Interview with Pittsburgh Metallers, Legendry

If you have been reading our site for awhile now you will know I am really into different cities music scenes. The Pittsburgh metal scene has been bubbling just under the radar for some time now and with Dave from 20 buck spin recently relocating from the west coast to Pittsburgh, I am sure only greater things are yet to come. One of the top metal bands coming out of Pittsburgh right now is Legendry, today I spoke to the boys in the band to learn more about them.

So you guys have a great sound – I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that you are not 18 y.o. guys who just discovered metal thru their older brothers Iron Maiden records right? How old is everyone in the band and how did you all get into metal?
Vidarr (guitar and vocals):
Thank you! I’ve been into metal and heavy rock since I was very young. I started out listening to my dad’s The Who and Frank Zappa records and cassette tapes. I started getting into metal with Metallica’s first four albums, then got into the progressively more extreme subgenres starting with Slayer, Overkill, Kreator, Sodom and Obituary, finally developing an interest in black metal like Darkthrone, Burzum, and Bathory. Throughout this time I also got into a lot of Helloween, early Hammerfall, Manowar, and generally medieval fantasy inspired power metal, always searching for a representation of that atmosphere in metal.

Evil St. Clair (bass):
I discovered metal at about ten years old. My parents would take me to the record shop. When I saw the cover of Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman I had to buy it. I was always into creepy stuff and that album cover was the coolest thing I ever saw, and the love of Metal just grew from there.

Kicker (drums and percussion):
Thanks for the compliments and the opportunity. I discovered Metal when I was about 13 or 14. I went to a Catholic school back then and was being told about all the evil in the music industry and things of that sort. One day my cousin and I found Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss and King Diamond – Abigail hid away in his tape collection. We listened to them and thought it was the coolest shit we ever heard and it just went from there. Definitely not 18! I’m 39.

* Can you give me a brief history of the band? From the little I know you guys formed in 2015 but I am guessing this isn’t your ‘first rodeo”?? right?
Starting in 2004 I created a solo project called Defeat, for which I learned to play drums and bass. I recorded a demo and two full length albums for Defeat in a folk/black metal style.

Legendry started when I moved north of Pittsburgh to New Castle, PA and began jamming with our original bassist, Choo. As our jamming progressed, we found that our interests in progressive rock and melodic sensibilities were both original and taking on their own form. Choo introduced me to Kicker, and we instantly hit it off musically, so we began writing the songs which eventually became the Initiation Rituals demo. Immediately following this demo, Choo left the band, which left us without a bassist and unable to play shows for a time. We decided to start tracking the Mists of Time album as a studio project, with myself on bass. We made contacts at this time with Non Nobis Productions of Portugal, who have done the CD release for both Mists of Time and CD/LP for Dungeon Crawler (along with Underground Power Records of Germany). After Mists of Time was released, Choo rejoined the band for a brief
period, but was eventually replaced by Evil St. Clair, who has played with us for all live performances and played bass on the Dungeon Crawler album.

The concept behind Legendry is to create a medieval fantasy world, using primarily rock/metal instrumentation, without relying on synthesizers to create an epic feel. I wanted to create a kind of Hawkwind type space-rock vibe, but with a barbaric fantasy tone instead of a spacey sci-fi tone.

* I presume the name Legendry is a play on Legendary and Foundry? Who came up with the name and what is the meaning behind it?
Actually, that is not at all where the name comes from. While many internet search engines think that you are spelling “legendary” wrong when you type “legendry”, it is in fact a word meaning “a body of legends”.

I found the word used in Robert E. Howard’s essay The Hyborian Age, where he uses it in the phrase “shrouded by the mists of legendry”. This became both the source for the band name and part of the inspiration for the title of our first album, “Mists of Time” (although that is a typical sort of phrase).

We actually had the opportunity to work with Arthur Rizk of both bands on the mastering for the Dungeon Crawler album

* What are your thoughts on all this new younger bands like Eternal Champions etc. embracing the “classic metal sound” of the 80s?
I think it is great! With the wave of younger bands bringing attention to the genre, it allows many of the great older bands to see how important they are to us. So many of these obscure, yet classic, albums have been reissued, and so many of these bands have reunited to play on some of the big true metal festivals of the world.

We had a chance to play with Eternal Champion and Sumerlands last July, and they were very supportive of what we are doing. We actually had the opportunity to work with Arthur Rizk of both bands on the mastering for the Dungeon Crawler album. He did a fantastic job with it, and we are very glad to have worked with him on it.

* How long have you been playing guitar and what bands were inspirational in you starting?
It must be around 27 years: crazy to think it’s been so long! My biggest inspiration early on had to be Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow. As I got older, I’d say guitarists like Frank Zappa and Robert Fripp would be the most important inspiration for me. I love endless soulful guitar solos, so when I eventually discovered Manilla Road, Mark Shelton became another huge influence.

We had the honor to open for them when they came to Pittsburgh on that tour

* I recently caught Manilla Road when they did their last US tour. They have to be an influence on you guys ?
Absolutely! Before Legendry I had been working on a cover of their song, “Necropolis” for the next Defeat album. A full band version of that cover ended up on Mists of Time when my focus shifted to Legendry.

We had the honor to open for them when they came to Pittsburgh on that tour, and it was really surreal to have that opportunity. They have had such an impact on me creatively, and I have to say I was quite nervous knowing that they would be hearing the songs I wrote. We met up with them after our set, and they were very supportive, kind people (as I expected they would be).

* Any preferences for guitars and amp set ups?
Yes, for sure. I am big on vintage gear and vintage sound. I play a limited edition American Standard Fender Strat through a Musicman 210 65 combo and a 212 RH cabinet, and Evil St. Clair uses a late 70s Fender Tele bass through a Fender Bassman 50 and a 215 cabinet. I think that this gives us a very unique sound, seeing these are blues rigs all around: I even use only the neck pick-up on my guitar, which is very uncommon in heavy metal. All of the effects that I use are analog as well.

The remake, however, was horrible

* I loved reading the Robert E Howard paperbacks when I was a kid growing up in the 70s – did you ever see the Conan Remake with Jason Momoa? If you did…thoughts? What about Kull with Kevin Sorbo (Me personally I liked the first Conan film and the Red Sonja film and at one point in the 90s they were planning to make King Conan with Arnie as an old and weary Conan but I don’t rate the remake at all)
I grew up watching the original Conan movies on TV, and of course I love everything about them (the effects, the atmosphere, Arnold, and most definitely the music of Basil Poledouris!).

The remake, however, was horrible. I have only seen it once, and tried to give it a second chance a few years later, only to stop it half way through. It wasn’t that Arnold wasn’t in it; it was just the overall cool-action-movie feel. They totally missed the mark.

Kull was a kind of cool movie, and it was kind of interesting to find out that the script was originally for the third Conan movie that they never made. Red Sonja was great, especially with the Ennio Morricone soundtrack, but the whining kid comic relief kind of got annoying at times.

* Every time I turn around it seems that the music scene in Pittsburgh just grows and grows – can you tell me a lil of what life is like there and why you think the music scene is so good?
Yea, there are definitely some great classic-styled metal bands in the area now, Lady Beast, and Argus among them. It has traditionally been more of an extreme metal town, so it’s good to see something more on the melodic side.

We’re admittedly not so active in the music scene there, though. While we all live reasonably close to the city and I grew up in the area, we all live about an hour outside of downtown right now (and I live opposite the band, making rehearsal nearly a two hour drive!).

* Have you guys done any major US tours yet? If not are they are the bucket list of plans for Legendry?
No, not yet. We would definitely like to do a small tour in the near future, but our personal and professional lives likely wouldn’t allow for anything extensive. We would love to eventually play in Europe at some of the heavy metal festivals there like Keep it True, but those possibilities remain to be seen.

* What can we expect from Legendry in 2018?
We will be setting up some shows in the near future, and potentially a short tour if the opportunity presents itself. We are also planning for the next album already, and have begun writing new material which we are hoping to record in the summer of 2018.

We are grateful to all of the fans for supporting our work

* Any final words?
Thanks for the support in doing this interview. We put a lot of work into the Dungeon Crawler album, and it’s great to see that people are really digging it so far. We are grateful to all of the fans for supporting our work; it means a great deal to us that there are people finding this music enjoyable.