Interview with vocalist Terry LeRoi, Titanium Black (August 1st 2006)

Sometimes it’s very hard to understand the music business; you receive a lot of very mediocre releases and really don’t know why the labels have signed those bands! And then all of the sudden out the blue comes an outstanding un-signed band, which has had an amazing demo CD out for more than 2 years and no-one has even noticed them…
Titanium Black and band leader Terry Michael LeRoi is the band I am talking about in this case - we have put together a few questions together to get some more information on the band…

Your debut demo CD was released more than 2 years ago, what kind of response have you had from the metal community since then?
Terry - "Bleed for you "is actually not a demo, it is a full length album with it's own bar code, copyrights, publishing, registered trademark and world famous rock producer, Michael Wagener. It was released on our own record label Great Dane Records.

We released the record in the USA just briefly and had a very positive response, but it never had the proper push as far as distribution and the momentum slowed down. In the meantime Goetz Kuhnemund the editor of Rock Hard got a hold of a copy of the CD...loved it and did an amazing review in the May 2006 issue of Rock Hard Magazine. Since that time interest in the band from Europe has been incredible!

We are currently looking for distribution and possible support from a larger record label if it makes sense. Up until now no one has even heard of this band or this CD.

“Bleed for you” is a truly amazing demo CD, and I am very impressed with it - looking back how pleased are you and the band with it?
Terry - Thank you Kenn!! We are very pleased with it, working with Michael Wagener was an incredible experience and very inspirational. I love the way it turned out and can't wait to do the follow up to this release!

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be? Or is it a combination of the 7 core human feelings?
Terry - This album is extremely diverse emotionally and the music contains a combination of all 7 core human feelings. It is very unique in this way, because most records are very "one-themed" (the angry rock record, the party rock record) but this one touches on many emotions. Even still, it has dark undertones to it primarily.

You - Terry - put a lot of emotions into your songs, and I could imagine each and everyone is like a child to you - but if you had to choose one song, which represents “Bleed for you” the best, which one would you choose and why? Personally I would pick the opener “Cracks of Light”.
Terry - "Celebration of Suffering" is the song that summarizes the record best. A lot of the pain that I've faced in life was translated into songs on this record...and turned into something positive. My approach to pain is that I look to my discomfort and ask "why is this happening and what is it teaching me?"...So it's a celebration of suffering when you find truth and answers in the midst of a dark time...a great learning experience. 

Your vocals - Terry - is also very heartfelt and emotional, who has inspired you vocally. I hear some Geoff Tate, some Zak Stevens and even some Miljenko Matijevic (Steelheart) influences in the mix… But Rob Halford must also be a huge influence, right?
Terry - Yes!! All the greats; Dio, Dickinson, Tate, Udo, and of course Rob Halford, who in my opinion is the greatest metal vocalist of all time...but there are other great singers too, like Steve Perry, Mickey Thomas and even strangely enough, Deborah Harry and Tori Amos. 

Basically your music is heavy metal - with various influences - I hear some classic metal bands like Judas Priest, Queensr˙che (again), Savatage and Iron Maiden, as well as more progressive stuff as well as old school US metal with bands like Omen and Jag Panzer. Is this assessment far off when it comes to influences?
Terry -
Not at all! Those are all great bands and still others like AC/DC, Accept and many other assorted songs from the 70's, 80's, and modern rock tunes have all had an influence. 

The acoustic guitars in the beginning of “Miles Away” have a very strong resemblance with Nirvana’s “Polly” – intentional or…?
Terry - Not intentional...I just had a cool rhythm I was strumming on my acoustic and liked it.

Only one song passes the 5 minutes mark on the CD – intentionally? Do you try to write short and intense songs? “Rain/Celebration of Suffering” is the albums epic, could you ever imagine writing a 10 minutes plus epic song…
Terry - I never have a set time constraint for a song - it all goes by feel and most songs seem to be around the 4 minute mark. ‘Celebration’ is up near 6 minutes but not intentionally. I can see writing another epic song and probably will in the near future....I love epic tunes like "Hallowed be Thy Name", "Victim of Changes" and "Let There be Rock"!!

You quote C.S. Lewis in the booklet - is that some sort of mantra for you? And is he your favorite author?
Terry - It's very similar to the philosophy behind "Celebration of Suffering"...about having your pain teach you something positive....that's why I used the quote... C.S. Lewis is certainly one of my favorite of the great minds of the 20th century!

You are thanking God in the booklet, and some of the lyrics have a Christian message. But what else inspires you, when you write songs?
Terry - I'm a very spiritual person, so that definitely comes across in the music I create on certain songs. But many things inspire me; movies, books, memories, people, feelings, experiences. These songs are very personal to me and I am by no means trying to preach a message to anyone, however, when someone is moved or inspired by the music that I write... that's very satisfying too...I like to connect with like minded people! 

The album was recorded in Nashville and produced by none other than Michael Wagener - tell us the story behind that?
Terry - A good friend of mine and I decided to try and locate a producer that we always admired, someone who had produced some of my favorite bands and Michael was at the top of the list. We were able to contact him through email and he gave us permission to send him some demos of songs and song ideas I had been working on. He really loved the music and invited me down and we spent the day getting to know each other. A few days later it was decided we wanted to work together and plans were started for pre-production...the rest is history! 

The album has been recorded in 5.1 as well as stereo, what are the chances that the SACD will ever be released? And why did you choose to mix it in 5.1 as well as stereo?
Terry - It was recorded with SACD as a possibility for a format....but we could use other formats too. We thought that since there are approximately 40 million homes in America alone that have surround systems, it wouldn't be a bad idea to record it in surround. At the time there weren't any surround records by metal bands, at least not ones that were recorded in surround from the ground fact we may still be one of the first. Amazing technology was used in the recording of this version and Sony supplied all of the mix down equipment for Michael to use...I can't wait to release it, plus there's and extra track on it!!

The whole production speaks seriousness, but I could imagine that it’s been costly as well - how did you manage to fund the production?
Terry - Michael and I negotiated a deal and I had been saving my money for a project like this for awhile.

Paul Taylor (Winger) is helping out on keyboards on the album, how did this collaboration come around?
Terry - Paul had just moved to Nashville only a few weeks before I got there. Michael introduced us and he was kind enough to lend his amazing keyboard skills to the CD. Paul is an exceptional musician and a very cool guy!

How did you end with a name like Titanium Black?
Terry - I kept calling Michael with different combinations of words and finally when I thought I had a winner he said "that is one of the coolest names I've ever heard!!"...and I agreed. I liked it because it sounded heavy. The metal titanium is very unique; lightweight and strong and the music is dark....Titanium Black!

The album was released back in March 2004, what has happened since then? You must have been busy writing new songs, and what kind of immediately plans do you have for Titanium Black?
Terry - Absolutely, I'm always writing songs and I'm ready for album #2...I can’t wait! Our plans are to get over to Europe as soon as possible and continue with this recent excitement over the band. 

You hail from up-state New York, Syracuse - how is the local scene, is it possible to get gigs?
Terry - The local scene is ok but it's mainly cover bands up here...there are only a few bands that play original music Brand New Sin and Titanium Black...and Brand New Sin only comes around here once in a great while. 

Speaking of live - have you been touring or have you been playing locally (if at all)?
Terry - We are always playing or writing. We just take the shows as they come; we've got shows booked through October as of now. 

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Terry - Ok...I like that.....well, Priest would be a good staring point (LOL!) But really, there are so many great bands out there, I would just like to get in front of some large crowds and show them what we have.

If you should list the five albums that influenced your musical career the most, which ones would those be?
Terry - That's a hard question because there are so many that I love! But I guess it would have to be "Highway to Hell", ''Balls to the Wall", "Number of the Beast", "Screaming for Vengeance" and the very first album I ever owned Meat Loafs' "Bat out of Hell"...oh, and can I add one more? "Back in Black"...thanks!!

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Terry - I'll answer in order of your question: The bands and albums I listed above have had a huge impact on my musical career...for obvious reasons; they're great I can't name just one. 

The person of Christ would be the next, the reasons are many, but everything He said and did got to the core of the truth about humans and that inspires me and moves me. He was also the ultimate rebel in his time... He loved people and His association with women, sinners, and social outcasts, went completely against the moral code and protocol of the day... 

Finally the event would be my 16 year marriage that ended in divorce. This was extremely painful but has ultimately taught me many, many things about myself.

Besides Titanium Black you do also run a body jewellery store (, tell us a bit about that?
Terry - I've been in the jewelry business for about 14 years now. I started out working as a gold smith in a fine jewelry store...and because of my involvement with bands, a lot of my pierced musician friends would come to me and ask me to make them a piece of body jewelry. I saw a business opportunity and was fascinated with the world of body modification.... so I started LeRoi Inc. 11years ago. Now we are one of the largest body jewelry manufacturers in the world... with a retail showroom and piercing boutique in New York City 

That really doesn’t leave you much spare time one could imagine, but what do you do when has a few hours on your own; read, listen to music or…?
Terry - I spend time with my Great Dane, I stay physically active and yes... read, enjoy music, watch a good movie and...and I can't forget my ongoing addiction...Ultimate Fighting (U.F.C.).

That’ll be all for us this time around - thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you…
Terry - Thank you so much Kenn for giving me the time! I'm very grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and talk about this record. We hope to see our new fans in the near future... since we are planning a tour as we speak... you won't be disappointed!
Take Care

Interviewed by Kenn Jensen

Titanium Black - Bleed for you

Album available from their website.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Titanium Black.