Interview with Don LaFon, guitarist from Six Minute Century  (July 23rd 2008)

Six Minute Century was formed in the spring/summer of 2004. Six Minute Century is a power/prog metal band featuring melodious vocals and guitars, and heavy hitting bass and drums. Many of the songs are written about historical events such as the Oklahoma City bombing, or the war in Iraq. Six Minute Century consists of Chuck Williams on vocals, Don LaFon on guitar, John Sample on bass, and Steve Newcomer on drums. Combining heavy metal and classical orchestrations into power/prog metal is nothing new, but playing with conviction, and attitude makes Six Minute Century a band to be heard.

Congratulations with your debut-album. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Don: My name is Don LaFon, guitarist from Six Minute Century.

The band started in 2004, how old are the songs on the album and are there already new ones?

Don: The songs were written from the inception of the band. A couple of them we carried the music over from a previous band that myself, Sampy, and Darren were in. We have already begun writing new songs for the follow up CD, if we are lucky enough to release one. We have three full new songs that we are already including in our live set and we have four or five in the writing stage right now.


How did you get in contact with Lance King from Nightmare Records?


Don: We have been in touch with Lance in early 2007, I believe. We had not solidified any deal until Lance was at Texas Madfest, a prog/power metal festival that was put on in our home town of Houston, Texas. Once Lance saw the band live, I believe he wanted to sign us.


The record is out in the US since March 18th, how are the reactions from the press and fans?


Don: The reaction has been great. We have received many great reviews from all over the world.


Your music has a lot of similarity I think with early Fates Warning, especially because of Chuck William’s vocals, which sound a lot like John Arch’s. What’s your opinion about that?


Don: Ray Alder was one of Chuck's favorite vocalists when he was younger, and still is. As far as John Arch, I am not too familiar with the earliest Fates Warning material. As far as the music goes, I do not think Six Minute Century is as progressive as Fates Warning was in their earlier years.


How did you become such a good guitar player, did you grow up with music?


Don: I appreciate the compliment. I have played music since I was 11 years old. I started playing drums when I was 11 and also began playing guitar a year or so after that. I have always loved music, especially from the first time I saw Kiss on TV. I teach guitar lessons six days a week in Houstan, so that helps keep up the practice.


What makes your music special I think, is the combination of heavy riffs, tight rhytmns and very melodic parts. What are your influences as a guitar player? And what are the influences of the band in general?


Don: Six Minute Century wants to write songs that everyone can listen to. Not just Prog/Power metal listeners. We are not trying to be a "super" progressive band, which obviously we aren't. We are not trying to sound like any one band, other than SMC. We want every song to be different, so we try different formats for each, slow, different beats, things like that. We also want the songs to have meaning. We try and make every song have something that can appeal to the average listener, as well as the progressive or heavy metal lisener. For myself, my guitar influences are Rhandy Rhoads, Steve Vai and Ronni Le Tektro (TNT), as well as newer guitarists Michael Romeo (Symphony X) and John Petrucci (Dream Theater). Way too many to list.. As a band we all like different bands and styles, from Symphony X to Manowar to Meshuggah. We don't all like them equally as well, but different members like different bands and styles.


I have no idea how old you guys are, but what made you choose the ‘old’ song Seven Seas by TNT as a cover?


Don: As far as cover songs go, we would not want to choose something that came out recently. TNT has, for the last 25 years or so, been my favorite band. We added "Seven Seas" to our live set when we first started to have more songs to play live. When it came time to record 'Time Capsules', we felt it would be a good addition to the CD.


What do you think about the internet and downloading songs, it must be very difficult for a band to get a deal nowadays.


Don: This is something I do not have a lot of personal knowledge about, but the whole music industry is suffering at this point, from what I understand.


I saw that you have already joined the stage with Leatherwolf and Zero Hour, how popular is your band in the US?


Don: The band is relatively new at this point, at least from a national standpoint, not locally. We have been together for a while, but I would say most people, even metal people in the U.S., would not know who SMC is. But we are growing.


You also played at the Nightmare Metal Fest, could you tell us something about it?


Don: Nightmare Metal Fest was a two afternoon/evening festival that our record label, Nightmare Records hosted in March of 2008. It actually was the first time SMC played outside of Texas in the U.S. It was great fun, a good show for all. Hopefully we made some new fans. It was broadcast worldwide by KWTF, an internet radio station that also carried Texas Madfest. They have been great for promoting Six Minute Century.


What is going to happen with the band this year, are there plans for touring?


Don: There has to be some desire for people to want to see Six Minute Century first. Hopefully with 'Time Capsules' being released in March of this year we are starting to get our name out and we can get invited to do more shows. At this point we don't have any special things booked. We played Nightmare Metal Fest in Tampa, Florida in March. We just played Rocklahoma outside Tulsa, Oklahoma in July. We will be branching out to some cities in Texas we have never played in the next few months as well.

Which band do you certainly want to join the stage with?


Don: We would join the stage with any band and play in front of any audience that loves heavy metal. It would not matter to us who we play with or where it is. Hopefully we could play in front of the people reading this at some point.


Just complete the sentence, I am satisfied if the band…….


Don: Continues making music that people want to hear, and we enjoy making. Of course more success would be great, but you have to be satisfied one step at a time. Now we are happy we have released a CD first, and that it has been getting great reviews second, what happens next who know?


I leave here the space to say anything you want to say to the prog/power metal fans.


Don: Myself and Six Minute Century appreciate all of you that have purchased 'Time Capsules' as well as those of you reading this interview. Hopefully some reading this might decide to buy the CD. We appreciate you all. Hope to see you soon.

Interviewed by: Reinier de Vries

Six Minute Century - Time Capsules

Album available on Nightmare Records