SW: Did you listen to your contemporaries in the early/mid eighties...bands like Anvil?
JOHN: We're good friends with Anvil. They were the first band we ever played with in the States, Johnny Z hooked us up. We toured with a lot of great bands in those days...Metallica, Saxon, Accept...
MARK: Accept, to me, were like the definitive heavy metal band, much like Priest. In fact, UDO's got a new band and we'll be doing several shows with them.
JOHN: And, of course...we're gonna do "Born To Be Wild" with UDO!
SW: Joe, you come from the mighty band Pentagram. You are the newest member of Raven, you joined the band on the Nothing Exceeds Like Excess record. So, how is it working with these guys?
JOE: These guys are like my best friends, I've never had an argument with them. The guys in Pentagram are very hard to work with. With Raven, we have a chemistry together. We all like the same heavy music. I like it loud and super heavy. I've been into Blue Cheer since I was twelve. I hate these speed metal bands that just play fast and don't have any power. You gotta have power along with speed, and Raven have all of that.
JOHN: We toured in Europe with bands like Testament and Kreator, and it went over great, but in certain towns we weren't "thrash" enough for them. But, Raven is more of a heavy rock'n'roll band rather than a thrash band, even though people say that we've influenced thrash metal.
SW: Obviously, Raven has toured all over the world. What are your favorite countries to play?
JOHN: Greece was great, that was unreal, the fans went nuts for us. Japan was also great. People who are into this kind of music, it doesn't matter where they're from. It would be really great for us to go back to England to do some gigs, because over there, they're being force-fed a lot of garbage, even more than over here.
SW: What do you think of the new "Black Metal" scene, you know, the guys who paint their faces like King Diamond? A lot of that stuff sounds like early '80s thrash metal, definitely showing influences of Raven and Venom.
JOE: Like all the Swedish and Norwegian bands? Some of the groups are really good.
JOHN: Technically, some of them are really good players, but some of the production is really poor, and of course, they have the cookie monster singing with them.
JOE: Some of Bathory's later stuff is really killer, they can sing, they can play...it's the real thing.
SW: What do your parents think of your career in music?
JOHN: Well, I'm a parent. And Joe's a parent...
JOE: My little boy is three years old, and he's already playing double-bass on the drums.
SW: So your parents are actually grandparents...
JOE: My mother loves Raven, and Witchfinder General...
SW: I bet she likes their album covers...(Pictured on W.G.'s debut album, Death Penalty, is a half-naked woman being sacrificed - Ed.)
JOE: (Laughs) She came to one of our shows with Testament. Chuck Billy asks me, "Who is that woman!?" And I said "That's me mom!" She's 75 years old and loves metal.
SW: So, do you feel there is still potential for heavy metal bands in the US?
JOHN: The truth is, there's a hell of a lot of people in this country who want to hear loud rock. Look at some of the older bands who are still touring now...Foghat, Pat Travers, Jethro Tull...it's traditional rock. These types of rock bands have repeatedly made money for well over 30 years because they were prolific, and had a career. The industry was making money with the grunge bands, but they're not now. It's a very short-lived career. We just figure, we do what we do, and we do it well.
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