HALLOWEEN is a band that has been around for what seems like forever. If you have missed out on them do yourself a favour and check èm out now.
Halloween has been around for a long time now but still there might be people not familiar with you guys so a short introduction might be in order?
-Brian Thomas- We started out as a Cover band in 1982, Rick Craig, Mark Scott and I, started out as 3 guys from out of state trying to start a kick ass band. We were doing covers by bands that we liked and not what was being played by other bands or on the radio, which won us a lot of underground metal fans. We played songs by The Scorpions, Twisted Sister (early stuff, not the big 80’s hits), Accept, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Saxon, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest and UFO (to name just a few). We picked the name Halloween but didn’t use it right away because of conflict within the band over the name. We settled on BITCH for various image related reasons, but changed back to our original choice 1 year later on Halloween night. We had built up a nice following as BITCH “The Heavy Metal Horror Show” (we had become famous for our stage shows which had evolved from Halloween decorations that I had up in the rehearsal area when we started out, people would come to practice and thought it was a stage show and so we went with it and it became our now infamous stage show). We had decided that Halloween was the better choice for a name and with the opposing band member no longer in the band, we decided to change it back. To do this, we set up a farewell show for BITCH which had fans really upset, (thinking we were breaking up), at 2 minutes to Midnight on October 31st 1983, we took the stage as Bitch for the last time, I announced that from now on we were called HALLOWEEN, we pulled down the BITCH backdrop to reveal the new HALLOWEEN backdrop and we became HALLOWEEN right then and there in front of our fans on stage. The rest is history…
I’ve known of you guys for a long time and I’ve always wondered how irritating it is that there might be people that confuse you guys for Helloween?
BT- It is more irritating here in the USA, because fans are easily confused and don’t pay as much attention to detail as they do in other countries for some reason, (I think we are spoiled and so used to following trends instead of truly following a scene)(not all fans of course, the true fans of metal are ‘tuned in’ all over the world, but I am talking about the average music fan that only follows metal when it’s trendy) with that kind of environment it’s hard to get the word out to everybody about your band. (…with the internet things have become much better though over the past decade or so). Funny thing is that when we are in Europe or in touch with fans from other countries, they know that there are 2 different bands with similar names and it is not an issue usually at all.
What is the reason behind re-releasing an album from 1991?
BT- Our label in Europe PURE STEEL RECORDS is helping us to re-release all of our material on vinyl. We have been out of No One Gets Out for almost 13 years now and people are always asking about it, (some of our fans think it is our best album), so we worked it out with the label to do both CD’s and Vinyl and give it a retro look, like the original release, we are playing the record in it’s entirety this month at a show in Detroit. (some songs haven’t been played live in 20 years). Pure Steel has been awesome in helping us to get our music out to fans that never had a chance to get our material in the past and helping us to get the word out as well.
When you look back on your previous albums what kind of feelings do you have for them?
BT- I really love all of our material, I only wish that we were able to record all of the records properly and make them sound like they should, I’ve always been disappointed in the production on almost all of the Halloween records, and that is not a put down to the people that we worked with, it was a financial situation every time, when you have no budget, you do the best that you can and that is what we did every time. (But they all could have turned out a lot better). I think we created a lot of great material, I am proud of every song we have ever done. I would just love to hear them done properly and sounding like say an Iron Maiden or Scorpions record.
What kind of feelings does it bring to you that there are still people that remembers you from way back in the day? How does it make you feel knowing that what you recorded will always live on?
BT- It is amazing all of the love and support we have received through-out our history from our fans all over the world, there is no better feeling than knowing that something you wrote in your bedroom when you were 15 years old, touched somebody else on the other side of the world and that it will live on with people forever. We (The entire METAL community) have the greatest fans in the world, loyal and awesome always, I am proud to be a part of that world.
I guess you’ve wondered why it is that HALLOWEEN isn’t bigger than you guys are. What was it that hindered you from breaking big?
BT- I think it is a combination of several things. Of course the controversy over the name is part of it, we were approached by several labels that would have signed us if we had changed the name, but we wouldn’t. The under produced records that we put out also probably contributed to our remaining underground and the fact that we were not desperate to get on a label, we wanted to own our own music and keep our publishing for ourselves and not risk falling through the cracks like so many other American bands did. Add in a few line-up changes, a few health issues, divorces, very little cash flow and other little distractions and there you have your answer… The albums and stage shows are legendary, so I guess we can’t complain too much, what we lack in fame and fortune we have in loyalty and dedication from our fans and that is priceless!
Seeing as you guys been around for a long time how different is the metal scene today compared to back when you started?
BT- It’s funny because when we started out we had to fight to get gigs and recognition because we were too heavy… now we have to fight to get gigs and recognition because we are not heavy enough! How is that for irony? There has always been a metal scene from then to now… great bands, awesome fans. It has just changed and evolved through the years. I personally love all things metal, so I have enjoyed every twist and turn, I think there is some great music that has come from every phase of metal music. Although, my favorite period was the 80’s True Metal, when we came up.
Heavy metal in the US has always been more of an underground thing. What state is the US metal scene in today?
BT- The Heavy Metal scene in the USA is still very underground, it seems like it always has been, even when Metal was acceptable with the mainstream, it was the LA hair bands that got popular, not the real Metal Bands. I also liked those bands too, but my true love of metal music was and is, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Tygers of Pantang, UFO, Saxon, (Early) Def Leppard, Dio, Ozzy, Scorpions, Riot, (Early) Twisted Sister, Loudness, Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Armored Saint, Raven etc. Fans of true metal really have to look to find their favorite bands, so it is a good thing that fans now have access to bands through the internet.
Where did you guys do best and where is the interest the biggest today?
BT- We have always done really well in Europe, the fan base there is really loyal, true and strong. We have received fan mail and interview requests from Japan, The Middle East, Canada and South America also, but we have never been able to go on tour in those areas, hopefully one day that will happen. In America, we have always done well in our home area of Detroit, and around Michigan in general, we have also done well in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Knoxville and Buffalo. (…to name a few of the bigger areas). Currently we are doing best here at home and in Europe. And we get a lot of traffic through our websites and youtube.
Can we expect something new from HALLOWEEN?
BT- Yes we have a lot of projects on the horizon, DVD’s, a new CD (Tentatively Titled “What Evil Fears”), a video and hopefully some real touring. We are spending a lot of time right now getting ready for our No One Gets Out CD re-release show here in Detroit. (playing some songs we haven’t played in 20 years) and then gearing up for our BIG 30th Anniversary shows later this year in October. We are hoping to start recording a new record at the end of this year. You can stay up to date with all of our events and activities by checking our websites… http://www.halloweentheband.com, facebook – halloweendetroit, twitter and all of our individual facebook pages.
Don Guerrier – Guitars, Vocals
TJ Richardson – Guitars, Vocals
George Neal – Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Rob Brug – Drums
Brian Thomas – Vocals