How would you describe your music?
CRUEL JUNO is straight-up, full-throttle, hard rock. Loud at any volume! Drum-wise I play single bass, and it was a very purposeful decision. I want the songs to sound wild through the music itself, not because I’m just slamming double bass underneath it. I want the song itself to sound like a car swerving down a narrow road.
Tell us about how the history of the project?
I moved back to Texas, and thought I’d either get into a band or start my own. But I couldn’t find anyone to play with locally. Over the past few years, though, I’d been able to meet some of the musicians in my favourite bands, and I decided to reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in recording remotely from their home studios when they’re not on tour. The first guys I talked to were Luca Princiotta (guitarist for DORO) and Gandolfo Ferro (singer for Heimdall). They were interested in my idea, and we recorded our first single, Swallow My Medicine. Things expanded from there. I’ve recorded with Fabio Lione (singer Rhapsody of Fire, Angra, Vision Divine, etc.), Oliver Palotai (keyboardist for Kamelot, Epica), and others. It’s been amazing to work with these incredible people!
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
Judas Priest! I consumed their music growing up. My drumming is heavily influenced by their ‘80s albums with Dave Holland on drums. Single bass drum. And when I’m writing guitar parts, I often ask myself, “What would Glenn Tipton play?”
What inspires you?
The guys I’m playing with. I am keenly aware of being the weakest link in the chain, and so I try to step up my playing to not disappoint them. If I can keep up with them, I’m doing great!
Do you write on the road? Or do you prefer to write in the studio?
Since we are a recording project, with guest musicians spread across the world, everything is done in home studios.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Of all time? Covering Judas Priest’s The Ripper. My own Cruel Juno tracks have not been performed live yet, although I’ve encouraged Gandolfo to perform them in Sicily with his band. I’d love to watch that via live feed!
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Touring for me wouldn’t be about the band – it would be about the people in the band. I really like Doro’s band – they’re great guys – and so touring with them would be a lot of fun. I’ve also been co-writing a song with Kobra And The Lotus guitarist Jasio Kulakowski, and I’ve met them when they’re on tour, and I could get along with them really well. They’d be great to tour with. And Battle Beast look like they’d be a riot!
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
Technology is making it so much easier for regular people to create high-quality music in their home studios. The biggest obstacle to conquer next is marketing and distribution. How do you get your music in front of people that will potentially love it? That’s the tricky part.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
In one of my earliest bands, we were playing a very questionable establishment. As we arrived to load in, there was one guy boarding up a broken window, and another starting to mop up a pool of blood on the sidewalk just outside that window. When we went inside, they were mopping up more blood. The guy mopping inside must’ve seen the look on my face and said, “We had another stabbing, and one guy got thrown through the window.” I turn to the guitarist and say, “I don’t know about this…” But before he can answer, the guy mopping says, “Oh, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’re the entertainment. And they never ruin the entertainment.”
What are your future plans?
Our first EP will be released January 10 – it’s called Playing With Monsters – available on Spotify and everywhere else. I also have a very limited number of CDs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in a CD. And we are already starting to record new music. Look for at least another EP by the end of the year. I’d rather constantly release singles or EPs than go long stretches without new music!