Sunday, September 15, 2019
A Sunday Conversation with Charlie Zeigler of The Militants
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
Growing up as a kid in the 70's it was all about Motown and Soul Music which i still deeply adore.
This is my roots.Then a Neighbor moved next door and he played an album by Uriah Heep : Magicians Birthday.
This changed my entire life completely.Then the flood gates opened up and i discovered other amazing bands such as Genesis,Queen,Yes,Pink Floyd,Rush,ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers and the list goes on.This was a calling to me and i was just hooked and opened my Mind to a new world of music.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Yes Todd Good Question upon the way i compose songs.
I always play and record the drums first.Then i go for the concept of the Title and poem.
Next i sing over the drums and then the soul of my imagination is wide open to discover and play
guitar.Up Next is the bass guitar because the Bass is a completely different instrument and must have its own character and feel.Guitar solos are in order. I do a cool quick mix of the song then i go back and re-sing the song to find the Soul the Passion of the song. It is a Good music Formula that works upon how I compose songs.
The Bottom line is I base all around the drum beat.
Who has influenced you the most?
I have quite a lot of influences as in bands i found and discovered in the 80's and 90's.This really my Era when I discovered Heavy Metal: AC/DC my # 1 favorite band of all time, Iron Maiden,Judas Priest,SLAYER, Pantera, Death, Ministry, Kreator. The Quality of the songwriting is incredible and there is so many more bands to mention. It is Amazing and a timeless part of my life that once again brought me to another level of a powerful musical movement.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I am a avid reader plus i have an eye upon the way our world society has grown for the better and indeed for the worse. I have a very good imagination and see things in perspective and good with words to create a story.
I do write about the past,present & future of events plus fantasy as well.When writing songs i always keep it to where I can see it,feel it.It is all about to find the soul and capture the recording. Glad I own my own recording studio so I can let the recorder roll and find that soul moment.Plus i am always thinking about ways to inspire people in the music of heavy metal that I compose.When the Epiphany hits my soul my recorder is ready to go.
My Family and home town is Waycross Georgia down at the okefenokee swamp.It does reflect my music and soul100% and magic.When you listen to The Militants albums people can really feel it. A possession within myself that I am born with like example i hear voices as in a spirit inside my soul that gives me vision and guides me.
Where'd the band name come from?
I came up with name The Militants back in 1992 and did the trademark and ownership in 1994.
My goal was find a band name that is a worldwide movement from History to present and future & beyond. It is a great name for a heavy metal band and it took off.I was at the right place and the right timing. Everyone really digs the name and the albums sounds like The Militants. 100% Pure Magic.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
Todd this is a very interesting question.Ya know people all the time say The Militants have that movie sound track vibe big time and this once again musical magic in the making.The songs take you into another realm.When I write songs it is like i am painting a portrait,something people can see in the mind and takes you on a trip upon discoveries. I dig Sci-Fi a lot so my best answer would be Escape from New York. Killer Movie that the world loved as much as I do and trust me there is a lot of other movies as well that comes to mind.It is a big Universe out there
so lets take a Ride shall we..hahahahaha
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
The song that comes to mind is Population Control from The Militants album Front Line Kill.
It has the movie sound track vibe and a futuristic vibe as in we now have GPS tracking chips to monitor our society to where the government tracks you down and tells someone how long they will live to to an overpopulated planet and the clock is set and ticking away to your extermination.You can try to run but they will catch you and Terminate you.Population Control and YES! as we see into the future we all know the truth this is already happening.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
OMG Ok Ok Todd..hahahaha this is a good one. I was playing a show and in the start of the show i would come out and do a way high leg spread jump in the air and i split my pants at the crotch and my BALLS were hanging out the entire show.
Now that is a true story. hahahahaha gotta love metal music in the moment.
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
I have some done some really cool shows thru my musical career,however the budget was really tight and when you are traveling a 13 state tour. It is very very expensive.Yes Yes i learned so much upon these travels.Playing live is great and always good times in the making plus being able to meet people that have The Militants albums is a gift to me.These days i do more studio session work as a working class musician and this has really paid off for me. I am not killing myself anymore and the fans deeply respect this.Touring does take a toll on the body and cost a lot of money and hope for a revenue of a return and then the money goes right back into keep the music alive.I prefer
to record albums and do selective shows where the shots count.
To me a great song is all about how the song is captured upon the recording, the tone and sound and most of all very very important is how the song is Engineered and Mixed. These 4 musical combinations are everything and the only way when comes to what makes a great song.Always has been this way and will never never change.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
The first song i ever wrote..that is hard question due to the facts i have been writing for so so long.
The best answer i can give is every new song i compose is something new and adventurous.
So this would be my first song. Being a Working Class Musician I must always have to keep writing new material and releasing album after album after album. This is the way of my life.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
I am proud of all The Militants albums.I only release what i feel the people around the world will like and what they want hear on The Militants albums. True I do admit it is a shot in the dark when releasing albums cause you never know because of the amount of bands and the internet today. Yes I promise to always keep the faith of the metal soul and do what is correct for the people.I feel lucky cause I have had very good feed back in the press and around the world so I am gonna stick to my formula and keep expanding my horizons.Plus The Militants buzz is very old school as in metal head talking to metal head about how cool The Militants albums sound and i adore this format and keep this right direction to go.When people hear good albums,the albums speak for themselves.It is Just that simple and wheels of metal keep in motion.People really dig The Militants and i am very thankful.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
Today is really hard to find cool soul bands due to technology. The Music Biz has become a cookie cutter.I just keep The Militants that damn real and always will keep old school to where the soul shines and people can feel it.As before killer bands and my influences are from the 70's ,80's, 90's. I am NOT! into over processed music. I like it Raw and real time.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Vinyl will always be my first choice then CD and then MP3's. Vinyl rules forever in my music journeys.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice
My Choice of Beverage is :
Blood Mary only on Sunday
with a Blaze of a ride in my mind.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Now that i live in cali.there is a few places that sell Vinyls and CD Shirts and etc;
CD trader and vinyl in Tarzana,Ca, Amoeba music in Hollywood, and yes the Vinyl swap meets are a blast to hang out and meet people. You can find really good deals.
What's next for the band?
The Militants have a new album out coming out in the start of the year 2020.The Album is called " Gathering Darkness. This new album is really wicked and disturbing and has a deep Evil sound and Tone which is was looking for.Every song sounds killer. I captured every song the way i wanted it to sound and I am very very pleased with the results. All the songs have a different Character and yes it sounds like The Militants.Yes will be available Vinyl and CD.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
My final comment is about being in a band. You must always give back to the music community and fans. I always make music postcards and write a hand written letter upon the day.Trust me it goes a very very long way and shows and tells as in metal head to metal head the people speak and make conversation who have your albums that you really care. I average over 500 plus postcards i hand write every year and put a stamp on it and to see this grow and grow is timeless and priceless to me mostly. I keep The Militants real 24/7 100% at all times.I have a deep personal touch with The Militants fan base and they LOVE IT! This is why people worldwide dig and pick up The Militants albums cause they get something in return all the time.I am mighty proud to say i am a Metal Head.
Thank you Todd and Ripple Effect for this Interview.The Honor is all mine and
plus help Keeping the Arts and Music alive around the world.
We Are Metal
Charlie Zeigler of The Militants