Certain, I'm not the only one who sees its writing on the walls or who fears what its messages portend?
Well, let's come to a simple conclusion. There is still a seedy underbelly of metal out there in the universe. Normally, it's spoken in hushed tones....Power Metal...
Shawn tells what he's so damned powerful....and more.
GM:Let's begin at the beginning. Tell me about the name of the group, Final Sign.
SP: The name is respectfully lifted from "Children Of The Sea" by Black Sabbath.
I thought it was a fitting tribute to the amazing Ronnie James Dio, of whom we in the band are all great fans, and it's a nod to the founding fathers of heavy metal itself.
I also thought it sounded pretty damn cool. Haha!
GM: Final Sign is power metal. Anybody walking down the street can see that. It's as obvious as human kind being materialized color on the 49th Vibration, but how did you come to be a power metal band in this day and age?
SP: It chose us. I know that sounds a little mystical, but honestly we get in a room and this is the music that comes out without even thinking about it.
Every note of music we do starts with riffs from Brian. He writes the way he writes. We don't set out to be one thing or another.
We just set out to be. Heavy Metal comes very naturally to us. Brian and I, in my opinion, have a very strong musical chemistry together. His style of writing and playing sparks something in my psyche and it becomes a very natural thing.
The way I sing and write is almost a reflex of hearing Brian's riffing. He, Jim, Kevin and I are all happy to be playing music together, so it makes it a very fun, natural process to write the music that we do.
GM: I finally listened to your record this week, not sure how it escaped me before, but stuff happens. If I was a betting man, I would guess that as the album goes on the younger the songs are and the first songs are the oldest....am I right?
SP: Yes and no.
Most of the album was written in the two years prior to recording. But there are two songs that date back well over 15 years. One is toward the front of the album and the other is toward the end of the album. I'm not going to tell you which ones are which.
At the end of the day, the songs blend really well together and offer what we feel is a diverse heavy metal meal.
GM: There's been some controversy regarding your former bandmates in Stryper and Deicide.
Can you tell me what it was like working for both groups?
SP: I was a little offended at first that you would bring up two such private, personal memories. But then I remembered, "the public wants to know, Shawn...give the people what they want."
So, here's the dirt. I met Robert Sweet in middle-school. He was always complaining about Michael being bratty and a hanger-on when he and his buddies wanted to play music in their parents' den.
I was like "Right on, dude!" (It was the 70s). One day he managed to ditch Michael in the baby food aisle at Albertson's and we took off back to his house. His band was jamming and I was digging it. He asked me to sing a song. We did a cover of "Slow Ride" by Foghat and he immediately asked me to join the band.
It was in that very moment that I named the band "Stryper". We all gave each other hi-five's and went to the kitchen for Hi-C. About that time, Michael comes running in the house screaming to his mommy that I put a satanic spell on Robert and forced him to let me in the band.
His mom kicked me out of their house and I never saw them again. A few years later, I'm in Tower Records and, what do you know...there's Robert AND Michael and two other losers (Robert was the real star) using MY band name. I made a vow right then and there to never, ever play music with a bleach-blond drummer ever again...and Hi-C has never tasted the same.
Glenn Benton was just some rambling, homeless dude I saw in a 7-11 parking lot. He was always asking for Cheetos and loose change, blathering on about Satan, Bob Larson and hating squirrels.
I felt bad for the guy and brought him over to my uncle's house. Glenn sat down on the couch, took off his shoes and asked for some nail clippers. I was headed toward the bathroom to get them, and he spotted my uncle's bass leaning in the corner of the kitchen with the broom.
He picked it up, told me the devil just spoke to him and he had to leave right then to start a band or his insides would turn to worms.
He headed outside, leaving his shoes on my uncle's floor, and that was the last I saw of him until I was on tour singing with Savatage and we played Donington (Iowa, not England) with Deicide. Small world.
(Ed Note: SATIRE)
GM: Going back to an earlier question, it seemed as though your vocals got stronger as the album went on. What was it like becoming a vocalist?
SP: Becoming a vocalist was frustrating, painful, discouraging, frightening and one of the coolest journeys I ever embarked upon.
I never opened my mouth to utter a single note until I was out of high school. I wanted to be in a band, because every teenager wanted to be in a band in the 80s.
But it wasn't until early 1990 that I essentially tripped and fell into my first lead singer gig. I was hanging out at some friends' band rehearsals, the bass player called and quit without showing up, the singer took over bass but could not sing, so they asked me to give it a shot.
I have barely shut up since.
GM: Stained Class or Number of the Beast?
SP: Why not ask me which hand I'd rather keep? Or which eye to gouge out? You're killing me. But, for the sake of exercising my freedom of choice, I'm going to pick 'Stained Class' at this particular nanosecond in time.
I love the vibe of that album, and I love the variations in tempo and mood. "Exciter" and "Stained Class" are two of my favorite Priest songs, and "Saints In Hell" is brilliant. "Better By You, Better Than Me" is a slithering monster as well. I absolutely love 'Number Of The Beast' as well... "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Children Of The Damned", "Invaders"??
Come on! I hate you.
GM: What's the world's most perfect beverage?
SP: Jack Daniels & Coke. No, a dark, black stout. No, water. No, Jack Daniels & Coke.
GM: When you're listening to music at home, what's the best way to enjoy it?
GM: Where can we find out more about the Final Sign comings and goings?
SP: We are on Facebook, Bandcamp, and Blogspot. I am also on Twitter (as you know).
Here are the links: Facebook Website Bandcamp Twitter
GM: What do you need to get off your chest that I didn't ask about?
SP: I intensely despise reality TV and I wish it would die in a woodchipper.
You can get our CD at HERE.
Facebook political discussions make me want to vivisect baby seals with dull spoons. You can get our cassette at HERE .