The Skull – interview

The Skull features original members of Trouble- vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff Oly Olson, along with longtime bassist Ron Holzner. The Skull is here to do one thing… rock you with the sounds and spirit of Trouble – past- present- future . Shan Siva feels the vibe even across the Atlantic!

1. So The Skull is 2/3 of Trouble – I guess the obvious opening question is: where does this leave Trouble LOL?!

Eric – honestly I don’t really know, I’m just having a lot of fun with The Skull cos we’ve been getting a great response and everyone is excited to hear the old songs as much as I am!

Jeff – they’re working on their new album with Kyle Thomas. I think the new record is going to be called “Hammer of Doom.”

Ron – Kyle rocks! They are in good hands…

2. What was the reason for forming The Skull – why not just rejoin Trouble?

Jeff- I would like that, but Trouble is not ready to unite yet.

Ron- we tried, but got tired of waiting. The fans want the old stuff right now so the three of us are carrying the doom torch.

Eric – they are busy with their thing I guess and we thought it would be fun to play songs we haven’t done in a long time and it seems like the fans agree!!

3. Although recognized by fans, I don’t think trouble ever got big as a doom band but recently we’ve seen a resurrection of classic US doom bands in St Vitus and even Pentagram, so is The Skull another chance to give Trouble a second chance and a fair run for its money?

Eric – that would be a bonus but I’m really just doing this because I want to and I think with the doom stuff going on I think the time is right

Ron – Trouble was one of the first and best doom bands. Actually playing doom before it was called doom, but when doom became popular, Trouble wasn’t playing it so much anymore. The Skull is our way of paying back the hardcore fans for sticking with Trouble for all these years. We have fun, they have fun, and new fans can have fun. Then if the band reunites it will be bigger than before……

4. What will The Skull be doing different from Trouble – I’m guessing from the name that you will be hopefully taking us back to your first two classic albums i.e. classic doom!

Eric – you got it. A couple of the guys never wanted to do the early stuff and I always felt that it is a part of who we are.

Ron – we will be playing mostly the first two Metal Blade records with a few choice cuts off the other records.

5. Will The Skull be only playing Trouble material or do you have your own written material (if so, what does sound like)?

Jeff – we will be playing Trouble material for the first tour, then The Skull will record an album but we have not written anything yet.

Eric – we have been talking about doing a record – I think it’s a natural progression and the real reason to be in a band in the first place

6. Is The Skull a one off project or is it intended to become a full time band? if so, would that pose any problems (legal, personal etc) with Trouble?

Eric – that is the intention and from the beginning even though we are using Trouble as a spring board I wanted The Skull to have it’s own identity which I think we have accomplished. As for the legality of it I wrote the lyrics to all those songs so I guess that would entitle me to sing them LOL!

Jeff – we definitely intend to be a full time band. I don’t see any potential legal problems else I wouldn’t do it LOL!

7. I guess the guitar work of Rick (Wartell) and Bruce (Franklin) has been intrinsic in defining trouble’s sound, so how does The Skull hope to substitute these guys in the ranks?

Jeff – we don’t intend to substitute, but it will remain heavy – it’s not a competition to us.

Eric – no one can really replace them. After all they were a huge part of who we are but we feel that Lothar (Keller) and Michael (Carpenter) will do a great job. They have been playing together for a long time and know each other well and they have nothing but respect for the band

8. In the 90s, when Trouble joined Def American, the band was almost a new band with a new sound and look, so why did the band seem to abandon doom metal – was it to capitalize on the growing grunge scene?

Ron- grunge?? Hell no. Rick Rubin tore the songs apart. He removed the doom parts and made the band rewrite the record a bit more rockin’ and less doomy. We still listen to the same music we did when we were kids, so the music that is happening at the moment would not matter to us. My cd player in the car has Sabbath, Priest, Lucifers Friend and Deep Purple in it. We do what we do, fuck the rest…..

Eric – not at all. I can’t speak for Bruce (Franklin) but as far as my lyrics go I think you need to grow as individuals and artists and all my lyrics reflected how I felt at particular moments in time

9. I’ve followed trouble over the years and it seems to me that although members come and go, it’s pretty much the same guys (compared to other bands who seem to have completely new guys who then leave and never return) – even Kyle Thomas is now back – so why is Trouble such a tight, almost extended family?

Eric – because we are like family we’re brothers and sometimes like any relationship shit happens but in the end I think we all love each other very much

Jeff – we never wanted any animosity with each other. We can’t have that with a band that has been around for over 30 years. Life is too short.

10. What has The Skull got planned for this year?

Jeff – festivals, a U.S East Coast tour this summer, European tour this fall, and writing new material.

Eric – we’re going to go out and have a great time and give the fans what they want. After all they are the reason we are still here talking about this and I can’t wait to see you all again!!!

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