Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers recently corresponded with Dale Thompson who has sang for bands Bride, The World Will Burn, NOG, Perpetual Paranoia, and as a solo artists for over 30 years. Read his take on music below.
Metal Mofos: Who are your major influences? Did you and your brother Troy listen to the same stuff growing up?
Dale: My first real introduction to rock music was AC/DC back in about 1980. I wasn’t a fan then but gradually gravitated into the heavy sounds becoming influenced by Ronnie James Dio, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Deep Purple. I later found Iron Maiden and I was learning my craft.
MM: When was Bride first formed and at what point did you decide to create heavy music with a Christian message as opposed to just being in a band that sings about everything except Jesus?
Dale: Our goal from the beginning was to write good positive songs based around Jesus and the Bible. We never thought about being a secular band at any stage.
MM: What can you tell me about Christian Music as an industry? There are artists out there who want nothing to do with industry, and I’ve heard from artists who have really gotten burned by Christian record labels which makes the labels seem quite un-Christian. How is Christian music marketed differently than mainstream music? How many sales does it take to make a successful album in the Christian market?
Dale: I do not even try to approach the larger labels because to them bands like Bride are not relevant. I have been signed to larger labels only to be miserably disappointed in the outcome. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth because at no time do I feel these labels were totally honest with the artist and they were always looking ahead for something better and more promising for their labels. Since not a single record label has ever supplied sales figures to Bride I have no idea how many albums it takes to actually be considered successful as a recording artist.
MM: John Joseph Thompson wrote in his book Raised by Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll, “ Bride was also famous for its controversial concerts. Never short on attitude and never afraid to lay it on the line, Thompson was always talking about issues such as alcohol and smoking alongside the basic gospel message.” Could you please tell me what this is referring to? I’d love some insight into the stage banter and preaching you did in concert.
Dale: I grew up in a Christian home but some of my neighbors, relatives even lived their life in the darkness of the world consumed with drugs, alcohol and infidelities. Troy and I were never in harms way because the neighborhood respected our dad. However on our street alone with about 8 houses people went to prison for murder, raper, pedophilia, drugs etc. So I had a first hand view of the way the devil destroys lives. It is not hard for me to write a song about where real people live because I lived in that place growing up.
MM: The first three Bride albums are really fast and heavy and remind me of Judas Priest and Halloween. The band changed their sound in the early 90s a bit, and while still heavy, it was certainly different. Instead of Judas Priest I hear more of a heavy sound similar kind of heaviness to how Kiss sounds on their 1992 album Revenge. What prompted the change in sound?
Dale: We were playing some concerts from the Show No Mercy, Live to Die and Silence is Madness albums but the market could not support it, labels were not interested in the super heavy material and festivals had no place for bands like the old Bride. Once we renewed our sound and won some Dove Awards, wrote some songs more in the hard rock genre rather than the heavy metal genre we begin to actually tour and travel more, going to Brazil many times, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Norway etc and even played The Alaskan State Fair. We had to change sound so that more people could hear our message.
MM: Tell me about your newer bands The World Will Burn and Perpetual Paranoia. Both are quite heavy and more reminiscent of the early Bride albums. How did each of these bands form?
Dale” The World Will Burn is a collaboration of a dear friend of mine Alan Zaring from back in Kentucky. We have two CDs out now Severity and Ruination and now have started our third CD tentatively called “TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN.” This project is a concept project and we will take our time on it to make sure we get it right.
Perpetual Paranoia is a project born from Hand of Fire guitarist Tiago James de Souza from Brazil and myself. This work is heavy, borderline thrash and really challenges my vocals. I think that fans are going to really enjoy it. There is nothing like it out there that I have ever heard. It is full on! No Other God N.O.G. is a project that I am working on with a group of the finest Brazilian musicians. It too is very heavy but differs from the other bands in a way I cannot explain. Nenel Lucena is the music composer and guitarist while we are accompanied by Alexandre Aposan on drums and Raphael Drafus on bass. Both Perpetual Paranoia who is now signed with Rottweiler Records and N.O.G. will have releases within the next couple of months. Matter of fact Perpectual Paranoia has released its first single and can be heard HERE
MM: understand you are (or at least were) big into power lifting and won a strongest man in Kentucky title. Can you tell me a bit about your weight training and competitions?
Dale: I am a former power lifter and boxer. I still hold the Kentucky Bench Press Record for my age and weight. I was about 42 at the time weighing 218 pounds and benched 510 pounds cleanly. I had benched 545 in training. Not long after that I had complete shoulder replacement surgery along with a double hernia operation so I retired from the heavy lifting. I still train to stay in shape with moderate weight training, boxing and martial arts. I am a big fan of the book, The Art of War.
MM: How long have you lived in New Zealand? What prompted your move to the other side of the world?
Dale: I have been in New Zealand going on 4 years now. I was single for a while, met a lovely woman online, Skype dated for 8 months, came to New Zealand to visit and to get to know her better. I went home liquidated my assets and moved here to be married. I could not be happy. She is the love of my life.
MM: What was recording like for the upcoming Perpetual Paranoia album like with being so far away from your band mates? Does distance matter with the technology we have today?
Dale: I always loved the live feel that Troy and I had when writing in Bride. We thought alike and never argued and I know that is rare with writing partners and especially when the writing partners are brothers. But we were meant to do what we have done and will do in the future. When I met Tiago and we formed Perpetual Paranoia it was an instant chemistry. I had put a call out for musicians with songs or even a band to send me material. I received heaps of music and songs but I did not feel that special connection. I have the connection with Nenel of N.O.G. as well. I figured if I could not vocally compliment someones work I should not waste their time. But Tiago wrote songs that just fit my style, my vocals and which encouraged me to return to the Dale of old hitting those glass shattering notes and just letting loose. Distance has never been a problem nor the language barrier. Brazilians for me are some of the most easiest going people I have ever met. They are genuine. What you see is what you get. Brazil is honestly my second home.
MM: Will we ever get to see you perform live again?
Dale: When I read this question I got a bit emotional and sentimental. I miss the live show, the traveling the comradery with band mates and such. I do not know if I will ever be on stage again but let’s just say Never say Never.
Thank you for this interview Jesus Rules!