Kurdt Vanderhoof: Just did Europe for about 2 weeks, having a little break, then we will be heading back to Europe. We will be in the States in September.
The Gauntlet: Were you playing festivals in Europe?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: No, we were just playing clubs. When we go back in a few weeks, we will be playing the festivals.
The Gauntlet: How are the crowds?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: The main difference is there is just more of them over there. Metal is still very big over there. The shows went great and people are now getting used to the new lineup. We haven't played here in almost a year so we are waiting to see. Things are starting to pick up over here though.
The Gauntlet: Over here, the media dictates too much on what is popular so kids wants 30 secs then a hook.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Exactly.
The Gauntlet: Who will you be touring with in the US?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: We are looking to put that together as we speak.
The Gauntlet: Will this be a Metal Church headlining tour?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: That depends. We have a tentative routing setup for a headlining club tour right now or possibilities of going out with some bigger headlining acts right now. We will be going around the States in September.
The Gauntlet: Hopefully it will be a headlining show as I hate seeing bands with as much material as Metal Church play only 30-45 minutes.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Right, right. I know. Especially when we have twenty plus years. It is hard enough to pick the set.
The Gauntlet: 'A Light in The Dark' was just released in the US.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Yeah, that came out in Europe last week.
The Gauntlet: How has the feedback been?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Everything has been really positive. We have been very happy with it.
The Gauntlet: I was a little concerned after you lost the drummer, but Jeff did a great job.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Oh yeah, Jeff did a great job. We were really happy with his work. Basically he was the guy that we had in mind. When Kirk started realizing he was having health problems, Jeff was the only guy that popped into our heads. There was no audition, it was a natural thing.
The Gauntlet: That's good you had someone already in mind so you don't have the problems getting along.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: He had been out on tour with us so we knew there were no personality conflicts.
The Gauntlet: The new album has a old school Metal Church sound.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: We didn't step into the studio or writing with that in mind. The only conscious thing we had was to keep it traditional metal. We basically wanted to keep it like what Metal Church is known for rather than update it and be what Metal Church is not. That would be totally fake and would alienate all of our fans.
The Gauntlet: Is the fanbase a lot of the older fans from the 80's or are you now getting a lot of the kids who were born in the 80's?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: A lot of our fans came up with Metal Church and are now bringing their kids to the shows. Then there are a lot of the younger fans that have gotten into the old 80's style of metal. It is pretty odd surprisingly enough. We never know what to expect. There are always bald heads and grey hairs with fists in the air and next to them kids doing the same.
The Gauntlet: It's great seeing all these kids at the old school metal shows. I recently caught Destruction and Exodus and there have been a lot of younger fans. When will a DVD come out?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: There is going to be a DVD coming out from the Mike Howe era. It will have some concert footage and will have a lot of concert footage. It's not an official DVD, more of a collectible. We are also working on a documentary film that might morph into a DVD down the line.
The Gauntlet: I am sure you have collected some great experiences over the years with Metal Church and your side projects.
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Oh yeah! [laughs] One of the big ones was when we got picked up by Elektra, a major label, and things just got huge. I am just so amazed After all these years I'm still able to do all this. That is my fondest memory, and I am in it right now.
The Gauntlet: Is it difficult after twenty years to still be a leader of the genre and not a follower?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Yes, there is a lot of new stuff out there, you know. People are going into new directions. We are certainly not leading the nu-metal pack and I have no intentions to try. We are not trying to lead anything or reinvent the wheel. We don't want to change, we just want to do the best music with what we have, that's about all we can do.
The Gauntlet: 'Watch the Children Pray' was re-recorded for this album as a tribute to David Wayne who recently passed away. How come that track was chosen over all the other songs he sung on?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: That was one of his favorites. It was also one we felt that kind of had what we wanted to do and was appropriate. Ronny wanted to do something for him as he was a big influence on Ronnie as well.
The Gauntlet: When I first heard the album title 'A Light In The Dark', it occurred to me that maybe Metal Church was going back to the same sound as 'The Dark' album. This was before I heard it. Having heard the album now, I do think I am right. Am I reading too much into the album title?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: Ummm, no. The sound of the record and the title were just happenstance. The title just came from something more descript as to what Metal Church is. The metal scene has always been dark and satanic and Metal Church as never been about that. That is what the title represents. It is virtually a new band and is 20 years since the release of The Dark. We also lost one of the family members and wanted to acknowledge that. It is a new milestone and a new beginning for the band.
The Gauntlet: You produced the album yourself?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: I produced the last one and Presto Ballet. It is just what I enjoy doing. It is tedious wearing many hats, but does allow the band to have complete control over the material.
The Gauntlet: You are the sole surviving member, do you do all the writing?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: On this particular album, I wrote all the music. Ronny did all the lyrics on all but one song. I wrote the lyrics for 'Temple of the Sea'.
The Gauntlet: Any plans for a video?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: That depends on how the record does and what kind of money the label wants to spend? It would be nice to have a video again.
The Gauntlet: How is your side project Presto Ballet going?
Kurdt Vanderhoof: I am a little busy with Metal Church, but when I have time, we have new material already for the next record. It will probably be late winter, early spring before you hear anything.