Held Hostage: Opening For Metal Allegiance at House Of Blues During NAMM
The mighty Held Hostage are making their way to the West Coast, providing direct support for Metal Allegiance at the House Of Blues in Anaheim on January 24th! The long running New York-based collective recently toured with the legendary Ross The Boss. A new single has also been issued entitled Show Me The Way Back Home – featuring guest vocals from the one and only Joe Lynn Turner, and dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. Highwire Daze Online recently interviewed Held Hostage lead guitarist Tom Collier to find discuss their partnership with Vietnam Veterans, working with such iconic performers as Joe Lynn Turner and Ross The Boss, their upcoming direct support slot for Metal Allegiance taking place during The NAMM Show – and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Held Hostage, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Tom Collier – I’m the lead guitarist – I do some lead vocals but mostly backing vocals. I put the band together back in 1983, and we started out touring in 84, and it’s great run for us. It’s been fantastic – having a great time.
Where is your band based out of and what is your local music scene like out there?
We’re in Upstate New York, and it’s actually pretty good in the Syracuse market – we play New York City and in a lot of different areas. The music market is doing very well up here. It’s coming back to life and I’m very impressed and happy with the music scene around New York State.
Is there any overall story or concept behind your new single Show Me The Way Back Home?
My brother was in Vietnam – and you know how the Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home. And to hear some stories about him being spit on – and when they landed they were told to take their uniforms off – they weren’t welcomed back here. Just hearing the stories about that – and that was from lot of different veteran organizations – and I wrote the song Show Me The Way Back Home based on what these guys had been through. It’s really a welcoming home song for them – and that’s really the story behind it. I donate 50 percent of the proceeds every time I sell one of those CD’s or downloads to the Vietnam Veterans Of America, Victory For Vets plus a few other Veteran Organizations I help out.
How did Joe Lynn Turner become involved with the recording of the single, and what was it like working with him?
I’m managed by John Pettigrass of Artist Event Management. And he heard this song and said “What a great song. We need to put this out as a single.” So he brought in Carl Canedy from The Rods as a producer. Of course, The Rods were one of my favorite bands so how could I say no? And once we had all the tracks done, he said “You know, the perfect singer for this would be Joe Lynn Turner.” And I was like, “I love Joe’s voice!” Two phone conversations later, and Joe was cutting the tracks for us. He was in Europe – we had to wait for him to come back from Europe. He did a great job, he said “I’m behind the military and the fact that you’re helping people.” He stepped up and did the classic Joe Lynn Turner and it was great working with him!
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title of your upcoming CD Epic?
Back in the 90’s with cassette tapes, I had some songs that did really well for me on a regional/local basis. So I’m redoing all those songs, and I want to put them out as an epic album. I’ve got a great fan base – thousands of fans follow us – it’s more for them, the new versions of it. And I’m going to bring on some stars – Carl Canedy will be drumming on, Joe’s on there, Freddy Villano – who is the bass player for Quiet Riot – he toured with those guys. It’s going to be an epic album. My band and guest musicians. We’ve been described as Tom Petty meets AC/DC. People see us – and our music is so diverse. And when we come to LA, you’ll see like three bands in one when we play, and you’ll go “What just hit us?” On the album there’s going to be four classic Held Hostage songs and six brand new ones.
What was it like touring with Ross The Boss?
Oh, he’s a great guy! Back in the Manowar days, we did a tour with Manowar back in the 80’s. We did direct support for those guys. Ross is just a phenomenal musician and a great overall person. We stayed friends – and almost every day we text back and forth encouraging each other. He’s just doing fantastic and when I came back, he was like, “Hey, yeah, we need to get together.” We did some New York City shows with him – we did Rhode Island, Philadelphia – we did all over with Ross and we had a great reception with him.
You recently did a Veterans Day concert. What was that experience like?
It was fantastic. For Veterans Day, we did a Vietnam Veterans Benefit concert. We were trying to raise $75,000 for them to build a memorial here in Upstate New York for the 27 heroes who didn’t come home. It was a phenomenal day. It had never been done before in Auburn, New York. We did a parade for them, we even had a USO show. And it brought them to tears of happiness and joy when we played Show Me The Way Back Home. These veterans are in their 70’s and 80’s – and they can rock! Those guys were up front rocking with us, and we were hitting them with Lightning (a very heavy Held Hostage song), and they were like “Yeah!” Everybody was like “Don’t you think you guys are a little heavy for these guys?” And I’m like “You see what they’re doing?” They were just loving it – and they follow us around – those Veterans do. The Vietnam Veterans – they just love the band. At every show, we bring them on and let them do the Pledge Of Allegiance for us. Then we get out there, and they’re right up front with everybody. It’s really just a great feeling! And we became good friends with the veterans too – it’s a nice partnership.
Held Hostage will be out here in Orange County supporting Metal Allegiance during NAMM. What are you looking forward to the most about that show?
We’ve played all over the United States, and we’ve never actually made it out to the West Coast. The Metal Allegiance guys are great guys and we’re doing direct support for them. And The NAMM Show – all musicians go to the NAMM show – in fact I just picked up an endorsement myself from SIT Strings. I’ve used them for 30 years, and they’ve just endorsed me. We’re looking forward to making new friendships and letting people hear our music out there. It’s going to be a fantastic experience for us. I’m looking forward to playing the West Coast, having fun and making new friends.
And what’s up in the New Year for Held Hostage?
The new album coming out, the tour, and the live performances are going to be through the roof! We’re looking forward to it!
Currently, Held Hostage features a line-up comprised of Tom on lead guitar/Vocals (sometimes lead vocals), Greg Truax: lead vocals, Scott Gregg: rhythm guitar, Joe Reppert: bass, Ian Evans: drums, plus special guest players Carl Canedy: drums (from The Rods) Giorgio Mongelli (Ethan Brosh) Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Dee Snider’s Widowmaker, American Mafia), and Mike Santarsiero (Totally Lost Cause). Be sure to see Held Hostage with Metal Allegiance at the House Of Blues in Anaheim on January 24th!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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