Interview by Dale Roy with Scott Waldrop 1998…

I am proud to present to you a band I nearly had an aneurysm over last issue when they sent in their “Triumphing True Metal” 3 song promo tape. It lives up to it’s lofty title as the music awakened in me the feelings I got when I first listened to stuff like Iron Maiden, Maltese Falcon, Grim Reaper and Venom. A truly special feeling I assure you and it was due to their gorgeous brand of true heavy metal, their delicate and memorable guitar work alongside the soaring vocals of Janet Rubin who has now departed from the group. Scott Waldrop answers the following questions and he is a definite character and a total metaller, I had hoped to make this a phone interview I called Scott’s place for weeks (dude I love the answering machine message! haha), figuring he just never spends any time at home I figured I would have to resort to a mail interview, still it may not be as spontaneous but I think it turned out well, so put on your spikes, leather, grab a brew and play some killer old heavy metal in the background and enjoy the intie…

***Update - The band is still giong strong! They recently released a new album entitled "Netherworlds" February 2007 on Remedy Records. Check it out!   



Hey Scott, my metal brother how are you this day? The band speaks about “reclaiming heavy metal’s throne”, to you who are the bands that built this tradition, ruled the land and how do you intend to reacquire it? What exactly are you referring to when you say “Death to hippies”, the flower children attitude of the ‘60’s?

I’m doing quite well thank you. I’ve just returned from a month-long vacation in my car around the states so right now I’m just chilling out and trying to sleep off this truly epic hangover. This is why I was never home to get your calls Dale. I was probably getting plastered somewhere in California or maybe Las Vegas or maybe Portland or on top of some glaciers. To answer your question, the bands that built the true metal tradition are Candlemass, Iron Maiden and of course most importantly Black Sabbath. We intend to revive metal by simply writing good fucking songs so this genre will live long. Anybody who plays true metal these days is part of the movement to restore metal to it’s former glory. When I say death to hippies I’m not only referring to the crusty slobs of the ‘60’s but everything that goes with the style. The Grateful Dead and it’s entourage are at the other spectrum of metal. They are our arch enemy’s. Hippies stink and are retarded. They like acoustic guitars and gay little dancing bears. They have bad breath. They like to wear bright colors instead of black. They give you hugs even though you hate them. They’re pussies. They can’t do drugs and still play their instruments so they’re forced to play simple music. They are truly beneath metalheads and deserve death by flying-v impalement.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard the “Hail Northern Virginia” demo, could you tell us about it and if I am correct Janet Rubin was not on it, how has her addition shaped the new material as opposed to the old? Was it a difficult task to search for a singer to fit with T.T.D.?

The “Hail To Northern Virginia” demo was recorded back in the winter of ’95 during a violent blizzard. We braved the ice and snow in the name of heavy metal and produced this two-song demo. No this doesn’t have Janet singing on it. Our first Vocalist was Tom Phillips of While Heaven Wept. Adding Janet to the band made us turn a bit from our doom roots and head for a more traditional sound ala’ Maiden or old Helloween. This was the case I suppose because of her high range and tendency towards writing lyrics reminiscent of Omen or Running Wild. It was actually quite simple finding Janet because Jim(our bass player) and I already knew her from a previous band the three of us were in called Knightfall. When Tom left for England to sing for Solstice all we had to do was pick up the phone and call her. Anyway, as of summer ’98 she’s no longer in the band. She left for Germany to persue her opera career and none of us made much effort to stay in contact. She was pissing us off with her complaining and negativity. During our last gig with her she brought a piece of paper to read the lyrics from an old song she couldn’t remember. It was only a party we were playing but we were still like, “fuck that, she sucks!”. There was even a point last winter we were secretly plotting to replace her. We tried out about seven people but they were all a bunch of freaks. When (a) little boy came in and embarrassed himself with his shitty singing and wound up running out of our practice space while we laughed at him. We finally just decided we’ll just have Tom back and sing on the forthcoming album with Mark(the drummer) and I doing some Running Wild-like back up vocals. Right now we are experimenting at practice with Mark and I trying to sing over the new stuff.

Listening to your “Triumphing True Metal” promo it seems to me some or all of you must have had some classical training, could you list the members and the training each have received? Have you found T.T.D. have learned more just writing music and playing together than any training or are they just different?

I Scott Waldrop (the main guitarist) have had no classical training. I’ve taken lessons from a few teachers. One teacher was in a thrash band back in the eighties and he taught me some basic arpeggio and diminished stuff which was popular back then. Another teacher was into classic rock Jethro Tull and Rush so he taught me how to play by teaching old songs of that nature. I mainly learned how to play by just hanging out and playing with friends who were classically trained musicians. Jim (bass) has taken several music theory and composition classes. He’s actually a better pianist then a bass player in my opinion. He’s been playing from an early age. Mark (drums) took all kinds of lessons from his teenage years through college. He’s an arrogant motherfucker about that shit. He’s always saying that certain riffs aren’t “right” rhythmically and that you can’t argue with him because he’s got a college degree in music. Our new guitarist Dave Boyd seems to have learned to play mostly from his thrash influences. He’s a superb rhythm player. As for Tom Phillips he’s got a college degree in music so he’s an arrogant dick about that shit as well. I would say that I personally learn the most from getting first hand experience with my bands. Everyone has so many different ways of looking at song writing that there are infinite things to learn from each other. I think most people that play in a band will agree unless they’re playing with musicians that aren’t their equals.

Janet’s lyrics are very cool and she seems like she likes to write in a fantasy style similar to Manowar or Cirith Ungol, does this come out of her naturally or does she write lyrics to fit the bands music and general premise?

When we were working with Janet we told her that we wanted lyrics to specifically be about fantasy and escapism. Twisted Tower Dire is supposed to be a journey, not a statement. If there is any statement that we bring in our style it’s that we don’t give a shit about what’s commercially acceptable. Janet was really into the first three Fates Warning albums and I think these were her main lyrical inspiration for a time. Then, for one of our forthcoming 7”’s the lyrics she wrote were making a social statement which was totally against what we were trying to do as a band. We decided to release the song anyway but this was one of the things that led to us getting rid of her. She actually hates Manowar!?! (gasp!, blasphemy!! -Dale). She refused to sing on a Manowar tribute just before we ditched her this summer. She said that Manowar’s lyrics are “uninspired and boring”. We’re of course still doing the tribute though.

Scott your name as soon as I seen it on the tape I reviewed seemed very fimilar to me  for some reason, like I may have seen it before, have you or any of the other members been in other bands previously or done any other underground activities? How did you arrive at your guitar sound, is it something you strive for or do you just plug and play and that is how it ends up?

Jim and I are also full-time members of While Heaven Wept but that’s about it. Maybe you saw me on T.V. slapping Monica Lewinsky’s butt or dogsleding or something (yes, must be it -Dale). I only play Mesa Rectifyer amps. Anything else sounds disgusting to me. Sound is of utmost importance. As for guitars I like Les Pauls with an EMG 81 at the bridge. I just sold my Explorer and B.C. Rich Bitch to get a cream custom Les Paul like the one Randy Rhoades used to play. I also have a Randy Rhoades Jackson V which I like because it’s really lite but I can still make it sound heavy. That thing is fine as long as you don’t ever carry it in it’s case. The cases those things come in are so fucking big you could put a city into one of them.

You have a couple 7” releases coming up, with who and what labels? How did these deals come about? Does the band receive any copies to sell yourselves? How many were pressed of each seven release thus far?

One is a double 7” set entitled “Fourteen Inches Of Fury” coming out on Game Two Records. The other bands on this are Revelation, Naevus, and Mood. The other 7” is a picture disc split with Memory Garden. This one is being put out by Near Dark Productions. Both of these offers came after the labels heard our second demo “Triumphing True Metal”. Yea, we’ll be getting copies to sell ourselves though I can’t remember how many. Neither of them are out yet. Our split 7” is still available from Bad Posture though. It’s a split with Cold Mourning. I believe they pressed something like 500. Maybe 1, 000. Maybe 10. I don’t know what the hell’s going on.

How did you hook up with Near Dark and what kind of deal is it? Will the band do all the distributing in North America? Where was it recorded and how long did it take? What is the album title of the debut, describe the music and basic concept of it? Will there be any demo/7” trax on it?

I had been in touch with Tobbe since ’95 when he was distributing our first demo through his old distribution service called Kheeroth. When he heard “Triumphing True Metal” he offered us the 7” deal and also said he was interested in signing us for a full-length. The deal is for one album over 35 minutes in length. They’ll start by pressing a couple thousand copies on disc and 500 on vinyl. Near Dark will do most of the distributing everywhere though I’ll help. We haven’t even started recording yet. We’ll hopefully begin during the first weekend of September. This is when I have studio time booked though problems always seem to arise. We’ll be recording at Neptune were While Heaven Wept and Arghoslent recorded their recent albums as well as our old demos. It’ll probably take a few months as we work in the studio sporadically (so I am guessing a very early 1999 release date -Dale). The album title will still mostly likely be “Land Of Illusions” though this is still subject to change. Lyrically the concept of our debut album will be a continuation of the lyrics which appear on our first demo “Hail Northern Virginia”. Tom will come back and we will pick up where we left off when he left and Janet took over lyrics. Musically you’ll hear a blend of the first Candlemass album with old Maiden and stuff like that. The material on the debut will be 100% all new (Now that’s what I like to hear -Dale). We’ve had most of the songs written for years already. Perhaps on our second album we’ll go back and give proper recordings to songs like “Beyond The Gate” and “Rue Of The Forsaken Sleepkeeper”.

Have you been playing out lately? Any mini-tours planned in support of the album? How have turn-outs been at shows? I hear there is a power metal festival soon, near New York or somewhere will you be at that? What are some bands you’d like to play with that you haven’t yet?

The only shows we have played lately have been over at Mark’s where we’ve had metal bashes. We’ll probably do a few shows in our area in support of the album if the right opportunity presents itself. Like I said we don’t do official shows anymore so I can’t say that the turn-out is specifically for us. I don’t know if I’m going to the Power Metal Fest or not. I might. I don’t know will there be beer there?(I would imagine!? -Dale). Just look for the guy in spikes drinking beer from a bullhorn and starting fights with people with Dimmu Borgir T-shirts. I suppose some metal bands I’d like to play with are Virgin Steele, Immortal, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Witchfinder General (but I guess that’s not going to happen).

You and Jim have just joined full-time with While Heaven Wept, how did that come about? Do you think it will compromise Twisted Tower Dire’s activities? How often does each band practice (must be a lot cause I phoned a shitload of times before I gave up and sent this intie by mail!)? Any chance ala King Diamond/Mercyful Fate will play shows together?

Jim and I have know While Heaven Wept for years. We used to play with them back when we were all in death metal bands in the early ‘90’s. We all felt it was a good time to join forces recently because it makes both bands stronger with all-star line-ups. No, W.H.W. doesn’t get in the way of T.T.D.’s activities at all. Both bands are of equal importance and get equal attention form everyone. Each band practices at least once a week. Twisted Tower Dire and While Heaven Wept just played together at a party in June. It was just for our friends. We didn’t make flyers or anything like that.

Forgive my ignorance but what has been happening with While Heaven Wept since their 7” and MCD? I am guessing Tom Phillips has moved back from the U.K. after going there to join Solstice? Do they sound similar to the old stuff?

After Tom released the first While Heaven Wept CD and did the vocals for the first Twisted Tower Dire demo he went to England and sang for Solstice for a little over six months. When he got back he did a lot of drinking so it took a while to finish the new album “Sorrow Of The Angels” which is finally completed. It should be out by no later then November on Eibon Records. The DAT is in the mail. It sounds similar to the older material. It’s definitely much more evolved, orchestrated and stylized. Maybe you could say it’s the bastard son of Pink Floyd and Candlemass. Anyone who liked “Lovesongs Of The Forsaken” will flip over it. Some people just don’t know how to receive nor understand extreme doom despite of the fact that it’s superbly produced with exceptional musical complexity.

It seems there is a lot of inbreeding going on in the Virginia scene (ala Sweden) with bands like T.T.D., Crucifier, Grand Belial’s Key, While Heaven Wept, Arghoslent, Uller, Sinistrari Recs. ect…Is it a tight nit scene or is it just there are not a lot of musicians to go around?

It’s quality, not quantity.

Once the record is out will Twisted Tower Dire continue to spread flyers, send out promo copies to ‘zines and just diligently promote themselves as they have before or will you leave that up to the label? What are some mags you have appeared in?

I’ll be as vigorous at promotion as I have been in the past when the album comes out. Near Dark has very good distribution but the more people pushing your music the better. I f you want people to hear you then you should always be trying to promote yourself and your ideas. That is of course unless you are signed to a gigantic label and gay-ass Kerrang does all of the work for you like they do for Cradle Of Filth. Some mags we have been in are Reflections Of Doom, Ambiance And Atmosphere, Endtime, Bowedome, Slow Ride, Mortal Flames, Fantasies of Tragedy, Metal Maniacs, Lamentation, Morpheus, Isten, Metal Invader, Mouth Of Sauron, Sloth, Seventh Sign, Terrorizer, Leather Knights, Teardrop, Spiked Impalement, Wishing Well, Shadows Of Michealangelo, Ill Literature, Decibel’s Storm, Ancient Tragedy, Curse Of The Chains, Brutalized and tons of others but I’m sick of pawing through all of these old papers. There you have it. A tribute to ‘zines that were nice to us.

What do you do in your spare time away from the band? What are some of your fave ‘zines, novels & movies? Are you the type that likes to get outdoors lots or a sports type? What was it like growing up in Virginia? Did you go to a lot of shows and stuff growing up?

When I’m not doing all this bullshit I like to go to bars, get drunk, and be a loud dick. Other then that I study art at college, run and bike with my husky and walk the dirty mean streets of Northern Virginia. I don’t read ‘zines other than to check out my bands and friends bands reviews. The only magazine I religiously read is National Geographic. My favorite novel is “Call Of The Wild”. I almost exclusively read ghost stories though. I’m fascinated by psychic things and always have been since I was little. If anyone has any old ghost story books lying around their house send them to me and I’ll send naked pictures of myself in return. As for movies I pretty much all the westerns Eastwood did. Those are my all-time favorites because he reminds me of me. I’m into the outdoors as well. I just spend most of my summer out of my tent on the road. I go camping all the time. It gives me an excuse to drink beer by the barrel and scream at the moon. Does anyone know where I can get really, really powerful rocket-fuel tough moonshine?. Growing up in Virginia one learns to hate jocks with ragtop mustangs, white kids with ghetto accents and Starter jackets, and Milwaukee’s best beer. I learned I can run faster then most cops even after I’ve had ten beers at Shouse Lake. As for shows we are only 15 minutes from Washington D.C. over here in Fairfax so I was always able to see any bands as they came through. One of my favorite shows was seeing Cathederal play at the original 9:30 club during the “Grindcrusher” tour with Carcass and Napalm Death.

What kind of mood or emotional state to do find is most productive when writing new material? What location is best for writing for you indoors/outdoors, your room, day/night ect…? Is it easy for you or do you need to force it at times?

I usually work best when I have other things I am supposed to be doing. It seems like I can crank out a song just as easily as a good shit when I’m supposed to be in my car on my way to school or to meet my girlfriend. I just keep telling myself I’ll just play this sequence of riffs one more time so I don’t forget them and it instantly seems to wind up being an hour later. Usually I work best alone in my room but if I’ve just smoked all I need is a guitar and I could come up with riffs on the wing of a moving jet. I never force myself to write. I’m either feeling inspired or I’m not. I’ve never kept anything I’ve forced myself to write.

At what age did you get into metal and then what age did that translate into the underground? What were some of the first bands, ’zines you wrote? Do you still remember that awesome feeling of going to the mailbox and finding a package from the underground like it was the holy grail (or was it just me!?!)?

My first record was Motley Crue’s “Shout At The Devil”. I was about 8 when my sister bought it for me back in 1984. Then I started buying other albums like Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”(one of my first records too - Dale) and Van Halen. Then I heard Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” and my life was changed. “Shout At The Devil” and “Ride The Lightning” are still two of my favorite albums. I got into the underground when I was fourteen. I sent some of my artwork to a ‘zine called Cadaveric Mutilation and a couple others. It was extremely moronic artwork like toilets vomiting corpses and brains(ha I must be moronic cause I love artwork like that! -Dale). I don’t recall comparing Cadaveric Mutilation to the holy grail or anything. I was too concerned with girls and pot at that time to even get my band in the studio to record a demo. Our first guitarist Nick used to really be into the underground back when we were kids. I used to go over to his house to listen to all kinds of obscure death metal bands. I never got out of Maiden and all of that old stuff so my band back then didn’t even really sound like the popular death metal at the time like Autopsy or Bolt Thrower. If anything my first band sounded like Iron Maiden with retarded arrangements which kind of lent itself to a sort of Celtic Frost sound. Oh yea, but that because I used to love Obituary. Actually I still listen to the first two albums (I’m with you there they ruled on those first ones! -Dale). What was the question again?.

I know you use the internet, do you find it as a useful tool to promote the band? Do you think as I do that it will be a essential part of the underground? Do you get a lot of email?

Actually I was using the internet for a while but I got sick of it because it seemed like not many people were contacting me with it. Then my host started fucking up all the time so I just canceled it. Computers just pretty much piss me off more than anything else. I don’t like electronics in general. Unfortunately I have to use them to keep up with everything. They always break down and take too long to learn how to use. And once you learn how to use them to their maximum potential they die because they’re so old. I wish it wasn’t necessary to amp my guitar. In a perfect world you could just pick a guitar up and it would already sound loud and nasty. To answer your second question though has undoubtedly made a permanent mark on the underground. Some people prefer it and others don’t. I’m old fashioned. I like vinyl and mail period. No I don’t get any E-mail because I have banned it from myself!. I might actually get it again later but…

Thanks Scott my great brother in metal for your time and this interview!. Last comments, future plans & what did you have for your last meal (I have food in mind, sorry man he he)?

Thanks for your time and interest Dale. Cheers. Death to vampiric black metal and all that other gay shit. Everyone look out for the forthcoming Twisted Tower Dire 7”’s and While Heaven Wept album. For my last meal I had a young child of about 55 pounds. No that was this morning. My very last meal was a grilled chicken sandwich with buffalo wings, nachos, and a pint of Pyramid Ale, AAAUURRRRGGGHHH!!!!!!!!!.



The Complete Twisted Tower Dire Discography 

Hail Northern Virginia ‘96 demo
Triumphing True Metal ‘97 demo

Split 7" with Cold Mourning (Bad Posture Records ‘96)
Double 7" set entitled "Fourteen Inches of Fury" with Revelation (Game Two Records ‘98)
Split picture 10" with Solstice (Mark of the Devil Records ‘00)
"The Dagger’s Blade" 7" EP (Maniacal Records ‘02)
"The Secret Demos" 12" Picture Disc (Stormbringer Productions ‘02)
"Axes and Honor" 7" EP (Remedy Records ‘03)

Full-length Albums:
"The Curse of Twisted Tower" (The Miskatonic Foundation ‘99)
"The Curse of Twisted Tower" limited LP version (Metal Supremacy Records ‘00)
"The Isle of Hydra" (Miskatonic Foundation ‘01)
"The Isle of Hydra" limited LP version (Metal Supremacy Records ‘01)
"Crest of the Martyrs" (Remedy Records ‘03)
"Crest of the Martyrs" limited LP version (Remedy Records ‘03)

"Netherworlds" (Remedy Records ‘07)



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