Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak (HALFORD, PAINMUSEUM, SEBASTIAN BACH). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Ultimate-Guitar.com: I want to start this interview by asking you what's it like working with Sebastian Bach?
Metal Mike: I've been blessed and lucky to have worked with some of the best voices in heavy metal starting with Rob Halford and then Chuck Billy in TESTAMENT who is one of my favorite singers of all time. Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate who joined Rob Halford onstage for one of the songs in London was another fantastic moment for me. And now with Sebastian Bach it's like I really haven't met anybody like Sebastian before because he's really one of those guys who kind of… there's no mixed feelings you know. He doesn't hide anything so it's all great, no matter if one night is great and the next night not as good. That is why it makes him such a great singer. And as a guitar player I really like it as it has its own challenges that provide a great learning curve for me.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Sebastian has recorded a new album — "Angel Down" — so what can fans expect to hear?
Metal Mike: The record is a perfect mix of not sounding dated…where it's not a throw back record; it's not going to sound like the first SKID ROW album for example. So it sits in its own place. But then again it's not a LINKIN PARK or "St. Anger" or anything like that too. It is nothing but a heavy metal based guitar record. There are a lot of riffs on there that allows Sebastian to sing. And it is more metalized than any of the SKID ROW records. But at the same time the fan base that is there, nobody has forgotten about them — there is something there for them too. For the fans of early SKID ROW there is enough of that charisma and vibe on there that it's not going to sound strange to them.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: What is the current status of your band PAINMUSEUM?
Metal Mike: After this tour with Sebastian has ended, I'm going to take PAINMUSEUM to South America for a tour. And after that I'm going to start putting together another PAINMUSEUM record.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You now also have your own label, do you find knowing the business side of things is a vital part of being a musician today?
Metal Mike: There are two ways to being a musician, basically you can really try to have all the business stuff as together as you can or can just practice all the time and hopefully wait until somebody hears you and will take care of your business side of things. For me, I felt that if I had stay in my room and play guitar, there wouldn't be the same opportunity as if I actually got out there and did something that tries to cross promote it. Though business is a big part of things now, there is a time when I have to just shut down the computer and do stuff in order to play guitar because after a while unless there is new music, there will be no new music. But it's also important not to become like Gene Simmons where it becomes so business oriented too — and I'm not trying to take anything away from Gene — where the music becomes second and no longer the priority to the money making aspect of it. I've also found that the more successful you become, the more people you can find to trust to take some aspects of that side of things away from you because you can't totally do it all yourself all the time.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Rumors have persisted over the years that the "Halford: Live Insurrection" album wasn't completely live. Is there any truth in those claims?
Metal Mike: Well… what happened was we had this recording system for all the shows, so each show that we played was recorded. So we took the best tracks from those 90 shows. That is why you will hear slight differences in guitar tones and fluctuating audience noises. Then when we went into the studio to cut the new studio tracks for the album, "Screaming In The Dark", "Heart of A Lion" and "Prisoner Of Your Eyes". So while we were doing those tracks, I touched up some parts here and there on the album. But it wasn't like I re-recorded any of the songs, like if I didn't really the solo or something.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: What do you think are the most important elements in a heavy metal riff?
Metal Mike: It has to definitely have a catchy-ness in the melody. It doesn't have to be the most melodic thing but for me when I write riffs I like riffs to be like another chunk of music when you hear it in a part of a song. Some metal bands play so fast, that I can't remember any of the riffs. For me 99% of the songs I've written, always starts with a guitar riff of some sort. So it has to have something that makes you remember it and like it.
Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.