Recently I got the honor of interviewing legendary Richard Christy about everything from his new band Charred Walls Of The Damned to what movie scared him the most as a kid and also what movie he’s looking forward to scaring him the most this year.
Read on for the interview!
SuperRadMike: How have things been going since the release?
Richard Christy: Things have been great,the sales have been good,the reviews have been amazing…i get tons of emails everyday through my website of fans saying they love the album and I’m really psyched at the reaction to it. Everybody seems to love, it’s a definite heavy metal album so all the metal fans I know have been freaking out on it and everybody seem to be really happy with it… so I’m psyched and it’s really inspired me cause i’ve already written almost seven songs for the next album.
SRM: That’s awesome.
RC: I’m on cloud nine – I’m psyched.
SRM: When I got the album from Metal Blade I was very excited about it. I knew from the beginning I would have no complaints about it, it sounds fantastic. Great metal album.
RC: Thanks, I am really, really proud of it but you know as psyched as I am about it I was really curious to hear what the fans thought you never know what people are going to think about it. I knew that I loved it and that was the main thing is I wanted to make an album that I was really proud of and that steve Tim and Jason would be proud of as well. I’m also psyched to hear that everybody really digs it cause when your doing it you always wonder if people are going to dig this or not. You can never tell, the best albums in the world…like Slash from Guns N Roses, I just read his book they (the band) didn’t know when they were recording “Appetite for Destruction” they were just doing something because they loved it and they loved the music but they didn’t know what other people were gonna think and it ended up being one the greatest albums of all time. You never really know until it is officially out there and i”m really psyched that this album is getting such a good reaction.
SRM:It seems the bands that make the best albums usually make it for themselves. They do it because they want to hear what they like. This has been your concept for a while you said you started recording the drums and going from there. This has been your little prize piece. Obviously you liked it, the whole band liked it, you guys were happy with what you did and in the end that is what you want out of anything you don’t want to make something you thought was good. You want to make something you did for yourself.
RC: Exactly, that’s the thing and I even said before the album came out no matter what happens with the album i am super happy with it and super proud of what we have done and at least i will always know that we did an amazing job and we did the best that we could. We made an album to have fun doing it and to make a killer metal album that us as a band enjoys and that hopefully the fans enjoy too. That’s the thing, before I started writing the album or even thought of forming the band or recording an album I was just playing guitar and drums and writing music just for the love of it and the fun of it and that is how these songs came together. That is what I am doing now with the next album. I am just.. I love coming home at night from work and just writing music I get so much joy out of it. I love listening back to the music I’ve written the next morning after I record it and it’s just a passion of mine. It’s just a cool bonus to hear that other people like it as well.
SRM:That’s awesome, I am extremely happy for you. Seems with metal and hardcore bands, this last year some of my most favorite albums have come out. This last year Cannibal Corpse had “Evisceration Plague” It is such a tight album and Converge had “Axe To Fall”. These bands that I really looked up to came out with albums they were extremely proud of and it seems like you definitely achieved that.
RC: Well thank you, yeah it seems like it’s a really good time for metal. There are some killer bands coming out with killer albums between last year and what we have to look forward to this year. I can’t wait for the new Nevermore and Demon Hunter albums to come out this year and Coheed And Cambria’s coming out with a new album. I just hear that and it is unbelievable, it’s so incredible. I’m just pumped there’s so much great stuff coming out this year, there’s definitely a cool feeling in the air that this decade is starting off strong and there’s a lot of good things happening for metal. I’m really psyched to be a part of the things that are going on in the metal scene right now.
SRM: Even for this month of February there are a lot of awesome releases that have come out like Carnifex and High On Fire and since you’re know for your drumming who’ve you been impressed by, since you mentioned the new Coheed And Cambria Album what do you think of Chris Pennie?
RC: Oh he’s one of my all time favorite drummers and actually a good friend of mine and wait ’till you hear his playing on the new Coheed, he just takes the band to another level. It is so amazing to hear him on one of their albums finally and it just blew me away what he did on their new album. During their live shows he just does this amazing drum solo that just blows you away, it’s just so much fun to watch him play. We actually got to jam together recently just for fun, we went to the Drummer’s Collective and they had two kits set up and it was such a blast to play together he’s definitely one of my all time favorites.
SRM: It’s really cool how you keep up with the more low key metal bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, those guys deserve the attention.
RC: Definitely, I’ve always kept up with the scene and I listen to all the new bands and check out all the metal news. Even during the 80s and 90s I kept up with all the underground bands and what it comes down to, always, is that I love metal and I love discovering new bands. Just digging around for the most obscure things and by doing that I’ve found a lot of my favorite bands like Watchtower and Rage from Germany. Those are bands I happen to stumble when I was a kid just trying to find all the metal bands I could.
SRM: That’s on of the coolest things about social networking now is that you don’t even have to be good to get noticed now, I’ve gotten to grow up in an age where finding a band isn’t what it was like in the 80s where you see an awesome album cover, buy it, and hope for the best.
RC: There are definitely good and bad things about the internet when it comes to music, obviously one of them being illegal downloading and it’s making it hard for bands to make a living. Now a days it seems like if you just sell a couple albums that’s a really good thing because people don’t but albums which is really unfortunate but the upside to this is all the free exposure a band can get now. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get the word out like you used to have to back in the 80s.
SRM: You’re right it seems like every year CD aisles get smaller and smaller and I personally would hate to see things things end up to where you could only download albums.
RC: Yeah definitely that’s why with the Charred Walls Of The Damned album we wanted to do something a little extra special to make people want to go out buy the physical copy, and what we did was include a bonus “Making Of” DVD it’s also got a drum solo I did as well as me playing along to “Ghost Town”. That’s been one of the coolest things about this album is that I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from fans saying how much they loved the DVD. I guess one of the positives is it makes bands more creative with getting people to buy the physical album and that’s what we tried to do with this album.
SRM: Yeah and you guys had that Metal Blade Pre-order where not only you got the cd but you also got a shirt and all 4 of you guys signed the first 1,000 copies.
RC: (Laughs) Yeah that was a chore, the distributor sent me the copies and it took me about two and a half hours and then I sent them to Tim in Ohio and then about a week later Jason went on to sign them and then sent them to Steve out in California and then they were sent back to the distributer back in Florida so yeah those albums have traveled all over the country. What’s funny is that none of us have a copy of that, but it was definitely a cool concept. We’ve also had such good support from not just the mom and pop record stores but also big chain stores as well and it’s really awesome to see our album on the shelves not only where they belong but also to a more broad audience, the landscape has definitely changed but that’s mot always a bad thing.
SRM: How have sales been?
RC: They’ve been really good, we had a good first week and album sales always drop the second weak and ours didn’t drop like the majority which is awesome. There has been an increase with the distribution too which means people are buying the album and the stores our noticing which is really what you can only hope for, it’s all about longevity and not too mention the word of mouth in support of the album. I always think Of when I was Reading the Slash’s book and he mentioned “Appetite For Destruction” didn’t really pick up in sales until the video came out for “Sweet Child O’ Mine” which was about a year and then finally picked up momentum.
SRM: Now will there be any tours going on this year at all?
RC: Definitely, we just hired a booking agent and a management company so yeah we’re working out our schedules right now and our planing on this summer for sure if not sooner. And I would like to do as much as possible and it’s hard cause we got our day jobs. Jason’s busy with being a producer and Tim is really busy with his other bands but a tour is definitely gonna happen.
SRM: That’s fantastic, well how has Metal Blade been with everything, do you plan on putting out the next album out on Meal Blade?
RC: Absolutely, Metal Blade has been very supportive. Brian Slagel has been a really good friend of mine has done a lot for metal music now just with Metal Blade but he’s also the guy who discovered Metallica and Slayer and it doesn’t get more metal than that. To me it’s the perfect label to be signed, they’ve just been so happy and so supportive of this effort. I hope we can be with them for a long, long time.
SRM: As far as the album and recording goes you started Charred Walls Of The Damned by yourself just playing the drums and guitar and writing, what were you being influenced by during this time.
RC: For me it’s a collection of just stuff I’ve grown to love over the years from KISS to Iron Maiden to Dismember. When I write music I never go into with a set idea of what I want it to sound like I sit down and start writing riffs and pick out what I like and go from there. It’s kind of a natural thing that all my influences have blended together and actually a lot of horror movie soundtracks have had a huge influence on me. John Carpenter is my most biggest influence, I love everything he’s ever composed.
SRM: You know you being the big horror movie fan you are it never crossed my mind that the soundtracks could have an influence on you but at the same time I think everyone wishes that could make a song so well known as the “Halloween” theme song.
RC: To me that is the perfect song, when people ask me what my favorite song of all time is is the main theme from John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is so simple but yet so genius and it’s a song that everybody knows whether you’ve seen the movie or not. It’s such a scary and catchy that stays in your head for days. It’s another example of the genius of John Carpenter. We actually used that as the intro for the Death: Sound Of Perseverance Tour and that used to get me so pumped before we’d go on stage. Looking back the Halloween theme is a big part of my life.
SRM: I couldn’t agree more and growing up Michael Myers scared me to death and it was awesome because I loved Halloween as much as I hated it because how good and how scary it was, I assume the same went for you?
RC: For me Halloween is my favorite movie of all time, because it not only has the perfect ending but most scariest ending ever. When Donald Pleasence looks over the balcony and Michael Myers is gone and then that music starts at the very end of that movie you realize that he’s not human. Something inhuman, like a spirit whatever he is it’s unexplainable which to me is so scary. What made it a perfect movie is the movie was never over explained and you never knew who Michael Myers, he was just an unstoppable force. It gives me chills even thinking about a situation like that. Not too mention I’ve been to all the locations where they filmed Halloween and Halloween II and just to be around that is incredible and actually a little scary.
SRM: Is that something you’re a fan of? Have you been to other horror movie locations?
RC: Yeah I love on bloody-disgusting how you guys have that awesome Hallowed Grounds feature. My next vacation I’m planing around all the spots from Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, which besides the first Halloween it’s my second favorite. I know a lot of people hate it but I think it’s an amazing movie. That was another movie that had such a huge impact on me growing up, I still watch a few times a year. Along with that I’ve been all to the filming locations of The Fog, I took my fiance last summer to my favorite spot in the whole world which is actually the lighthouse from The Fog. It really is the most beautiful place I’ve seen n the whole world.
SRM: So yeah I heard you had a little cameo in a Metalocalypse, care to give some details on that?
RC: It was a lot of fun and I’m also huge fan of the cartoon and a lot of my friends work on the cartoon as well. They asked me to do a voice and I got to play a part I was very comfortable playing which was a drunken redneck. All I had to do was scream like a drunken redneck and I got to say a line from a Deicide song which was awesome I got to say, “I’m the lunatic of God’s creation”. There’s so many cool little references to death metal songs and death metal music. Getting to be a part of that was awesome and the character I play is driving drunk in a truck and crashes into a school bus full of children and it’s all gory and awesome.
SRM: So what horror movie are you looking forward to this year?
RC: Well I’m definitely looking forward to a few but one in particular is [REC] 2. The first [REC] I think is the scariest thing I’ve seen since I was a kid. It literally scared me to where I couldn’t sleep and the final zombie in it, I feel, is the scariest zombie ever and I hope that zombie makes an appearance in [REC] 2. Definitely the Nightmare On Elm Street remake and Frozen are up there too. And also the Night Of The Demons remake I just can’t wait for and actually the original Night Of The Demons is in my top five favorite horror movies of all time.
SRM: Well Richard I thank you for your time is there anything you wanted to leave me with?
RC: Yeah absolutely go to charredwallsofthedamned or richardchristy.com for any info regarding the band or anything I’m doing. There’s also facebook, myspace and twiter pages. Also go pick up the album and if you want merch it’s available on Metal Blade’s website and I’m very happy do this interview with Bloody Disgusting