Agent Steel Singer “I Was Brought Into Megadeth, Early On, To Crush Metallica Vocally” John Cyriis
Updated: Mar 4
Jimmy Kay from The Metal Voice recenlty spoke to Agent Steel singer John Cyriis talks about the upcoming new Agent Steel album and GoFundme page to assist in obtaining funds to complete the next studio album.
Plus Cyriis talks about his early Megadeth years when we has asked to join the band by Mustiane to out due Metallica at the time.
John Cyriis interview part 1- Full interview here
GOFUNDME page to support the new Agent Steel Album
When asked about the musical direction on the upcoming new studio album "The thing about the new album is that it's going to be more raw. It’s not going to be as effect based as 'No Other Godz Before Me’ was because the material itself was written in a very raw format. The main songwriter that compiled most of the material is very old school as far as his sound and his writing has not much room there to really make it high-tech with Spacey effects. It's gonna be more raw, it's gonna be more like 'Mad Locust Rising EP' but at the same time there's a lot of ambience, there's a lot of tempo changes. With the new album it's going to be even more unique. There is a lot of material in there that's actually a little darker than all the other Agent Steel albums. There's some material on it that resembles let's say more like a 2023 Mercyful Fate. There's going to be some different kinds of things on there and some subjects that's definitely darker than the other albums including 'No other Godz Before us'. " When asked what stage they are at on completing and releasing the new Agent Steel studio album "Well sometime this year. The songs have been done for over a year. All the material, all the basic tracks that were recorded have been patched in and then recorded by different engineers that have actually used amping in the studio to recreate some of the guitar sounds. It's all basically done. I've gone through different mixed down phases where I thought well let's try to add some more effects but then the engineer that I work with suggested that I add less effects that makes it more raw and just overall more 80s old school so to say. The vocals are pretty much done, there's some things I do over because I keep coming up with different ideas. I wasn't able to do that with 'No Gods' cause it was kind of in a rush situation because the label, they were in a rush to get it out. So this time I'm gonna take my time and I think I'm gonna make sure that I'm gonna go over all the details and I kind of meditate on it and then I leave it for a couple days and I get back to it and I listen to it again and I see I hear things that I think could be done better. I flip-flop a lot about it. I want to make it as perfect as possible as far as the vision that I have for the final product, which you know changes a lot. So I'm just trying to make it better and better as I go along and that's the reason for the GoFundMe too. It's been difficult to land a label for its release because there's some strange things going on out there in the scene or the industry whatever you want to call it. It just seems like there's some opposition for releasing another Agent Steel album. I don't know exactly where it comes from? Who is involved? Call it conspiracy theories or not or whatever you want to call it definitely there is some form of conspiracy or if you want to call it an opposing cabal. It could be peers or a politically correct group that is stern in their philosophy and they think that my thinking is just too far outside the box. I think that there's an incredible hypocrisy that is alive in the metal music industry today."
When asked about his time singing for Megadeth in the early years "We never did any shows, unfortunately. It was quite a while (In Megadeth) , maybe almost a year. It was awesome, I mean every rehearsal just felt like, I always looked at them you know the two Dave's playing behind me and I was singing. The drummer was Dijon Carruthers at the time. It was an African-American drummer that was just an incredible talent and a super nice guy. In fact he (Djon) was the one that motivated them to follow through with their wanting me in the band because I had already kick-started Agent Steele at that time, even before I joined Megadeth. It all started by them seeing me in Abattoir (Pre Agent Steel band) and then they knew I was an Agent Steel. They came to an Agent Steel rehearsal or two and then it started. They came and they brought me aside and said at a rehearsal. Hey John, do you ever think about joining us? I mean Agent Steel's a cool band and Juan's super cool guy. He's our buddy but you know without wanting to bring any harm to anyone and step on anybody's toes. You might be able to be in both bands. I said what are you guys talking about? We'd love to have you in Megadeth, I think that would give us a shot definitely. That would be one of our greatest hopes of stepping over Metallica or crushing Metallica if you were the front man. That would give us the edge that we need to put us in a category beyond Metallica more in like the Maiden and Priest category. If I was singing for example Dave was saying to me, to tell you the truth, singing gives me a headache and gives me a sore throat so I could never imagine it. But unless we get you as a vocalist not some other guy unknown or some other guy that sings more aggressively or more coarse. With your clear singing in the high notes and everything like Halford singing in Megadeth that would do it. We would be instant celebrities we just and we could crush Metallica there's no way James could compare with you vocally, range wise. I was shocked to hear him, I was like they were pitching me. It's such a privilege that these guys like my singing and they like what I'm doing and yeah there was like no words to describe how I felt, I felt like a star right then, you know that these guys didn't even consider or talk to me."
"They (Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson) were regulars on the L.A. circuit. Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson were a team, they were like Siamese twins, they were always out together. We never saw Dave Mustane without Dave Ellison anywhere. Those guys (David and Dave) were having a hard time and I didn't know it. They stayed in my house with me and my parents house for a while because they were sleeping in their van and I only found out after I joined the band. They mentioned something kind of like it in secret and they were kind of whispering while sitting in the front seat. I was in the back of the van, they were driving me home after rehearsals. They picked me up and would drive me home and they were saying things like, hey you got this soap back there and yeah just got a fresh bottle of it. We gotta get up early to get to the beach before the police would go by. They were showering at the beach in the morning and they were sleeping in the van. I said, hey guys man are you serious at what I just heard no no no man you guys, stay at my house. Are you guys crazy man, we got an extra room there. He goes no man we can't impose that's why we didn't ask you. I'm insisting now you guys are staying at my house. Let's go and we can write there and everything. They loved my mom and my mom always used to say yeah it's a pleasure having these boys here, these are really good boys, yeah they are really nice guys. They're really polite, they're respectful of my family. In fact I didn't even see them in the heavy party mode I mean whatever they did it they didn't do it around me. I've never seen them do hard drugs as long as I was in the band rehearsing with them. I never saw it, they were just super sweet guys, really nice guys easy to get along with. Dave (Mustaine) was not dictatorial like people say, he's a really very cool stand-up guy, very easy-going, and acted very normal. I've never seen him falling down drunk."
When asked what songs they worked on in Megadeth rehearsals, in the early days? "I had some stuff that I was writing, some lyrics to their material that was kind of Mercyful fate-like. I was kind of going through a dark period in my life at the time and I really loved Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. I thought yeah this is a cool band to kind of add some of that kind of element. I had a song called 'Into the abyss' that was really cool. I loved that song and Dave (Mustaine) even said you know hey this is a little bit creepy you know Johnny. I think Dave's always been kind of on the Lighter Side. He (Dave Mustiane) writes some of the heaviest music ever of course and he's the rift Master Emperor. He's just a heavy guy but as far as philosophically in the whole ambient and being attracted to that darker element of metal um it wasn't Dave he was kind of creeped out about it. So he didn't say much but he was almost kind of looking at me like yeah do you really want to do that with that song?"'
When asked if there were any recordings from that era "I wish I had, maybe Dave (Mustaine) recorded something or Dijon recorded something but um I don't know, I wish I had something because that we were kicking ass every night I mean it was incredible the rehearsals were just super. " When asked if they were rehearsing the material that appeared, Megadeth's 'Killing is my business and business is good' "Yep, yeah and I had all different lyrics according to the subject matter that I write about and there was a lot of stuff about aliens and UFOs and all kinds of creepy stuff too. It was more creepy and darker than the Agent Steel material. I was writing like they're gonna take a needle into your neck and you're gonna see your past and your future. I had all kinds of really heavy lyrics in the alien concept, tradition. For Agent Steel it was lighter it was more like a crusade for you know there's hope aliens are going to help us evolve as a Race so we don't blow ourselves up in nuclear war in the future. But with the Megadeth when I was in Megadeth I used more of the aliens that are going to abduct you, bring you into their spaceship and they're going to tear you apart . Oh we rehearsed a lot at first um it was at least three or four nights a week um they were very dedicated to these guys." When asked how they both parted ways "I was so involved with Agent Steel that I started pulling back and not going to rehearsals as much. We started just becoming more distant. They were always looking for me. I was more interested in Agent Steel and Juan were very close friends and I was so involved with that that I wasn't really interested in continuing Megadeth, they kind of knew it. I think he (Dave Mustaine) decided that he was going to make the first move before I did so that historically he could always say yeah we let John go instead or John quit. So one day I came home then my mom was kind of really sad because she really liked them and she picked up an envelope from the kitchen and said the boys brought this over. Dave and Dave gave it to me and they were kind of almost crying. Dave Mustaine especially was really sad and Dave Ellefson was very apologetic and he said is John here. No she said, no he's not here you guys want to come in and said no not today um can you just give him this envelope. We're returning his lyrics because we have to let him go because um it's hard to explain we love him, we love John, he's become our friend and he's a great singer and we know that he's you know developing that Agent Steel thing right now. "
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