Ronny Munroe interview
by Steph Perry
September 10, 2008
Metal Church’s new album is called This Present Wasteland and will be released in the USA on September 23, 2008. This Present Wasteland is Ronny Munroe’s third album with Metal Church. The band’s current lineup is Kurdt Vanderhoof (guitars), Ronny Munroe (vocals), Rick Van Zandt (guitars), Steve Unger (bass), and Jeff Plate (drums). Metal Church has always been a positive force in music, and This Present Wasteland is no exception. I spoke to lead vocalist Ronny Munroe about the new album and some of the inspirations behind his powerful lyrics.
You and Kurdt co-wrote much of the new album. How did you go about collaborating on the songs for this album?
Well this is how the process goes. Kurdt goes into writing mode and once he finishes one or two songs, he MP3’s them to me and I start writing the lyrics and the melody lines and whatnot. So that’s basically how we do it. After that I fly in or whatever and I come and do pre-production. I lay down what I have and he says yeah or nay, and we work things out. And then after that we go in for real.
I found so many themes in your lyrics. From man’s struggle with sin and redemption, to facing our own mortality, to the futility of war. What are some of the inspiring events behind this collection of material?
Well first of all thank you for taking the time to read them and for finding those themes because that is actually a lot of what I write about. You hit it right on the head. And as far as an inspiration, I think it’s the world around me. Once I get those MP3’s and put them on my iPod and put my headphones on, I get lost in it. The music really dictates how I write what I feel from that song. And then just the outside things that are going on in the world, like the war, still going on, and Bush, and whatnot. Even though I really don’t talk too much about politics or religion because that can get you in trouble. But on this one, I think that did inspire me. And on the last two albums too, I kind of wrote not about the same thing but close to it. Personal things, the world, things that are going on in it, bad or good. But I always try to keep it positive because from the beginning that’s been Kurdt’s vision to always be a positive band. And the way I look at it there’s enough negativity in this world without me adding to it.
The song “Breathe Again” is one of my favorites on the album.
Cool that’s my favorite too.
For me, it’s straight on metal, with heavy guitar riffs and pounding rhythms, and then it surprises with a subtle melodic turn, all the while speaking to spirituality. Please tell me your reflections on this song and it’s message.
Well sure. That one, the breakdown, I’ll be honest with you. My mom passed away quite a few years ago. So on the album The Weight of the World, there was “Sunless Sky” that I kind of touched on that. [The album] A Light in the Dark, I really didn’t touch on that subject much. But with this basically just saying that “the touch upon the shoulder saying I’m alright now that I’ve crossed over” is basically letting go and knowing that she, or whoever has lost a loved one in their life, I wanted to say you know what? they’re in a better place and not to worry about them any longer because they a lot better off than we are!
Will you be shooting any music videos for the new album?
There’s a lot of plans right now for tours and a video and all that. But considering we had to cancel most of the last tour, we’ve never had to do that before. So I’m not saying anything and I think the band’s not saying anything until we have something concrete. You know what I’m saying? The fans get disappointed, we get disappointed. I mean that killed me. We were supposed to open for Judas Priest and we cancelled. That’s one of my idols. I could’ve shared the stage with Rob [Halford]! There will be another time.
But there was a show in Puerto Rico with Queensryche, is that right?
You’re right. That was cool man. It was a nice hotel on the ocean. The guys were all cool. In my opinion, we pretty much cleaned up!
Any other news you would like to share?
September 23rd is the US release date. So please go out and get the record! And I do have some solo stuff going on that maybe you and I can talk about at a later date.
Ok cool. Well Ronnie thanks so much for your time. Take good care.
You too Steph!