- Sometimes good things really do come to those who wait. Such is the case with Canadian thrashers Shock. The band, which actually was formed back in 1985, just recently released their first official LP. "Once Denied", which I just recently reviewed (link below), was a long time coming for this class act, but it was well worth the wait as it comes packed with 8 tracks of superb power/thrash! Recently I had pleasure of chatting with Shock members Steve Monette (bass) and John Tennant (guitars) about "Once Denied" and the band in general. I just want to thank the two of them for taking the time to talk with Heavy Metal Time Machine. If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to "Once Denied" yet then be sure to head over to the group's bandcamp page (http://shockmetal.bandcamp.com/ ) . Especially if you like straight-up heavy metal along the lines of Megadeth. And finally be sure to check out the band's Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shock/155776471171802?ref=ts&fref=ts
Andy- First off I would just like to congratulate you guys on the
long-awaited/long-anticipated "Once Denied". Can you give us a
rundown on how, after forming over 25 years ago, this new album
very much, we’re very happy with how it has turned out. When the
band split up
it was very amicable. We had been going for approximately 6
years and had done
numerous demos and pushed really hard, but we were hit with the
industry’s push towards grunge that was coming in the early 90’s
wasn’t who Shock was, so instead of compromising our music and
who we were, we
decided to end it. Fast forward to the end of 2011 and Tony
decided to call
everybody up and reform the band – mostly for the enjoyment of
playing the songs
Andy-Now, Shock actually formed back in 1985 right? How did the
- The band
was formed by Tony and myself. We worked near each other and would meet for
coffee to talk about our musical interests; both of us were
'between bands', so
we met to knock around a few ideas. Slashing to Live came out of
one of these
riff-writing sessions. We came from the same 70s hard rock
became infatuated with the NWOBHM and Bay Area bands who were
in the early 80s. That was our motivation when we formed Shock
in 1985 - to be
a part of that new movement, and try to play with as many other
bands as we
could. Our ambitions were actually pretty modest!
Andy-What were some of Shock's early influences?
- The band's
early influences are the usual hard rock reference points -
Rush, KISS, old
Maiden & Priest. We started to write around the time that No
Leather & Kill Em All came out; they were huge influences.
We were also big
fans of the first 2 Megadeth albums. We can listen to a lot of
our older songs
& reference exactly what we were listening to when we wrote
Andy-Despite rave reviews for your demos Shock was never able to
official release until now. Was there ever any offers from
labels back in the
- No, we
never had any concrete offers from labels back in the day. We
countless press kits, and met with some A&R people, but
nothing came of it.
With hindsight, the production quality & rushed performances
on most of the
recordings definitely didn't help our cause, although we still
believe in the
quality of the songs. We did, however, sign a 1-year management
deal with Seip
Management, which managed Helix: this led to a series of gigs
and more contact
with labels – but nothing ever materialized from that.
Andy-You guys choose 8 classic songs for "Once Denied". Was there
talk about recording a new track to go along with these songs?
– It was briefly
discussed when we first got back together about writing some new
songs, but it
was quickly decided that we would concentrate on our back catalog. We easily
have enough songs for another two albums – that’s not to say we
are never going
to write new material, but we just have so many songs that we
like that were
never released it seemed pointless to start to work on new songs
Andy-The band reformed in 2011 from what I've read online and then
opened for Helix at a sold-out show in March of 2012. How did
that come about?
– It was in
the fall of 2011 that we had our first rehearsals, with no real
goal in mind –
just to play our old songs and enjoy them. Right from the
was sounding really good. At that point we decided to enter the
record 3-4 songs so we could have them for our own listening
with much better
production than how the originals were recorded. While we were
for that we were offered the Helix show, the band was tight and
we only needed
to add a few more songs to give us a full set, so we did it.
Once that was over
we were entering the studio and we already had a full album’s
worth of material
ready to go, so we figured we might as well record them all.
Andy-In all those years apart how were you guys keeping busy?
John and myself all had families, jobs and the usual things.
Tony kept playing
music and teaching.
Andy-"Once Denied" was given some serious props by the likes of
Beehler (Exciter) Joey Vera (Armored Saint/Fates
countless more!) and even famed journalist Martin Popoff! I'd
imagine that was
a rush of encouragement right?
someone “gets” what it is that you’re trying to do with your
music it’s really
the most satisfying thing any musician can ask for and when it’s
you respect and admire for what they’ve done in their career it
Andy-How did you manage to reel in drummer Chad Walls?
works as a drum teacher at the same music school that Tony
teaches guitar at,
and they’ve known each other for years. When our last drummer
was unable to
join us, Tony approached Chad about paying with us and after
Chad listened to a
few of our old demos he was in.
Andy-So far the reviews for "Once Denied" have been glowing. In
eyes does that affirm that Shock was (and still is) the real
deal and that
record labels screwed up by passing on you guys back in the day?
is a negative emotion, so that's not a factor. However, we do
feel a great deal
of pride and vindication at the attention and positive comments
that our work
is bringing in 2013. We chalk it up to a series of life
importantly, get the best musicians available to do the job, and
get a guy
behind the engineering console who truly understands what you're
trying to do.
Andy-You guys have opened for some huge bands like Motörhead and
Saxon. Any shows
that still stick out after all these years?
- Megadeth was a
highlight ... we were, and still
are, huge fans. They were touring just before the release of
Sells", with King Diamond - we wanted to open the show, but the
didn't think there would be room for 3 bands. The day of the show,
cancelled, so we were called, on short notice, to open. We got
to hang out with
Megadeth during the day, and they were very gracious to us; they
also put on a
killer performance. We were told later, by a mutual contact,
really enjoyed our show as well. And ... Gar Samuelson - RIP. We
fortunate to do a few shows with Montreal, Canada band Sword,
including a sold-out
show at the Spectrum in Montreal in front of about 1,500 people.
they've reformed, so our tour trails may cross again!
Andy-Hailing from Canada and all what's the furthest from home
that Shock has
played in the farthest reaches of Ontario and Quebec, which is
actually 1/3 the
size of all of Europe
Andy-Are there any plans to tour now that "Once Denied" has been
released? Perhaps in Ohio LOL?
range tours are not in the plans right now, but we’re certainly
interesting shows and festivals.
Andy-Getting back to the album for a second it does seem as if the title, "Once Denied", is like a subtle jab at the music industry.
that the case?
– The title
came from a line in the song "Fighting Chance", that states “Once
right” and we all felt that the lyrics of that song really
summed up the
history of the band and that line in particular stood out. Was
it a jab – not
really, it was more a statement that we weren’t taking no for an
time – we were releasing this CD one way or another.
Andy-What's your favorite song on the new album?
song is always a tough one, like asking who your favorite child
is! I am very
partial to "Splitting the Atom", though - the song has taken on a
life of it's
own with the band's new rhythm section. The song's main riff is
and sounds like a tank - the lyrics are also, unfortunately,
timeless, as the spectra of nuclear war remains in the headlines. The acoustic
& a couple of studio effects make the song a good headphone
listen as well.
song is a difficult one as John said. For me it can really
depend on what kind
of mood I’m in. It can also depend on if you’re asking favorite
song to play
or to listen to. Overall though I would have to choose "Paths of
Glory", as it’s
a really heavy song with some cool time changes and I really
like the lyrics
Andy-Good call as both of those cuts are killer! So, what does 2013 and beyond have in store for Shock?
– Right now
we are just trying to promote the CD as best we can, and get the
word out. We
are also looking for some interesting shows to play like some
opening slots for
bigger bands, as they can be great for exposure and opening us
up to new
Andy-I'll leave you with the final word. Anything else you want to
add, share or
– Andy, we just want to say thanks to you
for the interview and
for reviewing our CD. As stated earlier it really means a lot to
someone “gets” what we are doing – we’d all rather play to a
crowd of 5 people
who are totally into our music as opposed to 500 who don’t care.
Labels: 2013, heavy/power metal, interview, Shock, thrash