This past April, we took a trip back to New Jersey to a band called Hades who are one of my personal favorites (You can read the original post here) and I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of interviewing singer Alan Tecchio about the band, the upcoming Headbangers Open Air Festival and his thoughts on the music scene today.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with HearEvil. First let’s talk about what’s going on with Hades at the moment!
AT: We will be doing the Headbangers Open Air Festival this coming July. Dan Lorenzo had announced that he would not be performing and when I reached out to the other members they informed me that they were not interested in doing the show as well since Dan wasn‘t doing it. Since we had been booked to do the show for awhile and are headlining the second night of the festival, I put together a band which includes Jack Frost (Seven Witches) and Sean Tarr (TNA) on guitar, Kevin Bolembach (Non-Fiction, Hades) on bass and Ron Lipnicki-Drums (Overkill, Hades). The show will be billed “A Night of Hades with Alan Tecchio and Friends.” and we’ll be doing songs off the first two records Resisting Success and If At First You Don’t Succeed. I am honored and flattered that people want to see Hades and I don’t want to disappoint the fans. Hopefully everyone will understand because I personally hate it when I go see a band and the only original member of the band is the singer. I don’t want to be that guy on stage pretending that it‘s Hades because it’s not Hades.
Hades reunited for a few shows in Europe as well as the US. How did the shows go? What was the fan response like?
AT: The difference is the size of the crowd. Jersey is 100-200 people compared to thousands of people in Europe. In Europe, some of the people in the crowd don’t care about you or some of them are totally, totally into you. I usually go out and hang out with the crowd after the gig and after I dry off. I did that at both the Jersey show and the Europe show. That’s the similarity between the two shows. When you talk to the fans, they both are gushing about the fact that you came and you played and you really went for it. It wasn’t Hades but I played Keep It True with Watchtower three years ago and same exact thing. I really went for it vocally with that show and the fans are like, wow we didn’t totally expect that.
After Hades broke up in 1989, did you think you’d be playing with the guys so many years later?
AT: At that time no way. We were at a really bad place back then. We were in Europe, breaking up, on tour, and having to play out the last remaining shows knowing we were breaking up and just not getting along very well. If you had told us then we would be playing together, we would have been like no way in hell. I think everyone pretty much felt that way, some more than others. At that time definitely not. It was over time that things kinda chilled out. Dan and I had a falling out, a few times over the years, but we had mended fences and basically I think what he had said to me for $avior$elf was: “Do you think we still have a good record in us? Do you think we have enough good riffs and you have some good ideas for lyrics?” And I said “I don’t know, there is only one way to find out!” And that’s what we started doing. We starting writing and then recording a demo which eventually turned out to be the record that Metal Blade released. But then our heads were in much different places. We all had jobs and this was something we did for fun. We never expected to get signed and then it happened and we got signed by Metal Blade and then we were like “Woah, maybe we should do some shows.”
How was the vibe for the reunion(s)?
AT: On some levels the vibes were very different each time for a variety of reasons. When you’re going out and doing shows in Pennsylvania and Ohio and in fact, the second leg of the Hades existence if you will, from 1998-2000, we went out to Kalamazoo and we were doing some weird one off road trips, trying to do 2 and 3 shows or one show in a weekend kinda things. When you go out and your a young band like when we were doing it in the 80’s you go out in that van and suck it up and you don’t care. You‘re just like, “We’re gonna make it, this is how we’re gonna make it, we’re doin’ it, we’re paying our dues this is awesome with our friends on the road” You’re hungry and you have this dream that you’re going to be successful at it. When we did it in the late 90’s at that point I think we all pretty much realized that we’re not gonna make it, it’s just more about playing some cool metal for some people who still appreciate it. That’s very much the same way how I feel now It’s not about becoming famous or whatever it’s about doing something cool artistically that you’re into and for me that happened to be singing.
Metal Blade signed Hades to a 3 record deal in the late 90’s which showcased a heavier side to your music. How did the fans react to the new Hades sound?
AT: Hot and cold. There was definitely an evident Non-Fiction influence on the records. By that point Non-Fiction had played tons of shows and had done 3 records and we were like a unit. But we weren’t around anymore at that point for about 4 years or so. We didn’t have that cohesiveness as a band but Dan still had that sorta heavy mentality. A lot of the songs were tuned down a little bit more so that instantly added a kind of a thicky, meaty, kinda substance to the songs that we didn’t have in the 80’s. I know some fans really loved it, some fans really didn’t like the Non Fiction kind of stuff. I’ll tell you what I mostly listen to my IPOD on shuffle and just the other day, Responsible came on off Downside and it’s very Non Fiction but it’s FREAKING AWESOME (laughs). To me it’s just heavy so of course it can be a part of Hades since Dan and I are the principal songwriters in both bands and it’s sorta just kinda how we evolved.
Looking back is there anything that you think you would have done differently or would you have kept everything the same?
AT: For sure! I do regret stuff like having the band break up over crappy personal problems in Europe on tour. It would have been cool to stick together because when we did the reunion record Exist to Resist there are some really, really good songs on the album in my opinion. They were all from that era that was going to be the next Hades record and I think it would have been the record that maybe would have defined us had we done it then. By the time we did the reunion record, Tommy was totally playing drums differently, not worse but just not the same way. He chose to change his style and it wasn’t that fiery style from the 80’s. So the record would have sounded a lot different with drums had it been done then.
In 2004 Mausoleum Records re-released the first two Hades albums Resisting Success and If At First You Don’t Succeed along with a new song Thinktank. How did the re-release come about?
AT: All of that generally comes down to me and Dan. We had re-released both of them in various formats a few times before with different bonus tracks. I did all the artwork and it was first when I was starting to do artwork I scanned a lot of it. We had all these various versions so we said why don’t we put something official out. So when we re-released this I spoke to my friend Tom Durr at Rockridge Records and I said “Dude, would you have any interest in putting these out?” and he said “Absolutely.” They paid for the art and the production and in Europe we needed a connection there so Dan worked that link out.
How did the Bootlegged in Boston DVD release come about?
AT: Basically that’s Dan who made that happen. He would come to me and bring this idea and I’d be like shit let’s go for it. That’s a captured moment in time I’ll never forget that run of shows with Manowar, Nuclear Assault, Meliah Rage and Wargasm.
You’ve also released a DVD of the 2010 reunion show at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. For those who have not yet picked up the DVD what can fans expect?
AT: That came about with Jay Bones who has been doing our video stuff for years. He did the Ground Zero video. Dan and him have been doing stuff together for years. That was our warm up show for Keep It True show where I ended up going over with Watchtower and the rest of the band had gotten grounded due to that volcano. The DVD includes footage from the Non Fiction reunion show That was a great reunion show also. Both gigs were high energy and I think we played pretty well and did justice to the old material. Hades in pretty good form. Kevin (Bolenbach) on bass, not Jimmy (Schulman) so it wasn’t an original, original and Kevin doesn’t play like Jimmy so I’m sure some people missed Jimmy’s playing. I do all the artwork for the DVD and that’s how Dan and I collaborate.
What are your thoughts on the music industry today?
AT: The old days you learn about things through fanzines and stuff and the traffic of information was so much slower and fragmented. These days I can’t say I totally understand it. Today you can buy one song at a time online, whatever they like. Being offered stuff more easily, however we want it instantly and I love that fact. When I want to find out something I pick up my phone and look at Wikipedia and there are so many things that are so cool like shit, I wish I had that when I was kid. As far as music goes, I have a friend that is a stage manager and he’s worked with a lot of bands and when you talk to him he says that bands are making tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise every night, getting paid incredible salaries, living high off the hog and they are young. So that’s the world that the young generation has inherited and God Bless them, I’m sure we were just as crazy as they were in our era.
Who do you consider some of your biggest influences and what vocalist(s) inspired you to become a front man?
AT: Robert Plant for the inspiration when I was a little kid for sure. Influence wise after that lot of Halford, a lot of Dickinson. I try to get my kids into all types of music and I had them listening to Bruce Dickinson’s solo album and my kids say “Dad that sounds like you” and I tell them “no it’s more like its the other way around.” Also Robert Smith from The Cure. They are one of my top 5 favorites for sure.
If there is one thing you would want Hades to be remembered for what would it be?
AT: I would want people to remember at the time we came out we kinda had our own sound which was pretty rare. We had elements of other bands that you could definitely pick out in the songs influences like Megadeth & Slayer. In some of the riffing you can hear those things, definitely some Metal Church in there. What made the band was the sum of it’s parts, not just an individual player be it the writer, be it the soloist or the singer. That’s what I’d like people to remember: By being the sum of our own parts we kind of had our own identity sonically cause nobody had a rhythm section in that type of band like we had. Jimmy and the stuff he did with Tommy the real jazzy stuff that was syncopated together was not being done in any other metal band. My voice was the other thing that made it a lot different because a lot of the singers in other bands were kinda barking or were okay singers. I tried to really go for it and do a lot of high stuff and kinda expand my range on an on-going basis and there really weren’t a lot of other singers doing that except for some of the big guys like Joey Belladonna and guys like that. I wanted to stand out and pay homage to where I got it from. It’s not about me it’s about putting my type of sound to this crazy rhythm section and these wickedly heavy riffs.
What are your thoughts on social media’s impact on music does it hurt or help the heavy music world?
AT: I can only imagine that it’s helping in a lot of ways because you can reach so many people and then if they are not interested in you and don’t want to read anymore about you they won’t. But they may not have heard of you without that so it‘s like a double edged sword. If they do like you, they may become a fan for life I’m in sales so it’s all about the numbers. If you knock on ten doors, you are gonna close a certain amount of deals. In music, if you get your music out to zillions of people you odds are gong to be pretty good with your return compared to the old days. Then again I don’t know. Is everyone getting tired of being spammed by everyone else saying come see me, come listen to me, come do this for me?
Can you tell us about your contribution to the cookbook Mosh Potatoes?
AT: My recipe is a chicken and pasta dish called Chicken a la Al. Many, many years ago I would go to a little luncheonette every morning and the guy who owned it was a metalhead also and he and I would shoot the shit. One night he invited me over for dinner, I think he felt bad for me cause I was single and wasn’t getting a home cooked meal at the time. His dish was called Chicken a la Nick. I said “this is awesome” and he said “I’ll teach you how to make it and this way you can make your own dinner but put in your own things and make it your own.” I altered it a little bit and it became Chicken a la Al and that’s what we went with!
Finally, anything you’d like to tell your fans on HearEvil.com?
AT: Yes thanks for supporting the metal and keeping it growing. It’s flattering that anybody still cares sometimes about something you did so long ago and it means the world to us artists out there that are still doing it at whatever level we are doing it on. Keep up the metal and thank you!
And thank you Alan for a great interview.