All Access Magazine Articles

October 16, 2008

Bob Spears :: Pure Metal from DistortedFate

Interview

By Clio

Bob Spears“Antelope Valley metal band DistortedFate has been guitarist Bob Spears’ passion for the last year and a half. A Southern California native, in the early ’80s Spears and big brother Rick formed metal band Armageddon, gigging out in California’s Antelope Valley and earning write-ups in local newspapers. Over the years Spears played in a succession of metal bands, including Heaven’s Wrath and Iron Maiden tribute Killers. Spears studied guitar with Dave Celentano, a student of Megadeth’s Marty Friedman.

“After winning solo guitar contests sponsored by such notables as Los Angeles’s premier metal radio station, KNAC, and Schooners in Lancaster, Spears started playing with local up-and-coming speed metal band Forewarned. Forewarned gigged all over L.A. and Hollywood for several years, opening for The Jason Bonham Band, DRI, Leatherwolf, and Engine (former Fates Warning singer Ray Alder’s solo band). Forewarned won a battle of the bands in Lancaster, California, with the grand prize of opening for Slash’s Snakepit. Forewarned released a demo and 2 full-length CDs, garnering a CD review in ‘Pit Magazine.’ Spears’ current band, DistortedFate, was formed in 2007 and released a 3-song demo that same year. They plan to head into the studio to record a full-length CD in 2009. The band actively gigs around the L.A. area and beyond.”

All Access Magazine is thrilled that metal is back in the mainstream with a vengeance thanks in part to the Internet and satellite radio. Who better to talk to about Los Angeles’ metal scene than veteran guitarist Bob Spears? AAM caught up with Bob between gigs.

AAM (Clio): What have you been up to musically lately? What’s on the horizon?

Bob Spears: I’m excited about my current band, DistortedFate. We’re looking forward to the next meeting with our new producer (who has worked with Queensryche) about recording a full-length pro CD in 2009.

AAM: AAM has followed your music career for several years now. But some of our readers may not know who you really are. When did you first decide to play guitar and why?

Bob Spears: I first decided to start playing guitar when I was influenced by KISS up to about age 10, then Black Sabbath. With my older brother Rick’s help, I started teaching myself the “Paranoid” album on his guitar. In 7th grade Rick gave me my first electric guitar, and I transitioned to Judas Priest and learned several of their albums. K. K. Downing was a huge influence. Then I went on to Iron Maiden. Adrian Smith was one of my favorite lead guitar players because I felt that my style and his were similar. I spent 3 to 4 years working on Iron Maiden’s first 4 albums, trying to play them as perfectly as I could. I played in several bands in high school and afterwards.

When speed metal hit the scene, I started playing a lot of Megadeth and Exodus. Around that time I found a phenomenal guitar teacher named Dave Celentano (www.davecelentano.com). He had studied with Marty Friedman of Megadeth. That’s when my style really took on a new dimension.

After several years of studying intricate solo techniques, I started doing solo guitar contests. The first one I won was sponsored by KNAC and hosted by Long Paul, who is now a DJ on Sirius Satellite Radio. I was honored to meet him, and he was totally cool. A few years later one of my good friends called and said that Schooners in Lancaster, CA, was having a contest and he thought I should enter. I had about a week to prepare, and I created a 2-minute piece with every possible feel, solo technique, and crushing metal riff I could come up with. To my absolute amazement, I won! That same night is when I was introduced to guitarist/singer Dave Parsons, and Forewarned was formed.

AAM: How has your music career grown over the years?

Bob Spears: Over the years, music has become a little easier – after many, many years of learning the ropes of the club scene, finding the right equipment for the right sounds, and meeting many people along the way who helped me out: Debi and John from All Access Magazine, Jeff Lenhart from Xpeld, Sheena Metal, and many totally cool musicians, so many that I could never name them all.

AAM: How did your current band, DistortedFate, come together?

Bob Spears: DistortedFate is the new band that drummer Brian Banner from Forewarned and I started. We were lucky to find out an old friend, Mike Weinberg, had an amazing voice. Brian had brought him over just to do a song together for fun. As we were writing and spending time together, 2 or 3 sessions, we all knew we had fallen on something awesome. The next challenge was to find a bass player who could create the crushing metal riffs and speed that we had envisioned. After trying several guys, Brian invited Aaron Cross, the bass player from Seventh Son (the Iron Maiden tribute band he was also playing with) to come to a DistortedFate practice. And at that first meeting, I knew he was the guy. He has that Iron Maiden metal bass player sound. He’s also the drummer for death metal band Epicedium, which makes his timing better than my digital clock. And he’s definitely heavy enough!

AAM: What are some of the things you like the best about your music career, and some of the worst?

Bob Spears: One of the best things is when somebody at a show or a club really appreciates what we’re doing. As most musicians know, the amount of positive feedback – as opposed to the amount of work – is about 1 to a million.

One of the bad things is when you go into a club and have some of the people there treat you like dirt. For example, with Forewarned, we opened for DRI at The Shack in Anaheim, and the band after us (who shall remain nameless) brought a busload of drunks. The whole night was a pretty bad scene, but it got worse when one of the drunk bus riders decided to rip the microphone off the stage during our set and scream into it. Let’s just put it this way: It went downhill from there. We managed to make it out of the parking lot through a barrage of police cars. We heard that 1 or more of the DRI dudes got arrested at the show that night. I’m so glad we practiced our asses off for 3 weeks and drove all the way to Anaheim for that gig… Being treated like dirt would have been an improvement!

AAM: We know you’ve done a lot over the years. What are some of your accomplishments in the music business that you’re most proud of?

Bob Spears: I released 1 demo and 2 CDs with Forewarned, one of which earned us a CD review in “Pit Magazine.” We also did some live videos for distribution in Japan, which never went through due to loss of funding on the producer’s part. But we got some great videos out of it. Forewarned and now DistortedFate have gotten great write-ups in All Access Magazine. DistortedFate was nominated for AAM’s 2007 Music Awards “Best New Group/Artist,” “Best Metal Group/Artist,” and “Best Song of the Year” for “Haunting,” and we performed at the Knitting Factory as part of AAM’s Music Awards Show. Not bad for DistortedFate’s first year!

AAM: What’s your ultimate goal as a musician?

Bob Spears: My ultimate goal as a musician is to play in a pro metal band – which I feel I’ve found with DistortedFate. We want to produce a great CD that gets airplay on satellite radio (like Sirius Hard Attack, channel 27), and have a couple videos in rotation on “Headbangers Ball.” We also want to do some large concerts, opening for big-name metal bands like Killswitch Engage, Testament, and Shadows Fall.

AAM: Any advice for our readers thinking about a music career?

Bob Spears: For anybody who’s interested in a music career, one of the major pieces of advice I could give is: You’ve got to LOVE it. It can’t be a way of life, it has to BE your life. And when somebody tells you that you need to just quit, or you need to do something else, don’t listen. Because, with a lot of hard work, that same person could be watching you play somewhere. And that’s a good feeling!

www.distortedfate.com

www.myspace.com/distortedfateband

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