By Carl Begai
I recently caught up with Crimson Glory guitarist Jon Drenning for BW&BK to discuss the band’s surprising decision to carry on with a new singer (click here). “Surprising” because original vocalist Midnight, who passed away in July 2009 due to liver and kidney failure, was a defining element of the Crimson Glory sound. As far as the metal universe was concerned it could never be duplicated faithfully, with Drenning and his bandmates at the top of that list. New voice Todd La Torre has proven everyone wrong, even though he had no designs on doing so when he was asked to step up.
“Matt Laporte from Jon Oliva’s Pain and I are friends, and he told me he was doing some rehearsing with them, but it really didn’t mean anything to me,” La Torre admits. “I’d heard the name Crimson Glory before but that was about all I knew about them. Matt told me that if the guys were to hear me sing they’d shit themselves, so that night I checked out some of their stuff on YouTube. The ‘Lonely’ video was the first thing to come and I thought it was cool that the guys had been on MTV before (laughs). When I heard the first verse I though the vocals were beautiful, and I loved it. It had everything I liked in a song.”
“Long story short; when I got to the rehearsal there was a part of me that was nervous. I’d done some research on them probably two days before the rehearsal, so I was able to pick out the guys in the band from the videos (laughs). It was cool but I wasn’t really starstruck or anything like that. Sadly, and blasphemy for the true Crimson fans, I didn’t know their stuff (laughs).” Continue Reading
(Go to this location for Part 1)
By Carl Begai
As previously reported, Crimson Glory frontman Midnight (real name John Patrick McDonald Jr.) passed away on Wednesday, July 8th at 3:30am EST due to kidney and liver failure at the age of 47. During my recent exclusive interview with guitarist Jon Drenning, he discussed the band’s 1999 comeback album Astronomica and its connection to their Strange And Beautiful record from 1991, which was deemed a colossal flop in the wake of their 1988 breakthrough, Transcendence, due to a change in musical direction.
Drenning comments on vocalist Wade Black being tapped as Crimson Glory’s new frontman for Astronomica, making some startling revelations with regards to the writing for the album.
“Nobody could copy Midnight, but Wade fit the Crimson Glory style,” Drenning says of choosing Black, who is arguably the closest they could have gotten to a worthy successor. “Astronomica was originally written and recorded for Midnight. Continue Reading
I’ve been planning to do a Retro Fit of Transcendence for quite some time, as it’s easily in my Top 5 Metal Albums You Need To Own Or Get Out Of My Yard chart, but with the tragic death of frontman Midnight (real name John Patrick McDonald Jr.) on July 8th , 2009 it’s become a tribute to greatness. This would still read as a gushing letter of fanboyship if Midnight was with us, though, because Transcendence was an album that took everything I thought I knew about guitar / vocal / prog shred at the time and twisted it sideways. The band wasn’t being overly experimental or increasingly off-the-wall compared to their self-titled debut from ’86; there was just more of everything. Big, open air production (it could have done with more bottom-end, but them’s small potatoes), twin guitar leads for miles backed by insane shred-ability that never fell into the future Dream Theater trap of being too damn technically proficient for its own good, ballsy and unique song arrangements, and a vocal performance that remains unmatched within the genre. Continue Reading