The first time we caught the wild thrashin’ sounds of Vindicator was at Safari Sams, deep in the heart of Hollywood. Opening for none other than the legendary Raven, Vindicator took command of the stage in a big and glorious way, performing songs from their self-released CD There Will Be Blood. Now on the mighty Heavy Artillery record label, the Midwestern band has returned with a vengeange, unleashing a collection of tunes entitled The Antique Witcheries. We caught up with one of the Vindicator members to find out more about their bewitching sounds from the heavy metal underground…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Vindicator, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Vic Stown and I’m the primary song writer and rhythm guitarist. Vindicator’s been around since two thousand-five.
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there?
We’re from South Amherst, Ohio. It’s a small town about thirty minutes west of Cleveland. We usually tell people we’re from Cleveland. Just like rounding up in certain math equations, we round to the closest big city. Most people are familiar with Cleveland, so it saves us the explaining of South Amherst in respect to Cleveland. Cleveland’s metal scene is interesting. It’s decent thanks to classic bands from the eighties such as Destructor or the iconic cult band Nunslaughter, but it’s very unrelenting in accepting new, young bands. You have to prove yourself with the Cleveland metal scene in order to earn their respect.
What was the very first metal concert you attended and what do you remember the most about it?
The first metal concert I attended was Motorhead, Dio, and Iron Maiden (in that order) back in two thousand-three. It was huge! The thing I remember most was learning the hard way how to use a back stage pass… My friend and I had back stage passes to meet Ronnie James. We were very eager to meet a person of his stature. We sat through the entire show, enjoying every blissful minute of ear blasting metal waiting to meet him after all three bands played their respective sets. That was our error. After Maiden had played their encore songs we headed to the designated “backstage pass” area only to be told all bands had left. The next day my friend and I found out via the internet we were supposed to meet him in between his set and Maiden’s. Needless to say we never had the opportunity to meet him again. But it was awesome to see him live. I’ll never forget that show.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title The Antique Witcheries?
I’m a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan. What metalhead isn’t? With words, the man painted some of the most vividly wild and terrifying pictures known to the horror genre. He had that inexplicable artistic talent. I pulled The Antique Witcheries from “The Horror At Red Hook”. It blew me away reading the sentence that those words were coupled in. I knew right then, that that was going to be the next album’s title. Naturally I would have to clear it with the rest of the guys, but I didn’t think it’d be too difficult and as you can see, it wasn’t. I wanted this album to have an archaic theme, so to speak, something of antiquity. It’s not so much a concept album, but I knew I wanted to capture the same curious, darkness, Lovecraft used in all of his stories.
Pick two songs from the new CD and what inspired you to write the lyrics.
I wrote Dead In The Water about my fear of death by drowning. I’m pretty sure it’s considered one of the worst ways to die. I needed a plot and the first idea that came to mind was the Titanic. Although it’s an obvious one, the Titanic isn’t the only ship to have struck an iceberg. So many people drown during that incident and I wanted to capture the horror of what it must’ve been like.
Communal Decay was written about the current political and economic state. The area I’m from is dead. It’s in America’s top ten worst places to live, for more than one reason. Our local economy has been on the downfall for years. Nothing gets done about it. Our local government drives more jobs away than it brings in. I’m more than fed up with the way this country is run, from top to bottom. I know I’m not the only one, but I feel like Washington hears less and less of what its people are saying and acts more and more on its own. This country alienates more of its citizens each day and slowly we’re weaned from our liberties. I can vote all I want, chances are, nothing will change. But music gives me an outlet. My feelings are very much conveyed through this song.
Who did the cover art for the CD and how much input did you have on it?
Halseycaust did the album art. We had a lot of input on it, in certain aspects. The poise of the skeleton, its warrior-esq look, the buzzards in the background, etc. But we also gave her a bit of creative reign in the color department and other assorted aspects like what might be in the background.
Have the Stown brothers always been in bands together and how do they normally get along?
My brother and I have pretty much always been in the same band. Like all siblings we sometimes go for each other’s throats. But I believe having a family member (or members) in the same band is something special. I think it helps sync things up musically and creatively. It also seems to give those related member’s confidence that you can always count on them, through thick and thin. It worked for Death Angel, for the most part. It works for us, as well.
The first time I saw your band was opening for Raven in Hollywood. What was that show like and did you get to hang out with Raven?
What an awesome show for us to be part of! It was our first time out on the road. We were as nervous as we could possibly be. I’m not ashamed to admit, we had a couple train wreck moments, but we came to thrash, and we did just that. It was a huge, amazing learning experience. Unfortunately, we did not get to hang with Raven… which would have been awesome. I’m not sure that we weren’t allowed to, but being our first time on the road, we didn’t want to step on any toes. None the less, we got to hang with Katon De Pena for a while, which we greatly appreciated.
Any chance of Vindicator showing back up here in LA for some shows?
There is no doubt we will be returning to L.A. in the future. We played Thrasho De Mayo IV a year ago and had an amazing time. We haven’t really been disappointed by L.A. yet and I really don’t think we ever will be.
Who are some of the other bigger bands you’ve supported in the past?
Vindicator has been blessed enough to share the stage with many a great metal band. Overkill, Destruction, Primal Fear, M.O.D., the aforementioned Raven, Hirax, Kreator, Exodus, I can keep going, but I really don’t want to give the impression I’m bragging, hah!
Are you or any other members involved with any other bands or projects outside of Vindicator?
Everyone involved in Vindicator is focused on Vindicator alone. We spend a lot of resources on this band and really have no time to pursue any serious side projects.
What could one expect from a live Vindicator show?
Vindicator likes to keep the energy levels up. None of us have ever been fans of standing still. You can expect to see a lot of movement, maybe some onstage collisions, and the band having more fun than they’ve had all week.
Any messages for metal fans here in the Los Angeles area?
We love your support and we promise to come back, bigger, and louder than ever, very soon! So keep a watchful eye!
Vindicator is Marshal Law on vocals, Vic Stown on guitar, Kidd Thompson on bass, and Jesse Stown on drums.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Vindicator on Myspace