VAINGLORY Interview 4/24/2001

By Ricardo Campos Roadie Crew Magazine

What is the meaning of the name 'Vainglory' to the band?

Corbin King: The name Vainglory didn't reveal itself to us right away. I had some ideas on a few names and David T. Chastain had sent me some ideas as well. It was in the end from one of the lists he sent me that Vainglory was written. By definition Vainglory means: excessive or ostentatious pride in one's achievements. There was a little hesitation as to whether or not we should use the name. No one in this band has an ego problem, so it wasn't for the strict definition we chose the name. I just think the name is very powerful. The band's music is very powerful and I felt that a strong word such as this really was the right choice for the band's sound. Even though we are quite proud of what we've recorded and enjoy it very much, it's not so much about pride as it was just a cool name.

When and how did Vainglory start to work together?

Corbin King: Vainglory has come together over the past 2 years. I had just about finished writing all the songs at the time David T. helped me start searching for the other members. I did the pre production recording here at my home studio and this is what we sent out as audition material for the others. Then later on as the band was coming together I redid the guitar tracks for the ones we would really use. I must have tried out at least 5 singers before we found Ted. Brian and Kevin were both first audition finds. Once we had found the right guys for the band we began doing the final recordings. Since I live in a suburb of Atlanta and the other guys are all in or around the Cincinnati area, we did a lot of long distance work. This is one good thing about modern recording technology, I could record with guys that live hundreds of miles away!

How did you get David T. Chastain to produce the album? Was it because of his band (Zanister) with the drummer Brian Harris? And after this it was easier to get a deal with Leviathan Records?

Corbin King: The production decision was made by Leviathan Records. I'm glad David took on the job as producer because he knew exactly what I was looking for and he did a hell of a job. I am extremely happy with the production quality and final product we came out with. I was also fortunate that David had been working with Brian Harris at the time because this is how I was introduced to him. David felt Brian would be a good choice for the drummer, so we sent Brian a cd with all the songs for him to auditon. The rest is history! As far as my deal with Leviathan goes, we had actually worked out the agreements before we got too involved with the production of the cd. I met David T. Chastain a few years back at a concert here in Atlanta and we've kept in touch ever since. He has helped me tremendously over time with making my music a reality. Once I had written 95% of the material, he decided for us to go ahead and work out all the details with the contract. So we would make everything official before we went any further finding the rest of the band members and such.

This week we did an interview with David Chastain about Zanister and he said that was great work as the producer of Vainglory's work. How was the work with Chastain, in your point of view?

Corbin King: It was great! We had a good time doing all of this. I'm not saying it wasn't a lot of work, but it was very enjoyable I think. Chastain is a great guy. I felt comfortable with him doing the production and beng involved with the mixing. He has definitely done his share of recordings and knows what a metal album is supposed to sound like. I had heard these songs for so long during the making of this cd that we decided I not be at the mix down. My ears had a certain sound burnt in them and a fresh set of ears was needed to make sure we got the best mix.

To the debut '2050' you (Corbin King) wrote all the songs and David T. Chastain wrote all the lyrics. Who had the main idea to the story of '2050'?

Corbin King: The concept behind '2050' was from a storyline that David had sent me. We were having such a difficult time finding a singer that we decided to take on the lyrics and melodies ourself. Although we would have preferred a singer come in and do it all himself, by the time we found Ted, David had already finished the lyrics. I am most comfortable with writing music. It comes naturally to me, and I wanted someone that was gifted lyrically to handle the words. This was something David was good at. He has written 20 some cds of lyrics over time, including all of the Kenziner release 'Timescape'. So naturally I felt comfortable with David being the lyricist for this cd. Ted is also a great writer. He wrote the lyrics to 3 of the songs on Zanister's latest cd 'Fear No Man'. You can definitely plan on Ted writing for the 2nd Vainglory recording. Most of all it was a time factor for this cd. The music was so far along into production we didn't really have time for a singer to start from scratch on the vocals.

Why did you choose an alternative futuristic story to be the theme of the album?

Corbin King: I feel that this storyline could become a reality. Even though it takes place only 49 years from now I wouldn't throw out the possibility for this to be true. Lets face it, in this world money is everything. This is not the way it's supposed to be, only this is the way it is. The more you have, the more power you hold. This also leaves the money holders of this world to be very influencial. It really seems like everybody just follows along and is blind to the fact that they are being used and disposed of. You almost can't help it. The system is designed to keep people in a certain place and it is next to impossible to get out. The storyline of '2050' portrays this very well. The great thing about it is, in the story we have a fighting chance! In real life, I'm not so sure!

David Chastain also produced the album. Will you intend to get David to produce and write the lyrics for the next album and make him a honorary '5TH.' member of the band (like Paul O'Neil to Savatage)?

Corbin King: I think that David is a great producer. Listening to '2050' is proof of that. The mix and sound quality is incredidble. Of course this has a lot to do with the quality of the sounds going down to tape when you are recording the tracks, but there is also a great deal of magic that has to happen when you are mixing and mastering as well. More than likely, the majority of the 2nd Vainglory and the other projects I have plans for in the future will be done in my studio at home. I'm in the process of building the rooms and putting together all the equipment right now. We will be able to do everything from recording to mixdown right here in the comfort of my house. So, it may be somewhat of a joint effort on the engineering this time between David and myself. Although as far as mastering goes, I feel most comfortable with David handling that. On the lyrical side of things, now that Vainglory is all together, Ted will be tackling the lyrics and melodies this time around. However, any input that David has will be quite respected and appreciated.

And the next one will be also a conceptual album?

Corbin King: As far as the next Vainglory release, I'm not sure if it will be a conceptual album. It is still in the very early music writing stage. I do have in the back of my head an idea there will be a sequel to '2050'. The story leaves itself open for a continuation, and I feel there should be one. It will take some time however, possibly for Vainglory 3 or something. It's quite a story to live up to for a follow up release!!

In your opinion, which songs of 2050 will get the best results with the fans? (My favorite one is The Lost And Found).

Corbin King: Well, that's a tough question as I have grown quite fond of all of them! I believe 'Take Me Home', 'Fight 'Til The Death We Must', 'The Lost And Found', and 'Mastermind' should catch on pretty well amongst the fans. These are some of my favorite tunes on the cd. Hopefully the entire cd will catch the ears of the listeners, as they are all great songs in my opinion!! I think there's something for everyone contained on '2050'.

Nowadays in the whole world you are acclaimed as a new guitar-hero. Who (guitar players) are your main influences?

Corbin King: I don't know if I see myself as a guitar hero, although the title is flattering, I just try to do the best I can. I love the guitar and I give it everything I have when I play. I am just so happy that people find what I do interesting. It is a great honor to have someone like something that you have created. It's an incredible feeling, and I must thank you all for listening and being so kind! I have had many influences over time. There are three main influences that have stuck with me and that I still get inspiration from. Yngwie Malmsteen, George Bellas, and Jason Becker. These guys are truely great musicians and incredible guitarists. I also was very much influenced by guys like Dave Mustaine and Alex Skolnick. I feel my rhythm style and heavy approach was instilled in me by these guys. I mean as far as the "modern" style of heavy metal rhythm playing goes, Mustaine and Hetfield had a lot to do with how heavy metal rhythm guitar is done. All in all there have been quite a few players that left some sort of mark on me, but these are the ones that come to me first when I'm asked this question.

Many people use to say that Vainglory's style is a crossover of Nevermore's and Testament's Thrash Metal with Judas Priest's and Iced Earth's Heavy Metal. How can you define the style of the band?

Corbin King: I can see how you could come to that conclusion. Although I'm not that familiar with Nevermore or Iced Earth, Testament and 'Priest are bands that I like a lot. I think there are some similarities and influences from those guys, but I also think we have a sound of our creation. Vainglory's music to me is a natural progression and continuation of metal's direction. Everyone is influenced by somebody, but you have to learn from others and create your own style and approach. I don't currently listen to that much music, which is something I try to keep to a minimum especially when I'm writing. You'd probably be surprised at just how many bands I've actually never heard!! I go through spells of buying and listening and then not. I am curious about Nevermore and Iced Earth, I have heard good things about those guys. Overall though, I definitely feel like Vainglory has an original sound of it's own.

Is difficult to a US band play Heavy Metal nowadays? I'm asking it because the Alterna 'SHIT' Metal (ADIDAS) is much more evident... What is your opinion about this style (Alterna)?

Corbin King: Ha, ha, ha!! Shit Metal, that's funny! I hear this question a lot, and for good reason too. Sometimes it is quite hard to play good metal music here in the US. It is especially hard to get it marketed and a lot of push behind you. There are a few outlets and labels that are great here, that will really stick behind you and let you be creative and free. Yet, due to the very fickle pop culture that dominates most of the American music market it is usually very hard to get things done if you have a metal band. Or not even a metal band, just a good band! Unfortunately, metal has been pushed underground for the most part here in the US, but I know there is still a desire for good metal to come out here in the States. I see people everyday that are big fans of metal music. I think like with all genres of music you have a lot of bad bands. I feel this gets to such a degree that people just kind of get sick of looking and hoping to find something good. There has been a severe loss of any kind of standard in "popular" or "alternative" or really any hard edged music. I can't really explain this. The whole "grunge" movement had a lot to do with it. Sometimes it seems like people aren't really hearing what's on those cds they are buying, because to my ears it's very noticably unpleasant. I never have really understood why the grunge movement caught on. I mean, it's really an embarrasment. Walking around with greasy hair, tattered, over-sized clothes, no self esteem, and listening to bands with poor (if any) musical ability just doesn't register in my brain.

Are there any plans to a Vainglory's first tour? Or is it already happening?

Corbin King: As of this moment there are no plans for a tour. There's a lot of things involved with this. I would say number one would be the money. I would also say that the response to the cd has a big effect on touring as well. If the cd goes over great, then most definitely we will be touring. On the other hand, around the time of a second release is perfect for touring. You simply have more material, press time, exposure, etc... These things all lead to a more successful tour. I would love to take Vainglory around the world, we're just waiting for when the time is right.

Were you invited to play in any Heavy Metal festival around the world?

Corbin King: At this time there haven't been any invitations to play any festivals. This is probably due to the fact that we just got the release of the cd. The festivals are something that is obtainable, but currently the time and money factor are at hand as well. With a little time, I'm sure we will be considered to play at one. We are very interested in doing them. I did speak with David Chastain briefly about getting on some bills, namely the 'Powermad' festival we have here in the States. I think these festivals are a great thing and I'm glad to see they get bigger and bigger each year. You can bet that you'll probably see us soon at some of these events.

We have a special section in Roadie Crew Magazine and I would like to know the best five Heavy Metal albums you have heard in your entire life.

Corbin King: This is probably the hardest question in this interview!! This is a topic that changes from time to time with me, but for the most part I would have to include:

1) Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force
2) Metallica- 'Master Of Puppets'
3) Testament- 'Practice What You Preach'
4) Megadeth- 'Rust In Peace'
5) Helstar- 'Nosferatu'

Corbin, Thank you very much for the interview. Congratulations for the album, I hope see you on stage ASAP.

Corbin King: Thank you Ricardo and Roadie Crew Magazine!! It was a pleasure, and I hope to see you all from the stage very soon!!!!!!!!