Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice tracked down and did an in-depth interview with prog/ Goth/metal Saviour Machine's mastermind, singer Eric Clayton. A man who went into hiding and has not done a major interview in 20 years. The two spoke about his new solo Album 'A Thousand Scars', an upcoming Saviour Machine album, his reasons for leaving and coming back into the music business, the Book of Revelation and it's influence in pop culture, as well as his infamous good bye video message in 2009 plus a lot more...
Watch interview here
When asked why he disappeared for 20 years and why he decided to come back
"I'll give you a synopsis, I was in a 30-year marriage and my wife and I were divorced in 2013. I then went to Utah and I spent three and a half years kind of resetting, finding my happy place again and just kind of seeing if I could go on and find a new way of doing what I do. I really needed a break man. I needed a break from everything and I really did kind of go off and disappear on purpose and a lot happened during that time but I can tell you this that Utah was a good train station for me. Then I ended up over here in, Europe and couldn't be happier. I fell in love and moved over here to Germany. "
"I have we've been working on a solo record for all about a year and a half now and during that time I realized I'm getting kind of antsy. I was retired for a long time. I was gone for a long time and literally out of music business for nearly 20 years. I think what happened was I was over here and I missed being on stage. So I thought I'm gonna put it back together over here and just go out and have some fun for myself and see if I still enjoy performing. So we did seven gigs towards the end last year and into this year and I just kind of fell in love with this new band I was playing with. And along the way the solo record that I've been working on for a number of years off and on, kind of came to the forefront and I realized that this is the band that I want to make this solo record with, so yeah that's what's going on. We played some great gigs and had some got wonderful responses from fans, a lot of support from classic Saviour Machine fans and some new fans as well. We had a blast and we just don't want it to end."
When asked about his new Solo Album's lyrical content and musical direction
"We're working on demos right now and hope to be in the studio by the end of summer. I would say the best way for me to describe what I'm working on is it's really personal man, I know that's vague. In Saviour Machine there was not a lot of personal elements in those albums, there wasn't a lot of nuances or subtleties but the content was so bold and grandiose. However my solo record that I've been writing for the last few years it's about life, the turns of life and growing pains of getting older and so forth. My heart is deeply connected to a very personal narrative at the moment and I've been writing the record about myself. From a lyrical and narrative side it's a concept album, it's called 'A Thousand Scars" basically it's a story of the of the wounds and the healing that kind of shapes the man. It's a simple idea that in order to have a scar you know the wound has to have healed to some degree. It's a record about those wounds and the healing of those wounds and a very personal story that goes back to my childhood and even right up until now. So I guess it's my version of Pink Floyd The Wall.(Laughs)."
"From a musical standpoint I'd say well I've always tried to make the music that reflect the atmosphere of the lyrics on every album I've been a part of. I would say that the atmosphere of this solo album is quite appropriate for the content, it's dark, it's beautiful, it's sometimes really really heavy and sometimes really kinda glorious and sometimes it's sad. I'd say it's probably the saddest record I've ever worked on. Obviously my brother is involved in the songwriting and kind of pre-production. I have a friend in Minnesota who's done a lot of programming for me and helped me with a lot of these demos, there's a lot of people involved. I've got a five piece band, my brother and a programmer, so that's seven. Then I've got my co-producer who is a brilliant engineer, his schedule will definitely determine when we record and when we mix. I can make it official here Devon Graves - (Psychotic Waltz) a good friend of mine is going to be my co-producer on this thing and make it sound all beautiful. It will be called Eric Clayton 'A Thousand Scars', music performed by the 9."
When asked about trying to break Saviour Machine in the Christian and Secular music market meeting and meeting resistance
"The band Stryper was hit from all sides (Christian, Secular, Black Metal) in the beginning and of course they were really the first band break through in the Christian market mainstream. They were the ones in the beginning leading the charge, I can relate to that, even though we were a few years after Stryper. I guess you could say we had some similar audience but also a very different audience. I have a decade of memories of walls from the Christian music scene, walls and from the secular music scene and deep resistance from a Black metal scene of course. I think we were the first first Christian band, I hate that term but I'm pretty sure we were the first Christian band that that played the Wacken Open-Air Festival back in 97.
When asked about the upcoming new Saviour Machine album
"Right now we're calling it Saviour Machine 3 for lack of a better title, it's a working title but for us, it is like making a third Saviour Machine record because it's the natural evolution of Saviour Machine from one to two to three. It is a band album that comes from the band and very far away from the Legend project that was a massive opus that was a quite a Band Killer. The Legend project was a surefire way to destroy a band and it did."
When asked if Saviour Machine will ever release Legend project Part 3-2 an album that was not officially completed
"There's been a lot written about it and I wrote a book that I published about ten years ago talking about it. A lot of things that happened over the last 20 years that contributed to that record never being finished.There's just no way that that album was going to be finished the way that people anticipated it would be finished, there's too many legal things tied up with former record company. It's one of those ugly rock in roll old stories and there's no reason to rehash at all. Legend one, Legend two, those albums were released when they were completed and I'm very proud of those records and I'm thankful that people still give a damn about those albums today. Legend 3-1 was kind of an official release and Legend 3- 2 which was absolutely not an official release. The Legend 3 project was never supposed to be split into two records. I was pressured into doing that so in a nutshell I'll just say this once and for all, Legend 3-1 that was released and was a pretty good solid series of demos. Legend 3-2 is a really bad demo of what that record was sort of sounding like back in 2002 and 2003."
When asked about upcoming Live shows and record labels
"Right now I have not talked to any labels yet. I have recently partnered up with someone to begin looking into booking for next year a proper tour.
I'm not sure how far that's gonna reach but I'd like to at least get to the States so that's a possibility. As far as the solo album my goal is to have it out by the end of the year, I don't know if that's gonna happen or at least have a single or two or a couple of songs released before."
When asked about his David Bowie project with his Brother Jeff Clayton
"We just did it ourselves. When Bowie died I was kind of profoundly moved by by how emotional it made me. I don't think I was ever really sad about a celebrity dying but I felt a void and over the next six months my brother and I kind of talked a little bit and and we just threw around the idea of wouldn't be cool if somebody somebody kind of went through like a decade of his music and recorded it as a tribute. But go through the most important decade in 1970s. We put together a little love letter, a song from each album one song from each year and put them put them together. That idea blossomed and by the end of the year we had a 12 tracks. During that Bowie decade project the guys from Saviour Machine kind of started coming around and saying hey you know if you need something we can help. And before he knew it halfway through the year halfway through the project we had everybody back from the band. By the end of it Saviour Machine was basically recorded the David Bowie record. We had so much fun doing it that we just thought we'd just keep going and make a new Saviour Machine album so that's the connection. You can check out all the songs from the David Bowie project on Band Camp for free. Eric and Jeff Clayton David Bowie."
When asked about his Farewell video to his fans in 2009
"I had a cancer diagnosis at the time. Worse than that I was taken 16 to 20 pills every day from Oxycontin, Percodan, Vicodin, muscle relaxers, Prozac and Xanax and I was smack dab in the middle of the U.S. medical system and basically every every doctor had me on something. I was on quite a cocktail of meds during that time. Thankful to say that though it all came crashing down in a weird way. I'm thankful to still be standing here and thankful not to be taking 16 pills anymore. "
"The Video was a terrible thing to do to my audience and hey it really was not a kind thing to do because it probably worried people more than anything. It was too cryptic. It's interesting that you mentioned that video because that was 2009 and that's ten years ago and if I if I think about where I was ten years ago where I am today um yeah there's a lot lot that's happened in between brother. I'm thankful for the opportunity to speak with you and your listeners today and I really appreciate your time Jimmy it's been good talking to you it's been a great chat. "
Saviour Machine is an American Gothic/ Prog/metal band that formed in 1989. They have released five studio albums and two live albums on Frontline and subsequently on MCM Music, distributed through Massacre Records. Saviour Machine's music and lyrics deal with war, death, and personal introspection as it relates to prophecy and divine revelation
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