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Nevermore Interview

A Conversation with Vocalist Warrel Dane




Century Media Records
Fans have been anxiously awaiting the latest studio CD from Nevermore, since it's been half a decade since their last one. The Obsidian Conspiracy was produced by Peter Wichers (Soilwork) and is the band's seventh studio effort. I spoke with vocalist Warrel Dane about the recording of the new CD, the possibility of another solo album, the reunion of Sanctuary, the passing of Ronnie James Dio and other topics.

Chad Bowar: How come it took five years between This Godless Endeavor and The Obsidian Conspiracy?
Warrel Dane: Touring. A lot of people don't realize we toured for two solid years after This Godless Endeavor came out. After that we needed a break. There were a lot of rumors the band was breaking up, but that wasn't true. Then Jeff decided he wanted to do a solo record, and I wanted to do a solo record. We got that out of our systems, and in between that there was a DVD. So it wasn't like we were absent from the scene.

You recorded the new CD just up the road from me in Lake Norman, North Carolina.
We rented a house on Lake Norman and brought in all the recording gear and spent the time there. Lake Norman is beautiful.

Was it a different vibe recording in a house rather than a “proper” studio?
The weird thing is, I can see a parallel to our 1999 album Dreaming Neon Black. Most of that was done on the water, and the house we had (in North Carolina) was right on the water. I have a strong connection to water, for some reason.

Was your songwriting process similar to your previous albums?
It was business as usual. Jeff was giving me songs, and I was listening and writing. The core of Nevermore, as far as songwriting, has always been Jeff and myself.

What's the concept behind The Obsidian Conspiracy?
It's not a concept album. It isn't. But then again, we might just be a concept band.

Did you struggle with song order at all?
That's the hardest part. Writing the songs are easy compared to how you want the song order to go. I have to say I'm not really happy with the song order on the new record. I would have changed it. Very minimally, but I would have changed it.

You must have had a good experience working with producer Peter Wichers on your solo album since you also had him produce this Nevermore CD.
It didn't take a whole lot of convincing the other guys. They know him already and heard my record, so they were pretty confident he would do a good job.

Does the fact he's also a working musician add to the comfort level in working with him?
Kind of. I was really comfortable with him anyway because we worked together on my solo record and have known him for so many years. I knew he would be perfect, and I really didn't have to convince anybody. Everybody said, “yeah.” Every new thing you do is a learning experience, and I learned a lot from this, too. What I learned was that I really enjoy working with different people and it always brings something different to the table.

Andy Sneap mixed the CD. Did you just send it off to him, or were you there supervising the mix?
We just sent off and he pretty much did it. He sent us a couple of rough drafts and got our feedback, then changed some stuff to make everybody happy. But at the end it was all him.

You recently shot a video for “Emptiness Unobstructed” in London. Do you enjoy filming videos, or is it a necessary evil?
It was actually fun. But five hours into it when it got cold it was annoying. But you've got to do it.

You recently played the Rock Hard festival in Germany. How was it?
It was awesome. It was so great. We had such a good time. People went nuts. The crazy thing is that everybody already knows the words to the new songs and they were singing them louder than I am. I guess that's a good sign.

You're doing some other European festivals this summer. When will you be doing a U.S. tour?
It's going to happen in September.

Is there anywhere you haven't played live that you'd like to get to?
China. I talked to Randy from Lamb Of God the other night, and he told me we had to go there. We played a festival together in Hungary. That's on my list of places to go before I kick the bucket.

Do you have plans of doing another solo album in the future?
I already have the next record pretty much written already. It's all scheduling at this point.

The albums from Sanctuary, your band before Nevermore, were recently reissued. How was the response?
I don't know, but I'm just glad they reissued them. There is going to be another Sanctuary record. We just decided that. Five years ago I would have said no, never. But I think the time is right and the old guys have all become friends again, which we weren't for a long time.

There have been way too many untimely deaths in metal lately, with the recent passings of Peter Steele, Ronnie Jame Dio and Paul Gray.
I don't know what to say about that, except that everything happens in threes. Hopefully it's done now. That's all we can hope for, because it's enough tragedy. Dio was one of my idols since I was a little kid. This is what I wanted to be when I grew up. I cried. I'll admit it. I cried like a little bitch, and a lot of my friends did, too. It makes you realize that nothing lasts forever. There's no way to stop fate.

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