As far as this band, that's probably the beginning anyway. As far as getting into music, my brother Sean and I have always been doing stuff. Recording and demos here along the way. It wasn't really until this band actually started to get some of the material into the right hands and getting some notoriety and building something from that. The first CD we did was in '96 and that's when it started to get into the European press and to distributors throughout Europe and Japan as well. That's where it started. Then we did a couple of albums independently like that and dealt with distributors from various parts like I was mentioning. I got into King Diamond in late '97 or early '98 as well and I was playing guitar with King for a few years. In 2000, this band got signed to Metal Blade and since then we're working on our fourth album now. That's a very, very brief history of what's been going on in terms of having our material released and so forth.
How did you get hooked up with King Diamond?
Many moons ago, probably early '90 or '91, they'd gone through some lineup changes at this point and I had made a videotape of myself playing some of the material and basically demonstrating my playing as well. I sent it to the booking agency that they had at the time which was in Denmark. To make a long story short, I ended up getting contact with him directly because there were certain questions I had and so forth. They said it should be no problem to call him. It was pretty weird but they gave me his number so I called him and I told him who I am and I sent the tape out. He knew about it and he had watched it that morning. He said that they had just recruited some new members because I guess the information I had read at that point was obviously a little old. The magazines are usually a little bit behind. After that phone call, he was very, very nice to me. He said he really liked the tape and it was great stuff for them. It fit the style of the band and etc. He said if something should ever come up, he'd definitely give it consideration. At that point we hit it off real well on a friendship type of basis. Just remained friends throughout the years. Calling back and forth and this and that. Then in late '97 he called me and that was when one of the guitar players that they had actually recruited at that point years before left the band. He wanted to know if I would want to step in and that's where it started.
Where did you guys come up with the name Eidolon? It sounds cool.
It's different. Actually kind of a pain in the ass I think sometimes because people don't know how to pronounce it. When we first started working on this project it actually initially was just instrumental stuff. This was about '93ish. What were we going to call this project that we're doing, because at that point we were really trying to shop for doing an instrumental guitar thing. A million solos and all that kind of thing at that point. Sean, our drummer, came up with that name. It's just another name for an apparition. That's where that strange name came from.
What guitars do you endorse and why?
Actually for the last four years, I've been endorsing Jackson guitars. Now although I still play them and they're the main guitars, they've since been bought out by Fender. I think they only have a couple of guys left on board. I'm not one of them. I think they only have Phil Collen and a couple of other guys that they've kept and then they just offed everybody else really. I have been talking to some other people and I've been approached but I don't know. For me, the guitars that I have, I really like. I don't really need anymore. I got four of them in the time I was with them which is amazing. I need another guitar like a hole in the head.
Isn't it kind of stupid to off somebody that is basically advertising your guitars?
I guess there's two sides to that because we're not playing around a whole lot. We play the odd big festival in Europe mostly once a year or we'll play for instance the Cleveland Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Festival is coming up next week. That's a three day festival I believe. You can say also why keep the guys that have been around forever? Why not try to keep the new guys on board? I think the bottom line is because we're not touring around a lot. I think they look at it that way. We can't really justify giving this guy a bunch of free guitars if he's just playing four or five shows a year.
Why did you leave King Diamond?
I guess it was a few reasons. I guess the main one was really that I got married and I guess it got to the point where it was difficult for me to leave. When they book a tour in Europe or North America, it's usually about two months including rehearsals and it was hard to really work my life around that. You have your home responsibilities and so forth. It's always just pick up and leave and do that. Those obligations are there. You have to do it to tour but it was just really hard for me to do that. I had to exit. I didn't really want to but I did what I felt I had to do and also it wasn't like I was leaving being signed with a record label with a band and I'm leaving that now after trying to get it for so long. Shortly after getting into King we got signed to Metal Blade as well so when I left that band, I knew that we were working on things and very excited about what we were doing and getting a lot of great press. Our goal is always really to get a record deal in Europe. This is for the Eidolon stuff of course. We achieved that so that was really what I wanted to pursue as well. It wasn't like I was terribly upset when I left because I knew I would be working on this and just putting full concentration on this. There you have it. That's why at this point we don't a lot. I really can't. Especially now with the kid I have. We play the shows that we feel are really, really worthwhile in terms of exposure. That's our situation right now. We're very concentrated on recording a lot of course. We spent the last seven months on this new album. I'm hoping it's really going to show. Of course this interview was initially more for that Sacred Shrine thing. That's just old recordings. I did vocals on it. My brother did vocals. We had another bass player. That was the beginnings of the band. Tom had stressed interest in releasing that stuff because we never wanted to really do it on a major type label. It was like we could do this on the side for fun. People that are into the band or whatever band like to hear the old stuff. Demos or old live stuff or whatever. That's where that came from. The new album of course is entirely different.
You've been working on the new album for seven months?
Pretty much. We actually started in November. That's when we did the drums. We actually started the drum tracks I think in late November. The reason we did it then is because we were playing in Montreal. We actually played a show with Symphony X and Gamma Ray. We did that show and we were also recording the new album at that point as well. My brother Shawn lives in Atlanta so we're not always here rehearsing all the time with him. It works and everything comes together okay but you've got the long distance thing happening. I started my guitars probably Decemberish, slowly going through that. We're just finishing up. I think I've got a few solos left to do and Pat, we've got a little bit more vocals to do and we're done. We'll be mixing the beginning of July then sent off to Andy from King Diamond. He'll be mastering the album again like he did with the last album in Sweden and then he ships that over. Once it's okayed by me basically, he just ships over the master to Metal Blade in Germany and the process starts. I can't remember the exact release date but it's very early October.
I listened to some of the MP3s and thought they were very cool.
Thank you. Yeah, I think there's some video footage of some live stuff. A couple of songs from the last album. We have a new singer now as of the last album the bar's been raised quite a bit. Our original singer, although we're happy with some of the stuff we did, I think overall he was a little too light for the band. He wasn't the right singer necessarily so we knew it was time to make a change and getting Pat, our new singer, in the band has completed the lineup because he's of equal strength.
The singer makes the band.
For sure. We didn't want to just necessarily get a really aggressive singer like a lot of bands do. We wanted to go a different approach. I think in the end we just had a belief in something. Making looking back now, obviously it didn't work out because we thought it would be a little different. We thought people would take to it a little bit different but it was the wrong combination I suppose.
Can you talk about the new album?
We're really, really excited about it. I have a feeling that it's definitely going to be the best one yet. I know everyone's band says the same damn thing but I think we've proved that every album that we've put out so far has gotten better and better and better. We raised the bar on every album. It gets harder and harder. I have no doubt in my mind that people will think this is definitely the strongest stuff. There's just so much strong material on it. It's probably a little heavier because the vocals are more aggressive. I think overall it's just more aggressive and heavier and in your face. Very hungry sounding. It sounds like the band is hungry. When you listen to it, it doesn't sound like there are any boring moments. There's a lot of strong material on the album. We ended up doing I think 75 minutes and then we offered a couple of songs on it because we felt that although the songs are really good, they weren't quite as strong as the other ones. We just wanted to make sure that the album is from top to bottom real strong or at least try like every other band does.
It's usually the hungry ones that do the best.
Yeah, exactly and there's still a lot of that left. It's taken us a little longer but it's going to be well worth it.
Sometimes you get the best quality if you take your time doing something.
Exactly. For now being that it's not quite finished yet, once it's done that's when I'll get the full picture. That's when everything is there and you really get the full impression of what the album is about. Even though I know that's going to be the impression, it's really hard for me to go into it too much because it's not 100 percent completed. I have a feeling it's going to be pretty damn good. We're all really, really excited because we all know where it's going.
Why is it easier to distribute overseas than in the States?
We're not a black metal band. We're not a death metal band. We're a little bit more European old school I guess. To be honest with you, there are really a lot of different elements in the music. There are death parts. There are progressive parts. There's just straight ahead power stuff. There's slower stuff. All kinds of different elements. We would have to get hooked up with the right label because I think the style of music that we play isn't necessarily in vogue as some of the other stuff. We don't care. Since day one it's about whatever we want to do and if it's not popular, it doesn't matter. That's the thing when you listen to this stuff, it's 100 percent true. We get to do this because we want to. There's no compromise. We do whatever we want. That's basically what we're about. We wouldn't conform just to try to sell more records or try to break into another territory. We just wouldn't do it. We don't really care about it.
You said your brother lives in Atlanta. Do you perform at that progressive metal fest they hold every year?
ProgPower? Yeah, we're trying to get into that. Shawn's in contact with those people so we're definitely trying to get into that type of thing. We're hoping it's not going to be too long before we get on the bill. Just difficult because we don't have our stuff released in the States. It's a little bit weird but then again, there are a lot of bands that come over here and play from Europe that don't have proper distribution or deals in the States as well.
Tell me about the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Festival.
Actually it's mainly two days. They have that first day where they have local bands. We play actually on Saturday, the final day. There's a lot of really cool bands playing. Brave Words supports us greatly. We're in almost every issue with at least something or other. They've always been really cool with helping us out. A lot of press from them. It's pretty good to play out there. There are a lot of really neat bands that are playing. It'll be a lot of fun.
Are you guys going to make the Wacken Festival in Germany?
That's where we're playing at this summer. It's the 31st of July and it runs two days as well incidentally. That's a huge one. We just found it on a website. The running orders of the bands and who's playing where and all that stuff in terms of different stages and we're actually playing on the main stage at 2 o'clock which is prime time during the day. The main stage. The huge, monstrous stage. That was exciting because it's such a huge stage and that's where everybody is pretty much. At that time I don't think anybody's playing on the other stages. I hope they don't change the schedule. There will be a lot of people there. They have 30,000 to 40,000 a day.
Do you still use the same person to do your CD artwork?
Yeah, the guy's name is Jan Meininghaus and he's out of Germany. He's done all of our albums. He's definitely gotten better with every album. He's a great artist. He'll be doing the new album as well. Very cool stuff. He's pretty much created a whole thing where our album covers tend to tie together a little bit. This next one will be the same kind of idea but I'm expecting an amazing cover as usual. The first one was pretty good but it was the beginning. He definitely really stepped up to the plate on the second one and then the last one he did an awesome job as well. I'm sure it'll be a great cover next time.
If your album does really well, is there a chance of you guys doing a tour of the States?
If we get a proper U. S. deal, yeah. It won't be for a while because of our situation. It won't be any kind of touring that's going to be happening any time soon. Not really. We'll be doing just the odd festivals. We want to do that but just as far as the touring, we've just got to wait a little bit.
Are you guys doing any local gigs?
Yeah, we play here sometimes. We'll play here once or twice a year. Just like any other signed band I suppose. We'll be playing here just before we go to Germany too. We'll be playing a couple of shows here just for warm-up shows before we go over there.
Any other comments or thoughts?
Thanks for the support. The old stuff will get out there soon.