Who Played ‘Thrash’-Style Riffing First Metallica or Metal Church?


Australia’s Sticks For Stones recently conducted an interview with METAL CHURCH guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof.

On which band was formed first — METALLICA or METAL CHURCH:

Kurdt: “[It’s] hard to say. METALLICA didn’t exist when I was trying to put METAL CHURCH together. And Lars [UlrichMETALLICA drummer] stopped in San Francisco to visit friends, and that’s where I met him, I’ve known Lars longer than he’s known James [HetfieldMETALLICA frontman]. So… I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I mean, we were all on the same page. We were all trying to do the same thing, and we were all kind of going in the same direction. He had to move to L.A to go live with his dad, so we never played together or anything, but that’s where we became friends.”

On whether METAL CHURCH or METALLICA started using the fast, “thrash”-style riffing first:

Kurdt: “I absolutely think we were just on the same page mentally. I mean, there’s a lot of people that were. We were all kind of the same age, so we had the same likes in music that we grew up with — the early ’70s rock and all that kind of stuff. And then the punk influence started, so we all kind of… We didn’t discuss it. It was just kind of a weird, natural progression for all of us. Nobody did it first or last or second, or we weren’t competing with each other. This [was] just kind of the pervasive mentality [at that time].”

On whether METAL CHURCH was influenced by the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands of the late ’70s and early ’80s:

Kurdt: “Oh, absolutely. That totally did [influence us]. That had just about everything to do with it. It’s, like, we wanted to do that, and that’s just where it all started. It’s, like, combining the energy and the attitude of punk, but more musical skill. And [I was, like], ‘Oh, boy! I’m into that.’ ‘Cause I was doing the punk rock thing, and that was a lot of fun, and I still liked that, but it didn’t have the musicality that I was aspiring to. So [IRONMAIDEN comes along, and SAXON comes along, and I’m like, ‘Oh, boy! Here we go.’… It was a whole new thing, and we felt like we were part of a whole new movement. And it was really exciting; it was really exciting to be part of that.”

METAL CHURCH‘s new album, “XI”, debuted at No. 57 on The Billboard 200, having shifted 11,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 31.

“XI”, was released on March 25 via Rat Pak Records. Produced by Kurdt Vanderhoof and co-produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier, the band’s eleventh studio release also marks the return of legendary vocalist and frontman Mike Howe.


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