George Call - ASKA
Heed the warcry, because the omen is true, and after all of the violent storms of the season, ASKA are finishing up their highly anticipated new album - still not titled. I spoke with the immortal steel avenger himself - George Call - a Man of mettle, integrity, and a true sardonic sense of humour. He is truly not a vowbreaker, but a fine tongue, victorious soul who has followed the dream to perform and play with both Omen and Cloven Hoof.
Come heed the Call as we discuss ASKA's imperial roam around the world, with avid touring plans; including their third planned invasion of our senses, as these warriors return against the odds, to again headline "Warriors Of Metal IV".
I know this is a long interview, but still well worth the entire read; simply because the curious George is quite a talker, but even a better entertainer.
MettleAngel: It is always a good time to speak with you George. So tell me Brother, what is new in the world of ASKA?
MettleAngel: Man, I am stoked to hear it!
MettleAngel: I will have to check that out immediately.
MettleAngel: I plan to see you for sure at WOM IV. Will the new album be an independent and self-produced release?
MettleAngel: I am very pleased to hear this!
MettleAngel: I like the way that you put that. Have you had offers from renowned labels?
MettleAngel: The reason I ask is that Omen just signed with Pure Steel Records, a label I love and strongly support. Their new album called 'Hammer Damage' is due in the fall.
MettleAngel: Oh really, because they just publicly announced this.
MettleAngel: Get out, I did not know that. I sure would love to get my hands on those!
MettleAngel: Well, now that makes sense!
MettleAngel: Indeed it is!
MettleAngel: I am sure both releases will be excellent. By the way, what happened with you being in Omen? You sounded so amazing live last year fronting them at "WOM III". Did you help write any of the new songs?
MettleAngel: What a great analogy! I think I can relate after having spoken to him after the show. He was so wiry. This is why I did not officially interview him.
MettleAngel: That is funny that you should make that allusion, as on a recent episode of "That Metal Show" Sebastian Bach was making the same point about Axl. I am amazed that Baz knew about Razor, Exciter, and Pile Driver. Anyway, where were we?
MettleAngel: What about 'Escape To Nowhere' and the modern sounding 'Reopening The Gates' (oops sorry to interrupt).
MettleAngel: Well I have met him twice, and both times he seemed a bit mental, and flakey.
MettleAngel: I agree; especially coming from such an affable and stand-up mettle head as you.
MettleAngel: I am just forever grateful that I was able to witness you sing for the band, even if only one time.
MettleAngel: That is downright junfair, but this is a realistic case of sad but true, and it happens all too often. As of late, I had just spoke to Andy Sneap about this very thing!
MettleAngel: Damn! Danny is super cool!
MettleAngel: You, Kevin Goocher, and Coburn Pharr should share stories, since J.D. is now only with us in spirit.
MettleAngel: That is so noble of you! Do you have any special surprises awaiting us for "WOM IV"? Wendy, Stephen and I are doing our best to attend!
MettleAngel: This is the same deal with the new Widow album called 'Life's Blood'.
MettleAngel: Damn, I will have to dig into my pockets again! I bought one of the last shirts last year, and plan to wear that one this year!
MettleAngel: This will be your third time back. I am surprised that you are not headlining. Then again, I am amazed that Benedictum, who are signed to Frontiers Records, are not headlining as well.
MettleAngel: Yeah, I am all confused! I know Widow are headlining Friday.
MettleAngel: That makes more sense to me!
MettleAngel: I interviewed Sean of Cage last year, and I just got their new DVD, but I have not watched it yet, for some dumb reason.
MettleAngel: Now that I did not know! Blaze is a good man, and has been through so much over the last few years, including the tragic death of his wife. I still have not heard that new Wolfsbane (EP). At least he is not in jail like Paul Di'Anno.
MettleAngel: I will always be grateful for being there, and being able to stay awake. You even wished Kit Ekbeard and his wife happy anniversary. Oh and this year, we will be bringing our new dog Wheazy O' Whiner, a Shar-Pei we rescued two months ago! Hopefully she will howl for you, when the band plays "Blood Of the Wolf" like Kai does with Megan and Denis.
MettleAngel: I was interviewing Cris Bennett of Widow recently, and he mentioned that ASKA played in Cloven Hoof, and performed two songs with them live at "Sword Brothers Fest." Please tell me about your experience with this, as I assume you played guitar, and maybe sung backing vocals. What songs did you learn for the show, and what did you actually play live?
MettleAngel: That is crazy!
MettleAngel: So that is how you met?
MettleAngel: Man ASKA gets around like Icarus Witch with Paul Di'Anno before his incarceration.
MettleAngel: You are my hero!
MettleAngel: So 3/4ths of ASKA was acting as Cloven Hoof?
MettleAngel: I wish I could have seen that!
MettleAngel: Man, I need to get my ass to YouTube, please send me some links. I always have issues streaming from there, though, for some reason.
MettleAngel: So you did not play "At The Gates Of Gehenna"?
MettleAngel: I will say! I guess they will just have to rely on White Wizzard to play "Gates''! They are going on tour With Death Angel And Havok. I have heard that for "WOM IV" that the camping ground and stage are supposed to be much better. It just is not fair that the bands are not honestly remunerated according to their worth. Many will be flying in this time, on their own dime.
MettleAngel: Well I assumed so, as Ryan and Datis are charging for camping privileges.
MettleAngel: Oh I whole heartedly agree, and this is why I do my best to promote the bands, like you. I focus on service.
MettleAngel: I know this all too well, too.
MettleAngel: This is America, though, when it comes to True Metal, we are always one step behind.
MettleAngel: I agree! This is what sullied Rocklahoma and Rockstar Energy Fest!
MettleAngel: I hear you, but there are some office politics involved. I have spoken with many artists who are performing, who have begged me to assist Datis, just so that things run more smoothly. I guess they just regard me as more knowledgeable in this area. Personally, I just want to be a fan and have a good time. I do my part by volunteering to do all these interviews.
MettleAngel: Amen! I am glad that Bill Peters has his band Shok Paris playing as well. They just opened recently for Accept and Stryper. What bands are you most excited to see play? I wish Skelator was returning, or Icarus Witch, or Twisted Tower Dire. Unfortunately, I think some bridges were burned from past performances at the fest.
MettleAngel: I am always attempting to bridge the gap. I know more dirt than I should. I am not out to slander or upset anyone, though.
MettleAngel: They were amazing, and I am glad to see them return, as well. Erico always brings rare T-shirts and vinyl too!
MettleAngel: That poseur still owes me a Deathrow - 'Raging Steel' shirt too! When you were interrogated about your band and your plans to play "WOM IV", the website www.metal-rules.com was less than favourable to you with their sarcastic response to your obvious laid back sense of humour, when you refused to answer the same question twice. Here is their response: "(Editors Note: "Infidel? Redundant? What the hell cheeseburger titz? Don't give me no lip, your being featured on Metal-Rules.com the most bitchin' and awesome metal website in the universe...if you've never heard of us before just ASKA-round!' ...and you retorted with: "Cheesburger Titz"? He's clearly never seen my boyish physique!"
MettleAngel: I hope not!
MettleAngel: Good for you, now that is Mettle!
MettleAngel: So then I know that this includes Metal Covenant! I was just turned off by the cut and paste, form letter mandatory responsorial that was farmed out to all WOM bands performing. It seems so unprofessional, and there was no editing!
MettleAngel: That is so cool of you, and to remember that review, too!
MettleAngel: This is why I found their editorial to be arrogant, self-assuming, and not in jest.
MettleAngel: I know that publishing on the Internet has become a joke, but they left all of Erico's responses in all block capital letters!
MettleAngel: I am grateful to have become your friend. When I first met you we had such a great interview, If only Wendy would have checked the batteries in the camera!
MettleAngel: I probably should not blame my wife, but I am an asshole, and always do! Anyway, here we are now. What do you want to let Metal Covenant fans know about ASKA, please give us a brief history of the band and do tell us what we can look forward to in 2011.
MettleAngel: I know, and your style of music is True Classic Metal. The word "aska" is Swedish for "ashes" and the Texan band should not to be confused with those other Black & Death Metal projects using the same name. This is just typical, and what kind of a name is Pisk, anyway?
MettleAngel: I have always respected that! I am also grateful for you and Danny for giving me this CD, which is so ultra-rare!
MettleAngel: That is reassuring!
MettleAngel: That is awesome. Are you referring to the song "Killashandra"? I first discovered you on the 'Maiden America' Tribute where you did "Flight Of Icarus" and "The Stalker". It was an American band tribute with one original song from the band, and one Iron Maiden cover?
MettleAngel: I am sure this will be well worth the wait.
MettleAngel: Danny is a solid drummer. Those fireworks at "WOM III" freaked him out a bit, and he missed a beat.
MettleAngel: Danny mentioned that to me, in passing. Did he not also play on the rough version of "Freedom" on the 'High Voltage Rock On The Upsurge: Volume 1' compilation?
MettleAngel: That sounds promising!
MettleAngel: This sounds like a dream come true. Speaking of "The Dream", what is all that silliness at the end of the 'Nine Tongues' album? Were you all just drunk in the studio? This reminds me of what Kai Hansen is doing on the hidden track after "Rebellion In Dreamland", for the new Gamma Ray 'Skeletons & Majesties (EP)'.
MettleAngel: I just read about him at Wikipedia!
MettleAngel: Oh No, George you better hire some private eyes to stop this maneater!
MettleAngel: Is she a rich girl?
MettleAngel: God forbid, otherwise we just might need Darren to help us save our souls!
MettleAngel: Smart thinking! Man this interview is becoming long, sorry readers, but please do not stop reading just yet! George, tell me about your work with the amazing Axevyper. These former Assedium members released their awesome 'S/T' CD last year. Explain to me how this came about?
MettleAngel: Cool! Axevyper already have a new (EP) out called - 'Angeli D' Acciaio'. I know you sing lead vocals on the song "Immortal Steel".
MettleAngel: The song is killer!
MettleAngel: Please send me a copy of that! Luca "Fils" Cicero sounds like a cool dude!
MettleAngel: I bet! Will you be doing any live shows with them?
MettleAngel: So do I! They embody Epic Metal!
MettleAngel: I have heard that you also worked with the Argentinean band, Violent Storm. Is this true? What album did you work on and what songs?
MettleAngel: I have not heard too much about this band. Damn, you sure keep busy!
MettleAngel: Damn, that sound rad too!
MettleAngel: Why did K.K. leave Priest! You should check out Alex Skolnick's amazing interview with him on his site.
MettleAngel: Sorry about that, but I did not see any other band at the new and improved Metal-Archives. I mean that sarcastically, but navigating around the site now is a total nightmare! Please send me a link. What is going on with the Texas Metal Scene? I spoke with James Rivera recently. I am amazed at how many bands he is fronting. He is just sang with Malice at "Keep It True".
MettleAngel: This is so true!
MettleAngel: I know. I recently interviewed him, hung with him on the "70 K" Cruise, and I am excited for the new Seven Witches album due in June.
MettleAngel: Oh Wow! I understand that you and Danny will assist with the recording of the forthcoming new album by Cloven Hoof too!
MettleAngel: I can see that...
MettleAngel: Yes I do! I know certain Americans who have relocated to Europe to join bands, only to be dismissed a few months later, when the band returns to its original members; mostly to placate annoying fans.
MettleAngel: But then what would become of ASKA, and that band from Argentina?
MettleAngel: I love the first two Malice albums! I interviewed Jay Reynolds a few years ago. He still owes me a Malice shirt!
MettleAngel: Hallelujah! Before we wrap this up, are there any other important things we should know?
MettleAngel: I just watched "The Social Network" - a movie about the dude who founded Facebook. I am pleased not to be one of the 500 million people who are registered to that site. I know that bands need to be on Facebook to survive, though. Even Metal Covenant is on Facebook.
MettleAngel: Thank You and All The Best!
MettleAngel: You know I will!