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The Reverend David Wayne is legendary in metal circles, primarily due to his vocal performance on the first two classic Metal Church albums, 'Metal Church' and 'The Dark'. Wayne left the band prior to the release of the third Metal Church album 'Blessing in Disguise' and resurfaced in the early 1990's under the Reverend banner. In 1999, Wayne reunited with Vanderhoof, Arrington and Erickson, and together with guitarist John Marshall put out a new Metal Church album called 'Masterpeace'. Recently, however, reports of extreme dissention within the Metal Church ranks have been all over the Internet. Amidst the turmoil surrounding the future of the legendary Metal Church moniker, David Wayne has come out with a new album, under the moniker of Wayne titled 'Metal Church'. The Metal Update caught up with Wayne to try to sort this whole thing out.

METAL UPDATE: Tell us what you've got going on right now.

DAVID WAYNE: Reverend released 'A Gathering of Demons' through our website. It's exceeding our expectations, so we're handing that over to a record company, or to a distributorship. I'm not sure, I'm letting my drummer deal with that. I've got too many things on my plate to monitor every detail of the band. A good executive delegates responsibility effectively. Anyway, that's gonna make it a lot easier to get a hold of it. What happened was that we thought the demand would be a lot less than it was. And it's just blowing us away how many people want the new Reverend CD. So that's all good.

MU: What's the address for the Reverend web site?

DW: That's ".cx" Just think of a crucifix.

MU: Why ".cx" and not ".com"?

DW: Some joker down in Georgia had the domain name and wanted $5,000. I told him to kiss my ass. If he'd asked for a couple hundred bucks, fine. But $5,000? No way. So meanwhile, we found out that Christmas Island's abbreviation is just like a crucifix. So we thought that was pretty cool. And meanwhile this joker down in Georgia keeps calling us back and saying "OK, $1,000. OK, I'll take $500." And I'm like, man, you don't get it. We're gone. We're happy with the domain name we have.


MU: What's goin' on with the Wayne album?

DW: In a nutshell, after 'Masterpeace' was released, we'd toured all over Europe and then came back home. Kurdt and the guys did not want to continue with Metal Church. Effectively, they handed me the torch and said, "you want to go with it, go ahead." I did that. Come to find out, Kurdt had committed the name, not telling everybody else in the band that he had done so. And I gotta say, I love the man, Kurdt Vanderhoof. I've been his friend for years and years. I just don't like what he does. I like him, but he pulls crap that just blows my mind.

MU: What do you mean when you say he committed the name Metal Church?

DW: He committed the name Metal Church to this record company for two more albums. But he didn't tell me he had done that. So I got this other deal goin'. And found out that he legally hamstrung me. But I found out, after talking to some lawyers, that I had a right to the name Metal Church, being a founding member. So I was just gonna call it David Wayne's Metal Church and just let Kurdt and his confused dealings have the name outright. I didn't care. Technically, what I could have done was forced him to make it Kurdt Vanderhoof's Metal Church. This is what has happened with other classic bands like Steppenwolf and Foghat. When there is total disagreement, the courts have set precedent that each founding member can use the name with their names. Anyway, I got the permission and went on with the David Wayne thing. And then Kurt starts telling everyone I'm a backstabber, so I decide I don't even want the name Metal Church. I decided to call the album 'Metal Church' to let everyone know I'm involved. I'm gonna try to far exceed what happened with 'Masterpeace'. I don't think 'Masterpeace' came close to doing what we set out to do. I mean, we were telling everybody in the interviews that it was Metal Church 3. It wasn't. It was evolved, smoother, whatever. So, I think with Wayne I've attempted to at least to capture the essence of those first two records. I know I didn't get it exact, but give me some time. I waited for Kurdt for a year 'cause he kept putting me off before he finally said he just wasn't going to do it. I had to wait for a year before I could start writing and doing my own thing separate from him. So, that's what I came up with in the short time I had. I felt that too much time was passing. I didn't want to wait any longer. Strike while the iron is hot. I had a great co-writer in Jimmy Bell, who had worked with Black Sabbath and even had helped out Joan Jett a little bit. Great co-writer and good guy, and I think we really have some decent songs on the record.

MU: Is Craig Wells on the Wayne record?

DW: Absolutely. The only reason Craig Wells bailed from the Metal Church reunion was that he was having a baby and things got a little too hectic for the poor guy. He wanted to be with Metal Church all along. Anyway, Craig was right along walking with me. He and I were going to keep the Metal Church name going together. But, like I said, I like Mr. Vanderhoof, but I don't understand what he does sometimes.

MU: When did Metal Church form?

DW: I met Craig Wells in early 1983. I was playing in bar bands and state fairs with my band The Brats. I was having some problems with those guys, so I split. I was auditioning around Seattle. I found Craig. Craig took me out to the Aberdeen / Hoquiam area, around where Nirvana came from, and introduced me to a band called Shrapnel, and we wrote original music. Eventually, we changed our name to Metal Church.

MU: What was the Seattle metal scene like at that time?

DW: Queensryche had just released their four song EP on the self-titled 206 record label which is really just the area code for Seattle. Anyway, when they hit sales of 27,000, they were picked up by EMI. Now, they're a good looking bunch of guys. I've always known that they were a better looking bunch of guys than us in Metal Church. We always knew we were the ugly band. But just to show you how prejudiced record companies and Hollywood are when it comes to the look and not the content, Metal Church was not picked up by Elektra until we sold 70,000 units. We had record labels like Arista saying we were too heavy for them.

MU: You sold 70,000 records on your own?

DW: We sold 70,000 on our own before we finally got signed.

MU: That's a lot.

DW: And they only sold 27,000 before - boom - they're on a huge fat record label. You're gauged by. . . we saw when MTV made the scene in the early eighties that music was going to be changed forever. That people were going to be more tuned in for eye candy than for content. As Martin Luther King said, "not judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their. . ." and I would say, "music!" Metal Church didn't care. We were the ugly band. We just rocked.

MU: Yeah, but when you did get signed, you got signed to Elektra Records, which was a really big deal.

DW: Oh yeah. It was sweet. We had some really good friends in Metallica. Metallica went to Elektra Records and told them. . . The A&R guy who signed the contract told us that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich told them that they better sign Metal Church before somebody else did.

MU: How did you know them?

DW: We'd been friends with Metallica since before they got their name Metallica. Kurdt met them originally down in the Bay Area. When we switched to the name Metal Church, we all pooled our money and we went down to play at Ruthie's Inn, which is this local club that Metallica used to like to hang out and drink beer in. We went down there, they showed up and we all became friends.

MU: So they totally went to bat for you and hooked you up later on?

DW: Don't get me wrong, Metal Church paid our dues before we got signed. We all worked hard saving money to rent a VW Bus and a milk truck to haul our gear in. We played for next to nothing. We were on the Macaroni and Cheese diet. Of course, Metallica would come to our shows whenever we played San Francisco, and we would love it 'cause they would always buy us beer.


MU: What years are you talking about?

DW: 1984. Metallica was on Johnny Z's record label, Megaforce and Megaforce was hot to sign us. I can't remember if it was somebody in Metallica or Anthrax that told us to hold off and wait. We got sent an ugly contract and we thought, no man, we can do better than that. Lucky for us that we held out, 'cause right after that, here comes Elektra with the big contract.

MU: Why did you call the band Metal Church?

DW: Actually there was a band down in San Francisco that never even played a live gig and Kurdt just borrowed the name. He was either in the band or hanging out with the band. Actually, the lead singer of the first Metal Church that never played live went on to be in a band called Griffin. I can't remember his name. Anyway, he said it was an apartment where Metallica and a bunch of other guys just came and went and formed bands and everyone just worshipped metal in this apartment.

MU: Is Metal Church a religious band?

DW: Not per se, no, but we never embraced the dark side, so to speak. We had songs like "Metal Church" which is just flat out evil, but at the same time, we never had any songs praising the devil.

MU: Why is your other band called Reverend?

DW: That was a nickname given to me 'cause. . .

MU: . . .'cause you were the signer in Metal Church. . .

DW: Exactly. There was one DJ, Mike Jones, who was on a pretty big station in New York. He started it. After that, I'd be doing an interview and they'd say stuff like, "We've got the Reverend here in the studio." I just kinda went with it and it stuck.

MU: It must have been awesome to be signed to Elektra after having been so poor before that.

DW: Suddenly we had money. Suddenly we had money to buy cocaine. We thought we were so cool. We had hot and cold running groupies. Every chick in Seattle wanted to be with us. We were doing one of our many tours when we got signed. The record company actually caught up with us when were we playing the 1986 Toronto Metalfest with Hallows Eve, Agent Steel, Exodus and Slayer. They flew in and came to our hotel room and bought us a lobster dinner after the gig and said, "Sign here."

MU: What happened next?

DW: We went into the studio and did 'The Dark'. Elektra was trying to figure out who to send us out with when Cliff Burton was suddenly killed in a horrible bus accident. They came back to bury Cliff. We all cried. One thing I always said about Cliff, he was like a late blooming flower child. Everybody was into stove pipe pants legs, but he liked bell bottoms and he was gonna wear them. So anyway, Metallica came home to bury Ciff and we all balled our eyes out. So, then they had to finish their tour, and that's when we got the nod. Anthrax had to go back into the studio, they couldn't finish the tour. And so we got to step in. It was fabulous. Huge arenas, screaming fans. Oh my god was that awesome.

MU: It must be tough to go back to playing smaller places.

DW: Yeah, it's like the Dana Plato syndrome. Workin' at the dry cleaners after you were playing the palace.

MU: So what happened?

DW: Some really weird internal things were going on, 'cause we were doing lots of drugs and alcohol and Kurdt went off on a weird tangent. Somehow he didn't get his way on something and quit - right after we played the Hammersmith Odeon. A dream come true. I'm tellin' you. Oh man, that was so cool. We were live on the BBC. So anyway, right after the gig, there was some weird stuff. I don't want to get into all of it, but Kurdt said, "I quit." And that was the beginning of the end for Metal Church. We replaced him with a couple of different guitar players.

MU: Who wrote all of the music on the first Metal Church record?

DW: Craig Wells, Kurdt Vanderhoof and myself.

MU: What's the best song on that album?

DW: The first Metal Church album? I couldn't say one, it would have to be three. I like "Gods of Wrath" just 'cause it starts off kinda like a "Stairway to Heaven". "Highway Star" was no slouch. "Hitman" was always a personal favorite. I don't know, I like every song on that damn first album.

MU: Go back to the story of the band.

DW: We all just got strung out. I tried talking to the band, but what could I do? It was wrong of me to try to bully the guys into it, so I left too. Kurdt was gone. I left. You had John Marshall in there. You brought Mike Howe in. It was like the Tygers of Pan Tang syndrome. You change too many damn members, too many times. You just end up alienating your audience.

MU: How did Metal Church do after you left?

DW: They did OK and I'm glad they did. I don't hold any bones of contention. A lot of people bought 'Blessing in Disguise' thinking I was singing on it. It took them two or three looks to figure out that David Wayne wasn't singing on it. I've heard that many times. 'Blessing in Disguise' had good numbers, but they never reached the level of those first two records ever again. 'Blessing in Disguise' almost reached the level of 'The Dark', but from there on out, they just went down. Those first two records were successful records. I've loaned out my copies so many times, and people forget they have my CD. I went and bought it for the umpteenth time the other day, and my guitar roadie begged it off of me and gave me $20. Then I found it in a record store again the other day and bought a brand new copy. Fifteen bucks!!!

MU: It's too bad you have to go out to a store to buy a copy.

DW: Yeah. Fame and fortune and a $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Denny's. (laughs)

MU: So, why did you come back to Metal Church for 'Masterpeace' after so many years?

DW: Well, because I was invited, and, frankly, I never understood all of the hostility anyway. It didn't do the band any good and it was counterproductive. And Craig Wells and I patched things up about a year after we all split up and Mike Howe joined. There was some mean things said in magazines, and I thought I'd never be friends with those guys again after they said all of that bullshit. But all was forgiven. We hooked back up and it was a lot of fun. I had never thought that it would happen, but I had always hoped that it might. I was never closed off to it.

MU: Well how did the reunion go?

DW: It was a ball, it was a blast. I just felt bad when Craig got his Mrs. pregnant. That got him all discombobulated, so he had to fade out of the scene.

MU: He didn't write any of the material on the Wayne album, did he?

DW: No. He just played some lead riffs and rhythm guitar.

MU: So where do you go from here?

DW: Right now we have our hat tossed in with Udo Dirkschneider. He's in the studio recording his next record and I've been told by the record people that we are going to get the U.D.O. tour. That's for Europe. But if it goes well in Europe - and I'll see that it does - we'll come over and tour the states.

MU: Are you doing the U.D.O. tour in Germany?

DW: Yep.

MU: He's probably got a serious-sized audience over there.

DW: Oh man, he's loved.

MU: Those people are probably into the old Metal Church material as well. Are you going to be playing those songs on tour?

DW: I have to. I mean, it would be unfair not to toss some of the old classic Metal Church songs into the set.

MU: What can the fans expect to see?

DW: Metal Church songs? I always have to do "Beyond the Black" - "Beyond the Black" is just a thunderous. I like to do "Watch the Children Pray" - that's a fun one. And because Wayne is focusing on the Metal Church sound, we probably will do "Metal Church" or "Gods of Wrath".

MU: Any last words for the Metal Update faithful?

DW: Get the new Wayne record, and when you do, play "The Choice." Think about what Osama Bin Ladin did and remember love or hate, peace or war, life or death - the choice was yours you son of a bitch.







Interview: Eric German [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]

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