Mr. Blackwell
Mr. Blackwell
Home base: Raleigh, North Carolina
Line-up: Warren Gary, lead vocals; Marc Anthony, drums/keyboards/piano/vocals; Bill Barbour, guitars/vocals; Michael Moore, guitar/vocals; Bill Jackson, bass Label: Skin It Music
Album: Burn
Produced: Mr. Blackwell

This band is serious about their music. They are taking charge of their career on the first album and doing everything they can on their own.

Q&A with Warren Gary

Sheila Rene': Hello, thanks for calling back. I couldn't get to the phone quick enough.
Warren Gary: Hi, Sheila.

SR: "...give me a second to catch my know I need a little time." from the "Save Yourself" tune. It really speaks to me.
WG: Thanks. That's great.

SR: I'm dying to find out if you know any of the Animal Bag guys?
WG: Yes, I do. I talked with Otis about four years ago. They might still be in Charlotte.

SR: Thanks, I'll try to track 'em down. I thought that band would be enormous. They recorded another album and nothing happened.
WG: We thought they were great too.

SR: It looks like you got together in '94, first album self-titled in '95 and toured '96 and did another album in '97.
WG: We released the first album nationally and I'm working on some stuff now that will happen when we release "Burn." We're getting some airplay and commercial radio requests around here. Considering we are just starting the campaign now we're ahead of the game.

SR: You write beautifully. How do they speak to you?
WG: A lot of folks want to know about our writing. I write lyrics to everything that mirrors what's going on around me. "Torn" is about our drummer, and a former girlfriend. "Save Myself" is a song that we really relate to as well.

SR: I'm impressed with your correct English on "If I." You always use "were" when it starts with If. Television writers drive me crazy with their bad English.
WG: (laughing) I'm glad you liked it.

SR: You fit into the "new" genre that never went away by the name of "progressive metal." Your timing is excellent here.
WG: I hope that's true. We're getting ready to do some heavy shopping with our new album. There is some interest out there for us.

SR: Are you where you want to be on this sophomore album?
WG: I'm really proud of what we've done so far. We built our own recording studio on the first album and we co-produced that album as well as this new one.

SR: I like the fact that you've taken hold of your career within the band. You need to have good management though.
WG: We're doing everything. We're not in this for the money, but you have to pay as you go. I'll always be involved even if we do get a new deal. I have to make sure everything gets done on time.

SR: You have that double guitar attack that I love so much. What other famous double guitar bands have influenced you?
WG: That's a guitar question. Our guitarists would probably say Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. They're big '80s metal freaks.

SR: Hey, these guys are just getting better with age.
WG: About a month ago, I heard that Warrant was going back to Sony but I don't know if it's true. I love seeing metal on it's way back around.

SR: Hey, it is and always will be a big part of my lifestyle.
WG: A lot of bands like Pantera, Machine Head are doing great.

SR: You seem to have several octaves with your voice. I bet you're a big fan of Geoff Tate and Queensryche. You have the force that he has.
WG: Yes, that's a pretty big influence. I can sing what the songs need and there are things I could do but don't.

SR: There are a lot of groups who have never stopped playing and are now in the spotlight again, i.e. Judas Priest.
WG: The next ten weeks is important. We're back in the studio and always writing. We're getting great response on the web and in radio. We're listed on the Yahoo Band List as one word mrblackwell.

SR: Where did the name come from?
WG: We're all KISS freaks and it came from "The Elder" album. It wasn't as well heard as others. It comes from their song of the same name. Mr. Blackwell was a mean old man from the dark side. We had hundreds and hundreds of names.

SR: Are you playing around any while you wait for distribution?
WG: Yeah, we stay busy. We're always recording and writing just in case someone might want to hear other songs of ours that haven't been recorded.

SR: We have "Strength In Numbers" but we can't get organized enough to make a difference.
WG: I can agree to that. I wrote that song and it's my contribution on guitar.

SR: Are you looking at that as the first single? I hear several singles.
WG: Everyone has a different idea about that. We have a station in Fayettville that likes the two acoustic songs better.

SR: I say give 'em what they want. Releasing singles is just another way to make money. I liked the good old days when an artist just dropped by the station in their area and let them play the whole thing.
WG: That's what we think as well.

SR: Where did "To Die For" come from?
WG: It was taken from "Torn." Our drummer wrote the song on keyboards about an old girlfriend.

SR: I'm going to find your website when we hang up.
WG: We had a lot of help on getting something up and accesible.

SR: Do you travel with a computer?
WG: No, I'm computer-less, but we do have a webmaster who keeps the information up-to-date.

SR: Stay in touch and keep me posted on your touring schedule.
WG: We will, Thanks for your help.