US metallers Widow are just about to land on out shores for the first time ever, so we caught up with them as they prepare to support the legendary Grim Reaper in London.
So, first up, you’re heading to London for a show with Grim Reaper on June 8th – are you looking forward to it? Will this be your first time in London?
“Yes! I am so excited for the show! I’ve never been toLondon(other than the airport) so I can’t wait to play! The UK is responsible for so many of my favourite bands, so it’s amazing to be able to finally play inLondon!”
What can we expect from the Widow live show?
“A high energy, rocking good time! We love playing and have the time of our lives doing it! Metal is about fun for me and people always come away having a blast at our shows! The more you drink, the better we sound ha-ha!”
. Are you guys fans of Grim Reaper? And how about Midnight Messiah (or Elixir, the band they grew from)?
“I am a major Grim Reaper fan!!! I never saw them back in the day, so it’s killer to have a chance to hear so many classics played live! It’s gonna rock us to hell!!! And I’m looking forward to seeing Midnight Messiah too! Elixir was definitely a killer band, so I’m sure they will be great too!”
You recently played a show with Queensryche and at the end of last year with Raven – one of my all-time favourites – how did those two shows go for you?
“Both shows were amazing! We actually got to play with Raven twice, once inNorth Carolinawhere we live and again inAthensat the Up The Hammers fest. They ruled both times! I am a major Pentagram fan also, so it was so cool to talk to Joe Hasselvander about the old days. Queensryche is one of my all time faves, so meeting the guys and playing with them was so cool. They put on an awesome show. We had met Todd before when we played with Crimson Glory and he did excellent. Those are big shoes to fill, and I think he did a great job!”
You’ve played in Greece recently and I know last year you were in Japan and Germany. How do the European and Japanese gigs/audiences compare to the shows you play back in the States?
“Well, people in Europe andJapanare such devoted metalheads, it rules to play for them. Playing inEuropewas really my biggest dream in life and I’m really grateful to be able to do it now. Playing inJapanwas also a huge dream; I never thought I would ever get the chance. The fans inJapanare incredible and they absolutely live for melodic heavy metal! It’s so great! But I also love playing in theUSandCanadatoo! The metal scene has always been present here, thriving in the underground. It’s really grown in the last several years and we really enjoy playing here as well! We’ve done a few North American tours, and the response has been amazing!”
What are some of your favourite places to play?
“Well,Japanwas absolutely amazing, the reaction blew me away! I was very nervous, people were chanting for us to come out before we played! Our show inGreecewas very magical and I loveGermanywith so many true bangers supporting the scene. I really loveNew Yorkand LA, both cities really have so much going on, you really find lots of die hard metal fans. But I really have a great time every time, no matter where we are. We’ve had so much support in our hometown ofRaleigh, it has a killer scene. It’s funny because sometimes a gig that you’d expect to be terrible in the middle of nowhere is the most fun!!! I have a blast anytime I can walk onstage and play for people who love metal the way I do!”
It’s been over a year since Life’s Blood came out – what are your thoughts on that album now?
“I’m still very happy with it. I love all our albums and they were the best we could do at the time. But I feel Life’s Blood is our best overall. I knew we just had to make a better album that topped all the others if we wanted to make a bigger mark. I know that we did it! But now, I want to top that!!!”
Have you started working on any new material? What can we expect from the next Widow album – and when can we expect it?
“We are just starting to work on it now. I have demoed some songs and we are starting on the actual recording this summer. I’m looking forward to it, things are coming together very nice!!!”
Will your relationship with Pure Steel be continuing?
“Yes, I think so. Those guys have been very good to us and really are truly fans of real metal and big supporters of us. They have helped us a lot and I’m pleased with the way everything has turned out.”
How and when do you write Widow material? Do you have a set way of working? What inspires you musically and lyrically?
“Yeah, I write all the music and lyrics at home. Then I make some demos at Johnny’s house, he has a studio at home. Then Peter learns the songs and lays down the drums. We don’t live in the same town, so we really don’t practice much. But doing things this way works for us. As far as inspiration goes, musically I’m inspired by my favourite players, like Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Jake E Lee, Andy LaRoque and George Lynch to name a few. Lyrically I have really just been putting my thoughts on my life, relationships, etc. on paper. I’ve been very honest with myself, allowing what naturally comes out to come to life in our music. I don’t want to be something I’m not! Widow is totally how we are as people!”
Will Lady Twilight be a feature of future Widow releases? Do you see yourselves developing that character further?
“I would like to, I’m so pleased with how she turned out. That also was something that happened very naturally. She just sort of came to life and we went with it! I know she will have a role in the next Widow album. Nothing wrong with a sexy lady hanging around!”
It’s been ten years now since the Widow debut, Midnight Strikes, how would you say the Widow sound has developed over those years?
“Well, I know we’ve matured musically and lyrically. We starting off writing about our favourite horror movies and then basically creating our own horror stories that we were a part of! That was really fun, but things did start going in a different direction. I didn’t want to try and force the band to stay exactly the same and that’s where the progression comes from. I do put a lot of thought into the band, but I also try to just wait and see where we’ll go next and let it go where it goes! I think that does keep things fresh and exciting!”
What changes have you noticed in the metal scene in general? Is it stronger now than it was when you started out?
“I think overall yes, it is stronger. There are lots of younger kids really getting into this type of music and I think that’s great! Heavy Metal definitely makes fans for life, most of whom do not follow some trend and this becomes a lifestyle for them, like it did for me! I’m all for it, I think that’s wonderful!”
What have been some of the highlights for the band over the last decade? And some of the toughest times?
“We had a female singer on our second album and Johnny and I also sang (On Fire album in 2005). I thought what we were doing with her was really different and very cool. We had problems with her and could not work with her anymore. We basically had to rebuild the band and that was tough for a while. We have had so many high points. Getting acknowledged as a big part of the resurgence of traditional metal by many magazines and fans has been a huge honour for me. Also, playing around the world has been a dream come true and I hope to keep doing it for many years to come!”
What’s coming up for Widow over the next few months? And what are some of your long term goals and ambitions for the band?
“We’re playing some shows this summer, working on the album and also playing inAustraliafor the first time later this year. After that, we plan to release our next album and tour as much as we possibly can! We won’t quit until everybody that wants to see us has had a chance. And after that, we’ll do it all again!!! Thanks to everybody for the support, we’ll see you at the bar . . . .”