Interview with Rhett Davis
Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)
Date online: July 23, 2003
How are you guys doing and where are you from?
I’m doing very well. Thank you. Working hard on the band and keeping busy at my 9-5 job. The band is from Orange County California, which for those unfamiliar, is 40 minutes south of Los Angeles. I'm actually the only member born in California. Dwayne is from Canada, Gary is from Ohio, and Justin is from Seattle, Washington.
Morgion has been together for a long time and you, Rhett, are one of the original founders of the band. How have you survived as a band for so long and have you been able to realize your visions of Morgion?
Through a strict drug regiment, and a love of all things metal! HA HA! I always felt that we had something to offer musically that was special and endearing. I'm not the best person to congratulate for sticking it out because I left the band from March 2000 till October 2001. Looking back on all we have accomplished, I realize that Morgion is very important to me and I'm very excited to play with the three best musicians I know. I think in the past year and a half we have accomplished more than in the past 10 years! In the end I think we are upon the wake of all our visions coming to reality, one at a time!
I checked out the section about the Gathering Of the Bestial Legion Fest coming up on July 13. Got a bunch of kick ass bands there. What are you looking forward to the most?
Partying with people I haven't seen in ages, mostly guys and gals from the LA scene that I've lost touch with over the years. And of course seeing Phobia live again; it's been a long time!
Morgion has an American Tour coming up in August. Could you tell us a little about your plans for this tour and what are you doing to prepare for it?
It's called "The Doomination Of America" which is a strictly DOOM-METAL package tour. Mourning Beloveth of Ireland, The Prophecy of Northern England, and Orodruin of Rochester, New York are our partners in Doom! The tour consists of 24 dates stretched across this vast US continent. www.doominationtour.com is our web address for updates and tour information. Thus far the tour has been painstakingly pulled together by Morgion, Mike W and John Gallo of Orodruin, Adrian and Darren of Mourning Beloveth, John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus, Tomas Pasqual of Metal Maniacs, The dedicated revelers of DOOM at www.doom-metal.com, Metal Mike of Dark Symphonies, to name a few.
As far as prep for the tour we are fixing blown guitar heads (they both died!) and dying bass pick-ups, tuning up the ole' tour vehicle, and maybe when we get around to it…rehearsing! HA HA! Between recording a new record July 18th-Aug 3rd and playing the Bestial Fest along with recording contracts, etc, the tour will round out our busy as hell summer. I think, for me, I'll discover this over-rated activity called "sleep" some time in September…
How did the Doomination of Europe Tour go? What did you like best about it?
The Doomination Of Europe was totally amazing! I think we were all ready to stay once we got to Belgium and The Netherlands! Since it was our first time being in Europe, I was just taken back by the beautiful architecture, especially in Paris, France, and Evora, Portugal! The shows were incredible as well. So much love of Doom. I think I liked making so many new friends while in Europe. I met so many unforgettable people that they made the trip so much better than I could have ever hoped for. Also, Mourning Beloveth and The Prophecy helped in making this tour possible simply because they are great bands and great people.
Have you gotten any gifts from fans? Which would you say would be the coolest or weirdest?
Most of the time I've been given music. A member of a band that likes us a lot might have given me their music to check out. I think the coolest thing I got from a fan (who's more of a friend, really) was a bottle of wine and a bottle of Champagne from Fred of Ataraxie while on tour in Europe. He brought them just for me; I was really blown away by that! The weirdest would be a couple comp. tapes given to me by a strange guy in London who I did an interview for. Why were they weird? They made an 11-hour drive pure insanity. (Because we had nothing else to listen to…) Darren of Mourning Beloveth, Matt of The Prophecy and I knew those songs beyond the scope of better judgment; they were scarred upon our minds.
When you play live, do you try to stay close to the studio version or do you like to change things up?
It really depends on the show. If we have a short set we piece all the allotted songs together to cram as much in as possible in that short amount of time. No breaks, no chit-chat. If we have a long set we like to have a few different openers and a few different closers to chose from. Play a little off the cuff so we have a variety to play. We also always have a cover song in the wings just in case we have more time to play. We have been known to cut songs in half and play them at different times of the show or piece them together with other songs or medleys from movies or other bands. Kinda half in half… studio and change up.
Which songs do you like most playing Live?
From Among Majestic Ruin, "Basking under a Blacksun Dawning" and "Travesty." From Solinari, "Canticle," "All The Glory… All The Loss," and "Nightfall Infernal." From The New Material… "Cairn" and "Crowned In Earth."
Lots of people turn out to your concerts. What was your first concert you ever attended?
Iron Maiden Long Beach Arena "Live After Death". SCREAM FOR ME LONG BEACH!!!!!!
How is your latest album different compared to your previous ones?
Vocalist and Bass duties, to start with. Dwayne and Gary now handle the low death-metal vocals, the orator type speaking vocals, and clean sung vocals. Justin now handles all the bass duties and the bass guitar is much more involved with the music. The rhythm section is totally amazing!
This album is more guitar oriented while Solinari was more keyboard oriented. We also put a lot of time into the vocal arrangement and use of clean sung vocals. The mood and overall dynamics are similar, which having the same producer helps also!
You are about to release a new CD. Could you tell us a little about this album?
The Album is called Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth which is a metaphor for Life and Death. The album will contain 8 songs and a running time of 60 minutes. It is a concept album, which delves into the world of Fantasy Fiction. I've been trying to put something like this together for quite some time now and I finally have the room to do so. I think this record will get much better lyrically and sonically! We signed with Dark Symphonies for a January, 2004 release.
There are also a couple of releases that are now out of print. Do you think that you might re-master them?
Morgion would love to have them re-released, but they are the property of Relapse Records and they have the sole right to re-master and release. I think that after our next record comes out, and the amount of Promotion put into it, maybe they will see the light of day again.
How do you write your songs? Is there a specific process?
It usually starts with Gary and Dwayne who bring in an idea or a riff and we start building a song from that. Actually, nowadays Justin and Dwayne come up with riffs while Gary has structures and formula ideas. We start off with Gary's idea and then piece guitar parts that fit into his mental schematic. Then we fine-tune the song, which is where I come in. I usually help finish the arrangement, time changes, and tempo. We have some of our own recording equipment now and we demo a lot of our ideas to work with later.
How would you describe Morgion's style of vocals? Who have been your role models?
Our former vocalist, Jeremy Peto, is a big LG Petrov (Entombed – Left Hand Path), Carl McCoy (Fields Of The Nephilim) and Darren White (Anathema/Blood Divine) fan. I think you can hear the influence in all things he did vocally. Gary has a Peter Murphy/David Gilmore kind of voice, while Dwayne is the equivalent of Karl Willits (Bolt Thrower) and Matti Karki (Dismember) rolled into one. My biggest heroes have to be Messiah Marcolin (Candlemass), Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost/Hellhammer), Cronos (Venom), and Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden).
The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
I would have to say mainly the 80's era of Metal. It was my time of growing into adulthood and becoming a musician. It was definitely the most impressionable period of my life. Although I love 70's Rock. I'm also very fond of early 90's Death/Black Metal.
Which bands are on your list of favorites? If I were to look through your CD collection, what would I find?
AC/DC, At War, Autopsy, Blood Feast, The Black Crowes, Bathory, Candlemass (Even the later ones), The Cranes, Celtic Frost, The Cult, Dark Throne, Dark Angel, Dream Death, Danzig, Entombed, Excruciating Terror, Emperor, Exodus, Fields Of The Nephilim, Forbidden, Faith No More, GWAR, Gehennah, GoatSnake, Helstar, Heathen, Incubus (Serpent Temptation, Beyond The Unknown), Iron Maiden, Infernal Majesty, In The Woods, Judas Priest, Kiss, King Diamond, Kyuss, Led Zeppelin, Love Like Blood, Lynard Skynard, Metallica (1st Three only on platinum disc!), Mercyful Fate, Mourning Beloveth, Motorhead, Nashville Pussy, Nevermore, Orodruin, Omen, Overkill, Paradise Lost (Lost Paradise, Gothic), The Prophecy, Pestilence, Queens of The Stone Age, Rubicon, Ritual Carnage, Rigor Mortis, Solitude Aeturnus, Slayer (up to South of Heaven), Savatage, Sanctuary, Trouble, Tankard, Testament, Unholy, Venom, VoiVod (they still kick my ass!), Warhorse, Weird Al Yankovich, W.A.S.P., ZZ Top, Znowhite.
Not the whole collection but a summary. I have many mood swings when it comes to my collection. For the past couple years I've been buying old Thrash Metal bands I freaked out about in my teenage years to replace my dying tape collection. So bands like Sacred Reich, Nasty Savage, Powermad, Vio-lence, Death Angel, Artillery, etc…
When did you start playing and how old were you when you became interested in metal?
I started playing drums when I was 11 and then got my first drum kit when I was 12. I always had an infinity to drums, but my mother finally succumbed to my drum craze after I began lessons. I started listening to metal around 4th grade, so I was around 10. Tommy Lee is actually responsible for me being a drummer; I actually still look up to his work on "Too Fast For Love" and "Shout At The Devil". His is a monster behind the kit; I don't give a shit what anybody says otherwise!
What other types of music do you listen to and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I've been listening to a lot of 60's and 70's blues singers like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White, James Brown, etc. I'm sure many people reading this would think it's sacrilege, but I like what I like. I'm also a big Elvis Presley fan too!
I have a 69' Mercury Cougar Coupe that a friend and I work on when time and money play a factor. Next up is some bodywork, then front disc brakes. (It has a whole lotta go, but not a lotta stop!)
What kind of books do you read? Any good books or movies you would like to mention?
I read mostly Fantasy Fiction that are written by Dungeons&Dragons enthusiasts. I used to be an avid "D&D Dork" but don't have the time or patience for it anymore, so I get my fix from novels in that area. I also play all the computer games that they make, like "Baldurs Gate" and "Icewind Dale." The last series I read was The Clerical Quintet by RA Salvatore. They were quite good.
As far as movies, the only one I could suggest is About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson. Some people might find it slow, but for some reason it really cracked me up; very odd role for Jack also! I'm looking forward to seeing Pirates of The Caribbean, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I really like campy shit like that as well!
There is a lot of work that goes into your website and you have some mp3s and desktop downloads for fans and a cool slideshow of your last tour. Who maintains your site and do you feel that you have been getting some feedback because of it.
Gary Griffith our Guitar/Synth/Acoustic/Vocalist is our Webmaster. Ever since he got involved with the web page, it has been a successful medium for us. He also maintains the "Doomination page" too.
Who designs your CD artwork and who has the final word on what actually goes on the album cover? Does it have any special meaning?
Gary also does all the artwork for the band. You can see it within our web page, too; he is a very artistic guy! Gary and I work out the lyrics to fit the scheme of the artwork. We imply that the artwork coincides with the lyrics and the feel of the album. He comes up with the final product and all the hard work in making it fuse with the musical and lyrical theme. I suppose, I help explain, and give my words and any ideas I might have for the look or theme.
How important would you say is the CD art?
Very important! The package is the physical representation to the music within. Some of my favorite albums are the ones with lots of artwork, pictures, and lyrics to read. It's a ritual to listen to a new album while looking over the packaging. In my opinion, it's one of the most rewarding things about buying music.
Any video releases in the planning?
We have a couple hours of footage from the "Doomination Of Europe" tour, and we plan on filming some more for the American Tour. We also have been discussing making a music video for one of the tracks on the new record.
Also, no more T-shirts. Got more coming?
In preparation for the US Tour we decided to take the shirts off the web page. With the tour coming, we didn't want any more mail orders until after we return; it's very difficult to keep up with them right now.
What are the plans of your band for the next two or three years?
Release our new record in January, do another European Tour in the spring of 2004, and maybe play a few European and American Festivals for the summer of 2004. Record another record in Summer of 2004, repeat…repeat….!
Any last words to fans?
Hail to all those who held faith in Morgion. May your swords never dull and your shields never compromise! Woe to those who stand against us. Beneath the feet of many you shall be trampled!
|Other information about Morgion on this site|
|Review: Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth|
|Interview with Drummer/Lyricist Rhett Davis on June 3, 2004 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
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