RICHARD CHRISTY: BURNING INSIDE THE PERSEVERANCE
I first met RICHARD CHRISTY in July of 1993 at a small, now defunct dive called LaBoom in Springfield, Missouri.† My band was to open for a local death metal act called Public Assassin, which happened to be Richardís band at the time.† As we stepped into the club we could hear the roaring whirlwind of a band sound checking, and after witnessing Public Assassin tear through one-half of an original song, my gear bag (as well as my mouth) dropped to the floor.† The bandís level of playing was tremendous, and this three-piece was ripping through some of the more brutal and intimidating two minutes of metal that I ever heard.† After seeing Public Assassinís entire performance later that night most of my icon death metal bands like Obituary, Malevolent Creation and Exhorder didnít seem to mean as much to me anymore.† Christyís clinic-like drumming was astonishing and consistent through the entire set, and guitarist Steve Childersí playing was some of most precise, fast and fluent work Iíd ever had the pleasure of not believing.† These guys also turned out to be some of the coolest and laid-back dudes, and their love for everything metal shown through from day one.† Public Assassin turned into Burning Inside in 1995, and a new four-piece incarnation of Christy, Childers, bassist/vocalist Jamie Prim and guitarist Mike Estes headed for Florida in the spring of í96 with a rough five-song demo and a big metal dream in hand.† Obviously since their uprooting Richard has had a few different area jobs with the likes of Death and Control Denied (not to mention two albums with Acheron and a tour with Incantation), and recently heís taken over the throne in Iced Earth and Demons & Wizards.† As Christy continues to be the heavy metal Cozy Powell, Burning Inside have persevered through it all.† The bandís long-awaited debut, The Eve Of The Entities, recently saw a European release through Polandís Still Dead Productions.† Highly technical and fundamentally brutal as hell, The Eve Of The Entities is apocalyptic death combined with a traditional underground metal attitude and intensity.† I felt it was time to shake Richardís tree a little and see if he still has time to be an electrician and amateur filmmaker.
Most metal fans would think that Burning Inside is your most recent band, when in reality it is your permanent and longest-running one.† How easy or hard was it for Burning Inside to establish themselves in Florida after making the jump from Missouri in Ď96?
It was actually not that hard because the Florida scene is not like it used to be.† Thereís not a lot of bands now, especially in Orlando.† So when an entire metal band moves to a town like Orlando you get to know everybody pretty quick, Ďcause the metal scene here is like a brotherhood.† Itís not really a good metal scene in Orlando, so everybody thatís into metal knows everybody else so we kind of got the word out and started playing in Tampa and Fort Meyers.† The word got out in Florida quick, but as for the rest of country weíre still working on that.
Eve Of The Entities is technical and brutal as hell, and even back in Public Assassin Iíve always loved the way you guys incorporated an underground Ď80s metal influence with an early Ď90s style of death metal.† Will the album see a stateside release any time soon?
Weíre hoping so.† I mean, I havenít heard anything yet for sure.† Right now itís just out in Europe and weíre selling copies here.† I went to the Ohio Deathfest and it seemed like all the booths were selling it, I think all the specialty and import metal shops here in America have it.† I know the Relapse and Century Media booths had it.† Iíd love to be able to go to a Best Buy or Camelot Music and see it though. [Pavement has since licensed the album].
Burning Inside have been together for five years now, and you and Steve have been playing together since 1992.† You guys obviously have a killer relationship, and itís nice to see that the band has stayed together in the last few years with your busy schedule.
Itís a big step to take, for a whole band to move somewhere that far away.† Itís really rare that youíll find four people who are willing to do that, and itís so cool that everybody did that.† I would never want to let anything go wrong with that.
So when did you start playing?† What were the first few albums that made you want to play drums?
I started playing in August of 1984.† I was 10 at the time.† The fall of 5th grade I joined the school band, and what made me want to play drums is when I heard ďHot For TeacherĒ by Van Halen.† The drum thing at the beginning blew my mind, and I thought, ďI have to play drums.Ē† So Iíd have to say that Alex Van Halen is the main reason I started playing.† Nicko McBrain and Clive Burr of course, and later on was Mikkey Dee, heís definitely† inspired me to try some new things.† And Iím a real big fan of the drummer from Wrathchild America.
Yeah!† When they first came out and I heard him play it just blew my mind, he played so much technical stuff at the time.
Gene Hoglan is a friend of mine, and heís made some really great comments about your playing in our conversations.† I know Gene is an influence on your style, how does it feel to hear something like that?
Itís definitely amazing to hear that.† I mean Gene, and Dave Lombardo, as far as Iím concerned are the two guys who started the extreme style of drumming that is around today.† Itís just an honor to hear something like that from someone I look up to.† Heís a legend as far as drumming goes, and he was really cool when I met him at Dynamo in í98, he was super nice.† Iím a really big fan of his and Sean Reinart, and when I got to join Death it was really cool because I got to be in the same band that some of my favorite drummers played in.† Itís weird how things work out.
You just got off the road with Demons & Wizards in Europe, and also Incantation here in the States.† Can you give us a quick update?
Man it was killer!† All the Demons & Wizards shows weíre rocking. Spain was awesome, Italy was awesome.† We played with Maiden, played with the Scorpions in Germany, Motorhead and Slayer in Holland, it was just incredible.† And with the Incantation tour, it was cool because there are a lot of places in America that I havenít seen.† We were touring in a van, which you know is kind of rough, but it does have its advantages.† We got to go to some of my favorite movie spots when I was on tour.† We got to see the lighthouse where they filmed John Carpenterís The Fog, itís about a 2-hour drive north of San Francisco.† For me that was like a spiritual experience, and then I found the two original houses where they filmed Halloween, blew my mind that we found that.† It took us about an hour but it was awesome.
You and I have always shared a mutual love for horror and slasher flicks, especially those of John Carpenter.† I can hear some of his work sampled on The Eve Of The Entities, does he have an influence on your movies as well?
My movies?† Pretty big influence actually, Iím really into his synthesizer music.† I put a lot of that into my movies, even though mine are just low-budget horror/comedy type ones.† I canít afford to make a serious horror movie; youíve got to have a big budget so people will take it seriously.† If you film a horror movie with a video camera, itís real hard to take it seriously, but thatís all I can afford right now.† I do these movies just to have fun and kind of learn things, and also throw some influences in there like John Carpenter.† But yes, thereís a huge John Carpenter influence on the Burning Inside music.† I write some riffs for the songs, and I listen to a lot of his soundtracks to get inspired.† On the album weíve got a song about The Fog, and one about The Thing.† For me, watching one of his movies is like a religious experience because I get sucked into it, and I think his movies are just perfect with music, they way theyíre shot, the whole mood of the film.† Back in the Ď80s they took horror seriously, nowadays they just through in too many one-liners.
Youíre going in to record the next Iced Earth album, The Horror Show, what can you tell us about the upcoming release?
I donít really know too much about it, I mean itís still in the early stages right now.† I think weíll be recording in October, and probably doing the drums at Morrisound, but Iím not exactly sure yet.† Hopefully weíll be doing them there because I love recording there and working with Jim Morris is awesome, so Iím looking forward to working with him again.
Well itís got to be cool to work on the two things you love most at once, heavy metal and horror films!
Oh man!† When Jon told me that was the concept of the new album I was totally ecstatic.† That IS my favorite two things, metal and horror.† So Iím really looking forward to that.
Did you ever think when youíre playing drums in Fort Scott, Kansas and listening to Mercyful Fate that youíd be recording and touring with metalís elite by the time you were 25?
No way.† I always think of when I was 12-years-old, when I was playing drums and thinking into the future and asking myself, ďIs this worth it?Ē† I always thought it would be, and I always wanted it to pay off so I just kept practicing harder and harder.† But I never thought that I would actually get to go on a tour, and to get to play with some of the bands that Iím a huge fan of.† Itís an honor for me to be able to play metal and travel, and just do something that I love.† When I lived in Kansas I wondered if I was going to be stuck playing in local bands and stuff, and somehow fate worked out and it all fell together.† Iím really, really appreciative of everything thatís happened in the last several years, and thatís why I try to never complain about anything when Iím on a tour because I figure I can either be on tour or I could be at home doing nothing.† As long as Iím playing metal and having fun, thereís nothing for me to be worried about or to complain about.
Give us a recent update on Chuckís health and when we can expect to hear some new Death or Control Denied material.
Chuckís doing a lot better, and heís got about nine songs written for the new Control Denied.† Iím not sure if heís really made a decision on another Death album or tour, and I know that Control Denied is definitely his priority.† We just started jamming again actually, and itís already going killer.† I love his writing, and Iíve been a fan for over 10 years of his music.† Itís really good to see that heís doing a whole lot better.
Most artists or bands hate picking a favorite piece or album, itís like picking a favorite child or family member.† Can you pick a favorite band of yours, or one that is more rewarding or more fun in any way?
No, I really canít pick a favorite because, well the styles arenít drastically different, but they are different styles of metal, and I just love all kinds of metal.† Thatís the reason I play in so many bands, because I love all styles.† If someone comes along and wants to give me the opportunity to play with a band whose music I love, thereís no way I can turn it down.† Iím a real big fan of all the bands that Iím in.
Well the timeís got to come soon for you to quit your electrician job.† Are you still doing that as well as practicing and rehearsing every day?
Yep, actually I just started Monday back to my daily schedule of work, practice right after work, then band practice, and then come home and maybe watch a little bit of a movie before I go to sleep.† I donít mind it though, Iíve been doing electrical now for about eight years, I enjoy it and I enjoy being around the people I work with.† Iíve got a boss whoís super cool, he letís me take off and go on tour whenever I need to.† Theyíre big fans of music too so they are really happy to see me doing this.