Hey man, welcome back to the firmament with Warfather. What took you so long?
Cheers bro! I have been busy taking care of person issues in my life. In a way, I think I was actually shedding my skin. Things around me had become a bit cloudy, and like a snake I needed to shed my skin to be able to return my focus to Music.
Do you see this as a band effort, or a Steve Tucker project for which he simply needs other guys too?
I see Warfather as a band. I am the leader. But it is not mine alone. Everyone involved has the same focus and the same goals. It was most important to me, to play music with people that share the same ideas. And when people have the same ideas there is equality. Every band has a hierarchy; someone needs to be the leader, the decision maker.
The reason I asked it like that is you are so seasoned now and the guys you work with are far less experienced than you are, which is fine, but makes me wonder about the hierarchy in the band.
Yes, I am a veteran, and with that comes my past. Everyone understands this. However, I am not real fond of followers, I like people with an opinion, and I can tell you that no one involved in Warfather holds back on their opinions. As I said, yes, I am the guy that makes the final decisions, but everyone has input, and those inputs lead to the final decisions.
You just released your debut album, you took a lot of chores on your shoulders. Do you think it is all just very fun to do, or are you that much of a control freak, that you want to be involved in all that happens, such as production?
For 'Orchestrating The Apocalypse' it was a matter of obsession, I had something in my head that I needed to get out. In hindsight, I was a total control freak. And now I feel I had way too much going on, even though it was fun at times, at times it seemed like complete punishment. However, I think it had to be this way, and I regret nothing. I will take it much easier on the next album, and concentrate on the musical side. We are planning to work with Erik Rutan, I trust him like he is my brother, I am looking forward to it, I wanted 'OTA' dark, raw and nasty, like the beginning of a war, or in this case, the coming apocalypse. The next album will have a different vibe. Every album to follow will as well.
And listening back to it now, I personally think it is a solid record, with lots of variety and brutal energy, ominous vibes and plenty of space to explore uncommon territories. But when you as the mastermind behind all of this listen back to it, are there moments where you think “this part should have been done different, that instrument should have been a little more to the forefront” and stuff like that?
Cheers! I have to honestly say, yes, But I also have to say that I feel that way about every album I have ever been a part of. I think there is always something, some issue that you wish you could go back and change.
I’ll get into the past, present and future later on, but the first thing I was wondering, is what the name Warfather means to you and why did you pick it? It is mighty catchy by the way?
A Warfather would be the tribal leader that is in charge of war and all forms of protection of the tribe. I was told the name warfather is also used in some Norse legends, but I really do not know enough about that to say much, I think it is a very unsurprising coincidence. I agree with you the name is catchy, it was recommended to me, and the more the name rolled in my head, the more I became convinced it was the name for this band.
Aren’t you afraid a name like Warfather might give the impression to fans that the lyrical content is just about set for the rest of all time?
No , not at all, I do not plan to turn Warfather into a jazz, fusion, progressive, death metal band. Warfather is a death metal band, we may have moments or hints of other ambient, dark sounds, on some part at some time, but we will always be a death metal band, and very proud of that. As for lyrics, perhaps someone could think that because of the name, the lyrics are about war. I could see that, but I guess it is something I do not care about. If the name is too heavy, then honestly, we are probably not for these people anyway.
Again, I’ll get to the lyrics later on. But how long have you been working on this to get it where you are now and what have you been doing in the meanwhile?
I put the band together in 2012, I started writing songs some months before this, after the Nader Sadek In the flesh sessions. I guess NS lit a fire under my ass and made me realize it was time to get back to work. Before that I had some really important things to deal with personally.
When I went to see a band in Tilburg in 1998 and sang along ALL of the lyrics (including the new ones) at the front row, the singer afterwards walked in the venue and fucking thanked ME for my contribution, before I got the chance to do so. I figure you guessed who the other protagonist was in this story. You were in the greatest death metal band of the world, but you left at some point. Am I right in saying that you were just a singer with far too little opportunities to put a mark on the identity of what Morbid Angel was then?
No actually that would not be an accurate statement at all. Trey and I had built a trust and I was able to contribute both musically and lyrically in MA. Of course MA already had an identity when I joined for 'Formulas Fatal To The Flesh'. At that time I feel what I brought to MA was a different kind of aggression, while maintaining the already established identity of the band. I feel I put much more of a statement on 'Gateways' than the other two albums, and I also feel that was our strongest point as a band, having Rutan involved made it very strong! I have been asked many times and many different ways, why I decided to leave MA. The reason that I left was really more about my personally life, Morbid Angel was a very demanding band. We did quite a bit of touring on very hard schedules. I was married at the time, I am not now, I think you can figure out the rest of that situation. The thing is, I loved being in Morbid Angel, but my home life was destroyed. You cannot have everything!!
Trey experimented his ass off in those years and in fact he still does, which is not always appreciated by the fans. Did or do you feel (I don’t by the way) like some guys picked you as a scapegoat for the direction the band went at?
Trey is a genius. He has done more for death metal thank possibly any other guitarist. He has always experimented, that is what makes him great in my opinion. As far as me being a scapegoat, I am not sure I understand what I am being a scapegoat for, am I scapegoat for what MA was with me in the band? Or a scapegoat for what MA is doing now? I take full responsibility for the years I was involved, the F thru H albums, I am actually very proud of what we did. If they do not like what MA is doing now, and they blame me? Well, all that I can say is, if I was part of the “I” album, of course it would have been different, however, I had nothing to do with this album at all. I am sure that MA is proud of the album that they made. Talk to them about it.
You could have harnessed the network you had before, but you didn’t. You built up a whole new entity, not using labels, management, production or any other deals from the past. Hats off, really brave and strong of yours. Was it that important for you to put this down as YOUR band, instead of the almost inevitable “ex-Morbid Angel” label?
Well the MA label is something that is part of me, regardless. As I said, I am proud of the years I was in MA. Having said this, I really wanted this to be a different situation than what MA was. I didn’t want to be working with a label that didn’t even like my music, I didn’t want to feel like I was part of a machine that just kept churning along with all the hanger on, ass kissers around. I always loved the underground side, the packed clubs with sweaty walls! That is where the vibe is at for me, that is where I feel most at home, and that is where I find brotherhood and loyalty. As well, I want to establish Warfather as its own entity, and when building, the foundation is the most important thing, I wanted to do it our way, on our terms and make it something on its own.
Are you still ok with the guys from back then?
It has been a very long time since I have seen anyone, but I do talk to Rutan regularly. I will always see these guys as my brothers, there is no way around it. Brothers have fights, sometimes the fights take time to heal, but they eventually heal. I am ok with everyone from the MA camp, and proud of what we did!
Did you get any offers from other bands to sing along, either as a guest, or maybe even as a member?
Yes, I did, however, the timing was never right. As I have said, I had my own problems going on, I didn’t want to make promises to people that I could not keep, so I declined the offers.
Back to Warfather, how did you select the members and if you like, why all the aliases?
There are many levels to that question; I think the shortest answer would be that I tried to find guys that I felt the most comfortable with. The aliases were their choice for their own reasons. There is no hidden agenda, or reason other than they each decided this on their own.
How much did they contribute to the writing process, as I understand you play some guitar too, right?
Yes, I play guitar on the entire album, this is a change that I wanted to make. I have always played guitar and written on guitar, and I felt it was time to show another side of myself with solos. I felt it was really refreshing for me, a new kind of release. Everyone contributed to the final versions of the songs, I wrote the songs but we finished them as a band.
The songs are layered in multiple segments of emotions, sometimes even more vibes at the same time and I was wondering how much of this stays intact when you play these songs live, in a noisy venue or open field. Do they survive?
I fell they survive in any venue setting, and I feel this because all of these layers of emotion are real. Every note and every word on the OTA comes from pure emotion.
The titles are all in the line of what to expect from a death metal band. Could you tell us a little more about the lyrics on the album?
The lyrics of the album are in total a concept. The concept being similar to the butterfly effect. Every action leads to something else happening. Each song is a story, however each story is a chapter to the overall concept. The album starts with the song 'XII', this is symbolic of the beginning of change, the stroke of midnight, and from this point the songs spiral into what becomes 'The Apocalypse', each song bringing forth demands for change, for an awakening, each song conjuring another god of destruction. Until the album ends with 'We Are the Wolves'. A song about animal instinct, which is what we have to use to exist in a world without technology, this song is about embracing the beast within, for what it is!
Is it imperative for fans to understand Warfather to take notice of your lyrics?
Lyrics are very important to me personally. It is my soap box , where I can say whatever it is I want to say. However, we are a band and we play music that I put these words on. So if someone loves the music and ignores the lyrics, in my opinion they are missing something very important. But I do understand that some people do not care about the lyrics, that is their right .
In ten years from now, I assume we will both be a little balder and still listen to brutal racket and I hope Warfather too. When I come check you out live at that time, what songs you play now will definitely be on the set?
Hahahaha, well I hope I am not bald. In ten years time, I think we will still play songs from 'OTA'. This is only the beginning and I feel songs like 'The Shifting Poles', 'Legions', 'XII' and 'We Are The Wolves' will be songs that would still be played at that time.
From what I understand you are flooded with interview requests, does that also mean bookers are jumping on your new endeavour?
We are talking to booking agencies worldwide and will be possibly coming to Europe in May. We do not have a final itinerary yet, but it is being worked on right now, we will definitely be playing the Netherlands very soon.
Are you already looking ahead to the next record, in terms of writing, or not at this stage?
Yes, I am definitely looking forward to the next album, we have been writing songs for months now and I am real excited to do the album, But right now the focus is fully on getting out and doing as many live shows as we can do.
Will you be doing big shows over here?
Yes, we have some things in the works, but nothing I can announce now.
Like I said, I am fully aware of how busy you are now. So I won’t bother you too much. You are a rare breed in terms of professionalism and the down to earth way you have always handled your stardom. So if anyone deserves a spot on top, it’s you. Thanks for your time, I can’t wait to see what’s next and all the best in the near future. I’ll give you the opportunity to address your European fans in the final words. Cheers!
Cheers! I really appreciate that! To the Fans: We will be in your town very soon, be prepared for an all out assault, this band was not put together to be nice. Be prepared for battle! ,,/