INTERVIEW WITH JOHN RODGERS (TORANAGA)

John Rodgers is the guitar player of Toranaga, veteran UK thrashers who returned with a new album in 2013. I had the chance meeting him at this year’s KIT Festival and he was really cool and nice to the fans. I had the chance to do a written interview with John Rodgers about him and Toranaga, so here it is;

HS – Hi John, the story of Toranaga, their rise&fall is widely known but most of the Toranaga fans don’t know much about you? to start with, what were you doing before you joined in 2010? Did you already have contact with the guys, how did you join Toranaga?

JR – I was playing in various local bands at the time, i didnt know any of the Toranaga guys but i did know of the band. They were local celebrities from previous years but i thought they had long since finished until Andy Burton the bass player approached me and asked me if i would join the band for a new album. HS – How is the relation with the rest of the Band, do you have close contacts? Do you live in close areas, do you make local gigs?

JR – We are all pretty local to each other apart from Mark Duffy, he has to travel the furthest. He lives in Middlesborough which is around an hour away from the rest of us. HS – Are there any new developments on Toranaga side. You had a live performance at KIT but there wasn’t much live gigs as I could follow (forgive me if I missed something)

JR – We have been quiet on the live performing front lately but we do intend to do more live shows on 2014 now that the new album “Righteous Retribution” is finished and released. 368_photo

HS – How was the gig at KIT?

JR – KIT was great, it was nice to meet fans from all across Europe and it was great to get drunk with the thrash masses. HS- The album is released from Chuffing Hell Records; can we name it as a self-released album?

JR – Yes, that’s correct

HS – Can we expect a regular album release period from Toranaga, the latest album is relatively new, but are you working on new stuff?

JR – We will be starting on more new material this year. HS – You also have a Thin Lizzy cover band which seems as your major activity, are there any other projects?

JR – Thin Lizzy is a major love of mine. I have been a Thin Lizzy fanatic since childhood, but Toranaga is my main project.

HS – Many bands are reuniting and releasing re-issues, what do you think of these come-backs? Is it fruitful for the bands or is it just nostalgia?

JR – It’s great if it opens up these bands to new and younger fans. It all keeps thrash alive. HS – There are great comebacks in the recent years, some of them really excites me. How does it happen that a band inactive for 20-25 years can come together and write new songs as if they were always in the business?

JR – Just because the bands disappear from the scene it doesn’t mean you can turn off that switch that made you create music in the first place. Old metal heads never die, they just have a long rest ha ha. HS – What do you think of new metal trends; thrash metal seems to rise again with NWOTM bands, which I don’t like much. They play a very straightforward music with almost no melodies in it, what do you think?

JR – There are some new metal bands that i like, but i haven’t found anything yet that stands out like the metal from the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe that’s why there’s a great revival at the minute. HS – My favorite Toranaga track is The Shrine, which track do you like to play most? Either from Toranaga or others…

JR – My favorite old school Toranaga track to play is probably Hammer to the Skull. But from the new record i would say Traitors Gate. HS – Do you plan any new live dates-tours-festivals?

JR – Yes, there are some in the planning. Watch this space. HS – Do you share the view that true/oldschool metal is stuck in Central Europe, mainly Germany-Holland, etc?  How is British metal scene considering thrash metal and alike?

JR – Europe is definitely better. In the UK we have the fans but the promoters or the venues are less willing to accommodate or take a risk. It’s a real shame. HS – I was a huge fan of your “…offered me to join… the Band” entries on Facebook, very funny, and the nastiest was about “Michael Hutchence” which I still laugh when I remember. I think you gave up sharing those. Are you usually a funny guy in your daily life, what makes you angry or stressed?

JR – ha ha i think i am a bit of a comedian and i do try to keep people laughing. That regular slot on facebook was very popular. What makes me angry?? the band “Oasis”

HS – Who was your idol in metal, have you met him? JR – I’m a big fan of Dave Mustaine. I’ve never met him

HS – Can you remember the first metal song you heard, first record you bought or seeing a live concert?

JR – My first metal record was “One by Metallica”. My first gig was Gary Moore in 1987. HS – Was there a certain person-family, friend-who took you in rock/metal?

JR – My dad. He was the one that force fed me Thin Lizzy as a kid

HS – The weirdest fan you ever met?

JR – ha ha far too many to mention. They’re everywhere!!

HS – The worst thing happened on a show/tour?

JR – At a live show in Dublin i once had 3 amps blow on me in just one gig

HS – The cover song that you like most to sing/play on stage?

JR – Gary Moore – Parissienne Walkways

HS – What are your hobbies or work in daily life besides music…

JR – I’ve been a bodybuilder and weightlifter for over 20 years now. just ask my knees

HS – Your favorite movie?

JR – Jaws

HS – What do you listen to? I observe that many band members listen to very different things besides what they are playing, how is your taste of music?

JR – varied. My cd collection goes from slayer to Billy Ocean with everything from Frank Zappa to U2 in-between. HS – Thanks John for this great interview, hope we can meet again. But right now it is more important to make national standards a national priority than to debate how they might be someone do my homework for me achieved.

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