BRIDE Rolls the Snake Eyes (and the Crowd Goes Wild!)
You know you've become a fan when a band's songs are laser etched into your brain like the grooves going round and round on your vinyl. Bride's music has always been like that for me. I grew up with them playing in the background. Loved their first 3 albums in my early teens, saw the style change and their popularity soar as I was graduating high school. Turned my younger brothers onto the band and took them to every Bride show we could all through the 90's. Stood shell shocked in a crowd when Dale first appeared without his long locks. When I started my own magazine 15 years ago, I turned to Bride for my first cover story. Checked out each cd they put out, just to see if they still had the magic, reviewing many of them for HM or Heaven's Metal magazines. Mourned as they announced their retirement from the metal world... several times. Well, the Bride is back! The brothers Thompson have rolled the dice once more, and it's come up Snake Eyes. Let's go straight to the source (uh- singer) and see what all the hoopla is about.
DALE: Thank you for considering me for an interview with HM (ed.- he means Heaven's Metal). It has been a while for sure. Last I heard, you had remarried and moved to New Zealand. Are you still there, or did you come back to the States? What has it been like living so far from home? DALE: Yes I am happily married and still living in New Zealand. We recently moved out of Auckland and to the country after finding a home in the country. Life here with Adelinde is great. I never dreamed that I would ever visit such a place. Now I call this country of Kiwis my home.
Are you still doing weightlifting competitions?
DALE: No I have retired from weightlifting and even boxing. I have a bag in my garage I pound on from time to time but the bones are not as youthful as they once were, so I take it a bit easier these days.
As rock journalists, we always take it with a grain of salt when artists say this is their last album. A few times we thought Bride was over, but after Incorruptible, and then you moved halfway across the world, Bride really was over for awhile. And it seemed Dale was done with music for a time, too. You even went on to writing books and painting. You've spent most of your life making music with your brother Troy. Did you find the time away from the band to be cathartic? DALE: I actually missed music from day one and sought out musicians here in New Zealand to form a band and to write songs and that never transpired. The taste in music here as a whole differs from what I was looking for in a band. Then out of the blue, Alan Zaring, a good friend of mine who as an attorney had seen over some of my legal affairs after I left the States sent me some music that he had written. I was very impressed and asked him if he wanted to try to write some songs together. He started sending me music and even sent me a home recording unit and we tossed ideas back and forth across the ocean via the Internet and that is how The World Will Burn formed. And then you starting collaborating with The World Will Burn, Perpetual Paranoia, and N.O.G. Was it working with different people in a different environment that struck the metal spark within you again? DALE: Once I got the taste for music back in my mouth, I bit down hard and wouldn't let go. I just felt a greater need and desire to write and record like never before. This hunger gave birth to No Other God, N.O.G. my band that is based in Brazil with Nenel Lucena and to Perpetual Paranoia which is with guitarist Tiago James de Souza. Was it something specifically that made you want to start up the Bride machine again? Was there something different this time in recording again? DALE: I had assumed that once I moved from the States half way around the world that music for me was basically over. But when The World Will Burn started having success, I started pestering Troy my brother to try to write some Bride tunes. Troy is a very busy man and I did not know if he would find the time to take on another Bride album but when he finally started sending me music I thought, "Wow, now this is the Bride I remember from the late 80's and 90's. This was the Bride songs that people were wanting. The only difference was that Troy and I were not sitting in the same room hashing out tunes and rearranging them face to face. We were writing truly independent from one another, yet when we started putting things together they were a perfect fit. There's been a lot of talk about the Snakes in the Playground era, and I think it was your most popular album. Bride was on top of its game back then, and touring internationally, people were into it, and then when grunge came crashing in like the next ice age, and nobody but nobody survived and flourished from the metal era. So all the bands took a beating, Bride included, and it took years until they started finding their way again. And no 2 Bride albums were the same- you continued progressing and rolling with the times. So Snake Eyes is not Snakes II, but it certainly revisits some of the big riffs of that era in your history. What made you look back to that time in your history and attempt to recreate some magic? DALE: I had been following the music scene that was existing purely on the internet and I saw a great lack of quality and good writing. I was disillusioned at first that people were buying music that just wasn't that good and they were being told that is the best there is. I felt a connection with those that had supported Bride and I wanted to bring quality back. It seems like when I got this vision to restart Bride, bands like Bloodgood, Sacred Warrior and Deliverance had the same idea to bring quality metal back to the fans. There is a great resurgence of old school rockers bringing their A game back to the arena. It is good to see and to be part of such a move of music and to be a witness to God working in the lives of both old and young. I'd have to say that Snake Eyes is a real rebirth for the band. What do you and Troy think? What makes the album a success (or a failure) for you? DALE: Snake Eyes is certainly in my top 3 Bride albums that I have ever recorded and in order for this album to be a success is if it has staying power in the hearts and the minds of people. Troy and I want for the listener to feel what we felt as we were writing the songs. These songs are Holy Ghost anointed. Great idea to complete the band with your Brazilian friends, Bride has always had such a special bond with Brazil. Was the album all recorded from your separate homes and put together that way? Are the vocals and bgv's all sung by you, in layers? Sometimes it sounds like 3 voices, but they all sound a bit like Dale. DALE: Yes, everything was recorded in different locations at different times. It was unlike any album Troy and I had ever recorded together. He would send me the basics of the song, usually a guitar, a bass track that he played all recorded to a drum machine. Once we were happy with my vocals, which I multi layered, we sent the songs to Nenel in Brazil, who re-recorded the bass, and we added real drums by bringing on Brazilian sensation Aposan Alexandre. So the drums, which is always the first thing a band records, ended up being the last thing recorded for Snake Eyes. So we only have Troy to blame if this cd is a hit, huh? He certainly brought the big riffs for this album. You can't escape that monster rhythm on "Famous When I'm Dead." Almost seems like a revisit to "Everybody Knows My Name." I always wonder if we'll see the character from "Hired Gun" come back again? DALE: Good comparison. Troy is the riff-man for sure, he can sit down and write a hook and if you ask him to change it he writes another just that quick. The key to being a good musician is not how well you play but how well you create.
Do you think if the Lord tarries, that we will see more Bride albums? And will we ever see Bride play live again? DALE: Never say never, right? I hope Troy sends me more songs one day but it is up to him. I am always ready. As far as Bride playing live again? Outside of Troy and I getting together on holiday some day and recording an acoustic tune or so I cannot see us on stage again. It would take supernatural events to happen. I did an interview with Tom Denlinger from Sardonyx a couple months ago, and he threw down a challenge to the "old guard" of Christian metal, saying that if you were a metal musician back in the day and you are still in the Word, to rise up and write and record new music, take the new generation under wing, and show them how to spread the Gospel in the metal world. Do you have any thoughts on that? Is there still much left to say to the world at large? DALE: We artists always are creating, being inspired by new things and so I think we have only scraped the tip of the iceberg. My message hasn't changed, it has always been the Gospel of Paul, Jesus and Him crucified. That is a message the world will always need to hear. And along those lines, in 30 years or so, how has the audience changed? There's certainly less of a distinction between the secular and the sacred in music. Sardonyx noted that their perspective changed from exclusively seeking to save the lost to encouraging and helping the believer in their walk as well. Is Bride's mission the same as it always was, or what is God giving you to speak now? DALE: Our audience is an older, more select crowd now who knows what they like and what they expect from the bands and artist. We are slowly connecting with a part of the younger generation, but most people buying our CDs are not teenagers. I remember playing the King's Place in Columbus, Ohio many years ago, maybe over 20 years ago, and Troy videoed the crowd waiting outside the building to be let in to see us. I still remember their faces and how young they were. I was younger then as well. Now I am much more mature, grown up, if you will, and our crowd now are those same people grown up, but still with that fire for rock and metal. My lyrics are a reflection of the emails and messages I get from those that have continued to support my work. If I am inspired by what folks write to me, I write about it, and a lot of that is now in my songs. I have always written very personal messages and just when I think I have nothing left to say, God fills my mouth. I praise Him for that.
You guys have never shied away from talking about the name of Jesus. It's still right there in songs like "The Real Jesus," "Lost Within A Song," and "Call Out His Name." Not everything that comes out of my mouth is pure gold. I've said a lot of stupid things that reflected me, not Christ in me, and paid the price, but when we proclaim Jesus' name and men hate us for it, the reward will be there. DALE: I have never strayed from the Gospel of Christ when it comes to my personal life. I wake up speaking His name and go to bed each night with the name of Jesus on my lips. I know what He has done for the world and I can never take that for granted. The lyric writing on this album reflects some of your allegorical type lyrics from earlier albums, rather than the straightforward, face value lyrics like "Soul Winner." That makes for a refreshing change. The songs like "Heroes" always kept you coming back, because the listener was never positive what you were talking about. A few on the last half even have the same doomy feel as Trouble's 80's albums. I'm liking "The Painter" a lot. On "Other Side of Suicide" we finally see the "snake" himself in all his rottenest. "There's Always Tomorrow" just might be my favorite because it comes back to that layered metal guitar sound like your 80's albums, yet still leaves you with a sad twist, like you lost something precious. It's funny how you wrote about current events "Fake News." yet it still echoes songs of the past "Troubled Times." I guess the times haven't changed, have they? And they'll just get worse until Christ comes back. Looks like the need for heavy metal music will always be here. DALE: I do pay attention and keep up with both sides of the main arguments out there in the world. Although Jesus is Savior of the world there are so many people that either do not know this or do not believe this to be true. I do not short change God's love, mercy and grace and I see Him as the Sovereign power in the universe stretching far beyond what we would call eternity. I will always present a message of truth and most of the time in that truth the light and the darkness will cross paths.
The alternate cover art for the album- I'm guessing that came later? Are you planning on using that for a second pressing or something special? Snake Eyes is even available on vinyl this time. Are you into the whole vinyl craze again? I've always liked Rez's albums better on vinyl than cd. Seems like some music was made for it.
DALE: I am leaving most of the hard work of marketing to Matt Hunt from Retroactive Records when it comes to what we are releasing. I have worked with Matt for several years now and we have a great bond and trust in our relationship with one another. I always liked the idea of vinyl, but am not a purist like some who think CDs are bad. For me, I like to pop a CD into my car and crank it up. You can't do that with vinyl. You mentioned staying power. In my humble opinion, I think Snake Eyes has it. Maybe it's just good riffs, but it gives me that insatiable need to hear it over and over again. In today's economy that might not equate to lots of royalties in your pocket- I'm not even sure if it's possible to become a successful musician these days- but Bride has always had a place in the hearts of many God fearing metalhead, and I'm guessing they always will. And if Bride is just a studio project anymore, but you put out music this good, we'll survive:). Many blessings to you, Dale and Troy. Thank you for this album. Best of luck with it.
DALE: I want to thank everyone who continues to encourage this work and I will not fail in delivering authentic and genuine metal and hard rock until the Lord says to do something else. Watch for in the near future more from Perpetual Paranoia, No Other God N.O.G. and you all will be blown away with what The World Will Burn is creating. I have a new FB page now and anyone interested can feel free to send me a friend request. https://www.facebook.com/DaleThompson1963
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