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Steve Snyder (Arch Rival)

Interview with Steve Snyder from Arch Rival
by Grigoris Chronis at 04 March 2010, 7:03 PM

ARCH RIVAL always was one of America’s best kept secrets in melodic Heavy Metal music and we really hope this “In The Face Of Danger” luxurious re-release will add something to this impressive band’s status. Chatting a little bit with frontman Steve Snyder was a pleasant experience and here’s what the charismatic singer had to say.

Hi Steve, we're really glad to have you here at METAL TEMPLE!
Thanx! Love your online mag (especially the "news" section).

To be honest, it was a nice surprise to see ARCH RIVAL's name being heard again. Some rumors 'bout the band getting back together for a couple of reunion shows – along with the re-release of the "In The Face Of Danger" album – should lead us to the assumption that ARCH RIVAL is here to stay?
We would like to think so (as well as a lot of our fans) - giging together is always a possibility when the momentum is there telling us to do so - with the re-release so graciously spured on by Rock-a-Holics we could definitely see some shows in the future.

How did you come in contact with Rock-a-holics Records, really? Was it before or after your reunion shows? What convinced you working with them even if they're considered to be 'newbies' in the Rock/Metal business?
To be honest, Michael and Dee (Rock-a-holics) were the ones to get this thing going so blame them if you need to - the reunion gigs were a little test to see if there were still any fans alive (just kidding) we really needed to do those shows for ourselves as much as for our fans. It had been too long, I really respect the fact that Rock-a-holics is taking some chances right out of the gate and doing some cool stuff like this re-release. You don't get that from a lot of "industry" people.

Steve, are you in plans of releasing a brand new full-length album, too? Have you been working on new tunes? Are you willing to include any leftovers that did not make it to any of your three earlier CDs?
It's been discussed, since even before the reunion gigs in 2008 Michael and I were working on some ideas and did manage to squeak out a 4-song EP in time for the shows. Mr. Harris is such a busy guy and performs so many different styles in each project; it's always a long process to nail down a complete "group" of songs that fit the collective piece - Usually any songs left over from previous projects tend to "morph" into something new for the next one. So: yes, yes and yes!

Can you recall which bands were initial influences for ARCH RIVAL when you began working on "In The Face Of Danger" back in the late 80s? In all the years after, while ARCH RIVAL were developing/expanding their music profiles, which bands/styles you think played an important role in the band's songwriting patterns?
Each of us comes from a diverse background of music but as a whole I think at the point we were doing "In The Face Of Danger" we were all listening to KING'S X, LYNCH MOB and BADLANDS - we wanted to be a band with a groove but also wanted to be a 'thinking man's' Metal band. I feel by the time our second and third CDs were being written, we weren't really thinking about it much but just doing what came to our musical madness and then narrowed it down to a CD worth of songs.

ARCH RIVAL had a ten-year gap, after the release of "Third Degree Burns" in 1997. What was the main reason for the band to break up? What paths did every one (you, Michael etc) follow afterwards?
I would say we never really "disbanded" but just took a long hiatus while pursuing other ventures - waiting for the musical pendulum to swing back to our style music. Michael of course, never sleeps and has churned out some great musical self portraits with his various instrumental projects as well as vocal projects with some brilliant voices. Gary and Greg have also kept busy with live gigs and writing their own material and I have been writing a bit of stuff as well as giging with my band, plus Michael and I are always shooting stuff back and forth for more ARCH RIVAL material.

Was "in The Face Of Danger" the one off you 3 albums picked for a re-release due to some special reason? Is it remixed and what kind of bonus goodies can we find in the new edition?
I believe ARCH RIVAL as well as Rock-a-Holics felt the In The Face Of Danger" CD really solidified the band's essence and wanted to show the beginning point of our claim in the history of Hard Rock/Metal. There are quite a few things that make this re-release very special: it is in fact re-mastered to keep up with today more 'produced' sound, the cover is an up-dated version of the original art work, some will come with inserts "signed" by the band and there is a DVD added which has "live" versions of some favorites as well as the original video for the title track. Included are a few special videos that you have to hunt for, so be adventurous and keep looking for them - pro all the way, Rock-a-holics did a great job.

How curious are you for the feedback ARCH RIVAL can get in our days? Truth is many things have changed in the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sound, let alone the major changes in the music industry. You think the Rock/Metal youth of today can be attracted to the melodic/technical blend of a - fine, anyway – band like ARCH RIVAL?
Ha, you could have kept going (musicians are always self indulgent). Love feedback (especially if it's good) - the music industry has definitely changed in the past 20 years and in my opinion not for the better with maybe a few exceptions, actually I feel encouraged that there are a few groups out there that are putting "melody" back into Metal and can only hope our style will come back as there are a lot of bands as well as ARCH RIVAL out there who still have some great music to offer.

Steve, you think the band's discography – apart from 1986's "God Bless America" EP – suffered form bad timing, as it was evident the particular music style started declining in the music market in the 90s (due to various reasons, of course)?
Absolutely! We had major interest but just couldn't pull it off and I really felt bad about it for a while, then I saw all these other great established bands being pushed aside for the "alternative" sound. All we can do is keep creating and know that there are still some die-hard fans that will always appreciate our music.

Europe was always a good shelter for American bands. Have you preserved/redefined contacts in Europe for ARCH RIVAL's promotion or it's all in your label's hands?
Personally speaking, I'd love seeing ARCH RIVAL scheduling a series of shows on European ground. Really, are there any touring plans for the band as we speak? Europe has always had good taste in music. America can be blindsided at times by the whole commercialization of it but people over there just know what they like (not just what they hear). It's always a fine line between jumping too quickly and holding on too long. Hopefully we'll see enough signs telling us "it's time, let's do this" and we would certainly give it a go.

Years ago it was our local record store available for all our music needs. Now it's digital downloads and online retailers doing the same job? Better or worse or just different, in your opinion? Moreover, Steve, we should not forget the illegal downloads stealing from the artist's sweat and rights, or you do not see it this way?
Although I like the fact that you can get what you're looking for at your fingertips, I still long for the days of hanging in the record stores and the whole "feel" of not being able to wait to get home to put it on the player. I know that sounds whimsical but those days were all about the art, the artist and the fan and nothing else. Gone are the days of a concert that was affordable and only being able to get "that T-shirt" AT the concert. I think it took all the mystery out of loving a group, because back then they were not so 'accessible'. You had an unspoken relationship between band and fan that was unbreakable (unless they changed singers of course).

Are you up to anything else – apart from ARCH RIVAL of course – nowadays, Steve? Music or non-music related, of course.
I'm writing some in my home studio and performing with my funk-an-soul band STEPHAN MICHAEL CONNECTION - I hope to have some product out this year which will be totally different than ARCH RIVAL so don't freak out when you hear it, ha!
Steve, thanks for your time to do this interview. Really hope you have a good following with the "In The Face Of Danger" re-release and hope to see you soon on European soil! Anything you'd like to add?
Thanx Greg - I appreciate your interest in ARCH RIVAL and can't wait to see what this year brings. Keep On Rockin'!


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Edited 28 January 2022

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