Shadow Gallery

Interview date

4 octobre 2010


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Brendt Allman (face to face)

Incredible, Shadow Gallery in Europe, I never thought this day would come. How do you feel about that?

I feel incredibly happy about it. It’s unbelievably fun! So far, the European people we’ve met have been outrageously acceptive of what we’re doing, and just really genuinely happy. And it makes us having a better time. The last two times we’ve been on stage, it’s been a party!

How come you never had the opportunity of doing some touring before, in more than twenty years of existence?

Yeah… We almost did it after we released "Carved In Stone". We signed up to be an opening act for Gamma Ray throughout Europe and Japan, and right before we were ready to do it, our drummer left us for another band. So, we couldn’t find anybody to play that music on such short notice and we had to withdraw from the tour… Then, we began working on the new album "Tyranny", and when it was finished, Carl had his first child and he wasn’t ready to go on the road, which is understandable. And the same thing happened with "Legacy", and "Room V"… and so on. Something always came up and we couldn’t really do it. But you know, after Mike died, we realised that we were getting older, so we said: “We’d better do this right now; we’d better find time to do it”.

Isn’t it a bit scary to go on stage if you’ve never really been used to it? Do you feel nervous?

Well, this isn’t all we do. Some of us play with other bands, you know locally or else… We’re all really used to play music live, just not with each other. When we did our first gig last month in Tannersville, I was thinking I was gonna be nervous, but I was just excited! It was like being on a rollercoaster. It was awesome.

Tonight in Paris will be your third show on your European trek, how did the first two shows go?

It went well, you know. Of course, we’re not perfect and we’re not trying to be perfect. But as long as we’re having a good time, it’s good. To me, it went well, because I had a great time (smiling).

It is with great sadness that the world received the news that Mike Baker, your previous singer, had passed away… In spite of this terrible event, you decided to move on and continue Shadow Gallery. How was this decision made?

At first, we just took a couple of months off. We wanted to be there for Mike’s family… it was tough… I did think for a while it was over… But then, we just talked about it and figured we should get the record finished. But it wouldn’t have happened without this young man over there (Brian Ashland has just entered the room) !

Talking about Brian, how did you choose your new singer? Were there lots of contestants?

Brian: I was the cheapest! (Laughs)

Brendt: Yeah, the cheapest and the closest!! (Laughs)
We contacted a few different individuals about it, we thought about other people too, from other bands you know… At first, we thought we would get a different singer for each song but then it would have been a little too much like Arjen Lucassen’s stuff, you know… which I love, by the way. Anyway, we heard the tape that Brian made ten years ago or something like that… and Gary said “Hey, remember that guy? He was so good… Let’s try and find him!”… Long story short: we couldn’t get in touch with the guy. Brian had totally disappeared from the internet. So, we were about to give up and we told Carl to see if he could try and find this guy on the internet, we told him about Brian and he said: "I think I work with this guy!”. And it turns out that this guy worked at the same place that Carl worked at… just down the hall! It’s like fate. God loves us, he gives the right people at the right time… it’s awesome.

After all these years making music, was it hard to pick up songs for a setlist? Fans must have many expectations that can’t all be met…

Yeah, that was hard! There were arguments (smiling). We cover everything, we play a little of every album… We knew that we would play certain songs like "Crystalline Dream" because there are fans’ favourites. Then there are songs that we wanted to do but we didn’t have time to rehearse, maybe next time, longer songs…

I’m glad to hear you say there will be a next time! So, you’re saying we can expect more tours…

Yeah, you know, there has to be. It’s too much fun!

Do you plan on recording a live album from this tour? That would be a great gift for your fans who have waited so long for a live performance.

Well, we are going to be filming a Belgian show. And you may see some cameras tonight, we’re filming a bit of everything on this tour. We don’t really know how it’s going to turn out… but it might become a nice DVD.

So, what’s next for Shadow Gallery?

I’m gonna get in a hot tub and sit there for about a month (smiling)! Because everything hurts already… my feet are killing me! No, we’re probably gonna start working on a new record.

Many consider "Tyranny" to be your masterpiece. What’s your own favourite album?

"Digital Ghosts". I love it. You know, most of the time, I don’t really listen to the rest of our albums because I worked on them so much, I’m sick of listening to them… but I still put this new one on, every now and then, and I go “Wow, this is pretty good, I really like this album”.

What’s your main source of inspiration when you write music?

My main source of inspiration is to not let down our fans, really. We get amazing emails… Before internet was really popular, we used to get amazing fan mails all the time. It’s like wow, these people really love this thing that we do, and we just do it for fun! I think we gotta keep that commitment up there… that’s my main inspiration, to be honest. I don’t really listen to progressive bands or anything…

Talking about that, what are your favourite metal bands these days?

Well, I don’t really have any… I guess (he's thinking)… Pagan’s Mind is really good. Everyone’s really good in that band. Their guitar sound is so good, I’m very jealous of it, I want that sound… I’m gonna have to take their stuff. But I don’t really listen to a lot of metal bands nowadays. I mainly listen to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, jazz, stuff like that… Dream Theater’s great of course, they’re great guys. I love Devin Townsend, he’s great… and Neal Morse too!

What are the five albums you would recommend to someone who’d like to be initiated to that particular genre?

OK! Let’s see… I would start with Symphony X’s "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", it’s unbelievable… unbelievable! Michael Romeo is so talented. Then, of course, "Images and Words" by Dream Theater, you have to put that in there, that’s just too good. Definitely "Ocean Machine" by Devin Towsend. Maybe our own "Carved In Stone"… And Pagan’s Mind, the album with the song "New World Order"… I can’t remember the name…

"Enigmatic: Calling"!

"Enigmatic: Calling", that’s it, that’s the one! It’s awesome!

Are you involved in other projects besides Shadow Gallery? I know that Gary Werhkamp played some guitar on the new Star One album…

I’m writing a jazz fusion album currently. That’s my main thing outside Shadow Gallery. I haven’t finished yet… I’m about eighty percent of it, written. After we’re done with this tour, the next thing I’m gonna do is going to the studio and recording that. I’ll try and convince Joe (Nevolo, the drummer) to come and play jazz fusion for me. I’ll try to promote that a little bit, and maybe put together a jazz trio or quartet… That’s a real passion, I love jazz.

A last word for your French fans?

Absolutely! The bread here is amazing. French bread is unbelievable. The streets are very small, oh my god, they’re so small… but the reception we’ve had so far from everybody I’ve seen, people I’ve met on the street has been unbelievable, you know… very friendly. It’s awesome! I have to bring my wife back here. She would love it. She’ll want to stay! And hey, I might stay! (laughs)

Venez donc discuter de cette interview, sur notre forum !