Joined: 11 Sep 2007
Location: Houston, TX
|Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:37 am Post subject: Interview with Brent Smedley on www.darkside.ru
I heard story once, that one Russian actor interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a very famous actor that time, but not a governor of state yet. He was given 5 minutes! When the interview began, the Russian actor said roughly the following: “Hello! I am from Russia, which is a distant land for you. 140 millions of people live there and they know and love you”… That interview lasted for 1 hour…
…Probably, I should start with the same message. Many Russians know and love Iced Earth, but your band is not as popular as Schwarzenegger here. I can not explain it with the absent of demand for metal music or any other reasons. Just Iced Earth has never performed any concert in Russia and has never tried to enter Russian «market». Though the Russian «market» is still developing and there is still no competition in the area of good «Heavy Metal» music and almost nobody knows about Russian «Power/Thrash Metal». That is why Russian fans know more about such famous musicians as «Metallica», «Iron Maiden», «Rage» or «Blind Guardian», who was here some times, than about unknown guys from Indianapolis. However, you have more and more fans here. Local brands make licensed copies of your disks, journalists interview you in a roundabout way and your devotees popularize your band on different Russian forums and chats. For this promotion, we, your huge fans, ask you for this off—line interview to place it on the biggest music web-site of the Russian Internet – www.darkside.ru by your authority. Let people know…
Brent: It is my pleasure to do this interview for you. I want to thank you for your praise and kind words for Iced Earth and I am glad to have this chance to speak to the Russian fans.
Brent, what is your attitude toward Russia? What associations do you have regarding this country? Russia and the USA are known to be very far from each other geographically and we were at the cold war for a long time. Still many Americans think that bears walk along Moscow streets and the country is ruled by Communists. What does Jon, a sincere patriot of his motherland, think about Russia? It would be better to ask him, but you might know about it as his friend? Does Iced Earth have plans to visit our country soon?
Brent: I have known of Russia since I was a young child. I know that it is far across the world from the U.S.A. located next to Europe. I do remember hearing about the cold war as I was growing up. I can not speak for Jon, but my thoughts are that Russia is a very large and powerful country. I know things are different now that it is no longer the U.S.S.R. And I do not think that wild animals walk down the streets. I have respect and admiration for your country.
Iced Earth does not have any concerts scheduled in Russia at the moment, but there is always a chance that we will play your country in the future. I would love to come play your country and meet all of our Russian fans.
There were rather long period of time between the releases of «The Glorious Burden» and «Framing Armageddon» (more then 3 years). Band took quite a long pause after the early termination of European tour «2004» because of Jon health problems. Official site was not up
dated and there was no news. However, your loyal fans waited patiently and they finally were awarded. They saw again a new band and … a new album. Do you think that the refreshed band has become stronger after the break? What are the strong and weak sides of this team? How the band was welcomed during a new tour?
Brent: Yes, there was a break between «The Glorious Burden» and «Overture of the Wicked» followed by «Framing Armageddon». Sometimes in life there are times where a break is needed.
I do think the band has become stronger, life and it's experiences will make you stronger!
I do not feel there is a weak sides and I feel the strong sides would be our commitment and dedication to the music and the message of Iced Earth. The band was welcomed very well on the last tour. There were many great shows and it was awesome to reconnect with the fans.
This question linked with the question above: what is your position in the present group? Does it differ from your position in 1999? Is the present Brent Smedley is the same Brent Smedley, who recorded «Alive In Athens»?
Brent: My position within the band is the same as before but different as well. I am a full member and dedicated to the cause of Iced Earth. If anything, things are much better now than before, I am older and wiser. Again, life experience is a good teacher. I would say that I appreciate things much more this time and I look forward to giving my very best in all that we do.
The question «Tim Owens - Matthew Barlow» is topical today again. People still argue about who is the best on many forums (somewhere it is war even). What could you say about this situation?
Brent: As far as the question between Tim and Matt. I believe they are both amazing singers. It is sad to see Tim go but great to have Matt back. Many fans believe Matt is the true voice of Iced Earth. I look forward to sharing the stage with him again.
Iced Earth performed 3 big shows at the biggest European rock-festivals last summer and performed many shows last autumn. Which were the most memorable moments and the most disappointed ones? Did you meet your old friends and have new ones there?
Brent: The festivals over the summer were totally amazing. I would say there are memorable moments from each one. «Sweden Rock» was great because it was the first show with the new line-up. The crowd there was awesome. «The Rockwave» in Greece was cool because we got to see some old friends (Greece has always been a hot spot for Iced Earth), I got to meet Ronnie James Dio and we got to see «Heaven and Hell» perform up close and they ruled, and you can't forget about «Dream Theatre» who also were amazing that nite. And of course, the «Wacken» festival was unbelie
vable. 70,000 screaming fans and more pyrotechnics than you can imagine. These were definitely the high points.
«Wacken Open Air» - 2007. This is something special. The fantastic performance of the band right after its renewal as a headliner at the grand heavy-metal rock festival in Europe - that's great! Now when emotions have cooled down could you say that you liked your performance?
Brent: As I mentioned in the last answer, The «Wacken Open Air» in Germany was fabulous. Great show, great crowd, and lots of pyrotechnics. I think the show was awesome and the band played well, considering the fact that this was only the third show with this line-up. The «Wacken» festival is always superb!
How much do you satisfy with the new album of «Framing Armageddon» and its sales records in different countries? Does it meet your expectations or you have expected better result?
Brent: We are very satisfied with «Framing Armageddon». While you always want to sell more records, the sales have been good for this one. I personally think it is one of the best Iced Earth records ever and Part 2 will be even better I believe.
Please, tell us some details about «Something wicked pt. 2»! Will the second part be more heavy and speedy than the first one or it will be in a moderate tempo and with the same choral refrains of «Framing Armageddon»?
Brent: Part 2 will be similar to part 1, but I believe a bit heavier because it is the conclusion of the story. There will probably be more choral refrains on this album similar to the last one. I think part 2 will be the best Iced Earth album to date. It will be the return of Matt Barlow on vocals and the climax to the story of «Something Wicked».
What are your favorite bands? Which new bands do you like today? Does Iced Earth have rival bands working in the same music styles?
Brent: Some of my favorite band are Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Pantera. Also of the newer bands I like Nickleback, Godsmack, Disturbed, and Evergrey. We don't really have any rival bands because we are not concerned with what other groups are trying to do only with being true to Iced Earth and making the best records we can and performing to the best of our ability every night.
Brent, what are your favorite drummers? What drummers were influences on you in the beginning of your career and are there any who could serve your as an example now?
Brent: My favorite drummer of all time is Dean Castronova. Other favorites who have influenced me over my career are Bill Ward, Scott Rockenfield, Nicko McBrain, Mitch Mitchell, Vinnie Paul, and Gene Hoglan. I have tried to take the best parts of each of
these drummers and infuse it into my own style.
It is 2008 year now. Brent Smedley is a respectable musician, whose opinion is weighty and cited in the arguments. How could you describe the present situation in the heavy music «market»? The number of Power-bands is growing in geometrical progression and Heavy Metal is dying, the monsters of the past are degrading by giving fluff to the public… or the situation is not so bad and everything is ok as usual?
Brent: The present situation in the Heavy Metal market is one that seems to be changing as we speak. The number of bands is definitely growing, but I believe that if you consistently put out good music and support it well then your place in the market is secure. That is one of the things Iced Earth prides itself upon. The scene has definitely changed due to all of the downloading and pirating of CDs. That is one reason that a lot of bands tour more frequently now, to try to maintain a favorable position within the Metal market.
Could you say some words about your private life, your family, work and your daily routine? Russian fans know nothing about this part of your life.
Brent: My private life is centered around my new wife (we are married just over 6 months now), my family, and my friends. I give drum lessons in my hometown when I am not on tour, and I try to stay busy practicing and keeping up with the latest techniques in drumming. Also I play and record with other bands in Iced Earth's off time.
Brent, what are your hobbies, interests, ideas?
Brent: My hobbies outside of music consist of spending time with my Wife, Family, and Friends. I also enjoy ping pong, bike riding, nature hikes, and watching movies. I am interested in the Earth and the other planets and the solar system.
Many Russian fans are eager to know more about your image. How was your style created? Was it created naturally or you specially worked on it? Brent Smedley, without doubts, you are a front man in Iced Earth. Is it hard to be a front man if you are drummer? Do you have strong nerves?
Brent: The image of Iced Earth was created naturally. By, I think, Jon just being true to what he believes in, in the true spirit of Heavy Metal. My image is much the same, me just being true to what I believe in and what I think a Metal band should represent. Thank you for thinking of me as a front man in the band. It is a bit unusual for the drummer to be thought of in that way. I do believe fully in the music and the message behind the band. I would say my nerves are very strong. Strong nerves are needed to prosper in the music business.
This question is a bit provocative. What is your attitude to Jon? How c
ould you describe him regardless the fact that he is your friend? Jon Schaffer is known as a rather despotic leader. Many musicians left the band against their wish (example – Tim). Can this situation happen with you?
Brent: My feelings for Jon are those of respect and admiration. He can be very demanding but that is to be expected of someone who has dedicated and sacrificed so much to achieve what he has done. It is unfortunate what happened with Tim, but it was not a sudden decision. I believe that Jon simply wanted to give the majority of fans what they wanted and that is to have Matt back in the band. Many fans feel that Matt is the true voice of Iced Earth.
I do not think this would happen to me because my dedication and commitment to the band are never in question and I feel that the majority of the fans feel I am meant to be the drummer for Iced Earth.
Jonathan Swift wrote: «Actually only few people live in the present day. Most of people are going to live later». Brent, do you live in the present? What plans do you have for the nearest and remote future?
Brent: I would say that I live in the present, but remember and learn from the past while planning for the future. My plans for the near future are to rock the world to the sound of Iced Earth, to spread the music of me and my brother's band Odyssey (which you can check out at myspace.com/odysseymetal), and to live a happy and healthy and long life with my wife, family, and friends.
Do you know about any Russian metal-bands or any Russian musicians at all? Would you like to know?
Brent: I'm sorry to say that I do not know much about Russian musicians or any Russian bands. But I would love to hear and know about them as I am always interested in discovering new music, musicians, and new techniques.
What could you say to your Russian fans?
Brent: To all the Russian fans I would like to say thank you for your interest and support of Iced Earth and Heavy Metal. We hope to play your wonderful country in the near future and I look forward to meeting and talking with all of you.
Brent, we would like to thank you for «Framing Armageddon». We like it a lot!
We wish success and prosperity to your band and happiness to you personally!
Brent: You are most welcome for the interview (it has been my honor) and for «Framing Armageddon». Part 2 stands to be only bigger and better and perhaps the best Iced Earth record yet. Thank you for your well wishes of happiness and prosperity, the same to you!
Interview by Evgeny Bespalov (Iced man)
The organization of interview – Johnny Z. from «Brazil Under Ice» (www.icedearth.com.br)
Best viewed with open eyes and a human brain ver. 1.0c or above.---