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Agent Steel - Interview

Added 07 October 2021, 11:47 PM

Let me begin by saying to John, Nikolay, and Vinicius that I am very grateful for the opportunity to engage you about the new Agent Steel album, as well as your history with the band.
Johnny Cyriis: Thank you for this opportunity.

John. I have followed your work with Agent Steel ever since I heard "The Rager" on the "Who's Guy Bidmead?" Cassette Sampler 1987, that was given to me when I purchased the debut by Sword (Canada) at Camelot Music.
Johnny Cyriis: Kool! Thanks you for being on with the Mighty Agent Steel for so long, and the Privilege is ours!

How did you get a deal with Dissonance? Once the announcement came out, why did it take so long for the album to be released? I have to admit that I myself was quite the skeptic, among the 2020 Pandemic Apocalypse.

Johnny Cyriis: After a rather strange series of events resulting from the less than stellar performance by the hired guns who performed at the 2019 edition of KIT fest — I had finally come to realize that all the hunches I had regarding a collusion of personages waiting in the shadows to dismantle any attempts at my engineering a reunion and/or resurgence of my Agent Steel band — were certainly 100% valid; i.e., my intuitive skills had been working at full frequency!  However, just as there is always someone against someone else…there was intelligent industry head honchos who knew very well that what ever I do, draws some manner of controversy and therefore, ultimately “Sells!” With that said, from the unknown… was manifest the Dissonance recording deal.

Before you joined Agent Steel, you sang for Abattoir and Sceptre as evidenced by "Metal Massacre IV'. However, prior to this did you also sing for Megadeth, or was the band still called Panic with Dave Mustaine?
Johnny Cyriis: I was in indeed the first vocalist in Megadeth. There is a whole lot of info online covering my involvement with the Megadeth band. So, for brevity’s sake, I will keep this added entry to the events that led to my participation in one of the greatest Metal bands in history — to a minimum.

When you sang for so many other bands like Sceptre, Black Reign, Pontius Pilot, why did you use so many pseudonyms? Was it to differentiate yourself as a dynamic front man? Did it have something to do with your Brazilian heritage?
Johnny Cyriis: Yes sir, I sang for many bands as a helper to friends in need — which are hopefully, friends indeed! I was given pseudonyms that would camouflage my identity from bringing onto the bands I was contributing to —all the Drama Bernie Versailles and that particular posse of musicians…created to character assassinate me…in order to justify the illegal looting of my band/brand name between 2000 – 2009!

I have always wanted to hear the Black Reign - "Legion" Demo from 1990 with former Agent Steel drummer Chuck Profus. I have heard excellent things!

Johnny Cyriis: You must be mistaken, Chuck Profus was not the Drummer who performed on those demos. And that, is a Fact!

Does the Title for the new album evoke the "Bleed For The Godz" vibe? Why is Gods misspelled intentionally with a "Z"?

Johnny Cyriis: It must’ve been a typo, just as Malice misspells “Godz” on the title of their hit song “Godz of Thunder “…. hahahaha

Did you write all the lyrics for the new album? Did you write some of, or all the music?

Johnny Cyriis: I did indeed write most of the Lyrics that appear on the NOGBM album with the help of a secret lyrics partner whose name is “Che Porrada”. However, Mr. Che will be contributing a whole lot more of his Lyrics to the forthcoming follow-up to NOGBM album, titled PROTOCOL!

And yes sir, I wrote 3 entire songs on the NOGBM album.

I understand that you are a UFO aficionado. Your lyrics inspired me to do my own research in the 80s, as well. I avidly watched "Sightings" and "X-Files" in the 90s. I read Whitley Strieber, and other authors. I have encountered people who claimed to have been abducted. The PG Film "Fire In The Sky" was very scary, and quite shocking; especially if there is some foundation to the truth which inspired it.

When I was younger, I was fascinated by "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind", "ALF,' "Mork & Mindy", "ID-4", "Star Wars", & "Star Trek". I also enjoyed the humor of The "Men In Black" Franchise. Ultimately, as much as I am a connoisseur of Sci-Fi, I am quite the skeptic.

Johnny Cyriis: Well, you shouldn’t be a Skeptic! These objects do exist, and there have been millions of witnesses to their apparitions worldwide, and for many decades. Even many pilots and even government officials and various air force personnel —serving the armed forces of various   governments— have witnessed the apparitions of these craft —and claim to have had contact with the denizens that operate these mysterious objects.

Did you catch the 60 Minutes Episode dedicated to this? The U.S. Intelligence Agencies are about to make a major investigation into "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena". The Government does not endorse Conspiracy Theories, but they do advocate Science and Research. I just saw some interesting footage of a Tri-Pod liquid metal craft spotted this week in Ohio.

Johnny Cyriis: Sorry, can't say I’ve seen that one. In truth, nowadays, I’m missing out on keeping up with a lot of the info being disclosed surrounding the entire UFO, Life existing on other Planet’s enthusiasm. Nowadays, I am seriously emersed in the fascination of my own created phenomena; the phenomena surrounding the energies and mysterious ingenious Metal sounds and ideas manifest via the true New Era Agent Steel band! And, I must state here and now; “The follow-up to the NOGBM album”, titled PROTOCOL — is promised to excel the magic created and was manifest on the NOGBM album.

Do you think the truth is really out there? Are you still searching?

Johnny Cyriis: Of course, the very elements that are hidden from us by the men and women —who camouflage the truth from humanity — will always be kept in the shadows if we allow them to banish such info! Whatever truths they can banish…and even erase, here and there, will slip through our fingers and may resurface — if we allow those in charge — the chance to do so. It is up to us, humanity, to keep an open mind and most of all…an open heart — and peal away all the moss and debris created as disinformation by those who see no benefit in our knowing the truth.  We must keep our eyes open wide and peeled, so that less of these truths slip away… esp. disappointing is the banishing of these truths — before they are made transparent and available to all by “those in charge”.

The song "Trespassers" seems to suggest Crop Circle Phenomena. Do you really believe these are authentic, or just hoaxes? What are your personal experiences with Crop Circles?

Johnny Cyriis: Of course, most Crop Circles are authentic. In fact, there are very few that are not authentic. These phenomena have even been witnessed in their making. Various farming families have witnessed balls of light followed by flying disks and other craft making their way into the crops of select farms and rearranging the crops — leaving a residue of magnetic fields onto the crops — and after manipulating them to design strange insignias and other artistically engineered designs — most of which that can only be seen from the air and at certain high altitudes. In the 90s, when I took a hiatus from Show biz, I assisted a team that was researching such phenomena, and other paranormal anomalies. The resulting research was, that we came upon some very interesting declarations made by various witnesses of such phenomena.

See: “No Other Godz Before Me” album (circa 2021) — the song “Trespassers” lyrical content—for more details as to the conclusive notation captured during interviews with those who witnessed these phenomena/events, more popularly known as “the Crop Circles phenomena.”

We are about to experience our own Mad Locust Rising with all these damn cicadas.
What exactly is your definition of an Unstoppable Force? I always thought that terminology was a reference to a juggernaut. Why do you have such an affinity for insects when describing your Alien inclinations?
Johnny Cyriis: Mad Locust Rising was written in 1985 and since that time a lot has happened and a lot has changed. Being the only thing certain in the Universe is “Change”, I must say here and as of the now…I am primarily focusing on the present and future of Agent Steel and the True New Era of the band.

*My lyrical and musical works are indeed and Unstoppable Force.

Finalizing, I am inspired to Quote Peter J. Carrol, who boldly stated …
 “History is Bullshit!”

Speaking of an Unstoppable Force, we just celebrated Memorial Day, and I was moved by the lyrics for "Veterans Of Disaster". I just re-watched "Saving Private Ryan". The Anniversary of "D-Day" is coming up soon too. It is good to see that you sing and write about other topics other than Aliens, like you did with "Day Of Guyana", about the Jim Jones Cult.

Johnny Cyriis: Thank you for acknowledging this. My father served in the Military and other relatives as well. I thought it would be a nice gesture of respect to write a song celebrating the “phenomenal” presence and dedication —enacted by the men and women who serve in our armed forces. It is in my sincerest opinion that, they are truly a phenomenon, and should be appreciated and respected for not only their selfless participation in our armed forces, but for their offering of dedication and even lives…to maintain the freedoms many of us are privileged – and it is in my honest opinion, not enough of us show our gratitude for inheriting these privileges. It is these very men and women —who serve in the very armed forces that stand for the very freedoms we retain — that are the sustenance, which hoist the basic platforms upon which we as citizens populate; of course, I am speaking of, and for, the nations that grant us the privileges—we should not only appreciate, but also honor., acknowledge, and respect more frequently, the freedoms we retain and especially “the men and women” who stand as the guardians for the retaining of these freedoms.

Other Metal Bands often speculate and sing about Aliens like Megadeth with "Hangar 18", why does your version of Agent Steel still primarily continue to do so? Have you had your own unique Alien encounter that you are willing to share?

Johnny Cyriis: Of course, but at this stage of the process, this info as to my experience with these phenomena, can only be accessed by ordering my book titled:
                                                            “Lenda de 5D”
(An empirical discourse in through the hidden Veil of the UFO and Paranormal phenomena)

I have spoken with many credible witnesses, who are often discredited.

I guess there is a fine line between insanity and genius, right?

Johnny Cyriis: I guess the credible witnesses are mostly those who are groped into sharing their experiences with the “Ancient Aliens” TV show collaborators, producers, and organizers. 😊

In your perspective, what is the Devil's Greatest Trick? Why does the Devil seem to be the embodiment of a female personification? Is it just me, or do you have a tendency to honor the Goddesses, over the Godz?
Johnny Cyriis: To the contrary, The devil, or whatever people may want to personify “The Devil” as being, in my opinion, can certainly be either male or female. But, if one wishes to personify, or consider the devil as evil, then in my opinion, the devil, or Evil… is certainly most manifest as a male persona! Women, are by far not perfect, but in my honest experience, and sincerest opinion, I must say…here and now…that…
“I have never met any women eviller than most of the men I’ve ever met!” 😊

After your departure in the late 80s from Agent Steel, Juan and Bernie continued with the band until they devolved into Masters of Metal, over legal issues. Did you ever take the time to listen to any of those albums? Did you get to hear Bruce Hall on vocals, sing your songs? I even saw James Rivera from Helstar front the band on the debut departure of 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise.
Was it your frustration with former members? Could that be what inspired the "Outer Space Connection", with everyone being against everyone else is this paranoid world?
Johnny Cyriis: I have listened to the Bruce Hall (Faux Agent Steel albums) and in my personal opinion, they are great albums! But not as Agent Steel albums. In fact, if the band had called themselves by any other name (other than Agent Steel) …it is in my sincerest opinion that they would have actually had some degree of great success. Those albums simply were not Agent Steel albums. First of all, it is also in my sincerest opinion that Bernie cannot write a Heavy Agent Steel song if he persisted for a multitude of lifetimes. However, I would like to add that I sincerely enjoyed the take on the album’ songs by way of the performances applied therein by Mr. Hall. I think he has a very nice voice, which I think he finely executed. But, over-all, the albums were too prog and not true to the Agent Steel legacy -be categorized or even titled as being ‘True Agent Steel  albums.”

Other than the subject of the 3 un-Agent Steel albums, I think Mr. Rivera is a great vocalist, and Helstar is indeed a great band!

And, No… The Song “Outer Space Connection” is not about the Bruce Hall albums nor about any Faux versions of Agent Steel…and is definitely not in any way—explicating any frustrations with ex-members of Agent Steel. In fact, I celebrate every ex-member of Agent Steel—as being part of a fabric which contributed to the “process of Becoming” which is manifest now—as the power which inspired and resurrected the True New Era of the band—about to make another album—being the follow-up to NOGBM titled PROTOCOL! ; This new album will serve as the “Unstoppable True New Era of the band”  —and I assure fans that the forthcoming album…and all that are to follow—will prove to be the best ever Agent Steel albums to date.

For well over a decade, this version of Agent Steel continued with the U.F.O. phenomenon, and released some excellent material. However, I will always be partial to the earlier material with your indestructive approach on vocals. Did you write any of the material that ended up on "Omega Conspiracy", or other albums?

Johnny Cyriis: I did not participate on any of those Agent Steel albums made without my legal/consensual authorization and participation. I only learned of the existence of Omega Conspiracy and every other faux releases —after they were already on sale.

How have you been able to keep your voice in tact? There are some subtle nuances in style and approach on the newer material, but you do not seem to have lost your touch. I am looking forward to hear you perform Live, hopefully.

Johnny Cyriis: I have been inspired to keep my voice as interesting and original as possible, and I believe that I am on the path to finally discovering just who I am as a vocalist. The personality I transmit, is finally the one I have been trying to bring out that I believe best projects my message and the emotions as I have always envisaged transmitting and I believe this style of transmission has finally begun to take form the way it needs to.

As far as Live performances are concerned; we are working with various organizations to make certain that what happened at the KIT festival in 2019 — Never Happens Again! You will definitely see Agent Steel Perform Live in a nearby Town > “Very, Very soon!”

On my Combat Records reissue of "Skeptics" there is a song called "The Unexpected". Did James Murphy really play on this Live track, and did you refashion this track into the first Single from "Godz", called: "Sonata Cósmica"?
Johnny Cyriis: Sonata Cósmica is a song whose foundation was written by Mr. Murphy and developed by both Murphy, Richard Bateman and I —before embarking onto the 1987 UK/European tour. The song was indeed remagnified and resurrected as the Sonata Cósmica track which appears on the NOGBM album.

What is this occurrence? Did a guy connect with the unknown using his fishing pole as some sort of conductor? Did you use Portuguese lyrics to express the essence? Is this also why you used this language for “The Incident”? What exactly is this occurrence?

Johnny Cyriis: The Incident song, written by Virtuoso Mr. Joe McGuigan (bassist of Gama Bomb) a Stellar band, and my fav as being in my opinion…the Most Kick ass Metal outfit/hopeful contenders —of the coming BIGs in the future of Metal — serves its purpose well as the official song describing a true incident which occurred in a City in the state of Minas Gerais—in Brazil, where an (alleged) alien space craft landed in the populated city and the denizens therein the craft walked out of the craft and strolled around the town for many weeks —and for all the populace of the city to see.

The answer to latter part of your question can be excavated within the pages of my book “Lenda de 5D”.

Why does the album begin with an instrumental intro and end with an outro? Is this narrative chant taken from an actual experience?

Johnny Cyriis: I wrote the intro and Outro both “Passage to Afron-V” and “Entrance to Afron-V” in 1994 shortly before meeting a very interesting individual (whom this album is dedicated to). Later, after having numerous contacts with this individual, I decided to bring it on as the songs which would intro and Outro an Agent Steel album at some point in the future. The voice that is heard on the intro and outro —is the voice of the very fascinating individual—who makes a statement for the good of man\womankind and which was recorded between the 90s and latter 2000s.

What is the Passage and Entrance to Afron-V?

Johnny Cyriis: (More details on this subject can also be accessed by purchasing my book “Lenda de 5D” through ULF Publishers Group, Tokyo/Sydney)

Is there an "undisclosed" planet called Afron-V?

Johnny Cyriis: You can find out what it is by listening to the tracks “Passage to Afron-V” and “Entrance to Afron-V”!

Does this lead to the "Crypts of Galactic Damnation”?

Johnny Cyriis: You’d have to read the lyrics in order to understand “The Riddle Man” (new song that will appear on forthcoming studio album, PROTOCOL)!

How did you assemble all the international musicians who play on "No Other Godz”? Vinicius is from Brazil, like yourself.
Johnny Cyriis: A team of organizers who represent me were the ones who brought the current Agent Steel New Era lineup together. A great team they are indeed. However, nothing is permanent and solid until it actually is. With that said, I am very confident that Vinicius will prove to be one of the most astute musicians I’ve ever worked with. As Far as this line-up demonstrating loyalty and honesty, dedication, and appreciation for the position they have been handed…it remains to be seen if these individuals will demonstrate true appreciation and respect for their position granted.

Did you all record in one studio, or did you exchange Demos through the Internet?

Johnny Cyriis: The NOGBM album was recorded both at studios and also by exchanging files.

Finally, which album from the past do you prefer, "Skeptics", or "Unstoppable”? For me personally, I prefer the Sophomore outing, for both the lyrics and music. When I was in college, my anthem was "Chosen to Stay"!
Johnny Cyriis: I love both albums, and the lineups were both a gathering of stellar musicians who are all deserving of praise for their stellar performances. However, I believe the best Agent Steel albums are yet to be made by this New Era of the band. And, the initiation to this forthcoming Phenomena is the NOGBM album. The Next level, will be delivered via the next album (the-already in preparation follow-up to NOGBM) titled “PROTOCOL”.

So, Nikolay, how did you get the Agent Steel gig?

Nikolay: I joined Agent Steel in early 2019. The band just needed new stable members and I was recommended to Jon as suitable for the gig and it totally worked out ever since day one!

Which new songs are your favorites? Which Classic Songs are you looking forward to performing Live?

Nikolay: I'm very proud of the new record. My absolute favorites would be the titletrack, Crypts of Galactic Damnation, Carousel of Vagrant Souls, just to name a few, but I really like the entire record. From the classic Agent Steel era I'm looking forward to performing live all the songs from the first two albums and the EP that fans have been waiting to hear live for a very long time! We also have some surprises… Maybe some old songs that are also fan-favorites, but have never ever been or were rarely performed live… We'll see… Haha!

Vinicius: I love the title track “No Other Godz Before Me” and “Outer Space Connection”, they are a couple of my favorite tracks on the record along with “The Incident” sung in Brazilian Portuguese which is really cool.

Did you assist with the writing process for "No Other Godz Before Me”? Did you contribute to any of the lyrics?

Nikolay: I wrote the bigger part of the music on the new album. Me and Jon are the main people in that too - usually I take care of the music and he takes care of the vocals and lyrics, but of course that's not always the case. I haven't contributed any lyrics to No Other Godz Before Me - they were all written by Johnny.

Vinicius: On this album, I contributed with solos on most of the tracks and some guitar harmonies too. By the time I was invited to join the band, the Album was nearly finished and all songs where already written, but on the upcoming album I hope to be able to contribute more in the songwriting front as well.

What Classic and new songs are you look forward to performing Live?

Nikolay: I mean, as I already mentioned, all the good stuff! Agents of Steel, Bleed for the Godz, Unstoppable Force, etc., etc… From the new album - the title track, Crypts of Galactic Damnation, Carousel of Vagrant Souls, Sonata Cósmica, etc., etc… We can't wait to play all this hammering metal live for our fans…

Vinicius Carvalho: I’m super excited to bring Agent Steel’s music back to the live stage and I consider this a great honor. Of course, songs like “Agents of Steel”, “Rager”, “Bleed for the Godz” and other classics along with new killer songs like “Crypts of Galactic Damnation” and “No Other Godz Before Me” will be quite amazing to play live, to hear John’s legendary vocals and a great band with fantastic musicians.

Are you a fan of Alien Phenomena? Have you ever had your own unique and inexplicable encounter?

Nikolay: I do - I haven't done all that research Johnny has done for a long time now, but for a very long time I have been thinking to myself, "Only a stupid person would be certain that it's just and nobody else out there"… My opinion hasn't changed. And that's just common sense. That's a long and interesting topic! As far as experiences - I haven't really had any myself. I feel like it's something only a few people are very lucky enough to experience… Obviously Jon can share much, much more interesting stuff…

Vinicius Carvalho: I believe that higher intelligences must exist beyond our space and also beyond our time and dimensions. Personally, I never any kind of encounter, but given the vastness of our universe and the limited condition of our material existence, I believe that there is much more out there than meets the eye.

Who are some of your guitar heroes, and influences?

Nikolay: They are a lot… Just to name a few very important in no specific order: Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dave Murray/Adrian Smith, Glenn Tipton/KK Downing, Marty Friedman, Andy LaRocque, Michael Denner/Hank Shermann, Alex Skolnick, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield/Kirk Hammett, Paul Gilbert - All the greats…

Vinicius: My first major influence was David Gilmour of Pink Floyd; I always admired his melodic sensibility and fantastic bends and vibratos. When I started getting into Metal, names like Randy Rhoads, Marty Friedman, Andy Laroque and Eddie Van Halen became huge influences, along with legendary guitar duos like Tipton/Downing from Judas Priest, Smith/Murray from Iron Maiden and Denner/Shermann from Mercyful Fate, and 80’s Shredders like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert.

It’s a really long list but these are some of the main names.

Nikolay, I believe at one time you auditioned for Sanctuary as well, since you are such a big fan of Warrell Dane. Sadly, the Sanctuary of today is a far cry from "Refuge Denied" & "Mirror Black", so you are better off keeping the Unstoppable Force of Agent Steel alive. Do you feel now that in effect, you are chosen to stay?

Nikolay: Yes! I did send Sanctuary some recordings when they were looking for a guitarist, but I obviously never joined - I haven't really followed what happened there, they seem to have been kind of quiet ever since the pandemic started… And it is true what you're saying about Warrell Dane (RIP)…. But that's one of the greatest heavy metal vocals in the history of music and his legacy lives and surely will live on! I am a huge fan of his, as you know, and I was lucky enough to see Sanctuary with him, unfortunately never got to know him personally… And you're right, Sanctuary is different now, but without Warrell it can only be that way, they are cool and talented guys and I wish them luck with whatever they do in the future and I hope to meet them on the road soon! Why not Agent Steel and Sanctuary touring… About the other things that you mentioned - Definitely, it's sometimes so surreal to be in THE Agent Steel, with John Cyriis himself, who is another one of the greatest metal singers ever… I've always been a big Agent Steel fan and putting this album out and having all this going is certainly something very special for me. Johnny is an awesome person and we have built a great friendship. Things are working out extremely well and everything is positive - I'm looking forward to share all this positive metal energy with our fans once we hit the road again!

Vinicius, how did you get the Agent Steel gig, being from Brazil?

Vinicius: The first contact came from John’s son Niklaas.
We met through Facebook when I was posting some guitar videos during the pandemic, he then introduced me to the Agent Steel Team that work behind the scenes, and I started recording solos for the album that would become “No Other Godz Before Me”. It was a fantastic opportunity and I am very thankful for Niklaas and the AS Team and for all their hard work along with my fellow bandmembers.

And, how long have you been a fan of Agent Steel?
Vinicius: I have enjoyed Agent Steel’s music for a long time and have always looked up to their legacy as Speed/Thrash Metal legends, Skeptics Apocalypse became an absolute classic and influential album, so to me it’s a great honor to carry on this amazing legacy while at the same time moving forward with John and the Band.

Have A Great Day, And Never Surrender!

Nikolay: Thank you for having us! The time is at hand!

Johnny Cyriis: HELL YEAH!

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Yiannis Mitsakos

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