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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Violent Storm

Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Mick Cervino of Violent Storm From 2007
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

How did the band come together?
Well, the band came about from my head. I’ve been planning this for a long time. As you may know, all these years I’ve been playing for Ritchie Blackmore and then Yngwie Malmsteen and all the while I was writing songs but I wasn’t able to play them or put a band together because I was busy with them. A couple of years ago, I figured, let’s get started and called a few friends, the people that I thought could be part of the band, and we began to put some tracks down. As things progressed, we got some guest musicians involved like Yngwie and KK Downing. And that was kind of how it began. It wasn’t as easy or fast a process as I said but it took a couple of years to put together.  

MSJ: When you were looking for a singer, was there a particular style or sound that you were looking for?
Initially I was but I couldn’t find the ideal person so I started looking; to be more open-minded. While we were in one of the studios, I came across a demo tape of a guy that had nothing to do with my style of music but I just saw the potential in his voice to sing in a more melodic way than the typical metal screaming type. That’s why I went along with him. I thought he could do a good job and he did.
MSJ: Your music has more of an old school feel to it. Do you feel that this type of metal is coming back into fashion?
I think so, definitely. Now even when we go on tour with Yngwie, you see the audience is pretty mixed up of different ages and generations. You see a lot of young kids in their early teenage days. They have the Judas Priest t-shirts or AC/DC shirts. So that tells you something. These are bands from 25-30 years ago and are active obviously. My idea wasn’t to sound like a dated band. I can’t deny my roots which are the 70’s and 80’s. But at the same time, I made an effort to have a more contemporary sound as much as possible without really negating the truth of my roots.
MSJ: You added a few elements of the new metal sounds coming out of Europe on a couple of tracks. Is this style something you will explore more on future releases?
What happened with the Violent Storm music is that we don’t want to be stuck in one style particularly. Like the first 2 songs would give the impression that this is going to be an all speed metal type of album but it’s really not. As you can see on the rest of the songs, we have a variety of things. I like that diversity because I personally get a little bored with today’s bands. You listen to a song and you pretty much heard the whole album. It’s the same formula used over and over again with slight variations. So I didn’t want to fall into that.
MSJ: Your CD is relatively short by today’s standards. Was this a conscious decision or did you only have that amount of material?
Again, that’s my perception of how an album should be. These days a band puts 16 songs on a CD; or 18. You never get to hear the whole album at one time; at least I don’t. I get bored very easily so I thought by keeping it nice and short and to the point, it would be more effective.
MSJ: How did KK Downing get involved with the CD?
I met Ken throughout the years. We came across each other a few times. He came to see us play with the Yngwie Malmsteen band in Spain when he was living there. So we met; we got on really well. Then I went to see him in the states with Priest a couple of times. So, just talking, I mentioned what I was doing. I told him “look, Yngwie is playing on a couple of songs here, how would you like to be a guest musician too?” He said “let me listen to the material and see what I think.” So he listened and came back to me and said “yes, sounds pretty cool, let’s do it.” As time went, he became much more involved to the point that he became the executive producer of the album.
MSJ: Have you started work on a follow up yet?
No, not yet. We’re going to concentrate more on touring. The album was just released in Europe late last year so we’re going to be touring Europe in June. The album will be released in the States and Canada the beginning of June this year so we’ll follow up with tours hopefully in September or so in the States. So that is where our focus is at the moment; just touring. You know, depending on the response and if people actually go out and buy the album, then there will be enough money to record another one. If they download it illegally, there won’t be any…
MSJ: If you were given the support slot for any tour, which group would you like to open for most?
Well, we’re sort of doing what my ideal situation would be. This European tour we’re going to be opening for Heaven and Hell. That would have been my first answer to you. I think that’s a really good opportunity just at this time when these Sabbath guys get back together with Dio. It’s just such a remarkable time to be hooked with those guys. We’ll be playing them also at the festivals. Hopefully there will be other shows with them.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
You’ll laugh but it was the latest Weird Al Yankovic. He’s a true comedian. He’s so talented. To be honest with you, I just normally listen to classical music. I’d like to continue composing so what I find is I get contaminated when I listen to too many rock bands. Then it’s really hard to put aside what you just heard and try to create. Then before you know it, you are copying somebody and you don’t want to copy anybody.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
I think it was in Europe but to be honest with you, I don’t go to concerts all that much lately. I get to perform in so many places with other bands like when we play festivals with Yngwie Malmsteen. Everyone was there from Motley Crue, Hammerfall to Slayer, so you get to see those bands. So, the desire to go out and see bands diminishes.
MSJ: You played with Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen but if you had to choose, which one did you enjoy playing with more?
I have idolized Ritchie Blackmore all of my life so when I got to play with him, I was over the moon. Even though the style of music he was doing at the time was not the music I grew up listening to, still, it presented a good challenge because it was something I was not used to doing; playing renaissance music. And it was very delicate; every note counted. It was a really, really good experience. We had opportunities where we played some of the oldies. Ritchie picked up the Strat and then we would play “Man On The Silver Mountain” or even “Smoke On The Water” in Japan. But I got to a point [where] I began to re-evaluate things. The reason I got involved in this was to play loud rock music and that was not going to happen here with Ritchie. “Who would l like to play with next?” The first person who came to my mind was Yngwie Malmsteen because I love classical music, I love metal, and that is pretty much Yngwie. So then it was a good change of pace. I was able to fulfill that part of what I had set up to do initially. I can’t say who I would rather play with because they were very, very different and yet I wanted to play with both of them. My next goal is to play with Violent Storm. I want to concentrate mostly on that.
MSJ: What is the most memorable Spinal Tap moment from your career?
There are constant Spinal Tap moments on the road. We went through experiences where with Yngwie, for example, where we couldn’t find the stage. You know that scene where people go down the corridors. Well we went exactly through that. - stuff like that.
 
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