Questions BURN: Tell me a little about your history.
Mark: I was born in a cross-fire Hurricane.
Empire: Bio attached. Burn: Your new album is excellent, can you tell me more about the songs on the record? Are their any particular meanings to the songs?
Tim: The songs on the Leeches CD are mainly about many of the people who have sqrewed over us...you know crooked judges, rotten lawyers, bad women, rip-off record companies. They are all on the CD cover and in the song lyrics. It was a lot of fun writing & recording the songs and it's meant to give ya a laugh. BURN: The production sound is very good, how did you get it to sound so proficient?
Mark: Cheap mics & duct tape.
Johnny: I stayed away from the mixer & let Tim do it.
Tim: The Cd was recorded in our home studio in Baltimore, MD USA. It was a mixture of analog 2 inch & half inch 16 track tape along with digital 24 bit using Saw Studio software. We recorded it the old rock & roll way. We mic'd up the drums & amps and let it rip. We later overdubbed vocals, keyboards, & some other stuff. The guitars & drums were live, no editing, no looping, no auto tune. BURN: Was the recording of the album painless or a nightmare?
Mark: I was numb throughout - I think.
Johnny: The recording went by so quickly that it made us all feel a bit numb. We couldn't believe how quickly it came together.
Tim: The recording sessions were a lot of fun because on this CD we were going for a more live feel. Our last CD (Driven By Rock) to a lot longer to record because the songs required a lot more over dubbs. This time out we purposely kept it raw. BURN: How has the reaction been to the album?
Tim: The reaction so far has been very good. It has even caused our last album to start selling again. Our last album came out in the mist of all the late 90s grunge music so it was some what over looked but with the rock of the 80s making a come back it seems that people are taking another look at our older music which is cool with us. BURN: Will you be playing any shows in support of the album?
Tim: Oh yes! We plan on touring around the US this fall & winter straight through 2005. There has been some discussion of us traveling to Europe in 2005. We certainly would love to see it happen since the CD is being recieved quite well. BURN: What is it about this style of music that you find unique?
Mark: We can almost play & sing it?
Tim: 70s & 80s rock always had an up-lifting affect on me - makes me feel good, cheers me up, makes me laugh! A lot of the new music has the opposite affect on me - not all of it but some of it is too negative & depressing for my taste. BURN: Have you been involved with any other projects over the years that we should know about?
Mark: Yes, shop & science
Johnny: Yes, the most recent was playing keyboards in a local cover band while waiting for the new CD to be released. The funny part of that is - I've never played keyboards before that.
Tim: My first band from the 80s was called Basement Floor which Mark was also in. We were signed to a bad record deal with Atlantic Records. We recorded an album but it was never released. Empire formed in the 90s. Our first album - Driven By Rock was released in 1996. In 2002 Mark & I released a solo CD titled Sons Of Riley. It is a bit more mellow than Empire but has recieved some positive reviews & a good bit of airplay in the states. BURN: How did you hook up with your label and what are their promotion plans for your project?
Tim: Probably the best thing we ever did promotion wise was create a web site and make our music available at places like CDBaby.com & Tower records.com. The funny thing is Perris Records is an American independent company that specializes in the type of rock we play. We never heard of them and they never heard of us until a mail order company in Germany called Hang Loose Records bought a few of our CDs from CDBaby.com - they liked it and wanted to purchase it in bulk to sell at their mail order store & web site. They hooked me up with Tom Mathers at Perris Records who eventually signed us and put out the new album. They are really getting the album around the world which has created a lot of intrest in the band which makes us very hopeful. They've done a whole lot more for us than any major label we've had deals with - they even tell us the truth! BURN: What are your expectations of the rock scene as a whole?
Tim: I'm startin to feel a bit more hopeful of the future of rock & roll. For a while it felt like beating a dead horse. A lot of the music was so depressing and negative that I didn't want to hear any more of the stuff on the radio. Bands were sounding tortured to me instead of inspired & happy. Now some of the new stuff - bands like Jet - is really fun. You can tell those guys were having a good time recording that stuff. Rock should be fun, at least that's what I think. BURN: Musically and spiritually who are your inspirations?
Tim: I've been inspired by so many musicians over the years, I have sisters & brothers a bit older than I who've had me rockin' since the cradle. I grew up hearing & loving Elvis, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Stones, ELO, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Kiss, Metalica, Elton John. I even enjoy listening to artists from the 30s & 40s - the artists my parents loved listening to.
You name it - I've been inspired.
Mark: Musically I most certainly agree with Tim. We grew up in the same house and had the same influences. Spiritually we are inspired on a more personal level.
Johnny: Steve Vai, Hendrix, Blackmore, Van Halen, Randy Rhodes - with guys like that there must be a God.
Doug: John Lennon BURN: What is next for you?
Johnny: Hair cut & a shave. Play my guitars.
Mark: Wash my car.
Doug: A big dish of Lasagna.
Tim: More song writing, more recording, and as many gigs as we can get. That's the life of a musician - that's what we live for. You write the song, watch it grow in the studio, and then hopefully watch it suceed in the real world of live shows and radio - much like raising a kid I suppose. BURN: What have you learned about the music industry so far and what tips can you give others?
Johnny: When it's time for feedings don't hold the meat through the cage - throw it. This eliminates getting bit.
Mark: Watch out and if you can't take disappointments - don't do it!
Tim: I've learned to not believe anything unless you see it for yourself - don't trust any of the characters on our CD cover. BURN: Finally is there anything that you would like to say to the fans?
Mark: Never take things so serious that it makes you mental. Thanks for listening to our music. Where's my 42 cents? HaH!
Johnny: Thank you & your readers for supporting Rock & roll!
Doug: Yep! ditto!
Tim: Thanks for supporting us and if we make it to your town please drop by and say HI! Thanks to Nicky at Burn Magazine.co.uk