Posts Tagged ‘metal church’
Hard to believe that it’s been 6 years since I did a little email interview with the shredder Craig Wells of Metal Church. I had seen that he moved to Houston within the last year and we couldn’t make a connection to meet until this week, as I’m working here weekly for a while. He works nights in the TV engineering business and rarely gets a free evening. Tonight I got lucky.
We went to a nice little Mexican place called El Tiempo Cantina. Once inside I was given all kinds of great stories about the history of Metal Church. One awesome tidbit he gave me was that Mark Baker of Strychnine played live for them on the first 2 tours when Vanderhoof wasn’t in the band. Also that David Wayne (RIP) recorded the vocals for Highway Star in one take! It was pretty mind numbing taking it all in and even realizing the fact that I’m sitting across the table from the guitar player that played on some of my all time favorite albums.
After dinner, he graciously signed The Book and some of my CD covers. I couldn’t find my copy of Human Factor and had forgotten to bring my Operation Rock and Roll CD. There’s also a foto of us from 1989 that I’d like to get signed. He assured me that he’d take care of that next time. Craig is an absolutely awesome guy and I look forward to seeing him again.
This was a perfect Halloween!
As you have read before, I got to see Metal Church and Meliah Rage on the Blessing in Disguise Tour in 1989. I found the banner that I had made for the show that I thought was long gone. Signed by both bands!
That was such a wonderful show. Still, I wish Mike Howe would do another record with someone.
Enjoy the tattered banner.
I love Metal Church. Well, I love the David Wayne/Mike Howe eras. Seeing them in 89 was an awesome experience. When Mike Howe left the band, only the return of David Wayne could have kept me interested in them. Well, he rejoined the band and they put out Masterpeace which
unfortunately did not have Craig Wells on it. Fortunately though, Craig did play on David Wayne’s solo album which was called Metal Church. It was a good album overall!
Thanks to the internetz, I was able to catch up with Craig and he graciously agreed to answer some questions.
What/who was your main inspiration to pick up a guitar and what was your first guitar?
“When I was about ten my Father bought me a semi hollow body red Sears Silvertone guitar at a pawn shop in Seattle. I asked for it because I listened to records all the time, mostly Beatles songs..I just liked anything really, Smokey Robinson , Temptations, anything on the radio and available on vinyl…”
How did you end up in Metal Church? Did you know those guys beforehand and just decided to put a band together?
“Metal Church coming together is kind of complicated…We were school friends but I had moved away from the home town to Kent, which was not far from Seattle so to get together I had to drive 100 miles to rehearse. I knew everyone from school bands and after being a band then not being a band a few times, eventually it all came together. I saw Dave Wayne’s phone number on the wall in Guitar Center of Seattle, it was an ad he posted claiming he was the best singer in the North West! It said “I can sing Whole Lotta Love and hold the end note longer than any living being”.
Sounded good to me…. I called Dave and soon met up with him and we began writing some music in my families home. We wanted to get a band going but he was in work release from jail so every weekend he had to go back in or violate his parole so everything took a while to get going….soon Dave’s time was over and I convinced him to go with me to a rehearsal with the rest of the future MC members and it became MC soon after that. That was with David, Duke , Kirk , Kurdt and myself…David and I lived in the Kent area and the band was 100 miles away in Aberdeen so rehearsal was minimal in the beginning till the rest of the band came to the Kent area [or closer] and we then rehearsed in my Grandmothers garage, we rehearsed there for about five years, coming and going on tour …”
What are some of your favorite memories of those early days in the northwest metal scene?
“Many memories but we never had a whole lot of a club scene or metal scene, all of us in the band lived and worked far from the city in the early days, I drove delivery, Duke and Kirk worked in a shake mill, Dave was a nurse, and Kurdt still lived a hundred miles away in Aberdeen. We played our first Seattle gig at the Moore Theater it was the Headbangers Ball and not till after we had toured a couple years did anybody in Seattle even really know us…then we had many friends in our home base of Kent, they all lived close and they were the Kent Bangers, they were awesome friends, and of course we had a great time..We were outsiders all growing up in a logging town on the coast of Washington state called Aberdeen and Hoquiam.. so nobody in Seattle knew us.”
What Metal Church album are you most proud of?
“It is very hard to say I am most proud of one album over the other but I can say that the first album period was the most fun time in MC because we were making music as a band effort with us writing stuff that was inspiring to us and we worked together and everybody had input. I guess I pick the first MC album…It was recorded in only a couple weeks of overnight sessions.”
How did you end up on Sir Mix*A*Lot’s song Iron Man? (see video below)
“I ended up on playing Iron Man for Sir Mixalot solely because of Terry Date our joint producer…it was his idea and he asked me to track the guitar so I said sure, pay me with a bag of Dicks Cheese Burgers, and he said yes, so we did it! That`s all…nothing more to it than that, just a great time at the studio.”
What led to your departure from the band?
“The main thing that lead to my departure from MC was a lack of vision and the desire to choose to solder on from everybody…my opinion was if we are going to agree to make a new album then we are going to do it and continue making albums and not stop, We agree to make the band again and it be our livelihood, I can not go back and forth…. no matter what happens we are not turning back and we will expect to tour and live it out. Nobody else wanted to see it that way…they wanted to make a test album and just throw something out and see if it gets some bites and maybe do something later…I realized that I was at a cross road it was either music and touring or stay with my family and the band members were not concrete in choosing the band, so I chose to go my own way…”
Did you join another band after?
“I have never been with any other band…why should I?… I did not need anything beyond that…because MC was my blessing, all we had to do was SHOW UP and we could make music and we rocked…who would want anything else?”
Do you miss touring?
“Sure, I miss touring, who wouldn’t? fortunately now I have a life with my family that I value very dearly so I can just look back and smile at the old days..It was great!”
Losing David Wayne was a pretty devastating blow to the fans and especially to his family and former bandmates. What impact did his sudden death have on you?
“Dave’s passing was very sudden as you said…we had some rocky times, we kicked him out of the band and then years later I became friends with him again and he was back with us all again so all I can say is that I am glad that we became friends again prior to him leaving but I am sad I did not get to say good bye.”
Are you still playing music? What’s going on with Craig Wells these days?
“Yes I still play music at home in my free time purely for enjoyment…I work as a broadcast engineer for FOX and that keeps me busy and my plate is full with my family. Maybe we will jam again sometime and if we don’t, I will always look back on the day with a smile!”
Thanks Craig for taking the time to do this. Metal Church helped provide the soundtrack to my life and I’ll always regard them as one of the best metal bands ever. I’ve asked Mike Howe and Kirk Arrington to do interviews, but to date they have not responded to my requests.
while going through some boxes…
Metal Church! Craig Wells, me, Mike Howe. 1989, Blessing in Disguise Tour @ The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA. Fun bunch of dudes. Man, I was 19. Simpler times for sure.
Seriously. Dude. Please come out of retirement and rock out for us one more time. I honestly don’t really care if you’re doing metal or some rock stuff, just grant us the privilege to hear that voice again. Some of your counterparts did it like John Arch and Michael Kiske and their stuff sounds pretty good. I know you still have the pipes.
I remember when I first heard Heretic’s Breaking Point and thinking, “Damn, this dude’s got a unqiue voice.” I really liked that album too. When I read that he had joined Metal Church to replace David Wayne (RIP), I was looking very forward to it even though I was a huge Wayne fan.
So Blessing in Disguise comes out and me and all of my metal friends were toally into it. They had a video on Headbangers Ball regularly (Badlands) and went on tour. When they rolled through my area of Virginia they did an in-store autograph signing at Tracks Records at Wards Corner. So some friends and I pile into CK’s truck (Alice) and head out there to meet the guys. They were super cool. Small crowd to meet them but it worked out to our advantage. Craig Wells and Mike Howe asked us to hang out after the signing to share some pizza with them. How cool?! So after the signing was completed, the band was allowed to get 2 CDs of their choice and then headed back upstairs for the pizza. Kirk Arrington was sick as a dog, looking like death warmed over. The other guys seemed healthy enough. They were great fun that afternoon and it was an experience I’ll never forget for sure.
That night we headed over the The Boathouse in Norfolk to see the show. It was Metal Church/Meliah Rage. Both bands kicked ass. We hung out with them again after the show outside of the tour bus. I have a slew of photos somewhere that I need to get scanned in.
I ws looking forward to the Human Factor album but was greatly disappointed when it came out. Honestly I cannot tell you the name of any song besides Date With Poverty and I really don’t even remember how it sounds. I should revisit that one, eh? When I saw Hanging In The Balance came out, I was pretty much disinterested and didn’t bother picking it up until years after its initial release. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it. Good production and the songwriting was good. I think the production on Human Factor is what turned me off. It seemed too muddy for me.
Shortly after the Balance tour, Mike was gone. What a pisser that new was. I remember reading an interview with him within the last 8 or 9 years and he said he’s hanging out in Kentucky or Tennessee doing carpentry work. Wait, isn’t that what John Arch is doing too?
So please, Mr. Howe…please come out of retirement and give us one more.
Written by The Metal Files
March 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Tagged with badlands, blessing in disguise, craig wells, david wayne, duke erickson, hanging in the balance, headbangers ball, human factor, jim marshall, kirk arrington, metal church, mike howe, norfolk, the boathouse, the metal files, tracks, virginia, wards corner, www.themetalfiles.com