» Jay Reynolds - Metal Church
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In the beginning, the hellrider hero's soul of Jay Reynolds drove metal into the ground, as he kept his band crazy in the night with his kick you down Malice machinations. Then, beyond all reason, he would leave them behind; later to join Metal Church, while observing his metal fans squeeze it dry. As their new guitarist, he would watch the children pray and cry out to the Godz of Thunder and Wrath. This vigilante had to overcome the sinister double dealings of the unwanted music business, and the wicked con of Stellar Masterpieces - or was it vice-versa?

He has triumphantly prevailed! Against the empire of Atlantic Records, and the arsenal of Megadeth; feeling the weight of the world, like a light in the dark, with death or glorious christened wisdom, this captive of light has proven to be more than a mere talented songwriter. There is no haven for the raven, and Jay has paid his dues in hell. This film school artist and guitarist manages to honour his true fans with his heartfelt license to thrill, or party; because, he has seen through the mirror of lies; and now with the reformation of Malice, he is totally dedicated to be rockin' with you! So far, so good, so what is his next move? Time will tell!

MettleAngel: Hey there Jay it's so great to meet you. I hope you don't mind, but I really want to talk about Malice. We can also talk about Metal Church; but I already interviewed Kurdt earlier, and I really want to discuss the future of Malice, as I am such a big fan.

  • Jay: Hey, that's no problem; I get asked about Malice every night. The fans I meet have inspired me to do the Malice reunion and finally put the band back together. Everybody in the band has other prospects going on besides Metal Church. Jeff and Kurdt have Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Kurdt has a new Presto Ballet (formerly Vanderhoof) album in the works, too. Steve will be touring with Temple Of Brutality. Ronnie has his other band, so we all keep busy.

MettleAngel: Now, I understand there were some difficulties on this tour causing some cancellations?

  • Jay: Yeah, we had to cut out Texas and some of the Southwest because Jeff had a herniated disc. We will do make-up shows this summer when we tour with Testament for two weeks in July.

MettleAngel: Whatever happened to Kirk Arrington?

  • Jay: He is a major part of the Metal Church family, but he has horrible diabetes and uncontrollable fits. He has a badly slipped disc, so Jeff has filled in for him. Jeff has three bands, but fits well with Metal Church. We have had all past members of Metal Church join us on stage, though.

MettleAngel: All members? Really? Obviously, only the spirit of David Wayne...

  • Jay: Well, all but Craig Wells, but we have not played his hometown, so we'll see...

MettleAngel: Even Michael Howe?

  • Jay: Yes, but Ronnie is a better vocalist...

MettleAngel: I feel Ronnie is the perfect blend between David and Mike. Alright, now let's discuss Malice.

  • Jay: I'm working on all that right now, I'm writing new songs and planning to release some special material for fans and collectors.

MettleAngel: Have any labels expressed interest in the new Malice line-up?

  • Jay: I have cash offers from Metal Heaven and Screaming Ferret Wreckords. I have three other options as well; and I'm waiting to hear from SPV,so we'll see.

MettleAngel: That's awesome! What is the current line-up for Malice 2007? I understand that you no longer have James Neal as your vocalist.

  • Jay: James was always the oldest, and he had his alcohol problems back in the day. He was not interested in rejoining so yes we have a new guy. Wait until you hear him, his name is Brian Allen, and he is even better than Ripper Owens! He also played in a Judas Priest cover band. He is amazing! Other than that we have Pete from Black N' Blue on bass, and Mick Zane, Mark Behn, and myself back in the band.

MettleAngel: So your new vocalist will keep the James Neal tradition alive, while adding his own expertise and range?

  • Jay: He has this band called Last Empire, but he does not realize his potential, because he has never been properly produced in a studio. He has not been properly coached on how to sing melodically. I know he will work so well with Malice.

MettleAngel: What plans do you have with Malice for the future?

  • Jay: We will be going to Europe this summer to headline Headbangers Open Air and another festival. I wanted to do the bigger festivals like Keep It True and Rock Hard; there just was not enough time. So we'll do some headlining and a few club dates. I'm also planning to bring Malice out as an opener for Metal Church. I'm writing music for both bands constantly. I'm counting on a full fall release with Malice and an early 2008 release for the next Metal Church album.

MettleAngel: Now, I can't wait to see Metal Church live again with Testament and Malice! Will you still have the coolest merchandise to sell. I see my signed Metal Church frisbee, everyday!

  • Jay: We will always have an excellent merch booth. We sold out of so many cool items early on in the tour. We have a lot of good stuff planned for next time. We think to ourselves, "what would be cool? What would we want?". Then, we have it made for our fans. Next year we will have the dickies shorts and work shirts with an embroidered logo. We will also have the G-strings.

MettleAngel: Metal Church G-strings, that surprises me, I can see the Cannibal Corpse - Eaten Back To Life, but...

  • Jay: Oh yeah, those sell real well, all the merch does. Also, we have just done a test market deal with Hot Topic.

MettleAngel: Hot Topic - really? They want Metal Church merchandise?

  • Jay: Yeah, they expressed interest in us.

MettleAngel: Wow! You will be the first classic metal band sold at Hot Topic; well besides Maiden. That is so cool. Will they opt for the guitar with the cross trademark?

  • Jay: Actually, no, they just want the logo on a shirt. Although, even when we offer such a variety of shirts, the classic guitar image from the debut album sells the best.

MettleAngel: So what else do you have planned with Malice?

  • Jay: Everything! I'm going into the studio soon to demo a few songs. I'm trying to get Micahel Waegener to mix the demo as a whole. I wish I had the time to visit his studio in Nashville. Also, I have just found and worked on this board tape of our first show in Newcastle when we opened for Slayer on the Reign In Blood tour. There are nine songs from 4-17-87. I'm thinking about releasing it through the website on CD, maybe print up about 1000 or so. Also, I want to reproduce this killer '87 European tour shirt for the fans.

MettleAngel: You mean the License To Kill shirt, I used to have that when I saw you on that tour...

  • Jay: I would love to have that shirt too, I saw a dude wear it to one of our shows in Cleveland. I tried to get him to sell it to me but he refused. Actually, I'm talking about a really radical tour shirt done by this San Francisco artist depicting the Malice logo with a skull, a pentagram, and an axe. This was our biggest selling shirt! I'm considering a limited production run to coincide with the live CD. I may also offer it through CDbaby.com

MettleAngel: You know, I am not familiar with that design, but I will definitely want one, so keep me posted! I have an interesting story to tell you about the License To Kill artwork. Did you know that there was a cheesy horror movie made in 1973 called Vision Of Evil, licensed through Prism Entertainment with the same exact artwork? I bought this VHS because I instantly recognized the License To Kill cover art. The movie is horrible, but I was wondering if that is where you got the original cover?

  • Jay: No, not at all, I am not familiar with that movie! I myself am an artist and photographer. I saw the artwork of this painter named Chris Polenz, I knew him in art school in Pasedena - there was actually a rumor that the guy in the mask was me. This is because in the Kerrang! 99 issue, they only shot pictures of me. Crazy rumor, not true though. The article was called Malice In Thunderland, and I was portayed as the Mad Hatter.

MettleAngel: Well speaking of movies, I'm sure fans want to know what is the deal with Vice Versa.

  • Jay: Yes, and finally that movie is on DVD. What an experience! They picked us, but they originally wanted Bon Jovi. They sent us to Champagne, Illinois right in the middle of the tour. A few of us flew to LA to record some songs. Paul Sabu is singing on the Vice Versa track. They put us up in a five star hotel for a week. Wild times, what a party, our time in the limelight!

MettleAngel: Everybody seems to know that movie and Fred Savage's quote "Malice is a heavy duty rock band!" They also know about Judge Reinhold's poster signed - "Charlie, party till you puke, love Malice!"

  • Jay: I have my SAG card, I said my three lines - "Crazy In the Night", where are my royalties?... ha, ha, ha!

What is funny is that this cult movie also spawned other clones like Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron in Like Father, Like Son; as well as Tom Hanks in Big. All three movies borrowed heavily from the Jody Foster movie Freaky Friday. Like Father, Like Son seriously stole blatantly and they had Autograph as their rock band!

  • Jay: I have not seen that one, but we had several offers back then. We were also considering doing the music and being in Trick Or Treat too. We wanted to break into films and raise the band's profile.

MettleAngel: Man, Trick Or Treat, you would have done better than Fastway on the soundtrack, for sure!

  • Jay: Everything was bigger in the '80s. Consider our stage shows: we had ramps, risers, pyrotechnics, illusions, even our singer James was in a tiger cage at the start of the show - all big budget stuff. We worked so hard back then. We rehearsed five days a week. Now, with Metal Church, we all just know our parts. Everything has changed. I now also serve as acting manager and organizer for Metal Church. All the major responsibility falls to me. It's like in the '80s one main guy in the band made everything happen. Like a metal mafia, whether it be Blackie Lawless with W.A.S.P., Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), Ron Keel, Stephen Percy (Ratt), etc. I have this role today for both bands. A lot of responsibility, yes; but I enjoy doing this.

MettleAngel: Yes, you seem so organized and really know how to make things happen.

  • Jay: Yeah, it is like we all attended the heavy metal college. I knew everone in the day and I still do! In the '80s in LA we were like a fraternity of musicians. We would be the ones to organize the shows, and plan all events as co-headliners; which would regulate crowd control, and placate all the fans, so each band had a fair chance.

MettleAngel: Speaking of the '80s in LA, I understand you worked with Megadeth?

  • Jay: Dave Ellefson was my best friend, and still is. I lived with the guys from Megadeth. I actually quit Malice to join Megadeth. I was in the studio learning the new rhythm parts as soon as I joined, we went right in to the studio, you know...

MettleAngel: So why did Dave fire you and scrap all your guitar work?

  • Jay: It is like this. Jeff Young was also my roommate, before I moved in with Dave & Jr.. I lived in this six bedroom house with all these other musicians and my photo assistant. I was so busy trying to learn all the new rhythm guitar parts, that I did not have time to learn the earlier songs. So I asked my roomate Jeff Young to learn all the old Chris Poland solos, while I concentrated on writing and recording the new record (So Far, So Good, So What!) Jeff went to GIT, but was never really into heavy metal. He learrned all the solos - next thing I know is I'm out and he is in. So he finished the record and did the tour. I was quite angry at the time.

MettleAngel: Yeah, I've talked with another guy who knows Jeff Young real personally, and how bad it was back then dealing with all of Dave's B$. There was a saying, "Get me an 8-ball or you're fired!".

  • Jay: Dave just did not know how to handle affairs or manage money back then. His manager was ripping him and the band off, constantly. When the band became huge and more successful, Dave did not know how to deal with it. Peace Sells only cost like $15,000 to record. When weekly checks amounting to $30,000 were coming in, Dave just spent it all on drugs. I left Malice because of James' problem with alcoholism, to join Megadeth. This all became so frustrating. Dave has since apologized and made amends to me, which is cool; although, I'm still miffed about Metal Church not being asked on Gigantour.

MettleAngel: Well, then let's talk more about Malice. I just recently got the Wounded Bird Atlantic reissue for License to Kill. The production definetly sounds better on this reissue. Prior to this, all I had was the horrible bootleg version on Reborn Classics. I paid $25 for this over a decade ago, just so I could have Malice on CD. As it turns out, this was a glorified CD-r with all of In The Beginning split with every song from License To Kill except Circle Of Fire. This was obviously burnt from vinyl, as you could hear the needle scratching. Reborn Classics also ripped off other great artists like Helstar, Laaz Rockit, Jag Panzer, Dream Theater (Majesty), & Savage Grace.

  • Jay: I'm not too familiar with the Reborn Classics bootlegs, but I really need to find out about the Stellar Masterpieces Limited versions. I have these bootlegs from New Zealand. Someone has built a house with the money made from my music. You see there were eight songs originally recorded by Michael Waegener, which were mixed together for the album. Then there were also the '83 Ashley Howe demos. This Stellar Masterpiece License To Kill bootleg features the Howe outtakes. I don't know how they found these six songs: Godz Of Thunder, Murder, Dues Paid In Hell, Cry Out To The Godz, Vigilante, & Jet Stream Cruiser. This bootleg also features reprints from articles with Malice found in Kerrang and other magazines. Actually, they are well done, and I'm impressed, but they are definitely not licensed. In The Beginning also has no barcode, with ten songs including an alternate version of Death Or Glory and Godz Of Thunder and more '84 demos. I am in the process of contacting a legal firm to research these editions, as well as the East/West and Legendary Masters Of Metal Series. This is now the fourth time that the Malice albums have been reprinted illegally.

MettleAngel: Well, the Wounded Bird versions are reissued through Atlantic, right? They have put out several bands like Vicious Rumors and Loudness.

  • Jay: Yes, but I am not being paid fairly for any of these! I am also in negotiations with Metal Blade to regain the rights to the Crazy In The Night EP. I want to reissue this for fans with those Howe demos as extras.

MettleAngel: I know it must suck to realize that someone else has unjustly made a profit off of your art. It is unprofessional when a record company as big as Atlantic, re-releases your music without asking your approval. Will you also be working on a DVD just for the fans?

  • Jay: I have plans to release a multiple show concert. The DVD is in the works, but I want to reserve that for later on. I am going to archive some of the best shows we did for a single DVD release. I've watched two or three of these shows recently, and I'm quite impressed just how tight we were when we played them.

MettleAngel: Then this should also please your avid fan base, who have remained loyal to the band, like myself. Let's now discuss the lyrical content for Malice. Are you the main lyricist?

  • Jay: Actually, no! We all wrote lyrics, it was like 50/50 between James, and myself mostly, though. James wrote many of the more popular themed songs like Against The Empire.

MettleAngel: I love that song, is there some sort of Star Wars reference in that? If so, that would be the first metal song I ever heard focusing on the Trilogy.

  • Jay: No, that song is not about Star Wars, per se; but we were all big Sci-fi fans. We were heavy into Sci-fi books back then. When we were on the bus, we usually had some cool paperback stuffed in our pockets. We read a lot while on the road.

MettleAngel: With songs like Air Attack, No Haven For The Raven, and Stellar Masters, this makes good sense. What about the more sexual based lyrics, did you pen those?

  • Jay: You could say that I wrote the sex songs like License To Kill and Chain Gang Woman.

MettleAngel: Now in Metal Church, Kurdt does most of the songwriting, right?

  • Jay: For the most part, yes. I actually helped to write Time Will Tell on Weight Of The World. I also wrote a new song which became the Japanese bonus track for A Light In The Dark. I'm pleased to see that MTV is now playing our music. They just played the new video for Mirror Of Lies back to back with Watch The Children Pray on Headbanger's Ball recently.

MettleAngel: So now that you are a permanent fixture in Metal Church, do you think that you have arrived, and are finally receiving the recognition which you deserve?

  • Jay: Playing with Metal Church is like a dream come true for me. I moved to Washington four years ago to concentrate all my efforts on this band. I have always been a fan of this band, even in the beginning. I was friends with this rep from Atlantic back in the day, who let me hear the early Metal Church demos, before the first album was released. I enjoyed songs like Beyond The Black so much, that I learned all the guitar parts myself.

MettleAngel: Were you ever asked to join Metal Church, even before, say, John Marshall?

  • Jay: No, I was never asked, but now I totally fit into the this supergroup. Metal Church is my main priority. When Kurdt and Steve do the TSO thing in the fall, that is when I will concentrate on Malice.

MettleAngel: Besides the aforementioned acts, what other projects have you been involved in over the years?

  • Jay: I was in a band with Chuck Behler from Megadeth called War Party. I really want to release that music someday for fans too; those were some heavy songs. I also did this project which was tentatively called Planet X. We never toured though. I played bass in this band. It was so surreal. The main dude was totally into aliens. He wanted to do a concept album about an alien visitation. He actually wanted us to dress as aliens and wear space suits on stage, like some trip out of the Star Wars cantina scene. I was not into that at all.

Well, now with bands like Lordi, or even Gwar, that schtick works. Costumes have become part of the routine. Look at those poseurs Slipknot or Mushroomhead with their masks; they have set a new standard for this type of stage theatric.

  • Jay: I don't understand why Slipknot is so popular, but I want to go see Lordi if they come around here.

MettleAngel: I want to see Lordi too, but they are not coming to Cleveland. I really like their '80's metal sound and all the horror moster garb. Jay, I wish you all the success with the Malice reformation. I definitely look forward to seeing Malice play live after over two decades. I wonder, do people even realize that you were on the Metal Massacre 1 compilation which featured Metallica? You had two killer cuts: Captive Of Light and Kick You Down. I'm actually surprised that Metal Blade did not initially sign Malice.

  • Jay: Times were so different back then. Actually, I remember when Metallica opened for us Thanksgiving of '82. Those three brothers in Pandemonium from Alaska were headlining, then us, then Metallica; go figure!

MettleAngel: Metal Blade promoted all those bands back then, but you held out until Atlantic signed you, right?

  • Jay: Yeah, we released In The Beginning in '85. As you already know, Metal Blade later put out Crazy In the Night, before we eventually disbanded.

MettleAngel: I'm curious, who inspired you to play guitar?

  • Jay: It all started with listening to the NWOBHM acts like Budgie & Motörhead. I was inspired by Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker; but it was Jimi Hendrix who made me pick up my guitar and start playing.

MettleAngel: Well, Jay thank you again so very much for this in depth interview. Please keep me posted on all things that on going on in the Malice camp; especially, when that Tour shirt is printed, I am excited about wearing that! What can we expect when we are finally treated to the new tunes? Will it be the essence of the old, and maintain that classic '80s metal feel?

  • Jay: Yes, I like the way you put that, Essence of the old and some new elements. Dude, I am so pleased to have met you. I will keep you updated on all Malice activity.

MettleAngel: Please do, and look into setting up a Myspace page for Malice.

  • Jay: I'm one step ahead of you. I've been meaning to do that for quite some time, and now I'm ready to do that.

MettleAngel: Excellent, because in a recent poll more people are visiting Myspace band sites than their actual websites, and Myspace is still free!

  • Jay: I know, we have one for Metal Church, and I have my own for personal reasons, so this is also in the works. So it was great meeting you, and I'll be in touch.

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