Trouble - Rick, Bruce, Mark, Shane

Trouble - Rick, Bruce, Mark, Shane

Sometimes doing an interview with a legendary band like TROUBLE can be a shocking experience for the sole reason that these guys are so down-to-earth and so cool making you feel like it is a regular night out with friends. This type of interview is the reason for dealing with our favorite music from the webzine editor perspective. So, a couple of hours before TROUBLE hitting The Bottom Lounge stage we met Rick Wartell, Bruce Franklin, Mark Lira and Shane Pasqualla (Kory Clarke was resting) backstage and had the following wonderful discussion…


How did you choose Kory Clarke as the singer of TROUBLE?
Rick Wartell: I was playing in New York and Kory was also there with his band so, we met and got to know each other. So, we were in search for a singer and Bruce was already familiar to Kory’s work with WARRIOR SOUL and we just thought why not to give him a try.

So, you did not search for long to find a singer?
RW: Not really; we had some guys in mind but, Kory kind of fell into our lap. It was one of those things that happens immediately.

Did you rehearse any old song to see if his voice was fit for TROUBLE?
RW: No. We have seen him live and we know that he sings well and what he can do…
Bruce Franklin: (interrupting) The funny thing was that Rick came to me and started talking about a singer and I simply said: “I know who he is!  He is with WARRIOR SOUL!” I had seen him live in 1990 and I knew what he could do. So, me and Rick were on the same page with Kory.

Have you ever thought there might be some scheduling issues since Kory is also with WARRIOR SOUL?
RW: No, since everyone in TROUBLE is also in another band. I have WET ANIMAL and Bruce is also in SUPERSHINE. After all, you need to be more than just one band to make a living nowadays. So, we always work our schedule around according to what everybody is doing. It is not that difficult, you know.

So, you are saying that one cannot make a living just by playing music…
RW: No! This is why you need to be in more than one band (laughs).

Yeah, that’s right! So, you have a new album on the making and actually there are some rumors around about the title. Have you decided the final title?
RW: It is tentatively called “The Dark Riff” but if something better comes up… to tell you the truth we haven’t really thought about it. Now, we are totally focused on making the album. The title comes along during the process; it’s just comes all of a sudden. So, we really don’t know; maybe it will end up with “The Dark Riff”.

So, what about the music in the new album?
RW: It will be a dark riff(laughs)

Yeah, it won’t be just one riff…
RW: No, of course not… seriously now it is going to be really heavy. It will be like the old TROUBLE meeting the new TROUBLE style.

All the music is written for the new album?
RW: We have 13 songs written but they won’t be all of them in the album. Some of them will be for special editions and website give aways.

What was your composing process? What did the new members bring to TROUBLE?
RW: I believe now we have more freedom since in the past we were kind of limited. Being in a band for more than 20 years and you can not go to far from what the fans are expecting. But, with different vocals you can open more doors. We have to consider the way Kory sings and blend it with the way we write music. You will see it yourself when the album comes out; you’ll be surprised!

Did you all work together or separately and then brought your ideas in the table?
BF: This time I wrote some songs and so did Rick then Kory added the vocal melodies and the lyrics.

So, Kory did all the lyrics? Is there a concept behind them?
RW: Yeah he did. There are a lot of positive messages in the lyrics but not a concept.
BF: Well, to be honest we have some unfinished lyrics that have yet to be recorded.

TROUBLE is a band that has been around for more than two decades. So, how did you manage to keep the band alive all these years?
RW: Well, we did have a 5 five years hiatus… but the reason for keeping TROUBLE was simple; because we love doing that. Can you do something you don’t love for all those years? I know I couldn’t.
BF:  Yep that’s the reason! For sure money is not the reason. (laughs)

When you are writing music do you think of the fans and what they want have from TROUBLE?
RW: The thing is that we write what we like and it just happens to have a fan base that like it. It’s like we have the same taste in music. Especially in this album we thought we should write whatever we want and not give a damn about what the record label or the management thinks. And I believe we did that!

That’s great! You have just planned five live dates in the US…
RW: Yeah, we have today’s show then we will play at ‘70000 Ton Of Metal’ and then 3 shows in Florida.

And then?
BF:  We will concentrate on making the new album.

Do you have a release date in your mind?
RW: The current plan is to release it in June.
BF:  Nope it is not going to be in June! I do not want to confuse everyone to think that this is a fixed released date.
RW: Ok, then I should probably say that we would like to release it in June...

And you won’t schedule any live dates during this period of time?
BF: Probably no, just work on the record until it is finished.

Where are you going to record it?
RW: We’re recording at Warburn Studios, which is actually our own studio, here in Chicago. So, this is why we can sit down and fine tune everything until we are satisfied.

I understand that but, is there any chance of over-working the album? I mean when an artist can be sure that a song is ready?
RW: You just know it! It comes to a point that you know that this is the best we can make this song sound like. Then come back a year later and you think that you could do more…
BF: Exactly, you can never get to the point that is good enough! On the other hand, we know where to stop.
RW: We have been doing that for so long so, we know having an outline of a song where it will take us.

Again, you have been in TROUBLE for so many years; but, what about the new member, do they feel part of the family?
RW: Here there are so, please ask them!
Shane Pasqualla: At first I was just helping them out since they did not have a bass player. But, now I definitely feel like being a part of TROUBLE.
BF: Yeah, he has been doing that for so long and he is not some stranger who just got in to play in TROUBLE.
Mark Lira: Yeah, something similar happen to me and now I am a full member in the band.

So, what did you do in the new album?
ML: I just played the drums (laughs). I had some ideas about the drum parts and while in the studio I said them and we simply tried them. These guys know exactly what they want so, working with them is really easy.

TROUBLE write guitar based music; so, in the new album what is the sound of the guitars like?
RW: Sometimes they remind me of “Skull”, sometimes of “Manic Frustration” and there are also some BLACK SABBATH’s “Volume 4” elements…
BF: There is the TROUBLE sound that every fan loves!

TROUBLE is considered as one of the leading bands in the Doom Metal scene; so, what is your point of view of the current Doom Metal scene?
BF: It is bigger than it has ever been! There are more bands and there is more interesting in this music. Back in the old days you could count the bands playing Doom in one hand. There is also the combination of the Stoner / Doom sound that is a whole new thing and back in the 80s when our first albums came out, there were SAINT VITUS, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and still BLACK SABBATH and that was about it!

Don’t you feel that there is trend with new bands trying to copy the old ones?
RW: Yeah, but we also copy the old bands! Everybody does! I haven’t listened to anyone doing something new that haven’t been done before. Basically, it is how one uses his influences to make music.

Talking about the Stoner scene; some say that TROUBLE in the last albums sound more like a Stoner band…
RW: I think so too… I think Bruce writes Stoner and I write Metal…
BF: We were never like a pure Metal band; we always had the 70s kind of Rock in our music. And I think that’s why we sounded so different from all those bands.

That sounds about right. So, did Kory face any difficulties with the old songs?
RW: Yeah he did but the TROUBLE songs are hard for anyone to sing. TROUBLE is not a band that anyone can come and be a part. It is an ongoing process and you cannot fake it. So, there will be some time for him to learn the songs and feel comfortable with them.
BF: When we decided to have Kory in the band we did not think about how he could sing the old songs.  After all, we wanted to move forward and work on new music and do a new album. We didn’t care about it until we decided to play live (laughs). We certainly were not looking for somebody to sound like Eric but for something unique and I think by choosing Kory we did that.

Although it is pretty early talk about it but, do you have any plans to film a DVD?
RW: They want to do a video but not shoot an entire DVD. After all, we don’t want to over-saturate the band with many releases. We have a pile of old footage that could make a pretty good DVD but not now. Maybe, after the release of the album we might do something like a bonus DVD with old or with new material with Kory.

During summer are going to play in festivals?
RW: Yeah, we are going to do as many as possible mainly in Europe. And then do something in the US. Our fan base is bigger in Europe right now so, we are going there and let the American people see what they are missing for a while and then return to do some shows in the US…
BF: The entire Rock/Heavy Metal scene is much more stable in Europe. Here in the US is weaker than it used to be. Back in the 90s the US was stronger for TROUBLE but seasons change.

Do you think of a reason why things have changed?
RW: Here in the US people are changing music styles constantly, while in the Europe fans remain loyal to a band and to a certain music genre. In Europe they like Doom and that’s it! In the US one day Doom is cool and the next is something different… For some reason they are not stable to their music taste.

Guys it was a genuine pleasure talking to you so please say anything you like to end this conversation.
RW: When the album comes out please give it a listen. This goes to the old TROUBLE fans as well!