MM: You were not in the band very long before they had you in the studio. The band released a single called “Condemned” in 2008, and you re-wrote the lyrics and the vocal lines for the song, which is now known as “Steel Vengeance”. Was anything changed musically? Is this recording the same that ended up on “Giants of Canaan”?
BL: Well, that song (“Condemned”) had only been released as a very limited single at Keep it True—I believe there were only 150 made up. Mike actually came up with the idea of me taking that music and coming up with my own lyrics and melodies. He wanted to show the metal world that Attacker was back in a big way, not another false start, as had happened twice before.
Musically it is exactly the same as what “Condemned” was, which makes it interesting to hear both versions now! The song was already great; Bob Mitchell gets a lot of respect from me…after all, I was a fan before I replaced him! We did re-record the entire song for the album version. It’s punchier now. Vocally, I did change the way I sang the bridge part. I had a lot of this ‘Ozzy’ thing going on in the demo version. Mike suggested I try it in my aggressive voice for the album version, and it worked. It’s much more powerful now.
MM: Many who know of your recordings, whether it be with Overlorde, Exhibition, Seven Witches, or Morbid Sin, understand your vocal prowess, but that is not your only role. You are also a lyricist, songwriter, and artist. You have your own personal outlets for expressing your creativity, but do you find more value in doing so musically than through other means? Do you also play any instruments?
BL: Well, it’s a different type of creative outlet, singing. It’s a physical release. I get any pent up anger or frustration I may have out. And that’s a great thing. It’s also a very emotional outlet for me. Anything I sing, I try to put feeling into it. I draw on some of my own life experiences when I approach writing and performing my vocals. As far as the lyrics go, I have always been strong with creative writing since grammar school. It was just something I loved. Being raised on horror and science fiction films certainly helped.
I’m also a passionate reader. I devour books. I’m a huge Stephen King and Dean Koontz fan, and most recently I’ve been getting into Jack Ketchum. My other passion is art. I draw, paint, and even dabble in sculpting. I seem to be good at all the things that don’t make money nowadays! But art is also a great outlet for me. As far as an instrument goes, yes…I play guitar. No leads though—just rhythm guitar, which works for me since I can come up with a riff here and there.
MM: You created the album artwork concept and provided a sketch from which Jowita Kaminska-Peruzzi delivered the finished product. You also wrote nearly all of the lyrics and the vocal lines. Did you also work with the rest of the band with respect to constructing the musical arrangements?
BL: No. Virtually all of the music on this album came from the other guys. There was a point in working on “The Hammer” where I felt it just needed a slow break. I just heard it…felt it. I got the melody line in my head and could not shake the idea. So I presented it to the guys and played what I heard for them on the guitar, and they were into it. So I’m really fortunate in that respect. It’s nice as a singer to be able to pick up a guitar and say “hey, can you guys try this? I’m hearing this in my head”. This band is a team, and we never just shoot ideas down. We listen to everything and we all get honest about what’s happening musically. You cannot take anything to heart in the creative process. If a part in a song just isn’t working, it goes.
This album pretty much just flowed. It was an amazing creative process. The songs seemed to transform themselves. I’m hoping we start writing new material soon. I’m very inspired in this band. The guys are just tremendous musicians—awesome talents every one of them. This is a band of artists. We do this because we love it, and our hearts and souls are in it. We don’t do it for money, or chicks, or to party, or any other reason besides we have it in our blood. Let’s face it: our type of metal has not been a money-making juggernaut the past 15 years. The fact that we can please people with what we do just makes it all worthwhile.
MM: When you joined Attacker, was it already understood that the band would be getting more than just a musician, but also somebody who would make valuable contributions to, in a sense, re-establishing their identity? After all, Mike Sabatini and Pat Marinelli formed the band in 1983, but it is your conceptual ideas, visually and lyrically, that are littered throughout “Giants of Canaan”. I suppose that says something about how well the band’s new lineup (also with bassist Jon Hanemann) functions as a unit?
BL: I don’t really know how aware the band was of my artistic talents outside of music. I’m not even sure they realized I was also a lyricist. In the past, from what I understand, Mike Sabatini, Mike Benetatos, and Lou Ciarlo had all contributed lyrically in addition to their singers. I don’t know if this was more a case of the singers not being able to come up with all the lyrics or what, but I have always been the primary lyricist and came up with all of my vocal melodies in my past endeavors—aside from Overlorde that is. With Overlorde, half of that album was already written when I came into the band. I did restructure some of the vocal lines, and gave all the old stuff my ‘Lucas touch’, so to speak. But being able to be in complete control of lyrics and melodies felt extremely good again.
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