Toomey: How has this latest touring cycle and album cycle gone for you guys?
Mike: Pretty well, thank you very much. It took awhile to get started making that record, but once we did it’s been pretty smooth. Just finding someone to put it out, that’s as good as Nuclear Blast as what they do, as far as what passes for a record label these days. They do a great job. That whole thing was pretty painless and I like the result. There’s been a lot of attention on the 25th anniversary of Deliverance, speaking to how much time has passed. That’s kind of been where the promoters are coming from. We go to Europe and they’re like, “Can you play Deliverance in its entireity?” It’s like “Nah, but we can sort of say that we’re celebrating 25 years and play a lot of it.” That’s kind of at the expense of playing new stuff, we’re always playing a couple of songs after it. I think at this point the way things are, with the shorter attention span of the promoters and such it’s really past time to get to work on a new one, truthfully.
Toomey: When I got the e-mail about this interview and doing the show and stuff, she had said something about the latest album promo. And I’m like, “They already have a new album out?” But what it was is she was just sending me updated promo from when “No Cross No Crown” came out, and it didn’t even phase me. Like, “Yeah they’re definitely putting out a new album.” It just seemed normal even though it’s only been a year and a half that a new album would already be come out.
Mike: We don’t work like that, collectively, you know? [Laughs] Hopefully we’re ready to get down to it, and do a little bit of writing collectively. We all do some writing on our own, but put it all together and see what we’ve got very soon.
Toomey: Now I did notice when we were at the show the other night, obviously, Reed Mullin not on drums. What’s the update with Reed, how’s he doing?
Mike: I really, really couldn’t say first hand. Basically he needs to take care of himself and get his shit together. And if that happens the door is open for him, if he doesn’t, well, that’s how it is. People need to want to help themselves, you can’t just push them to get help.
Toomey: Who’s currently playing drums with you guys?
Mike: Mr. John Green from Manchester, UK who was basically teching for us, and Reed had some sort of incident where basically just a few hours before getting on a plane to play Bloodstock a few years ago I heard that he wasn’t going to bea ble to make the trip. I was calling the tour manager in the UK to say hey we’re not going to be able to make it, he said “You know, John could learn all those songs.” And I thought about the idea of just pulling the plug on this whole thing we worked hard to do, and I said, you know what let’s try that. He stepped up with slightly less than 24 hours notice, learned a bunch stuff, studied up, and basically went up there in from of 60,000 people who were there to see Judas Priest, etc, etc, and just nailed it with energy and all that. I was like well this seems to be the way to go, you know?
Toomey: There seems to be so many stories like that in music. If you’re a bass tech, guitar tech, drum tech, know the set. Because at some point you’re probably going to have to play it.
Mike: The people that do that job are professionals and they understand having a job to do, whereas some of these musicians they lack gratitutde and they don’t understand that they’re not necessarily God’s gift to everyone. We try to approach things with “we’ve got something to do, we’ve got a job to do.” It’s artistic, it’s fun, we try to make it transformative, but every day we’ve got to get out there and do it, do what we’re supposed to do, so we need someone who’s got that work ethic to be in it with us. Not somebody that’s going to hold us back while they destroy themselves.
It’s not like I’m trying to police what somebody does, but you’ve got to be able to do what you’re there to do, and project something positive and something life affirming, hopefully.