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
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?
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...
MettleAngel: Even Michael Howe?
MettleAngel: I feel Ronnie is the perfect
blend between David and Mike. Alright, now let's discuss Malice.
MettleAngel: Have any labels expressed interest
in the new Malice line-up?
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?
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.
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?
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
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,
MettleAngel: 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!
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
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.
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?
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.
MettleAngel: 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.
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?
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.
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.