Cornered: Interview with Mick Michaels of Corners of Sanctuary

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*ORIGINALLY RELEASED IN SIN CITY PRESENTS MAGAZINE

Cornered: Interview with Mick Michaels of Corners of Sanctuary

Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen 

New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary have released five albums to date, and a “best of” compilation called ‘Declaration of Metal’ that has songs from their first five albums, their first EP, and a new song called “Hyde No More.” They are currently finishing up the bass tracks on their six full-length release entitled ‘The Galloping Hordes,’ and will start recording vocal tracks next. The band is really excited about the new album, and Mick Michaels (guitar/keyboard) says it “is definitely going to be heavier but more musical at the same time, while keeping to our modern, old school style interpretation.” They are hoping to release the CD in late spring/early summer this year and have a some small excursion tours in the works, as well as a couple festivals, and possible west coast run. 

ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Hey Mick! I’m happy to be interviewing you and looking forward to learning more about you and Corners of Sanctuary. Start out by telling us how the band formed…. I believe it sparked from a reunion you had with a band you were in with James and Sean called Seeker?

MICK MICHAELS: Hey Alison! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. Greatly appreciate it!

Yes, back in 2010 the three of us were working on a reunion project with the band Seeker. This was a band we all played in back in the 80’s. During that time we started talking about a new project that focused on the old school sound of metal we grew up with… A sound more geared towards our roots. After about six months of writing we knew we had something working that we wanted to pursue. So, by 2011, Corners of Sanctuary was formed.

METAL BABE: How did you find your singer Frankie Cross?

MICK: We met Frankie through a mutual friend that has an Internet radio show. We were given introductions and soon after held an official audition. In the span of about two weeks, Frankie had an audition, one full band rehearsal, and a show. Right after that, we headed out on the road for a string of performances. We called it his trial by fire. Needless to say, he survived. (LAUGHS)

METAL BABE: Glad he survived! (LAUGHS) So who is currently in the band?

MICK: Corners of Sanctuary includes Frankie Cross on lead vocals, James Pera on bass and backing vocals, Mad T on drums, and I do my best with guitar and keyboards.

METAL BABE: You recently had a member change with Mad T (Powerless Rise) replacing Sean Nelligan?

MICK: Yes, last May Sean was replaced by Mad T. T had been filling in on drums for Sean on multiple shows and tours since 2014. T is also the drummer for the band Powerless Rise. The decision to bring Mad T on as the replacement was a no-brainer. The chemistry was already there and it was seamless. Absolutely no downtime involved. T brings a new energy to the band with his ability to write music and lyrics, in addition to playing drums. It’s like he has always been a part of the band.

METAL BABE: That’s great. Sounds like he was the missing piece. I read that your fans released a video for “Forgotten Heroes” (and saw the video too). What did you think of the video and what is your affiliation to the Armed Forces?

MICK: We love the video! The imagery was so fitting for the song. We are huge supporters of the Armed Forces. These men and women make it possible for artists to do what they do without fear or punishment. We owe them our gratitude. Each band member has had family members and close friends who served in the military. Writing songs that tell their story and honor their service is the least we can do to show our appreciation.

METAL BABE: Definitely. You have quite a following worldwide. What was it like working with La Mazakuata Records so early in the band’s formation and how did they help get your music to Mexico, and Central/South America?

MICK: We had a great time working with the label and its president, Lorenzo Partida, who is also the bass player for the band Transmetal.

We even had the opportunity to work with Lorenzo on writing and releasing a song, “Aqua Luminoza,” that appeared on our EP “Epilogue” back in 2013. Lorenzo and I wrote the lyrics, and Lorenzo also does backing vocals and some additional guitar on the track. It was a great experience.

METAL BABE: Oh wow, I remember seeing Transmetal at a Chicago Metal Fest a while back. I even still have a Transmetal pen somewhere! It definitely sounds like a great experience.

MICK: Yes, working with La Mazakuata was a major catalyst in expanding the band’s presence throughout Mexico, and Central and South America. Having the support of a well-known and recognizable label in that region offered validation to the fans that COS was worth the time and listen. We are so grateful to Lorenzo and La Mazakuata Records for giving us the opportunity.

METAL BABE: Very cool. What’s the metal scene like in Philadelphia?

MICK: Honestly, the scene here is pretty much the same everywhere else we have been in the United States. Hardworking bands do what they can to deliver the best that they can. That type of energy is universal.

METAL BABE: That’s a good way to look at it.

MICK: Over the last couple of years, since our playing routes have expanded a bit, we play Philadelphia less frequently. But it’s always a pleasure playing your hometown and seeing so many familiar faces.

METAL BABE: Definitely. That’s really a good problem to have, and it makes you appreciate playing your hometown too! Any tour highlights or stories stand out that you want to share with us? COS has toured with a lot of great bands, including Anvil, David Shankle, Saxon, and Damon Johnson.

MICK: We have been fortunate enough to work with so many incredible bands. We have played with Stryper, Britny Fox, Grim Reaper, Butcher Babies, Tracii Guns, Tantric, Act of Defiance, and so many others… As well as the bands you mentioned. The experiences have been unbelievable. It’s great connecting with artists who we grew up listening to.

METAL BABE: Definitely! I feel the same way when I do interviews with the artists I grew up listening to.

MICK: I picked up some cool pre-show guitar warm up tips from Chris Broderick, words of encouragement from Damon Johnson, as well as international travel hacks from Steve Grimmett. Plus, eating breakfast with Dave Shankle at four in the morning is a riot!

METAL BABE: That’s great. That’s the kind of stuff you will never forget too! You’re currently recording your sixth release,

‘The Galloping Hordes,’ and plan to release it this spring/summer. Do you have any plans to tour in 2017? Think you’ll make it to Vegas any time soon?

MICK: We have a handful of dates scheduled, including some small excursion tours in March, June, and August. We also have a couple festivals in the works, as well as working with Saving Abel next month. There is talk of a possible west coast run sometime in late October/early November. So Vegas could be a strong possibility. Keep your fingers crossed!

METAL BABE: That’s awesome. My fingers are crossed! What final words would you like to say to our readers?

MICK: I want to thank you again for taking the time to speak with me and for sharing Corners of Sanctuary with your readers.

Check out Corners of Sanctuary at our official website at www.cornersofsanctuary.com and on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/CornersofSanctuary. And we would like to thank everyone for their support and the opportunity for us to share our music with them. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

METAL BABE: You’re welcome Mick! It’s been great having the chance to chat with you. I look forward to the new CD and hope to catch a west coast show sometime this year.

Watch the Official Video for “Victoria” here:

Check out current tour dates below:

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