The Voodoo Curse Is Upon You - Alex Beyrodt Speaks Out
Alex Beyrodt is no stranger to the underground metal scene, as this young guitar wizard has been playing the guitar at a young age and his first band 15 and by 18 Alex played his 1st open air festival in front of 25.000 people. Alex has come a long way since then, with him playing for the likes of Sinner, featuring Matt Sinner (Primal Fear), who has also been around since the early to mid 80's. Sinner has shared the same stage with the likes of Whitesnake, Savatage, U.D.O., Saxon, Deep Purple and so many more bands. Alex later on left Sinner to to start working with the likes of Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt/ Quiet Riot) before joining Silent Force, which features ex Royal Hunt front man D.C. Cooper. Silent Force have recorded 4 albums and still going strong and with a new album in the works for 2009 Alex took time out to form his own band under the name of 'Alex Beyrodt's - Voodoo Circle'. This band also features Matt Sinner (bass) David Readman (Pink Cream 69), Mel Geynor (drums), who is known for his work with not only rock bands but pop acts such as Tina Turner, Simple Minds, Elton John, and many more. Also in Voodoo Circle is Jimmy Kresic - (Keyboards). This is the debut album which is released on AFM Records and I tell you this is a mind blowing album which is packaged full of energy. If you're a fan of melodic Metal like Yngwie, Silent Force, Pink Cream 69, Primal Fear, U.D.O. then check out this album. In the meantime I managed to have a chat with a pretty drunken Alex who almost forgot to call me, haha!! Oh well at least he was pretty sober by the time he called me. It's been a while since I last spoke or saw Alex so I started by asking him the following questions regarding Silent Force.
OK Alex, I hope you're head is in a better frame of mind by now lol!! I'd like to start the interview off by asking you just what is happening with the Silent Force band, are you ready to record a new album shortly?
"Well right now we are preparing to record the next album, with song writing taking place. The thing with Silent Force reviews is, that each album we recorded the reviews got better and better for each album, and so it is becoming harder for us to write a album which will be better than the last one. There is a lot of pressure for us with the next album and of course we want to have the next album sounding better than the last one with the song writing and the lyrics. It would be easier for us just to record another album but we don't want to do that, we want to create an album which will be very special to us. We want to be sure we have the best song material and to try and beat the last album in the process!! We are taking our time with the next album and when we are ready to record the song we will do so, but it's going to be a long process to make such a perfect album. I have wrote about 11 songs so far for the next album, it's great material, but we don't want too much pressure on our shoulders right now."
Is the line-up still the same within Silent Force? What's D.C. doing right now, is he still a fireman?
'Yes it is!! Nobody has left the band so far, we are all good friends and we all work well together. D.C. is no longer a fireman, he is actually a life guard, and first aider. He is helping people when they have a accident."
Hasn't Silent Force played a 1 off show in the UK before now?
"No not at all, we have played a couple of festivals last year and a tour in Japan, but it is so expensive to tour and there are too many bands out there right now. The competition is so big and if you don't have enough support from the media and press and record label is is impossible to tour. I wish we were back in 1975 because I think things were much easier back then with not so many bands about and if you were a good musician then you were successful in that respect. With today, the possibilities with computers in the studios makes it easy to produce records through the internet and it has become too much."
Out of all the albums you have recorded with Silent Force, which is you're favourite and why? Any least favourite ones?
"Wow that's a tough question!! I think if it comes to song material then I would have to say I like 'Worlds Apart', because there was a change within the band regarding song writing. I think it has some really good song on that album. I really don't have a least favourite album, they all have different meanings to us."
Silent Force has gone through different labels, Massacre Records, Sanctuary and now AFM, are you happy with AFM?
"Yes I am happy with AFM, but I am not happy with the situation with Sanctuary, because the 'World's Apart' album still to date the whole band never received any royalties and we are still fighting with these guys to get royalties shares and we have never seen any money whatsoever!! We are trying to get some money from them through our lawyer and it has been 4 years and still no money from them. We never had any problems with Massacre Records, they looked after us and I have never done so many interviews whilst on their label. I think I did 5 interviews for Sanctuary Music, whereas I did 180 interviews for the 1st two albums with Massacre."
Moving on, have you heard the new Yngwie Malmsteen album? What do you think as I know you're a big fan of his work?
"Well for me, I don't like the album, because the production isn't great. The last album I liked by him was 'Facing The Animal' and then for some reason he started to change his song writing by been more aggressive and heavy and more darker and for me it doesn't suit him. His best albums are 'Eclipse', 'Magnus Opus', 'Seventh Sign'."
Moving on, beside doing the Silent Force stuff you have worked with Sinner, David Readman solo album which is fantastic album. How did you hook up with David for that album?
"Well the David Readman album was really easy actually. Dave called me and asked if I wanted to play on his solo album and to play on a couple of the songs, so I did it. I've known David for a long time but we have never worked together until now and when he asked me if I wanted to play on the record I said yes!! He is actually one of my favourite singers, and he is one of the most easiest person to work with, really professional singer with no attitude, and he is always creative and always in a good mood and he sings awesome!! I played on about 8 songs on that album and the songs I played on were 'Without You', 'Evil Combination', 'Take These Tears', 'Don't Let It Slip Away', 'No Peace For The Wicked', 'Wild In The City', 'Gentle Touch, 'Prisoner Of Shame' and this is it. I played the finest guitar solo I have ever done on that record, I had no pressure and he just sent me the demos for me to work on and when I felt great I went down to my own studio and recorded the parts for the record. David had some guitar parts he played on the demos to help me work and arrange them for the album. I took the guitar parts he sent me and turned them around and messed about with them until I was happy with the end results in my own style how I would play them & record them. He liked the end results."
Are you doing the next album for David?
"No I won't be because he is also working with me on Voodoo Circle and if I work with him again I think it will mess up the whole situation between us."
I was just think of a great guitarist who could replace you for the next album, Tore from the band 'Conception' and 'Ark', he is a fantastic guitarist who has worked on D.C.'s solo album, what do you think about that for David's next album?
"Fuck yeah he is a great guitarist!! I shall mention that to David, thanks for that Jason. I think he would be a great addition for his next album!! He is a very talented guitarist Jase, I'm going to mention his name to David for sure."
Did you ever play any shows with David,. like the 'Firefest' here in the UK?
"Yes I did, I played the Firefest' in Nottingham last year, it was a great show and I didn't drink much honestly haha!!"
So what did you do after the David Readman solo album, did Voodoo Circle come next?
"Well I started work on the Voodoo Circle album about 4 years ago. This is a band and not a side project and it has my full priority right now. I am really enjoying doing this and I am taking it very seriously. About 4 years ago I started to get bored with the so called Heavy Metal community and bands and I think it started to sell out with everybody sounding the same. So it became too much, so I started to listen too Deep Purple, Rainbow, Glenn Hughes (I'd love to work with him) and I started to listen too all these Deep Purple related musicians and I just experienced a travel back in time period were I really started to enjoy it so much that I loved to create music like that. I was so inspired by this I decided to write songs from the 70's and I started to write the Voodoo Circle album. I even bought 70's Marshall Amps, 70's style guitar leads, etc... to get that perfect 70's sound. The reason why this album took so long was because the timing wasn't right, then 3 years ago I did 10 shows where you go on stage and jam with other musicians without any rehearsals and you play a 2 hour set. You meet the other musicians 10 minutes before the show and you write down a set list of the songs you're going to play. You play cover tunes and it featured Mel Gaynor on drums, David Readman on vocals and a local bass player and myself. It turned out to be totally fantastic and after the 2nd show I asked David and Mel if they could imagine of starting up a new band, this would be 'Voodoo Circle' and I told them I had the songs already wrote. So they agreed to do it with me and I wanted to have musicians who could jam and they guys were the perfect choice. They were musicians who listened to what the other musicians were playing and not only listening too themselves, so they had to be some interaction between us. This si what Deep Purple and Rainbow did and I wanted the same vision, so that is why I started Voodoo Circle."
So why the name Voodoo Circle? Did you have any other names and what does the name mean to you?
"Well I did think about not having a name which would relate to a heavy metal name. I wanted a more classic sounding name which would be compared to a rock band, a name which is ageless and classy and so I started to think about who is playing in the band. I thought well Matt Sinner is in the band, he is a old friend of mine and David I have known for 10yrs or so and Mel I have known for 5yrs. So all the guys in the band I have known for a while and they are my circle of friends, so I thought the circle part of the name was a really good choice. I then I thought about the 70's, with Jimi Hendrix, the hippy movement, etc... and then I had a vision of 'Voodoo Child' and the term voodoo sounds very much like the 70's and that is how I joined the voodoo with the circle part of the name. It stands for great musicianship, great jamming sessions and friendship."
Does the name reflect within you're music? Also how do you see you're music been categorized?
"Yes I do, I feel the name does reflect the music. I would call the music we are doing as 'Classic Rock' and when I read a review and it say's something like 'Power Metal' I'm like 'Oh My God!!' Has this guy listened to the album? I am using vintage guitars and amps with real drums that have not been triggered and with microphones and we wanted to have a warm vintage sound."
I found it strange that you have Mel in the band when he has worked with Tina Turner, Simple Minds, he's not a metal drummer is he? So how did you hook up with him for the drum part of the band?
"Well he is still in Simple Minds, Mel is one of the 5 best drummers in the world officially. He has played with Gary Moore, Brian May, Samson, The Who, Elton John, he is a professional drummer. He is amazing and he has sold over 15.00000 albums world-wide and he has played on so many hits that you wouldn't even know. I have played with many good drummers but Mel is one of them who is listening to what is going on when you play live. He was my first choice and I'm so proud to have him on board. We recorded the whole drums in only 2 days, and he had never heard the songs before and he had no idea about the songs. Most of the songs are the first takes which went straight down onto the record. He listened to the songs first and then went into the room and recorded the song."
Where the songs wrote as a team effort? Or did you write all the music with David handling the lyrics?
"I wrote all the music, and the David came to my house to my studio and we wrote the melodies together and vocals. He came to my studio and we had some drinks and then started recording the vocals and by 5pm the next day all the vocals melodies were done. I think we wrote the vocal melodies in less than 5 hours and we didn't record the vocals till later on. Matt came into the studio with no problems at all, for him it was about timing with him been busy with Primal Fear."
Was the title for the album the only 1 you had or were there any other titles?
"I had a few ideas for the album title, but 'Voodoo Circle' was the best choice, like I said it was a circle of friends. I did have the title of 'Guitar Slinkers Aren't Dead Yet' (laughing)"
The cover has you're guitar with the circle and flames coming out of the guitar, tell me more about the cover.
"Well you can take the cover as you want too. It's like the hippy movement kind of thing, the cover was done by a girl in Germany who has worked with Sinner, and some other bands which Matt introduced my too. I am very happy with the way the cover has turned out."
Was the album recorded in you're studio or various studios?
"Well the drums were recorded in a studio in Stuttgart (Germany) and the guitars were done in my own studio and I also did the keyboards and bass guitar too. I did some of the bass guitar parts in on my own and I wanted to have certain things done the way I like them done and the only way to have that is to do them yourself. It took about a year to record the whole album with various commitments within the band. I produced the album with Dennis Ward mixing the album."
Does Internet piracy piss you off?
"Yeah it does, people don't realize just how much work and effort goes into writing 1 song and how much money it costs. Music does not have any value anymore and before the CD was invented, people bought LP's and the valued them, looked after them and take care of them. Then came the CD which people are now burning all the time. That is why record companies now are putting voice over's on the promo CD's to try and stop piracy."
What sort of press reviews has the album been receiving?
"The reviews for this album have been great so far!! 95% of the reviews are great and 5% are shit, which I really don't fucking care about (laughing)!!"
Ok Alex, so what other labels approached you beside AFM Records?
"Yeah we talked to a couple of other labels, but AFM I have worked with for a few years now and they are doing a great job for me and Voodoo Circle. We have a 1 album deal with AFM with options to renewal if we are both happy."
So when do you expect to see the band touring?
We are planning a little tour which starts in February in Germany and we have some requests to play some festivals later on in the year."
Well Alex, thanks for calling, I wish you all the best of luck with Voodoo Circle and Silent Force etc... Do you have anything to say before we finish off the interview?
"Yeah thanx for the interview Jason, I hope the fans like the new CD and we hope to have a new album out next year, we are now working on that. Also look out for the tour and future touring plans"
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