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A Conversation With Richard Christy

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Chad Bowar: You've taken some ribbing on the Howard Stern show for being a big fan of Stryper.
Richard Christy: I'm not a religious person, and I was never into their music because of the lyrics or what they stood for. I don't care what somebody's religious preferences are. I just thought their music was so catchy. I remember hearing "Calling On You" from To Hell With The Devil. I heard it when I was 12 years old and couldn't get it out of my head for two months. They have some really heavy riffs and well written songs. For a long time I was a little bit ashamed to say that I was a fan. But as I get older I don't really care. Everybody has their different kinds of music that they're into, and I'm proud to admit I'm a big fan of Stryper.

Who were some drummers you looked up to when you started in metal, and who are some current drummers that you admire?
Alex Van Halen would be the first guy, because when I heard "Hot For Teacher" that's when I wanted to play drums. I remember trying to play that intro on cow feed buckets at my parents' farm in Kansas. He kick started it. Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot was another. Just that simple drum beat from "Cum On Feel The Noize." I remember I was so excited because it was so easy and I knew how to play it. That's what got me into drums. When I heard Dave Lombardo from Slayer I was just blown away by the double bass. When I heard Reign In Blood I was totally blown away. Dave Lombardo and Pete Sandoval are the first two really extreme drummers that blew me away with their speed. That's when I wanted to start building up my speed and play double bass.

As far as technicality Mikkey Dee from King Diamond has great drum fills. Right around the same time Riot released an album called Thundersteel and Bobby Jarzombek played drums on that. It has some of the most wicked drumming I've ever heard. I heard that when I was a freshman in high school. That was a huge influence on me. Bobby's brother Ron played in a band called Watchtower, and his drumming on that album still blows me away. It's the most technical drumming I think I've ever heard. In the '90s when I heard Sean Reinert play on Death's Human and Gene Hoglan play on Individual Thought Patterns those are two drummers who also had a huge influence on me. Alex Marquez from Malevolent Creation is another influence. The album Retribution has some of the most brutal death metal drumming. Pete Sandoval was the first drummer I ever heard play a blast beat, and I was totally blown away by that when I heard it in high school.

Nowadays some of my favorite drummers are Derek Roddy from Hate Eternal. He's an amazing drummer, insane to watch live because he's inhuman. The same with George Kollias who's in Nile now. I met him when Death played in Greece and he was a really young guy. I remember him telling me about his band, and now he's joined Nile. It's so cool to see that he's doing so well and is well respected. He's maybe the fastest drummer I've seen in my life. He's a really great technical drummer, too. Jason Bittner from Shadows Fall is an amazing drummer. Chris Adler from Lamb Of God is one of my favorite drummers and they are one my favorite newer bands. Chris is an awesome drummer and a super nice guy. There are so many great drummers now and so many great bands. It's really a cool time for metal.

Any possibility of you hosting a metal show on Sirius?
There was a Saturday where I picked a bunch of songs I loved and they gave me a shoutout on the show. We'll probably do more of that. As far as going on the air there, hopefully some time in the future. I'm just been really tied up on the Stern show. I'm working from about 4am to 6pm and it's just been crazy. Eventually I hope something will happen. Hard Attack is an awesome station. For a metal fan it's the perfect station.

You're also working on some new stuff with producer Jason Suecof (Trivium).
We've been writing stuff together as far back as 2001. When I lived in Florida I lived with him for a few months. He's an amazing guitar player and songwriter and a great engineer. We've written about 7 or 8 songs together. We've been talking about it and each of us are writing a lot of music. We have a lot of material between the two of us and I'd love go in and record something with him, maybe late this year or early next year.

What type of metal are the songs you've written together?
I would compare them to King's X and maybe Galactic Cowboys. It's a little bit technical but really melodic and catchy. They have long guitar solos. I wouldn't call it power metal, but I'd call it melodic metal. We're both into so many types of music that I wouldn't know how to classify it. Sometimes it's super heavy, sometimes there are acoustic parts, but the vocals are really melodic with huge choruses and tons of harmony.

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