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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Seven Witches

Interviewed by Mike Korn
Interview With Seven Witches' Jack Frost From 2007

MSJ: What exactly is the status of Seven Witches right now? Who is in the band and who is out?
Current status is, of course, Brian Craig as the drummer and Joey Vera (bassist in Fates Warning and Engine, formerly in Armored Saint--editor) is our bass player for good. Wade Black, our singer is no longer in the band.
MSJ: Any replacement yet?
It's pretty much come down to 3 guys. On the recent tour in Europe, we flew in Charles from LeFay to finish out the tour. Wade was fired two weeks into the tour.
MSJ: So it wasn't really an amicable parting?
Yeah, it was amicable! Wade's a great singer. Don't get me wrong, he's awesome. I wish it could have worked out better. It got to the point where Wade said to me, "I didn't expect Witches to take off this much." Which kind of bummed me out. I mean, what did you expect it to be? Well, he kind of thought Seven Witches was a project. Well, he never said that to me in the beginning. He realized we were going to tour five to six weeks...we wanted to keep touring!
MSJ: He was in over his head?
Yeah, no hard feelings, he did a great job but it just didn't work. What surprised me is that when he came home, he told everybody he had quit the band. Actually he was fired. I emailed and called him about it, but he never got back to me.
MSJ: You've taken some hard knocks this year. Of course Wade quit, and then you basically got dropped from your position in Savatage without any notice. How have you coped with all of these pitfalls?
You know, I just love to play. With Savatage, what was negative was when I joined the band I was told I was there for good and when I was let go, I kind of understood because they wanted to bring their original guitarist Al Pitrelli back. But now Al's not doing their most recent tour with them anyway. I just don't get it.
MSJ: Maybe they jumped the gun?
What really kills me the most about this is the Savatage fans were really bummed about me being let go. I was bummed myself because I really loved being in that band. I gave my heart and soul, and I thought the 5 guys in that band were my best friends. When I was let go, I never talked to anybody in Savatage again, which really hurt me. It's like, what did I do wrong? The bottom line is, I didn't do anything wrong. It wasn't me; it was a decision made by their management. I can understand that, but it could have been done a lot differently. I have no real hard feelings. I wish those guys the best. They're a great band, but what it really comes down to is that they now realize that maybe they did jump the gun, like you said. It's kind of funny, I don't think they expected me to become that popular in the band. Fans were going, "how could you fire Jack? We liked Jack, he was cool." You take life as it comes; I've got nothing bad to say. I'm gonna move on. I'm not a rock star; I just love to play. I'll just keep goin'.
MSJ: One of the big pluses is now you've got Joey Vera as the bass player in Seven Witches.
A lot of people are thinking, "Jack's smart, he'll get this famous guy in the band to give 'em a boost". Actually, I brought Joey in because he's a great friend of mine. He's an amazing bass player. You know, I'll take a no-name guy, which my old bass player was, and I'll be happy if he gets the job done. That's the bottom line. It's gonna help our profile having Joey in the band but he's in the band because he's a real friend.
MSJ: Will he take a songwriting role in the future?
He's more than welcome to. He's definitely going to bring his style to the table. He's got his own gimmick all around.
MSJ: Right now there's a lot of talk about who is "true metal". A lot of the stuff that's called true metal today has choirs, special effects and a lot of gloss. To me, Seven Witches is more stripped down and basic. That makes it more of what I'd call true metal. It gives me the same feel I had when I heard "Hell Bent for Leather" by Priest or the early Iron Maiden records or even old AC/DC.
This whole record is back to basics. Look at the opening statement on the record..."we're taking back the metal". Now please don't take that as us trying to say, "screw everybody else". What we are saying is that we are a pure heavy metal band. No gimmicks, nothing fancy. We're one of the few bands that can say, "we are a metal band" and not anything else. That's what I wanted to do with Seven Witches from day one.
MSJ: There's not a lot of guitar hero antics or wild guitar shredding on the album. It sounds like that was something you did deliberately.
I could have done some crazy 10-minute guitar solo. But, like you said, look at Priest, Maiden. It's all about song structure. The solos are made for the songs, not the other way around. Nowadays, with the nu-metal stuff, you get no solos at all. Or on the other end, the power metal bands are all neo-classical stuff. We're in the middle. Here's an example. Turn on a Journey record. Now their guitarist Neil Schon can probably smoke anybody out there. But you know what? You can hum every one of his solos. That's what I went for. Ritchie Blackmore, John Sykes...they wrote the solos for the songs. That's what I tried to do, too, and it gave our record its own rhythm.
MSJ: You mentioned the band is doing really well in Europe. Do you ever think the American metal scene will catch up to Europe?
I think America is catching up a lot. When I toured with Savatage in America, it was great. The fans were amazing; there were a lot of younger kids. I don't think metal will ever be what it was in the 80's, but I'm not sure if that's where we want to be. It was a lot of make-up and hair back then. Metal should just be pure metal. It's funny...I went to a movie not long ago and noticed four kids with Iron Maiden T-shirts. And none of 'em were 15 years old. Wow, that's great! I think people are beginning to realize that there is a place for metal, there is a place for Creed, there is a place for Madonna.
MSJ: Doesn't it irk you, though that you can't even get your foot in the door with MTV or the big radio stations?
Yeah, but it's always been that way, even back when disco was popular. You can bitch about it until you're blue in the face, but at the end of the day, you have to be happy with what you've made. That's the way you should do it. Don't worry about what the Joneses are doing. Hopefully people will like what you're doing and you'll touch them with it.
MSJ: I think heavy metal has been around long enough and diversified enough that it can be considered like jazz. It's something that will always be there, and a lot of people will appreciate it.
Yeah, it's never gonna go away. Black Sabbath is just as popular as ever. Metal may never be the flavor of the day, but it will always be hovering around. And I'm really glad to be a part of that.
MSJ: Seven Witches is definitely your main priority, but what other projects do you have? Are you still in Metalium?
No, when I joined Savatage, I pretty much left Metalium. I'm still involved with the Bronx Casket Company. I just talked to D.D. today (D.D. Verni, bassist for BCC and Overkill--editor), and we are definitely going to do another record in the future. I'm actually going to be doing a solo record this year. It's going to be kind of everything...a little traditional metal, a little commercial metal, a little nu-metal. I'm going to have a few different drummers, a few different bass players...
MSJ: Any names?
Oh sure! Joe Comeau from Annihilator is gonna sing on a few songs, James Rivera from Helstar, Rob Rock, Bobby Blitz from Overkill, Lizzy Borden, Andy Kuntz from Vanden Plas. Brian from Seven Witches is gonna play drums, Mike Sabatini from Attacker is gonna play drums, Joey Vera's gonna play bass, Mike Duda from WASP is gonna play's gonna be a really fun record!
MSJ: What label is it going to be on?
Sanctuary. They've pretty much got me locked up for life. I'm really happy to be with them...
MSJ: What was the last CD you got just for yourself?
That's a hard one. I'm a huge CD collector; I've got over 6000 CD's in my collection. I get tons of stuff every day because I know all these guys from other bands. Recently I've been listening to the new Cage record with Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath--editor) singing on it.
MSJ: What was the last show you caught?
Dio, Deep Purple and the Scorpions. Dio was...oh, God, such a classy singer. His new guitarist Doug Aldrich is one of my all-time guitar players that never got any recognition. He's been in Babylon Rising, Burning Rain, Hurricane, House of Lords and the guy just friggin' rips. Scorpions are always great. I only saw a little bit of Deep Purple. I got nothing against Steve Morse, but I love Blackmore. Without Blackmore, I'm sorry, it's not just the same.
MSJ: What was your Spinal Tap moment?
Spinal Tap moment - You want something really funny, huh? So many gigs, so many shows. Well, we played in Spain with Savatage and we were in a stadium where they had bullfights. Now Oliva (Jon, Savatage singer--editor) would pick up a big red curtain and put it in front of me, and I'd run through it like a bull on stage while he was yelling "Toro! Toro!" The crowd was dying, that was really funny at the time. I love to be on stage. If something turned out bad, I'd just laugh about it!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 3 at
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