TROUBLE's Rick Wartell On Finding Band's Musical Direction - "We Were Fans Of Psychedelic Music To Begin With... It Just Seemed Natural To Incorporate It Into Our Sound"
June 27, 2013, 6 years ago
It’s not too contentious to credit bands like BLACK SABBATH for inventing not just metal, but doom as a genre. But American band TROUBLE has the old school doom metal tradition going since 1979, a decade after Sabbath and JUDAS PRIEST had already set the tone for metal, gaining much mainstream success in the UK and overseas. The commercial aspect of it didn’t interest Trouble, though. Albums such as Psalm 9, Run To The Light and The Skull featured an odd mix of spiritual lyrics by then-vocalist Eric Wagner set to thick riffs and drumming.
Trouble guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell on how they found their musical direction...
Q: What kind of metal did you want to play, starting out in 1979?
Bruce Franklin: "We wanted to play the heaviest stuff from the beginning. In 1979, in the USA, heavy rock was dying. There was still Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. A few other bands like SCORPIONS, THIN LIZZY, UFO were around, but weren’t as heavy. A lot of the cool bands that we grew up on had disappeared or faded to making more commercial music. We wanted to play a combination of our favorite stuff, even though its popularity was declining. By 1980 in the USA, there was an underground movement getting hip to the expansion happening across the water. That provided an audience for us that grew through the next few years."
Q: What made you bring psychedelic rock and heavy metal together?
Rick Wartell: "We were fans of psychedelic music to begin with. It just seemed natural to incorporate it into our sound."
Bruce Franklin: "Yeah, we liked psychedelic rock, like THE DOORS, THE BEATLES, IRON BUTTERFLY and CAPTAIN BEYOND. We also really liked Black Sabbath, DEEP PURPLE, ALICE COOPER and 70s-era Judas Priest. Eventually, we tried to incorporate some of those psychedelic influences into our heavy guitar riff rock that we so loved. This is a major point that set us apart from other metal bands of the day. It just comes down to doing the kind of music that we loved."
Q: Speaking of bands that you influenced, there’s one question a lot of Trouble fans still want to know the answer to – is it true METALLICA checked out your backline rig to get a similar guitar tone?
Bruce Franklin: "It is true that James Hetfield looked at our onstage guitar amps in 1984 when we played in San Francisco. Anything beyond that fact is just speculation."
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Trouble return with their first album since Simple Mind Condition, released in 2007. The album, entitled The Distortion Field, features 13 tracks and will be released by FRW Records in North America on July 16th, and in Europe on July 26th.
The Distortion Field makes history in the Trouble camp through the band's acquisition of a new lead vocalist, Kyle Thomas of EXORDER and FLOODGATE fame.
Commenting on new vocalist Thomas, Trouble founder and guitarist Rick Wartell says: "Kyle is one of the most impressive singers I've ever heard, and by far the most extraodinary singer I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He's got incredible range, incredible power, and an incredible knowledge of Trouble, as he's been a fan for 20-something years. We've known him forever, and he innately understands what Trouble is about. He's like the perfect guy to come in and do this job. It's awesome."
Veteran Music Producer Bill Metoyer is once again lending his expertise, having previously worked with the band on The Skull and Trouble, both Metal Blade releases."Musically, I think this album is a true Trouble record.", states Wartell. "In the early days, we used to just write what we felt and didn't really care about what anyone said. We just wrote heavy riffs and played our music our way. But outside influences can kind of get a hold of you and start telling you what to do. When we were writing this album, the thinking was, we don't care what anybody thinks. We're going to write what we write. So this is basically a return to our roots, while combining some reflections of our band's long history as well. With the two different music writers, Bruce and myself, we have a slight variation in our writing; Bruce has more of a '70s groove to his writing, and I'm more the old school doomy metal thing. And when you put it together, you get Trouble."
The Distortion Field tracklisting:
'Sink Or Swim'
'Glass Of Lies'
'The Grey Chill Of Autumn'
'When The Sky Comes Down'
'Have I Told You'
'The Apple From The Snake'
'Hunters Of Doom'
'The Broken Have Spoken'
Kyle Thomas - vocals
Rick Wartell - guitar
Bruce Franklin - guitars
Shane Pasqualla - bass
Mark "Marko" Lira - drums