Just found another old Destiny’s End interview with me and Dan DeLucie circa November 1998. This one is from an Italian Savatage website, by a chap named Stefano Ronzoni. Here’s the link: http://savatage.it/vecchio_sito/destinysenduk.htm.
Breathe Deep the Dark (Metal Blade, 1998)
In case you’d rather read the intie here, I’ll copy the text below.
This interview with band members DAN DeLUCIE and PERRY M. GRAYSON was submitted by Stefano Ronzoni. 1. Can you tell us in briefly how the members of Destiny’s End met and how the band was created?
DD: Brian, Nardo and I were in a metal band called New Eden. When our singer lost interest in the band we were lucky enough to get James to come down to the studio to audition. We contacted James through our friend Denis Gulbey of Sentinel Steel Records in New Jersey. Of course, James was awesome at the audition. We did a demo as New Eden with James of the song ‘Under Destruction’s Thumb’ and some others. After Metal Blade heard that demo they wanted to sign us. While we were negotiating the deal and writing the next album, we had major problems, musical differences, etc. with our guitar player so we asked him to leave the band. We then found Perry right away. Perry and I were friends before and I asked him to try out. I instantly knew Perry was perfect for the band when I heard him play some of his riffs which later became ‘The Fortress Unvanquishable’. Our old guitar player had rights to the New Eden name so we changed the name to Destiny’s End. After that we completed the deal with Metal Blade.
2. While this is your debut it seems that you got established very quickly. You are a getting a lot of attention and a people like your album quite a lot. Where do you attribute that?
DD: It feels great that we have been getting such a good response to our album. The press we’ve gotten has been far beyond our expectations. It seems that people are responding in a positive way to our music. We try to incorporate all of our favorite elements of metal into our music and I guess a lot of people can identify with that. We try to write songs
that are well arranged, catchy and unique. We also keep things heavy, energetic, fast and melodic as well as little progressive to make it more interesting. At the same time we try to make each song original. We don’t want to repeat ourselves or anyone else.
3. Tell us something about the lyrics and the theme around them? It seems that almost everybody participated in the lyrical department. Is the band pretty much open so any member can sit down and write lyrics or how do you usually go about it?
DD: The main themes of Breathe Deep the Dark are: individualism (the reasons why we live our lives the way we do) and, immortality (how we will be remembered after we die). Most of the songs are variations on these ideas. For instance, Rebirth, which I wrote, is about a character that dies and sees an afterlife that is nothing but complete emptiness. For some reason he is reborn and has a second chance. He realizes life must be appreciated and lived to it’s maximum because this life is all we will ever know. It also has a second meaning which deals with the resurgence of metal and the opportunity that we have to be part of it. We try not to write about the typical metal topics. When we do cover a
familiar topic we try to do it in a new way. We were pretty open about the lyrics on Breathe. The theme just came together on its own. I think on the next album we will have more of a direction up front.
4. Also you have a heavier and darker sound that most power metal bands? Where do you attribute that?
DD: A deep and meaningful relationship with our lord and savior, Satan. Also we just like that type of sound. After all some of our biggest influences are King Diamond, Savatage, Sabbath and Death. We try to have at least some variety in the feel of the music but we steer away from happy sounding stuff. (the satan thing was a joke)
5. What are your musical influences? It seems as most of them come from the 80*s. Do you still follow the metal scene today?
DD: Maiden, Priest, Mercyful Fate, Fates Warning, Dio, Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Queensryche–Each of us like most or all of them. Metal from the eighties is what we all grew up with and something we all like. Personally I’m also influenced by classical music like Vivaldi, Mozart and Beethoven as well as classic 70s rock like Yes, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Cat Stevens, etc. We all are still into metal and we do follow what’s current. I like some of the new power metal like Labyrinth, Scanner, Primal Fear and Angra.
6. Where is the album more successful? USA, Europe or Japan?
DD: Europe. I don’t think it’s even been released in Japan and the US has a very limited power metal audience.
7. Are you writing material for the new album? What is the direction compared to the debut?
DD: Yes we are working on our next album. We have three songs almost done and many other ideas for more. The music will be true melodic power metal with fresh ideas. I think we will take an even more thematic approach with the lyrics but a different theme. The theme
deals with how humankind fits into the infinite universe and what are the possibilities for us as we progress through time. Heavy shit!
8. You had a contract offer from both Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast. Why did you decide on Metal Blade?
DD: James really liked Metal Blade from his dealing with them in the past and they are right here in Simi Valley CA. Also they are a very well known label in this field.
9. And how about some info on New Eden. Why did you leave the band and decided to start Destiny*s End? Are you still in contact with them?
DD: Like I was saying earlier, we could no longer work with our guitar player and since he had some weak legal rights to the name we changed the name of the band to Destiny’s End. The new name is better on all counts. The name itself is cooler and having a new name gave us the feeling of a fresh start with a much stronger team approach and a much much higher level of creativity than in the past.
10. How is the relationship of the band with most members living in LA and one in Texas? How do you practice, write songs, etc.
DD: It really sucks not having James with us. We practice on a regular basis without him. We are writing the new songs and sending tapes to him. He plans on coming out for a longer period to write the next album. That will be better than the first album. The vocals were done almost entirely through the mail for the first album.
11. Any plans for a tour? If it’s up to you with which bands would like to go on a tour?
DD: Yes, in Europe. We will play Wacken in August and do some shows in Germany and perhaps another country but so far only Wacken is confirmed. We are trying to get something here in the US but nothing is confirmed yet. The only thing for sure is Houston on March 5th and Dallas (with Solitude Aeturnus) on March 6th.
12. On your shows do you play any songs from the first New Eden or from Helstar?
DD: No we don’t. We may play a Helstar song at some point but never New Eden.
13. Is there a chance of James Rivera going back to Helstar?
DD: There’s no Helstar to go back to. As James says, he has closed the book on Helstar. James is 100% into this project.
14. You have a well maintained and up to date website. What do you think of the Internet and its capabilities? Do you think it is important for a band to have a presence on the web?
DD: I think the internet is great. It’s another way for people to hear the band. You can log on to www.destinysend.com and hear the songs, learn about the band, check out the cool t-shirts for sale, buy the CD, find out about upcoming shows, news, press, etc. I’m a big fan of the internet. It makes it very easy to keep in touch with the fans.
15. Do you have any other interests besides metal music?
DD: As a matter of fact I do. I’m a science fiction fanatic – movies, books, TV, art. Anything sci-fi is cool with me (as long as it doesn’t suck).
16. Any last words?
DD: Buy our fucking album. Thanks.
Part II with Perry
1. I was checking out your webpage and from what I’ve seen I don’t think there’s been one negative review of the CD. When you got done mixing it did you have high expectations for it or were you apprehensive about how it would be critiqued?
PMG: With the exception of one review they’ve all been really positive. I never enter into something, whether its music or something else expecting people to devour it. One can only hope for the best and be confident that one has expended some genuine effort on a project.
The only negative review thus far came from GUITAR WORLD from a guy it seems is pretty closed minded and hasn’t a clue when it comes to true metal; his thing is death metal and grindcore, and it seems he’s just one of those guys who isn’t willing to acknowledge the fact that without Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Sabbath there could be no bands like Benediction, Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under. I know there are always going to be those out there who’ll term anything without growling vocals "pussy," but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Metal, to us especially, is about pushing the boundaries of one’s musicianship and remaining melodic while still keeping things heavy and aggressive. We’re not going to limit ourselves by playing simplistic music and adopting the trappings of what’s trendy just to appease "critics" or to make money. True metal flows in my veins, and I follow the path I
choose for self-directed reasons.
DD: On our website I put up all the reviews I find good or bad. Lucky for us I have not found any bad ones! I’m so happy with the press we’ve gotten. It’s more than I ever could have imagined. It seems like everyone loves our CD! When we were done with the album I was really excited because I loved it; but you never know what the public will say. You just have to make music that you think is cool and interesting and hope there are some people that agree with you.
2. When you negotiated the deal I understand you were working with Nuclear Blast and Metal Blade. I don’t think you could go wrong with either but what was it about Metal Blade that made you decide to go with them?
PMG: That’s an easy question to answer. With the exception of James (who’s out in Houston, TX), we’re all from L.A., so we’ve all seen Metal Blade history taking place over the years. And we decided to go with the Blade because–not only can we keep an eye on what’s being done for us–we had relationships built up to a certain extent with Mike Faley
and Bill Metoyer, both of whom have been very cool to the band.
DD: James really liked Metal Blade from his dealing with them in the past and they are right here in Simi Valley CA. Also they are a very well known label in this field.
3. Your website said "No Tour Plans", what’s up with that?
PMG: We don’t want to jinx anything, but we are looking into our touring options at this very moment. For a new band like D. E. you can’t expect a tour to materialize the day the album comes out. We’re a live band. We love gigging and we’re looking forward to getting out on
the road both in the U.S. and Europe. Keep in touch with us and Metal Blade, and I’m sure there’ll be some tour plans very soon with at least one other cool true metal band.
DD: We’re working on it.
10. Have you talked to your label about getting you on the Death/Hammerfall tour this Fall? That would be kinda like the best of both worlds!
PMG: That would be a killer tour to get on, but it’s already happening. We talked quite a bit about this one, but nothing ever happened. Basically the scheduling of our release and the other guys didn’t really coincide for us to even get beyond thinking of hooking up
with them. But I’m a total Death fanatic, and I hope that someday we’ll
get a chance to play with ’em.
DD: Yeah we tried. I’m not sure how it would be to go on before Hammerfall in the US. I don’t think many people here are really interested in them. We don’t want to be playing to empty rooms if we can avoid it.
4. It seems like the state of power metal in the US is really on the upswing with bands like yours, the success of Hammerfall and from what I’ve heard of new releases from Holy Mother and Steel Prophet (both of which are phemomenal). Do you attribute that upsurge in great music to any one thing in particular or do you think its a combination of things? (I know Hammerfall isn’t from the US but they shouldn’t be overlooked due do there success in the states). I know that interest in Germany and Japan in power metal and progressive metal have never really waned, do you think that’s kept the fire "alive" for US bands who have stayed true to there roots?
PMG: Well, most definitely I think that there’s a big true metal resurgence going on right now. Hammerfall’s success really pleases me, even if they’re not so huge in the U.S. This is a question that comes up in every interview, and I won’t say anything different this time:
music in the U.S. has been far too trend-driven and corporate for quite a long time, and metal has survived strong despite this with virtually no radio/video airplay. In Europe and Japan the metalheads are totally die-hard, and in both places the people have a greater apprecatiation for individuality when it comes to creative art, especially music. They
can really appreciate the dark side of art–of music–that comes in the form of metal. A good analogy is how the French were the first to champion dark American authors like Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Cornell Woolrich. I think that metal’s upswing now has a lot to do with the fact that people are tired of having crap forced down their throats by major labels and corporate nonsense. The fact that metal is stronger than ever overseas is a great help to this, without a doubt. What you see in the States is much the same thing as when Iron Maiden and Metallica were first winning over a fan base; they achieved millions of
die-hard supporters through word of mouth, touring and virtually no radio airplay above the college level. Today we have a lot of clueless industry types trying to tell us that bands like Korn, Coal Chamber and the like are the "new metal," but they are uninitiated and couldn’t be further from the truth. Those seem to be the same folks who years back were telling us that Poison and that whole crowd were metal. True metal is the metal of the millennium. Bands like Death, Iced Earth, Nevermore, Dream Child, Wardog, Prototype, Sacred Steel, etc.
DD: I don’t think there is any upswing of power metal in the states. Sure there are some great bands but there is no response to these bands. Everyone tells me it’s growing in Europe and I really hope it is. The fact that there’s a larger audience outside the US definitely helps keeps the fire alive but the fire would still be there anyway
because we are true metal maniacs to the core.
5. I am a huge Iron Maiden fan, in fact Piece of Mind is one of my all time faves. How much influence has that band and others had in your music?
PMG: Maiden, hands down, would have to be the biggest influence of every member of D. E. I think you can tell who we dig when you hear our stuff, but we still keep things fresh and original while staying true to our classic metal roots. Other big influences include Savatage, Fates Warning, Mercyful Fate, Sanctuary, King Diamond, Priest–as I said before–Death, Watchtower, Forbidden, Rush, Witchfinder General, Pentagram… Just to name a few.
DD: Piece of Mind is one of my favorite albums too. I love To Tame a
Land. Maiden is a big influence. They were THE band for me when I was
6. The name "Destiny’s End" to me would imply that you’ve reached the end of a long journey or the end of your destiny, yet this is just the beginning of your destiny. (or is it?) what does the name imply? What were some of the other names that you guys had in mind?
PMG: You hit part of the band name there. This definitely isn’t the end. This is the vehicle that we’ve found to be part of our destiny, but we’ve a long way to go before we attain the goals we’ve set for ourselves. BREATHE DEEP THE DARK was just the beginning. Does one ever reach an end?
Shadow Insane was the original name that Brian, our drummer, came up with when he and Nardo first started out. That was before Nardo came up with New Eden.
7. Bill Metoyer is one of the most famous producers in the metal world. How was he to work with and are were you satisfied with the results when you look back?
PMG: Bill’s a great guy and a cool co-producer and engineer. We’re satisfied with the results–and really pleased with what he and Brian Slagel did with the mix. There are always going to be spots that could be picked out as needing a little more tweaking in the mix, but overall it was a killer job.
8. I think by now everyone know (or will know) that Destiny’s End were the 3 members of New Eden and James was the former singer for Helstar and Perry. How did you meet up with James and where did you know Perry from?
PMG: Sometimes I’m sure the rest of the guys think I’m from some other planet. I’ll leave this one up to Dan…
DD: We were lucky enough to hook up with James through Denis at Sentinel Steel. James kicked ass at his audition. I was always a fan of his singing but I never realized the awesome power of his voice. I had only heard the Helstar records. I had never seen him live. You have to see him live to experience the true power. I knew Perry through some friends in a band here in LA called Prototype. I had him come over to learn some of the songs. I asked him to play some of his riffs for me and I immediately knew he was in. His style was perfect for us. His riffs were excellent!
9. Is Horacio (the displaced member of New Eden) going to continue with the name New Eden using his own material and if he is how do you feel about that? (To me it wouldn’t be "New Eden" without the 4 bodies that made up the band, he should just call it The Horacio Colmenares Band or something. It sounds like he’s trying to capitalize on the New Eden fanbase if he is continuing under that name?)
DD: Yes he is continuing. I agree with the other stuff you said too. I’m only concerned with Destiny’s End now. We’ve moved way beyond anything we’ve done in the past.
11. You like a lot of the same bands that I do when we were going up. I grew up listening to Metallica, Destruction, Kreator, Exodus, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Helloween, Agent Steel among others. Does it surprise you that some of these bands are still around like the Sabbath reunion, I’ve heard the original Metal Church line-up is back, Jeff Waters has Annihilator back together, Iron Maiden still trudging along (as far as I’m concerned they should have hung it up when Bruce Dickinson left)? Got any thoughts on some of the old dinosaurs? What were some other favorites of yours?
PMG: I’m not going to waste any time talking about the band formerly known as Metallica or any other such thing. What I will say is that I’m really supportive of a lot of veteran bands who have stuck true to their visions, like Jag Panzer, Savatage, Solitude Aeturnus, Kreator (sans that lack of guitar solos on OUTCAST!?). It seems to me like a lot of other veteran bands who took time off are now coming back, which to me is pretty damned cool. I hear Nasty Savage played a big German festival, for instance. I don’t think it’s trendy to have a reunion unless the guys are doing it for money that just isn’t going to be there.
12 Dan, you did a demo as Savage Garden which sounds really familiar, who was in that group with you and how did you go from Savage Garden to New Eden?
DD: Savage Garden was actually the name of the New Eden demo which I was not part of. My first demo release was a power metal band called Secret Wisdom. It was a demo I did with my friend back in New York in 1993. I still have lots of those demos around. We were selling them for $5 and we did not sell many. I have no regrets though. It helped me to get where I am today. After that I went on to New Eden to record the CD for Sentinel Steel Records.
13. You stated in one interview that the lyrics for the new release deal with individuality and seeking immortality. Is Breathe Deep The Dark and concept album of sorts and if so do you continue the story on the next release. What about the music for this release, how did that come together?
PMG: BREATHE DEEP THE DARK is loosely conceptual. We never intended it to be a concept album, but it just so happened that everything fell into place when we sat down to write lyrics and come up with song titles. Expect something different on the next album, for sure, although it won’t be far removed from what one would expect from the dark subjects
we like to tackle in D. E. BDTD doesn’t have a continuing story, actually, just many different pieces that fit into a main theme.
DD: There will be no continuation of Breathe Deep the Dark on the next album. Personally I want the next CD to be much different lyrically. I really liked the idea of the thematic concept album that Breathe sort of unintentionally became. I’m hoping we can take that same sort of thematic approach on the next one but this time intentionally. We have plenty of ideas and we are on to a theme already. It’s got to be different. The music for each song on Breathe was a collaboration. Usually the main idea for a particular song came from one person then
the band as a whole completes it. I think on the next album this approach will be used also but even more collaborative.
14 Perry, I understand your really into writing, tell me a little about what you have going on and your works.
PMG: I founded Tsathoggua Press back in ’94 when I came out with the first issue of my weird fiction (horror, fantasy and noir literature) ‘zine YAWNING VORTEX. It’s just a small press, but it’s my means of keeping the legacies of unjustly neglected authors alive, and a way for me to say what I want to get out, to get around the bullshit that is commercial publishing. So far I’ve published several chapbooks containing prose and poetry by Frank Belknap Long (my personal favorite author), a critical biography of Clark Ashton Smith and the early stories of H. P. Lovecraft scholar/parodist Peter Cannon. I edited all
those and wrote most of the introductions. I’ve also edited material for other small presses–and will continue to do so. I have quite a few editorial projects on the horizon. As far as my writing goes I’ve had fiction, poetry and non-fiction published in a quite a few other small
press zines and even some larger ones. I don’t like to pigeon-hole or categorize myself when it comes to my reading, writing or musical tastes, even if I am a die-hard metalhead and weird fictionist. I dig good writing–period!–and most of my favorite authors were diverse–like Cornell Woolrich, Richard Matheson and Theodore Sturgeon. Check out the Tsathoggua Press website (soon to be expanded) through the Destiny’s End links page on our website. Any interested folks can find out more about my own personal work and the
15. What else do you guys enjoy doing when your not playing music?
PMG: Aside from playing guitar, reading/writing/editing/publishing? Book and record hunting (but that goes hand-in-hand with the latter), watching obscure horror and noir films and hanging with close friends. Some of my closest friends live hundreds of miles away, so I keep in touch a lot through email. I enjoy avoiding 9-5 mundane work if I can help it–I’d much rather find a way to survive without sapping my lifeforce as a corporate slave by getting editorial assignments and teaching guitar. But, realistically, that isn’t usually the case. If
you’re in a metal band and you stick true to your artistic integrity, you can expect not to make much money if any at all from your music. To say something you’ve probably heard before, "Don’t quit your day job."
DD: I’m a professional bowler. No. I work on other band shit! In my "free" time I listen to a lot of music, I read, and I watch science fiction movies. My favorite TV show right now is The Outer Limits (the new one). I’m getting more and more into other art forms. I love classical music and Celtic music. I’m also getting into fantastic art like H.R. Giger. I also dig computer art. I’m hoping the next album cover will be really special.
16 Any final thoughts? Anything else you want add about the CD, the lyrics, Metal Blade, Music, sex drugs whatever , the rest of the space is yours.
PMG: Stay weird, stay heavy–and most importantly–stay true!
DD: I hope everyone can visit our website at www.destinysend.com [now defunct]. Check
it out for sound clips, reviews merchandise etc. You can get the CD through us for $15 ppd US $17 world. We also have really cool T-shirts for sale. Write to PO Box 1048 South Pasadena CA 91030. Don’t do drugs.
[Dan’s last line is hilarious. I should’ve added: "Smoke lotsa crack!" What was I thinking?