Crying Steel has been around for a long time, for the band started in 1982. Now it would be a bit too much to ask you guys to tell us all about your career, but can you tell us about the absolute highs and lows in the past 38 years?
Well, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it, so let’s go for it. It’s easier to start with the highs which are more than the lows and if we rewind the tape we could easily say we’re living our best period ever. In the last three years we played at Wacken, we closed a record deal for a reissue of our well acclaimed first full length ‘On The Prowl’ by No Remorse Records and now we just released our best album ever ‘Stay Steel’ with our-living-legend Tony Mills on vocals. What more could we ask for? This said we faced a never-ending lead singer revolving doors which, obviously, confronted us with some problems and delays in our musical career, maybe we are singers-eaters? Hahaha.
Is Crying Steel at the moment the main priority for all the members? Or are you involved in other projects or activities? And can you live from making music or do you have a regular job on the side?
Our main priority for all of us is STAY STEEL ! As we are playing metal since early 80’ and now are one century further so we have to be in perfect shape. Last but not least Stay Steel in our last effort and we are just starting the new tour to support it. We never lived from our music and we have always had a regular job, but our music lives worldwide with or without our regular job.
Crying Steel plays a kind of classic metal that has an obvious 80s vibe. You’ve always played such music, did you never had the urge to write and record something different? I mean, the metal scene has quite developed in lots of different directions in the past 30 years, something I’m sure you guys noticed too.
Really ? Are you saying that not so many bands are playing classic metal anymore? So more room for us hahaha. You’re right, the metal scene got different directions and, of course, we are aware of this phenomena. But we like playing, listen classic metal and we play what we like. Anyway there has been, in the middle of our career, a short period where we played some rock songs, not metal at all maybe. AOR stuff and sung in Italian with a female singer, now you can browse the net for something hahaha. Thus, excluding this Italian moment, we’ve always played classic metal stuff.
Now we’re on the subject of developments in the metal world, the main turning point in the music industry of course was the rise of Internet. For some a blessing for others a curse. You guys have seen and experienced the metal scene before and after the arrival of the world wide web. So, according to you, what has changed for the better, and what has changed for the worse?
Umhh…. hard question but a very easy answer. We love the WWW and, of course, it is harder now to sell records as you can download almost everything for almost free. But all the metal bands are still delivering new records thankfully. This interview, just for making an example, is made possible by the Internet. A group like Crying Steel can be heard all over the world, with a simple click. We can sell all our albums worldwide with a simple click. We see no negative aspects at all. The Internet has simply rose the bar for music “competition”, people became more selective on buying/not-buying decision and you must deliver a really good record.
Over to the present time now. Recently you released the follow up for the 2013 release ‘Time Stands Steel’, entitled ‘Stay Steel’. On this new album you worked with renowned vocalist Tony Mills. The obvious question of course is why did you wanted to work with him? And how hard was it to convince him to sing on your album?
Wunderbar question! All of us love Tony Mills and, personally, I own all his records with his bands or as a solo-singer, and working with him is a long-life dream come true. I still can remember my first skype conference with him. To make a long story short, regarding Tony’s involvement: we were looking for a new singer after Rock Ramon departure for family matters and we were quite tired of auditioning new singers. So during a rehearsal I said: “Hey guys, why not ask a international singer to sing on our new album?” That started a carousel of names and Tony was one name we all agreed on. His voice fits perfectly with our style. But then there was this matter of actually getting him on board. So I send him a Messenger Text saying who we were, what we wanted to do, etcetera. Incredible enough he answered in a short time asking for more stuff to listen to. So we send him four rough songs and I still remember his answer: “Song 1 works, song 2 It will work Song 3 It will work Song 4 Works”, just magic. Tony was actually listening to our songs, we went mad, hahaha. Then we could easily find an economic agreement and the rest is ‘Stay Steel’!
Did the addition of a well-known vocalist like Mills give you new opportunities song wise? Or were
the songs for the new album already written before Mills joined? In how far was Tony Mills involved in the material on your new album?
Absolutely yes, we got a lot of new song wise opportunities from Tony. We worked together very well and the process was very simple. We send a rough song to Tony with the idea for the text and some basic vocal lines. He worked on it, writing lyrics and developing the vocal lines. Then he sent us his work and we gave him our feedback. He made the requested changes if he agreed and otherwise we would start a discussion, and he sent us the final version. Once he completed the vocal lines we added solos, breaks and so on and so forth. When we contacted Tony, all songs were ready in a rough state, but some of them have been completely reshuffled with Tony suggestions, experience and previous work. At the end we could label this album as Crying Mills, hahaha.
All of this also raises the question what happened to your singer Mirko Bachilegga, who, according to your website, is still the singer in the band. Was this deal with Tony Mills a one off and will Mirko handle the vocals again in the future?
The agreement with Tony was very clear. He was in a peculiar moment of his life and had no will to join a band or tour with a band at that moment. Mirko joined us after Tony’s agreement and he is a Tony fan too, so it’s a pleasant challenge for him singing the ‘Stay Steel’ songs live. We cannot exclude some live shows with Tony, but nothing has been planned for now. When we talk about Crying Steel singers’ future, our story speaks for itself. Jokes apart, Mirko is our singer and with him we are a great combo, his voice and live performance are simply amazing.
I can imagine you don’t aim for world domination anymore with your music, but what is your goal with ‘Stay Steel’? What do you still need to prove yourselves and the metal fans?
Whoops! You discovered our secret! We do want to dominate the metal world! Now our plan is dead, hahaha. No, for ‘Stay Steel’ we wanted it to be an international record, and all the good reviews we got so far seem to prove it is. We are very happy about it. Having our songs performed by Tony on lead vocals is a dream and we are all living this amazing dream. So nothing’ to prove, just a great gift, we hope, to all our fans worldwide.
What will happen now the album has been released? A tour in support of the album? Any festival appearances perhaps? And will you be playing shows outside of Italy?
Right now we are plotting the ‘Stay Steel tour’, which will bring us in Europe and we are working with some agencies to make this possible. Regarding the festivals, due to one-year-in-advance bill filling we are working on 2019, some surprises are coming up!
Alright, this wraps it up for now. Are there things left you want to say or add, that have not been covered by the above questions?
Just one thing. Thank you very much indeed to all Steel fan worldwide who give us the chance to play the music we love. Last but not least thanks to your readers and keep reading Lords of Metal & Stay Steel.