Long overdue, the return of The Metal Minute’s Take 5 interview section, kicking off with our bud Jason Myers of Icarus Witch…

The Metal Minute:  Icarus Witch did some road dogging lately in support of Rise.  Give me a recap of the tour, what you felt was the best gig on this round and where you found the most hospitality.

Jason Myers:  We did a brief tour of North America focussing on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada with White Wizzard and Widow. The best gigs, in my opinion were New York City, Toronto, Raleigh and Atlanta. To be honest, the most amazing part of the tour was the fantastic hospitality we received in almost every city!  

This tour was scaled back and when you’re on the road at this level, the difference between a decent experience and an amazing one is often the time you spend before and after the show.  We were so fortunate to have friends, relatives and in some cases generous strangers open their homes and (bravely) their bathrooms to us.  Many times bands are forced to choose between the uncomfort of sleeping in the van or digging into merch money to get an occasional hotel.  On our summer tour we stayed at actual homes every night and that is where you really create some of the most lasting memories and camaraderie.

TMM:   You had quite a bit of a roster change-up coming into the recording of Rise.  We discussed the addition of Christopher Shaner, who I likened to Jeff Scott Soto and you mentioned a number of people said the same. Certainly he’s brought a different dynamic to Icarus Witch this time. Tell me how you feel the band’s changed with Christopher and Dave Watson.

JM:  The addition of Christopher’s vocal style and writing approach broadened our base and we began noticing a lot of new support from the melodic and modern rock circles, whereas in the past our niche was a bit more relegated to the smaller trad scene.  

The addition of Dave Watson was just as significant.  While bringing the band back to a dual guitar lineup, he also added a new level of production excellence with his keyboard skills and engineering acumen. The result of both additions really pushed our sound into a more modern realm while still remaining true to our classic influences.

TMM:  I have to know where the inspiration for all of that erotic artwork on Rise’s packaging derived from.  I detect some Lovecraft, the old American International Goth flicks and love of a different nature altogether.

JM:   For that you would have to ask the photographer Sergey Bizyaev although you may want to brush up on your Russian.  His visions and art are so stunning that I knew the second I saw his work at lovecsnov.com I had to commission him for the new Icarus Witch campaign.  Rather than delve into his inspiration or creative mind I prefer to simply enjoy the results of his eye and we are quite fortunate that he agreed to work with us, as the nude Witch became as much a star of Rise as the music itself!

TMM:  You have a funny post at Facebook about the 2012 Mayan prophecy turning out to be a bust and, to paraphrase, now you’ll have to wing your future plans for 2013.  What’s on your horizon, hypothetically and realistically?

JM:  To be honest, after the drain of writing, recording, promoting and touring on Rise, I really needed to unplug and shut down to recharge.  The past few months have been a bit of psychological rehab and we are now just getting back into the mode of regrouping and plotting our next phase.

TMM:  A number of years ago I went in to the original Primanti Brothers and ordered a Killian’s with my steak sammich and fries stuffed inside.  The place went deathly quiet around me and if I hadn’t been wearing my Jerome Bettis jersey, I suspect they might’ve picked a fight with me.  I quickly changed my beer order to Iron City and everyone went right back to their business. That still cracks me up to this day.  Are you really a dead man in Steeltown if you don’t order an Iron City at the bar?

JM:  That’s hilarious and sad at the same time in that exemplifies both the charm and limitations of a city like this.  Since Primanti’s isn’t the most vegan friendly restaurant, I don’t eat there often but I would suggest ordering a Yuengling or Lion’s Head if they have it.  Both are high quality lagers and since they are Pennsylvania brewed, you can still eat in peace avoiding both Yinzer confrontation and the unpleasantries of the digestion process that may accompany Iron City consumption.


(c) 2012 The Metal Minute / Ray Van Horn, Jr.

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