About a year and a half ago I sat down with Stacey Savage, lead vocalist of SAVAGE MASTER for the first time. They had just released their debut Mask of the Devil and things were starting to heat up for them. Now the band is poised to unleash With Whips and Chains upon us May 13 via High Roller/Skol Records, so it was time for us to chat once again. Stacey gave us some insight into the new music, tour plans, and what drives her and the band. Check it:
Amps: I heard the new record for the first time this morning. There’s always been a NWOBHM feel to the band. But on this album, it really comes alive, like this record needs to be on vinyl and on stereos all over the world.
Stacey: It actually will be all over the world. We have more distribution than we had before, so I just wanted to comment on that. Yeah, that feel. We just kind of draw influences not only from 80’s metal bands and NWOBHM, but also the bands that they were influenced by. So, I think that kind of helps make it even more kind of authentic in a way
Amps: From the first record till now, do you feel you have gotten better as a singer, writer, and live performer?
Stacey: I do. I definitely put a lot more thought into performing on stage because up until then I didn’t have any experience doing it. So, we’ve played over 50 shows touring. And so, I’ve kind of had a lot of time to kind of get the experience, think about it, hear feedback, and look at other performers and think about what I really want to do and how I want to express myself. As a writer, I’ve written more on this one than I did on the first album. And I plan to just continue writing more and more. And having more of a hand in it and learning more than just singing and just lyrics.
Amps: You’ve said that you feel ADAM NEAL (guitar) is a genius. Does your mind get blown all the time by him with all the stuff he comes up with?
Stacey: Yeah, constantly. He said that I’m like a muse to him and I inspire him to write some of the stuff he writes. And conversely, when I hear the riffs and everything it inspires me to sing it certain ways. And so a lot of times I’ll come in with an extra verse or something like that. We work together inspiring each other to keep it rolling.
Amps: Do you think that you guys are making more of a statement this time around? Like “Get the fuck out of our way” or no?
Stacey: Yeah, I think so. I think we’ve kind of just refined more of what we wanted initially. But, we also expanded upon being really solid. We’ve had some lineup changes and everything. But I think that’s helped too. We got more on the same page. We’re moving faster, you know more solid in our statement and our vision.
Amps: You mentioned lineup changes. Is Brandon Brown still on bass?
Stacey: (Laughing) We still have him, we do still have him. The only one that’s changed since then is the drummer. And I think that’s made a big difference. Our first drummer was Eric McManus and our drummer now is Zach Harris.
Amps: And he fits the band well?
Stacey: Yes. He really, really does. We feel like he adds a lot. We’re really happy to have him.
Amps: What is your favorite song on the new record if you had to pick one?
Stacey: Okay, probably “Ready to Sin” is my favorite song. I think it’s like the catchiest one. It’s the one I always have in my head. But really, as we were writing this album; every time we’d come up with a new song and I’d start playing it and learning it. I was like “Oh, Gosh. I love this song. I think this is my new favorite.” And it would happen with almost every song. So, I really am happy with this record.
Amps: The two biggest standouts for me were “Black Hooves” and “Ready to Sin.” When you listen to the record in your headphones it still sounds like something that would be on vinyl in my bedroom back in 1987 when I was 14 years old. This album takes me back to that time. You really did a good job on that.
Stacey: Well, thank you. It really makes us proud when people say things like that about it. Because that’s what we’re trying to do.
Amps: Tell me about what tours you have coming up.
Stacey: At the end of April, we are going to Germany to play the Keep it True Festival. We are so excited. Yeah, we have the Milwaukee Spring Bash in Wisconsin with tons and tons of bands. And we’ll go to Europe and do a 12-day European tour and then follow that with an American tour. We don’t know any information really quite yet about the American tour. But we’re going to try and make it as big as possible and go to Canada and everything else. (Editor’s Note: shortly after this interview a tour was announced supporting HOLY GRAIL from May 28-June 10)
Amps: June 8 you’re coming to Philly, so I get to rage with you.
Stacey: Hell yeah! Looking forward to that. This time we had to get a booking agent with this one because we’re just getting busier. We’re trying to get as much covered as possible.
Amps: Now is this the first European tour for the band?
Stacey: This is our first European tour. I’m very excited. For three of us, it’s our first time even going to Europe at all. So, it’s going to be an experience definitely for us.
Amps: The Keep it True Festival is going to be huge for you.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s going to be the biggest thing we’ve played for sure. Probably for a good while.
Amps: What’s funny is whether you go on at 2:00 afternoon in the afternoon or 8:00 at night there’s still thousands of metal heads out there banging their heads and pumping their fists and raising the Devil Horns.
Stacey: I heard the same thing from many people. I’ve heard that same thing like you said that everybody’s going to be there regardless of what time you go on. And I’ve heard that in Europe and Germany especially metalheads are really passionate. I noticed when we very first put our t-shirts online that half our orders were from Germany. So, they’re passionate. They really are.
Amps: Away from the band what do you do to relax and unwind these days?
Stacey: Well, I’m very slowly learning to play guitar a little bit. I’m still learning. Also, I’m trying to learn how to draw better. So I’ve kind of been tracing and practicing drawing.
Amps: Do you think one day YOU might design a SAVAGE MASTER album cover?
Stacey: (Laughs) I don’t know, maybe. We’ve been using Chris Moulin for all of our art. So, it kind of keeps it like a solid theme going. As far as I can tell, we’ll be sticking with him.
Amps: When people listen to this record and the last note rings out what would you like people to take away from it?
Stacey: I hope people are excited about it. I hope they are getting these songs in their heads and they want to hear it again sing along. Passion really, that’s why I do this.
Amps: What are you doing to keep the voice in shape? You might not get a lot of sleep. What are your vocal do’s and don’ts to make sure you’re in show shape?
Stacey: Always drink a lot of water. Trying to be better about hydrating beforehand instead of just when I’m onstage. I try not to eat to close when I go on, maybe less than 2 hours before I go onstage. It’s just hard to sing if you do that. You’re pushing on your diaphragm and it’s pushing on the food in there. Sometimes my voice will get a little weaker, dry, or hoarse and something and I’ll just have hot tea or warm water even.
Amps: If there’s any artist out there that you could cover what song from what band and why?
Stacey: Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. Well I thought it would be cool if I covered “Savage” by JUDAS PRIEST. That would be really fun. It’s fun to sing for me. And it’s obviously called “Savage” so that would go with our whole thing.
Amps: What motivates you and keeps you going?
Stacey: I just kind of think about people that are doing the things that I want to do. And I try to imagine what kind of attitude they have about it. I just always try to stay on the positive. I always think about “You only live once.” Because you have “Time and tide wait for no man.” That’s a good one, too.
Amps: What do you want to say to all the SAVAGE MASTER fans out there in the world?
Stacey: I look forward to traveling the world and meeting as many of our fans as possible. And I really hope they like the new record.
Things just keep happening for SAVAGE MASTER and I for one couldn’t be happier for them. With Whips and Chains comes out May 13 so be sure to pick it up. And if you haven’t checked out the debut disc I highly recommend you do. This band delivers on many levels, so consider these wise purchases. And anyone going to the June 8 Philly show at Kung Fu Necktie come say hey! Get your tickets HERE.
BAND PHOTOS: HAYLEY FAWN HALL
STACEY PHOTO: EDWARD NEARY