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Tourniquet

Line

On a rainy night in February I took my bike and rode to the studios of Radio 90Fm, hidden in the wooded hills near my town. There I sat down in the studio to prepare some interviews I had done at a festival. But then the telephone rang. It was Ted! So, sit back and take time to read this cool interview I did with Tourniquet's drummer.

Line

Interview with: Ted Kirkpatrick (drums)

Date: February 14th 2000

Where: This was an interview over the phone. Courtesy of Tourniquet & Metal Blade Records.

Other band-members: Luke Easter (vocals) & Aaron Guerra (guitars)

Band's Geographical Home: Santa Monica, United States

Official Website: Tourniquet

Discography: Stop The Bleeding (1990), Psycho Surgery (1991), Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance (1992), Recorded Live (1993), Vanishing Lessons (1994), Carry The Wounded (1995), The Collected Works (1996), Crawl To China (1997), Acoustic Archives (1998), Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm (2000).

Available Through: Tourniquet & Metal Blade Records

Interview by: mpo

Line

When I listen to the new album, my impression is that you have returned to what Tourniquet sounded like on Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. What do you think of the outcome?

Well, we're happy with the new album. Yes, I think it's a return and what a lot of people think is that it goes even far beyond that album, Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance, in terms of the extremities of speed and the guitars and the vocals and the drumming.

Well, this new record is definitely a harder edged album than the previous two, Acoustic Archives and Crawl To China. Why this move?

Uh, we've been doing some heavy songs on the last two albums. Although Acoustic Archives was an acoustical album, the last song on the album was a very heavy song. It was tuned down to the key of B, called Trivializing The Momentous, Complicating The Obvious. And then before that we did the Crawl To China album which was quite different for a lot of people. So, I guess -to answer you question- people have come to expect the unexpected from Tourniquet. You know, I've said it all along that we love beautiful sounds and we love really nasty sounds and everything in between. But I think this album is a great move for us. You know, Metal Blade, I told them before we even signed with Metal Blade, I said "our next album is really gonna be a smoker." So, that 's what we ended up doing and people seem to be enjoying it.

And it's not because Pathogenic is, according to the fans, their favorite album?

No. Actually, we've gotten different....Maybe in Europe Pathogenic is generally people's favorite album. You know, HM Magazine here in the United States -which is the biggest Christian rock magazine- and the favorite album of the decade was voted by the readers as Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. But interesting enough, tied for second was the album Vanishing Lessons by Tourniquet, which is a very different album as well. There is no cut-time on it, there's not too much thrash-vocals and the songs are all in the key of E. There's none tuned way down. So, I think...You know, a lot of the albums are people's favorite. Actually, Vanishing Lessons was a lot of people's favorite, Crawl To China a lot of people liked. So, it just depends on what kind of style people are into. I know for the band we wanted to challenge ourselves as far as we do, you know, like the technical side of things. The new album was probably the most difficult in terms of the drumming and the guitar-riffs and so on.

Yeah. Uh, the last time I spoke with you, in Arnhem, Holland, there was a possibility of Ronnie James Dio doing some guest-vocals. But now I see Steve Rowe instead. Back then you were talking about open doors and closed doors, so, can you explain how this evolved?

Yeah. Ronnie Dio...We talked to him and he actually agreed to do something on the album if his schedule would allow. Well, unfortunately it didn't. He was all over the place. They were on tour, they were in pre-production for the new album and the schedule didn't allow us to get him in the studio, unfortunately. Steve Rowe, as far as the guest-vocals, did one line of shouting over the phone from Australia to Los Angeles. He did a total of about twenty words. But it was great to have him on it. You know, he's a friend of ours and we think he's got an interesting, cool voice. So, even over the phone we put him on the title-track just yelling a few words.

Yeah. And on what song would you have like Dio to sing?

I think what we'd planned was he was gonna sing most of the end part, or all of the end-part, of track number six, which is Erratic Palpitations Of The Human Spirit. So, some of that and he also, probably, would have done quite a bit of the title-track as well, Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm.

I'm told that Tourniquet has a rule that the one who plays a riff the best will play it on the recording. Uh, when I look at Crawl To China I see that Aaron only played guitar on three songs, the songs he wrote himself. But on the new album he's doing the majority of the songs. Why is that?

Aaron is by far the best rhythm guitar-player Tourniquet has ever had. He can play all of the rhythm-parts that I've had to play on a lot of the previous albums. For instance on Pathogenic I played half of the rhythm guitars on that album. There's so many things that can be done with one guitar-note. To a lot of guitar-players it's just a note while you can bend it and play it with fast vibrato or slow vibrato. Actually, just a couple of days ago I had a long talk on the phone with my friend Marty Friedman who's just recently departed from Megadeth. And we were talking about that and how important it is that a note is not just a note. And in saying that I say that Aaron on the new album is such a great rhythm-player. He can play all of those parts. And on Crawl To China I knew how the parts went and I just played them in the studio and Aaron could have played them as well.

Ah. So it's not that he's getting better and better.

Yeah, I mean, he's been good all along. People didn't realize what Aaron could do on guitar. Because Crawl To China has very few guitar-solos, on purpose. That's just what we did at that time. But  he's set some great solos. I think there's a lot of confusion on who played what guitar-parts. You know, a lot of people think "well, so and so was in the band early on, so they must have done the guitar-parts", or, "they do more interviews" or whatever. Then people think they do all the guitar-parts. The truth is, you really have to read the liner notes carefully to see who played what leads because they're generally listed, you know?

Yeah.

And a lot of people don't bother to do that. They just want to think somebody played the guitar-parts when actually it's somebody else.

Yeah. Right. It seems the band still hasn't got a permanent bass-player. Uh, are you still looking for one?

Uh, yes and no. We have a friend of ours, Steve Andino, who was there in Holland with us last year.

Yeah, right.

You met Steve?

Yeah, indeed.

Yeah. And we think he's a great, great player and great on stage and he's so easy to get along with and so appreciative to be playing with Tourniquet. So, we're happy to have him. We did actually do auditions and we encourage people to send in a video of them playing to a Tourniquet song. That's kinda how we do it because it seems to be the best way to see right away  if somebody is technically abled to do the songs. And it shows you how quickly they can learn from a recording. And a lot of times people just want to send in their own thing. Their own demo-tape or something. And we say "that's fine, you can send that but we also need to hear how you can learn a song from an album." It's very important. So, to be honest, we haven't found anybody. Obviously, our lyrics and our faith is important to us. So, to find someone with the similar view on that and someone that technically can play the parts and someone that fits in with us when we play live -those three things- is kinda hard to find. But we're happy with Steve now for the live-shows and he's gonna be with us for the rest of the year for sure.

And he's not interested to play in the band permanently?

Well....we'll see. He kinda does other things. We're just getting to know each other. So we don't like to make the big announcement that "so and so is now a permanent member of the band". For right now it's just best that he's with us and we really like him and people seem to like him. So, that's where we leave it for now.

Okay. Another question now. Someone will buy the new album next week. Uh, what do you hope this person will remember about this album twenty years later?

If I wanted them to remember one thing about the music it would be that just because music is melodic doesn't mean that it can't be heavy. You know, sometimes I think the heavy metal guys and the death metal guys  think "if there's melody to it, it's not heavy". You know, and I think nothing is farther from the truth. I learned a lot from bands like Iron Maiden who have so much melody in their music but the songs are really heavy. There's so many bands that are like that. They play melodic music. You know, even Carcass, I think there's a lot of melody in their music. And obviously a lot of that was really heavy. So, as far as the music I would like them to remember that and maybe to look to the classical masters where a lot of the influences from my writing came from. You know, to check out these people's music like Beethoven and Chopin and Mahler. That will still be great a thousand years from now. It will still be the greatest music ever written, in my opinion. That's as far as the music. As far as the lyrics, obviously for people to check out the fact that there is a God who cares about them. And to look into that, that would be for the lyrics I want people to remember.

Okay. Talking about classical music, I once saw a video of a certain band on MTV. I think they were called Apocalyptica, or something like that. They were playing classic metal songs but then with cellos. Do you know them?

Yeah. Apocalyptica or something like that.

Yeah, what do you think of that?

Uh, I think it's great. I think that's great. I think the band, it's all cellos and violins. There's no drums or anything?

Yeah, exactly.

I think I remember that. Yeah, I think that's great. Just like any kind of music there's a lot of mediocrity and the whole range from real lousy to mediocre to excellent. And that's actually true of people playing certain types of classical music too. So, I remember them being very good and I think that's great and I've been a huge follower, musically, of people like Yngwie Malmsteen. When he first came out, when the first album came out, it was very interesting to me and I really loved his style of taking a lot of influences, especially from Bach.

Is that your favorite composer? Or Beethoven?

If I had to pick one, it would be tough, but I have to say it would be Beethoven.

Something else now. In the past Tourniquet did some shows in Latin America. Now there's a show coming up in Puerto Rico. There are people in Latin America who would love to see bands like Tourniquet and Mortification do one Spanish song on their albums. Have you ever considered that?

Yes, we have, definitely. We have considered that. You know, we get so much response from Brazil and Argentina and now all the Central American countries, Costa Rica, Guatemala. So, yeah, I think that's definitely a consideration. You know, if we did one song... I think it would be nice to do a few songs and maybe have an EP in Spanish either with songs we've already done or new songs.

Some bands record one album and then they re-record the vocals only, but then in Spanish.

Yeah, I think that's a great idea. Yeah. Any time you can bridge the gap between people and make more people aware of your music I think that's great. I think it has to be done well. I think it's important for the vocals to have the proper pronunciation and inflection to the voice. Otherwise it just sounds cheesy.

Yeah! Right.

So, if we did it we try to do a good job with it (laughs).

But that's quite difficult. It's not your native tongue.

Oh, correct, yeah.

Another question now. In the past the band did some shows with SinDizzy, the band with two former Stryper-members. There are always talks about the possibility of a Stryper reunion. How do you feel about that possibility?

Well, you know,  I know all four of the guys. They are all friends of mine. Robert I don't know as well. But Oz and Tim. You know, I spent some time with Michael in England two years ago. So, I think it's really up to them. A lot of people would love to see that. I think that would be great. I think for them it's important that people accept where they're at musically. They are all trying to do something. All four of them are doing something musically, separate from Stryper. And, I'm sure, they want people to be as interested, or more interested, in that then they would be in them getting together again so the people could hear In God We Trust or all these great songs they wrote, you know.

Yeah. But would you personally like to see something like that happen?

Yeah. I think it would be great.

And do you think, because you know them, it is likely?

(laughs) Let's see how should I answer that! I don't wanna speak for them. I know they've communicated more in past year than they have in most of the years before that. So, I think that's a good sign. But I know they all have their own lives and their own thing going on. So, it may be difficult for them logistically, with families and things like that. It makes it difficult for any band to do that. I don't really know what will happen. As I said, here in the States they got all four of them together on the phone and they did like a round table discussion and that was very interesting.

Alright. Let's talk about touring now. I went to the Tourniquet website today and I saw there are only five dates coming up. Are there plans for a tour?

Uh, there's plans for more shows, definitely. Obviously we want to come back to...you're in Holland, right?

Yeah.

Yeah, we certainly wanna come back to that area and it seems now we're getting so much response from other countries that we haven't been to. Like Belgium and even Greece. And, I think, when the album comes out there, we want to come over there and do some more shows. Yeah, we're working on that right now and getting a lot more shows happening because we do wanna play. We wanna play the new songs. So, there will be more concerts added.

But there's nothing concrete?

No, nothing concrete. And I think it's important to let people know, Marco, that it's never the band. That we don't wanna come over there and play. That we don't wanna go to such and such place in the United States or whatever. It always comes down to a good promoter that's abled to get the band over there.

Yeah, that's right.

And there's no place in the world that Tourniquet does not want to play. We really loved to play live and meet people. Many have been our friends, through their E-mail or their writing or whatever. So, it's never the band, that we don't wanna play somewhere. It's always just a logistical matter of a good promoter who keeps his words and is abled to do what he says he's gonna do. That's what it comes down to.

But take for example Holland. Last year you were brought here by Millennium Concerts by Job and Henk. Well, they have financial problems. So, it's not always so easy to do it.

Absolutely. We know it's very difficult. We feel good when not only the concert was good and the people came out to see the band and we have time with them to talk, but we feel good when the promoters....We care about the promoters too. We don't wanna see them in financial difficulties. We hope that any Tourniquet event is successful for everyone involved including the promoters. So, we fell bad about that.

Yeah.

Did they bring in some concerts that didn't work out, or...?

Yeah, the amount of people coming up was too less to cover all the costs. Like the Mortification concert they did in June. They needed a hundred people more to cover the costs.

Ah.

So, that was really bad.

A lot of money lost?

Yeah.

Yeah, that's too bad.

They had great plans to have other bands play in Holland like Narnia. And to get Tourniquet back. But those plans are long term plans now. So, that's a pity.

Yeah, yeah.

But you have no negative memories of that event?

Oh, no, none at all. I think it was great. Those two guys were an example to us. They showed what a good promoter is. You know, they did exactly what they said they were gonna do. They were really great to be with and they had everything organized and they had good proficity for the show. So, we wish them well and we certainly come back if they invited us and we're abled to do it and hopefully make up for their losses.

Okay. Good. What would you like to say to the listeners to the Art For The Ears radioshow and the visitors of the Art For The Ears webzine?

We love the people in Holland. We had a tremendous response from them. They seem to be very knowledgeable about heavy music. And they're also very honest (laughs). We appreciate that. If they love something they tell you, if they don't like it they tell you that too! You know, Holland is a special place for us. We played the Flevo Festival there and we'd like to come back to see everybody again. Hopefully when this new album on Metal Blade is released in a very short time, that we'll have a lot of new listeners that like Tourniquet's music.

I have only one question left. What's the next thing we can expect from Tourniquet? Maybe a live-album, something like that?

A lot of people have asked us for that, yeah. I guess that's a possibility. It's really up to Metal Blade and us talking to them. Of course, this album isn't even out yet over there, so I think we're looking at a lot of publicity for Microscopic and doing shows around that. So, that's really what we're concentrating on now. We'll see what the future holds. Obviously Metal Blade is very set up to have a live-album released because they've done a lot of that kinda thing and they're very good at it. So, we'll see what happens. But definitely for the next months it's gonna be promoting the new album and getting out there and playing.

Line