Interview with Mark Briody (Guitar)
Interview conducted by 4th Horseman
Date online: September 11, 2004
Jag Panzer requires no introduction. You guys have been around for quite a while now and have delivered us with more than half a dozen albums so far. How would you say your music has changed over the years through to your latest release Casting The Stones?
Mark Briody: I would say that Casting the Stones has taken our sound in a more intense direction, meaning that the heavier parts are heavier, melodic parts are more melodic, etc. We also try to grow as musicians with each release. The new album is our best-played album by far.
There is some overlap between power metal and traditional heavy metal in your music. With Casting The Stones Century Media describes Jag Panzer as a Progressive-Power Metal band. Would you agree? How would you classify your music?
Mark Briody: I would call us a traditional metal band, but I do hear the some similar elements of our sound in power and prog metal bands, so I understand the comparison.
What other Progressive/Power Metal bands impress you the most?
Mark Briody: Blind Guardian without a doubt, I love Andre Olbrich's guitar playing. He reminds me so much of Brian May, who is one of my favorite players. I also love their song writing. Nightfall In Middle Earth is one of the greatest metal albums to ever be released.
Your new album features a few tracks that have a solid keyboard support in the background. Who played the keyboards on these tracks?
Mark Briody: Chris played those; he's a very good keyboardist. He could easily play keys in a band if he wanted to.
It appears that most of the songs on Casting The Stones are based on historical themes. How did this idea come about? Did Harry Conklin write all the lyrics?
Mark Briody: Harry writes all the lyrics and he has free reign to write about whatever he wants. I think historical themes interest him, that's always been one of his favorite topics for literature and movies.
Was the track "Achilles" inspired by the 2004 Hollywood film "Troy"? Your version is a little different though.
Mark Briody: No, we were thinking about doing an Achilles song before that movie came out. We actually talked about changing the lyrics so people wouldn't think this. But we decided to keep it. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm told Harry's version of the story is a bit different.
If you could bring back one historical figure into modern day, who would it be and why?
Mark Briody: Henry the 8th, I'd bring him back to ask him if he wrote "Greensleeves". That's one of my all time favorite pieces of music, and many historians think he may be the composer.
Your new album showcases a very mature Jag Panzer and I must commend you guys on the effort. I think it is your best album after "Ample Destruction". Have you heard any other feedback about the new album so far? How has it been?
Mark Briody: Generally very positive, there have been a few negative reviews that have left me scratching my head. Some make me wonder if they are listening to the same disc.
The songs on the new album definitely hit a little harder than last time around and feature some superb music. But do you think a slower ballad of some sort might have changed things up a bit for the better in the album? A tragic tale or something! ;)
Mark Briody: I'm a big fan of ballads, but it was a band decision to avoid them on this album, we wanted this album to be heavy.
Generally, how is the music written? I understand you are primarily responsible for the song-writing but do the others bring in ideas for the music as well?
Mark Briody: Chris and I split the songwriting, actually on Casting he wrote 6 songs and I wrote 5. We write songs separately, and then introduce our ideas to the other band members. The other musicians then add their own parts.
What would you say is the greatest Jag Panzer album to come out so far?
Mark Briody: I'm partial to the new one and Thane to the Throne. I love the album's dark feel.
You had self-financed a DVD release in 2002. Was there any particular reason why it was done by you without label support? How was that sales-wise and do you have plans on releasing another DVD sometime in the future?<|p>
Mark Briody: The label wasn't interested in a Jag Panzer DVD, they weren't sure it would sell. But they were kind enough to give us permission to do one ourselves. So we did 1,000 copies ourselves, and it sold out within 10 months. We'd like to do a live DVD at some point in time.
I have always been curious about the band name – Jag Panzer. What does it exactly mean and how was the name crafted for the band?
Mark Briody: It comes from the German tank 'Jagdpanzer'. Being teenage Americans, we couldn't pronounce that name, so we dropped the 'D' and made it 'Jag Panzer'.
Whenever the name Jag Panzer is mentioned, generally there is a trend amongst metalheads to attach the old "Underground" label alongside it as well. Jag Panzer is the only band of its kind that is generally referred to as kvlt (cult). Why do you think that is so? Are things changing in terms of notability for you guys, or are you happy being an "underground kvlt" heavy metal band?
Mark Briody: I'm proud of being labelled a cult band. It means that our music has stood the test of time, it's funny how Ample Destruction is viewed as a classic by some people now. When it was released it received good, but not outstanding reviews. 'Metal Forces' gave it an '8'. But it stood the test of time. I believe our newer albums will also.
What are your touring plans like for the new album?
Mark Briody: We're in a 'wait and see' mode right now, we need to see how the album does and what kind of touring opportunities open up for us.
What was the worst/best thing that happened to you during a live show?
Mark Briody: I jumped off of a drum riser at one show. But one problem – I forgot that I was using a short guitar chord. The chord stopped me short and I fell right on my face. The audience didn't stop laughing for 10 minutes.
Bush or Kerry in the 2004 US Presidential elections?
Mark Briody: We're a fairly politically diverse band. If you polled all the band members you may find 2 guys for one of the candidates and 3 guys for the other. As for my choice, that's between me and the voting booth. (Laughs)
Did you watch the US women's Beach Volleyball team win the Gold Medal? Was that the greatest Olympic moment in history or what! :)
Mark Briody: No, I missed that; I heard it was one of the greatest moments in U.S. sports history. I actually don't have time for much TV, I wish I did. I like watching movies.
You are stranded on a desert island. You don't even have an option of picking a beautiful woman to come along with you there. All you can bring with you is one physical item. What would it be? AND DON'T SAY IT'S A BOAT!
Mark Briody: Gimme my scuba diving mask! I could catch dinner, stay in shape and keep from getting bored.
Do you think a hockey puck should replace the maple leaf in the Canadian flag?
Mark Briody: I'd say 'yes' if Calgary could have pulled off the win during the last cup finals. I'm a huge hockey fan and I generally pull for the Canadian teams to win, unless they are playing the Mighty COLORADO AVALANCHE!
If you could get rid of one thing in this world at the push of a button, what would it be?
Mark Briody: My mortgage payment!
That covers all my questions. I'd like to thank you for your time and good luck with "Casting The Stones".
|Other information about Jag Panzer on this site|
|Review: Mechanized Warfare|
|Review: Thane to the Throne|
|Review: The Era Of Kings And Conflict|
|Review: Decade of the Nail-spiked Bat|
|Review: The Age of Mastery|
|Review: Casting The Stones|
|Review: Mechanized Warfare|
|Review: Ample Destruction|
|Review: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald|
|Review: Thane to the Throne|
|Review: The Fourth Judgement|
|Review: The Scourge of the Light|
|Review: The Deviant Chord|
|Interview with guitarist Mark Briody, vocalist Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin, drummer Rikard Stjernquist and guitarist Joey Tafolla on March 19, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
|Video: Iron Eagle (Live at Bang Your Head)|
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