Interview with Chris Bennett from Traditional Metal Band Widow
Interview by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
I spent almost an hour on the phone with Widow founding member, songwriter, and lead guitarist Chris Bennett. We had a great conversation about the band’s history, their music, their most recent CD “Life’s Blood,” and their upcoming 2014 release. Chris is such a genuine, down-to-earth guy who is so grateful to be where he is today. I really enjoyed getting to know him and the band a bit better. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Widow, or even if you are, I hope that you will enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Metal Babe Mayhem: It’ so great to get a chance to talk to you. I just found out about Widow recently when the cover for your “Life’s Blood” CD made a list of ‘25 Creepiest Album Covers’ in the L.A. Weekly. I found you online and completely fell in love with the band. Tell me about the cover.
Chris Bennett: That was really cool. We were shocked actually. Timo Wuerz, who is a really great artist from Germany, designed the cover. We wanted something that really tied in with our music. In the past we had always, in one form or another, been on our album covers, so we wanted something different. We had a concept for this song, ‘Lady Twilight,’ who was a lady that was good and evil at the same time.
MBM: Tell me more about ‘Lady Twilight.’ I love that song!
Chris: It’s really deeper than it seems. It’s about putting your trust into people, and thinking they’re really good, and then you see the bad side of them come out too. That’s how the evil nun thing came about.
MBM: How did Widow initially form?
Chris: John E. and I played together for a few years before that in a melodic, death metal band called Sorrow Bequest. We got some record label interest, but at that point, there were band members that weren’t really getting along, on a musical and personal level. When we formed Widow in 2000, the original intention was just to play here locally and write some songs that we like, and just have fun with the whole thing. We’ve had a few line-up changes. Basically what we wanted to do when we started the band was make short horror movie songs, like our own horror stories. We had three people singing at the same time, which was cool at that point. However, our singer, LiLi Padilla wanted to take the band into a real different direction than we did, so she ended up leaving. Then we made the album “Nightlife” in 2007, which was a bit more personal.
MBM: And then “Life’s Blood” was next.
Chris: Yes. I write the music and lyrics for the band, and I realized at that point that we just overall needed to make a better album. Get rid of the excess and just make an album where every song from start to finish was our definition of what ‘perfect’ is. And just make better songs, have a better album cover, and a better everything. I feel like we did that with “Life’s Blood.
MBM: I think you did just that. Where does “Midnight Strikes Twice” CD fit in?
Chris: “Midnight Strikes” was our original album in 2003. There was interest for that to be re-issued around 2010, when the traditional metal thing was gaining a lot of popularity. People were proclaiming that there was a whole new thing going on and we were a part of it, along with bands like Cauldron, White Wizzard, and Icarus Witch. That was kinda surprising to us, because we’ve been doing the same thing that we’ve always done. We reissued “Midnight Strikes” as “Midnight Strikes Twice,” and put our 2002 demo on there, and some video stuff. That sort of paved the way for “Life’s Blood,” which has been our best-received album to date.
MBM: Okay. Gotcha. What are your primary influences for Widow?
Chris: As far as guitar playing, George Lynch, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, King Diamond is just a huge influence on the band overall. Of course Maiden, Priest, and Metallica. But I’m also into thrash, death metal, and punk rock. I love The Ramones, GBH, Discharged… I think, it’s kinda like, mix all that together, and we create our own sound out of that.
MBM: What’s your main inspiration as far as lyrics are concerned? You mentioned horror movies, and there seems to be a personal element as well.
Chris: For the last album it was just a lot of my own personal feelings and thoughts about life, death, relationships, and things that I’m going. In the past, when we had done our horror theme, and in “Nightlife,” the whole thing was about us. That’s when we were starting to play some shows and partying a lot. That’s kind of what that album was about. I think people associated us maybe as a party band. Lyrically, “Life’s Blood” was so different, I was almost nervous about it. I felt like I’m saying these things that are so not what Widow has been. It’s nice when your personal thoughts and feelings can connect with other people.
MBM: Have you started recording your next CD?
Chris: We’ve done a little bit of pre-production, and we’re going to spend the rest of this year working on that and getting our next album ready. I think we’re in a good place for the new album. It takes up where “Life’s Blood” left off.
The songs are really straightforward and catchy. It’s always been an eclectic mix of our influences.
MBM: Is there a working title?
Chris: We are thinking it’s going to be, and I have not revealed this anywhere, “Carved In Stone.” We’ve dedicated so much, and put so much effort into flying around, and playing, and doing the things we’ve done, even playing in America. It’s a lot of hard work. That’s very grueling, so I think that the “Carved in Stone” theme comes from us dedicating so much of our life… Sitting in a car for hours and hours, flying, or whatever. I think the title comes from, just sort of putting out everything you’ve got. Like, if you drop dead, that’s what they would write on your tombstone. I haven’t finished all the lyrics. But so far it’s pretty personal, and I hope to connect with fans and make new ones too.
MBM: Do you have a projected release date?
Chris: Next year, for sure. And then more touring… Hopefully bigger touring than we’ve done.
MBM: What do you have scheduled?
Chris: We are actually playing Australia for the first time in November at the Steel Assassins Festival There’s some cool bands like Elm Street, Razorwyre… I’m really hoping to hit some more places in the world that we haven’t hit.
MBM: Great. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Widow perform live! It’s been great talking to you Chris.
Chris: Thank you so much Alison! And I wanna say thank you to all the Widow fans that have supported us over the years. It means the world to me! Check out “Life’s Blood,” and be on the lookout for a new album next year! Cheers. I’ll see you at the bar . . .
For more information on Widow, please see the links below: