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Halloween - Interview, May 2013

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    Posted: 03 May 2013 at 7:03am

Helloween, Detroits men of metal horror!With the recent re-release of No One Gets Out via Pure Steel, the American classic metal act Halloween have ensured that their long out-of-print classic once more is available to spread heavy metal horror upon the world. We have had a chat with the Detroit horror show's vocalist and founding member Brian Thomas, who sorts out a couple of confusing facts about the band's early history, and also discusses the attraction of horror lyrics and gives us some insights into the making of No One Gets Out. Fans of classic heavy metal should not miss out on this interview.

Firstly, congratulations on the re-release of your second album No One Gets Out from 1991. What motivated the re-release?

THANK YOU. It's funny No One Gets Out was actually the 4th recording project for us but was the 2nd official release. Victims of the Night was recorded in 1986, 1 year after Don't Metal With Evil was released, and Vicious Demonstration more commonly known as the Vicious Demo was recorded in 1989 with the second major line-up of the band. However, issues over money and management delayed both of those projects. Vicious was only released locally here in Detroit at our shows on cassette form only and with several tracks omitted, and VOTN did not get released until1997. The reason for the re-release was because the CD had been out of print for almost 10 years now and our European label Pure Steel Records made a deal with us to issue all of our previous work on vinyl and we added a new CD version on this particular release. We wanted to offer the original version, remastered and with a throw-back cover very similar to the original artwork. We are hoping to also give the Vicious Demonstration a proper release in the near future as well. It was previously available as bonus tracks on the No One Gets Out CD, but there are bonus tracks that belong with those recordings and it has never had an official CD release of it's own. (Not to mention that it is a different line-up than the NOGO album). So we will give it a great cover and add the extra tracks and it will finally take its proper place in our history.

How do you feel about the album being reissued?

I am personally happy about it because it is one of my favourite HALLOWEEN CD's and we have been out of it for so long. It sucks when people ask you why they can't find your records and you know that they would buy it and like it, but they are out of print. I love the new cover, it is simple and yet powerful and to the point. Pure Steel has been awesome in helping us get our music out to the fans. NOGO originally came out in 1991 when the music scene in America was shifting over to grunge and a lot of METAL releases were over-looked including this one, so we are happy that with the re-release our music has a chance to reach new fans and those fans that didn't even know that we did more than just Don't Metal With Evil.

It must be really nice to know that the album will be made available to new generations of metalheads who may never have heard it before?

Absolutely, we love the fact that we are now able to reach a whole new legion of fans both new and old, the internet is very helpful with that and having a label that is behind us is just icing on the cake. It is awesome that magazines, fanzines and blogs are helping us to get the word out as well so thank you for that!

What has it been like, this many years later, revisiting an album that represents Halloween in 1991?

It is pretty great, that recording session was a bit of a turning point for us, we grew immensely on that CD. We always wanted to stay true to who we were and what we had started, but there is always room for growth and we allowed ourselves to grow and explore different styles and sounds without totally changing or becoming just a flavour of the month band. We incorporated a heavier feel and more intense lyrical topics and still kept our roots in tact by staying with the original sounds and emotions that we had on the earlier recordings. This seemed like a big jump for us because it came out before a record we had done in 1986, but it truly was an evolution for us. We have always reflected the influences that inspired each of the members of the group and with a changing line-up you are going to get an evolving sound. I really love the heavier sound to this record it really evokes a lot of emotion. And it is real METAL!!

No One Gets Out - the Pure Steel versionDid you have any blast-from-the past experiences or do you feel that you have always stayed connected with the songs on the album?

We have always stayed connected with these songs, most of them continue to be a big part of our live shows (although a few of them we have not played live in several years). We are performing the entire album at a show here in Detroit this spring and we are having a lot of fun reviving the songs that have not been done in a while.

The first album that you released as Halloween was Don't Metal With Evil from 1985 and after a six year gap No One Gets Out was released in 1991. Was Halloween active in those six years?

Yes HALLOWEEN has been active for almost the entire 30 years that we have been a band, sometimes with different members but always writing, recording and playing Live shows. In 1985-86 we recorded Victims Of The Night, in 1988 we recorded and filmed a Halloween Night show for a Video and Album release called Don't Metal With EviL=LivE (which still has not been released), in 1989 we recorded Vicious Demonstration with our 2nd line-up which was George Neal and Myself along with Billy Gray on Guitar and Tommy Stewart (ex-Everclear, Fuel, Lo-Pro, Lillian Axe and Godsmack) on Drums. We also toured the USA with Crimson Glory that year. Then in 1990 we recorded No One Gets Out twice once with Jon Oliva and also the version that was released. The Oliva recordings were damaged and not able to be used, Savatage was in the studio recording Streets so we were not able to reschedule our session time, so we released the sessions that we did prior to our time with Jon.

Now six years of course gives the musician time for development of his skills. Would you say that No One Gets Out reflects this sort of development in comparison with Don't Metal With Evil?

We have spent our entire career growing and learning from our experiences and mistakes. I love all of the songs we have written, we don't keep them unless we really feel strongly about them, and the DMWE songs are all like children to us. We wish that the technology that we have now was around back then, so that record would have had more intensity, but we are proud of what we have done. And NOGO was definitely a reflection of our growth and experience, as are the newer releases a testament to where we are now.

Lyrically, is the album a concept album or is it a collection of individual horror stories?

Lyrically, this record is a statement of social studies and an observation of life. We still bring the horror element into all of our work, but in this case it is more of the horrors of real life and the struggles that exist in society. Songs about Child Abuse, Corruption in the Church, Divorce and Break-ups, Mental Health, Ignorance, Pollution and the abuse of our Planet, Life and Death, Pride and Self Awareness. I am inspired by the news quite a lot.

What is it about horror that makes it an attractive lyrical topic for a metal band?

I can't answer for other bands, but for myself and Halloween it is simply the perfect backdrop to the band. We are called Halloween, we got together at Halloween time, we all love the holiday and horror movies and our stage show evolved from simple Halloween decorations at early practices. I think fans of heavy metal also can relate because I think we all like to be scared, but without any real danger. (like at a movie) (or a theme park Haunted House)

The pumpkinless version, in turn endowed with the coolest O everWhere does the inspiration for the horror lyrics come from?

Fantasy, I have a wild imagination and I am inspired by horror movies and books, then I add real life events and situations and it takes the songs to new levels. Like I said it is fun to scare people that want to be scared. (and if I can make them think also (without 'Preaching') then that is a nice bonus)

The reissued album was completely remastered by Rocco Stellmacher, but it still has a very raw sound. Is it important to you that the reissued album did not get too polished?

We tried to keep the sound as close to the original as possible but yet bring it into focus a little bit more. It was never properly mastered the first time around, and it would sound great on one system and not as good on another, so we wanted to fix that problem. I think it turned out really good, Rocco did a great job. I think Metal should be Raw and Real, it's never good to polish a heavy record too much it can take away some of the emotion and intensity.

The reissued album comes with new cover artwork, but the new cover artwork is quite similar to the original one. Pretty much only the band logo has been changed. Why this minimal change in cover art?

When the CD was re-issued in 2001 with the Vicious Demo tracks we had a great cover done by Craig Simpson and it was distributed by Molten Metal Records. When we went into this re-release we decided to go back to the simple cover for 2 reasons. 1) We could not reach Craig Simpson to re-license his work and 2) a lot of our fans asked about the original cover, (not many people had it or had seen it). So we decided to use the original cover with the newer version of our logo. We like how the bright green pops off of the black background. Also if you remember the original cover featured a logo without a pumpkin in the logo. We did this because, there had been an arrangement with Helloween at one time where they did not use a pumpkin in their logo also, here in the US and we thought we would do the same on one of our releases to show a gesture of good faith. (Plus the artist who did the logo did a killer job with the 'O') so we used it.

There is a cover version of Kiss' 'Detroit Rock City' on No One Gets Out. Does that song have any special significance to Halloween as a band?

I was born and raised in New Jersey and when I was 18, I got married to a girl whose family was moving to Detroit. She missed her family after a year and we decided to move to Detroit as well, in order to come to terms with leaving my family and moving 12 hours away, I used that song as a motivation for coming here. (thinking if KISS wrote a song about the place it must be good, and good for my aspiring music career) So putting it on the record was a tribute to its place in my musical history. (and George Neal's mom loved it when we would play it live, so we recorded it for her too)

TerrortoryWith the most recent Halloween full-length Terrortory having been released in 2012, are you working on material for a new Halloween album?

Yes we are currently in the writing phase, for the next record, but at the same time we are preparing for our 30th anniversary show, which will be coming up this October. We are also working with our side projects too, so there is a lot going on with us right now.

What are the plans for Halloween in the near future?

Write Songs, Record Songs, Release Recordings, Play Shows, work on DVD and Videos, get More and New Fans, Spread The Word of Heavy Metal, Have Fun, Repeat! (I'm sure pay the bills should be in there too, but that doesn't sound like as much fun as the other stuff)

Where can those of our readers who are not familiar with Halloween go for more information? will take you to all of the sites that we have. We have a Facebook page, (in fact a few), Myspace, Twitter, and the band website where you can find merchandise and info on all of our events. All of the band members have individual Facebook pages as well (except Rob Brug).

Thanks for doing this interview and best of luck with the reissue of No One Gets Out. It is definitely an amazing metal classic that deserves a lot of renewed attention!

Thank YOU for taking the time to get to know more about us, and thanks to your readers in advance for checking us out as well! CHEERS!!

Edited by Time Signature - 06 May 2014 at 10:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2013 at 9:02am
Cool interview!  No One Gets Out is the only album that I have from them.  I remember picking it up at a local record store.  My sister went to school with a relative of one of the band members from back then in the 80's/90's.  I don't remember who it was though.
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