Metal Church: Attendance Up, Donations Up!
by Martin Popoff

Metal Church is in recoil mode after returning from a successful jaunt around Europe supporting their reunion album Masterpeace, released in the fall last year. With venerable UK outfit Thunderhead on the bill, the tour was a welcome blast of traditional old school metal, something that both Kurdt Vanderhoof and David Wayne had well in mind when conceiving Masterpiece.

Wayne readily agrees. "I would say that it is pretty much what we were shooting for. And I think we arrived close to the mark, which is The Dark II, or Metal Church III, if Kurdt Vanderhoof or myself had remained in the band. Although we are older and wiser and a little bit of our anger is gone, this idea of be totally ticked off at the world and our government in the United States here. I felt the record was pretty much a continuation of what it should have been."

Vanderhoof also stresses this concept of making a record that temporally felt like an extension of the base sound. "I think it's a good record. It's hard to really judge your own stuff. I mean, we've had really mixed reviews. Some people think it's the best stuff we've ever done, and some people hate it. So I don't know. I think for just getting back together, and again, I haven't played any heavy metal for quite awhile, I think it's the best we could have done under the circumstance. We intended it to be the best record we could do at the time, without trying to modernize it and say let's do Metal Church and try to make it '90s. It was like, no, if we're going to do Metal Church, it's going to be '80s, because that's what we're known for. So that poses a slight problem. You don't want to try to contrive something that isn't honest. We wanted to try to keep it true to Metal Church. That's not something you can just switch gears and do. And also, you have to remember that the early stuff with David was 16 years ago. Let's be honest, we're not that angry, and we're 16 years older. But I think that now we've gotten back in the swing of it again, when we start the next record, we'll probably be in better shape. Who knows? I think it's a good record, but I don't think it's our best record. But it really depends on the listener. We're always going to try and make the best record we can at the time, and definitely always offer an alternative to alternative."

Vanderhoof is likely the biggest metal fan amongst the practitioners of the form you'll ever meet. Ask him about the internet, and he says he loves it not because it offers the opportunity to sell more records, but because he can look up stuff on all is favorite old bands. And as a fan, he's making a lot of music. He's currently remixing the first Vanderhoof record from 1997, for a US release, adding a bonus cover of Deep Purple's Burn. His next new music will be the second Vanderhoof record. "That one will be more like Kansas meets Rush. Rush was like, MY band (laughs). Basically I think it's leaning that way as more of a reaction to the lame music that they call rock now. We want to just make it really over the top, bombastic, big, like all the kind of stuff you don't hear any more (laughs), and then we're going to do another Metal Church record."

Metal Church Update Page 2