My Interview With Former ICED EARTH And Current SEVENTH SERVANT Vocalist John Greely (Stormrider, 20 Years Later)
It was just over 20 years ago that Iced Earth released their second album “Night Of The Stormrider.” Compared to everything else that was coming out in the metal realm, it was a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t another death or thrash metal album, and it certainly wasn’t traditional speed or heavy metal. It combined elements of many styles and was its own creature. I first discovered Iced Earth when I heard “The Path That I Choose” on the local Tampa metal show The Pit on 98 Rock. The next day, I took a PSTA city bus to Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg and bought “Night Of The Stormrider.” Twenty years later it is the only album from that band that I consider to be a five-star blue chip album, although following albums gained greater acclaim and eventually turned the band into metal giants. “Night Of The Stormrider” has everything you could look for in a metal album… it’s got parts that are fast, intricate, creative, melodic, introspective, rocking, slow, dark, and triumphant. It has incredible guitar work and a solid performance from the rhythm section. What really sets it apart from the other albums by Iced Earth however is the voice of John Greely. His range and color were more what I appreciated personally in a heavy metal album than what Matt Barlow gave us afterward. Barlow was a talent in his own right, but I didn’t connect with his style as well. By the time the band acquired the mega-talented Ripper Owens eventually, it is my contention that the musical composition from the band went downhill. Here is a quick interview I had with John Greely based on my tribute for the 20 years since the release of one of the heavy metal gems of the past couple decades (that was not death or black metal):
Universe Number Five: 1. It’s been just a shade over 20 years since “Night Of The Stormrider” saw the light of day. At what point in that process did you realize that you were part of something that was far better than typical heavy metal fare?
John Greely: The day that they let Richie (Secchiari, drums) join the group after begging to get him in, I knew then we could be great.
UNF: You guys were here in the Tampa Bay area at the time. On the international heavy metal map, we had progressive metal heavyweights Savatage and Crimson Glory, which you guys were thrashier than. On the other end, we had the incredible death metal scene which you guys were more melodic than. How were you received locally at that time?
John: We only played one show in Tampa at The Ritz on Halloween and it was great .I love Tampa and St Pete for the Metal.
UNF: I first heard you guys (the song was ‘The Path That I Choose’) on the local metal radio show The Pit on 8-22-92, I still have a Memorex cassette copy of that show. Should I accept a penny less than $25,000 for that tape on eBay?
John: Get all you can for it and buy me a drink.
UNF: What did you take from that era of your life that you still carry with you, as far as the total experience?
John: I’m still the same today as then as far as my musical tastes.
UNF: Tell the readers what they need to know about your current band Seventh Servant, and what your ambitions are for the band.
John: My new band Seventh Servant is my baby and I love the members and music that is much the same metal as always.
UNF: How badly would I destroy you one-on-one in a basketball game?
John: I’m still in great shape I work construction everyday and you may have a tough time destroying me in one on one.
UNF: Finally, what are five albums every music fan should own?
John: Blue Oyster Cult – Tyranny And Mutation
Uriah Heep – Demons and Wizards
Black Sabbath -Master Of Reality
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance
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