James Rivera - Helstar
To all the initiated, it is quite obvious that James Rivera is truly one Hell of a Metal Star. Dwelling deep in the distant, thunderous heart of this Texan, there lies a mettle vigilante, and a true agent of steel.
Besides fronting the mothership of Helstar, who have released a monster of an album with 'Glory Of Chaos', he has now rejoined Seven Witches for their tenth anniversary, and is working hard with Juan Garcia and Peter Scheithauer recording the new Killing Machine release.
I have known James for over a decade, and was pleased to hang with him on "70,000 Tons Of Metal", all the while relishing in his co-fronting Agent Steel with his renewed brother of Eden - the steel prophet - Rick Mythiasin. Unto my own destiny's end, it was only befitting that he should give me a ring and dispel any blasphemous, vicious rumors of chaotic disorder.
MettleAngel: Hey Brother, it is so cool to speak with you on the phone, and finally do another actual interview. If you recall, our last one was at Minneapolis Metal Fest over five years ago.
MettleAngel: Indeed we did, and I know you have always been a strong advocate of George Robert Lazenby and his portrayal in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".
MettleAngel: I am a Roger Moore fan myself, given my generation. I did not like Daniel Craig at all. Those last two films were horrible.
MettleAngel: I like all other actors who played Bond, but him. Due to MGM's bankruptcy, it might be a few years before we see a new Bond film. Honestly, I no longer care.
MettleAngel: Now that we have broken the ice, let us get into it. I assume you had a blast on the cruise?
MettleAngel: We would love to attend every year, as well! Maybe Andy will ask Helstar to play?
MettleAngel: Stephen was the youngest kid on the cruise. There was one other boy who was nine, and he joined Exodus on stage. Stephen was too shy to come on stage for any act, but he had a killer time.
MettleAngel: Tom Hunting of Exodus gave him a pair of his signature drumsticks, and to this day, my son is thrashing those sticks all over his room, pounding on the bed, pillow, wall, and whatever else.
MettleAngel: Seems so, as he has quite an argosy of band's drumsticks personally given to him, but the Exodus ones are his favourite. I kept Dave Budbill's from Sanctuary, even though he signed it for Stephen.
MettleAngel: Hmnn...because it is fukin' Sanctuary! I know when I first saw you on board I was a bit taken back, because I did not expect to see you there. You then informed me that you and Rick would both be fronting Agent Steel, which blew my mind and made me so excited for the next day, where I was face in front early in the afternoon at the pool deck.
MettleAngel: I love those first three Agent Steel releases! My heart goes out to you, because some of those esoteric words on 'Unstoppable Force' can be a real bitch to remember, "NOW WE MUST JOIN Forces and rage! Disturbing the Scoffs, Neighborhoods fear, THE METAL ATTACK He's coming to town, He is ... THE RAGER!"
MettleAngel: Which is why we are all chosen to stay! I understand that you had barely a week to prepare for the job once asked by Juan, when he realized that yet again John Cyriis had flaked out.
MettleAngel: We also made a road trip, but Wendy did all the driving.
MettleAngel: You both did one hell of a job! It was quite windy up there, so those pages were blowing everywhere, but the fact that you were trading off lyrics made it a one of a kind experience. Wendy enjoyed the show from afar, as she decided to go swimming.
MettleAngel: The one song you did not need lyrics for was Agent Steel's classic cover of Priest's "The Ripper".
MettleAngel: I saw both performances, on alternate days, inside and out. I noticed that at the second show when you played "Rager", you dedicated it to the memory of your sister who has recently passed.
MettleAngel: Well, the way you described her, a song like "Rager" is most befitting to honour her memory. You know over the years you have fronted well over a dozen or so bands, of all of these which one is your favourite?
MettleAngel: The new album is evidence of this...
MettleAngel: I miss Destiny's End, as Crescent Shield are cool, and friends of mine, but not too great musically. I also enjoyed the Distant Thunder band who only released one album, already seven years ago.
MettleAngel: I know because we saw you play a show with Steel Prophet here in Cincy, a few years back, and I was so excited that it was the 'Remnants Of War' line-up, as I love this album!
MettleAngel: I think this is a good thing. I even like the reworked songs on 'Sins Of The Past'. I liked the better production values, and dare I say, "modern approach"!
MettleAngel: Again, I sympathize. 'Glory Of Chaos' is 100% Helstar, but with a new outlook, and some ragin' anthems. I also love your Saxon and Scorpions covers! Did you tell Biff about this on board?
MettleAngel: Man, hanging with Saxon, and John of Raven was like Heaven for me! They were so down to earth for being, in my eyes, such legends! As you know I have been a Helstar fan since I was in High School. I wanted to ask your honest opinion of the underrated album 'Multiples Of Black'.
MettleAngel: I was impressed with the new direction in songwriting and Dave Eleffson's production.
MettleAngel: Oh, you mean like Mustaine did with Sanctuary...
MettleAngel: That would be cool.
MettleAngel: I know! When I first saw you with Destiny's End, you mentioned that you were a big fan of Black Metal. I can see how this has influenced the newer songwriting style.
MettleAngel: I agree and I would not consider any of them as being Black Metal. Dark Tranquillity were boring on the cruise playing the same set, but I still love their music.
MettleAngel: I can see that, given your vocals and subject matter on 'Nosferatu', or 'Distant Thunder'. I know you are signed to AFM, but last year Metal Blade re-issued remastered versions of those albums with the 'Twas The Night Of A Helish X-Mas - Live' DVD in a collectors package called 'Rising From The Grave'.
MettleAngel: When I met the other guys in Helstar, I was amazed with the diversity of their musical influences.
MettleAngel: Those are two awesome songs!
MettleAngel: Or if you are into the Punk scene, this is the case with Bad Religion. I appreciate the various music elements which go into creating the Helstar sound. After hearing the Eternity Black Demo which Larry gave me several years ago, I can verify his modern Metal influences.
MettleAngel: I always laugh when I hear his name. His birth name is Arnold George Dorsey. Did you know that he adopted the appellative of the famous German opera composer Engelbert Humperdinck and assimilated it as his own stage name?
MettleAngel: Or Lemmy, who has a new movie getting great ratings, and he is 65! Before we go, I do have one more question that I have always wanted to ask you.
MettleAngel: On the 'Burning Star' album you are listed as vocalist Bill Lionel. Why did you use this fake name?
MettleAngel: That is interesting. Back then before we had easy access with the Internet, some of us actually thought that the vocalist on the debut was not the same guy as on 'Remnants'. I for one always defended that it was you, but there was some controversy.
MettleAngel: Now that we have that straightened out, do you have any parting words of wisdom?
MettleAngel: I concur! Thanks again Bill, stay in touch!