Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Kris! Thanks so much for accepting this interview and Welcome to THE GATES OF METAL! First of all: for those who do not know you could tell us a little how it all started for you in music?
Kris: Started in music at 3 years old. But all I did then was just listen to it. Over and over again. Mostly Kiss, but then on to what was big at the time. Glam was where it was at. But not the poser glam, more the harder edge metal stuff. Like Fear of God, Warrior, Savatage, Helloween, King Diamond and Metal Church as well as everyone else in between. During my teenage years I also got into playing the drums a bit with the bro. He would play lead and we would spend hours in my room rocking out to Britney Fox with him with the windows open just to piss off the neighbors. Now they were glam but so so good!
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite bands? You have any musician that you admire the most?
Kris: My favorite bands are the ones I listed in the previous question. A few more however are Gamma Ray, Edguy, Doro, basically any power metal band from Germany. And to answer your question of who is my favorite musician of all time. Hands down this would be Paul Stanley. Easily the greatest front man of all time. His rhythm skills are incredible and always overlooked and his writing is always powerful and uplifting. I admire him for being such an icon and not adhering to the normal rules of the real world. He set out to do what most will never even bother trying. God bless the guy, innovator and legend.
Hanna Tsepesh: Let’s talk about the “Serenity”; this cd is to raising money to fight Alcoholism and Drug abuse, right? Can you tell to us what we can expect from “Serenity” and why you decided to make this cd?
Kris: Good question Hanna! “Serenity” is the worlds first CD created for the sole purpose to raise awareness to the issue of substance abuse. Yes I know Nikki Sixx did something similar but in a way it was very different. Each of these songs were written with the intention of getting kids to communicate about the dangers of addiction. Its going be revolutionary. In fact that damn thing hasn’t even been completed and has already won an award from www.realcollegetour.com. They called it “The most innovative drug-awareness tool to ever be brought into the schools system” or something like that. I don’t know, but when I got the email I sure did give my-self a pat on the back! I was successful in recruiting some killer names for this project. Past and former members from Savatage, Heart, Kiss, Goo Goo Dolls, Tuff, The Runaways, Quiet Riot, and so many more legends of rock. Ironically all the names on this project were ones that I grew up listening to when I was younger. All with the exception of Veronica from Benedictum. She’s a newbie and as far as I’m concerned, the new Queen of Metal. Each song is a blistering masterpiece of metal and I really think some of them are radio worthy.
I made this CD along with my brother Rock Star to help us convey to as many people that will listen to it that drugs suck and without them you can conquer any dream that your imagination can muster up. However with them, you will die. Its as simple as that.
Hanna Tsepesh: Everything went well at recording studio? You bring a variety of amazing guest musicians. Can you talk little bit about it?
Kris: Yup. Everything went well. Actually the whole experience was and still is so surreal to me. Working with all these wonderful musicians that I grew up adoring and having them put their stamp of flavor on the tunes that were bouncing around in mine and my brother’s head is still an unthinkable concept to me. I don’t want to tout Veronica from Benedictum, too much, ok yes I do, but I have to say, she’s blew the doors off everyone in that room the day she recorded Mistress Insidious. I think we are all still a bit shell shocked by her performance. I also feel compelled to mention how amazing Zak Stevens from Circle 2 Circle and Savatage has been to work with. Although he cut his vocals from Florida, he has been a blast to work with via phone and email. The guy can sing a phone book and sound incredible.
Hanna Tsepesh: The producer is Bob Kulick, right? How was to work with him?
Kris: Bob is short on words all the time. He just gets shit done. His decisions are quick and instinctual. I grew up wondering about this guy and always thought he was some sort of guitar god. He has prove his musicianship time and time again throughout the years and I am blessed to have him be so involved on this project. I also want to mention that Brett Chassen is co-producing this effort with Bob. Brett is a funny and very crafty musician that I can honestly say has lended up some absolutely great ideas for some of our tunes. Him and I kind of bonded during the recording of this CD. I kind of feel like he took me under his wing a bit to try to mold me into a better musician and sometimes a better person. Very insightful and knows everything about every president in our History.
Hanna Tsepesh: If one of our readers wants to buy “Serenity”, what they can do?
Kris: Hurry up and go to www.weareoneonline.org and click on the link to merchandise. There they can purchase the CD (right now for pre-order) in its entirety and know that 100 percent of the proceeds go straight back into the foundation and some into the various programs that we use everyday to help our kids stay sober.
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your favorite music in this Cd and why?
Kris: I would have to say the song “Serenity” is my favorite. My brother came up with the riff many years ago on the piano. Last year when we started this project we sat down and imagined it with some guitars and some orchestration. We wanted a Savatage feel to it and knew it was to need a powerful and moving melody and some meaningful words. That s when I went upstairs and 20 minutes later, came down with the most perfect melody and set of lyrics. Ultimately the song was written from me to my brother Rock Star but by design was crafted in such a way that everyone can relate it to it.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Kris: If your struggling with the disease of addiction, tell someone. Scream it out at the top of your lungs until you find the help that will convince you its time to sober up. And if your in recovery, keep forging ahead. I know from personal experience that I built up all around me, some almost unconquerable obstacles, but I’m finding one by one that the only thing that’s unconquerable is me. Stay strong and resilient and you will someday soon find your own Serenity.
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks o much for your answers and time. THE GATES OF METAL wishes a big success on this fantastic CD! I really hope that you guys change people minds about this disease that plague our world today and help more the people to become more aware. Thank you for this great idea!
Kris: You’re welcome and I the opportunity to get this out there via your help. I also want to direct people to our individual websites. Mine is www.superstarsuperstar.com and my brothers are www.rockstarrockstar.com. They both are there to show the world that anything is possible when deciding to stay sober. And of course for more information on our programs or how you can help please go to www.weareoneonline.com.
By: Hanna Tsepesh
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