I spoke to Meliah Rage's guitarist Jim Koury about their recent reformation, their new album Death Valley Dream (which'll be out in the stores September 17th---if you have problems finding it, call Backstreet Records (203) 584-0606), and their future plans. Here're some excerpts.
Why did you choose to reform after all these years?
After we broke up, we [Tony Nichols and Jim Koury] had decided to take some of the demo tapes that we had made and work on them. We went through a bunch of changes, did a few songs here and there, and wanted to release an album titled Unfinished Business. Then Jack [President of Backstreet Records] said "Why don't you go into the studio and make a record?" and Mike [Munro, vocalist] was into it. Bob [Mayo, bassist] had played a few gigs with us and since Wargasm had split we asked him if he would join us. We found Dave Barcos [drums], who had just graduated from the Berklee School of Music. Things just clicked and we went from there.
What did you do during your absence?
I was in a band named Cactus Land, which is basically the same stuff as Meliah Rage... maybe a little more melodic. We had a singer from a rock-based band and he was a different influence on us. We recorded an album, and were picked up by a label and even did a video, but we couldn't get distribution. So we hung that up and came back to this. Mike was in a blues band and that didn't work out, and so we all got together again.
Heavy Metal music appears to be making a comeback. Is that part of the reason you guys decided to reform?
We knew that was going to help, but that wasn't the reason we reformed.
I really liked your first release, but didn't get into your second release much, and DVD is really growing on me. What do you think of your current album, in relation to your other two?
I think the major difference is that we've improved over the years. For the first album, we didn't know what we were doing recording wise. The band wasn't too happy with the production of the second album. This album sounds good and the tunes are great. When we got together, we already had a few songs---Possessing Judgement and Blacksmith are older tunes, but most of the other tunes are new. We were in the studio for about three months. [The new album] is based on more experience; all five of us have been through a lot over the years.
Earlier you were on Epic records, and now you're on an independent (Backstreet). What do you think of the change?
Epic always treated us really nice. We were surprised at that because it's a big label. But the label dropped about five bands, and we were one of them. Our current label pays a lot of attention to us.
Are there any plans for a tour?
We plan to do a few local shows and just see how it goes. We're not planning on doing a real tour yet. The first shows will be during October in New York City, Boston and Providence.
Who would you cite as musical influences? What are the bands you currently like?
Everything from Elvis to Harry Connick Jr. to Slayer. Galactic Cowboys is currently one of my favourite bands, along with King's X.
What are your future plans?
We're hoping the album does well. We are putting together a small tour and we'd like to do a country-wide tour. We'll also be putting together a new album (since we have a two-album deal) and it's gonna be in the same vein.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Come and see us when we get around, and check out the new CD.