Greetings Tom! The biggest surprise of this year is the comeback of Hallow’s Eve. You have come back already „under the grass”. To what doest it owe you are together again?
„Enough people finally knocked on our coffins, so we decided to rise again! Plus I am excited about the things I read such as that we have officially reached cult status. By the way, contact us at Hallows Eve.org”.
Tell us please about the new line up. From the original one are only you and Skellator here. Since when are you together? Who are the new members and what did he do before they joined the band?
„Skully and I have played together many years. Every now and then we resurrect Lestregus Nosferatus which is Skully’s black metal project. We will do that again, but right now it is Hallow’s Eve.”
Your vocalist was Steve Cannon, who runs the famous Vibration of doom webzine. Why did he leave the band?
„He was our vocalist for one show only, but there were personal differences. I have took over lead vocals with Skully in order to eliminate the vocal problem forever. Stacy Andersson and David Stuart were both asked to join, but declined, happy in their present lives. We had a nice conversation and I’m friends always”.
As I as know, you have given some shows. In what kind of reception was participated the band by the fans? How were these shows?
„The minute we ended that first show I had people showing CD-s at me to sign. They knew every lyric. I was very thankful that so many people like Hallow’s Eve. Skully was especially happy, because after two decades, in spring 2004, he and I finally played our first live show together.”
Did you write brandnew songs? Which songs do you play at the shows? In your opinion, do many people know respectively did many people know Hallow’s Eve?
„We have a full length new album written now and we are working hard to finish. We have a production deal for a demo, which we will soon show several labels, who called with interest! I cannot tell you the albums title, though I want to, but a couple of song titles are: „Technicolour” „Roadkill”, and „Vampires drink deep”. After all, we are horror, B-movi, drag car, Americanized drive-inn theatre metal! And we ain’t dead! Maybe”.
In this year have returned many classic thrash bands, like Testament, Heathen, Exodus, Nasty Savage etc. To what does it owe these wave? Do you want to reconquer your throne?
„I think and some of the bands would agree, that we never went away, we just got less popular for awhile. One interview asked, why we would pick up our guitars years later and now blah-blah-blah. We never put them down! Hello, out there! Hallow’s Eve existed right up to 1994 and then all of us played in many other bands, such as Stacy in Big Twin Din, David in Urban Grind, Skully in Lestregus Nosferatus with me, and me in Fragile X, which featured our manager Chris Gailfoil on the drums. Even now we have 3 projects, Hallow’s eve, Lestregus Nosferatus, and my punk thing called Cranky Bent Bastards with Chris and Skully. A musician, a true musician, plays till death. I will always here”.
Otherwise, how is the present metal scene in the States? Which bands do you like? In your opinion, do the music channels influence the musically taste of the youth?
„Yeah, the media tries to lead your taste. It’s so bad of an influence that even we e-mailed Britney Spears asking her to do our vocals! The we woke up, it was so horrible! By the way, the bands I listen to in the car today are Hypocrisy and Dimmu Borgir.”
Let we speak about the past too. When was Hallow’s Eve established? Who did call into life the band? How were your first rehearses?
„Without Stacy, Tommy Stewart, and Skellator there would be no Hallow’s Eve and without Brian Slagel and Bill Metoyer of Metal Blade Records there may have been no thrash metal. All of these people came together for our career to exist. I owe thanks to them and a respectful nod towards Slayer. That’s the short version”.
You have came from Atlanta, from Georgia. How was the metal scene at that time in your town?
„ Metal did not exist in anyway in Atlanta”.
Do you live nowadays in Atlanta too? Do you like Thrashers, Hawks or Braves? Are you sport fan?
„I like baseball. I played basketball in school and was an honour student. And so on…”
How many demos did you record? Which songs were on the demos?
„One demo, that had „Valley of the dolls”, „Metal merchants” and „Hallow’s Eve” including „Routine” on it. It’s the same recording your hear on „Tales of terror”.”
On which Metal Massacre compilation were you? Which song was to be heard on this one? Do you remember about, what kind of groups were on this compilation? How large importance did this record have?
„We were the first song on Metal Massacre six and several „best of” Metal Massacres and best of Metal Blade Records as well as the great Metal Blade box set. Other bands on these were Metallica, Lizzy Borden, Voivod, Nasty Savage. These compilations were essential to choosing your favourite artist to buy.”
Who were the main songcomposers in the band? Who wrote the lyrics and the music?
„I wrote and still make sure I write about half the music and lyrics of Hallow’s Eve to insure a continued style. Stacy, David and Skully all made extremely important contributions and this new album will mostly be Skully and me writing. After re-establishing our sound this year we plan encouraging the others to write more, as it is a group. When you’re the only continuos member in a group I feel that I’m responsible as a kind of gatekeeper to the bands sound, but everyone is important. Dane Jenson, who is on the drums, is a unique style to himself and his creativity to his drum arrangement is a big contribution. I feel that Dane, Skellator, and me all have unique styles of playing and all that comes together for our unusual one-of-a-kind style.
Your debutalbum was „Tales of terror (1985)”. Tell us please everything about this record, about the songs, about the lyrics, everything what it occurs to you!
“The song entitled “Hallow’s Eve including Routine” tells the story of the album and defines the band. It is a four section song. Part 1 tells that we are Hallow’s Eve and mean to bring you “Tales of terror”. Literally our songs are to tell little horror stories or at least a snapshot of a little deadly moment. Then part 2 of the Hallow’s Eve is a story I wrote called “Routine”. Part 3 says there was your example and part 4 says what I am and that were coming to you. That’s what the band is, basically short horror moments set to music, all based on personal experience. Defined!”
In the same year was released another „Tales of terror” album by the German Stormwitch. Did you know this band? Did you listen to this album? Didn’t disturb you that the title of the record is similar to yours one?
“Never heard of it till this interview! I got the title from a 150 year old Edgar Allan Poe compilation of short stories. I often refer to Victorian litreature, I was a litreature major in college and a fan of that period. Again, in the song “Hallow’s Eve” I refer to “Dark carnival”, it’s a book, when refering to “Bedlam”, it’s a Boris Karloff film, and so on, in most of our songs. Dane, Skully and I plan to continue this on the next album. We have one epic 12 minute horror song that is…well, an epic.”
Are you satisfied with the sound of your debutalbum?
“I wouldn’t change anything, it’s a classic and is bigger, than the people, who recorded and played in it. If there was a number 21 on the top 200 chart, that was we were told. That is number one in the underground! I’m verry happy, people like it so much. Thank you people.”
Honestly speaking, after at first I was listening to the record, I was a little bit disappointed, because I have count on a faster, more aggressive, heavier album. In your opinion, your music was rather heavy metal than thrash metal. Do you agree with me?
“You guys need to understand this perspective. We did not have role models, while writing this stuff in ’81, ’82, ’83. I never heard of the words thrash metal and I don’t think, they were invented. We were writing some songs and later you writers called us thrash and speed metal and black metal! We were just making stuff up, not living up to any preconcieved concept! No offense, my friend, but you said it, not me. I still don’t try with emphasis on “try”, to write certain riffs, I’m just letting it flow man! I like this interview. By the way, this has nothing to do with that, but I’m sitting here working on an acrylic printing for the new album cover. It probably won’t get roted in by the band. But it, the cover is based on the designs of horror illustrator Jason Flowers, who I met, because he is clating Ariel, my daughter. Anyway, he is just brilliant! We’re got a great team at Hallow’s Eve central”.
Which bands did have an effect on you? Did you listen to both melodic music and aggressive, brutal thrash one?
“Back then I listened to a lot of punk as well as metal. I was just as inclined to listen to the Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, The Cramps as I was to Iron Maiden. I also lean towards 70’s British, so called, prog. Jethro Tull is probably my life long favourite.”
The cover of the album became brillant, one of my all time favourite album covers.
“It’s a yup. Punk influence, yeah, “There are no rules”, “Suicide”.”
Why did guitarist Skellator and drummer Ronny Appoldt leave the band? Why didn’t you admit another guitarist? Why did you remain by fourth?
“Ronny Appoldt ran away and I heard died. Tym Helton was first, then had an accident, then Ronny, who was shot, then back to Tym, who had another accident, fell of a house, then Rob died in a car accident; you asked you know. Then four drummers in ’88, most notably the great Tom Knight, who spent the next years as drummer of platinum R’n’B group TLC. He is now in the music Hall of Fame here. I’m proud of him and I definatly liked TLC, Atlanta girls and all. I’ve never been narrow minded in my listening. I think, if you are serious as a musician, you should listen to everything, you can get your hands on once. Don’t be afraid to expose yourself. It won’t hurt your metalness little brothers! Listen to all, don’t be afraid”.
„Death and insanity (1986)” became a more melodic album, I think, it was not so heavy like „Tales of terror”. What do you think about it? What could you say about this record, compared to the first one? Didn’t become to the injury of the songs, that you have played only with a guitar?
“Oh yeah guitarists. We always tried to add another guitarist after Skully left, but just couldn’t get happy. Several played with us far a few months here and there including James Murphy of Testament, Obituary and so on. Personally I like three piece from a bassist, vocalist view point. You hear everything and better be good. As far comparing the two albums, I like them together as a set, but I think, “Death and insanity” is the classic definition of ‘80-s thrash metal and the best of us, possibly one of the finest metal albums ever, if you can excuse my crowing.”
On the second record has played Tym Helton on the drums. Was he better drummer than Ronny?
“I liked Tym better, but they were different, not necersarily one is better. I just liked Tym as a band member and friend as well as his drumming. He is great!”
„Monument (1988)” was your third album. Did you develop compared to the first two release? This is the most melodic Hallow’s Eve record. Tell us please everything about this album!
“We tried something different on each album naturally. “Tales of terror” told stories, “Death and insanity” was all songs about different aspects of death, and “Monument” to nothing, the original title was exactly that! More about dissallusion. I found it depressing. Except “Speedfreak”. Stacy wrote that about he said, so that’s my favourite. The first time I heard that one it made my eyes roll around till they stopped and showed two pinapples! That song kicks ass! Everyone likes it and we usually end our show with it.”
Whose idea was to cover the classic Queen song „Sheer heart attack”? Were you always Queen fans?
“Stacy’s idea. My idea to do Queen, but I wanted to do “Stone cold crazy”. Metallica did it the next year and got a Grammy. Next! No more covers. Probably. Though there are live bootlegs of us doing “Riff-Raff” and “Drifter”.
Instead of Tym Helton played on the drums Rob Clayton. Three albums three drummers. Were you so dissatisfied with the achivement of the drummers or didn’t you find the convenient member?
“Like I said, it’s been a constant parade of different musicians, but brilliant, interesting ones! I feel like a circus ringleader coming around every year showing you what new great human addities I found in exotic places. “Hey look at this drummer” or “that guy, see how he plays, hey”! I’m gawking at them with you guys. Skully’s a charakter! Look!”
Tell us please about the lyrics too! About what were all the lyrics?
“I could do a full length term paper on each lyric and the personal relevance of certain lines! I’ll tell you this is general, it’s all true! Oh, oh!”
Which is your favourite Hallow’s Eve album respectively song? How would you charakterize the development of Hallow’s Eve from the demos to the third album?
“We grew as musicians always do, but I think, my favourite songs live are “Lethal tendencies” and “Speedfreak”. On album my favourite is “Hallow’s Eve”. I know Dane’s favourite is “Plugging to megadeth”, which we open with live now.”
Tell us please about the gigs and tours of Hallow’s Eve. Which ones were the best? With which bands were you on tour?
“Jumpin’ Uncle Tommy on a pogo stick, my friend, we played with all of them and it every city! I can name-drop like a whore all the live-long day! Slayer, Exodus, Metal Church, King Diamond, Death, Testament, Nasty Savage, Fates Warning, Megadeth, C.O.C. and addly enough Primus. How’s that for a partial list, man, those memories are what makes a fan, like me, rich beyond money! It’s the memories. I certainly didn’t get the money. Memories!”
Because in the middle of the ’80-s has teemed the metal scene and you were the active partaker of the scene, tell us please about that times! About the bands, about your experiences, about the underground etc.
“Well as far as image and age, I’m thankful we no longer have to debate the use of corpsepaint, because we’ve naturally and finally grown into the image after all these years. Truly, everything it seems like it was behind the scerves, the drama, the paganism, the debauchery, was ten times, what can be told. I can’t name names, but much of what I can tell would be incriminating or private. I don’t dare write a book! Taboo stuff, oh no…”
In your opinion, was Hallow’s Eve an underground band? What does it mean for you underground respectively to be underground?
“I don’t listen to mainstream, I don’t write mainstream, I will never live mainstream, the music reflects this. Musicians like us are like that. We end up with our own outcast world and that’s the underground defined.”
How would you charakterize the present Hallow’s Eve line up compared to the classic one, which one has recorded „Tales of terror”? Is the band humanly together? How would you characterize humanly the former and the present Hallow’s Eve members?
“There have been 19 live performing or recording musicians in Hallow’s Eve, in 21 years. They were all as good as any in the world and this year I hope to bring you the finest line up, that is Skully, Dane, and I. We would be honoured to play with most and I hope to be in contact with others to find shows. Hallows Eve.org folks. Or P.O. Box 174, Roswell, Georgia USA 30077. We will come, with a second guitarist, to be named and the original Skellator!”
Tommy, when do you want to record a new album? Did you start writing new material? Do you have a record deal?
“We want a deal and have offers. Let’s go put there labels, we can sell something with our track record! Don’t be afraid of sells, let’s go! I wanna play, dammit! Haven’t got forever when your past your ‘80-s. My coffin needs re-living. Same for shows, wake up and don’t be afraid of me! Were on, we’re ready! Hallows Eve.org.”
What’s are your future plans?
This fourth album, which will be our heaviest, no doubt about it. Also, our darkest. I wish, I could say the working title, but…, oh hell, it has the phrase “never dies” in it, but that’s all I can say. Skully and Dane will kill me, if I say it! Kill me! Again. I’m probably in trouble now, but don’t know it!”
Thanks a lot for your answers, I wish you all the best. What do you want to say for our readers? When will we see you in Europe?
“Thanks a lot for your interview, you kick ass, great questions. The readers, you’re everything that allows us to exist, thank you. Most of all thanks for your contact with us and words of encouragement, it helps us go Europe! Why, we are headling at the great and might, Keep it true festival on Saturday, november 6th! Don’t forget it, see you there, check out the websites, see you in Germany.”
by David Laci