Metal Knights: Interview with Razor
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Metal Knights had their CD release party for “World of Forever” at the Viper Room 11/16/09. I caught up with vocalist Razor before the show and learned more about the painful journey he has taken, how he actually died twice, had a liver transplant, and how his voice is now stronger than ever. It truly is a miracle that he is where he is today, releasing a debut CD with Metal Knights after spending the last year in the recording studio, working on their 1st major video, putting together a U.S. tour, and planning to hopefully play some European festivals next year.
Interview with Metal Knights vocalist Razor
Metal Babe Mayhem (MBM): Congratulations on getting signed to Rat Pack Records and on your new CD “World of Forever,” which was released 09/29/09. What can you tell us about Metal Knights and the CD?
Razor: We have been working with Craig Goldy from Dio since the bands’ inception. He came to one of our first gigs and ended up coming onstage with Simon Wright from Dio, Terry Ilous from XYZ and Tony Montana from Great White. They were all impressed, so they all got up on stage with us, and we jammed. We did some Deep Purple and some ACDC. Craig came to me the next day and said “I really think you have what it takes. How would you like to take it to the next level?” That’s like a gift from God in the music world. So I was like, absolutely!
We started writing together, and then I ran into our drummer, Dave Krause, who I knew from my other friend in Dio, Rudy Sarzo. Rudy introduced me to Dave, and I’d known Dave for maybe a year and a half when I ran into him at NAMM and he said, “hey, do you know anyone who needs a drummer?” And it was like the day after NAMM when all the guys that I was playing with at the time, who were actually tribute band players, decided to bail. They realized how serious it was getting and they decided they didn’t wanna do the original thing.
So Dave and I rebuilt the band. He brought in Paul Calder and Danik Thomas, our guitar player and our bass player, and then we found Billy (King) through a music trade magazine. Then we just wrote a bunch of songs and went into the studio with Craig as our producer. We started last September and finished in June, working 16 hour days in the studio, six – seven days a week. So we put our time in… I think it paid off in the end because when we sent it out to the labels they were all excited. We had our eyes on Rat Pak because they have signed some great artists. Next thing you know they were ready to ink us and here we are.
MBM: So everything is going good with Rat Pak?
Razor: Yeah, we love the label, we love the people. The CEO, Joe O’Brien, is just a great guy. He’s got a great team working for him. It’s been an eye opener. Most of the labels that you would deal with aren’t as friendly and don’t spend as much time working with an artist that’s just releasing their debut CD. We get daily emails from Joe. He’s all over the band and he’s been doing a lot for us. It’s been great.
MBM: How are things going with your first major video? Has it been released?
RAZOR: Our new video, that we are working on now, is “The Enforcer,” which is our first single from the album. We will be doing that for the rest of this year. I don’t think we’ll be playing any more shows. We need to take a break. We’ve just been going really full steam since we started to record. Now it’s time to take a little break and do the video…which is going to be very high end. We are very much looking forward to it. So that’s our next task. And then next year, we’ll start touring and playing out.
MBM: So what are your ideas, as far as touring, next shows… What are you thinking?
RAZOR: Well, we’re really good friends with the band Benedictum, based out of San Diego. They are a phenomenal band that also worked with Craig Goldy. We’ve been really good friends with them now for a couple years. And we decided, between Metal Knights, Benedictum, and management that it would be a really good idea to put us out on tour together. We’d open for them, they’d headline. We’ve also talked to bands like Cage and some other bands that we think would make a great triple bill. And then hopefully this next summer, if things pan out in the economy and the industry, we can head over to Europe. We know we have a very strong fan-base over there and metal has never died, especially the kind of metal we play… The classic, kind of early 80’s inspired British metal… has never died there. Also, we get asked a lot to play places like Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, and the UK. We are really looking forward to it.
MBM: I’m excited to see you guys play the CD Release Party tonight. What can fans expect?
RAZOR: Well, we’re gonna do a lot of the songs off the new album. We have one special song at the end that’s kind of a surprise. It’s going to be all new tunes. It is the “World of Forever” CD release party, so we wanted to treat the fans and the people that are there to what we’ve got on the new CD live. We’ve been rehearsing for the last four or five months. It’s sounding really tight. We are very happy with it. It was about a month ago that we looked at each other and said, we’re ready. So here we are.
MBM: You know, I’ve listened to Metal Knights here and there on myspace. But, as I was researching for this interview, I learned more about you and your background and everything you’ve been through. It’s really amazing where you are today.
RAZOR: Yeah… It’s been a fight. My life’s been a fight since I was born. One thing I learned from my parents growing up was what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have been on death’s door… with needing a liver transplant, and I did die twice on the table, and they had to resuscitate me. The second time, they didn’t really want to. But my wife got them to do it, and it worked. It kept me going for about another three days. During that time, they bumped me up to the top of the transplant list at UCLA and I ended up getting my liver.
I was in a head-on car crash in 1984. I had to be extricated, you know, Jaws of Life and all that kind of stuff. And they gave me blood transfusions that I thought were normal. In 1995 I went in for a routine physical, and they told me I had… They didn’t even know it was Hepatitis C. They said it was Hepatitis Non-A Non-B. And I said well, it’s Hepatitis, and it’s a Non… give me a shot, like everybody else. They said they didn’t know enough about it and called me about six months later and had me come in. They said the bad news is yours is chronic and you’ve got 15 years if you’re lucky. From that moment on, I contacted UCLA and started the process. I waited ten years to get that transplant, and I tell ya… I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. It was that tough.
It is surprising to see where I am today. Sometimes I have to pinch myself… I was in a band called Battle Axe here on the Strip back in ’85 and I had given up singing. I just got tired of the cat fighting between the bands. Back then it was more like a gang war. It was a fight to get signed. Now it’s much more subdued. Bands get along.
So I left that and went into radio. I worked in radio for ten years and was very happy with that. But when the grunge movement came in, I was playing things I didn’t really love. So I got out of that and got into the other side of things, which was television, movies, visual effects, etc… It let me keep my hand still involved in music. Anything I did, after I left Battle Axe, was to be involved in music. When I started to learn 3-D Animation and visual effects, I fell in love with that, and I ended up working as a Technical Director for one of the biggest visual effects houses at that time, Foundation Imaging. I had a great time working for them, but around 2001 I had to leave because I was getting so sick. I was also teaching at Chapman University and AFI, so I had a full slate… and it was running me down.
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever sing again. Especially after a transplant where they cut you open and “fillet” you, and they cut your diaphragm. And whatever they did, they sewed it together so right that my voice is now more powerful than it ever has been. We have that song “Miracle in Disguise” that I wrote with Craig (Goldy) and that’s basically what this is all about. It is a “Miracle in Disguise” that I’m even here, and doing what I love.
MBM: Definitely. That’s amazing. Things seem to be going really well with Metal Knights.
RAZOR: I’m a very blessed person. I’m very lucky. And I’m lucky I’ve got these guys in the band. The band is so tight. We all get along. This is the first band I have ever played in my entire life that there’s no drama. The biggest argument we might have is about what kind of beer we are going to have at rehearsal! It’s a great feeling to be in a family type unit. When you’re in a band like this, it’s kind of like a marriage. We all get along so great. We’re all having fun. That’s what it all boils down to.
MBM: I have one last question for you. I noticed that Neil Zlozower shot the photos on your website. He’s definitely one of the most well-known rock/metal photographers of all time. How did you connect with him?
RAZOR: Well, I’m very good friends with Tommy Asakawa, who used to be the guitar player for Warrior. Tommy knows Neil, so when it came time for us to do the photo shoots and decide who we were gonna get, Tommy says, why don’t we go to Zloz. I couldn’t believe he said that! We ended up hooking up with Neil. He is a real character…We shot at his studio, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It truly was, because there have been so many people in that studio. It’s really cool to have those photos. We got so many of them. He’s a nut case when he shoots. If you look at historical rock photographers, he’s a legend. That’s how we got hooked up.
MBM: That’s everything I have. Do you have any final questions, statements, or anything you would like to tell our readers?
RAZOR: I’m glad you came out to the show, and I hope you enjoy what you see tonight.
MBM: Thank you so much for your time and thoughts. I really appreciate it.
Note: Metal Knights put on amazing show that night, and the surprise at the end was a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies.” Also, I got my copy of “World of Forever,” and I love it! Definitely check it out if you get a chance.