Dark Angel interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #3, 1991

Dark Angel has certainly had a long career. After releasing an incredibly hard-to-find debut album, We Have Arrived, the band has gone through its fair share of lineup changes, as they say. Gene Hoglan has earned the respect of many, many fans as one of the best drummers in the business, and Dark Angel has put out three solid albums for Relativity Records.

Eric Meyer, lead guitarist (the only original member left), bassist Mike Gonzalez, Gene Hoglan, and Ron Rinehart on vocals have recently parted ways with guitarist Brett Eriksen. Eric and Mike brought me up to date on that and on what else has been happening with the band, starting with touring for the latest album, Time Does Not Heal.

Eric: As soon as the fuckin’ brand-new record came out, we did a European tour, man. It wasn’t something that went down over here, but we went over and did, like, 30-plus shows, a headlining tour in Europe, and we did a bunch of shows in The Netherlands and Germany and France and Italy and Budapest, Hungary. It was really cool. And we had a headlining tour in the States lined up, and things just kinda washed out a bit with our record label.

Mike: What happened was, we came back with a big U.S. tour all planned out. We proposed our budgets to our label, and they denied it at the very last minute. The agreed to it all along, [but] two days before we were supposed to leave, they said, “No, we’re sorry. We’re not giving you guys one dime. Nothing.” We would’ve done anything to go out, and we couldn’t do it, no matter what.

Eric: It left us high and dry, basically, and we just kinda sat around, you know? So we dicked around for a couple months, and then we played at home at the Country Club and then we did Santa Clara and Oakland and shit like that, and we played in fuckin’ Hawaii a while ago.

Do you want to talk about the label some more? Is it true that they dropped you?

Mike: To be honest with you, you can print this, the label has fucked us really hard. [When] we did Europe, they were fully behind us. [We] come back, and they yanked everything. They just, like, let it go.

So will the next album be on Relativity?

Mike: At this point, we are legally signed to Relativity. They know that we don’t wanna be on the label anymore, and we’re negotiating with them right now. At this point, we don’t know.

What happened with Brett Eriksen?

Eric: He wanted us to say, “He’s such a fuckin’ junkie, man,” but he’s really not. He just kinda wanted to do something different.

Mike: Actually, with all the hassles we’ve been dealing with, he became disillusioned, pretty much. He’s bailed out. He just wanted to go back to school. He’s doing the college thing now.

Eric: In a way, y’know, he didn’t wanna dick us off. He fuckin’ wants to get a degree in college. And so he just said, “Hey, find another player. No hard feelings, obviously.” There ain’t no hard feelings, so we’re moving on. We got a new guy, Chris McCarthy, [who] used to play in a band called Silent Scream from L.A., and things’ve been working out really good, man. I just totally dig it. Actually, out of fuckin’ [former guitarist] Jim Durkin and Brett, it seems like Chris is just, like, fuckin’ in there. I’m really enjoying it. He’s just great. He’s way cool.

Do you have any material for the next album?

Mike: The next album’s written and done, basically.

Eric: Gene’s been working on a lotta shit, man. Gene’s, like, the chief writer and stuff, and he’s written a bunch of new tunes.

You certainly shifted gears on Time Does Not Heal, like with Ron’s vocals, for instance. Will the next album be in that direction generally?

Eric: I think it might get a bit harder. Quite a bit.

Mike: What happened was, [when] we did the Leave Scars album, that was around [former vocalist] Don Doty. He bailed out of the band, Ron came in, and Ron had to sing according to Don’s style. It’s like, he had to belt out, word for word, everything on the album. And it was really rough. So we did Time Does Not Heal, which was written more around Ron, y’know?

Eric: Ron can sing and fuckin’ hold a note and push a lot of wind. And it’s like, well, I dunno, our style’s kinda bounced around a little bit, but there is fuckin’ years in between the fuckin’ records, you know?

My friend HellFarmer, who was at hand, asked a question of Ron: You did some producing, like Recipients Of Death and shit. Are you still gonna do that?

Eric: I wouldn’t mind, yeah. I mean, fuckin’ I by no means stopped doing it or nothin’. If bands wanna do something, that’s fine with me. But it takes a fuck of a lot of time and concentration to do shit like that, you know? But yeah, I would love to fuckin’ do it, for the record, definitely. I’d take all the offers I could get.

“I feel sorry for everything that’s in our fuckin’ way.”

D.U.: So how much rhythm guitar tracking on average does Gene do for an album?

Mike: Oh, nine, maybe. It’d be scratch, though. I mean, [on] almost all the songs, he’ll lay down a rhythm guitar track. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna be recording into the album. It’s more, like, to set a standard for a song, basically. Just to set the format for the song.

Eric: He plays a mean motherfuckin’ guitar, y’know? That guy is a fuckin’ freak, man. Gene is just the sickest goddamn individual ever. Fuckin’ Satan on drums.

It’s just, I mean, every time you do a record, maybe it doesn’t exactly come out the way you wanted it to. For the goddamn most part, the new record is the best thing I think we’ve ever done. Oh yeah.

Are you ever going to have any more things like “Worms”?

Eric: No. In a nutshell, no. Y’know, the product Leave Scars, man, was like, we ended up going in the studio, this place called Space Station. We weren’t happy with it. We were just stuck with it and it didn’t go down the way we wanted it to, and it ended up being done and finished and there was nothing we could do about it. I mean, the material is killer. I take nothing away from that, and the playing is good, but obviously the production and the way the stuff went down on tape didn’t come out good.

Mike: It had a good feel to it when we were doing it. And then [to] have it come out not sounding the way you wanted it to, y’know, it’s a tough thing to deal with.

Eric: We worked our asses off doing that shit, man! It’s just like, fuck, if we could still take the tapes and take it to a fuckin’ killer studio and mix it for a fuckin’ week, goddamn, man, the whole record would breathe again! Y’know, put that thing on, it doesn’t sound right. In this day and age, that shit really don’t happen no more. I mean, that’s like listening to the first Megadeth record or something. It’s like the most godawful piece of crap ever. And for us to come out with a record that sounds like that is kinda silly.

So it’s last comment time. Something you want to toss in that we haven’t discussed.

Eric: We got a new fuckin’ guitar player [who] breathed a whole new life into the band, and we’re just stoked on what we’re doing. We’re gonna be looking forward to hopefully signing up into something new. By the time this comes out, goddamn, if we don’t have a new deal, well, hell, we’ll find us a gutter somewhere! [laughs]

Mike: We’ve dealt with every possible setback that a band can deal with, and this time around, it’s gonna be the major stage. Come six months from now, this band is gonna be in a completely different level, and we’re gonna be where we deserve to be.

Eric: I mean, you know what the fuck the band is about, man. Goddamn, we’re more pissed off than ever now. I feel sorry for everything that’s in our fuckin’ way. It’s just, like, one goddamn thorn after another. And you know the capabilities of this band. And it’s gonna come down, so watch out for the new record. ■


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