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Vicious Rumors' Geoff Thorpe: "I didn't see the world begin, I don't want to see the end... I've been spoiled living a Heavy Metal dream my whole life. I want it back!!!"

Interview with Geoff Thorpe from Vicious Rumors
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 31 July 2020, 9:52 PM

As it appears, mankind has been celebrating its own decay, and thinking about, since nearly forever. One just cannot put a finger on the first day the festivities started. Perhaps since the dawn of time when the first human being was killed? Maybe so, but this mess has been growing and growing, with a few stops, but it is still there, touching our souls on a daily basis. Even if the topic is grim, the music isn't. Bringing back the true form of Metal into recognition, there is always Vicious Rumors to remind it for all. Coming about with the new in line scorcher, "Celebration Decay", Steinmetal had the profound pleasure to talk to Geoff Thorpe, leader of Vicious Rumors, while not trying to be a fanboy, about the new album, philosophy, a little Covid, new members and more…

Hello Geoff, it is an honor to have you for this interview once again for Metal Temple online Magazine. How have you been doing sir?

Hello, thanks so much for having me on again! It's an honor for me! I've been well and healthy thank you. I hope you and yours too. Hoping we can get back to rocking the world asap!! All of us in VR really miss all of you!!

It has probably been itching you crazy due to the inability to head out and go live due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now they have been talking about a second wave, which appears to be stronger than the first one. What is your impression of what has been going on?

My impression changes a lot… I mean there is no doubt this is real and people are suffering.  There just seems to be a lot of political underling overtones to the info and numbers coming out. It's very hard to tell what to trust. I, like millions of others, am just so tired of it… we all take life for granted. This could go on a very long time. At least another year it seems… I'd love to see humanity come together and beat this….

With mentioning this pandemic, which serves as one of humanity’s darker hours, there is the new Vicious Rumors album coming, titled “Celebration Decay”. In a way, there is a connection between the strong statements going on within the album, and the pandemic. Is this a sign for mankind that this happening may as well serve as a sign of one of its final moments on the face of the Earth?

"Are we living in the final days of man, the human race is obsolete " a line from the song "Celebration Decay". We didn't write the album about the Pandemic … more about the decay of humanity. It just made the title and lyrics very timely. I honestly feel the earth will survive this… even if things are bad for a while. We wanted to make a real Heavy Metal album with all the VR trimmings… lyrics as powerful as the music. Meant to be played loud!!

I believe that in terms of attitude, and being straightforward, “Celebration Decay” is Vicious Rumors’ saying that enough is enough, the situation cannot be tolerated and a change is needed, and brutally fast. Why do you think that we aren’t getting it, making bad decisions one after another without really thinking of the consequences?

It's a good question! There's a lack of common sense in the world. It's as if we celebrate the decay rather than learn from our mistakes. I don't have the answer… I do have an electric guitar and the will to Rock!! I hope that at least the music can still unite people.

In light of the problematic situation that human society is in, do you think that there is a way to fix things, to find a certain salvation out of this heavy pile of mess that mankind created?

I do think there is a way for humanity to fix things the problem is it takes humans to do it. That's where I'm not so sure… old power and money don't want to let go of its hold. Governments are more concerned with agendas than their people. Music is an international language that hopefully crosses over. I didn't see the world begin, I don't want to see the end… I've been spoiled living a Heavy Metal dream my whole life. I want it back!!!

Those that weren’t fortunate enough to take part on the “Digital Dictator” 30th anniversary tour, didn’t have the chance to witness the new additions to the Vicious Rumors lineup, Nick Courtney (Vocals) and Gunnar DüGrey (Lead Guitars). Both new members were pretty unknown as far as the Metal market, yet you were able to find them as Vicious Rumors material. In your opinion, what made these guys so special?

I think I have a good eye for talent and people in general.  Both Nick and Gunnar had the strengths I look for. Gunnar as young as he is only 21 is a world class guitarist on the level of the legendary Mark McGee. I hired him at 18 years old out of high school!! The youngest member ever… (Besides me when I started VR at 17) when Gunnar's friends were going fishing or drinking beer the summer they graduated he was playing Bang Your Head festival in front of 20,000 fans! He's a very serious musician type. A very bright future in music. Well deserved! Nick also very serious musician type, tall, dark and a great stage presence.  The fans loved him on the tour. His voice had just gotten stronger and better over the last 2 years. He can sing in many styles effortlessly.  A very likable guy!  They both contributed on the new album in writing and did a fantastic job. This is one of our very best albums in my Opinion… up there with the all-time classics!!

In regards to the lineup of Vicious Rumors, Brian Allen, which had a tenure with the band earlier in the last decade of the 00s, replaced the Dutch young starlet Nick Holleman after his departure from the band a little while after “Concussion Protocol”, and I believe that he even did some shows of the “Digital Dictator” anniversary tour. What has been going on with Mr. Allen? Have you been in touch with him?

Yes, Brian joined another band. Think he plays in 2 bands??  We talk from time to time. I met Gunnar and Nick through him. Small world of Heavy Metal!! Now if we could only get back to work!! Lol

In terms of music, I found “Celebration Decay” in general to be a blessing, no more and no less. As a longtime fan of the band, I have always appreciated the consistency of the band maintaining that fine old school US Metal spirit. However, since there is always a pitch for each release, I have to know, what are your thoughts regarding Vicious Rumors’s progress in its music? Which newfound element do you believe that was conceived with the new record?

Thank you so much! Larry's powerful drumming and musical ear with my songwriting and guitar style are the constant thread in the catalog for sure. The difference on this album is we did 108 shows with this line up before we did the album. We already had the chemistry sorted out. All other line ups made the album first then hit the road. We didn't set out to re-invent the wheel. We wanted to do what we do best!! VR style Metal!!! We're one of the few bands who mix pure Heavy Metal with many styles

In relation to the previous question, since Vicious Rumors has been crossing generations of Metalheads, which aspects of the band’s music nowadays, in light of the new album, are influencing on the band’s being appreciated by the younger Metalheads?

I think you'd have to ask the younger bands themselves but I will say I have always been a song oriented guy. If you have a good song, then the rest falls into place. Love what you do, love your instrument. We play from a point of passion and love of metal. With that in mind you can't go wrong!!

Which lessons, or perhaps weaker points, on the band’s songwriting process were learned from while creating “Celebration Decay”?

We tried to rely on our instincts, experience and be open to other ideas. I trust in myself but also trust in the talent around me. Sometimes you can't do it all on your own but when you have a great team your much harder to beat !! We are a team. I may be the leader but we work as a team.

Working with Greg Christian (ex-Testament) was surely quite an achievement for Vicious Rumors, to have such a strong persona, and musician, in the band’s rhythm section. What is your appreciation of the Christian’s work on the album? Was there no way to recruit him as a full time bass player for Vicious Rumors?

Greg and I have been friends for 30 plus years! Although this is the first time we worked together! He's a great player! Added some low end fire to the album. He's busy with many projects at the moment but between Greg, Robin and Cody… we got the bass covered! Lol look for Greg in some upcoming videos!!!

You were very right, the opening self-titled, is an actually crushing opener, highly fitted for that position. Other than the toughness of the song, one of the lyrics that captured me by the throat was actually the first line, “Father forgive me, but who forgives you…”. I am no closer to religion, so it doesn’t offend me in any way, yet this line is strong, harsh and directed straight to those who deny. What do you make of this short, yet so influential line? Is it simply pointing out what has already been known without anyone listening?

Thank you for noticing!! Yes, that line is one hell of an opener! lol.  Religion has caused more death than death itself. So many have been abused and betrayed and then they have the nerve to look down at Metalheads who are probably some of the most caring people in the world !! I thought with the power of that song the opening line needed to be a killer

“Darkness Divine” is a sort of turning the page for Vicious Rumors, after a rather wholesome of aggression. Somewhat of a balladry, partially a slow tempo heavy basher. What is your appreciation of this track? What influenced you to go down this path with this song’s direction?

"Darkness Divine" is the last song I wrote for the album… I was looking for a song I could sing and hadn't found it until this one. It just fit my voice and showcased the variety of our sound at the same time. One of my fave tracks. Nick is so killer on the other songs I really needed the right song for my voice. Normally I wouldn't attempt a balladish type of song but then again… this dark piece is no ballad

 “Collision Course Disaster” had me thinking of the classic “On The Edge” of the self-titled album, it actually made me grin. However, I believe that it developed quite nicely into a major player on “Celebration Decay”. What do you make of this track? I guess that there is no end to your enthusiasm right, judging by this tune?

Oh man! You mentioned both songs I sing back to back!! Many thanks! Lol… we thought the album was too short after we finished. "Collision Course Disaster " almost didn't make it. Nick had already flown home to Washington. So I worked up the lyrics and melodies and really enjoyed singing that one too. It does have an old school VR feel. This is the mix of metal, speed, thrash and traditional that we helped to invent back in the 80s

Since it is not possible to actually do a tour for the album in front of an audience, have you considered the possibility of a Virtual Tour? This trend has been going on ever since the pandemic came into full form.

Yes, we have discussed live stream… we'll just have to see. We all live up and down the west coast so there's some logistical issues to work out. We'll do what we can on the highest level possible!!

Generally, what is your take on bands going on live stream to perform shows?

I really want to get back to a traditional ass kicking!! Lol but if that's all we have I have an open mind!!

Geoff, it has been an utmost honor, a true pleasure. This record is a strong point in the band’s career no doubt. I wish you well and be healthy.

Thank you so much! Were happy to at least have this new" Celebration Decay " album out. We gave it our all and hope you all enjoy it! Without buying concert and festival tickets hopefully more people will support and buy the new album. At least there is some new music out. We could never live the heavy Metal dream without the support of our fans and partners!! Thank you for an amazing adventure and life! Keep going strong! Stay heavy! Best of health!! Metal on


 



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