Razer Draws Influences from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath to Motown and Funk. – Interview

Old school meets new school with the exciting new band, Razer. The band’s album, “Dark Devotion,” is just that, a solid mix of 70s and 80s rock like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath combined with everything that’s popular today. Bass player Chris Catero recently stopped by to talk about the band, its sound and “American Idol.”

Q – Real quick where did the name Razer come from?

A - I pulled it out of my ass basically, ha ha, it's a big, stupid rock band name that I thought was easy to remember. I liked the word "raze," to destroy basically, and thought Razer worked nicely in a Captain Caveman kinda way. :)

Q – How did the band come together?

A - Myself, our drummer Eric Bongiorno and guitarist Paul Sullivan had just gotten out of a Metal Blade act called Wardog and wanted to try something different than the speed metal we had been doing. I recruited a long time friend of mine Jeromy Graves to also play guitar and we were off. I initially was the defacto singer as I had done that in Wardog but after we started writing it became clear my voice wasn't what I heard in my head singing the songs so we started a rather exhaustive search for a singer and finally found Chris Powers on an L.A.-based website. We had written a few tunes purposely without vocal or even melodies just to see what potential singers might bring to the table creatively and I sent him the tunes in which he sent me back fairly quickly a verse and chorus of what ended becoming "Never Understand." As soon as I heard his voice I knew he was the guy and we started working together. It took us three years to really develop the sound with everyone really on the same page together (which really is a super short time to develop the chemistry we did) and ultimately hooked up with our producer Chuck Alkazian and started making what would be the "Dark Devotion" album.

Q – The band has performed with Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and Judas Priest, just to name a few. What did working with these big name bands do for Razer?

A - Well it not only legitimizes your band to some of the media but also we were able to glean a lot of fans of those bands. Plus jumping in the thick of things with such great acts also helps you step up your own game.

Q – I really dig the band’s album, “Dark Devotion.” There’s sort of a 90’s Metallica mixed with late 80’s guitar sound. How would you describe Razer’s sound?

A - Well I think we're a decidedly "old school meets new school" type of sound. Our biggest influences are 70's and 80's era acts, bands like Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc. But we also have a wide variety of other influences like Motown and funk, blues, classical, pop - everyone in the band has a pretty diverse musical palette. So when we write, all that stuff gets spit out in a very natural and organic way in the music, which makes us sound different than most of your average radio rock bands. The music itself is very musical and old school in nature but because our singer is truly a natural baritone we tune down to accommodate his vocal range, and when you add a very state of the art production to the songs it's easy to, maybe on a very casual listen, just throw us into the radio rock sound but when you listen a little more you notice that the singer really can sing his ass off and everyone can really play and the music has more depth than some other stuff you hear.

Q – Will there be a corresponding tour with the album?

A - Yes and I'm sure we will have a very busy fall and winter!

Q – What do you think of shows like “American Idol” that offer a lot for doing very little?

A - Well I would usually dismiss that show honestly but in truth this past season I ended up watching a bit of it as they broadened their spectrum of talent and actually let talented people not only sing but play instruments. And they didn't at first make them adhere to some stale, vanilla song selection as in the past but rather let them pick their own music which I think turned on a lot of drone pop kids onto some actual good music. Plus they had someone like Steven Tyler on there to back up Randy Jackson's musical sensibilities and I liked the way the better talent on the show kind of thumbed their noses at that crap peddler Jimmy Iovine when he would try to offer his "advice" and homogenize them. At the end of the day, and as un-metal as this may sound, I think kids getting to see Judas Priest and Zakk Wylde, and in essence being told "this music is cool," has to help rock music. Kids need to be educated on the finer tastes of LOUD GUITARS!!!!!

Q – If I were to turn on your iPod, what artist would be on it that may be a surprise to people?

A – Ha, there would be a lot of surprising stuff I'd think. Yes you'd find the usual suspects but you'd also find Marvin Gaye, Waylon Jennings, Ottmar Liebert - again I have a pretty wide taste in music.

Q – What has been the band’s biggest moment thus far and why?

A - I can't say there has been an all consuming "big moment" yet. We've had a pretty steady climb and we've worked our asses off; our best moment is still yet to come!

Q – Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - No problem, happy to talk! I would like to say to everyone reading please take the time to hit up our Reverbnation page (www.reverbnation.com/razer) or band website (www.razerband.com) and listen to the whole album before just going to download the song you hear on the radio. It's a killer record and we really took the time to make every song really good. Most people have a hard time deciding what their fav tune is and that’s exactly what we wanted to do, make a full record of awesome tunes. Let your ears do the walkin'!


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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