As some of you may know, I recently discovered/was late to the party for SYMPHONY X bassist MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS, and their smashing first album. I became immediately smitten with this debut record and politely asked/harangued/harassed Mike LePond for an interview. After the tenth fruit basket he finally relented (I’m kidding!), so here it is, folks. My interview with Mike. Enjoy:
Amps: How did SILENT ASSASSINS come together? How long have you been planning this?
Mike: SYMPHONY X usually releases albums every 4 years, so when we released our last one, Iconoclast, I knew it was time for a solo album. During our European and American tours, I would write the songs on the tour bus until I was finished.
Amps: How was this different than writing/recording with SYMPHONY X?
Mike: The main difference was that I had to write all the music and lyrics, record and produce the album. This was a long time-consuming task. In the end it was all worth because It came out the way I wanted.
Amps: So far all the buzz seems overwhelmingly positive. That must feel pretty good, right?
Mike: Yes, the reviews have been really great and everyone is positive. I was afraid of how the SYMPHONY X fans would react, but they have been so supportive and I thank them for that.
Amps: When all was said and done, and you’re holding the finished product in your hands, what was that feeling like?
Mike: When I finally had the CD in my hands, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I had accomplished something really special. It was probably one of the greatest feelings in my life.
Mike: I’m so glad you like it! I love medieval music so I have a special place in my heart for track 3, “The Quest.” The lyrics are about King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail, and I did my best to make the music really epic, hoping it will take the listener back in time.
Amps: Will you do a tour? And if so, will the same guys who played on the record be in the touring band?
Mike: As soon as I learn what the SYMPHONY X touring schedule will be, I will book some special SILENT ASSASSINS shows in between. I will use my singer, Alan Tecchio. The other musicians may be different.
Amps: speaking of…Alan sings incredibly on this release. How did you end up working with him? Was it by design or by accident?
Mike: I had worked with Alan in 2010 in SEVEN WITCHES. I thought his voice would be perfect for my album, so I sent him some basic tracks. He liked the songs and wanted to do it. He totally kicked ass in the studio. He is one of the best metal singers out there.
Amps: How does a touring musician like you manage his Crohn’s Disease? And how are you feeling these days?
Mike: It is very scary being a touring musician and having Crohn’s. I can tell you some horror stories about having to go onstage in excruciating pain. My last surgery was in 2013 and I feel really good right now. Thank you for asking.
Mike: When I’m not doing music, I like to do simple things like going to shows, having dinner with friends, going to the cinema, and watching TV is my favorite thing ever. I love the History Channel.
Amps: What’s next for SILENT ASSASSINS? What does the future hold?
Mike: Next year I want to book some shows for us and I am already working on a second album.
Amps: Say something to all your fans out there in the world, Mike.
Mike LePond is really cool, isn’t he? The guy puts out a killer fucking heavy metal record and is just so casual and easygoing about it. How can you not root for someone like that? Pick up MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS wherever you get your music, and be prepared to have your metal socks rocked right off!!
PHOTOS: JATZI NIETO PHOTOGRAPHY