After unleashing their previous album Blind Faith Loyalty on Cruz Del Sur Records based out of Italy, Crown The Lost (from here in the States) has returned with another dynamic magnum opus. Entitled Cold Pestilent Hope, those into the very best of what heavy metal has to offer here in the USA are sure to make a major discovery when listening to what the mighty Crown The Lost has to offer. Now on Gas Can Music, Crown The Lost are set to deliver the metal goods all across the nation and well beyond. Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the CTL members to discover more about this amazing collective and their dynamic music. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Crown The Lost, and how long the band has been together.
My name is David E. Gehlke and I’m the rhythm guitar player in Crown the Lost. We have been around since April of 2005, which means we’re getting close to “veteran” band status, although I’m sure some of the other guys in the band have other ideas about that.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We are based out of Pittsburgh, PA and the local music scene is at times, spotty at best, although some of the bands we have had the good fortune of playing with are quite excellent. For the most part, Pittsburgh is decidedly a non-music loving town, yet those who are in the scene and go to shows are as dedicated as they come.
How did you wind up signing to Gas Can Music?
We entertained a lot of offers from European-based record companies, but their presence in North America was lacking, so I reached out to Bob Bradley who clued me in on the new venture that is Gas Can Music. Once I found out the licensing and distribution opportunities they presented, it was pretty obvious that we should be working with them. Plus, Bob is a very hard-worker and a great PR man, so I’m happy to have him in our corner as we do promotion for album #3.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Cold Pestilent Hope?
There’s no concept behind the title. In fact, it was nicked from another song on the album, “Forgotten and Damned.” We don’t even say the title in the title track, but I think Cold Pestilent Hope is a fitting title for the album. Plus, it carries on our “tradition” in having three-word album titles, but that will probably change for the next album.
Select two songs from your CD and what inspired the lyrics?
Off the top of my head, “Breathe Into Emptiness” is about an ex-member of the band that went out of his way to drive a wedge between the members at the time. It sounds a bit high-school-ish, actually, but the dude was unhappy with everything we did, didn’t want to work hard, was lazy, and talked behind everyone’s back. Like I said: I felt like I was in high school. Strange thing was that the dude was older than all of us, but he’s long gone. We’re friends now, and I think he’s well-aware of how we (or I) felt about him during that particular point in time.
Another is “Eyes Without Sight,” which is a song about logic over religion, something we’ve explored in the past. Frankly, we could write albums upon albums on this topic, although I think “Eyes” is one of our better attempts at making sense over why people do dumb things in the name of organized religion.
What could one expect from a live Crown The Lost show?
Lots of sweating…and smiling. I’m not sure why we do it so much, but we do tend to smile and I know it’s not very “metal” to smile, but we often trade goofy looks at one another and a smile breaks out. We don’t take ourselves too seriously while onstage, which makes me happy we’re not a black metal band. We’d be in big trouble if we ever had to wear corpsepaint – it would totally ruin our image.
Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We’ve yet to play the Los Angeles area, although it’s on our “bucket list” of things to do before we bite the dust. We’ve had quite a few offers to head out west, but due to monetary constraints and other logistics, we’ve yet to come over. I’m sure we will eventually.
Who are some of the bigger bands you have opened for in the past and what was the experience like?
We’ve had the good fortune of playing with several bigger bands, and one that sticks out is a gig we did with While Heaven Wept last year in Pittsburgh. They just oozed professionalism and their songs in the live setting are just as powerful as they are on CD. I had sort of an epiphany while watching their singer (Rain Irving) onstage, actually. The way he handled himself and sang made me think about how great it would be if we had a guy of similar approach and professionalism. It didn’t long after that show for us to make a singer switch and add Leon to the CTL fold. So in some way, we can thank While Heaven Wept for our current lineup ha-ha.
How did your new singer Leon Mallah become involved with the band and what other bands or projects has he been involved with?
Leon was in another local band with our drummer Arge called In the Wake, but he played guitar for them. Leon approached me about signing for CTL on New Year’s Eve two years ago, going on about how he was the right man for the job and would relish the opportunity to try out for us. Being that we were already friends with Leon and knew him to be an all-around good dude, we jumped at the chance. His timing couldn’t have been better, as we were ready to make a singer switch. We asked Leon to demo some older songs, and while they were a little rough around the edges, they were what we were looking for. We brought him in for a tryout and it was obvious that he was the right guy for the job. I wish we would have found him a few years earlier – he’s the exact type of singer this band needs.
How difficult has it been to replace various members of Crown The Lost over time?
It’s been tough, although everyone who is out of the band is out of the band for a reason. A lot of people have left to pursue other opportunities, including higher-profile bands, while some had to go back to school, and a select few were asked to leave. Unfortunately, we’ve had a rash of band members who went out of their way to create a negative culture and it really put a strain on things, especially when trying to maintain a stable lineup.
You’d be surprised at how much damage alcohol can do to a band and for a while, we were the embodiment of that. Some of the stuff that went down in this band while under the influence of alcohol is simply mind-boggling, and I can’t believe we’re still around. I mean, we’re talking about some of the most sophomoric and childish antics a band can pull off, and I was often left to do damage control, for I don’t drink at all. I count my lucky stars that I don’t have to do such things anymore. It’s probably why I don’t have any hair left.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
That’s a tough question. I’d like them to remember that we’re at least a unique take on melodic metal. Some people have taken umbrage with the thrash metal tag we’ve received, and I totally understand it – we’re not a traditional thrash metal band by any stretch. But we also don’t want to labeled a power metal band, so perhaps from this point forward I’ll just start calling us a melodic metal band.
Any messages for metal fans here in the Los Angeles area?
We’ll be over soon, with any luck. And I’d like to know how you survive without a football team. Perhaps the NFL will cave and relocate another team. I take solace in knowing that my Browns won’t be moved again…I’d probably have to enter some type of insane asylum.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Crown The Lost Official Home Page