Hello! and welcome to Seven Ages of Metal – thanks for taking part! For the benefit of our audience, please introduce yourself and tell our readers what you do in Frenzy. “Hello, this is Choco, bass player and the evil mastermind behind most of our plans!”
It’s a pleasure to welcome you aboard the good ship Sentinel Daily! Here you are then – entering the world of metal, probably in your early teens, mewling about the
unfairness of it all and puking on cheap sangria… Which band was your introduction to metal? How did you find out about them? And which bands generally do you think make the best ‘entry
level’ metal music? “I am thirty three years old, so I started in metal through tape trading with all the rock-involved people that I knew. That included a lot of Spanish rock and probably the first one to get me really hooked was a Spanish, very influenced by Thin Lizzy band, called Los Suaves, their live album ¿Hay Alguien Ahí? was always in my walkman. There was also a tape with Iron Maiden‘s A Real Live One. They were my favourite english language band. I think those were different times to get into heavy metal, we are talking of the late nineties… I went into
the classics after Iron Maiden, including Judas Priest, Megadeth, Metallica… the basics. You don’t want to miss that. Also the magazines from that era would have a lot of Euro power metal and some bands appealed to me more, like Primal Fear, HammerFall… maybe not cool in nowadays scene, but that’s how it happened here in those days. Now people start with all the cult status stuff, but in those days it wasn’t available. Mp3 was just starting, but we didn’t have an internet connection, magazines overlooked classic heavy metal, they wanted to sell us on Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit… which I never cared for. Later I discovered the underground scene from the eighties and all the european scene, but in the beginning… just the classics”.
You’re in! The magical and bewildering world of metal lies at your feet… you’ve assembled a small collection of records and tapes – or CDs of course – but you’re still very much a School child, whining because the olds won’t let you go to a gig – until the scales fall from their eyes – and you’ve got the Golden ticket in your sweaty little palm! Who were the first band you saw in the live arena? Did it confirm your suspicions about just how massive this hidden world was, how inspiring? Or was first ‘in the flesh’ contact a little disappointing? “I think the first one was Mago de Oz (a big Spanish bigt, not really my favourite nowadays) with Skyclad as support, who obviously I didn’t know back in the day. I loved it, I became an addict to concerts, and was lucky to see a lot of great stuff in those days, including a small club show (maybe fifteen hundred people) by Judas Priest with Ripper Owens… probably still the best time for me. They played a lot of classics with a great singer in a smaller place… now it’s all about arenas and feels cold”.
Ah yes, the glorious Judas Priest wilderness years! I don’t know anyone who saw them in those days who doesn’t think it was one of the best Priest shows they ever saw! You’re now a full-grown acolyte, a fully-fledged lover of the dark arts, as it were. But listening and watching isn’t enough. You need to consummate your love, by forming or joining your own metal band – tell us about your formative bands and what life was like on the bottom rung of the ladder… “I started pretty soon to learn guitar and started playing with friends anything that we could, rock, punk… later on I started to play with my other band Nigromante, joined Steel Horse later and ended up with Frenzy. I was always very sure of doing my own stuff and didn’t lose time on cover bands or being a
mercenary. I have played for other bands as replacement or just as a favour”.
Mission accomplished – you’re in a band. A Soldier of metal mired in the trenches fighting for our way of life, possibly on a tour of the toilet venues of your home locale – what was your first tour
like? What valuable lessons were learned? Or was there just to much fun to be had to worry about tedious life craft? “Calling them a ‘tour’ would be too much… just local club shows, I remember it well, the Spanish scene was waking up and there was a lot of people playing the Old-School style and we were in the middle of a very active scene and had a lot of fun and made some really good friends. Touring came a bit later when I played in Steel Horse and that was also a lot of fun, playing anywhere, festivals, small bars… even one where we played which had “the stage” next to the door to the toilets, so people would cross between us to go there (laughs)”…
Away from you now – your career is in full bloom. But what of the elder Statesmen, the justices who still reign, Saturnine and all-knowing? Which of the old-but-still-living Gods still command the most respect in your eyes? And why? “I have huge respect for anyone who is able to keep a band united for more than two to three records, man! It’s one of the hardest things to do. I respect a lot of bands, but especially all the bands that have remained active who started in the nineties… Slough Feg, Twisted Tower Dire, October 31… and of course those hard working bands from the eighties like Y&T, W.A.S.P. or Iced Earth“.
And what about those who’ve maybe pushed it a little too far, those bespectacled and pantalooned ‘legacy’ artistes on their nth farewell trip across the globe? Is there anyone on our world you think might like to think about hanging up the old Les Paul and giving themselves and us a rest? “Well… when people complain about someone still touring and maybe not being able to play at the
same level… man! This music wasn’t made thinking about doing it as sixty or seventy year old! But they must keep doing what they like, I respect that and I would love to get there! (more laughter)… but the audience should open their ears to new bands… pop has new bands, soul has new stars, classic rock even gets some… but metal? We are the most conservative audience in the world. Some people complain when they see Ghost or Sabaton (I’m not really into them, but they are there) up on the festival lineups… please, they put on a great show, have great songs, ENJOY IT!”
And the final age, of course, is death. We’ll all be left Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything eventually. Which deceased metallian do you miss most? And what are your happiest memories of them? “I always say it’s (Manilla Road founder) Mark Shelton, he was a very special guy. I met him when they played a festival which I am part of. They were playing for the first time in Spain, spending some days around in Segovia, Toledo… then when having lunch I noticed they were talking about some parts for their show, they had not rehearsed a full set in some time with Neudi, their german drummer. So I invited them to rehearse in my space with my equipment the next day, and they came and they were playing all my favourite songs in my own place… I also miss Terry Jones from Pagan Altar. Pagan Altar also came to play my festival and I spent two days with them, visiting Madrid, talking, eating, drinking… really great people and it was a really sad day when I heard of his death”.
Read Gavin Strickmann‘s review of Frenzy’s album Blind Justice HERE