don’t have any a/c (air conditioning).
Dan: They don’t need it there usually, it’s hot like one month out of the year. But yea, the whole tour has been great.
Dave: Who came up with the tagline, Summer of Shred?
Dan: I don’t know what it is, we just say the word shred all the time. (Laughs) For some reason we just feel compelled to yell it.
Dan: Yea! It’s just a verb we yell all the time, so it just made sense to call it that.
Dave: That’s badass! What does the album title – Play to Win – mean to you?
Dan: It means a couple of things to me. The more we engage in music and become part of the industry, the more we are starting to realize, it’s not that easy being independent.
Dave: For sure.
Dan: There’s a lot of gatekeepers, you’ve definitely got to know the right people.
Dave: You mean like doing your P.R. and stuff?
Dan: Yea, for sure.
Dave: Making sure you’ve got the right management getting you on the right tours and stuff?
Dan: Yea, and I found it’s eerily similar to every other industry I’ve worked in. If you’re trying to get to the next level, it could be about who you know, how you act and stuff that could apply to almost any business.
Dave: I get exactly what you’re saying, you’ve also to have your chips in and be willing to go for it.
Dave: How about the Play to Win album cover, are the wolves representing the band?
Dan: No. (Laughs) That’s just how the cover got worked out, there’s technically five members in the band.
Dave: That’s cool.
Dan: When the record was coming out our guitar player Chris (Chris Segger) had left so we just did promo shots with four guys. The artist came up with the idea for the cover.
Dave: Understood. Who came up with the concept for the “On the Run” music video?
Dan: That was our director and longtime friend of ours, Lindsay Robinson, he did a bunch of stuff for the band. Do you remember any of our earlier videos?
Dan: They were really over the top, he did all those.
Dave: That’s impressive, those videos are good. The “On the Run” visuals remind me of that classic cartoon movie Heavy Metal, when the guy drops the Corvette down from outer space.
Dan: Yea totally.
Dave: Considering the recent resurgence of Youtube – has the value of a music video increased?
Dan: I think so. I think music videos are a really good way of getting across what a song is, the vibe of a song.
Dan: I think sometimes people can misconstrue what the message might be or what the song means, is it serious or not? I find it’s a good opportunity to visually express the tone of the music.
Dave: Is it true the band wrote the infamous “Fuck Volcanos” song after a tour was canceled when a real Volcano erupted?
Dan: Yea that was back in 2010 we had plans to play the Keep It True Festival which is a really cool festival they have Germany.
Dan: That was the really big thing for us, we were so stoked to go.
Dave: That must have been relatively early in your career, right?
Dan: Yea totally, it would have been one of the biggest things we had done so far. The whole thing meant everything to us and then that volcano went off and it happened right before we were supposed to fly, everything was canceled.
Dave: Holy shit!
Dan: Dude, it was the worst. All of it was canceled, so we were like sitting at home. We’ve had a few instances of this, when weather or something cancelled our stuff. So, we were just sitting at home because we already booked the time off. We had a few drinks and started playing around, we just decided to write the song. That’s where it came from.
Dave: The 10 year anniversary for that song is next year, is there any chance you might do something for it? It is an infamous song.
Dan: You know of all the songs we have, that’s the song that gets yelled out at shows the most.
Dave: I noticed it’s not on your current set list.
Dan: We’ve played it live once.
Dave: Really? Only one time? I’ve only seen you live once before tonight.
Dan: Only one time. Maybe as an anniversary thing we might play it again. (Laughs) It’s impossible to sing too.
Dave: (Laughs) It’s part of metal lore dude. Come on’ you know what I mean? You know you can sing it!
Dan: Yea, I can do it.
Dave: That would be awesome.
Dave: So earlier this year you toured with Steel Panther, was it like crazy or what?
Dan: That was a hilarious tour man.
Dave: Do you have a story you could tell?
Dan: You know what man, it wasn’t really that crazy, those guys are super professional. They are really nice guys, they are pretty chill outside the stage show.
Dave: That’s cool.
Dan: They do the show and then they’re relaxing.
Dave: Hey, that’s not bad.
Dan: Right. I’m sure that may have been different earlier on in their career.
Dave: Very true.
Dan: But still the crowds were absolutely crazy.
Dan: Yea, there was tons of tits. (Laughs)
Dave: (Laughs) I’ll bet.
Dan: Dude. I mean, honestly, we were expecting that. We thought maybe we’d see a few here and there but it was literally every show!
Dave: That’s awesome! You know, Steel Panther has a new album coming out soon, maybe you guys can hook up again? You never know.
Dan: Yea man, that’s the dream. They seemed to like us a lot, we hung out and stuff. We all seemed to have a good time so hopefully we can go again. Man, those live shows were crazy.
Dave: So, what’s up next for Striker?
Dan: We’ve got seven more shows on this current tour and then we’re heading back home.
Our drummer (Adam Brown) just quit before this tour.
Dave: Holy shit! Did you find a replacement, somebody locally you knew?
Dan: He agreed to do one last tour with us. We’re all still friends.
Dave: Ok. That was cool of him. So, I assume you’ve got to regroup from there and it’s been a year since the album has been out. Do you plan on pushing it another year or working on something new?
Dan: With our drummer leaving, we’ll probably take a little time to figure out who we want to bring into the band as a replacement.
Dave: Ok. Makes sense.
Dan: Then we’ll start writing some new material.
Dave: You should, Striker is hot right now. Your visibility is up there.
It’s Striker’s time to strike. Maybe that should be the tag line for the interview.
Dave: Well thanks a lot Dan, I appreciate all your time today.
Dan: No problem Dave, take care.
- William Wallace – Bass
- Adam Brown – Drums
- Tim Brown – Guitars
- Dan Cleary – Vocals
- Chris Segger – Guitars