[Author’s note: Joel has served as frontman for Bound for Glory since 1989 and has appeared on every one of the band’s releases. He was kind enough to spend a few moments answering questions for MetalAteMyBaby.com readers and BFG fans around the world.]
MAMB: As many of our readers know, you’ve been the vocalist for Bound for Glory since virtually the very beginning. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for MetalAteMyBaby.com!
MAMB: Although I am a big fan of so-called “death metal” vocals, I should mention in the interests of full disclosure that you’re my favorite vocalist of all time. When you were younger, were there any vocalists you looked up to or tried to emulate? After more than 25 years in BFG, are there any current vocalists that serve as an inspiration to you?
When I was real young, I really enjoyed all the classic rock stuff. I would sing to whatever I knew the words for. I tried my best to sound like every singer as much as I could. As I got into high school, I started listening to more metal and found it very challenging to sing. The one that sticks out most that I enjoyed screaming my head off to was Carnivore’s Retaliation. I loved knowing my neighbors could hear me screaming this psychotic shit at full volume. It was a nice barrier to keep them away. Metallica was another huge influence for me. Now I’ve come full circle back to classic rock again. It stand the test of time because it’s real music from the soul. Real talent. There really isn’t just one person or band that inspires me. It’s more collective. I just like good music.
MAMB: Rumor has it that the band has recorded 20 songs to be released as a full-length album, EP, and split album. What can fans expect from the material you’ve recorded? Will the band’s sound on the new material resemble “Feed the Machine” or “Death and Defiance,” or do you have something new and different in store for fans?
As you know, we have steadily changed our sound from each album to the next from at least the fourth album up. It’s just been a natural progression for us with age and changing of members, and just wanting to expand our horizons. It’s so boring playing the same old sound. I would have quit years ago if I was just screaming the same old way. I think this time though we’re stepping back a bit to the old days and giving everyone a little taste of the past. You could easily place the sound of each of our last five albums to many songs on this current project. I’m very excited to hear the reactions.
MAMB: As a fan of yours since 1996, I find it remarkable how much more accomplished your vocal talents have become over the past nearly 20 years. What do you attribute to this dramatic change–and improvement–to your vocal abilities?
Practice, practice, practice. Honestly, the biggest thing has been singing karaoke by myself in my music room. Once I discovered karaoke on iTunes I couldn’t spend my money fast enough. I really push my limits with things I know will be difficult to broaden my range. But I still smoke and drink hard to make sure I maintain that old growly sound though.
MAMB: Of the 20 new songs recorded this year, how many of them did you contribute to musically? And did you handle all lyric-writing responsibilites?
I do not play anything other than the skin flute so I leave the music up to the rest of the guys. In the entire 27 years, I have only written about 10 songs. This time around is 0. HaHa. My biggest accomplishment was four for Feed the Machine. Ed has always written everything. He’s an animal. It’s a natural talent for him that I just can’t compete with. I do spend a lot of time fine tuning the lyrics to fit the music and add a few ideas here and there. I am a great producer. I have a talent for putting the final touches to a song that really can make it “pop.”
MAMB: BFG has released 11 albums (including two splits) since 1989. Do you have a particular album you considerate your favorite? What about favorite songs?
It’s too hard to name one. They are all special to me in their own way. I would say I love everything from Behold on up. Favorite songs would be “Russian Winter,” “Fatherland,” “Commando,” “Behold,” “The Beast,” “Sea Wolf,” and “The Last Waltz.” You haven’t heard that one yet.
MAMB: What’s your favorite part about playing live in concert?
The fans are the biggest reason I play live. It’s a lot of work and preparation for us to do one show across the ocean but when I see the appreciation and respect we receive it’s all worth it. The energy at a BFG show is like no other. Also, the friends we’ve made with our hosts has been amazing. It’s cool to know I can go pretty much anywhere in Europe and find a fan or friend.
MAMB: What words do you have for your fans, and what can we expect from BFG moving forward?
First, I would like to say thank you to everyone that enjoys, supports, and respects us for what we do. It’s a lot of hard work to keep the Hate Train rolling for 27 years and we could never do it without your inspiration. As far as the future I would expect we have a few good years left in us yet. We’re all getting grey but we’re far from old. Only wiser. Also thank you Jason for your support and kind words.