Interview with Larry Barragan (Guitars) - Helstar (October 23rd 2008)

That things don't always go as you expect is an open door. But when you get the change to ask questions (even if it is by mail) to James Rivera one gets very exited and is a little disappointed when it doesn't work out. First the band lost the questions because of the hurricane "Ike" raging in Texas. After sending them again, I got the questions answered back. Probably James was too busy to do the interview. The personal questions for James were skipped and the questions that could be answered by any other band member were answered professionally. Thanks Larry for answering them, but had I known that you would do the interview, I would have asked some different questions too. More about the guitar parts and so on... But no hard feelings, and I hope to get a chance to interview James some time in the future.


For the metal heads, who didn't read the review already; Helstar has made one of their best records so far called: "The King of Hell". We at the could not let this pass us by without doing an interview. Welcome to the King of Hell!



Finally after 13 years a new Helstar record. What took so long, why not earlier?


Larry Barragan: Well, that's kind of a long story but this wasn't something we planed on doing. We never said, "Hey James in 13 years let's get back together and do a new album". One thing led to another. You know after we did the 20th anniversary show we didn't even think we would play again after that. But the interest was there. We were approached by a couple of labels and we decided that this was something we wanted to do.


What do you expect from this record, it is definitely a hammer, but are there still a lot Helstar fans around?


L.B.: I expect to sell a million CD's (hehe)! Seriously, I hope the CD will be well received. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback for the most part. I believe there are still plenty of Helstar fans out there. I also believe that we're going to make some new fans too.


Is Helstar a band, or is James Rivera Helstar?


L.B.: (hehehe) Yeah, Helstar is a band. At least that's what James tells us (laughs). No, I think we've proven to everyone that we are a band. James doesn't call all of the shots but at the same time we look to him for leadership.


I must say that the last one ‘Multiples in Black’ had a very weak production, was it so low budget?


L.B.: I didn't play on that album but I can tell you that the budget was quite small. It was recorded in two phases so you can hear why some songs sound a little better than the others.


“The King of Hell” reminds me of the 3 first records, but with a better production of  course, do you agree?


L.B.: Yeah, it has a kind of Remnants of War meets Nosferatu feel. It's only natural since that's the line up that has come together.


Can we expect you touring in clubs through Europe soon?


L.B.: Man, I sure hope so. We're working diligently on that as we speak. We hope to get over there at least by March.


Has Helstar got a multi-record deal with AFM, or is it a one-time release deal?


L.B.: This is our second CD for AFM. We signed a 4 album deal. So hopefully people will buy this CD so we can continue to make CD's for AFM.


What guitarists do or did you admire when you started playing?


L.B.: There are so many to mention. Rhandy Rhoads, Yngwie, Scott Ian, Tony Iomi, Dime, Zakk Wylde, Uli Roth. Man, there's just too many guys to mention.


The new record opens with a kind of King Diamond intro, is that on purpose, is he The King of Hell?


L.B.: I thought it was an appropriate way to kick of the CD. James has been blasting screams for many years, probably as long as King. We didn't think we were doing homage to King at the time. But it's funny you bring that up.


I leave here the space for you to tell your fans and our readers why they should buy “The King of Hell”.


L.B : Why should they buy the King of Hell? Buy it because it's good HEAVY FUCKING METAL!!!

Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Helstar - The King of Hell

Album available on AFM Records