Interview with Jag Panzer guitarist Mark Briody
Photo of Mark Briody by Ace Warloch at the Lab in St. Paul.
Photo by Ted Banks. From the Century Media Press webpage.
Date of Interview: 9-28-01
Note: An article was written from this interview and published in the RCTC Echo. This is the first time the interview has been published in the original Q&A form. - Nate Dressel
 
LK: Where were you when you first heard about the WTC attack?
MB: I ran into my sister -I donít listen to the radio and I was driving around and I thought it was a little strange that cars were pulling off to the side of the road. I ran into my sister and she told me what happened. I immediately went home and figured out what was up with my son cause he goes to school on a military base. They locked the school down. I watched CNN from there on.
LK: What kind of impact do think thatís (WTC attack) is going to have on touring bands. For instance youíve toured Europe before so you know what itís like to go through airports and customs and stuff. Could you reflect on if thatís going to be a big problem for bands in the future and for you guys?
MB: The more popular you get, as an American band I would think you would definitely be a target in Europe, which is unfortunate. I can definitely see that happening. Um Security over there is always so much tighter than here anyway. I canít imagine it getting even tighter, especially - we fly to London often. Security is incredible there.
LK: Who was your inspiration to pick up the guitar?
MB: Ritchie Blackmore, The early Deep Purple stuff and Rainbow and Dio. I just liked everything about him, the guitar tone, the riffs he wrote, his lead playing, everything.
LK: What was your first metal album?
MB: Deep Purple Ė Machine Head
LK: Did you design the Jag Panzer website?
MB: Yes I did. Graphic Design is totally cool. I wish I could actually do it for a living or something if I wasnít a musician or doing other things. But itís sort of a hobby of mine I like to do it. Weíve had a site up since í94. Iíve always done the site.
LK: Did you go to school to learn how to do it or did you teach yourself?
MB: I taught myself. Iím not opposed to going to school for it; they just didnít offer much of this when I was in school.
LK: MW was recorded in three different places from CO to AZ to FL. What was the philosophy or reasoning behind that?
MB: [laughing] Saving money. The only reason. People look at that and go "thatís crazy - they went all these places." But we have a set list of what equipment we need in a studio. [undecipherable-ND]...and Jim Morris likes to work in a good environment so - Yeah, sometimes itís actually cheaper to spend the flights and go somewhere if you can get a really good rate at a studio for a week. Studios are always looking to book time. Sometimes theyíll have the next 6 weeks booked but thereís a week in the middle thatís empty. So for us, itís purely a matter of saving money. I think we probably do the lowest budget records of bands that sell as much as we do and I think our records sound very good.
LK: How long did it take to write and record MW?
MB: I think I had about two songs done and ready to go even before Thane to the Throne  was out at the stores. It took about 13 months to write and it took about a month to record.
LK: Could you briefly touch on the subject matter and/or inspiration behind each song on MW?
MB: Sure. There is a ton of subject matter on this album. We wanted to do something completely different from Thane to the Throne. "Take to the Sky" the first track is what it would be like to fly a fighter plane - just the power behind it, the G-force, the speed - just the total adrenaline rush of it. The song "The Unworthy" is a pretty dark subject about a man whose put his whole life into his religion and when he really needs them, theyíre not there for him and heís not getting the answers from his religion so heís going crazy. "The Scarlet Letter" is about a prostitute named Scarlet who is sort of a tip of the hat, a tribute to Iron Maiden - who have several songs about Charlotte the Harlot. So itís like an Iron Maiden tribute. The last song on the album, "All Things Renewed," is about Armageddon and an angel watching it and wishing he could stop it but he canít do anything. So lots of different subject matter here.
LK: Is "The Silent" about vampires?
MB: Yeah, itís about a guy - I think Harry knows somebody like this; a guy thatís so into the Goth scene that he goes crazy and thinks he is a vampire.
LK: I noticed that a lot of the lyrics have a kind of introspective / spiritual searching vibe going on.
MB: There is, thatís true.
LK: I guess in a sense you could have called the album "Spiritual Warfare."
[Mark laughs]
LK: Anyway, how hard was it to get monks from The Order of Saint Hubbins to do Gregorian chants on the album?
MB: [laughing] Considering that itís me, Harry and our producer Jim Morris.
LK: Really? You guys are the Secret Order of Saint Hubbins?
MB: Yeah, if you watch Spinal Tap, at the very last scene they ask David St. Hubbins "Is there really a Saint Hubbins?" and he said, "Yes, heís the patron saint of quality footwear." So on the album we thanked the Order of Saint Hubbins for the quality footwear. [laughing]
LK: [laughing] The next question was gonna be 'wouldnít they object to some of the dark lyrics?' being monks and all.
[We laugh heartily]
MB: Weíve gotten pretty adaptive, being able to pull off giant choirs and stuff. We did that on the last album with only a handful of people so we thought weíd try monks with only a handful of people. [laughing] The monks were three of us, and thatís back to the money saving thing. I wanna stress quickly, when I say money saving, we donít ever do anything to sacrifice the sound quality but if we can do something that sounds... I think it sounds just as good as getting monks and it was free.
LK: After "All Things Renewed" there is a little goofy piece. Were you just parodying one of your own songs or is there something secretive hidden in there?
MB: No, we were mixing "The Scarlet Letter" and Jim had the vocal choruses up alone in the mix. And it didnít sound metal at all so our other guitar player Chris started playing a goofy piano part along with it to try to turn it into a rag time song. And it sounded great so we recorded it - threw it on the end of the album just to see if anybody could recognize what it was.
LK: The album is dedicated to Rudi Schmidt. Who is this person?
MB: He was a guitar player for a really band around here called ĎSudden Impact.í Very cool, heavy band and he was killed in a motorcycle accident about two years ago.
LK: So far for touring youíve only played the Metal Days Fest in Switzerland, the Wacken Open Air in Germany and the Milwaukee Metal Fest. Are there any more touring plans in the works?
MB: Were looking to do some touring around February or so. My wife and I are expecting twins any day now; we thought it was going to be yesterday but it was a false alarm. And then Harry and his wife are expecting a child in about 5 weeks. So were sort of doing the family thing for a while and once that gets settled down then were going to do some touring.
LK: My JP collection starts with The Fourth Judgement. Is that when you started using violin or have you been using it since the beginning?
MB: In the beginning we did it but it was just real bad synthesizer patches. On Ample Destruction  thereís a song called "The Crucifix." And it does have a violin part on it that doesnít really sound like a violin because we didnít know any violin players. That was the first time we used a real violin (The Fourth Judgement) but we have approached using the instrument in the past.
LK: How did you come up with the idea of writing a hockey anthem to the Judas Priest song "Youíve got Another Thing Coming" and is it available to the public?
MB: Iím a huge hockey fan and the CO Avalancher (sp?) is a great team; they make the playoffs every single year. Every year around here the radio starts playing these songs and they suck, they play awful music and I just complained so much to everybody that this year people just said "Just quite complaining and do one of your own." So I asked the guys in the band who arenít really that big of hockey fans if they wouldnít mind doing it and they said, "sure." We picked that song because that is a song that would get typically played on CO radio anyway. It actually got a lot of airplay. Itís really cool because they never play Jag Panzer on the radio in Colorado. Itís not available to the public you can only download it from the website. I donít want to sell something like that, just download it, get it for free, if your buddies got it, copy it from him. Do anything you can to get it.
LK: What led you guys to do a cover of Gordon Lightfootís "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?"
MB: Didnít have anything else to do. [Laughing] I donít understand a lot of bands - when theyíre not touring and theyíre not recording, what are these people doing? We go crazy when were not doing something. We had a few days - so I asked the other band members "Hey lets go record a song, letís do something for fun." Everybody was very enthusiastic, "yeah letís do it." Obviously we donít want to use a song were working on, thatís going to be on a future album so we thought weíd pick a cover tune and we thought weíd pick something kind of obscure, kind of different to do. So we recorded it and itís a little bit rough about the edges - it was done in our home studio. We thought it turned out OK so we put it on the website and itís a free download.

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