LebMetal is privileged to bring you this special all-star interview with the band HAIL! Special thanks to Roy Naufal from Rockring for establishing the proper channels to make this interview possible.
- HAIL! — the new all-star project featuring:
– Tim “Ripper” Owens (vocalist Judas Priest 1997-2004, Iced Earth 2003-2007, Yngwie Malmsteen 2008, and other bands)
– Andreas Kisser (guitarist Sepultura 1987-present)
– Paul Bostaph (drummer Slayer 1992-2001, Exodus 2005-2007, Testament 2008-present)
– David Ellefson (Megadeth bassist 1983-2002, F5 2003-present)
Hail! will be playing in Lebanon on November 20, ready to blast your ears off in what is the most historic step in the Lebanese metal scene, being the first time such high level people will play in Lebanon – hailing all the way from San Francisco, Detroit, Phoenix, and Sao Paolo Brazil.
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is without a doubt among the most important metal vocalists of the past ten years. When he succeeded Rob Halford, joining Judas Priest in May 1996, Owens had previously been a fairly unknown quantity to international music journalists and only a few new of him from the band Winters Bane, but he recorded his first Priest album, Grammy nominated Jugulator (1997) with more aplomb than even insiders had expected.
Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT,Exodus), will be joining Hail for their upcoming dates in November and December. Asked how Paul Bostaph came to play with HAIL!, Ellefson eagerly replied “After Jimmy DeGrasso became unavailable due to his touring commitments with ALICE COOPER,Bostaph shared his excitement, “To play with Tim, Andreas and Dave? Talk about an honor, these guys are metal gods! I thought it was super cool when I first heard about HAIL! and what they were doing. Now to be a part of it is amazing. I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait.”
BassistDavid Warren Ellefsonis a bass guitar player who is best known as one of the founding members of seminal thrash metal band MEGADEATH in which he played from 1983-2002. He is currently a member of Avian, Temple of Brutality, F5 and Killing Machine.Other than vocalist and primary lyricist Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Ellefson was the only constant member of Megadeth from the time of their establishment in 1983 to their disbandment in 2002.
Ellefson formed F5 following Megadeth’s 2002 disbandment. The band features Ellefson on bass, Dale Steele on vocals, Steve Conley on lead guitar, John Davis on rhythm guitar and Jimmy DeGrasso on drums. Their first album, “A Drug for all Seasons” was released in 2005.
Andrea Kisser was originally a roadie for founding vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera, he was asked to join SEPULTURA in 1987 following the departure of original lead guitarist Jairo Guedes.
In 1992, Andreas unsuccessfully auditioned for the position of rhythm guitarist of METALLICA, as a temporary replacement of James Heitfield, who had suffered severe burns on his hand during a live show.Kisser and drummer Igor Cavalera became the major creative forces in Sepultura after Max Cavalera’s 1996 departure.His Solo Album entitled “Hubris I & II”, has been released in Europe.
The set list of these four legends of heavy metal will honor their own genres of metal as well as the classic music that inspired their careers.
HAIL! is expected to perform tracks from MEGADETH, SEPULTURA and JUDAS PRIEST but also classics from AC/DC, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, METALLICA, VENOM and IRON MAIDEN.
- Who came up with the idea to form this multi “all-star” band? and who are the current members?
David Ellefson: Our manager, Mark Abbattista, and I conceived the group and the initial trip to South America back in January 2009. The idea was to showcase songs from our own catalogs as well as those that inspired us to play and eventually be part of iconic bands of the Thrash and Classic metal eras. It resulted in a sort of ‘tribute to metal’ type of set list, by some of the guys who helped create those genres.
- Are the members friends or random acquaintances? How did the combination of members come to place?
David Ellefson: We’ve all known each other through various musical settings in the past. Obviously Jimmy DeGrasso (drummer in previous tours) and I played together in many settings. I’ve also known Paul Bostaph (our newest brother!) for many years through our various acquaintances in and around SLAYER and EXODUS and many others.
Ripper and I not only toured together in the late 90s but we also did a HAIL!-type jam at the WNAMM show in California back in January 2008, which really inspired us to look for another opportunity to work together like this in the future.
Andreas played with Ripper at a Roadrunner Records 25th Anniversary event, and they played with Roy Mayorga there, too. Basically, it’s one big melting pot of metal all-stars getting together for the love of the music and the lifestyle we love.
- This surely does appear to be fun for you guys, playing covers of your own bands and other major bands in the world. Do you see yourself as a studio recording band sometime in the future?
David Ellefson: We always talk about recordings and we have taped and recorded many live shows. I think rather than recording original studio music we would rather first release some of the live shows on DVD at some point – hopefully our Lebanon show!
- It surely must be easy to book gigs for the band; where have you played so far? and what has been your favorite gig?
David Ellefson: Yes, every time we play the phone starts ringing for us to go to their country! So far we’ve gone to Chile, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.They are all different but the one thing in common is that they all love metal and that is why HAIL! exists, to take the metal to the people.
Tim Ripper: well I would think it would be easy..lol. We try to play special gigs, like chile, greece, austria, turkey, sweden, norway, denmark, finland..etc. – hope we do a good run of south america and mexico soon and wouldn’t mind a select few dates in the US.. And I have loved all the gigs, no real favorite
“video courtesy of Rockring – www.rockringlb.com”
- Ever wanted to play in the Middle East? specifically Lebanon?
David Ellefson: Yes, absolutely! HAIL! is the perfect band to play a country like Lebanon because we intend to go to places that don’t get all the other big bands as easily. With HAIL! it’s like you get to see four great bands in one place, all in one night.
Tim Ripper: Oh yea..we have it in the works..I really hope we do it and I am really excited to play…I can not wait
- What about HAIL’s promotion work and your relation with press at the moment ? we haven’t heard too much about the band…is it a recent project?
David Ellefson: We’ve caused quite a stir in the metal community because we keep the door open for anyone who’s notable to come up and jam, or even tour with us. That is the spirit we want to keep alive with the group, which is to have it be about metal, for metal, and from those of us who create metal music.
Tim Ripper: Well it is out there. I mean it is on the internet, all metal heads in the US know about it, and I would think metal heads world wide would..there isn’t gonna be as much press as say like my solo cd” PLAY MY GAME” got but that is a different animal..HAIL! is special and it comes around every so often to make it special..we aren’t selling a cd, we are promoting a tour and every few months that is what we do…but if you would like to spread the word about HAIL!l…please do
- Anything you want to add to the Lebanese Fans and to the online LebMetal community?
David Ellefson: We are happy and proud to be one of the first bands to come to your country from this side of the planet. It’s an honor for us to bring our music to you and we can’t wait to throw a big heavy metal party in your country!
Andreas,Ripper: we are very happy to visit lebanon for the first time, also with sepultura we had some offers before but they didn´t work out. now finally we have the chance to go. i think it will be an unforgetable show for us and for everybody that will come to see us.
- Considering Lebanon has been confirmed, and it is the first time for most of you to visit the country and even the region, what are your feelings and expectations playing in this ‘new world’?
David Ellefson: We like to keep an open mind for all new countries. That is a huge perk for musicians to travel and see the world all because of the music we play and that the fans that want to come out and see us. I’ve heard many great things about Lebanon but there’s nothing like experiencing it yourself first hand. Also, there’s no better way than by way of your own music.
Andreas Ripper: We have the best expectations, we’ve done great shows in many different countries and everywhere they love “metal”. we are having a blast playing the music of bands we love and we can´t wait to play in lebanon, i know there are a lot of metal heads waiting for us and we are very excited to jam for you all. i’m also excited about having some extra time to see the country.
“video courtesy of Rockring – www.rockringlb.com”
“Listen to the full phone interview with David on Radio One 105.5,this Wednesday 28 Oct ’09 at 10pm”
- Do you have anything to tell the Lebanese fans who will be impatiently awaiting this first decent international act in Lebanon?
David Ellefson: Be prepared for something you’ve never seen or heard before. HAIL! is the ultimate band for your first international concert because it brings together so many players from both North and South America, all to your soil so we can all head bang and dig the metal together.We can’t wait!
Paul Bostaph: Yes, It’s always exciting to bring metal to places ( cities or countries ) that don’t get to see professional metal bands play at all. After all these years of touring I’ve never played Lebanon. So, It’s gonna be a special gig for me to play, share with the fans and jam with Dave, Andreas and Tim. HAIL! It’s going down in my memory as one of the most special gigs I’ve done. I know we’re gonna blow the roof of the place!!! Can’t wait to see you all at the show!
- Most of you probably have the idea of Lebanon as portrayed by the media…what exactly do you expect to see when you get here (as a country, aside of the concert)? do you have any specific plans of checking out the country, or will you just play and leave?
David Ellefson: That’s what I love about seeing the world with a guitar in my hand is that music breaks down all barriers and allows people to be seen for who they really are, and this case metal fans who just love metal regardless of their address, language or any other social likings.As for our activities, we always like the local food and drink as well as activities the locals like to take part in. We hear your skiing is great and the beaches and mountains are spectacular.
Andreas,Ripper: like i said i´m very happy to go to lebanon and i hope to have time to see as much as we can from your country. in brazil we have many lebanese immigrants and i have many friends with lebanese blood. also the lebanese food is very popular in brazil and i can´t wait to eat the very tasty food “in loco”.
- Do you think you will ever get their own band to play in Lebanon after a hopefully positive experience here?
David Ellefson:It is very likely as Lebanon seems to be a pro-active country wanting to have bands like these come to kick your ass with the music we all know and love.
Paul Bostaph: I can’t speak for anybody else in HAIL! But, I’m sure the Testament camp may consider coming over sometime. “I’ll put in the word when I get home.”
Again, special thanks to the RockRing Team for their Support http://www.rockringlb.com/