Earlier this year I spent some time talking with Mark Fox from SHAKRA. We chatted about him being back in the band, the new album High Noon, (out now, AFM Records) and some of the bands we have a mutual love for. A very engaging speaker, Mark is also quite personable and friendly. Here, have a look:
Amps: I have to tell you this album, High Noon, is just a straight out asskicker from start to finish, man. Just, Wow!
Mark: Thank you very much. That’s something I really, really like to hear. We’re on that like hell and we were really happy with it.
Amps: It’s been about a year. How does it feel being back home with SHAKRA?
Mark: When I joined the band I was about 23 years old. I felt like a rock star. You go from zero to number one. And you’re really like a rock star touring around the world and stuff like this. Now, I’m a little bit older. I gained experience after I left the band and that was really cool too. But now it’s really feeling like coming home. I think all of the members think like that. Because we had one little concert till now, three songs. And I was really like nervous. It was the first concert in life. It was really great going on stage, how it’s going on, and it was really perfect. We really had much work with the whole song writing. We worked on the album like hell. And now, I’m really happy.
Amps: I know you guys poured your heart, your soul into this record – it was blood sweat and tears. But tell me a little bit about the writing sessions.
Mark: So, this was really like Thomas Muster and me. We were really like evil friends. As I left the band we had real war shit. So, it was really like Hell on earth. So we didn’t hear anything from each other for six years. And suddenly, Chris Von Rohr from KROKUS, gave me a phone call he’s a good friend of mine. He asked how I would feel about rejoining SHAKRA. I was like, “Why do you say that?” And then I said I needed two or three days to relax and think about that. It was a few hours later and I gave a call back and we sat down at a table, Thomas Muster and me and Chris Von Rohr acted as our mediator. It was really cool and really positive. We talked a lot about the problems we had together. We found out there was no problem at all because we had the same meaning. We had the same things in mind. But there were gaps, political gaps. It was a good time for SHAKRA that I left and we had a break from each other and to get back with a real desire to get back.
Amps: It shows that you guys worked hard. And I think when this comes out a lot of people are going to be very pleased. Do you have any favorite tracks?
Mark: Yeah, you know every song is a baby. That’s always the same. And every new record is the best one. It has to be, you know. For me it’s the title track, “High Noon.” I really like “Watch Me Burn.” It depends, every two or three weeks there are other ones. I really like the whole thing.
Amps: “Into Your Heart” is a great one. I love the riffing and “Wild and Hungry,” as far as closers go that’s the way to do it. What’s going on tour wise? What do you have lined up so far?
Mark: We have big tour plans in Europe. I think it’s really difficult to go to the U.S. from Europe. We’d really like to, but if we got one or two shows in the U.S., we can’t do that because it’s a lot of money. To go over there with all our stuff. It would have to be a big tour. Not something like two clubs.
Amps: Of course. I know it’s tough. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. the bands that do well touring are FIVE FINGER DICK PUNCH, HELLYEAH and that stupid Bro-Core metal that I can’t stand. God forbid you sing and play in tune like you guys do. I’d love to see you get on a bill with someone like PRIMAL FEAR.
Mark: Yeah, I’d love to tour with the guys in PRIMAL FEAR, they’re good friends of mine.
Amps: You have a pretty rough vocal style. What do you do to keep your voice in shape? Do you drink a lot of water or tea?
Mark: Well, it’s my voice I can’t change it. There’s no other way to sing for me. What to do? Nothing. I don’t have to change my voice for singing. So, that’s a good thing. And it works. I’m a rock and roller. Ever since I was born, you can imagine. I don’t need to do anything for my voice. It’s like it is. And it works.
Amps: What do you do away from music to unwind or are you just always writing and listening?
Mark: I have two dogs. I have a good girlfriend. I have a boat. I very like going out to nature and feeling the power of the nature. That’s really important for me. Go out, being out. And yeah, that’s enough for me. Because it is more than enough.
Amps: What are you listening to these days whether it’s old stuff, new stuff from other bands. What’s in your CD player or iPod right now?
Mark: Right now it’s KID ROCK’s Born Free album. I liked the album before. But I don’t like the rap or hip hop ones. And of course AC/DC.
Amps: Man, I honestly think Rock or Bust was an excellent fucking record from AC/DC. I’m going to the show April 1 in Philadelphia. I cannot wait.
Mark: Yeah, I hope to see them too. They’re coming I think in March or April to Switzerland.
Amps: Have you seen them live?
Mark: Yeah, yeah of course three or four times.
Amps: Do you not agree it is arguably one of the loudest shows you will ever attend in your life?
Mark: (Laughs) No, because I’ve seen MANOWAR.
Amps: MANOWAR was THE loudest show I ever saw in 2014. I had to wear earplugs because they were so fucking loud! It was crazy.
Mark: Yeah, they are really loud.
Amps: But Mark, seriously how awesome were they live right? Every time the bass and the bass drum kicked in I felt like I was getting kicked in the chest. It was just incredible.
Mark: Yeah, they’re cool. Because I was like 15 or 16 years old and there was “Warriors of the World.”
Amps: So you’re back with Shakra, where you belong. The album is going to come out and it’s great. How are you feeling both personally and professionally? How is life for Mark Fox right now?
Mark: Pretty well. It was a lot of work. It’s not since yesterday I’ve been back to SHAKRA. But it’s been yesterday since people know it that I’m back. It’s about one and a half years I’m back. And we decided to not give it out to the people. Just till then, until we had something to show. We made the whole album and nobody knew that I was back. I’m really happy because we made some mistakes in the past; but now we are going the right way and the same way.
That’s the cool thing. We want the same thing. We have the same goal. That’s what you hear and I knew. That’s something you never heard on one record of SHAKRA before.
Amps: When people hear High Noon and they listen to the whole thing, what do you hope people take away from it when the last song ends?
Mark: Fun. They should have fun. And we like it. And they should have the feeling that they want to go to a show from SHAKRA.
Amps: What do you want to say to all the fans of SHAKRA and Mark Fox out there?
Mark: When you want to listen to real music then listen to High Noon.
Mark Fox is back home in SHAKRA, where he belongs. And I could hear in his voice how excited he is for the future. Whatever was in the past has been dealt with, and the guys have moved forward with one helluva record in High Noon. The results speak for themselves. Don’t believe me? Pick it up and you’ll see. Welcome back, Mark!