Trouble - Rick Wartell

Trouble - Rick Wartell

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If you had recently the chance to watch TROUBLE live, then you should be aware that they have been firing on all cylinders since the release of “The Distortion Field”. With this gathered momentum, the Chicago-raised band is ready to offer more, so in order to see what is brewing inside the brain of Bruce and Rick, METAL KAOZ got on the phone with the latter guitarist and discovered some really exciting news for all the TROUBLE fans. This is going to be an exciting year, read on!


Trouble - Rick Wartell

Hello Rick, how are you?
Hey Dimitris, I’m great! How are you doing? Long time, my friend!

I’m good! Welcome back to METAL KAOZ, Rick! And first of all, allow me to congratulate you on the show you did at the ‘Days Of The Doomed’ festival; the band looked and sounded in a top mood. The previous live shows had anything to do with this?
Thank you very much, I really appreciate it. Obviously, TROUBLE doesn’t play long and extensive tours anymore, so when we do get together and do shows, everyone usually is in a pretty good mood, you know, happy to be around the camaraderie and the bandmates; it’s always fun to play live. Plus, we had a year under our belt as a band, so it kind of started building with this round that we did in the east coast, so yes, everyone was in a very good mood.

How did you decide to add a BLACK SABBATH cover and not another TROUBLE song in the ‘DOTD’ setlist?
We were just messing around with that song in rehearsal one day and Kyle sounded so good singing it and the band sounded really good performing it, so we thought - why not - to throw it in the setlist. You know, it’s kind of a throwback to the old TROUBLE days; we always did at least one cover song in most of our shows back in the 80s / early 90s. So we thought why not continue that trend at this point.

Gotcha. It’s been a year since the release of “The Distortion Field”, so are you pleased with how the album came out and how it was received by the fans?
Absolutely and really I can’t recall hearing one negative word about it from anybody. Everyone has been on board, everyone has accepted it, everyone likes what we did, and I think everyone understands the direction that we’re going. We’re really excited to get to work on another, actually.

This lineup has been playing live for almost a year, so do you think the band will be taking a different musical direction? How do you feel about this?
You never know with TROUBLE, I mean basically we write whatever we feel. I don’t really see straying too far from what we’re doing, I mean if anything, there might some intricate kind of songwriting involved in the next record but overall we’re still intend to keep the guitars bold and heavy, keep that fat sound, some heavy grooves and in general, that’s basically who we are. If you really compare all the records, we do not stray that far from what we do. We may incorporate other influences here and there, but overall, TROUBLE is TROUBLE.

Yeah, I’m not the kind of person who wants to see a more than 30 years old band sounding exactly the same; it’s ridiculous to request from an artist something like that.
Good and you may be one of the only one saying this because (laughs) you have to expand and you have to be creative, and [the composing process] it has to be creative and fun and challenging for the artist also. I mean, you can’t expect the same riffs to come out over and over again and be exciting for the musicians and the people who are creating them. You have to be able to expand on your art and that’s what makes TROUBLE exciting for others. There is no limit, we can do what we want and it still sounds like TROUBLE. You know what I mean? So I’m glad you understand that, thank you for pointing that out.

After all, a band is a living organism, so as we grow up we change, not deviate much from our initial direction, but we do change – it’s a natural process.
This is true; if you don’t change, you die. I mean, no one can do the same thing everyday and be happy about it.

After having done all these live shows and having released “The Distortion Field”, what is the current mood in the band? Do you want to get back on the road or enter the studio?
Actually, we’re gonna do a European tour in November and we have already been writing for the next record, so I would say we’re starting getting a little excited about getting in the studio and writing some tracks down, but first things first; we are gonna focus on the tour and make sure we’re good and tight and ready for that, and we’ll come back and we’ll decide what songs we’re gonna record for the next album at this point. We’re really looking forward to it!

Let’s start talking about the tour first; the European tour starts in November 14th with ‘Hammer Of Doom’ festival or are you planning to add more days before that?
I think it starts on November 04th if I’m not mistaken in Hamburg, Germany, but it hasn’t been announced yet, so I’m not really supposed to say that. Yeah, there are definitely shows added to the bill of the European tour.

Ok, let’s talk about the ‘Hammer Of Doom’ appearance; this year marks 30th anniversary of “Psalm 9” so the plan is to perform the entire album live?
We’ll play most of it (laughs). We’ll play a good chunk of it but I don’t think it’s gonna be 100% of the album, no.

And then, how many more songs are you planning to add in the setlist?
Well, it depends on how long they’re gonna let us play that night because if we had it our way, we’d play a nice solid set of “Psalm 9” songs and for the second half of the show do a mixture of the rest of the collection, featuring a lot of songs of “The Distortion Field” I’d say.

And is this a one-time thing (playing most of “Psalm 9” live) or are there any plans to do it again for a future show?
I don’t know yet; it’s hard to say because we’re taking one step at a time when it comes to touring. We had some discussions about doing a local show here [in Chicago] and recording it possibly and doing just the “Psalm 9” album in its entirety but nothing is set in stone yet. We haven’t really made those decisions at this point. Like I said, we’re in the writing process right now, so other things kind of put on hold when you’re writing music. I don’t know, I really don’t have the answer for you, not yet.

This idea you just talked about doing a live show was regarding to record a live album or do a filming also for a DVD here in Chicago?
Well, we are actually thinking about doing both. This is in the very early stages, so we can’t give any dates or anything right now, but we’ll start to discuss it a little more seriously now.

Yeah, I understand. So, what about the rest of the European tour; how long will it last?
I think it’s 14 days, if I’m not mistaken; like I said, I’m not supposed to announce the dates because there is a couple that are still TBA, but I know we’re doing some shows in Germany, in London, Greece, Portugal, I think Holland, and I believe that’s it - I’m not quite sure, I don’t have the paperwork in front of me but I think it’s a total of 14 days, so we will do half of a month out there.

Have you chosen the supporting groups?
I have no idea what’s going on with that. I think there will be local bands, I really don’t know and I usually don’t get involved in that and I leave that to the management and the promoters.

Let’s move on to the upcoming TROUBLE album; have you done any writing or you just have some ideas? Where are you standing on that matter?
I think we have 8 or 10 songs written at this point for the new TROUBLE album and we’re gonna continue writing; we like to have a few extras in our bag, so we can pick and choose the stronger songs. In my opinion, a lot of them are completed and we just maybe need to do a little tweaking here and there but yeah, the writing process is in full swing and we’re getting close.

Oh my, when did you start writing because “The Distortion Field” took a long time to be released, so now you’re talking you have already that many songs…
...(interrupting) “The Distortion Field” took a long time to be released for a lot of reasons other than the writing process. The writing process was completed two years before “The Distortion Field” was released, so we went through two vocalists and we went through to a lot of other changes, we lost tracks during the recordings, it was just a lot of mishaps happening during the course of that production. For the new release, we began writing right after we finished the recording of “The Distortion Field”, so we’re kind of ahead of the game for TROUBLE for a change (laughs).

That’s awesome! And what about Kyle; what will be his input in the upcoming album, because in the previous one, and correct me if I’m wrong, he wasn’t quite involved in the music writing - he wrote the lyrics, ok, but he wasn’t actually involved in the music making.
Right; it’s gonna be basically the same thing for this release; Bruce and I have already gotten 8 to 10 songs written and Kyle will put his vocals on those songs and I do know that Kyle has a couple of songs that wants to present to us and we’re more than willing to listen to those and see if we can work them in and fit to the scheme of the album at this point, but yeah, Kyle is a very talented guy - we would never say ‘no’ to any of his ideas.

And what about the ballpark of the release date; do you have a timetable in your mind?
Personally, I’d like to have the album recorded by the end of the summer of 2015 and released it in the fall. That being said, you know how things go with this band, so that would be pretty optimistic (laughs) but let’s shoot for this anyway.

Do you have a working title for the new album?
Right now, we’re just calling it “The New One” (laughs). Very creative, I know (laughs)!

Ok, what about putting the story of TROUBLE in a book? Because, as you probably know, many bands do that, and it’s very interesting for the fans.
I have actually spoken to a few people about the idea, and don’t be surprised if something comes out one day. It has been discussed and I don’t wanna say it’s in the works because it isn’t, but it’s been throwing around, it’s been kicked around a little bit at this point. So, it’s a possibility for sure.

Yeah, because after all, TROUBLE has been an influential band all these years, so having such a book about this band, it would bridge generations.
I think it would be interesting to chronicle some of the history of the band, and just putting it down for historical reasons more than anything at this point.

Ok, what about US shows; what are your plans on that?
We’re working on going south to play in Kyle’s hometown; we want to go and play one show in New Orleans and we’re working on that, and it’s possible we’ll be able to get there in October, and then we’ll probably do a couple of shows around that, but I don’t have dates or anything confirmed on that at this point, but I can say that it’s been worked on that.

What about Chicago?
That remains to be seen; I like playing in Chicago, we all like playing in Chicago, and if we do the New Orleans show, we’d say that there is a good possibility that we’d do something in Chicago as well.

That sounds awesome! Well Rick, you sound absolutely busy, you have a lot of things to do, and if I forgot something to ask, feel free to enlighten us.
I think you covered it all. I appreciate your time and it’s always a pleasure to speak to you.

Thank you very much, Rick and hope to see you live again very soon.
Great! Thank you very much!