A talk with
GEORGE NEAL (Bass)
(Questionnaire by Stefan)
Featuring founding members of Halloween and Sleepy Hollow, US Metal band Ichabod Krane took me completely by surprise with their debut album “Day Of Reckoning”, released in Europe through Pure Steel Records. Concerning my feel about this mighty strong album, I suggest to check out THIS link. This product will end up high in my list of favourite 2014 albums, the time is right to let the guys speak for themselves, it will be a conversation all by the grace of US Power Metal !
Q: Hi guys, may I welcome you wholeheartedly here at Metal To Infinity website. About thirty years ago the phenomenon named US Metal came into my life, partly thanks to the legendary series where this style of music ruled all over, I’m taking about the “US Metal” compilations released by Shrapnel Records. As natural born US Metal musicians yourself, are you guys familiar with these fabled series, back then released by Mr. Mike Varney?
George Neal: Yes.
Q: How and by whom Ichabod Krane came to be, and what ambitions were drawn?
George Neal: Rick Craig came up with that idea for a band name a few years ago. The story of Ichabod Crane was something that he was intrigued by. It re-surfaced, when Rick contacted me about doing a project together with Tom and him. I got in contact with Jeff and ICHABOD KRANE was formed.
Q: Where the name of the band comes from?
George Neal: The story of Sleepy Hallow and the Headless Horseman.
Q: I notice the fact you were formed by founding Halloween and Sleepy Hollow members mainly. Feel free to give us a tour through the current line up and a little explanation would be useful.
George Neal: The current line up consists of Rick Craig on guitar (founding/former member of HALLOWEEN), Tom Wassman on Drums (former member of SLEEPY HALLOW), George Neal on Bass (founding/current member of HALLOWEEN), and Jeff Schlinz (current member of WULFHOOK, former member of ELIXHER and AGGRESSION THEORY).Rick met Tom Wassman when he joined SLEEPY HALLOW. Later after the breakup Rick and Tom decided to do this project what is now ICHABOD KRANE and brought Jeff and I on board as HALLOWEEN and WULFHOOK remain active as well.
Q: Musical influences – what about that?
George Neal: Jeff’s influences are Ronnie James Dio, Ray Gillan,Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickenson, Rob Halford,James Rivera of Helstar, Midnight of Crimson Glory,Carl Albert of Vicious Rumors, Tim Ripper Owens. George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert. Some of Rick’s influences are Queen, Randy Rhodes, Robin Trower, Eddie VanHalen, Jimmy Page. Some of Tom’s incluences are Carl Palmer,Terry Bozio, Gar Samuelson, Keith Moon. Some of mine are Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper,Queensryche, Motown. The band as a whole has no specific influence. Just us putting together what we like.
Q: I’m truly hooked on all the bands you guys are involved with but my concern is of these are still in the running or not?
George Neal: HALLOWEEN is still running with a new album in the works. WULFHOOK is still active here in Detroit recording new tracks now.
Q: How do you see the US Metal movement evolve through the years – it is possible to reconstruct a few memorable moments?
George Neal: Anything is possible. It is hard to say how all of this will go. I think it will always be around. We are doing our best to keep it going and with the support of all of the fans, it will.
Q: Back the essence of this interview, Ichabod Krane and it’s fabulous debut album “Day Of Reckoning”. You guys really overwhelmed me, I’m sure you have already read my thoughts on this awesome cut… what’s your reaction on my words - agree or disagree?
George Neal: Just a huge thank you and how much we appreciate you and all who listen to us. It is the main reason why we do what we do.
Q: Who’s in charge for the song writing duties? Do you mind to guide us through the musical content of a few songs?
George Neal: For the album DAY OF RECKONING, we combined our input together. It was mainly a group effort. Rick started the foundation with guitar. The rest of us put our creative input to make it what it is.
Q: By whom “Day Of Reckoning” was produced – who’s the one behind de cover artwork?
George Neal: It was recorded in different parts of the United States. Guitar tracks were recorded in Atlanta Georgia where Rick resides, drum tracks were recorded in New Jersey where Tom resides. Jeff and myself recorded our tracks in the Detroit area. I did what I could with the production and the artwork was my creation.
Q: To be honest, the sound quality could be a little better to me. With regard to this subject, I rather like to describe the production as ‘slightly above average’… are you agree with me or not?
George Neal: The production of the album is a whole story in itself. Everybody recorded their tracks and shared via internet. I put the music together using a basic program for Jeff to write the lyrics and sing along to and sent it to him. He would send them back and I would piece them together to see what it would sound like. Being a new band, and not having much of a budget for professional production and engineering, I did what I could to make it work with a good program in my own studio. This was my first production gig. I know for sure if we had the budget for production, that part of the album would have been much better. We decided to release it as is and hope for the best.
Q: But Ichabod Krane’s style is music is so brilliant, this small criticism is quickly forgotten. To me, “Day Of Reckoning” is all about old school style of US Power Metal, pure as can be ! In what way you guys would describe this effort?
George Neal: Honestly it seemed to come natural for all of us to put it together. There was no specific goal in mind.
Q: A must-have for all those hooked on the mighty forces of US Metal – please mention the address where to purchase this killer effort.
George Neal: There is merchandise available on the website at www.ichabodkrane.com
Q: Released by Pure Steel Records in Europe - the album is also released in the US?
George Neal: The album is available online at the website for all over the world. Including the US.
Q: How did you get in touch by this German company?
George Neal: As you may know PURE STEEL promotes a lot of the HALLOWEEN music. I reached out to people that I know and sent them some tracks. I have been working with PURE STEEL RECORDS for a few years now with HALLOWEEN. It was just natural for me to get in contact with them.
Q: Now what are Ichabod Krane’s plans for the future, maybe a European Tour as promotion to the new album?
George Neal: We would love to tour Europe and participate in some of the festivals there. We can be contacted at email@example.com for any promotional possibilities.
Q: Living my life as a Hard Rock and Metal maniac since the late seventies, if I had the chance to go back in time, I won’t hesitate for one single second. My respect for the nowadays Metal scene is sincere but still, I prefer the old days above all the rest. Do you like to share this way opinion with me or not?
George Neal: My preferences are pretty clear. I am partial to the old school ways as well. All metal up until now has been influenced in some way by those you mention from the 70’s and so on.
Q: What keeps you guys busy besides the musical activities?
George Neal: We all have normal “life” stuff and families. Jeff and I also have our other bands. Not to mention always looking to write that next song.
Q: I want to close this discussion with alot of appreciation for US Metal, my ever beloved style of music. Thank you for being a part of the Metal To Infinity brotherhood from now on, pleasure to have you on board guys. Do you have anything to sayto our readers? Speak freely.
George Neal: We would like to thank all of the FANS for their support. This is all for you. Continue to spread the word about ICHABOD KRANE and hopefully we will see all of you live soon! We are excited about this new project with ICHABOD KRANE and are looking to book some shows over in Europe.