Tommy Stewart’s DyerWulf Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD. What type of artist are you?
TS, Hello. In general, I’m a metal artist who isn’t afraid to experiment. Quite a bit of what I’ve done is exactly not the way to do it and that’s why it gets attention in my opinion.
PD. Tell us the brief history of yourself.
TS. I started playing in clubs as a vocalist and guitarist or bassist in 1977 although I had been onstage before then. After awhile I started a thrash band called Hallows Eve who was signed to Metal Blade Records and made about 6 albums and toured quite a bit over the course of several years. I went on to create several more bands with albums, among them were Bludy Gyres and lately Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf. Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf is now working on it’s second album, touring, and we just released a single from that upcoming album called “Shadow in the Well”. I guess that’s about as brief as I can get to tell about 4 decades.
PD. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
TS. Lately, because I enjoy doom so much, I’ve been listening to artists like Sleep and Electric Wizard. But I grew up on a mix of Black Sabbath and early English prog such as King Crimson and Pink Floyd. Non-musical influences? I guess one could say my parents taught me to be very disciplined. I have a song about that too.
PD. What are your dreams and goals?
TS. To stay alive and not hurt. Musically, I hope to put out a few more albums and I enjoy recording and helping other bands in my studio which is known as Blue Ogre Noise Lab.
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about?
TS. I write the majority of songs of any band I’m in and certainly all of them in my solo band, Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf. Though I sure have to give credit for opinions and arrangements to Eric Vogt, my drummer, especially since we’re a two piece band. He is important to the sound. What are the songs about? Usually I write about things that have happened to me and usually that is just a snapshot of a moment. I try to turn it into a small story, but I like the moments. For instance, “Shadow in the Well” is about a legend my grandmother told me about leaning into a well and seeing your destiny in the image. In the song all that happens is I walk over and look in the well, then leave. See, it’s a moment, but a mysterious memory of creepy grandma lore.
PD. How do you promote your band and shows?
TS. Through social media mainly.
PD. What do you think about downloading music online?
TS. That’s fine. Obviously we don’t make much money from that, but I think the way to do business as a band is ever changing in history so it’s a constant challenge to adapt
PD. What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
TS. It depends on which aspect. I think there sure are a lot of bands out there and most of them are real talented. The market is oversaturated in metal for the amount of audience interested. But, again, this leads to musicians having to try a little harder and the winner is the audience. You say industry so that means business. I think it’s very hard to make a living as a musician, so you have to love it. Roles have changed, a label is more of a service and partner now than the old ways. Streaming is valuable as a marketing tool. And it’s no longer that a way to be successful is to be great at your instrument and that’s enough. No, you have to have some proficiency in many areas such as recording, promo, booker, marketer, and so on. If you just sit back and say I’m a great guitarist and that’s all I have to do, well, that doesn’t get it anymore. A lot of great guitarists are sitting on their butt. I’ll equate it to a baseball game; you can’t strike out sitting on the bench, fail or not, you have to be out there in it to do anything. So, as I said, we must adapt to new times, all the time. That will never stop.
PD. What song do you wish you’d written and why?
TS. “Wheels of Confusion” by Black Sabbath. I know it’s a downer, but I have felt like those lyrics many times. There are a lot of times I’ve listened to something and said I wish i had written that, but I end up writing something like it eventually if I feel that strong about it. Passion leads my song writing.
PD. What are some of your pet peeves?
TS. Three biggest ones: Someone not doing what they said they would do. I hate that because I do exactly what I say I’m going to do. That one leads into number two; wasting my time. Just don’t. And ignoring me. For example; when you say this is how to contact you and I do multiple times, but you won’t answer a simple question, well a) disrespectful and b) I do tour or travel on my own and might just show up in person and ask you what you’re fucking problem is, asshole. I’m real ya know!
PD. What is your proudest moment in music?
TS. Interesting question. I have several. One of the proudest moments I had was when Hallows Eve was opening for Motorhead in New Orleans on the Orgasmatron tour, ’86 I think, and I was onstage in front of a couple thousand people, thrashing away, like we do, head up and down, and then I look up to my left and just offstage Lemmy is watching and gives me the thumbs up and an approving nod. I was pretty good to go after that, yep. Ya’ll can say whatever ya’ll want about my music, but LEMMY gave me the thumbs up so I’m fine! I’m done!
PD. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
TS. Our next shows are mainly a run from Memphis to Chicago, Wisconsin area and another with shows from Atlanta to Houston and back. Why should you see us? Several reasons. One is we’re a two piece band, bass, vocals drums only, and just seeing us meet the challenge of creating a full show from minimum tools is a thing. Then, we’re playing music from our first album and second album. Now when we get into a third album, these are the days that people see a band when they just started and played all the ones they couldn’t have time to do later. Okay? Also, we play about three Hallows Eve songs in our set from Tales of Terror and Death and Insanity. If you were a fan of that band, this is as close as it’s going to get to see the author of those songs play those songs for all time. For all these reasons, I think a metal fan would be missing out so they should come see us during this year! We appreciate the support and really need it! Thanks!
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