Rob Thorne interview

Rob Thorne interview
By Steph Perry
June 12, 2009

Sacred Oath’s new album (self-titled) is available now on iTunes, and in stores July 10 (Europe) and July 14 (USA). The band is Rob Thorne (guitar/vocals), Kenny Evans (drums), Bill Smith (guitar) and Brendan Kelleher (bass). Here’s my recent email interview with founding member Rob Thorne.

Your band Sacred Oath has followed an unusual path, please give me a brief history. You and Kenny are original members, correct? How did you find Bill and Scott?

Rob Thorne: Our first album was released in 1988, but we broke up soon after that when Mercenary Records folded. We all went our separate ways – myself with Soundscape, Pete with Low Twelve, Kenny with Rock Alley and Glen with Native Tongue. But in 2005 we reformed and began releasing albums again. When the touring started, Pete and Glen had to bow out, so we replaced them with Bill and Scott. Now Scott is out! He couldn’t tour, so we replaced him with Brendan Kelleher. Both new members are former students of mine.

Does the age difference matter?

RT: Of course! Bill (22) and Brendan (20) play with a ferocious youthful energy that no one else brought to the auditions. That makes a real big difference in our live show.

It must’ve been cool to be on Headbangers Ball and debut the Counting Zeroes video. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

RT: It was very cool! Hearing from MTV was a thrill. All my life I wanted to get on MTV, and to be interviewed about the video was the cherry on top.

When you were talking about the song, you commented on the sacrifices made by our troops and how important it is to keep our eye on the ball here at home. Please elaborate further on this.

RT: Counting Zeros is about the loss of certain freedoms here in the US, freedoms that our troops have fought to protect all these years. It’s important for each of us to remember that, and be vigilant in protecting those same freedoms by speaking up, voting, and living responsibly. What concerns me the most is that our citizens are allowing major issues like healthcare reform just spin endlessly in the forum of politics without demanding the kind of progress we should expect.

You also said that kids are disillusioned about what’s going on in this country. Can you tell me more about your thoughts on this?

RT: I have students being accepted to NYU and slapped with tuition bills of $50,000 per year. That is out of hand. I honestly believe the University system in this country is horribly corrupt, in kahootz with the banks that provide student loans. And will there be jobs for them when they get out? Can you imagine graduating with $200,000 of debt and an English degree? That is just one example of how greed is decimating this great country.

The record is available on iTunes now, correct?

RT: Yes sir! 9 weeks and counting as an exclusive on the Rock Homepage! The video is also available.

When will the physical version be released and where can we buy it?

RT: CDs will be released on July 14th (July 10th in Europe), and limited edition vinyl is coming in the fall. I hope you’ll be able to find it anywhere. From what I understand, Best Buy and FYE are carrying it.

Do you have tour plans? Where and when?

RT: We want to tour and we’re ready to go! But we have no itinerary as of yet. Fans should keep checking in to our website for updates.

How does it feel to be called a Pioneer of the American Power Metal movement?

RT: Of course it is an honor to be called a pioneer of a metal genre, though we never set out to “be” anything other than just a metal band. That makes it strange. Especially when I hear power metal bands and think that we sound nothing like them! As far as I’m concerned, we’re still just a metal band with roots in traditional and thrash.

In the album review at Metal—they said that “The production overhaul is definitely the underlying hero, meaning this band have finally been captured on record like they should”. Do you find this to be true?

RT: It is most certainly our best sounding album, if that’s what they mean. It’s funny, because we really flew through the making of this album. But my producing skills are getting better with each album and I do think that this is my best effort yet.

Do you have a routine for warming up your voice for recording or performing live?

RT: I run through a bunch of exercises to make sure my diaphragm is kicked in and that my neck and shoulders are relaxed. From there I begin to sing various lines from our songs, making sure the sound is forward enough to cut through the enormous volume that is Sacred Oath without straining. Then I top it all off with a shot or two of Jack. I find that the older I get, the more I have to avoid smoking.

Where do you see Sacred Oath in 5 years?

RT: I’d like to see at least 3 more albums out of us in 5 years, on the level of this new one, and doing some respectable touring. I believe that Sacred Oath still has a tremendous amount of music to contribute and I intend on doing just that. But my great hope is that our audience will continue to grow and we can further establish our unique mark on metal.

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