I figured it would be fitting to release this now as my band Walpyrgus is about to travel to Ventura, California to play the “Frost and Fire III” Festival which is somewhat the “climax” of our year’s activity what with the release of our debut album “Walpyrgus Nights”. So, here’s an epic conglomeration of WALPYRGUS interviews in one place. Much of this was translated into other languages so here’s some Walp literature in English.
First off congrats on the album it sounds retro but with a totally fresh spin on it – how long were you guys working on this before you went into the studio?
Peter Lemieux: ‘The Dead of Night’ and ‘We Are the Wolves’ were the first demos I ever heard, so really since the formation of the band!
Scott Waldrop: Yes, Peter had a home studio right there in our jam space so we recorded lots of demos of these songs right when we started the band in 2012. It was about 3 years of long nights in the basement and several gigs in The Carolinas – and at some Fests to “test” the songs in front of a crowd. There were different incarnations of the tunes and we tweaked them several times before eventually going into “Volume 11 Studios” here in Raleigh NC to get the drums and guitar rhythms done. We of course, are all inspired by older bands from 70’s prog to 80’s punk, but we use modern gear. For instance, Charley and I play through Mesa Boogie amps with modern guitars containing emg pickups. Him and I discussed guitar tone when we started the band – whether we wanted to play Gibson SG’s through old Marshalls or go full “meathead” metal with the sound. So, we opted to use our pointy guitars with sizzle tones and that ethos of “modern tone” verses “old school song-writing” followed us aesthetically unto the album’s completion. Basically, the philosophy was, “Let’s write cool classic metal songs in the vein of the early 80’s masters but let’s take advantage of technology and not make this band a retro novelty by going out of our way to track down vintage gear and record on analog”.
How did you write for this album – does it start with a guitar riff? Lyrics? Does everyone bring ideas to the studio or do you rule with an iron fist?
Peter Lemieux: Scott, for the most part would come up with the skeleton tracks, i.e. rough guitar and some vocals! We would flesh out the songs together, at rehearsal, but also on the side with guitar jams and rhythm section practices!
Scott Waldrop: That’s right. I will write a song in my home studio with a drum machine. I’ll do a simple guitar version with my example vocals/lyrics then take it to the band. At band practice, we’ll pick it apart and scrutinize all the tempos, the rhythms, chord progression and fills. I give the guys something simple so that they can all bring their expertise to it. Peter will add all his cool quirky drum fills, Aune will fine-tune the melodies and vocal harmonies, Jim is always the “master” editor usually adding the minutia that give our songs their signature dynamics, and Charley basically just swoops in and polishes our guitar playing up completely. He obsesses over how many time we’ll palm mute on a 16th note and have us bend our Schneker harmonies 100 times until he’s somewhat “okay” with them, ha ha. He gives me the kick in the ass I need to NOT be a sloppy hippy of a musician. It’s like if Gary Holt from Exodus was hired to come into The Grateful Dead’s practice and whip the guitarists into shape, ha ha.
How was the recording process? Did you guys use a lot of analog gear or was it all plugging right into the desk?
Scott Waldrop: No, we were in a proper studio for most of it but at the same time we did record in Pro-Tools. We didn’t use analog at all but Tom went to great lengths to make the album sound as organic as possible. It’s funny – we were tempted by those “reels” as both of the main studios we recorded the main tracks in down here in Raleigh NC have working vintage reel to reel machines. First, we went to Volume 11 Studios (owned by Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity) so it’s like the C.O.C. “nest” in there – full of all kinds of amazing boutique effects, amps and vintage gear. Mike Shaffer of local thrash legends Blatant Disarray engineered the drums and rhythm guitars. He even played some rhythm on “Torch” during the solo section which he didn’t get credit for on the liner notes so I’ll give it to him here, ha ha. Recording everything in that studio was incredibly fun. There’s such a cool atmosphere and history in that room. It’s rad being surrounded by Corrosion of Conformity’s road cases and there’s this guitar stand Motorhead gave them, guitars Metallica gave them etc. Anyway, then we took the album a few blocks away over to long-time collaborator and Twisted Tower Dire engineer/vocal coach John E. Wooten of Widow and just a long-time friend. He’s the guy I call if we need help with vocals or if I need help moving a piece of furniture. That said, recording vocals with him is pretty much the “fun stuff” being in a band is all about. When we get together in the studio and start working we joke around between takes, laugh at ourselves, and you know- it’s like we’re still 20 years old. Wooten did however, wind up going to college for audio engineering and was mentored for a long time by producer James Lugo (if you google this guy his resume/client list is insane. I went over to their studio one night to help fix a cable and they were recording vocals for a Disney movie, ha ha ha. Anyway, so Wooten helped us produce the vocals. Many of the vocal melodies are his ideas and he probably should have received a little more “defined” credit on the liner notes as well. He (Wooten) sang with us a lot on the album too on the back-up vocals. After vox, Tom Phillips took over orchestrating keyboards and editing EVERYTHING. He painstakingly nudged things bit by bit to keep the organic integrity of the album. The hours he spent doing this were unbelievable but it’s the main thing that holds the album together as sounding “vintage”. Once you “snap to the grid” it sounds like modern robotic production which turns a lot of people off including myself. I really wanted something between “Powerslave” and “Nevermind The Bullocks” when I referenced the overall ”sonic wall” I wanted to hear. After Tom was done putting it through the “While Heaven Wept” ringer (which was an epic process to say the least), he sent it over to long-time trustee Kevin 131 of Assembly Line studios to mix it (again, look at his resume – the guy’s a bad ass) and finally over to Kevin’s mastering counterpart Bill Wolf to give the album its final polish. And there you go! That’s a how a Walpyrgus album is made.
You and bassist Jim were in OCT 31 together right – how did you guys meet? There has to be a good story there!
Scott Waldrop: I’ve never got this question, ha ha. It is a good one! Jim and I grew in the DC Metal scene and we were both Deceased fans. I saw his band Springheel Jack play with Deceased one time (we must have both been under 18 at the time) at the legendary Safari Club and I knew one day I would “steal” him ha ha. He was a totally awesome bass player back then already. He was this super tall and gangly kid with hair down to his ass and looked like Cliff Burton. I thought, “I need dudes like this in my band!” Anyway, we knew each other for a while from the scene and when October 31 needed a singer Tony Taylor (TTD) tried out and got the gig. I think Tony kind of talked King into bringing me along as a “side package” because they wanted a rhythm guitar player after losing Kevin Lewis. Tony knew I was a big Deceased and that it was kind of like a “dream come true” for me to play in a band with King. So, Jim and I wound up riding together a lot on October 31 trips because I drove this little ford ranger pickup that only seats two. We’d haul the gear in the back and put the other guys in Brian’s car. Jim and I were immediate kindred spirits with very similar senses of humor and tastes in music so having each other’s company made those long rides across the Midwest tolerable. So, yea, we have like 20+ years- worth of voices and comic routines we entertain ourselves with on car rides to this day. Our bandmates pretty much just sit back and listen to us talk nonsense in weird voices for hours on end. I suppose the most pertinent bit of information is that him and I discovered early on that we had a very natural-flowing relationship when it comes to writing music. It’s very easy for us to sit down with guitars and get creative and we know each other’s weird quirks, as well as likes and dislikes. He can analyze seconds of me playing a guitar riff, then say, “Keep the first ‘Dead Kennedys’ dinga-ling, keep chugging on ‘Seek & Destroy” and do the ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ funk stop,” – and I’ll know exactly what he’s talking about.
How did you find vocalist Jonny? Historically for so many bands, everyone spends years learning how to play guitar, or drums, how to write songs whatever and many singers are just like “yeah let me try that” whereas real singers like Jonny usually are very hard to find
Scott Waldrop: Jim Hunter was the talent scout that found Jonny, ha ha. He called me one day back around ’07 and was like, “Man, there’s this band of teenagers in a band called Viper I just saw last night and they’re way better than us!” We were looking for a singer at the time so Jim insisted I go check them out. So, I went out and saw Viper play at The Berkley here in Raleigh and was amazed by this guy’s stage presence and voice. Jonny is one of those guys who just resonates good vibes to everyone he comes across. He’s very magnetic which is the most important aspect of a lead singer. He’s the sort of person who’s just great at whatever he tries to do. He was a great athlete in high school. He knows how to look cool and present himself aesthetically that’s a little more over-the-top than most be never seeming to appear as though any effort is put into it. Woman universally love him and nonetheless he’s married to his high school girlfriend. I don’t know what the hell it is but the man has some swagger and some sort of “it” factor that is very special. So those are some of the things I love about the guy and why I like having him as our lead singer. I’m just glad he wanted to be friends with me, ha ha ha. He’s like this super charming, talented, beam of light who helps me channel my creative ideas. So, yea, we were just EXTREMELY lucky to find him when we did. You know, aside from all of his natural talent & mojo, he grew up playing bass & singing in his Dad’s church. The Aune’s are a very interesting and tight family. They’d been grooming him to be an awesome musician since he could walk & talk basically. He knows music theory from stacking hymn harmonies as a second nature. I’ve played with guys that have formal classical music training/college degrees like Tom Phillips and Jonny can have a conversation about counterpoints, Mixolydian, and minor 3rds with the best of them. I remember his Dad saying at his wedding that one of the things about his son that amazed him was his ability to excel at the things he loved to do. They had photos of him being projected on the wall from when he was this badass high school athlete, then there were photos of him when music came into his life and he was starting his own bands, and then lots of photos of him and his (now) wife & mother of his child Nicole growing up together. My point is, he’s a very focused, intelligent, loyal, dedicated guy. He’s the architype of the sort of person I want as a friend and a bandmate. I never worried about him. He’s solid.
In my opinion, its great seeing younger guys like yourselves playing almost a throwback to 80s style metal – tons of great guitar parts but also super tuneful songs. How did you guys get into this style of playing?
Scott Waldrop: As far as “music career” shelf life is concerned – I’m way passed my expiration date and indeed am older than dirt! Me, Tom, Jim, and Charley are in our 40’s. You must have been looking at Carlos, Peter or Jonny, ha ha ha. Thank you though! I feel young physically and mentally. Well, Charley I met back in the mid 90’s and he grew up with the whole Raleigh North Carolina scene – bands like Corrosion of Conformity, & Confessor. Me, Jim & Tom grew up in the 80’s/90’s in the Washington DC music scene which entailed everything from punk/hardcore like Fugazi, Bad Brains, Minor Threat and the massive death/thrash metal scene centering around the community King Fowley of Deceased created. Up in D.C. there was ALSO the whole Pentagram / Maryland Doom Scene. You know- like most of the Hellhound bands were from the DC/Baltimore area like Revelation (Jim’s old band), Iron Man, Internal Void etc. In the city there was some awesome grass roots seminal heavy music & punk we were lucky to be a part of and witness. But a few miles out in the suburbs there was something else going on. Kids were watching MTV and seeing the California hair bands. In 1984 my neighborhood was full of teenagers who had their bedroom walls covered in Motley Crue & Van Halen posters. That music was like teenage religion back then so it made a big impression on me.
Peter Lemieux: Believe it or not, my dad got me into playing the old school traditional metal! He took me to all the concerts while I was growing up and we’ve gone to see each other’s bands play countless times! The Dude plays Tony Iommi in a Black Sabbath Tribute for, Pete’s sake!
Are you aware of bands like Sumerlands and Eternal Champion who are also kind of in this modern retro genre?
Scott Waldrop: I’ve heard of Eternal Champion and I know this genre has been stirred up and that it’s simmered repeatedly since the mid 90’s so it’s never really gone too far out of fashion in the grand scheme of things. I used to be very involved in meeting and fraternizing with bands and I’m sure there’s lots of amazing talent out there, but now that I’m 41 I like to spend my time differently. I don’t drink alcohol anymore and just prefer to stay away from too much nightlife when possible. It’s not that I don’t care or want to encourage younger people to carry on this music or feel jaded in any way. I just have but so many hours in my day and days left in my life so I’m budgeting time between writing music and perusing new horizons like the world of ultrarunning and charity work (not to mention most importantly my beloved wife and teenage son). So, yea, I know about them but don’t go out of my way to listen to new music and I do wish them well. I supposed I’m just acting my age. I’m still and extreme person but those characteristics of my personality just manifest in different ways rather than me going out and getting wild and crazy. When I play with newer bands I always very much enjoy seeing younger people playing this music and loving it as I do – it proves that the genre is timeless which is a beautiful thing. When I look around at all these younger bands it makes me feel like heavy metal has won. When I say that I mean that heavy metal has carved out a place for itself in popular culture. It’s universal in its energy so new generations keep tapping into it. It’s here to stay. I think metal will (in the long run) be a very defined genre separate from rock, rap, blues etc. It has its own culture which is ever-flowing, so kudos to bands like Sumerlands (I love that name) and Eternal Champion for taking “carrying the sword with a burning skull impaled on its tip”. That run-on phrase sounded cooler and more metal than “carrying the torch”.
Am I right in thinking Walyrgus is a variation of the word Walpurgis ? In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht literally means “Witches’ Night”. Are any of the band practicing pagans? if so what faith?
Scott Waldrop: Yes, we wanted the band to be about occult and supernatural topics. No, we aren’t into anything like that at all. It’s all about dark fantasy metaphor because the words involved in its general vernacular sound cool. I’m cool with a lot of wiccan ideas and I’m very much into spirituality but I’m my own animal. I navigate ethereal matters on intuition and through meditation. I don’t identify with any religion or group in-particular. I feel like to be in touch with spirit you need to remove yourself from religion or groups. Too much vernacular and dogma blur the focus of the mission which is to know spirit and not to belong to a secular group. We’re all stardust that will succumb to the same final singularity. The second you ever arrive at any feeling like, “Okay, I’ve got this, there’s nothing more to learn or understand”, you’ve cut yourself off from the possibility of further growth. Health and wellness have become of paramount importance to me as a sober alcoholic. I think it’s incumbent upon on all of us to continuously evolve as individuals and a species. That entails letting go of ego and seeking mindful consciousness as much as we can access it. Religion groups with which we identity our spiritual or philosophical perspectives is all too often fashion. What’s worse is conviction, as it drives a wedge between people with conflicting beliefs. So Walpyrgus is just nonsensical tales of witchery and cartoon Armageddon. We’re no less or more serious than Scooby Doo is about catching ghosts. Let’s keep it real! I’ve seen what those dudes look like in the Renaissance Festivals. You think those boys could hold their own in The Viking Age??? Those were some scary times. You could legally walk up to some dude and be like, “I want your house, your wife, your children, …and I’m going to fight you to the death for them.” And if the dude killed you, he got to keep all your stuff fair & square! So, no, there’s like some Pagan “nature energy stuff” I relate to but I’m rather glad I don’t have to make my way in The Dark Ages. I like doing 100-mile foot races. That’s my idea of channeling my inner pagan-toughness. That’s where I find a lot of my spirituality. I’ve been to a lot of conventions, festivals – even people’s houses who were practicing wiccans, purported witches, and voodoo practitioners and it felt way too much like Cosplay to me. I’m like the saxophone player from “The Lost Boys” ‘cause “I still BELIEVE”.
While we are on the subject of the name – what’s the correct pronunciation and who came up with it?
Scott Waldrop: It’s pronounced “WALRUS PENIS”. Okay got that joke out of the way. The proper way to say our name is: “WALL PURRRR GUS” That’s “Wall” as in “The Great Wall of China” or Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” if you like. Then “purrrr” as in the sound a cat makes. And lastly “GUS” as a dude named Gus or “Gus G.” if we want to get all Heavy Metal Nerdy about it.
You guys are from North Carolina right? How’s the metal scene down there? The Carolinas have a long history of producing great bands: COC, Confessor, Nile etc. Any idea on why the 2 states are so prolific considering you don’t have the population numbers like say California, NY or Florida does?
Scott Waldrop: Yea I think it’s because of the college scene down here. There’s a huge art/music culture which has existed here for a long time. You have just in one small area some of The American South’s top colleges clustered very close together in the Raleigh area. I’m talking about North Carolina State, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Duke. And then you also have a bunch of very old and venerable smaller colleges like Peace College, Meredith College and so on and so forth. There’s a constant influx of intellectual people flowing in and out of the area so there’s never been any shortage of clubs to play at or bands to play with. There’s a special “energy” here that’s very conducive to playing music. For instance, in downtown Raleigh there is one giant building that houses a club called The Maywood which is a great nightclub for metal/punk/indy bands. In the same building, there is a studio owned by Mike Dean from COC called “Volume 11” studios which is famous around here. Also, still in this same building – there is this massive labyrinth of rehearsal spaces so you can walk through there on any given night and like here like 20 bands rehearsing at once. COC and The Connells are in there sometimes. Also, downtown one of our main landmarks is an outdoor amphitheater you see as you drive through the city called The Red Hat. Slayer played outdoors there last week so all of Raleigh was being shook by “Angel of Death” ha ha. This amphitheater has a mosaic of a giant oak tree (our city’s symbol) which softly changes color like one of those meditation salt rock lights (if you have any idea what the f**k I’m talking about by that). It’s a very giant breathtaking art installation which really accentuates the city’s skyline and I know it must be surreal for artists on stage to look out on this see of faces under this trippy flickering mural. I saw Blondie there while there was a full moon over the buildings, over the hue-shifting mural, and over the amphitheater full of faces dancing on grass. She commented on how magical our city is. I turned around to take stock of what she must have been taking in from the stage and I, “Yea our city is pretty damn awesome.” Just within Raleigh, you have tons of clubs to play in like Slim’s, King’s, Deep South, The Pour House, Southland Ballroom, Berkley, Black Flower, The Lincoln Theater, The Ritz etc. etc. That’s not even talking about Durham and Chapel Hill which as two close-by cities with lots of other clubs. So, yea, we have it good down here culturally as a place for musicians to fraternize. Also, you know – when you’re talking about the music scene down here and you only mention metal, you’re only “scraping the surface” of the actual music scene because Indy Rock, Indy Folk, & Punk down here are pretty much everything. There’s a whole radio station devoted to it and of course the scenes cross-pollinate a lot. I think also it’s slow-paced down here compared to DC or Atlanta. In the Carolinas, we pretty much grow crops, go to college, brew craft beer, swim in the ocean and hike in the mountains. I’d say our state is a fairly “existentially aware” sort of place as the culturally there seems to be an emphasis on enjoying life and you know – not giving too much of as shit about what nightmares are transpiring in The White House. There is room to breathe here and really think about art and music. This wonderful state is a place people come to visit for Holidays to have fun. It’s a major sports destination. It has the best beaches on the East Coast of North America and the most beautiful mountains (The Smokey Mountains) in the East – google photos of them, they are right out of a J.R.R. Tolkien story with their ever-rising mists. Our beaches are the cleanest, full of beautiful shells, ancient lighthouses, and boast most of the best surfing on the East Coast. To the west in Asheville you have some of the best mountain-loving hippy right wing liberal culture in the country. In the middle of the state, you have Charlotte and Raleigh which are major metropolitan hubs generating big income, sports, and influential people. To the east you have a beach culture so distinct and desirable people come from all over this giant country and Canada just to spend a little time here. I think all the aforementioned is why you have such a perfect breeding ground for bands to be born out of. We live in a place that celebrates life and places value on the quality living and not necessarily “how much you can get done before you drop dead”. I was born here in North Carolina so I have to give it a big “shout out” and I believe everything I just said despite my inherent predilection for this place. This is my home and I love it. Great things manifest here!
Have you guys done much touring on this album yet? If so what has the response been so far?
Scott Waldrop: We haven’t toured. The furthest this band has gone out of The Carolinas was Chicago for Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse and also back to Chicago this year when that fest became The Legions of Metal Fest. We’re going to Ventura California this October for Frost and Fire III https://www.facebook.com/frostandfiremetalfest/ (Thanks Jarvis!). The response has been quite good from all the reviews I’ve read. Of course, there are bad reviews of our music because not everyone will like your music but I’ve never heard us be accused of be sloppy or uninspired on stage. I’ve got a great team and I practice guitar a lot to keep up with those dudes. It helps that Carlos has been touring with Weedeater too because when he comes home and we do local gigs, he’s really in shape on the drums. People seem to consistently say the band is “tight” and that our enthusiastic energy is infectious on the crowd. So, that’s exactly what we set out to do in the very beginning back in 2012. I want people to watch Walpyrgus live and think, “These guys belong together, they look like a gang, you can tell they work towards a common goal, they have vision, they’re a team, there are no weak links, no one looks like they wish they weren’t on stage, etc. etc.” Yea, I want you to think ALL that, ha ha ha. You know when you see a band and they’re great but there’s that one person that just looks like they don’t quite belong and that the band had to “settle” on this individual as a bandmate? I want us to never have to be like that. You know, there’s always that opening band were each member looks like a very dedicated metalhead musician with sweeping chops and wild hair and all that… BUT they’ve got that one guy: a mediocre bassist who’s “competent” but playing with a pick. He’s wearing khaki Old Navy cargo shorts and some “regular person” T-shirt (maybe a well-worn white “Hard Rock Café” Las Vegas” shirt). We’d like to avoid that. It’s painful for the audience to look at something like that. It’s awkward for everyone involved. In Walpyrgus as a rule, each member is integral to our live show. When we started this band one of the points was to be a great live band. When Peter left it was crushingly sad for us as I could not think of anyone that was worthy of replacing him down here – at least anyone that I knew personally already and trusted. There was only one guy I was willing to replace Peter with (and this was Peter’s suggestion too) – Carlos Denogean from Salvación. The only problem was that Carlos lives 2.5 ours east on the ocean in Wilmington. Still, it was worth us to travel to have him to hold our integrity as powerhouse line-up. That’s not to say he doesn’t sacrifice to drive to us as well because he does and we much appreciate it. Carlos kept this band alive.
What can we expect from Walpyrgus for the rest of the year?
Peter Lemieux: You can expect to see us in Ventura, California the weekend of Oct 6-8 at Frost and Fire III with tons of other great bands! (including Twisted Tower Dire featuring Jonny, Scott, AND Jim!!!)
Scott Waldrop: We’ve got a very cassette version of “Walpyrgus Nights” coming out. Watch for announcements on that if you’re a tape person. I’ve got lots of new songs demoed. If Enrico at Cruz Del Sur wants another Walpyrgus album we’re going to start putting it together. Jonny and Charley have young kids so that makes things trickier with timing things. I have a teenager, several other music projects, and a whole “career” (if you will), around my distance running & charity work so I need real momentum or enthusiasm for projects (running or music) to justify focusing my time on them. I spend so much time in the studio and out on trails training that budgeting my time & sleep while not letting my family life suffer, has become an obsessive science. That said, I’m sitting back and watching how “Walpyrgus Nights” is being received throughout the year to gauge whether or not The Universe is pushing me in the direction of a second album or just allowing the legacy of this one great (in my opinion) set of songs to stay intact & unblemished. We know if we do a follow it cannot be half-hearted as we put what I would call an almost immeasurable amount of thought and energy into these songs. If we tried to rush a follow up without enough forethought I’m sure fans would notice and may be disappointed. So, as with everything – the future of the band is tentative but generally bright.
Any final words?
Scott Waldrop: Yes, thank you so much for taking interest in us and letting us talk. Yes, as an end note to plug my charity – I’m an ambassador runner for The Herren Project. We raise money and awareness around mental illness and addiction which is born from it. We want to break the stigma society holds around these topics. It shouldn’t be considered weak or embarrassing to ask for help when you or a loved one suffers from something like alcoholism. No, this sort disease is not like cancer – it is psychological and we humans don’t know much about our own brains. In cosmology we pontificate and hypothesize about the implications of dark energy yet we unable to quantify our own consciousness!? I believe these problems (mental illness & addiction) shouldn’t be considered taboo and that people with mental illness need to be helped – not be made pariahs or unnecessarily incarcerated. Obviously, drugs and alcohol effect many of us “music people” and for some of us the day comes when the party ends and we find ourselves alone in dark places. If you relate to this please check my page http://www.ultrarunvegan.com There is help. You can also connect with me personally on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at the handle @ultrarunvegan …As for WALPYRGUS, you can also connect w/ us with the handle @walpyrgus on FB & Twitter. Better yet – you can find links to all our social media, book us for shows, buy our merch, buy & listen to our music http://www.walpyrgus.com THANK YOU & GOOD BYE (FOR NOW)!
All of you have “serious,” long-running bands. What kind of outlet does Walpyrgus provide?
Scott Waldrop: Walpyrgus is specifically my writing style of hard rock/horror punk/metal. With pre-“Make it Dark” Twisted Tower Dire, you were hearing a mixture of Marc & Dave’s thrash influence with Tony Taylor’s “seriousness” lyrically. In While Heaven Wept you’re hearing Tom’s brand of progressive neo classical doom which is also of a very serious nature lyrically. I can’t really speak for Daylight Dies as I don’t know the main song writer well but of course they’re a very technical, very depressive doom band that’s rather humorless. That said – with Walpyrgus (again) you’re really getting a picture of my song writing style: Hard Rock with often “uplifting” and almost old country style chord progressions, and with rather dark yet humorous lyrics. Musically you’re looking at a hybrid baby of Thin Lizzy, old Slayer & The Sex Pistols. Lyrically you’re getting another weird hybrid baby birthed by the sardonic humor of The Ramones, The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, old Slayer (again) and a healthy dose of 25 + years of Lovecraftian nerdery on my behalf. I would say moreover – that Walpyrgus is an entire band dedicated to the sound TTD left off at after “Make it Dark” – punctuated by Peter’s rock & roll style drumming, Charley’s uber 80’s Van Halen solos, Tom’s grand keyboard orchestrations, ted together by a very distinct vision of the band’s overall aesthetic centered around an almost cartoon perspective on the occult.
Is it the kind of band where since there’s no pressure, it becomes even more enjoyable?
Scott Waldrop: Yes – but only in the sense that there have been no expectations. It’s not While Heaven Wept or TTD so there are no preconceived notions of how it should sound – no long-time hardcore fans to disappoint. Juxtapose to that though – we do collectively come from a legacy where our music is rather well known in the underground so there is a certain expectation as to the quality of music that fans of our other bands expect us to put out, and pour our hearts into. Given that there have been no TTD or While Heaven Wept records in years, people are expecting us NOT to put out a piece of garbage. While there was no external pressure, we placed a lot of internal pressure to do right by our fans by being extremely mindful of every decision we made in the production of this album. Every word, every note, the production, the performances – they were all executed with as much thought as we could muster without falling into obsessive compulsion and getting too lost with over-thinking. I think me working with Tom again for the first time since we were (basically) kids, coupled with the very stylized playing of Peter & Charley, leant this whole project to a very fresh and energetic atmosphere as we knew at the time we all had great synergy.
The word “fun” is used in your bio. Sometimes that’s a bad word in metal, but it applies here. Is there a genuine sense of love and appreciation among one another in the band?
Scott Waldrop: I know metalheads like to take themselves too seriously quite often but we prefer to keep it real and be ourselves musically and in dealing with one another. You only live once and you’re going to die – so if you’re not having fun and finding fulfillment in whatever it is that you’re doing – flipping hamburgers or writing songs about witches & warlocks – you should seriously consider changing your life’s trajectory. Why do you go to metal shows? To have “fun” or be entertained (same thing). What’s the most “serious” metal band you can think of? There’s humor in there somewhere – guarantee it, you just need to look. And to really get to the crux of your question, yes – we’re all great old friends who got together to write music solely out of mutual admiration for each other’s talents. That was the entire point of this band & album – and it was fun as hell putting it together. Each of those guys is like a brother to me.
Because each of you have other bands, how do you work Walpyrgus into your schedule?
Scott Waldrop: Yes, we have to because there are so many other bands in our gene pool. If there are shows booked we treat it as a “first come first serve” situation. So, if I text Jim, “can you play July 22?” and he comes back saying there’s an October 31 gig that night – it’s no sweat and we don’t worry about it. Besides, all the other people in all the other bands we play in are (almost) all good friends, so we want the best for each other. We’re too old to have egos and get upset about petty stuff as no ones’ individual success is really hampering the others’
With so many seasoned veterans in the band, who takes the lead when it comes to songwriting? Or, is it a group effort?
Scott Waldrop: I write the first draft of all the songs myself. I’ll usually start with an acoustic guitar and some open chords while scribbling a first version of the lyrics in a notebook. Then I’ll go into Sonar and convert that simple open chord country-like song into one with basic metal riffs with some drum beats I find in my keyboard. I’ll record the song with me singing so Jonny gets and idea of the phrasing and vocal melodies. Then if the band likes the demo, we learn it and start deconstructing it at practice. Charley will make the riffs more polished and add some technical things that he wants to lock in with the drums. Peter and Jim would often add all sorts of very fine details to songs during practice. So really – all those layers and details you’re hearing in these songs – most of it is not on my original demo. For instances: The “Black Sabbath” riff at the end of Palmystry where the keyboards get crazy – that was Charley’s riff and everyone working together adding small details to it. So in essence, we take these simple folk songs I write and sort of “Slayerize” them as I say.
While you could be described as a classic metal band, there’s an obvious punk influence, which most metal bands rarely let shine through. Who and/or where does the punk influence come from?
Scott Waldrop: I was a punk/metal skater kid from the 1980’s in Washington DC. I didn’t grow up in England listening to Saxon/Maiden nor did I grow in California listening to Motley Crue/Van Halen although I love all those bands. When I was a kid the skate subculture was inextricably linked to the music scene. My sister was really into the Ramones too and so, I had albums like “Pleasant Dreams” (my favorite) going through my head as a very small child. When I was about 12 I started getting into stuff like Maiden, Ozzy, AC/DC & the metal of those times as I was picking up the guitar because that music was so awesomely guitar-driven. Then, around ’88 or so I had cousins that turned me on to the local punk/hardcore scene that was brewing right in our backyard: stuff like Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Minor Threat etc. They were also into the “harder” metal like Slayer, Voivod, Dark Angel etc. They turned me on to this whole world as well as the underground zines & tape-trading, so that completely opened my world up. But being a DC kid, that punk stuff is so in my blood I have no problem letting it shine through. We live in a post-punk era and metal has so many schizophrenic off-shoots that (for me), going back to the Sex Pistols is a lot cooler and tougher than trying to be assimilated into the “Vans Warped Tour” ironic metal aesthetic. This old music is part of me, there’s nothing ironic or fake about it to me. I love old punk, it still fills me with adrenaline, and letting this shine through is the most authentic version of myself I can give to people. You know – at the same time I’m a metal musician so it’s not like a see it as a license to play the guitar sloppily or put out music which is poorly recorded.
Can you describe the 56-page comic book? Will it become an ongoing thing for Walpyrgus?
Scott Waldrop. In a word: “Insane” – because that’s what I went drawing it. Most of it was done stippling pictures of witches and zombies for about three years. No – I doubt I’ll make another because it was extremely time-consuming. If I do another it will be drawn much quicker and the art quality will (maybe not suffer so much) as it will be a more “scribbled” version of my drawing style. So, I got the idea while I was running a few years ago that if I started (that day) to begin working on a graphic novel for “Walpyrgus Nights”, I could probably have it done by the time the album came out and this might be the one chance left in life that I have to fulfill this life-long dream I’ve had of creating a comic book. So, I began – I took the pictures with me everywhere and worked on them in my spare time. I’d stand in line at the post office with a clipboard drawing some “demon woman” while I was standing next to little old ladies. What it is, is the visions I see (or saw) in my head while writing the lyrics. So, I think you’re getting a unique experience by seeing what the lyric-writer was thinking through their own drawings. I know Away from Voivod does it so I’m not busting down any paradigms completely, but I still thought it was a cool thing to give to the fans.
How does Tom Phillips factor into all of this? Obviously, his work in WHW is monumental, but what was it like having him contribute?
Scott Waldrop: Tom and I have been friends since 1991. I was recording all the keyboards myself when I stopped and thought, “Hmm, if I call To and see if he could do them, they would come out way better”, ha ha ha. So – I called Tom and he loved the idea especially because I caught him in this weird “purgatory” moment for While Heaven Wept where that band was kind of re-collecting themselves, I suppose is the best way to put it. It was totally great having Tom work on this album. He’s incredibly detailed unlike anyone else I ever met in music. The more involved he decided to become, the more I was happy to hand over the steering wheel to him, as I know while it can take him a long time to get things the way he wants them – it is worth it. I’ve watched him comb over his productions obsessively over the years. He’s always been like that – ever since he was a teenager. I knew that him and I would inevitably argue about me cutting corners, growing inpatient and trying to save money, but of course he talked me out of all my bad decisions along the way (ha ha ha) and we now have a great album. That’s what I wanted him to do. I knew I needed to be talked out of dumb half-baked decisions basically. But really – the coolest part about working with him was hearing him put his own style over the music. In the song “Walpyrgus Nights” I can tell it’s Tom who wrote those keyboard melodies. All the notes he chose are very indicative of his style. Love it!
What’s the live show approach going to be after the release of the album?
Scott Waldrop: We keep the songs mainly as they were at practice in the basement when we first put them together (without keyboards) and do not attempt to replicate the keyboards live. Instead, we do different versions where they keyboard lines are swapped out for totally different guitar solos. Some of the keys I transcribed into guitar solos such as the ones in “Dead Girls” and “Walpyrgus Nights” because those melodies are important to the song’s identity, but they also come across well live and are fun for me to play. I think that’s the thing – those who are in the audience can tell if we on stage are not really enjoying ourselves, so we try to find the balance between what feels natural for us as musicians to play within our abilities, and what the audience will miss if they don’t hear it. We don’t try to recreate the huge sound on the album – instead we focus on giving the audience the best version of the songs we can recreate with our abilities and equipment. If our guitar playing suffers because a backup vocal line is messing us up at practice, then we’ll cut it out. It’s more important that when we we’re playing live, you see & hear us performing in our comfort zone – where we can still move around, bang our heads, and feel the music. If you like to watch a bunch of uptight stoic nerds looking at their fret boards the entire time whilst also getting a guitar & math lesson out of a show, then you probably won’t be coming to see us anyway. We try to give you everything we’ve got and be as professional as possible with out playing and tone, but it’s not lost on our minds that we’re rocking out for metalheads drinking beer that just want to cut loose. I think it’s most important for a metal band to deliver somewhat an athletic performance rather than harp on fine details. After all – you got to see people playing loud “off the rails” music. We’re more a gang of guys playing music than we are a symphony – No?
Finally, what’s on your agenda for the rest of 2017?
Scott Waldrop: We’re playing Frost and Fire III in October. Our plan for Walpyrgus is to see how well the album does and if we feel like the demand is there, then we’ll write and record more music. I already have a lot more Walpyrgus material ready to go so I’d like to keep it going if the momentum is there. You can connect with us, hear music, and buy our swag at http://www.wapyrgus.com. As for Twisted Tower Dire, Dave and Marc have been hard at work writing a new album so that’s coming along. No real time estimate as of yet but I think we’re doing 11 new songs. As for me, I am running a rather infamous (in the running world) footrace called The Leadville 100 in Colorado this August for a charity called The Herren Project who raises money to help people with mental illness and addiction. You can check out my personal story at: http://www.ultrarunvegan.com – It’s a crowdrise donation platform where you can donate, but you can also just read about my persona plight with drugs & alcohol / recovery through ultra-running. If it’s insightful or helpful to anyone that’s great. If you’d care to donate a little cash towards my cause even better! You can also follow me on Twitter & Instagram @ultrarunvegan …Thanks for the interview!
You are supposedly a conglomerate of heavy metal heroes. Do you feel like you are a metal conglomerate? What was it that made you want to do WALPYRGUS in the first place?
Scott Waldrop: We are a conglomerate of heavy metal heroes through and through! Not just heavy metal heroes – but heroes of a multitude sort, but I digress. No – if I’m being honest we don’t feel like a “conglomerate” at all because we’re all old friends that happen to have been in other bands that found some sort of success in varying degrees: While Heaven Wept, Twisted Tower Dire, Viper, Daylight Dies, October 31 etc. etc. The fact is, I’ve known Tom Phillips since high school back in ’91 or so. Jim – I used to watch his band (Springheel Jack) open for Deceased while growing up in Washington DC when I was a 15 years old. I planned on getting him in my band one way or another all the way back then. When we (Jim and I) played in October 31 together in the early 2000’s is when we became “real” friends and he joined TTD. I met Charley back around 1998 when he played in a local NC death metal band called Iskariot. He was always an awesome guitar player – incredible riffing precision & really psychotic about lead technique. Charley and I always hit it off drinking beers and shooting the shit so he was another guy I planned on “stealing” one day when the time was right. As for Jonny Aune – he’s of course been the singer of Twisted Tower Dire for about 10 years now. He played in an awesome Raleigh band called Viper – they grew up coming to see TTD shows but by the time they were 18 they were already better than TTD – just incredible musicians. Jonny’s best friend Peter was the drummer for Viper . They grew up together learning to play and had this incredible talent for harmonizing vocals together – the sort of team that can only get that good by developing together. Viper basically broke up – Jonny sang for Twisted Tower Dire and Peter went to play with Widow (if TTD has a best “band” friend it’s Widow) for a long time. Anyway – one day back in Summer 2012 I was just lying around doing nothing but drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and looking at the ocean, when I decided I was doing nothing with myself musically but languishing (the other TTD members lived far away at this point and presently). So I called all these people up – one after another: Charley, Peter, Jim & Johnny and said, “We’re putting together an all-original Raleigh-based metal band with these guys in it, who’s in? Everyone agreed on he spot with a “definitely, let’s do it” attitude so that’s how it all came about. Really, the point was to have a band where the 5 of us could get together very regularly and hash out an album’s worth of songs by slowly crafting them in the basement and in Raleigh bars to perfect them over time (there were many different versions of these songs before we wound up recording them).
I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
Scott Waldrop: Fabulous magical powers were revealed to me one day when I held a lot my sword and said, By the power of Gray Skull, I command you!” But outside of this unlikely revelation – I just really wanted to do it (play music). I was fascinated by music as early as I can remember. I had an old 60’s children’s record player that my older siblings used to play with and I’d spin these 45 records all day while playing with my toys. Stuff like the Styx, The Wombles, KC & The Sunshine band etc (this is when I was like, 5) There was always music in my house, lots of records being played by my parents & siblings. My Dad would listen to old country and contemporary adult rock of the time like Neal Diamond. My sister would listen to college rock of the early 80’s: The Cure, REM (before they were big) My brother listened to The Who, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan etc. There were plenty of instruments around the house to plink on: guitars, piano, an organ at my Grandparents’ place – I loved messing with tem all. Early on I had some sort of a penchant or talent for getting the right group of people together to play (I started this when I was about 12). I think it had a lot to do with the people I chose to be friends with. If there was a really cool talented musician who I thought shared my vision – I made myself friends with them. My brother gave me his SG copy guitar back in the late 80’s because I was obsessed with it. My Dad got me lessons and then I spent a lot of time absorbing albums like “Live After Death” & Ozzy/Randy “Tribute” which was the metal of its time when I was coming of age. Also – growing up in the Washington DC area – I really took notice of the whole Minor Threat “Do it yourself” attitude. I saw all the Xeroxed flyers for shows in basements everywhere. So – I too just started “doing shit”. In 6th grade I played “Wipe Out” at the talent show w/ my drummer friend Gary. Then in middle school I started finding friends who were into metal that really wanted to be serious about music. I begged my Dad & sister to drive me to their houses so we could practice. Then when I was 16 and got my own car and it was on. I found guys that wanted to practice at least twice a week. In the early 90’s I kicked tons of people out of my band for various reasons – mainly because of drugs, girls, & booze being more important than being a “real” musician. Funny enough – the drugs, booze & partying – that was all important to me too. I just needed to find guys that wanted to incorporate band life into (that) instead of aimless drugs-doing in the woods or whatever. As far as I was concerned we could do drugs & drink all we wanted – just be playing our instruments. As time went on, I started gravitating towards people who were very serious about it around ’94, that’s when TTD formed. I’m not saying everyone was doing drugs – just some in case anyone’s parents or employers are reading.
When did it become a revelation that you can do this and maybe get paid for having fun, instead of just putting out all the money?
Scott Waldrop Never. I still want that revelation. Ha ha. I watched Motley Crue “Uncensored” when I was a kid so I set the bar too high. No- the first time I was amazed someone would put up their own money up to help me (us) Twisted Tower Dire, was when Tom from Iron Rainbow (RIP Brother) in NY called me and said he wanted to do a split 7″ EP w/ TTD and Cold Mourning. Then when I got the records in the mail and I could sell them through the snail mail trading circuit – that was a very empowering moment. Even my Dad thought it was cool and he thought meal really REALLY sucked. It gave me a lot of steam and lit a fire under my ass, encouraging me that I might just be able to push TTD out of the basement. in 1998 when Rich Walker of Solstice wanted to put our album out – that was the second big “boost” I had in my musical journey. It felt awesome to have someone at a higher level believe I you. So those two things were really big moments for me. In 2002 when Remedy Records put up the money for us to have Derek Riggs so our (TTD) album cover – that blew my mind!!! Literally – gray brain boogers & skull splinters splattered the wall. Still to this day, I’m amazed and uber grateful when anyone gives my music a chance. These days that gratitude is directed towards my bandmates in Walpyrgus – in particular Tom who took it upon himself to completely polish my songs with his “While Heaven Wept” psychotic micro-analyzing awesomeness, and Enrico fro Cruz Del Su Records who continues to believe in my musical “brand” or whatever you want to call it.
When you spend an amount of your life on a band does it ever feel like you have wasted time, that you have fought one too many windmills?
Scott Waldrop: You can’t ever think like that if you want be a happy person and available to others. You have to be grateful for what you have and for your past & present, or you’ll be forever suffering. You can’t compare yourself to others. I’m glad I have everything I have. I’m grateful for every break and also for every fuck-up or road block as it’s been a valuable learning experience. I’ve done more with my music than most people who get a guitar as a kid, so why would I look at that as wasted time? I spent too many years of my life drinking and using. but that wasn’t music’s fault and moreover – I never would have reached the incredibly vibrant place where I am in life (currently) if I didn’t go down a very dark road. A decade ago, I was drunk every day, obese, chain-smoking, one of my best friends Tony Taylor had died when we were on bad terms. I was very depressed, even suicidal despite my beautiful son & my soulmate wife Mary who I’ve been with since I we were 17. My music was also going nowhere fast. Fast forward through a few life trajectory-changing epiphanies which are their own separate story. Now – I’m sober, in the best shape of my life, running ultra marathons, and my relationships with friends & family have never been better. So – I think (sometimes) you need to have those very low moments in life to come out shinning bright. Maybe I could have stayed steady and I’d be dully trudging along. Never look too much in the past nor future. You cannot change the past (nor do you ever record it accurately in your mind) – and you cannot know the future – so everything except for this present moment is an illusion. You gotta be happy now. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal so I can’t look back with regrets. We’re GOING to die. All of us. If you need to remind yourself to be happy every 5 minutes on the minute, so be it. Do it and don’t beat yourself about being an insolate bastard that needs to do it. Live your life doing something that gives you purpose and spreads your spirit to others because if you sit around waiting to be happy later it ain’t gonna ever happen. I need to enjoy what I have in this moment – my wife, kid, parents, brother, sister, friends, dogs my old clunking Chevy Tahoe that breaks down weekly and my fucking dishwasher! I appreciate it all.
No matter how small or big you were as a band you will leave a legacy behind you. How do you want people to treat this legacy?
Scott Waldrop: I want to be back on Wikipedia again, ha ha. We (TTD) got taken off – I must have pissed someone off in one of my drunken escapades. No seriously, I don’t
give a shit about that. The legacy is not really mine to have an opinion on how it’s treated. It’s just art that me & my friends created at one point in our lives that
reflects that one moment we made it in. If you get caught up in how people treat your memory you’re not really living in the present moment – you’re projecting into some imagined future and moreover – you get caught up in another illusion – this idea of the “you”. The idea that this version of “you” who identifies with your music and whatever – it’s all some narrative the mind tells itself to feel like it exists outside of consciousness. It’s pretty ridiculous to expect that even a fraction of the world will know we (TTD, WALP – whatever) existed 100 years from now, so all I can really hope for is that our music has made more people smile or empowered rather than the opposite, and that however it abstractly and peripherally ripples out into eternity – it’s a positive vibration.
Is digital taking away the mystery of waiting for a new album now that you can upload as soon as you have written a song?
Scott Waldrop: No it’s great. Any song I ever loved is always in my hand and a click away. Music isn’t about money. It’s a religion. It can effect the way people physically feel! That is something I think is often taken for granted – how powerful music is in its power to PHYSICALLY effect us. It’s the clearest illustration of the mind’s power over the body.
Music makes you cry, it gives you chills, it makes you smile, it records memories, It’s therapeutic & calming. “Angel of Death” makes you want to rage and ass-kick. If I thought of it any other way I wouldn’t let it consume my life. It’s no different than what it was 100 years ago around the campfire. Music circulating wholesale is a WONDERFUL thing. If I gave a shit about money in-general I wouldn’t be typing this to you right now. It’s about humans communicating esoterically. Music is just story & art. The mode and time through which it travels and is delivered is inconsequential to its allure. It was simply different back when you had to wait for a physical record to come out, then go out and buy it. That too was but a moment in time in music history. I’m sure in some remote Neolithic past, our hairy troglodyte cousins were getting excited because
“Uncle Ug” was working on a new chant in his cave which he was getting ready to bust out at the harvest moon sacrifice. Same shit. Different day. It’s all good.
How important is image in separating you from all the million different styles of metal there is out there?
Scott Waldrop: Well we dress in black and have long hair with matching medallions so I’d say we’re not arresting any paradigms any time soon. I do think there’s something to be said for a band of dirtbags who have sacrificed their self-image – foregoing corporate image & well-paying jobs, just to exude the bona fide “rocker” swagger whilst
conducting themselves public-wise. It’s a bummer to go out and watch a bunch of dudes in Saint John’s Bay clothes with “haircuts” play “metal” lacking any real
purpose or vision. It’s just like being a human – you need to be able to quickly justify your existence. Band’s need to be able to justify their existence. The fact is: I love old Slayer, The Ramones and Iron Maiden. I want our listeners to know what they’re getting into when they see us. It’s not like we “work” at it though. The fact is (also): we’re a group of friends with a collective vision and therefor we “look” the same. There’s no discussion about obligatory eyeliner wearing or a minimum of 5,000 spike accessories on your person at any given show or public appearance. It’s more like – “how do we show everyone we’re a “gang” while being true to ourselves” – much like The Ramones – we were black t-shirts and wear jeans. Period. No identity crisis or poser accusations in this court. We stuck together because we sacrificed mainstreaming it for our love metal-making and metal-being. So, we are ourselves without trying. We are the some of our experience. And We in Walpyrgus ARE “Metal Beings”. Natural and true.
Do you deal in different topics lyrically or do you keep to one, just using different variations?
Scott Waldrop: For Walpyrgus it’s all about the occult, supernatural, before-time, evil women, witchcraft, folklore, ghosts & evil. – That whole realm. It leaves plenty of room
to speak of different things lyrically but these topics are so universal and can be used metaphorically for real life circumstances. Thus, I never have to feel compelled
to write a song about “the devil” or whatever just to appease the greasy little thirteen year-old-crushing-a-beer-can-on-his-zitty-forehead-inside-of-me. For instance “Palmystry” is about a lost & lonely soul captivated by a gypsy seer from another life. But – conversely it’s really a metaphor for life’s purpose and planned destiny.
Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
Scott Waldrop Both equally. I love writing songs but I also love the comradery of band practice, plus the feeling of playing live on stage. It’s cathartic to get ideas & emotions out
of my head and watch them flourish into something that exists “outside” of my head” – such as the music being on a piece of vinyl. I love watching the other guys take my ‘ideas and sculpt them into something more detailed, thoughtful and polished. I love going to band practice – the accountability & teamwork aspect of it, and seeing ideas flourish organically from that process as well as the gratification you get from a group of people getting tight musically through repetition. It’s a lot like a sports discipline in that regard. The studio seclusion is fun as well because that’s the time you’re really “painting the painting” you’ve been talking about for (sometimes) several years. And then – once you finally get all these ideas out “on paper” in their immortal form – these little accidental, sporadic, fleeting and sudden ideas will spring forth in those “what if” moments – and you’ll wind up with these sonic embellishments that change a song’s feel or strengthen it somehow. This was the case with “Lauralone” as a lot of those back-up vocal ideas came about suddenly in the studio. One of favorite parts of the album is the “chance to believe in a lie” call-back vocals and those just Peter saying, “what if” while
we were singing them in the studio.
How much of a touring band are you guys? What memories do you take with you?
Scott Waldrop: Not really into it so much anymore. Most of us have kids now. We could manage a week or two, maybe even a month but that’s about it. We all have careers outside of music. I compete in a lot of long distance running events these days in my newfound sobriety, so the idea of sitting in a van all day, then being around a bunch of booze all night – all the time – makes me cringe. Personally, I live for the sun, the mountains, the forest, and the ocean. I think I’d find road life too depressing at this juncture. In my 20’s it was the best time ever and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. The inside jokes from being stuck together constantly in this surreal “touring world”, and all the inside jokes that percolated from that will last a life time and will always be hilarious. Memories of ass-beatings (beating up a drunk Russian asshole in a whorehouse in Germany), sleeping in weird places (purposefully sleeping in the back room of a strip club in Chicago), having our driver pass out with a bottle of Jack Daniels between his legs in Puerto Rico and the cops peering into the car and just laughing (the cops their wear these Mad Max-like Road Warrior battle armor there), Staying in the mental ward section of Toronto and getting lost by myself – drunk & stoned out of my mind – and hanging out with this old lady who had been outside sweeping the sidewalk all day (with a little broom)…lot’s of shit like that. I’m not even coming close to thinking of the best stories. I’m just vomiting my thoughts here – typing fast as fuck. Music definitely provided a crazy life for me, met the weirdest motherfuckers that walk the face of the Earth and became one at the same time.
What does the future hold?
Scott Waldrop No one can answer that truthfully! For Walpyrgus: Hopefully go to Europe if we get an offer and can do it financially. We’re playing Frost and Fire 3 in Ventura CA this-coming October. This coming weekend we’ll be in Chicago doing the Legions of Metal Fest. If the demand is there and we all feel like doing it, we’ll record some singles or another album – this is just very much up in the air. It’s so expensive and emotionally tolling to create this stuff correctly (music). It will have to be a perfect storm of everyone having enthusiasm as well as the finances to make it happen. I have the songs already. Go to http://www.walpyrgus.com for news, merch & to connect with us! As for myself: I’m running The Leadville Trail 100 this August to raise money & awareness around mental illness / addiction – issues near & dear to my heart. It’s a 100 mile foot race at high altitude in The Colorado Rockies. Please check out my story at http://www.ultrarunvegan.com – donate if you like or just read the story. It’s all good. It’s my story of pulling myself out of depression & the throes of alcoholism. Reach out to me if you feel so compelled. My handles are @ulrarunvegan for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also read my blog at http://www.veganultrarun.com – As for Twisted Tower Dire, Dave Boyd has been very hard at work the last few years creating a new album. The next TTD is really going to be “The Dave Album” – I wrote some lyrics and helped here and there ever so slightly with arrangements, but this is really going to be “his baby”. I need to give Marc Stauffer credit too because he’s been helping Dave write & demo the songs 🙂