Shadows Fall Interview

Band Name: Shadows Fall
Interviewed: Brian Fair
Date: 2010-08-00

Previous Shadows Fall Interviews
When catching up via telephone with Brian Fair, the lead singer of Massachusetts-based NWOAHM crew Shadows Fall, we spoke about the band's latest offering RETRIBUTION, their on the mark cover and frame by frame video remake of Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark at the Moon", the new DVD the band has in the works, and their stint on the 2010 Rockstar Mayhem Fest.

Mike SOS: Talk about how Shadows Fall went about going independent.
Brian: It's something we're pretty stoked about and we've been lucky enough to do everything in every way possible from self-release to major label to indie label. We kind of learned everything we needed to learn and just formed our own new business plan actually as we're watching the music industry kind of crumble. We figured we might as well be proactive and try and do something to save it.

Mike SOS: RETRIBUTION has been out a while now and you guys have been on the road pretty much consistently throughout. How has the response been to the new album thus far?
Brian: It's been killer man. The songs were really written with a live show in mind…honestly, while we were writing we were in the practice space all together and just cranked it full volume. I think that energy kind of carried right over to the recording. These songs were ready to go live. It’s been great, and we’ve really been leaning on the new stuff heavily for this tour. With a half hour festival set, you can’t really play everything you want to, so we figured we might as well come out swinging with a lot of the heavy tunes from the new record.

Mike SOS: Now how did you guys decide to do the cover of "Bark At the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne?
Brian: It was one of those things. Matt and John play in a cover band called Kobra Kai. They already knew that tune and we wanted to do it. It's kind of more of a fun song, and I’ll never get a chance to sing about werewolves and shit. That was definitely just one of those things, just a good time. We put it in a live set because it's so much fun to play and get the crowd singing along and stuff like that. It also shined a little light on the oft forgotten Jake E. Lee.

Mike SOS: Totally, he's an unsung hero.
Brian: Indeed. He is a sick guitar player with a really cool style. So we figured since everyone covered all the Randy stuff and things like that, we’d kind of step out of box a bit.

Mike SOS: How was it making the video? You definitely pull off a very comparable Ozzy werewolf guy.
Brian: It was a blast, man. We were in the world’s coldest place, in upstate New York in some abandoned school. It was freezing, but at least some of that fake fur kept me warm. It was a blast, man. We really wanted to just kind of have fun with it and recreate the original video minus the budget that Ozzy had. We couldn’t afford the horse drawn carriage or anything like that, but we did what we could.

Mike SOS: Talk a bit about how the Mayhem Fest is going so far?
Brian: Oh, it's been amazing, man. It's great to be back on a summer festival tour. It's been since 2005 Ozzfest since we’ve done a full festival run like this and you forget how much fun it is when you got 10 bands all in the same parking lot and just great crowds from beginning to end.

Mike SOS: Attendance has been good so far and what not?
Brian: Attendance has been crazy. The people are getting here early, right out of the gates. So it's been great.

Mike SOS: What do you think about the Big Four, the whole thing going on with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth?
Brian: It reminded me of how excited I was the first time I heard about Clash of the Titans back in the day. So it's definitely cool to see those bands out there together and being able to go out there and just throw it down. I just wish I could get to see some of the shows, you know?

Mike SOS: Are you guys going to have any time off in between to catch any of them?
Brian: I hope so. I don't know. Hopefully I can make it to something because that's just something you don't want to miss. Listen, each band is definitely going to have to step it up every night, so I'm sure each of those bands is pushing it hard, going pretty deep into their catalog, too. That's gonna be cool.

Mike SOS: A few are playing whole albums in the set
Brian: Yeah, that's pretty rad. It's great to see that thrash is coming back alive again anyway in general.

Mike SOS: You have a distinct vocal style. What do you do to keep your vocal health?
Brian: I do a warm-up before each show that was set up by Melissa Cross who did that DVD “The Zen of Screaming” that gets my throat woke up in the morning. After that, especially the outdoor festivals, the trick is just staying hydrated and drinking as much water as possible. It's been really tough to get through the humidity of these shows. The heat hasn't even been as bad as the humidity has been and that can really fuck with your voice pretty bad, but so far, so good. I've just been brutalizing my throat for, you know, fifteen years between Shadows Fall and before that Overcast. So I've built up a bit of scar tissue now to kind of get through tours.

Mike SOS: You guys also have a DVD in the works. Tell us a little bit about that.
Brian: It was shot in the Philippines in Manila at this festival called the Pulp Summer Slam and there were about 25,000 just crazy maniacs there with full-scale pyro and explosions, none of which were rehearsed! So it was all like kind of a surprise whenever stuff blew up and went off. There’'s a little bit look of fear in our eyes, which I think adds to the energy of the show. We're going to have some bonus footage as well from that trip. We went to Korea and did some other stuff, so we're going to try and put as much as we can on to it. The release got pushed back a little bit until the fall…we found a bunch more footage we wanted to include, but so far it’s killer, sounds great, worked with a full Pro-Tools rig, so we got the sound right. Our first DVD was more of a home movie type of thing, so this is our first kind of like multi camera one show type of thing.

Mike SOS: You guys always have your hand in other things and obviously you did the whole Overcast reunion a few years ago. I guess Shadows Fall remains the number one priority, but what do you guys got going on in the back burner? Anything you could talk about?
Brian: I've always jammed on my boys Transient but I play guitar for it, which is kind of more ambient mellow psychedelic rock. Matt and John have been writing kind of more Alice in Chains-esque rock tunes jamming with the drummer from Unearth. They don't really have a name or a singer yet but they're just kind of working on that stuff kind of getting most of jams out. Jason’s been jamming with his old death metal band from the Albany area Burning Human. Whenever we're home we can't sit still. Everyone just kind of has something going on. We definitely just keep up the chops, which is kind of keeps you from going crazy sitting on the couch.

Mike SOS: What's the thrill of being nominated for a Grammy? Talk a little bit about that.
Brian: Yeah, it's really cool especially for a band like us. We kind of got there the hard way. It's kind of a validation that the industry pays attention to bands that aren't just selling millions of records of a hit single. They're actually looking into the scene of who is really doing something to help metal. And it's also a great way to describe to your parents or your grandparents, "See. I told you this was real". I'm not just running around yelling at people like an idiot for fun. It's actually " we're actually doing something.

Mike SOS: What are the plans after Mayhem?
Brian: We're going to take a little time off. We may do another run. We have an offer for a festival in China that if we can work out some other countries while we are there we want to try and do a little short tour. But besides that we'll probably just be laying low. We got the DVD and then we'll probably start writing probably at the end of the year and trying to hope to get into the studio maybe early next year. But we'll see what happens. If a good tour comes up we have trouble saying no to anything.

Mike SOS: What have you guys not done that you have still on the bucket list " like the Holy Grail?
Brian: We just checked off a big one, which is going to South America. We were just there a few weeks ago, which was amazing. We've been trying to get there for a long time so that finally worked out. Besides that, you know, a full tour of Metallica is definitely on the bucket list. I think for every metal band that's on the list. We’ve done festivals with them but never gotten a tour, so we'll see.

Be sure to keep track of Brian and Shadows Fall at