Like it or not; Power Metal are back in the headlines again. Fittingly; Metal Blade has re- released some old classics in the last months. Just to remind us that these ten years old classics are ten times better than the releases new bands like Hammerfall and Sinergy are releasing these days. One of these releases is
Liege Lord's classic "Master Control" from 1988. This album is still very much relevant for today's scene and it does not sound dated at all. We got in touch with Liege Lord's guitarist Paul Nelson for an update on the situation.
1. Let me first start with that I am not familiar with your band due to my
address on an isolated mountain in Scotland for the past fifteen years. When
and where was Liege Lord started? Could you give us a brief biography ??
The band formed in 1982 as a Judas Priest cover band like so many others at
the time. Soon Liege Lord began writing their own material which was put out
as a demo in 1984. That demo led to the signing with the now famous Black
Dragon records in France, (the label responsible for the signing of such acts
as, Candlemass, Jag Panzer, Heir Apparent, Savage Grace, Manilla Road) that
album was entitled "Freedoms Rise." The same record was released on the Iron
Works/Azra label in the US and is now considered very collectable. In 1986 we
signed with Metal Blade and released "Burn to my Touch" then in 1989 we
released "Master Control" produced by Terry Date (Pantera, White Zombie, Def
Tones, Sound Garden, etc.)
2. Please tell us more about eventual demo recordings.
When that demo came out, Europe was all over it. Metal Forces, Metal Hammer,
Kerrang you name it. Remember at that time the term Power Metal didn't exist.
That demo opened a lot of doors for the band...
3. Who are involved in Liege Lord? What is the concept of your band name?
The last line up was Matt Vinci, Tony Truglio, Frank Cortese, Joe Comeau (now
in Overkill), Andy Michaud was the bands original singer on the first 2 CDs.
As far as the meaning of the band name it means ruler of land a King!
4. Please give us a full insight to your 1988 album "Master Control," The
recording, the tracks and the concept.
Is there any difference between the
1988 version and the 1999 re-release?
We'll that album was recorded at the Carriage House studios here in the
states we were one of the first Metal bands to record there. After that Max
Norman worked there Fates Warning, Overkill, Lizzy, Dirty Looks and tons
more. We flew Terry Date in from Seattle and finished the album in 14 days!!!
(24 hr days, we worked in shifts)... This was the first album that we all
wrote material for plus a cove of Rainbow's Kill the King. I had to call Dio
for permission to use the song, (a year later I was called to audition for
his band) The concept was futuristic which was quite a departure from our
past medieval style of writing. That album sparked a massive US tour teaming
us up with Anvil and performing with Megadeath, Flotsam, Anthrax, Talas,
Death, Exodus, and another tour with Candlemass. Both the 1988 and 1999
releases are the same but the inner artwork and photos are very different...
5. Why was "Master Control" re-released? Please give us an insight in this
A couple of reasons led to the re-releases, after the release of Master
Control in '89' they stopped pressing our CDs because of a tie up with
Capital and Metal Blade, it wasn't until recently that the masters were back
in the hands of MB. Also our music has been selling as bootleg material out
side the US for years. We've always had a tremendous following in Germany,
Brazil, France, Greece, etc. Also because of all the different picture discs
pressed buy Iron Works. And another thing was that a lot of Labels were
trying to buy our masters from MB I guess they knew our recordings was in
demand. So they re-released, and so did Black Dragon with "Freedoms Rise."
So as you might guess it very exciting to have three CD's out at the same
time all over again...
6. Ten-fifteen years ago; when and how did you get in touch with Metal Blade
Records? What is your view on this metal label now ?
We were looking for better distribution at the time, Black Dragon was mainly
centered on Europe. It was at a show one night with Avenger here on the East
coast of America that Brian Slagel of Metal Blade walked in a signed us one
week later. He had been following our progress with "Freedoms Rise" for some
time and was given a tape through Chris Loauge of Savage Grave. I think
they've done a great job with our re-releases, and as a label in general,
hey, they've been around for what 15 years or so, I guess that means
7. How did the album sell in the first two-three years? What have you done
between 1988 and 1999 ?
Master control at the time was are largest seller it hit #1 on the US metal
radio charts a spot shared with Metallica and was featured in every major mag
at the time, Kerrang, Metal Hammer, Circus, Billboard, Metal Forces and now
its happened all over again Rock Hard, Scream, Heavy Oder Was! You name it!
This is now boosting the sales of all our other releases and as you might
imagine we're very pleased with the way things have been going! As far as the
second question, the rest of the band have been active in the music scene in
one form or another. Myself, well, back then my reputation as a guitar player
was starting to get me noticed in the industry. Offers to join other bands
were becoming more frequent. My dedication to the band remained solid,
although I will admit (only now) that there were a few offers that I did
weaken to and upon hearing this list, anyone would have done the same; Dio,
Ozzy, Anthrax, House of Lords, Icon, Slaughter, as well as an offer to join
Steel Heart a week after their deal with MCA while I was still in the studio
(recording "Master Control".) Recently I've done a lot of guest spots on
various CD's including one with Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) in Portugal that
went gold. I'm a busy guy! -- and loving every minute of it...
8. "Master Control" has been re-released again this year and it still sound
like it was recorded this year. Which says everything about today's Heavy
Metal scene? What is your view on this scene ?
You know it's pretty funny that's been happening a lot. The majority of
interviews that I've done, have stated pretty much the same thing. There are
some DJ's out there that actually think it is a new release... I think it is
because of #1: Terry Date's production and #2: The fact that this album, if
you think about it, was really originally released within months of the
beginning of the '90s. Giving it a more currant sound than that of other
bands earlier reissues. I enjoy the fact that the work of us and others
during the mid '80s was not forgotten. The metal you hear now is a direct
reflection of that time. A lot of the bands are carrying the torch that we
once lit and as long as they carry on that tradition or even better it in
some manner, I'll listen. One of the big problems now as in the mid '80s is
the fact that metal then began to spread itself too thin, branching off into
too many categories. Very much like the greedy army trying to conquer too
many places at once. Unfortunately this may have a backfiring effect on
metal's resurgence in the millennium.
9. Has anything changed in the Heavy Metal scene during the last ten years?
What about the media and the metal press. How is today's media/press compared
with the media/press ten-fifteen years ago ?
A big similarity in the scene today as compared to then, is that metal zines
and metal radio are again playing a huge part in the metal scene. And with
the induction of the Internet the metal scene when it does resurface will
resurface fast and hard. Liege Lord has always been very fortunate as far as
the media and the press. Not only have they been very flattering and helpful,
but we have maintained long term friendships along the way. The only
difference now is that these same people own the radios and magazines they
worked for 10 years ago... Ha, ha, ha...
10. How would you place yourself in the World Wide Metal landscape ?
As a band who left their mark mostly in the power metal area, we were big
Judas Priest / UFO / Iron Maiden fans, and that really effected our sound. At
a time when everything was becoming very "glam" we were part of a scene that
kept the underground alive while hairspray-and lipstick-bands were giving
metal a bad name. I think that's why our music is still played and respected,
because it changed things in some way.
11. What is your view on the Black Metal thing from Scandinavia ?
Like I said before, this too is just another off shoot of the main music,
which is METAL. As long as the music can stand on it's own that's fine. There
is nothing wrong with shock appeal and theatrics as long as there are good
songs to back it up. I have always been under the impression that you should
listen to a band's music first before even knowing what they stand for or
what they look like. Then, if the music moves you, would you get into their
lifestyle or message. Black metal players, Viking metal players, Power metal
-- whatever, should all talk each other up whenever the chance arises. As
long as it is metal it's all right by me !
12. What is your plans for the rest of 1999 and next year ?
I'm currently working on my own solo project and because of the resurgence of
Liege Lord's music, I have been receiving some offers to join other band
situations. Anything is possible right now.
13. Where can Liege Lord be contacted? Any web sites?
At our new web-site www.LiegeLord.com
(which is actually doing very well) or at our snail -- mail address:
PO Box 3207
Stamford, CT 06905-0207
14. Any final comments ?
I'd like to thank you guys again, I enjoyed the thorough questioning... You
have definitely done your homework! And if I may thank all the supporters of
our band through the years.