Being a huge W.A.S.P. fan in the early eighties, we were fascinated to hear that Chris Holmes has a new band. SECRET SOCIETY is far more than the new band of Chris Holmes though. When you have a good listen to “Death By Misadventure” you can tell, that SECRET SOCIETY is a great, in-your-face, kick ass rock ‘n’ f*cking roll band. Besides Chris, the band consists of Gordon Rinda on drums, Stefan Moore on vocals and guitar and Courtney Stone–Moore on bass. Courtney is the metal maiden in the band and she’s damn proud of that position, so you’d better stick with these rock and roll animals all the way. Courtney took the time to answer some of our questions, which will introduce you to a society of people, that used to be secret…but that was before we spoke to them. The SECRET SOCIETY opens their doors, so read on what they had to say to us....
When did SECRET SOCIETY start as a band and how did you meet up with each other?
Courtney: “This line-up started back in 2002, but we've never had a concrete drummer. We are worse than SPINAL TAP, as far as drummers go. Stefan and I met up with Chris (Holmes) in 2002 in Hollywood, CA. That was back in the GODSPEED days. We were out there doing some shows, when our drummer cancelled on us, so Stefan and I went out to party. We decided to go to Club Vodka at The Key Club. We were standing outside taking in the nightlife, when Stefan says: "Holy Shit, look behind you!" I turn around and Chris is standing there with his guitar in his hand. So we walked up and started talking and gave him a GODSPEED CD, that we were promoting at the time. Then we asked "You wanna do a record?" and he said “Yeah”. So believe it or not, it was that surreal and the heavy metal planets were aligned just right in our favor!!”
Did any of the band members had any experience before playing in SECRET SOCIETY?
Courtney: “Yes, our experience is a long history. Of course everyone knows Chris was in W.A.S.P. and also he had a band, called PSYCHO SQUAD. Stefan had been singing and playing for years. Some of his bands leading up to SECRET SOCIETY were HIGH VOLTAGE, IRON CROSS, GREUSOME RIDE and GODSPEED. As far as myself, it has been GREUSOME RIDE, GODSPEED and now SECRET SOCIETY, but there has been years of experience as far as what it takes to get there. Plenty of practicing and playing in bars.”
Who came up with the name SECRET SOCIETY and why did you choose this name?
Courtney: “Stefan came up with the name SECRET SOCIETY. The main reason, that we thought it was cool was because if you search it on the net, a lot of the world’s secret societies come up like the illuminati, which we thought would be cool for people to check out, when they stumbled across it. Also we just like the initials.”
How would you call the music of SECRET SOCIETY (in your own words)?
Courtney: “I would call our music ‘boot party, down and dirty, determination inspired, purist heavy metal’!”
Which bands have influenced you the most and maybe you can mention some of the main influences of each band member individually here, too?
Courtney: “Bands, that have influenced me the most as far as SECRET SOCIETYS music is concerned, are JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT, MOTORHEAD and AC/DC, but I'm also influenced by many different bands. I love NEIL YOUNG, THE CARS and WILCO. They are a few bands, that can always be found in my player. Stefan’s main band influences are about the same, but he’s metal through and through!! He absolutly loves Bon Scott (R.I.P.)! Chris' influential bands, I would say are MOTORHEAD, UFO and ROBIN TROWER.”
You and Stefan played in GODSPEED, before SECRET SOCIETY. How would you describe the music of GODSPEED and for how long did GODSPEED exist?
Courtney: “GODSPEED was together for about four years.GODSPEED’s music was heavy, but it was raw, bar room brawl music! We actually are thinking of re-releasing our EP “Sweet Pain”, that came out in 2000. We have to get it remastered. That was a really cool CD!”
We know, that Chris started his career in W.A.S.P and quit after the ‘Headless Children Tour’ in 1990 and then rejoined in 1996 for another few years, before calling it quits for good. What did he do musically after W.A.S.P. and before he joined SECRET SOCIETY? How did you find him?
Courtney: “Yes, Chris broke away from W.A.S.P. in 1997, after the “Kill Fuck Die” album. After that, he did PSYCHO SQUAD. If any of you readers out there love Chris Holmes, then you have to get a copy of SECRET SOCIETY. It goes back to that early W.A.S.P. sound, as far as his playing is concerned and it’s such a cool thing to be apart of!”
Who sets out the musical direction of SECRET SOCIETY?
Courtney: “I'd have to say Stefan and Chris together set the musical direction for SECRET SOCIETY. Stefan has such strong vocals that it can't be denied, so in turn a song will take on a certain feel because of that. Then other songs have a total Chris feel to them.”
Who writes the lyrics for SECRET SOCIETY, and what are they about?
Courtney: “We all wrote lyrics for this album. Stefan & I wrote the majority. Chris did come up with the concept for “D.T.A.(Don't Trust Anyone)”, which is like an anthem song. Don’t trust anyone!!! A really interesting and cool fact about where the title of the CD came from is, that “Death By Misadventure” is what was on Bon Scott’s birth certificate.”
How did the press react towards "Death By Misadventure" so far?
Courtney: “The press we have gotten has been great! It’s just been a little slow. I want all Metal Maidens readers to call your local metal and rock stations and ask, no tell them, to start playing SECRET SOCIETY! You can request us at http://www.purerockradio.net and http://www.glamonlineradio.com. One review we got said: "Sometimes they come back and sometimes they come back better than ever…" Now, that was a kick ass review!”
Did you also get any negative reactions about the album and how do you deal with this in general? Do you try to learn from it or do you rather try to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Courtney: “We have only gotten litterally two lukewarm reactions and no, I don't learn from it. There’s nothing to learn! I'm proud of every note and lyric on this release. It’s a great opportunity to play with the ‘mean man’ and its rock-n-roll not rocket science. It’s not supposed to be complicated.”
What's your favorite song on the album and why?
Courtney: “My fave track off the CD is “Your Touch”. I think, it has a very sexy groove to it and I have a great memory associated with it. It was the night we had solidified the arrangement of the song, the lyrics, we had it down! We turned the lights down in the rehearsal room and rocked it out. Chris was jumping around in circles like he was playing in front of 100,000 people and that’s what I always see in my mind, when I play or hear “Your Touch”.”
What's the most difficult song to play and why?
Courtney: “It’s “D.T.A.”, because I'm not a singer by any means, so for me to play and talk at the same time is kinda strange!”
With which band would you like to go on tour, if you could pick any band you like and why would you choose this particular band?
Courtney: “This is so easy.....JUDAS PRIEST!! They are the greatest of all time and the real ‘Metal Gods’! I would be right up front every night. I'm a photographer too, so I would do an absolutly beautiful book of the whole experience. Other than PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN or ANVIL would be cool, too or ACCEPT."
I think, you must have experienced some rather funny moments during ‘life on the road’… Maybe you want to share some of these hilarious moments with our readers here?
Courtney: “Can't say the motel, but Chris carries these big gulp cups like you get from truckstops and he had it full of salsa from the night before, so we were getting ready to check out and he sprayed it all over the bathroom. It looked like an axe murder had just taken place! I'm sure, the maid had a startle!”
Although you have a very experienced man onboard with Chris, I can imagine that you still get to learn many things along the way. Can you give an example here of things, that you learned from other bands?
Courtney: “That you should give eachother some space, especially in the morning.”
What's the metal scene like in South Carolina, where you are based? Are there many clubs, where you can play live or what?
Courtney: “Our metal scene here in South Carolina is non-existant. Ya know, I'm sure you've heard that people never support you where you're from.... That’s absolutely true in our case.”
Which other well-known bands come from this area, and are there any bands that you are getting along with very well?
Courtney: “No, there are no other well-known bands from this area. There’s a disgusting thing here, called beach music! It sucks and I’m not a fan at all.”
Courtney, do you also play other instruments besides the bass guitar, and how good is your singing voice?
Courtney: “I learned to play guitar first at about twelve and then switched to bass and sing (?). You do not wanna hear that, believe me!”
Is it hard to survive in a band, that consists of only male musicians or does gender not really play a role and do you see yourself as 'one of the guys'?
Courtney: “Being the only girl doesn't bother me. I do feel like one of the guys 99% of the time. It’s actually really cool. Only once in a while, some asshole will still say stuff like "So, did you really play the bass on the CD?". I feel like saying: “Yeah, you dumbass, who do you think played it?”
We are an on-line magazine, dedicated to female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Courtney, do you feel that women still need the attention that we give them or do you think that you are already getting the recognition, that you earn so much?
Courtney: “Yes, I think women still need to get more recognition in the metal world. It’s really cool what Metal Maidens is doing!”
We are based in Holland or The Netherlands, if you like. What else do you know from our country, besides the fact that we have beautiful windmills and colourful tulips?
Courtney: “Oh, I love this question, Rutger Hauer!!! I've loved that man since I was eight years old! We want him to say some words in the beginning of a song someday, which is a dream of mine. From what I have seen in photographs of Holland and The Netherlands, it’s a beautiful country! We hope to come there soon.”
Is your album also available in Europe and the rest of the world through the well- known distribution channels or where can people buy the album of SECRET SOCIETY? Please advertise here, it's a free service from us to you...
Courtney: “People can get “Death By Misadventure” through our website http://www.secretsocietyss.com. Also our My Space site has five of the songs for .99 cent downloads and on iTunes and Rhapsody, you can get .99 cent downloads also.”
Are you working on new material already and if yes, what can people expect from the new songs and in which way do they differ from the songs on your current album?
Courtney: “Yes, we are working on new materieal. Stefan and I are always coming up with new ideas. That creative process never stops!”
Is Gordon Rinda still part of the band? I didn't see his name on your My Space page anymore? If not, why did he leave the band and who is the new man?
Courtney: “Gordon Rinda was a hired drummer and all the drum parts were written and thought out prior to going into the studio. Chris is very talented with a drum machine! As for drummers now, we are always looking for that killer, metal, hard hitting drummer… Could you be the one? Please, get in touch with us!”
There are an awful lot of bands in this world and a whole lot of CD's thrown on the jam-packed market. What makes the CD of SECRET SOCIETY so different or special, that people should buy this one instead of all these other releases?
Courtney: “Because there is a lot of crap out there and this is from the soul! Stefan and I aren't known like Chris and we worked some hard long years not weeks or months to make this happen. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved during the process. We know that a many people will relate to this CD for that. It’s purist heavy metal!”
What are the future plans of SECRET SOCIETY for the long and short term, please?
Courtney: “Short term and long term plans are to sell our new release, keep writing and to get picked up on a major tour! Would love to tour to see some beautiful countries such as yours.”
What would Chris like to say to Blackie right now? And does he also have any messages for Lita Ford maybe?
Courtney: “No comment...."
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Courtney: “Yes, that I'm really excited about this interview and having people out there that support Metal Maidens! It would be my wish to be added to metal fans lists out there as one of their top heavy metal bands.”
The famous last words in this interview are for Chris, Stefan and Courtney....
Courtney: "Once you are on the crystal ship, nothing else matters…"
Chris: "You can sleep, when you die…"
Stefan: "No regrets..."
Courtney: "Thanks a lot!!"
Visit their official website at: www.secretsocietyss.com
or go to their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/secretsocietyss