The Thrash/Sleaze Finnish band, Tornado, have released their second album this year entitled ‘’Black President”. Below you can read an interesting interview I had with Superstar Joey Severance, the frontman of the band, about the new album and other interesting things about Tornado.
Hi Joey, how things are going?
Hi Carla, things are going pretty well. Thanks for asking.
To start with, tell me when Tornado was founded?
Tornado the concept in my head started many years ago which was basically to put together the Thrash band that I wasn’t seeing or hearing. Finally, in 2010 Big Maaaaan (Michiel Rutten, former guitarist) and I started writing songs in my bedroom in the hopes of getting other guy’s to join and get moving forward. In the meantime, I had met the band Amoral when I was tour managing a tour that was headlined by Finntroll which also featured Naglfar and Amoral. They were very young dudes on their first tour and I instantly took a liking to them and one day I pulled a few of them aside and said “When I get a record deal, I want you guys to play on my album”. They said yes and we just left it at that. Fast forward to finally getting that deal and I called them up and said “Hey, remember when….” So this is the reason why 3/5 of Amoral appear on the first Tornado album because I always knew from the very beginning that I wanted those guys to play on it. Once that happened we knew that in order to start playing live that we would have to find local guys to round out the band but life circumstances took over and Big Maaaaan moved away from Holland and for my part, I knew that I would never be able to find the right guys who would also fit with the image I wanted of the band there in Holland and knew that I would in Finland.
You have released this year the second album entitled ”Black President”. Tell me about it.
Although it came out this year, the album was actually recorded 2 years ago. It just took some time to find a label brave enough to release it because after all, we are a Thrash band that has the image of a Glam band and make no secrets about our glam roots/influences. This seems to scare people off, but I am not fooled by the REAL POSERS who will tell you in public how much they hate bands like Motley Crue, Ratt or Poison but listen to them in private when no one is looking. Originally the title track was going to be called “Ted Nugent”. If you know how the vocal phrasing of the song goes, replace the lyric “Shit talking, back stabbing motherfucker” with “Child fucking, draft dodging, race baiting motherfucker” and you will get the idea. I changed them because in the end, I decided that fool doesn’t need my help making him look like an asshole, he does a great job of it on his own but as a whole, the album is fast, catchy, energetic and in your face. To me these are the main ingredients of Tornado.
Have you received nice reviews about the album?
I have seen a few reviews here and there that people have sent me but I don’t go out of my way to look for them. Thrash Metal is not the flavor of the month and I write this music to please myself first and if other people dig it, that is a bonus but when I am writing, I never think of how people are going to take what we do but I will say this, and it goes back even to the demos we have done, in 97% of reviews I have ever seen of Tornado, the one word that shows up in all of them is “catchy” and this is exactly what our aim is. To write songs that people actually remember. You might not like them, but you will remember them and this is not something I can’t say about any other “new thrash” band which to me is a damn shame because as a thrash metal maniac, I want to hear great songs from other bands because when I was growing up, I was spoiled rotten by the scene and all the great bands that were putting out one classic album after the other (until of course they got stupid and “funny”) and while Tornado is a lot of fun and likes to have a great time, our message is a serious one and Thrash Metal is not meant to be funny. This is why I have an absolute hatered for “party thrash” bands. Two words for them: Fuck Off!
Did you start writing new materials?
I am always writing and have a ton of material at my disposal, but I haven’t started writing in the sense of the next album though I have some cool ideas and one in particular that I need to run by the other guys. I won’t seriously start writing in terms of our next album (which I am hoping we will call “Commitment to Excellence”) until the next few weeks.
Who mainly writes the lyrics and what are the main lyrical themes?
As the singer, I am writing all of the lyrics and the themes are socially consciousness. It is where I am most comfortable and what I want to project to our audience. Of course I go off the path every now and again with songs like “Diva” from our first album which is a tribute to girls everywhere or “T-Minus 10” from the new album but I feel that with the platform that we have, I would like to at least make people aware of the things that are happening in this world. I like to think of our band as positive music for positive people.
There exist any influences for the band?
Aw shit. If I had to write out even just my own influences it would be as big as a book but I will say that lyrically speaking, my main and pretty much only influence is John Connelly from Nuclear Assault. I grew up absorbing every word that came out of the guy’s mouth and that is because I related to them the most of any other band. On the musical side of things I would say my main influences are Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Vio-lence, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. I think you can hear this clearly in our music but I will say this, I have yet to read a review that doesn’t mention how much we sound like Anthrax and while I am a fan I wouldn’t say they were an influence. I think mainly the comparison comes from my vocals which are a bit cleaner than most thrash singers but even in that regard, Chuck Billy (Testament) Sean Killian (Vio-lence) and Nasty Ronnie (Nasty Savage) would be my main influences vocal wise.
Are there any shows confirmed?
We have one show confirmed for September 26th here in Finland but don’t be fooled by the hype, Finland isn’t as “metal” as one would have you believe and it is incredibly difficult for Tornado to get shows here. Unlike any other country where I have had business dealings, clubs/booking agents here in Finland simply do not write back. From my point of view, things her are running like the “cool kids” or mafia mentality. Look at the young up and coming bands that are “doing well” here in Finland. It’s not because the band themselves are any fucking good, it’s because they have rock star managers who are well liked within the industry and have all the right connections in high places and while I have those same exact connections somehow when I am asking to get on a festival or opening slot for a show, I am then accused of “using our friendship to further your band” I mean, give me a fucking break. I am in a band with no manager so we have to do everything on our own, and this is what bands do, ask to play festivals, ask to play shows yet when I do it I am accused of using people, the very same fucking people mind you that when I was tour managing the biggest underground bands that had no problem writing me things like “Hey Joey! Can you put me on the guest list for XXXX or can you get me and my girlfriend backstage” etc. and I always said yes, because to me, these were my “friends”, and while I don’t expect them to add me to their show/festival just because we are friends, don’t accuse me of using our friendship when I am doing the same exact thing that every band in existence is doing by asking for gigs, but this is the way of the business. You have very few real friends. In this business people like you for one of two things: first: how “popular” they think you are and second: what you can do for them. The moment you can’t do anything for them is the moment they forget you exist!
Do you have a message for the Tornado fans?
Yes, THANK YOU for your support of our band. These days, it is extremely difficult to be in an relatively unknown band but thanks to the people who support our music by listening, purchasing or even telling a friend about us is appreciated and this is what helps us keep going.
Thank you Joey for this interview. wish you all the best!
No Carla, we thank you for your continued interest and support of our band!
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