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  INTERVIEW WITH STEVE SHAVER OF TO THE PAIN

Johnny Main

johnny main



steve shaver

We here at MetalTalk Towers try and do something different from the other rock and Metal websites that are available by introducing to you to bands that you may not yet be aware of, but should certainly pique your interest if you're a lover of Thrash Metal bands.

This week, it's the turn of New York based band To The Pain who have recently released their self titled debut album, and I sat down with lead guitarist Steve Shaver to get the low down on the band.

Having discovered the band relatively recently myself, I first ask Steve about the history of the band and what they have achieved together so far: "We've been together since January 2012. Actually, Johnny (vocalist John Intagliata) and I were in a band in the late 80s, and that band was where the track 'Silent Horror' (from To The Pains self-titled debut album) was born.

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We played together for a year or two, broke up the band and stayed friends. We reconvened in late 2010 and started writing some tunes – initially for fun – but the band as you see it now, came together in 2012, though. That's when Johnny and I thought it would be fun to play some gigs, record an album, oh and have three other guys buy us beers! (laughs)."

On what the band have achieved so far, Steve tells me: "The band have gotten a lot of good reviews on the album – which is out now from online outlets – but we really had no idea what to expect. As I mentioned earlier, Johnny and I initially did this just for the fun of it, but to finally get a decent recording of 'Silent Horror' was great and it was a catalyst to do more tracks.

"It's great that a lot of people like it (the album) and I wish some of that positivity turned into more album sales, but we really can't complain. My personal goal when Johnny and I decided to do this as a band was to play some cool shows, record a solid album, and hopefully get on a bill with a well known act. We haven't gotten on the bill with a well known act yet, but hopefully that will come in time."

It's always interesting to dig a bit deeper into a band's motivations and influences so I ask Steve about the bands whose work has had a positive effect on To The Pain and their music: "As a band our musical influences are the Big 4 (of Thrash - Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax) mainly as well as bands like Testament, King Diamond, Queensryche and Iron Maiden.

to the pain

"We also get influenced and energised by what some of the newer thrash bands like Shadows Fall are doing. Our two single biggest influences are probably Megadeth and Racer X (which featured ex-Mr Big axeman Paul Gilbert and current Judas Priest drummer, Scott Travis but have been on hiatus since 2009). I love the harmony guitar stuff so I throw it into our stuff whenever I can - our second album will definitely have more harmony guitars on it. On the first album, y'see, I wasn't sure if I was going to be the only guitar player, or if there would be two of us, so I didn't go too crazy!"

Talking of their debut album, I ask about the song writing process within the band to which Steve explains: "95% of the music was written by me. The only thing I didn't write was the middle section of 'Fuel Injected Nightmare'. Johnny and I tend to split the lyric writing about 50/50 though, it's all very much give and take."

And on the subjects that they choose to write about, Steve tells me that their lyrical themes cover "just about everything – from what we see going on with the terrible governments of the world, to war, to being buried alive, to everyone's favourite - the Demons rising!" he says with a wry smile.

Musical inspiration is part of the identity of every band, of course, from the smallest pub band to the worlds largest grossing stadium acts, so I move the conversation towards the things that inspire To The Pain as a band – Shaver takes a moment to consider the question before telling me: "Music-wise, I get inspiration from other guitar players and it doesn't even have to be a rock or Metal player either. To me, great playing inspires me and when that happens, I just want to pick up my guitar, and try to write something – anything, about how I feel at that particular moment.

"Sometimes I get a song, sometimes a solo, and sometimes just a total mess, but it's all about that moment to me. If you're talking lyrically, we get inspiration from the world collapsing around us, at least that's the way it seems sometimes! Like everyone else does, we get inspiration from the movies we've seen or the books that we've read. We have a track on the album called 'City Of Flames', for example, which was loosely based on the movie 'Enemy At The Gates', but generally, I try to write about what interests me, and what I hope will interest the people out there who are listening to our music." As mentioned earlier, the band have self-released their debut album, 'To The Pain' (reviewed by MetalTalk here and I ask Steve what it's like to have a proper record out there? "Well it was definitely a labour of love for me, as I arranged the recording sessions, did all the engineering and all the mixing on it too. Recording is definitely a passion of mine – I just love sitting at the console and laying down guitars, or recording other people playing. I think the band as a whole really couldn't be happier with the way the project turned out.

to the pain

"We all felt like we wrote some cool tunes, and we were able for the most part to capture what we wanted on our album. I must give a shout out to Wayne Silver at the Ice Plant Studios, as he did a phenomenal job mastering our album - next time we have to get him to throw down a solo on the album too, because he's a killer guitar player over and above being a mastering genius!" he concludes with another smile.

I ask Steve if he has any stories (good or bad) about the recording of the album, and after thinking about it for a moment, he explains that "it was probably the most rushed five and a half months in the history of recording! You would think that's plenty of time to record seven tracks, but you have to remember that three of the band have young families, and even though we were recording it at my own studio (nicknamed 'The Locker'), we were limited by circumstance on what and when we could record.

"The one thing that all this waiting around afforded me was the ability to learn new studio tricks, though. When it came to recording the drum tracks alone, I learned a ton of things – like what to do and sometimes, more importantly, what not to do! What I really liked, though, was the camaraderie of working with the other guys in the band on their parts. When I was engineering, I tried to get them to try different things, but without telling them what to play or sing. It was all part of the fun creative process that I was trying for, but sometimes it got a little stressful as we got closer to our self imposed deadline to get it recorded properly and sent off to be mastered but we got there in the end and it turned out to be, dare I say it myself, a really good album."

Most bands after completing an album, book a tour to support the album and get it "out there", so I ask Steve if To The Pain have any confirmed touring plans? "We actually played a farewell gig to our old guitar player, Mark Trojanoski, at the end of September and we've been keeping a low profile since then to try and break in our new guitar player, Craig Piano. Craig's an old friend of the band and we want to make sure he's ready, but our next scheduled gig is on Sunday 15th November at Blackthorn 51 in Queens, New York. Blackthorn is a killer Metal club with a great sound system and a great stage, so it's a great place to make new fans", Steve says with obvious enthusiasm.

"Like I said, The Blackthorn show will be Craig's live debut and we're really looking forward to hitting the ground running with him. After the Blackthorn show, we go into writing mode and in the Winter/Spring of 2014 will probably record our second album - of which about three quarters has been written by myself already."

On the subject of gigs, I ask Steve what someone coming to a To The Pain live show can expect? "A lot of sweat, high energy, and many, many, many guitar notes being played", he says with another wry smile. "In the band, we pride ourselves as being a live band. I actually think we are better on stage than on in a recording studio, and not many bands can say that, but I think with us, there is a different energy live - we feed off that, and, I think that it really shows at our gigs."

Bringing our conversation to a close, I ask him, realistically, what the band wants to achieve: "My own goal as I said earlier, was to open for a well known act. As a band, we have no delusions about being famous, or hitting the road for a two year tour or anything like that. We would love to hit the road for a week sometimes and play some shows in new places, but other than that, opening for a well known band, maybe selling a thousand copies of our album would be great – oh, and if Eddie Van Halen wanted to throw me an amp endorsement, I certainly would not say no to it!"

Finally, I ask a question that has really made some of my interviewees over the years really think – what song(s) does he wish he'd written: "Wow, that is tough", he says taking a moment to actually think of an answer. After a hesitation, Steve tells me that "(if) you're talking about a Metal tune, then I would have to say 'Holy Wars' by Megadeth from their 1990 'Rust In Peace' opus is definitely one - just for the fact that (Dave) Mustaine can play some really great guitar riffs and sing at the same time, which really is an accomplishment in itself, but then I'd also have to say 'The Trooper' by Iron Maiden, just because it is such a well written song.

"Actually, now you mention it", he continues with enthusiasm, "I also wish I'd written the Winery Dogs album featuring the talents of Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy, because as a rock album, it is just outstanding."

With these comments ringing in my ears we part, the first thing I'm going to do is something that I should have done before now: check out the new Winery Dogs album for myself!

Special thanks to Steve Shaver for taking the time to speak to me.

You can see To The Pain live on Saturday 4th January at Revolution Bar & Music Hall, Long Island, New York.

To The Pain are:
John Intagliata - Lead Vocals
Steve Shaver - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Mark Trojanoski -Guitar (left Sept. 2013)
Craig Piano- Guitar (as of Sept 2013)
Jeremy Lustig - Bass/Backing Vocals
Jimmy Klimatas - Drums

Online:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ToThePainNY
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/tothepain


10.12.2013







 

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thunder THUNDER PLAN TO GIVE THE GAME AWAY WITH A NEW BOOK
The band plan to launch the book at an event being held as part of the 'Louder Than Words' literary festival in Manchester on Saturday 12th November.

rudolf schenker SCHENKERS AT WAR: RUDOLF BREAKS HIS SILENCE ON MICHAEL'S ACCUSATIONS
"He's a trick master, and he's a wannabe. And that's it. He can do whatever he wants..."

jon oliva SAVATAGE MAINMAN JON OLIVA RECOVERING FROM STROKE
"I lived the rock n' roll lifestyle since I was 18. It's all I knew and I enjoyed the ride very much..."

ramblin man RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2017 DATES ANNOUNCED PLUS WHO WE THINK COULD HEADLINE NEXT YEAR
After what was probably the best rockin' weekend of the year so far, we didn't have to wait long before we could start planning for the 2017 rematch...

airbourne AIRBOURNE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER HEADLINE UK TOUR
The band will play ten UK date beginning in Portsmouth and Norwich on November 17th and finish off with two nights at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London...

black stone cherry BLACK STONE CHERRY ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"We have never done anything like this before and we knew the UK was the only place to do it. That's all we're gonna say about it!"

gary rossington LYNYRD SKYNYRD UPDATE WITH MORE CANCELLATIONS DUE TO GARY ROSSINGTON ILLNESS
"Currently the band hopes to resume touring on Thursday 4th August at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands..."

extreme EXTREME CELEBRATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'PORNOGRAFFITI' ALBUM WITH 'PORNOGRAFFITI LIVE 25/METAL MELTDOWN'
"Some of these songs were never played live before so we had to go back and relearn them for the tour."

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE: "I'M NOT HAPPY BEING SOBER"
"It scares me. I hear all the time people say that they have another drink in them but they may not have another sobriety in them..."

paul rodgers IT'S NOT ALL RIGHT NOW! PAUL RODGERS SUES DONALD TRUMP
"We will make America great again. God bless you and good night, I love you."

heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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