VICIOUS RUMORS’ GEOFF THORPE: THE METALSUCKS NICE AFTERNOON CHAT
The question-answer-question-answer format of interviews can get kind of boring after awhile, but if you try to keep it conversational rather than interrogational, it’s surprising how easy and comfortable they can be. Geoff Thorpe of Vicious Rumors was pretty game for a nice afternoon chat, and covered everything the band is up to these days and the year ahead.
I’ve known about Vicious Rumors for awhile now, and I know that up until the past few years, you’ve released albums pretty regularly. You have a new singer, Brian Allen, now; do you think that will contribute to shorter breaks in-between album cycles? I don’t suppose this is like a one-off record?
Yeah, absolutely. We certainly didn’t plan on [taking so long to make a new album]. We had a five year gap between Razorback Killers and Warball, and that was not something we intended to do. I mean we went through two different singers, we switched record companies. We went through a lot of things that were just really time-consuming. It all lead to this huge gap and it’s something we hope never happens again. We’d like to get back to releasing albums on a regular basis, and it seems like a good time for this kind of music. A lot of old-school bands are putting out really good records and a lot of people seem really interested in it again. We really look forward to taking this album and going back out on the road. We got a great live show for everybody; it’s going to be a lot of fun.
I listened to this new album and it seems to have a more power metal vibe to it than some of your earlier stuff. Is that because of all the new members coming and going, just helping the sound to evolve?
Well, really, what I tried to do was make a good Vicious Rumors album, just take the key elements that make up the sound of Vicious Rumors; like the driving drums and bass, sort of arena-sounding songs with a ton of guitar solos and soaring vocals, guitar harmonies and the big background vocals. Just use all those elements and try to put it into a new, exciting, powerful record. That was our goal, and we’re really excited about it. So far the response has been so positive and everybody seems to really like the songs and production. It’s a good time for Vicious Rumors right now.
Yeah, I mean I found out you were putting out a record when I did some research for a piece at the beginning of the year.
Nice! Where are you based out of right now?
I’m in the States but I grew up and am originally from [secret location].
That’s incredible! We’re going there for the first time actually this year.
Oh, weird! We never got any bands. I guess everyone was just waiting for me to move to America!
In May, we’re playing [there].
I might actually be back for that. I’m not sure yet, I’m back and forth so often.
You better go! It’s going to be a real adventure, really looking forward to it.
We have a pretty loyal metal fan base there. Not so much in terms of actual bands, but plenty of supporters. So you are touring pretty extensively then? I heard you were headlining a festival in Germany?
We are yeah; it’s been a really incredible journey. Vicious Rumors have been touring the world for, God, over 20 years. Started the band over thirty years ago. It’s been an amazing run. To kick of the world tour for Razorback Killers, we’re going to be co-headlining the Keep It True Festival in Germany, on April 29. We tour all around Europe, Switzerland, Prague, Germany, on our way to Istanbul, back to Germany, into Paris. Let’s see, Austria, playing Innsbruck and Vienna. We’re also playing in Belgium and we finish up at the Dokkem Festival in the Netherland on May 28. That’s going to be basically the first leg of the Vicious Rumors tour. We have plans to go to Asia, we’re going to be touring all over the U.S. And a second leg of the European tour to cover countries we didn’t go to like Italy, Spain, all over the Netherland. We’re only doing one show at the Dokkem Festival, but we’ll be back to do more dates. It’s been a while since we’ve been to the East Coast as well. We’re based out here in California, but really looking forward to getting back out that way, too. We were actually supposed to be part of this TMT Festival but I’m not sure what happened with that. We’re really excited to be working with SPV again for this album, they’re a really good label for this kind of music and it’s good to be doing some press in the U.S. as well, since we’ve been doing so much overseas for the past few years.
It’s kind of overwhelming seeing the amount of people that have come and gone in Vicious Rumors. I’m assuming they’ve all contributed to forming the sound and feel of the band, as well as the amount of time between albums?
There’s no doubt. You know, the band’s been together for over thirty years, but we’ve had so many ups and downs. We’ve had some downtime now, just rebuilding the band… we went through a couple different singers to find Brian Allen, so sometimes those things are time-consuming. As well as having so many members though, we had a stretch of almost nine years where we had the same line-up, so, y’know, all I can say is, in any relationship that goes on for over thirty years, there’s on thing you can count on, and that’s that there are going to be some changes. It’s hard to keep everybody together. Your goal is for everyone to be on the same page, and sometimes someone starts heading in another direction. That’s okay, too, you just have to get your team back together and make sure everyone wants the same thing and move forward.
This new album is very Vicious Rumors, actually, but “updated,” if that makes any sense?
I think that makes a lot of sense, because I agree with you! I think it’s got all the classic elements, but it also sounds very powerful, and fits in with any of today’s music.
I do enjoy Brian Allen’s voice. It sort of reminds me of [deceased Vicious Rumors vocalist] Carl Albert’s, although that might be a little bittersweet. But I hear that Carl’s son might be joining you onstage at some point?
Yes, actually the very first show of the tour, the Keep It True Festival, was actually scheduled before the tour was booked, and it turned into the first show of the tour. But we’re doing a very special tribute to Carl Albert that night with [former guitarist] Mark McGee returning to the band and [former bassist] Tommy Sisco from the Word of Mouth album. And then Carl’s son on vocals, we’re going to be doing a tribute to him. And it’s going to be filmed too, so…
So there’s going to be a mix of old songs and new song then? Especially with the guest appearances at various shows?
Yeah, we’re basically going to be doing a lot of the Carl Albert-era stuff and a lot of songs we haven’t performed live for a while. It’s mostly going to be for the fans, older fans of the band. Then of course we’re going to be promoting Razorback Killers as well.
Do you know if you’ll be doing“Paint It Black?” [laughs] That was the song that introduced me to Vicious Rumors. I know, I know, it’s a cover but hey… sometimes that’s how it works out.
Oh, wow, that was the first song you heard from us? Oh, that’s so cool, we have a lot of fun doing that. We have been discussing doing that version again. It’s funny that you mention that. You never know.
Any last things you want to add?
Just want to thank you and the readers for all the support. Vicious Rumors is a long-running metal act and we still love it, still play it from a total standpoint of passion and the love of the art and metal. Small world that it is, from Europe to California to the East Coast.