Interview: Metal Allegiance
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The best way to describe Metal Allegiance is as a metalhead’s ultimate dream band. Consisting of Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick and Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy under the watchful eye of metal mastermind and band founder Mark Menghi, this is the supergroup to end all supergroups. And in August, Metal Allegiance will play their first show in the UK, appearing on the main stage at the infamous Bloodstock Open Air Festival alongside the likes of Slayer, DragonForce and Anthrax. “Bloodstock will be our first European appearance ever,” says Mark Menghi. “We’ve done Asia, Japan, Mexico and the United States, but Bloodstock will be our first European show. There’s no better way to kick Metal Allegiance off in Europe than with Bloodstock.” According to Mark, this is not going to be any ordinary festival slot, as Metal Allegiance plans on bringing a wealth of heavy metal legends onto the stage with them. “For that show, we have Charlie Benante [from Anthrax] playing drums with us, [Slayer and Exodus’] Gary Holt’s going to be playing guitar, Scott Ian’s going to play a little bit. “Alex Skolnick’s coming over for it, Mark Oseguada from Death Angel’s coming over for it, as well as myself. “Portnoy, I’m pretty sure he will be there. I know he’s playing two days earlier with Twisted Sister. As of right now, Portnoy’s scheduled to be there. So it’s going to be a packed line-up!” Mark Oseguada and Gary Holt – amongst many others – also appeared on Metal Allegiance’s 2015 debut album. Mark describes working with the latter as simply “awesome”: “Working with him was a blast. Gary’s been involved since day one, jamming with us.” “It was nothing but comedy and fun in the studio with him. It’s funny, I just posted a video of the song ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ – which he played guitar on – and he started doing the Disney ‘It’s a Small World’ theme in the middle of the song. I was like ‘Holy shit dude!’
"And there was no direction there when it came down to the leads. Alex would orchestrate the guitars himself; when we had a song done, he’d say ‘Right, from this point to this point, I’m doing this solo. From another point to that point, that’s Gary’s part.’ “Within the measures you were given, you could do whatever you wanted to do. Gary would write the solos right on the spot, a lot of guys did. They’d do solos on the spot, and nine out of ten times, we’d keep it. They had complete freedom on that.” Mark also has plans for Bloodstock off the stage: many of them revolve around watching some of the other acts that are set to tear the house down during the weekend. “Anthrax and myself, we’re close. I’ve seen them so many times, I’m excited to see them outside of the States. And I’m excited for Symphony X as well, and [Motörhead guitarist] Phil Campbell’s All-Starr band! I can’t wait to see Phil again. “We had the unfortunate pleasure of playing the services of Lemmy’s funeral back in January. We had [Motörhead drummer] Mikkey Dee jam with us. It was just ironic that we were playing in LA while his services were going on. We were really close to the Motörhead guys, so it’ll actually be good to see Phil.” With the tragic death of Motörhead’s front-man Lemmy still fresh in the minds of many metal fans, Metal Allegiance plan on using their stage time in the UK to pay tribute to the fallen rocker. “Lemmy, Motörhead, the whole outfit was huge to me. It wasn’t as much the music as it was the attitude. You could do this no matter what you look like, sound like or even how well you play; if you have the drive and the desire to do it, and you have a core group of guys that are determined like you, then it can be done. “Basically, Lemmy said ‘Fuck the establishment! I’m doing my thing how I want to do it.’ And that’s what really inspired me and it still does to this day.
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