Well, what can I say about this band? That they are one of the best under the sun? That they released three albums and each of them is nothing more than an immortal classic? That their singer Mike Baker is GOD? That the whole musicians seem to be from outer-space, where they found the choir-arrangements, too? Okay, read what Chris Ingles and Brendt Allman think about themself:
SACRED METAL-Page: I will start this interview at the very beginning of Shadow Gallery (surprise, surprise!): what can you say about the founding of the band? How long did the band exist? And who were the first members?
Brendt: Carl, Chris, Mike and Ron Evans. Used to play heavy metal covers as a band called Sorcerer ( ooooo original name
huh?) Brendt joined in 1989 and shortley after Ron left and Chris re-joined the band. Shadow Gallery was born.
Chris: Yeah, the name Sorcerer was Ron’s idea….It was better than “Tarantula and the Black Widows”…:)
I think Shadow Gallery officially started with Carl and Brendt writing “The Queen of the City of Ice”.
I remember hearing that and knowing that the style of music that was going to be written from that point on was going to be
much different than anything I had been involved with before.
SACRED METAL-Page: What was your first recording besides your self-titled debut? I mean, did you make any demos and did you send them to any labels? How at last did you decide to sign Magna Carta?
Brendt: We made a few demos as Sorcerer and Mike Varney from Shrapnel records noticed us and asked for more and more material. He then introduced us to Magna Carta and shortley after were signed. The first real demo we did for Magna Carta actualy turned out to be our first cd with about 3 songs left off of it....songs that I wish did not even exist. LOL
Chris: Yeah, there are some songs on that demo that are just plain funny now....
SACRED METAL-Page: Your debut "Shadow Gallery" is in my opinion one of the best debuts in the so-called "progressive-genre". Do you still feel comfortable with the recording? What changes would be made today by Shadow Gallery ‘99? What feelings do you have when you’re listening to this album?
Brendt: I still love the cd, at least most of it. I'd use a real drummer this time around, or at least spend a little more time with the programing. I love the songs, but I can tell our age at the time by some of the things we did. Everything was so new at the time, that just about anything we did was fascinating to us and that shows with the amount of repitition. Songs like "say goodbye" and "queen of the city" are classic Shadow Gallery and required listening if you really want to know what this band is all about. I'm happy you like it..thanks!
Chris: The first CD is very raw, both in writing and recording quality, but I think that's what makes it stand out.
We were all pretty much experimenting with different sounds and styles.
I still love it. I remember writing the Dance of Fools with Brendt and thinking, Wow this is definitely cool.
SACRED METAL-Page: "Carved In Stone" has marked the next big step in the career of Shadow Gallery and it is together with Psychotic Waltz's "A Social Grace" and Dream Theater's "Images & Words" the best Progressive-Metal-Album in the music-history!! Especially epic masterpiece-songs like "Don't Ever Cry, Just Remember", "Crystalline Dream" or "Alaska" do mean so much for me.
What feelings did come to your mind when you think about "Carved..." and its recording-process? Where do you see the main differences to “Shadow Gallery”?
Brendt: Wow! Cool. Thanks. I think about how much I missed one of my best friends in the world when i think of that time.
Seems like there is always a test. That record was a test. I think of sitting in front of a 486 pc reading MIDI help manuals. I
think of the time that the whole band spent a week in a up in Toms cabin writting that record. Don't ever cry was put togather
from parts that Chris had in about one hour or so. i think our best stuff always comes the quickest. The recording process was
boosted by Gary on this record..he helped out a lot. Actualy, we would not have had a record if it were not for Gary. He did
way more than he's given credit for on that record. I think of the most difficult time of my early 20's when I remember CIS.
Chris: Carved In Stone was a definite leap in where we wanted to go.
The songwriting was much more cohesive, and I thought the balance between heavy and melodic writing was really good.
There are some amazing lyrics for CIS, and I think the music complimented them well (and vice-versa).
Gary's addition came later in the writing process, but his ability to produce as well as write shined through..and CIS would not
be what it is without him.
Yeah, we all took a week off to go up to the cabin to solidify ideas.
My main memory of that place was watching Tom's pet python swallow a fluffy rabbit.
I think "Don't ever Cry, Just Remember" is actually an ode to the many fluffy rabbits that are swallowed never to hop again. (love this picture... Michael)
SACRED METAL-Page: Now we came to "Tyranny", your newest "baby": how long did it take to record this (once again:) MASTERPIECE?
Brendt: Way too long. 3 years. and about 1000 cases of beer, 5000 bottles of asprin and a whole bunch of new equipment
that broke all the time.
Chris: When Brendt says 3 years he is referring to human years.
Not many people know that Shadow Gallery's existence is based upon reverse Dog years.
In other words, 1 year in SG's existence is actually seven years in normal human years.
So, in SG's version of time, we actually finished the album in, about 0.428571428571428571428571428571429 years, which
really is only a little over three months....pretty standard really.
SACRED METAL-Page: What can you say about the songs on "Tyranny"? Maybe you could give a short description of each and every song, lyrically as well as musically? You wrote most of the material together with Brendt. How did that happen, writing songs for SG? Who has got the first ideas of the songs and how do they develop?
Brendt: It's a weird thing. I might have a whole song aranged or just a part, or Chris might have a part and we work on it
together, or Chris may have a whole song already. It's never exactly the same, but Chris is the best person in the band for me
to work on music with....because I think we hear it the same way. We like the same kind of stuff....plus, if I'm out of tobacco,
he always has some. We're both big slobs that love to jam and hear the heavy and the beautiful.
Chris: Um, BTW, got any chew,...... I'm out dude.
I think the songs on Tyranny are little stories in themselves. Comenting on them all won't do them justice to someone who's not
heard them, but here it goes....
SACRED METAL-Page: Jihad-
Brendt: fast and fun to play song about the Iran and Iraq war.
Chris: This is an example of a guitar player writing licks that keyboard players have to play as well...:)
SACRED METAL-Page: War4 sale-
Brendt: Good lyrics neat solo section with awsome keys.
Chris: Fun song to play, lots of organ.
SACRED METAL-Page: Mystery-
Brendt: could have been the first song on the record because of its begining. Good strong chorus that actualy repeats. Neat
headphone production by Gary.
Chris: Actually was the first song Brendt came up with during his writing binge. Gary's awesome playing shines in the solo
Fun moog solo.
SACRED METAL-Page: Hope-
Brendt: one of the best things Chris ever did. One of the best things Gary ever did. One of the best things Carl ever did. I was
a lucky man to be a part of that song. That's Chris and I about 2 am playing the same thing over and over that he brought to the
studio. That was a fun time. Good, good song about hope and dispair.
Chris: I had the basic ideas written for quite a while, Brendt helped with writing additional parts, and adding structure, and
when I heard Gary's orchestration and then Mike's vocals, I was dumbfounded....Amazing.
SACRED METAL-Page: Victims-
Brendt: Great chorus, spooky piano near the end....think of walking down the beiggest and dirtiest big city street in the world
when you hear this.
Chris: Powerful song which paints the picture of life rather well.
Heavy guitar riff.
Any time you feel like complaining, there are people who have it WAY worse in life.
Don't take anything for granted.
SACRED METAL-Page: Broken-
Brendt: sad song with good vocals. Neat backups. I always skip this song though. LOL
Chris: Um....somebody is definitely bummed out in this song...:)
SACRED METAL-Page: I believe-
Brendt: One of SG best songs. and ooooo...guest star on the song. Cool. Heavy song with many influences. Great big chorus
that you remember. Great guitar by Gary.
Chris: Great guitar, and great keyboards, and great production by Gary!!!
SACRED METAL-Page: Roads of thunder-
Brendt: Great begining. Verses sound like Queensryche from rage for order. Neat middle section by Gary.
Chris: This was really my first real song writing effort with Gary.
He had a great riff, and I was like....coool....and we started jamming.
We actually came up with the groundwork in a short amount of time.
SACRED METAL-Page: Spoken words-
Brendt: Ooo...female voice. Neat interplay here. Nice violin work. Good chorus too, but I always skip this song to listen
Chris: Nice ballad, great vocals, great piano by Gary.
SACRED METAL-Page: New World Order-
Brendt: Coolest song on the record. D.C. Cooper steals the whole record on this one. Great production. Neat story line.
Good acting. Great strings too. i love this song. This song makes it worth skipping over Spoken words...hahaha.
Chris: Um, unbelievable.
Gary and Carl outdid themselves here.
I still have goosebumps when I listen to it.
Very scary song.
SACRED METAL-Page: Chased-
Brendt: Nuts , crazy song about a guy getting chassed....very fast.
Chris: Outrageously fast.
Very heavy. Love it.
SACRED METAL-Page: Ghost of a chance-
Brendt: My favorite on the cd. Song has special meaning to me because of how I wrote it and who I wrote it for. Another
perfect melody by Mr. Ingles. More great words by Carl and Gary gets better at the orchestra as the record goes along.
Chris: Beautiful ending written by Gary and Brendt.
It really symbolizes hope.
SACRED METAL-Page: Christmasday-
Brendt: I always fast forward to the solo because it's my favorite one on the record. LOL...An old song tthat's been laying
around here for
about 10 years. Found a home on Tyranny. Lyrics by Carls wife and Carl. Sad song to me.
Chris: Wrote this many moons ago with Carl.
I couldn't even legally drink when this was written!!!
SACRED METAL-Page: Please tell me something about the lyrical concept of "Tyranny"!
Brendt: That's Carls baby. There are bad people out there. it's his way of opening some eyes.
Chris: Tyranny is the battle of the common man versus the powers that be.
SACRED METAL-Page:How did it come to the co-work with James LaBrie and D.C. Cooper? And who's Laura Jaeger?
Brendt: She's a friend of Gary's from way back. they were in a band togather ( Laura) D.C. and Labrie were aranged through
Magna Carta. They all did a great job!
Chris: Laura has a great voice, and it fit perfectly!
Had alot of fun hanging out and drinking tall frosty ones with D.C., cool guy.
SACRED METAL-Page: What can you say about the artwork and the booklet? Do you think it perfectly fits to the lyrics and is it important for you, THAT it fits?
Brendt: Yes I love the cover. I couldnt imagine another cover for this record, but that's not so important for me. I would
release an all black album and not care...wait , that's been done already...hmmm.
Chris: The cover is awesome.
Actually I thought black would be cool as well, but it perfectly matches what we were trying to say and that's what counts.
The front represents the ultimate struggle, and the back represents hope.
SACRED METAL-Page: Do you have a track on the album which means a little bit more for you than the others? If yes, why?
Brendt: Personnaly, Ghost of a chance means more to me than any other song in the world. Written for a family I love dearly,
sitting on the slope of a beautiful wild game preserve with wild dear there and wild zebra and four of my best friends in the
world playing with each other and a big brother teaching his little brother how to ride a bike and an angel who hides her wings
beside me. I wrote the basic chords for that song in about 20 minutes and then Chris did his magic...and then gary did his...and
then carl did his..and then mike made it sound good.
Chris: I would say Victims.
Victims is such a concrete representation of the pain and suffering that is rampant.
SACRED METAL-Page: When do you finally come over to Europe to play here? I NEED to see Shadow Gallery live one time in my life!! What can we expect in a live-show from Shadow Gallery?
Brendt: Excusse me, i have to go jump off a bridge now. I hate this about my life. I want so bad to come there and play....but
we've got no money from Magna Carta to do it. I need a high bridge.
Chris: Um, I guess I'll just continue the interview myself now.
...........Oh no, wait here comes Brendt........................ready to continue.
SACRED METAL-Page: Now I want to hear your all-time-favorite records! What are your ten favorite pieces of music? Which albums from your favorite bands were the biggest disappointments?
Brendt: Load was the biggest diapointment in the last 10 years for me. Metallica was the band I grew up listening to. They
were my YES, my Led ZEP, my RUSH. That record sucks, I'm sorry...but I hate it. Anyway....
Master of puppets/ Metallica
October rust/ Type o-
Eye of the beholder/ Chic Corea electric band
Seeds of love/ tears for fears
every single one of the SUNDAYS records...every thing they do is magic to me.
Every Tori Amos record and every Kate Bush reord.
Superunkown/ Soundgarden....my new favorite...for today.......some where that equals 10.
Ive had too many influences to list. But the Sundays taught me melody, Type o- taught me emotion in the heavy, Tears for fears
taught me the beautiful sounds of the simple..Metallica grew the hair on my chest....I could go on and on.
Chris: Dream Theater: Images and Words. Favorite period.
Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
Sarah Mclachlan: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
Rush: Permanent Waves
NIN: Pretty Little Hate Machine
Bruce Hornsby: Scenes from the Southside
Eddie Jobson: The Green album
Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral
SACRED METAL-Page: Do you still feel comfortable with the term "Progressive-Music"? What is "Musical Progression" for you?
Brendt: Progressive to me is something new. Nothing on Tyranny is new to me. The downward spiral ( NIN) is progression to
me. October rust is progression to me, because these were new sounds to me. I'd never heard anything like them.....new music
. I think some things about us are progressive and I love progressive music, but the term is wrong for this kind of music. it
should be called smart music. Progression is something new that you never thought of.
Chris: Smart music?? hahaha...Thinking man's music.
I don't mind progressive, I think it should be called pro-active...:)HAHAA
I think a label is all that it is...a label.
I don't mind it, but music is hard to put under any labels.
SACRED METAL-Page: What is in your CD-Player right now?
Brendt: Eric Johnson/ Venus Isle ( my favorite guitar player and the best one on earth) Then Superunknown/ Soundgarden.
Chris: Sarah Mclachlan..Fumbling Towards Ectasty...
SACRED METAL-Page: Who's (musically) your idol? What musicians do you adore, what kind of music do you completely hate?
Brendt: Eric Johnson, Tori Amos. The Sundays. The only music i completely hate is Polka music. i hate that shit. Anything with
an accordian has to suck. I love something about every other kind of music and probobly have every type of music in my CD
Chris: Definitely Tori Amos as well, Trent Reznor, Sarah Mclachlan, Bruce Hornsby, Eddie Jobson.
I can't stand country, anything that makes me feel like I'm going to bring up today's lunch.
SACRED METAL-Page: What are you doing in your private time, what are your hobbies besides writing classics?
Brendt: I do art, graphic art. Actualy all I every do is make Video game maps for the games Half-life and Quake. I love Level
design. I could do that for a living for the rest of my life and be a happy man. As it stands, I just stay up all night doing it for the
fun of it. And of course I always enjoy whooooping Chris' ass in a good PC video game like Quake or Need For Speed or
Chris: Most of my hobbies are computer related now.
The act of creativity transfers pretty easily over to the computer realm.
Favorite games...Rainbow 6 ...Nascar Revolution...Half Life
For the record:
Brendt does usually beat me in Quake, but in NHL99 or Need For Speed I'll tear him up....well except for the other night.
SACRED METAL-Page: How do you earn your money?
Brendt: I do 3d Graphics.
Chris: Work in Computer Networking.
SACRED METAL-Page: Could you give me a short description on each member of SG and it’s character? It would be great to read what kind of guys I’m listening to...
Brendt: I'll start with myself... I'm a simple man. Treat me nice and I'll treat you better, but treat me bad and I'll treat you worse. I'm
Gemini and a complete Gemini at that. I'm absolutely 2 different people. I love art and the fine things in life, but I'm just as
happy in the mud with my guns.
Chris- Chris is my best friend. he's whacked out in the head and remindes me of me. Chris is the only guy on earth who has
more empty beer cans in his room than I do. I get along with Chris better than most anyone I've ever met. Mostly becomes I
am Chris' god. Chris worships me....A talent without peer. A good man. A great friend....and so is Chris.
Carl- Carl is a big brother that I never had....or at least he thinks he is. I love Carl. A good family man with a great wife and
kid. Knows too many things about too many things and his brain may soon explode. Loves to take charge of EVERY situation.
Would tell GOD how to do things if he could.
Gary- the very definition of a musician. the man lives music. Maybe the smartest, most talanted person I've ever met. Funny
guy, good cook. Bad fuuz ball player. loves beer and chicken wings ( who don't?) will give you the shirt off his back, because
that's about all he has.
Mike- biggest collection of CDs in the known world. From outer space. Good at video games. Camps a lot. Makes good Iced
tea. Says " huh?" alot. Loves "nature"....we hang with the man.
Chris: Please understand that when Brendt mentions "Chris" in the above paragraph, he is not referring to me he but is instead
referring to his pet gerbil.
Um myself, let's see...
I enjoy laughing my ass off.
I love the Simpsons, Seinfeld, anything that cracks me up.
I love Bach.
A nice relaxing car ride.
A fragfest of a bloody magnitude.
Brendt-Outstanding guitar player, quaker, funny man, gun- totin bitter at traffic man.
Carl- Unbelievable musician, and producer.
One of the two most ambitious and hard working people I have ever met.
The other being...
Gary is truly a driven musician, who canstantly is living, breathing and sleeping music.
THE SINGLE most creative person I have ever met..Period.
Be it an SG song, birthday song, goofy song, whatever....he creates things that are jaw dropping.
Mike--gifted vocalist, nfl bud....He is a constant.
Joe--Cool dude, great drummer...down to earth guy.
SACRED METAL-Page: Now we came to my favorite interview-game: Could you give me some comments on the following words?
SACRED METAL-Page: - Tyrants
Brendt: Overbearing musicians.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Marilyn Manson
Brendt: Perfect public relations department....we need those guys to work for us!
Chris: Too heavy, Alice Cooper's protoge.
SACRED METAL-Page: - MTV
Brendt: Was cool when I was 13 years old.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Books
Brendt: Reading Anne Rice again..just finished the collected works of Franz Kafka for the 12th time.
Chris: Don't read enough anymore. Avctually the last book I read was "The Vampire Lestat" which I borrowed from Brendt.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Keyboards
Brendt: Are great when they work.
Chris: Are great when they are a part of well crafted pianos.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Family
Brendt: Is too far away.
Chris: Would have died without them.
SACRED METAL-Page:- Art-Galleries
Brendt: Hold the lives and dreams of all things beautiful and terrible in the world. the mirror of society.
Chris: One of the few remaining cultural places to go to anymore.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Germany
Brendt: Was where my mom and dads- dad came from. In other words, both grandfathers were German.
Chris: Heavy and Industrial music
SACRED METAL-Page: - Heavy Metal
Brendt: used to be alive.....that was a good time. I miss it.
Chris: Fun days, great style of music
SACRED METAL-Page: - Time
Brendt: Goes much too fast. my little sister just turned 19! I remember changeing her diapers! Where did it all go?
Chris: Not enough of it to do what I really want to.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Iron Maiden
Brendt: POWERSLAVE TOUR!!!!!!
Chris: Big influence growing up. Memories galore. Steve Harris kicks ass.
SACRED METAL-Page:- Kai Hansen
Brendt: Great song writter.
SACRED METAL-Page: - Internet
Brendt: Will free or kill us all.
Chris: Absolutely amazing tool.
SACRED METAL-Page: - The year 2000
Brendt: is next year and on jan 2nd 2000, I will wake up and I will still be me.
Chris: Millenium. Amazing to be alive to see one. I think Brendt meant Jan 1st.....because we all know that on Jan 2nd all
mankind will fall victim to the alien plant people who grow humans in pots to decorate their homes.
This was a good one, wasn't it? I would love to see some comments on my message board concerning this or simply send me an E-Mail! You can do this as well when you got some questions for PAIN OF SALVATION and FISH, the next two interviews that I'm planniung to do...