If you are searching for the Holy Grail in heavy metal, I bet that some die hard metal fans will come up with the album of TAIST OF IRON. Fronted by the beautiful Loraine Gill, they released an album called “Resurrection” in 1984, which was recently re-released with bonus tracks by Skol Records in 2012. Somewhere in the beginning of this millennium, the band resurrected and we got the possibility to do an in-depth update interview with front lady Loraine, who is still rocking hard. If you like to have a taiste of this iron, you’d better be well prepared, because these metal beasts are back and they are rocking out louder and wilder than ever before!
When was TAIST OF IRON founded and who were in the original line-up of the band?
Lorraine: “The original line-up of TAIST OF IRON was as follows: Bill Pierson on lead guitar, Mark Bakke on rhythm guitar, Mark Glabe on bass, Jeff Massey on drums and Lorraine Gill on lead vocals”.
Please give us a brief update of the line-up changes, that happened throughout the years?
Lorraine: “When we started playing together again a few years ago, we came back in with Mark Glabe, Jeff Massey and Mark Bakke, but also brought Steve Gale in with us on guitar. We parted ways with Jeff a couple of years ago, and brought in Tom Cleeves on drums. The band is now the original RUZ SKULLEN line-up”.
Lorraine, can you tell us a bit more about RUZ SKULLEN? Did you record anything and what kind of music did you play? Why did you quit?
Lorraine: “RUZ SKULLEN played hard driving rock, mostly covers, but we had a couple of original songs as well. Mark and I were recruited out of RUZ SKULLEN by Bill Pierson. We never recorded anything while we were together, but we still play some of that music...”
Did you also play with THE MAKEDONIANS? If yes, did you record anything with them, what kind of music did they play and why did you quit this band?
Lorraine: “THE MAKEDONIANS play Greek/ Balkan jazz fusion. I sang as part of a larger group of women - a sort of a women's choral section and I also belly danced for the band. I was part of two recording projects with that band. I left more because of time constraints than anything. The band is still an active playing band!
Who came up with the name of the band (TAIST OF IRON) and did you try out other names as well, when you started?
Lorraine: “Bill had the name and the idea for the band in place before he even recruited us to play with him! He had a very clear idea in his mind what this band was going to be. I personally believe that contributed strongly to what success we did enjoy...”
Who wrote the lyrics for TAIST OF IRON and what are they about?
Lorraine: “The lyrics were a collaboration between Bill and myself. He would often give me a first line or verse and I would write from there. There were one or two songs, like “Cross Of Fire”, that I wrote by myself, though. Subject matter was varied...”
Please tell us a bit more about the writing process for TAIST OF IRON. Did you start with the music first or the lyrics and please tell us how a song was build up in those days?
Lorraine: “We almost always started with the music first. I was often more inspired that way!”
What’s your favorite TAIST OF IRON song and why?
Lorraine: “That is a hard on for me! We have some songs we are now writing and have written in the last few years that I love to sing! I would say “Cross Of Fire”, mostly because I really like the music end of it. Also “Cold Day In Hell”, because I feel so bad ass singing it!”
Who can we see as major influences for TAIST OF IRON and maybe you can tell us about some of the influences of the individual members of the band here as well?
Lorraine: “It is hard for me to speak for the others in the band, but I do know that Bill was a big fan of Randy Rhoads, before singing with this band, My influences were pretty diverse: ELP, RUSH, YES, BLACK SABBATH, THE DOORS, even old ELTON JOHN... I also had a bit of background in theater. That is one of the things, that really appealed to me about playing in this band, the theatrics!”
Lorraine, what was it like to be a female singer in a heavy metal band in the eighties? Did you feel you had to prove yourself twice as hard as your male competitors or didn’t you think all of this mattered, whether you were a male or a female singer in those days?
Lorraine: “That is a really good question. I don't think it really mattered to me very much back then. I was very young and really didn't know very many other female vocalists doing metal. I didn't think about it really. I think about it more now, being not only a woman in metal, but also a woman my age doing metal. I really love it though!”
Who is ‘The Demon In Black' on the front cover of your “Resurrection” album? (I mean, who is actually in the black suit, when this picture was taken, do you remember?)?
Lorraine: “That would be Mark Glabe.”
How do you deal with negative criticism in general? Do you try to learn from it or do you rather want to forget about it as soon as possible?
Lorraine: “It really depends on the criticism and who is delivering it. I try to learn something from any constructive criticism I receive. I try let it help me become the very best I can be. When someone is just being mean for the sake of being mean, I grumble a little and then just try to let it go...”
What happened with the recordings of the second album “White Robed Man”? And can you tell us some song titles you recorded for this album or maybe even show the cover of the album (if there was one)?
Lorraine: “No album cover ever was made or else I would love to show it to you. The recordings were archived at TJ recording studio, until Bill retrieved them. Anything that was recorded is now in our possession on master disc.”
Are there any leftovers from the “Resurrection” album, that never saw the light of day? (Besides the demo sessions, that were added as a bonus on the re-release of the album in 2011 on Skol Records)
Lorraine: “Those extra bonus tracks were going to be on the “White Robed Man” album. There was also a recording of a song, called “Taist Of Iron”, which was done first at a different studio.”
Let’s have a short look at your live shows here as well. With whom did you share the stage in those days?
Lorraine: “I remember very little about who we played with back in those days, unfortunately. Mark has a much clearer recollection of that than I do. I remember doing a concert with a band from Seattle called CULPRIT. That was also the largest live show we played then.”
Did you use any show elements during your live shows, and maybe you can explain what people get to see, when coming to a TAIST OF IRON gig?
Lorraine: “Back then we were really theatrical! I was lowered from the ceiling in a coffin at the beginning of one concert, I was shackled to the drum riser at the beginning of another, I crawled out of a 10 foot high crypt, which was also the drum riser, for yet another concert. There were some problems here and there. During one concert, while I was singing bloody ax, I walked over to the bar holding the lights which, unbeknownst to me, were ungrounded and got the shock of my life. Everything went black for a moment. I don't think many in the audience noticed that though. I needed a cigarette after that one, though.”
You also played a few covers during your live shows. I understand you did songs like “Neon Knights” (BLACK SABBATH), “The Number Of The Beast” (IRON MAIDEN) and “Mr. Crowley” (OZZY OSBOURNE). Any more you remember doing?
Lorraine: “Steal Away” and “I Don't Know” by OZZY OSBOURNE. Actually, we have done “Number Of The Beast” of IRON MAIDEN in recent years as well.”
What was the biggest gig you ever played?
Lorraine: “I would say the one with CULPRIT at the Bicentennial Pavilion here in Tacoma, Wa. There was a thousand people there.”
I saw an awesome live video piece of “Mr Crowley” on You Tube, where you came down from the sky during the intro of the song. Can you remember from which show that was and is there any more spectacular video footage available from your old live shows?
Lorraine: “That was from our second show as TAIST Of IRON. I was lowered form the same spot I was lowered in the coffin in the previous show. As far as footage goes, there isn't much out there anymore. Sheer force of time has taken its toll on the technology of that age. We even have trouble coming up with pictures from that time.”
I can imagine, that there were some crazy situations going on while being on the road. I hope you want to share some of these hilarious or funny stories with our readers.
Lorraine: “When we traveled to California, which was our only on the road trip, we lived in a van together, the four of us with manager, various roadies, and Bill's girlfriend for a couple of months. It was rather close quarters...! The guys at Arby's in Redondo Beach let us park in their parking lot to sleep and use their bathrooms to clean up in the morning. They even passed us a little food here and there when we were looking especially hungry. A young man named Vaughn saw Jeff and I at a record store, where incidentally he had bought our album, and bought us hot dogs because we had no food that day. We met many people on the beaches of California. One guy said he was the devil, another told us he was the reincarnation of Jim Morrison. Mark met a guy on Venice beach wearing a turban and roller skates saying "perhaps some change" as he rolled by. While we were there, we played at the Troubadour in Hollywood and the Dancing Waters in San Pedro...”
Which other bands came from the area, where you lived and where there any bands with whom you had a good relationship?
Lorraine: “Jeff Tate from QUEENSRYCHE is from Tacoma and I know people who know him, but I did not know him myself. There was some camaraderie between us and other bands we were friends with and now many other musicians in other bands. There are some we still know today and have even played concerts with now.”
Do you have any fond memories about any particular gig, that you played?
Lorraine: “The Bicentennial Pavilion gig stands out, because it was sort of a fateful night. It started like any other concert, but then some things happened. The stage was set up thus: 10 foot drum riser doubling as a crypt with a door that opened out to the stage. in front of this and beside it were tombstones scattered around. in front of all of it was a huge metal fence that spanned the whole front of the stage. So, music starts, fog rolls in and the crypt door opens. I am hanging from a rope , then drop to the floor and crawl out onto the stage I stay close to the crypt, as per Bill's instruction, because 'Uver' the creature on the cover of the album, will be walking out behind me on 2 foot stilts. So I'm curled up in a little ball in front of the door as he comes out of the crypt. He walks a few more feet onto the stage and loses his balance. He starts to fall, grabs onto the fence and both he and the fence come crashing down onto the stage. None of it was planned, but luckily, nobody got hurt. If Bill hadn't told me not to crawl out to the front of the stage, I probably would have been crushed. From my vantage point though, I could not see what had happened. I didn't know the potential danger, until I came off stage and was rushed by several people, asking me if I was OK. I'm saying "What? Why wouldn't I be ok?" I still shudder a little now, just thinking about what would have happened had I crawled out any further...”
Why did TAIST OF IRON actually split up in 1986?
Lorraine: “I came home from California. Then Jeff came home. That seemed to be the end of things.”
When did the first real reunion take place and how did you get in touch with the other members?
Lorraine: “We had been in touch somewhat or at least we all kind of knew where everybody was. We got together with Steve and a few others to play some music over at Jeff's house. Sometime after that, Mark Bakke came to town (he lives in California right now) and we got together. We proposed that we would start playing again. So here we are.”
Are you still in touch with the band members that are not a part of the reunion of TAIST OF IRON in 2013?
Lorraine: “Mark is in touch with Bill, and he totally supports our endeavor. We are estranged from Jeff at the moment.”
Please introduce the band members of the new resurrected version of TAIST OF IRON here?
Lorraine: “That would be Mark Glabe on the bass, Steve Gale on guitar (both lead and rhythm), Tom Cleeves on drums and me, Lorraine Gill on vocals. There is also Mark Bakke, who plays amazing guitar, but he lives in California and doesn't get to come up and play with us very often... I’d like to say, that I love playing with these people. They are some of the best musicians, that I know and I have so much fun with them! They are truly my favorite people!”
What’s the response like towards this reunion and do you get many requests for interviews and gigs?
Lorraine: “Some requests for gigs, some requests for interviews. I really like doing them all!”
Have you ever thought about releasing some kind of compilation DVD with all the existing video footage that you have? It would be the perfect addition to the re-release of “Resurrection”?
Lorraine: “That would be great, but there isn't much footage out there. We have a little, but not enough to do much with.”
Talking about the re-released version of “Resurrection”. We have the two CD package with the “Cold Day In Hell” four track CD as a bonus disc. Can you tell us a little bit more about these tracks (“Cold Day In Hell”, “Metal Beast”, “Don’t Look Away” and “Headbanger’s Ball”)?
Lorraine: “Those songs were partly written back in the eighties. Some we left the way they were, some we didn't remember enough of to do that, so we re-wrote them. All of them originated in the eighties though.”
Are there any plans of coming over to Europe as well in the future? It would be so cool to see the band over here finally?
Lorraine: “We would LOVE to come over there and play for you guys! We are hoping to see our way clear to that in the near future!”
Do you have any merchandise and where can people buy this, if they are interested?
Lorraine: “Yes, we have T-shirts for sale, as well as CD’s and albums.”
Are there any plans for a new album and maybe you can already give some titles of songs that you have recorded so far?
Lorraine: “Yes, we have plans for another album. We are in process of writing for it right now. I don't want to share any names just yet...”
What will the new stuff sound like? Must we think of the sound that was presented on the “Cold Day In Hell” bonus stuff?
Lorraine: “Some of it, yes, but some will be different...”
Did the internet have a positive or a negative influence on the metal scene? It’s much easier to do an interview or get your information this way, but people are downloading much more music and this might be a negative factor as well. What’s your thought about this subject?
Lorraine: “I think, it has helped us out immensely! It's easier to send out information about concerts and to get in touch with a wider audience. We can be in touch with people like you for interviews and building associations and a fan base all around the world! I really like it!”
We are an online metal mag from The Netherlands, which is completely focused on female musicians in the (hard) rock and (heavy) metal scene. Do you still need that special attention or do you think that women already get all the respect and credit, that they deserve?
Lorraine: “I am so glad, that you are doing what you are doing! Yes, we as women do need the support of magazines like you to let the world know we are out here and going strong! Metal is sort of a man's world and we need to let people know we are here!”
To which bands do you listen to nowadays? Is there anything that you like very much in particular?
Lorraine: “I have a lot of favorites! PRIMUS is one of them and DREAM THEATER, PORCUPINE TREE, KATE BUSH, LOSER DOG (my son's band) DIZZEE RASCAL, VERTU, OZZY OSBOURNE and so many others...”
Like I mentioned already, we are based in The Netherlands. What else do you know about our country, except that we have beautiful windmills and colorful tulips over here?
Lorraine: “Unfortunately, not nearly enough. I would love to come over there to play and learn more! Anything you can tell me I would love to know...”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Lorraine: “Keep an eye out for us! We have a lot more to do in metal! Tell all the girls in metal to keep rockin!!”
Go to the Facebook page of TAIST OF IRON at: www.facebook.com/taistofiron