About Me

Interview with Mordred

The San Francisco Bay Area, during the 1980s, offered the world some of the biggest names in metal, in the world – Metallica, Testament, Exodus, Slayer, Death Angel, Forbidden… And Mordred, who played in a league of its own. Since their 1989 debut album Fool’s Game, the band has been characterized by a more innovative and disruptive sound than their contemporaries, mixing sounds from other genres that were in vogue at the time, such as Rap, Hip-Hop or Funk or including a DJ in the group.

After just two more albums - In This Life, 1991 and The Next Room, 1994 -, the band broke up, although in between, several EP's and singles were released. In 2013, they met again for a tour and, in 2019, the idea for a new album came up and it saw the light of day this year. The Dark Parade is, according to drummer Jeff Gomes, something very different and ahead of its predecessors.
It was him, the most recent member of Mordred, who answered our questions about the return of this pioneering thrash metal band.

M.I. -  Hey! How are you doing? Thanks for answering our questions and congratulations on the new album! It's always good to see bands that are so original and that have opened so many paths.

Starting with the basics… For those who don't know you, how do you characterize your band?
I personally have difficulty categorizing Mordred as a metal band by today’s metal standards. I feel we have our own niche, especially since we were the 1st to integrate a DJ into heavy Bay Area Thrash music, back in the day. 

M.I. -  Why the choice of name? Mordred was known for his betrayal to King Arthur and his name means "bad advice".

I like the “Bad Advice” reference. However, Mordred is named after King Arthur’s nephew and being that I’m the new member and not familiar with the actual reason, I’m sure like all band names they thought it to be cool and it stuck.

M.I. -  The question that must be asked. After 27 years, why the reunion and release of a new album? Who took the initiative?

It is my understanding that the band met to jam at a party after some 25 years. I know that whoever your 1st band is, especially if you have success, the bond and friendship overrule past differences and that makes it easy to reform. 

M.I. -  After such a long time, was the writing process easy? Did you have to adapt to each other again? Did the ideas come up fast? Everything went smooth?

After touring in 2014 /2015, we didn’t decide to write an album until 2019. Danny White was living in New York and the rest of us live in the Bay Area in California. So, we as a whole, wrote without Danny and sent him tunes and he wrote his tunes and sent them to us to learn. To me, it was obvious that Danny’s writing was clearly the traditional Mordred sound and, fortunately, Danny was able to move back to California and finishing the writing process just came naturally which was amazing to me.

M.I. -  What is the biggest difference between The Dark Parade and The Next Room?

Scott Holderby was not on The Next Room and, as I mentioned, Danny’s writing style along with the collective input from the rest of us, in my opinion sets The Dark Parade in its own league, separate from all past albums.

M.I. -  When did you start working on The Dark Parade? Which constraints did you have with the pandemic?

Fortunately, the pandemic gave us more time to concentrate and we were in our own “pod” so I feel it wasn’t a hinderance.

M.I. -  What are the themes that are addressed in The Dark Parade?

The title track that inspired the album cover art is the only theme. The record starts hard and goes all over the place to end with “Smash Goes the Bottle”. In my opinion, it’s one of my favorites.

M.I. -  You also released vinyl and cassette editions. Do you prefer these formats or was it just out of nostalgia?

Vinyls come back is sticking. Myself and friends love it. It´s the cassette format that surprised me as for nostalgia.

M.I. -  Was The Dark Parade a unique thing or are you already thinking about the next album?

The next record is taking form. It is so much fun because I have this thing in my head in everything that I do that I can always do it better. So, as we are writing this next album, I know it will stand up and be even better as we mature even still.  

M.I.- What have you been doing during these 27 years? Were you on other projects related to music?

I can´t speak for Jim, Art & Danny but myself and Scott, were in a handful of other bands and DJ Pause never stoped recording /producing.

M.I. -  Plans for tours? Is there a chance for you to come to Europe?

We have an agreement with a European booking agency so once the world gets back to normal, we are expected to tour, hopefully in 2022.

M.I. -  Something that served as a precursor to the album and a different way of promoting the band's work was MORDRED: Acting The Fool! A streaming show on Youtube, which included your and guest performances, comedy, burlesque… Explain the concept and how did it come about.

“Acting the Fool”came about from Danny daring Scott while drinking to follow up in his drunken concept of the show. The next morning Scott called me and said we are doing an online show and I’m pulling my resources together to make it happen so you better write something and come up with ideas fast. And, literally, we did the 1st show within 2 weeks. I still dont know how we made it happen. I mean, i was never a part of something that fun and complicated with so many working parts, especially for being totally “green” in that world. Its been a great experience.

M.I. -  I read somewhere that you consider yourselves the “bastard children of the Bay Area”. Why?

Hmmm, Bastards of the Bay? I personally don’t feel that way. I consider Mordred to be trend setters.

M.I. -  At your time, you did something, I would say, revolutionary – you included a DJ in the band. Something that later, after several years, other metal bands also started to do. Who idealized this, how did it come about, was there 
opposition to this idea?...

The Bay Area in the late 80’s / early 90’s, was poppin´ as far as the club scene. Bay Area thrash was termed, rap was the hottest sound. What happened with Mordred incorporating a DJ was a timing thing. Mordred just beat everyone to it and did it well.

M.I. -  As one of the pioneers of thrash metal, how do you see the careers of other bands, namely, the so-called “Big 4” and the different paths they took?

I say to each path their own, we got to see them making history, as we made our way and are proud of our role in it.

M.I. -  A mean question… Of all the cross-over and multi-genre metal bands, is there any that you can´t stand?

I can´t say there is a band that crossed over that I can´t stand. I may skip over a song or two but not enough to speak ill of. 

M.I. -  And, on the other hand, which do you think is the most original metal band (in all its sub-genres) nowadays?

I´m so biased. All my friends’ bands. I can´t name them all or say one is more original. When your friends are conquering the world of metal, I’m privileged to be a peer.

M.I. -  And for last… Any closing words for our readers?

I thank all past Mordred fans who remember the glory years and all new fans for keeping an open ear to our new sound and hope you enjoy our new music as much as we do. We really love playing music, creating and recording and cant wait to play live in your home towns. Come out´, have a pint and a great time. We are looking forward to it!

M.I. -  Again, thank you for your time and availability to answer our questions. I`m hoping for a new album soon!

Stay safe!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Ivan Santos