Sign Of The Jackal 1986
Former Life- 1998
Wrath Of Darkness-2001 Haunted Mind-2005 End Of The Game-2011
Ken Starr – Guitars
Rick Browz – Bass
Mike Browz – Drums
Warren Halvarson – Vocals
Current label: Killer Metal Records
Official Site: http://www.damienthorne.com/
1. When was DAMIEN THORNE founded? How did you come up with the band name?
The band was founded by myself, (Ken Mandat) and Justin Fate. The first “official” lineup also consisted of bassist Rick Browz (current member) and drummer Tom Krez, who also played on the “Former Life” recording. This lineup recorded a 2 song demo called “Killing Force” which featured the song “Killing Force” and the first version of the song “Damien’s Procession”, which later appeared on the debut album “The Sign of the Jackal”. We were big fans of horror movies such as “The Omen”, and Damien Thorne is the main character in that movie.
2. Which were your basic influences as a band and as a musician?
Our biggest influences at the time and still to this day are BLACK SABBATH, MERCYFUL FATE, DEEP PURPLE and early JUDAS PRIEST. We still love all of those bands.
3. Which are the future plans of DAMIEN THORNE? Tell us some things about your imminent appearance in Greece (Up The Hammers Festival).
We are VERY excited to visit Greece and perform at UP THE HAMMERS! We will actually play 2 shows, a DAMIEN THORNE set at the Fest, and a RONNIE JAMES DIO TRIBUTE show at the warm up show, the day before the fest. We will play a long set of DIO classics from his solo days, RAINBOW and BLACK SABBATH.
4. Tell us some things about the other bands that the members of DAMIEN THORNE have played with.
Well, I also played for a short time with ENERGY VAMPIRES, our new vocalist WARREN HALVARSON also plays with DSG, which features David Shankle, former guitarist from MANOWAR. We also have a keyboardist that plays with us now, BRIAN BUXBAUM.
5. Has DAMIEN THRONE have an official site and/or a Facebook page from which the fans can buy stuff and be informed about your news?
6. Why did you choose to release “End of the Game” by yourselves? Which stuff is commercially available right now from DAMIEN THORNE?
The CD version was released by ourselves, but the vinyl edition was released by Killer MetalR ecords. You can also buy the CD version from them as well. We do it ourselves because most record labels have nothing to offer anymore because of the Internet technologies out there right now. I mean, we make almost no money as it is, and most labels don’t have money or resources that aren’t already available to us. If a label was willing to invest funds for recording, promotion and tour support, then yes we would be very interested, but most labels are not willing or able.
7. How have the fans and the press reacted to the release of “End of the Game” up till now?
It has been hot and cold. The fans have mostly been very positive towards us. The diehard “Sign of the Jackal” fans sometimes will criticize us for not sounding the same as we did 25 years ago, but there is nothing we can do about that. The band has evolved over the years, and I think we still have a lot of the same sound and style characteristics as we did back then, but I have grown as a writer and a player over time, and so has the sound of the band. We are going to perform several old songs at UP THE HAMMERS…
8. Tell us some things about the lyrics of DAMIEN THORNE, about your great logo and about the covers of your releases.
The lyrics have always been related to our influence from the horror movies, and classic horror stories. The logo was made by me and Justin back in the early 80’s, and has been the same ever since. The cover art for “The Sign of the Jackal” was a painting by a good friend of ours named Ken Kariott. He was also a part of our road crew back in the early days. The cover to “Haunted Mind” is actually a photo of me that was digitally altered. Most people hate that cover! I hate it too, but it fits the “Haunted Mind” concept.
9. Give us a catalogue of the unofficial releases that the band has (demos, promos, etc). Is it possible to re-release some of them?
There was a demo titled “Killing Force” that is very rare, the original demo for “Sign of the Jackal”, the “Metropolis” demo, and the “Former Life” demo. There have also been some “live” recordings out there as well, if you can find them. The problem with releasing some of those old demos from the 1980’s, is that they were recorded on 2″ tape. Very few studios have 2″ tape machines anymore, and the studios that do have them, charge a fortune to use them. I am working on it, and will release things as often as I can.
10. There has been a revival of the classic metal sound at least in some countries like Canada, Sweden, Germany. How are things in the U.S.? Do you share the aforementioned view?
I’m not surprised, classic metal is still the BEST form of metal, and always will be. We would LOVE to play in Sweden someday…..
11. Introduce us to some good new bands from the USA and tell us some things about them.
Very few new bands in the USA play the old school style of metal. My favorite new bands are all from Europe. And there are too many good ones to mention. I am a big fan of CRYSTAL VIPER. They are a very underrated band. Marta Gabriel is an amazing singer.
12. Describe to us one of your live shows. Is it difficult to perform your stuff live?
The live shows are different depending where we are at, either the USA or Europe. In Europe, we just plug in and play. We can’t afford to bring any kind of stage show. Even in the USA, if it’s a festival gig, they usually won’t let us bring stage props and things like that. Back in the 80’s we had a lot of stage props and it was a much bigger production, today we just can’t afford to do that. And yes, some of the material that we play is quite difficult, but we give it everything we have at every show.
13. Do you think that the Internet has helped the bands by making their name known and “offering” samples of their music or has it harmed them because of free downloading of whole albums? If it is true that both happen, where does the balance hang out more?
The fans think it’s great, because they have access to a lot of bands and can get music very quickly, but for the artists, it’s very difficult to make a living, when people can get your music for free. Eventually bands will not be able to afford to make albums anymore…
14. Thank you for the interview. Is there anything you wanted to mention and I didn’t ask you? Leave a comment to our readers.
I would just like to thank you for the interview, and thank all of the loyal fans who buy the albums and come to the shows and give their support. As long as people are still listening, we’ll keep playing!
Ioannis “Knight of Light” Kaskamanidis