Interview With Rich Ward (part 1), guitar player for Sick Speed/Fozzy recorded live 4/23/03

MM: So when was the last time you were here man?

RW: Ya know I was trying to figure that out actually. I think it was 1998. We started here in like 1995, something like 1994 or 1995 and it was called something different back then, like Boots or Zack's or something like that.

MM: What is it like playing double duty tonight? (Sick Speed and Fozzy)

RW: I love it!

MM: Its gotta make you tired. I guess when you were with Mojo you guys played 2 or 3 hours though.

RW: Getting the hour downtime is great, it gives you time to grab a bite to eat, I went to the gym and had an hour off to lift weights. I try to stay in shape, twice a week I do really hardcore training like byoplexic training with a guy who trains the Atlanta Falcons and Hawks and stuff and I go through a pro-athlete training and I train weights 5 days a week and I do cardio every morning. I live on a mountain in Georgia and every morning I ride my bike down it and then 2 miles straight up it. I jump rope and I'm really a health nut and it translates into my energy and the ability to be able to do the stage stuff. Its important especially as a singer, as a guitar player it doesn't matter, but as a singer breath is everything. If you are to winded you can't sing. When you see Axle Rose live on MTV and stuff and the reason he sounds terrible isn't necessarily because he is a terrible singer, he's just out of shape.

MM: Is that why he can't finish a show also? (laughs)

RW: He's a cardiovascular wreck.

MM: So you work out before every show?

RW: Well I prefer to work out at night just because I feel I'm stronger at night, I mean weights wise. If I have a show I try to kick it late afternoon then try to grab a quick bite to eat or a shake and then play the gig.

MM: What kind of supplements do you take? Hydroxy cut and that type of stuff?

RW: I take some kind of thermogenic once in a while, I don't take them everyday, maybe if I'm lifting heavy or something. I take some rip fuel or whatever. I used to take creatine and some stuff called cell-tech but it makes me hold a little bit of water. Thats the whole point of creatine is to put water into the muscles and make it a little bigger but I also carry it in my face and stuff so I was like whatever. I don't want to be a bodybuilder, I just want to stay in shape. I used to want to be huge, matter of fact back in '99 I weighed 40 pounds heavier. But that was my point, I wanted to be huge but now I just want to be in shape. Back then my knees, shoulders, and back paid the price for being heavier.

MM: I have a question about your lineup, is this the permanent lineup now? Who's in the band?

RW: Both my bass player and my guitar player were guys who had played in Mojo bands before and I had known them through the years and it worked out to be a good thing. I already had a relationship with them too, they were cool guys and I wasn't super fans of their bands because it wasn't my thing. Their band were good but it wasn't my style. I really saw something in them as musicians that I thought was really special, and even beyond that talent issue I was looking for guys I could consider family. Mojo wasn't much of a family. We were more of a band, we made good music together and enjoyed being in the band but there was so much difference in philosophy and lifestyle.

MM: Sounds like being on tour with the Doors or something, like being with Jim Morrison all the time.

RW: Yeah, it really was. He was a party, he was partying from the time he got up in the morning until the time that he went to bed. That was great, he did his job though. Did it effect his performance in Mojo I have no idea, because he was never sober. It was like David Lee Roth or Jim Morrison. But it was cool, it was great for that band. I was just ready to get out of there.

"Axle Rose ...the reason he sounds terrible isn't necessarily because he is a terrible singer, he's just out of shape."
I saw a little bit of David Lee Roth on the stage just now. (laughing)

RW: Actually, its kind of emabarassing to say, but I'm more of a Sammy Hagar fan than a David Lee Roth fan. You know, thats really uncool to say that because David was really the killer, definitely the showman. I saw the Sammy/Dave show last summer, and I was amazed at what a better singer Sammy was and how much more control of his voice he had and how much more mature as a musician he is. Dave is just all about the party and it never translated into a guy that was just like..Wow..you know. Sammy was Eddie's rival musically, and they were both incredible musicians where Dave was just a vehicle to make Van Halen the most powerful live band in the world. But they never wrote the incredible songs, there was always the Eddie and Alex show in the early days and Dave was just the..whooo... you know.

MM: I got a question about the DK Records deal in Europe. What is going on with that?

RW: Nothing. The guy that runs it is a real nice guy and he offered to release our demo in Europe and he was like a middle man. He took the product and he had a relationship with a company in Holland and he has distribution. There was no front money, it wasn't like a record deal it was just a distribution deal. He took the demo that I paid for, that I recorded on my own, and he put it on the shelves in Europe and my main objective in that was to get some product out there that we could tour behind. We wanted to do a little summer tour to give Pete and Billy some experience in Europe. I thought it would be a good idea to get out on the road for a couple of weeks solid. Right now since we don't have a record deal we just go out and play on the weekends, the most we will ever do is just four days in a row, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

MM: Well, its great stuff, are they just not taking to it here in America?

Its just the record industry is in the shits right now. Record sales are down sixty percent and they released 30,000 albums last year and only 126 of them went gold. We have had plenty of record deal offers...in other words its like having a car and you want to sell your car but the market is bad so you either take half of what its worth and sell it or you just say I'll just keep the car, I don't have to sell it that bad. And thats how I feel. Would I love to have a record deal? Of course I would. I would love to have something out there but I'm not going to give it away for nothing. I did that with Stuck Mojo. I signed a deal and it just was not a good idea. Not that Century Media is a bad label, I just signed a bad deal with Century Media and I financially suffered for seven years because of it.

MM: A lot of bands on Century Media say the same thing.

RW: A lot of bands on a lot of labels do it. Their agenda is they don't care, they just want to get a record out. They are just desperate to go out and play. When you are 16 that is what you want to do, put a record out and tour but at some point you wake up and say I've sold a half million albums worldwide and made $5.00 a record and its like Oh My God, how much money did they make off the band? How much money did I make? You start going down and realizing that I'm making crap but I didn't know any better. When I signed the deal I was 23 years old and I just wanted a record deal. If I had waited another year we probably would have gotten a much better deal and rap rock would have been a little further along than what it was at the time. Right now Linkin Park is the hot thing and other bands like that. We just play rock music. And there are some bands that play rock music. It may take another year for the economy to turn us around and sales are up and the record companies figure out what they are gonna do to combat downloads. And in the meantime we'll just keep doing what we are doing.

To be continue in Part 2...

Rich Ward pt 2Eric Compton, Troy Cole10/1/2003
Rich Ward pt 1Eric Compton, Troy Cole7/22/2003

Sickspeed demo
Frank Hill6/15/2003

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