ICRI'S WITCH: In For The Kill

Stacey Adler (vocals), Brett Ellis (guitar), Phil Varella (bass) & Mike McFarland (drums), collectively they make up the San Diego, California based quartet ICRI'S WITCH (pronounced: EYE-CREEZ WITCH). Their very impressive debut album is called "In For The Kill". I recently had the pleasure of interviewing powerhouse frontwoman Stacey Adler by telephone. It was a very enjoyable experience for me. Here are the highlights of our discussion.

How long has ICRI'S WITCH been together?
Stacey Adler: "It'll be three years this fall".

How did the band members meet?
SA: "Brett (Ellis) was my guitar teacher and I was playing in an all-girl garage rock group. He had another project going on and they needed a singer. At the same time my band was falling apart, so it kind of seemed like a good idea that we get together. Brett knew the drummer. They've been in bands together for ten years or so. I knew Phil (Varella) from high school and I called him up and told him I had this crazy idea and let's do it."

Who are some of the bands musical influences?
SA: "I really like LED ZEPPELIN and HEART. We're all pretty much LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE fans."

There's also some blues influences on the album in songs like "Misery Blues" and "Delta Prelude".
SA: "Most of the stuff is blues based and that comes from a 70's blues influence."

How long did the recording of "In For The Kill" take?
SA: "We did the album actually twice. The first time we had it all mixed and we were getting ready to send it off to be mastered and pressed and we just had the feeling we could do better. We went and saw a friend at another studio and listened to the stuff he was putting out. It just blew away, what we'd already done. We threw it in the trash and started all over again a few weeks later."

You produced "In For The Kill" yourselves. Is that something you will continue to do or is there someone in particular that you would like to work with?
SA: "For the level that we're on right now, I'm really sure that we'll continue producing our own stuff. Brett has some really good ideas and he's a really strong creative force when it comes to producing. As for our new material, he's kinda got the vision of what's gonna happen on our next album. I'm sure there's probably a lot of people that we could work with down the road, but for right now anyway Brett will produce the next album."

You write the majority of the lyrics. One of my favorite tracks on the album is "The Fair Unknown". What are the lyrics to that song about?
SA: "That is actually a very old English fairy tale, that I had found in an old book. I read a lot of mythology and folklore and I'm a big fan of story telling in general. I thought this particular story was pretty neat, so I basically adapted the story to the song."

What's the idea behind "Salem Town", which was written about the infamous witch burnings of the 1600's in Salem, Mass.?
SA: "We needed a song to tie in with our name and give a little snap shot of what our views might be or that we're aware that this happened in history. This whole incident is sort of interesting to me."

How did you come up with the name ICRI'S WITCH?
SA: "Brett wrote a song many years ago, called "Icri's Witch" about a mythological king. Icri is a character in the song, that Brett created. He really liked that character and identified with him. So when we started naming the band, we wanted to come up with something that we're sure nobody had used before. Then we wanted to bring in a traditionally feminine element to the name, too. We also wanted to keep it tied into a loreish, fabelish theme."

What do you think of the current alternative dominated music scene in America and do you think you can fit into that?
SA: "I don't think we currently do and I don't want to. I'm trying to like it and keep an open mind, so I can listen to the radio. I love WHITE ZOMBIE and I think the girl from the CRANBERRIES is good, although I can't say that I'm really into the band. I think ALANIS MORISSETTE is pretty good. Out of all the alternative stuff that's out there, I probably like SOUNDGARDEN the best. Most of the alternative/punk stuff though I just can't listen to."

Do you have any new songs written?
SA: "Yes! We have probably twenty new songs written that will not all be able to go on the next album. We're starting to perform them with much more regularity now and get the bugs worked out of them."

Do you have an idea when you might start working on the next album?
SA: "We had hoped to be back in the studio by November. That may or may not be realistic. It really depends on how our first album sells."

What about the live video you were filming?
SA: "We're still working on it. We're going to tape some more footage down in Cabo at some shows we'll be doing with SAMMY HAGAR. We got a lot more live footage at the show we did with FOGHAT this year, so hopefully we'll have it out by springtime. It'll only be available through the fanclub and there will be a limited number made, so if anyone would like to reserve a copy, they can write to us and have their name put on a list."

Who are some of your vocal influences?
SA: "It's so varied. I listened a lot to Ann Wilson, when I was growing up. I like other girl singers like RICKIE LEE JONES and LINDA RONSTADT was an elementary school favorite. I listened to a lot of weird stuff and still do."

You also play guitar. Who are some of your fave guitar players?
SA: "I like JIMMY PAGE and currently ERIC JOHNSON.

What are some of the bands goals for the future?
SA: "To continue to get our name out there and continue selling our album. I'd love to get another album out early next year!"

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Tony Cannella, 1996.

This interview was published in Metal Maidens #6/December 1996.