Interview with Kurdt Vanderhoof, Presto Ballet (May 23, 2005)

First off I want to congratulate you on your new album "Peace Among The Ruins". Kurdt - you are to many the synonym for Metal Church, but with Vanderhoof you showed that you have a lot more to offer other than "just thrash metal". But now you have a 3rd band in the running with Presto Ballet - why?
Kurdt - Because I have always loved this type of music and I wanted to challenge myself as a writer.

I think this album is sort of you paying tribute to your musical roots - is that assessment far off?
Kurdt - Not at all. It is very much a 70's style record. And it was very intentional to make it sound that way.

You grew up listening to all of those great 70's rock bands, but the approach to Metal Church is a lot more aggressive, so are any of these songs left overs from your long time with Metal Church? Songs, which simply didn't fit the aggressive playing style?
Kurdt - No, all these songs where written for Presto Ballet.

I labelled this album progressive rock (in my review) - but how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Kurdt - I guess I would have to say that its Rock and Roll with a more complicated arrangements and many musical moods within one song. Thatís a tough question to answer LOL.

If the music of Presto Ballet was an emotion, which one would it be?
Kurdt - It would have to be all of them rolled up into one feeling.

How has "Peace Among The Ruins" been received by the media?
Kurdt - So far the response has been incredible and VERY flattering.

"Peace Among The Ruins" is your first album on InsideOut Music - a record label known for its strong connection to progressive music - how important was that to you, when you were shopping for a record deal for Presto Ballet?
Kurdt - InsideOut is the perfect label for us. All of the records that I have been buying over the past 6 or 7 years have all been on that label. They are about music and not any thing else and that is the way that it is supposed to be.

Will you take your new band out on the road?
Kurdt - If we get the opportunity to tour, absolutely. I would like nothing more than to play this music live.

I really like the artwork - who has done it and is there a deeper idea behind the concept? And how does the angel with the harp fit in?
Kurdt - I did the artwork myself. No real deep meaning to it other than wanting to have it reflect the idea of the title of the album. I guess the angel kind of represented a peaceful attitude.
Thanks very much, Iím glad you like it!

You have produced the album yourselves - isn't it sometimes hard to keep the distance necessary to remain objective to the songs?
Kurdt - Yes, it can be difficult, but it also can be very satisfying when you have complete control over the music and how you want it to be presented.

How is the Seattle scene now after the demise of grunge?
Kurdt - There isnít really a scene at all anymore. But I think that itís that way everywhere in the US these days.

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written? My favourites are "Watch The Children Pray" and "Anthem To The Estranged".
Kurdt - Man, I donít know if I really have one that I think is my best. I do have a few favs and I guess that would be ĒBeyond The Black" and "Speed Of Time".

I have just seen the tragic news, that David Wayne is no longer among us - what kind of thoughts and feelings does a sad, sad thing like this bring up in you?
Kurdt - Itís very sad of course and a very shocking thing to happen. Itís too bad that we have lost such a unique voice.

Any chance you might make an album all-time top 5?
Kurdt Ė

  • The Who - Quadrophenia

  • Yes - Close To The Edge

  • Montrose - Montrose

  • Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

  • Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Any famous last words?

Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins

Album out on InsideOut Music.