“It’s a legitimate style that delivers something no other style can. I don’t think it will ever be obsolete as long as there are good songs with catchy lyrics.”
On May 10th during the Destruction concert, I had the opportunity to interview John Kevill, vocalist from the highly successful thrash band Warbringer. Warbringer has been around since 2004, have released three full length albums and have toured just about everywhere in the world. No doubt that they’ve probably seen, heard and done it all before. I was anticipating a solid interview so I wanted to be professional but that doesn’t mean I was lucky.
My first choice was to do a video recording of the interview but my friend brought along a video camera from the middle ages! After a mad hunt around Chicago looking for obsolete memory card, I left my android phone at home because the camera was broken so I was stuck with a cell phone that was probably older than the video camera. I dug my trusty tape recorder out of the glove box of my car and ran off to meet the Warbringer vocalist.
I put the tape recorder down in front of John and noticed the red light wasn’t coming on! I shook it and saw the tape wasn’t moving inside either. WTF! I opened the back and found the tape recorder didn’t have any frigging batteries! I smiled and asked John to give me a second? He agreed and sat down at a nearby table in front of Reggie’s while an endless stream of fans appeared out of nowhere to ask him for autographs. John Kevill from Warbringer is class act.
I ran a couple stores down to a quick-mart that’s next to Reggie’s but of course no double-A batteries! I’m a resourceful son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t give up easily, so I ran back to my car and dug out the manila file I put together for each piece I’m going to write. Inside my Warbringer file was my trusty yellow number two pencil. I grabbed both the file and the pencil and dash back to Reggie’s where amazingly John was still waiting, did I say the dude has class? I brush away the last straggling fan and sit down with my pencil and Warbringer manila folder. John laughed when he realized my intention of handwriting the interview. He also agreed to keep his answers short to take it easy on me, a professional all the way.
Please enjoy some excerpts of our May 10th 2012 interview:
David Halbe: Do you have a ritual you have to go through before you go on stage?
John Kevill: Yes, I drink two beers, do a ton of push ups and jumping jacks, and then I scream at the walls till I feel I’m ready.
Dave: You guys are all still relatively young, yet you’ve already toured the world, do you think being a road veteran gives you an advantage over up and coming acts?
John: Yes, knowing what you’re doing definitely helps. We’re not ‘green’ anymore, which allows us to run a tight ship. We know what we can tolerate on the road so we operate within a controlled madness.
Dave: Do you think constant touring helps a band remain a viable commodity?
John: There’s both an upside and downside, touring definitely helps get your name out there and keeps it out there but if you play through an area too many times you run the risk of saturating that market. The shows are normally bigger in places we haven’t played in awhile. You’ve got to be consistent but also balanced.
Dave: What’s the hardest thing to adjust to when you come off a tour?
John: (Laughs) Not having anything to do!
Dave: Is thrash metal really making a comeback or is this just the latest fad?
John: It’s definitely not a fad; it’s a legitimate style that delivers something no other style can. I don’t think it will ever be obsolete as long as there are good songs with catchy lyrics. You’ve got to avoid stagnation.
Dave: When can we expect more new material from Warbringer?
John: I’d say sometime mid-2012; we’ll probably start writing again with the intention of doing some studio recording this winter.
Dave: You’ve rub shoulders with more than a few thrash metal legends, what’s one piece of wisdom they’ve given that you’ve adopted as your own?
John: (Laughs) Just a couple of days ago Schirmer (Destruction) was telling us we should always fly the same airline so we can take advantages of Silver and Gold airline perks.
Dave: You guys have literally played all over the world, name a place where security just lets fans mosh their brains out?
John: Mexico City kicks serious ass.
Dave: Has maturity played a part in your approach to the album Worlds Torn Asunder (2011) when compared to your previous two Waking into Nightmares (2009) and War Without End (2008)?
John: Yes, we’ve obviously gotten better as musicians as far as skill goes but I think maturity has helped us to refine both our music and recorded performance.
Dave: You’ve toured and headlined in Europe and played at lots of festivals including Wacken. How would you compare the metal scenes of the two continents – Europe and North America?
John: I think metal is much more mainstream in Europe, almost like an institution, whereas in America, metal is basically underground.
Dave: Are you guy’s history buffs? I noticed some songs seem to have historical references such as “Enemies of the State” which seems to be about Stalin’s “Great Terror” of the 1930s.
John: Yes. History always seems to work its way into our songs, for example the song “Forgotten Dead” off the album Walking into Nightmares is about the film All Quiet on the Western Front, the references are everywhere.
Dave: Thanks for your time, good luck with your show tonight and the rest of the tour!
John: Thanks for the interview!
Warbringer (2012) are:
- John Laux – Guitars
- Carlos Cruz – Drums
- John Kevill – Vocals
- Andrew Bennet – Guitars
- Andy Laux – Bass
This article was originally published 05/19/12 by Metalrecusants.com