A 'Real Mindbender', Eric Wagner speak out about the new album.
One of the finest Doom Metal acts around are back!! Trouble's history goes way back to the late 70's when the band was formed
Id first of all like to welcome you back, god damn its been such a long time and I'm so pleased you are back together. You are 'The Doom Gods' no question about it. I'd like to start the interview off, by asking just to look back for a few moments and tell me which is your favourite and least favourite albums and why?
"Well that is really hard to say to be honest. I would say that 'The Skull' has a double edge sword for me. I think it is our heaviest album for back then and it is also a little more creative than the 1st one. At the same time it is also way more depressing to listen too, I find it hard to listen too that record as I was pretty depressed back then and I was partying a lot back then and there was a lot of bullshit going on back then. It took me a long time to come to terms with that and I didn't want to listen too it back then. I later on started to listen too this record and I didn't want to think it was like that later on, so now I appreciate it more often now but at the same time I still find it hard sometimes. If I listen too 'Pray For The Dead', 'The Wish' especially when I was in Amsterdam (Holland) people were coming up to me from Belguim and everywhere and saying that album had changed their life's. I was blown away by this and I was not trying to do that, I was just trying to explore my life to be honest. It was a depressing time for me back in the day. I could relate to other peoples problems as I had the same things going on in my life."
Can you just straighten 1 thing out for me finally, was the debut album called 'Trouble' or 'Psalm 9' ? You later on released an album on Def America called 'Trouble', so was that the 2nd part of the 1st album? It's very confusing for the fans as this debate has been going on for some time now.
"Well when it 1st came out it was called 'Trouble' & then when we did the Def America release that was also called 'Trouble'. That was the 1st album in many years, it was like a mark 2, similar to Deep Purple and that is how I see our 2nd Trouble album on Def America. We had our old style on that record but at the same time we were looking to find something new, I think Rick Rubin helped us out to find the right direction. So when Metal Blade re-released it they decided to call it 'Psalm 9'. At least you have put the record straight."
What did you think of you're debut album for a early 80's release?
"I think it was a awesome album!! I remember flying out to California to record the album and I think that record is more popular then 'The Skull'. (ED: Why?) Well I think it was a heavier album & not so doom sounding. Songs like 'The Tempter' 'Bastards Will Pay' were more popular. I love that album too, it was a blast to record."
Looking back at that album who influenced you, as this was a heavy album whereas, the 2nd album and later albums were more Doom. Stoner influenced.
"Well a lot of those songs for the 1st 2 albums were wrote in the same time period. We chose the ones that we felt would sound like our debut record and I don't think some of the songs on 'The Skull' would of fit on the debut album."
I noticed that the 1st 2 albums were re-released again on SPV back in the later 80's, early 90's why was that?
"Well I took them away from Metal Blade, as the contract was finished & I told them a while ago that what comes around goes around and surely it did. Something did happen but I'm not going to go into that. I'm not sure how they got a hold of them for SPV, I really don't have a clue?"
Last time I interviewed you, I forgot to ask you just how many demos did the band record before they released the debut album? I noticed that you can buy all the demos on 1 CD which is on Ebay.
"Well we caught up with the guy who was selling them on Ebay and they did it as a bootleg without our permission and I'm still trying to find out how they got hold of some of it. I have been working on a 2 disc set, but we are going to release it on our website for our fans & I don't want to put it out on a record label or be able to buy it in a record store. Its for our fans only. It will be a good price and the 1st 1 will feature the older demos and we also have 'The Wish' the whole deal in our rehearsal studio with 2 mic's. it is fucking awesome!!! We are not sure when it will come out, we are concentrating on the new album 1st."
What did you think of you're 3rd album 'Run To The Light', I thought it was a pretty good album with some interesting songs, maybe not the best album mind you.
"I like 'Run To The Light' & 'Thinking Of The Past', but we don't play anything from that album. Metal Blade will not part with the rights to that album. To be honest I think it is my least favourite album we have done (ED: I agree). I wish we could delete that record but it has influenced so many people. I wish I had the heart to re-record that record as there are some good songs on that record & good lyrics. if we could take some of the bad bits out and re-record it I am sure it would be a killer album and sound totally different."
Why has Trouble had so much bad luck in their career? I really feel for you guys, you're my 2nd favourite band and it's sad to see such a awesome and very influenced band not really make as big as you should be. Please explain!! If you look at people like Metallica, who are influenced by you and yet they took C.O.C. on tour with them in the 90's, it should of been you that supported them. C.O.C. are influenced by you too.
"Maybe because of the name I guess? Metallica are a great band, but what influenced people lives is something different. I think you already answered you're own question, maybe somebody doesn't want us to be successful. Somebody on this planet doesn't want us to be successful. What I see right now with this new record is that all the press loved us. I'm not sure about the people outside the press if they liked us enough. I really don't know?? Our fans are the most loyalist and most hardcore that we will ever have and I honestly mean this, thank you to our fans!!! We toured the U.S. before the new album came out and it was 1 of the most successful tours that we have done. I also think that 'Myspace' has a lot to do with the help. Before 'Myspace' the record labels were too busy to help us out and with this site people are taking more notice, so that has helped us out a lot!! We have only done 3 shows show far over here and every show has been awesome!!"
After the last break up, the band reformed once again and released the Def America album title 'Trouble' and ended up touring here in the UK with Dio, how was that? That must of most certainly got the band noticed more, am I right?
"Oh yeah it did for sure, we had a great tour with Dio & on the last date of the tour he invited us into his dressing room for a beer, which was really cool!!"
Look back at the albums you released with Def America, which one was you're favourite and why?
"Well I think they are both different from one another. I think the 1st one was a little heavier, and I thought that 'Manic Frustration' was a little more stoner and psychedelic. Manic Frustration was our biggest selling album to date, I don't know why, but it just was until the new one (laughing).
After the releases of those 2 albums you released later on like 5 yrs on the 'Plastic Green Head' album, which wasn't liked by so many people, but I personally loved it!! Why do you think that album was not such a great seller? Damn man its heavy!!
"I really don't know? It is was it is!!! It's Trouble, so what the fuck are we suppose to do? (ED: I agree!!) That is what we wrote at that time, it was also the way that we felt back then so we wrote lyrics that were effecting us around that time. The songs from that album I like are 'Opium Eater', (ED: I wonder why? lol!!)"
After the album the band did it again, broke up, what the hell went wrong that time around?
"I don't think it had anything to do with that record at that time. I think that everybody had enough of the music business and we were sick of getting fucked in the ass so many time it just got to us all!! We are not the only band that have suffered in this way, and I think everybody within the band was very frustrated and disillusioned and I think we were starting to get on one another's nerves back then. I think it was better that we did walk away back then because we are friends and we do love one another!!"
Did you get enough promotion for that record from the label?
"We got fucked over by the U.S. label and by the time the new record was done our European label had folded, so we had to look for a better label which did take some time. Our new label Escapi are really behind and so far things are going well between us."
I noticed on our website that you have an unplugged CD for sale, it's a pity you didn't bring that on tour to sell, why was that?
"Well it is not done yet, we shelved it!! That was due to the fact that our old U.S. label Century Media fucked us over. We were going to sell that on our website to our fans until the new record as coming out, and C.M would not let us do it. They said they had the right not to release it, and it was only 6 songs that they did not want to pay us for and they wanted us to give it to them for free!! So that is why we shelved it!! I think it is cool, but we do have plans to finish that record as it was not finished anyway. There will also be 2 more new songs that nobody has ever heard yet that will appear on the CD when we have it finished. There will be 7 old songs that we did acoustic versions of and 3 new ones."
What was the reason to release an unplugged album? Also was it fun to record such a record?
"It was a fun album to do, I think that each song is different from the original's. We did songs like 'Requiem' and I think that is sounds better on the unplugged album than on the original version. I feel that, that song is a lot better and as for the other songs, well they just sound different. We did a totally different version of the song 'Rain' which has no guitars, just a piano and drums and bass and cello. We changed the mood of that song and it is totally fantastic!! There are things in that session that we weren't too happy about but now we can go back and change them for the better!"
You released the 'One For The Road' CD, which featured a couple of unreleased songs. Tell me a little bit about that CD.
"Well basically it was just a demo tape, which we decided to put onto a CD and sell it as a Ltd number. We only released a few 100 and there is no way we will ever re-release it again. It was for our die hard fans and we knew it would sell pretty fast!"
OK moving on Eric, lets talk about the new album 'Simple Mind Condition', why the title and did you have another titles for this release?
"Well it was originally going to be called 'Seven', that was because we had no title for the record & it was our 7th album. Once we found the cover for the album I just kept looking at it and thinking 'God damn this is so cool!!' Its just a dead guy on the cover with coins on his eyes, but you can't tell its coins on his eyes. I was thinking what the guy was looking at, at first I thought he had lights shining on him and what is he thinking about? I also thought is it 'simple mind condition, or it is simple mind condition'. There are 2 different meanings to that, and that freaked me out pretty much straight away!! The line 'Simple Mind Condition' is a line of the lyrics from 'Plastic Green Head' on 'Opium Eater'."
How long did it take to prepare this record and get the whole ball rolling?
"I think it took something like 3 yrs to get the whole thing going. Whilst we were recording the album there were 2 more songs that I felt were needed to be added for this record. The 2 songs which we will use later on are ' Trouble Maker' and 'If I Only Had A Reason'. I think that this album is the heaviest for lyrically since 'The Skull', but I'm not sure if the music is has heavy as we have done in the past, but I feel that this album has a little bit of everything on this record."
Which is your favourite songs from the new record and why?
"Well I like the song 'Mind Bender', because it is just a cool song its like a hypnotist and I'm like saying 'Can I have You're Attention Please' and I'm hypnotizing people to believe very thing is OK. The whole idea for that song came about when I was watching the film 'Let It Be' by The Beatles and there is a scene in the film which is deleted were John offers Paul a joint and say's 'Have this Mind Bender' and I had to write that down which I kept for 15yrs or so written down in a book. I also like 'Trouble Maker' a lot because is about a little dude inside my head who is my spirit and that leads my life for me."
How do you see this album as a progression from that of say 'Plastic Green Head' and the Def America releases?
"Well I felt that 'Plastic Green Head' I left a lot of people hang in there, I was angry with a lot of people, our manager who we fired, our record label I was just pissed off!! I took it out on the wrong people, I really should of been exploring my life and later on I felt that I let people down. When it came to this new record I didn't have a clue what to write about, and I just write on how I feel and what I see and what's going with the world today and within myself."
Where was the album recorded & by whom?
"\Well it was recorded in several studios, the drums were recorded in Cleveland, guitars & vocals were done in Chicago and mixed in San Francisco. It was recorded by Vincent who did the 'Plastic Green Head' album. It turned out really well and we are happy with it."
I have a question for you, how the hell do you get that awesome guitar sound?
"Well I think we just use a lot less Trouble and I think we stole it from Metallica (laughing)!! I'm not sure how it all came to get that sound, I guess its the way that Rick & Bruce combine their influences."
Will you be doing any promo videos?
"Well I'm not sure about that, that is something we need to talk about with the label."
Talking of videos, why has it taken the band so long to release a live DVD? Why Sweden?
"I have never seen that DVD, I don't want too, I don't want to see how we looked that night or sounded. I don't know why it was recorded in Sweden sorry!!
Do you feel that Trouble have had the success or kept the flame burning because of the amount of bootleg stuff that is going about?
"Our fans are loyal to us, like I said before and the labels never really did shit for us, it was our fans that kept the spirit of Trouble alive!! We are happy with Escapi and things are turning out great so far. If things go well with this album then we will record another album with the label, we will have to wait and see."
Do you have our own label or would you consider it?
"Mmmm, I've never thought about that, I shall make a note of that, thanks Jase!!"
How successful is the tour going so far considering its in its early stages?
"So far so good, I think it will be a great tour. We are doing a couple of festivals this summer."
What did you think about the Trouble tribute album that came out a few years ago, did you hear it? What did you think about it?
"Well I was on it, whilst we broke up I got a call from a guy in Sweden who was releasing it and asked me if I wanted to appear on it. I recorded a song with Chucks old band for that record, they were called 'This Tortured Soul' and we did a cover of 'The Tempter'. I think it was a pretty cool CD."
Well it's time for you guys to get ready and hit the stage, I want to wish you all the success with this and any future albums. Please stay together this time, you guys are fucking awesome!! Do you have anything to say?
"I hope you all know that we love you!! Thanks for you're support!!
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