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Justin Murr (Liberty N‘ Justice)

Interview with Justin Murr from Liberty N‘ Justice
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 June 2010, 5:06 PM

LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE – the brainchild of Justin Murr – has just released a new CD entitled “Light it Up” and this was some good timing to hook up with Justin and ask a few questions regarding this new album plus some general info regarding this unique American Hard Rock act. Here’s what he had to say.

Hi Justin, congratulations on the new LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE album. Well, was the new CD released in proper time or you had to fight time and other obstacles for its release date?
Thanks so much, and to answer your question the album was done for awhile except for one guitar solo. C.C. Deville of POISON was supposed to play on “Wrestling With God” and we kept waiting and waiting but the timing was never right. So, Steve Brown of TRIXTER (who produced and co-wrote the track) and I both agreed we could not wait any longer so he went out and got Bumblefoot who just killed the song. It all worked out in the end and I am excited about the final product.

How easy or difficult was it to again gather a ‘dream team’ or musicians to participate in your new album? What was the procedure this time? You begun from the guestlist and had the songs ‘taylor made’ or you started writing stuff and then focus on who would sing/play each song better?
Good question! The writing process always comes first and then we do a little brainstorming to see who we think would fit the song the best. It’s never easy, the hardest part is the scheduling. All these guys have their own bands and make their own music so the timing sometimes has to be just right.

Were there any artists – not only for the newest album but all the way back in the LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE chronicles – that denied your proposal for participation in one of your discs? In addition, which was the biggest “Sure, I’d like to!” surprise coming from a guest?
When we first started doing All-Star CDs we had a few “No, thank you”s . The ones I remember was the lead singer of KIX said he did not want to mix his religion and music. The real surprises for me are the ones that you saw and were like “how did they get him?”: Sebastian Bach, Lou Gramm, Phil Collen, Chris Jericho

In regards to albums like “Soundtrack Of A Soul” and “Welcome To The Revolution”, (have not heard “Independence Day”, sorry!) which are the key similarities and differences (songwriting-wise) in your opinion? You’re the creator; you know better, I’d just add I see the new CD being quite stronger and conscious in regards to e.g. “Soundtrack Of A Soul”.
I had very little songwriting input on “Welcome To The Revolution”. From “Soundtrack…” on are mostly my ideas, lyrics & input. The more you do anything the better you get, plus it does not hurt co-writing with Vic Rivera, Shawn Pelata, CJ Snare and Steve Brown.

Would you categorize “Light it Up” as a heavy Rock album? A more melodic Hard Rock set of songs? I do not know if it matters, but which would be the key-words to promote the new CDs sound/style?
Melodic Hard Rock with a message!

Are you mostly keen on party Rock tunes or more minor scale moody sentimental songs? You’ve been writing virtually everything all these years with LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE, though!
I like anthems but seem to write more moody material…I like the art of songwriting to express my emotional state. At the time it is a good release for me.

One specific thing that instantly caught my attention while listening to “Light It Up” for the first time was the energy in the production field. What was the process like? Did you have a draft idea regarding the CD’s overall sound or each song – quite reasonable – needed its own care for a long time in order to sound perfect? Really a tough task, if you ask me!
We really wanted the finished product to shine so we had CJ Snare pre-master it and then had Cliffy from MAINLINE RIDERS master it. I love the record and for me it is my favorite LNJ CD.

Is “Light It Up” another Christian album, lyrics-wise? How devoted are you to this kind of concept? You believe the songs you write would be built in a different way – or even sound different – with another lyrics aspect?
As a song writer or lyricist we write on what moves us. For me, I am not ashamed of what I believe and it shows in the songs I write. I never start writing by saying “hold on, lets be preachy” but most of the times it’s a mirror image of my failures, faults, and what I see going on. If I did not write the lyrics I don’t think I could call it a LNJ project!

Would you write about e.g. politics at some time in the future? Really, is Uncle Sam” a politics-related tune?
“Uncle Sam” is a political song on the state of the U.S. at the time I wrote it. I was really frustrated with my country at the time and the words just flowed. I really dig the tune and it is one of my fave LNJ songs.

Naming the band/project LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE: why did you choose these to specific words? Do they mean so much to you? Are there any personal stories lurking behind?
I have been involved with LNJ since I was 19 years old (I am 37 now), it’s my child, and I’ve seen it from infancy to where it is now. I have been there when it was a full band till now where it is just me…I know in my heart it’s coming to an end soon and I will miss it…

What’s Patrick Marchand’s whereabouts, really? How would you evaluate your close partnership the years you were both responsible for LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE?
Pat has not been in LNJ since 2000, we are friends on FaceBook. He lives in a small town in Illinois, he is married and just had his first child. LNJ has two lives, the band which ended in 2000 and the All-Star projects which started in 2004.

Do you consider having a permanent lineup at some time in order to focus on e.g. doing live gigs, too? Or you prefer writing/record in a room or studio? There’s a wide belief Rock/Metal music’s quintessence is the stage!
I love to perform live, have not played live since 2001. Talking to CJ Snare the other day we were joking we could go play live with CJ on lead vocals, Vic Rivera & JK Northrup on guitars, Ted Poley on drums and me on bass. I all so love to create new music and that has been my passion and I have been blessed to sell a lot of records without performing live.

From the feedback you’ve received all these years recording for LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE, can you tell your music is more appreciated in America or Europe? And what about Japan, too?
I have come to understand people buy LNJ albums for the singers and guest musicians.I am cool with that, my market or fan base is whoever sings on that particular song.

In what ways you believe LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE’s music can affect a fan’s life? Rock/Metal fans often get ultra-tied with the bands/artists they admire. Which is the basic wish you’re making regarding your songs’ message?
Hopefully they get that just because someone labels themselves as a Christian or a believer in Christ we are not perfect and we all fall short of what we believe.

Justin, thanx a lot for this brief talk. Really hope to have the chance and see LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE in Europe onstage at some time in the (not that distant) future!
Would love to play Europe and thanks for taking the time to interview me!


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Edited 28 January 2023

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