Metal Church - 03/09/2019

Interview Metal Church – Dynamo Metal Fest / Eindhoven – July 20th 2019

Hey guys, you are on the road again here in Europe for some club and open air shows mainly with your colleagues Armored Saint from L.A. How are you feeling so far being in Germany and Holland again?

Kurdt: It’s good to be back, cause we didn’t come over here last summer, we had a little break. Touring with Armored Saint is great, we did a West Coast tour with them, about one and a half / two years ago. It’s great! We’re old school metal, so it’s really a perfect package.

Your last record ‘Damned if You Do’ from 2018 was a great comeback to the Mike Howe era of the late 80’s / early 90’s. It got highly appreciated by the fans and by the press equally. How was your approach to that album music-wise and lyric-wise compared to the old times?

Kurdt: Ah, compared to when Mike and I worked together in the 80’s? We tried really hard to make sure it was the same as we did back then. We wanted to approach it the same way as we did but this time we did it with just him and I, without any influence from managers, producers, anybody else. This time we got to do it exactly the way we wanted.

How important are the lyrics to Metal Church, what are they generally about and what are you dealing with lyrically in these times of globally ecological and social / political confusion?

Kurdt: Well yeah, we try to give some clarity with the confusion. One of the things that we don’t do is any of the satan stuff or any of the dark stuff, we stay away from that. Actually quite the opposite. But, it’s really important that keeping it in the heavy metal frame, keeping what we’re singing about positive. Didn’t really get too political you know, on this one we kind of stay away from that. But you know, like the song ‘Revolution Underway’, that is kind of about how people are waking up to evil and going wow! Wait a minute! The governments and all those people are not out for our best interest. So some there’s a little commentary on that, but kind of staying away from that. But then again also staying away from the meaningless stuff too. It’s a balancing act.

Please tell us something about the actual line-up, who is in the band right now and how the consistency / chemistry is.

Kurdt: Well, we have a new drummer Stet Howland took over from Jeff, who left because, you know it was his time, he was so busy with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and stuff like that, so it’s cool. It’s all completely applicable. But other than that Mike, myself and Steve Unger have been in the band since we reformed, and Rick van Zandt who took place for Jay Reynolds.

Going back in history, how did it all start in the very beginnings when you formed the band Shrapnel, and who were the members? How did it develop to Metal Church and where were you located?

Kurdt: I moved back from San Francisco, I was trying to start Metal Church. It just wasn’t happening, I couldn’t find the right people, nobody was interested. So I ended up moving back to my home town Aberdeen, putting it together there with a couple of people I knew from high school, people I played with when I was really young. And we put it together there and we were called Shrapnel because we were playing cover songs. As soon as we got the line-up right, we changed the name to Metal Church. Cause the Metal Church name had already been established when I was in San Francisco. So that was kind of how it was, as soon as we thought ok, this is the line-up, we’re going to start writing our own stuff and call the band Metal Church.

How do you remember the times with David (Wayne) up to his tragic death in 2005?

Kurdt: In the 80’s it was great, we were all young and healthy. But very quickly that changed. I left cause I wanted to spend more time working on more records. During the ‘Masterpeace’ thing, we tried to put it back together and it just didn’t work. You know there are some fond memories but there also some bad memories. Like the reunion with Dave, that was a disaster, that was just awful. We were under so much pressure from record companies and management. And we were like, no! It’s not working! They were like: No, it’ll be fine. And then we went out there and it didn’t work. They asked “What happened?” we said “We Told you”.

How do you see the traditional metal scene in the US and in Europe or Asia right now? Is there a younger audience interested in this music and are there younger bands playing this kind of music in your area?

Kurdt: There seems to be something going on, I don’t know to what extent. We were in the US with Doro and the crowds were great! Surprisingly. So yeah the scene seems really good. Now here with Armored Saint the club shows we’ve been doing were bigger than we expected. So maybe there’s something going on. What exactly, I don’t know. I’m not really aware of young bands starting to make traditional heavy metal again. I would like to, but I wouldn’t know where to follow.

Thank you very much for your time and enjoy the rest of the tour! Patchman Marco for Headbangers Zine &

Current Line-up:

Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitars
Steve Unger – Bass,
Rick Van Zandt – Guitars
Mike Howe – Vocals
Stet Howland – Drums



1984 - Metal Church

1986 - The Dark

1989 - Blessing in Disguise

1991 - The Human Factor

1993 - Hanging in the Balance

1999 - Masterpeace

2004 - The Weight of the World

2006 - A Light in the Dark

2008 - This Present Wasteland

2013 - Generation Nothing

2016 - XI

2018 - Damned If You Do