NAME: Roxanne Gordey and Denver Whipple HOMETOWN: Grand Prairie, AB, Canada This month at THE METAL PIT we have 2 Co-Metal Maidens of the Month. From the Alberta Metal band EDGE OF ATTACK we feature vocalist Roxanne Gordey and Bass player Denver Whipple. Once I heard a very impressive demo of their soon to be released cd I had to have them as Metal Maidens. Check them out at http://www.edgeofattack.com THE METAL PIT: How did you get into Heavy Metal music? Denver: Both of my parents have always liked metal so naturally I had listened to whatever they had. Music was a constant in my life, even when I wasn’t really paying attention to it. However, the first time I was ever truly captured by music occurred when I was around 11 years old. I had been looking through my father’s albums one evening and I happened to stumble upon Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to my Nightmare’. I don’t know exactly what had drawn me to it specifically but I just remember being mesmerized through all 11 tracks. It just had so many different elements compiled into one beautiful masterpiece. To this day it is still my all time favourite album and one of the main reasons why I play music. Roxanne: It was a very gradual transition for me. I grew up listening to tons of different stuff, but my mainstays were classic rock bands like Aerosmith and Def Leppard; the stuff that my mom had collected on cassette. One day she bought a Sirius satellite radio and I tried out all the different stations. I listened to Octane the most, but it wasn't until hearing Symphony of Destruction that I made the leap to Liquid Metal. From there I found myself in a brand new world of music that I continue to explore even now. THE METAL PIT: What made you want to be on stage in a Metal band? Roxanne: Rob Halford. No really. Well, being on stage was something that came to me early through my interests in drama, so the stage wasn't something that I needed to yearn for, but there was always something exotic and astonishing about the bikes, the spikes and the leather. You know way girls feel when they see Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet? That's the way I felt when I saw video of Rob Halford for the first time. Denver: Being on stage has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. Visual elements actually have been one of my biggest interests in music; I find that a live performance is just as, if not more, important as the music itself. The amount of things you can do are limitless and can be a really memorable thing to fans. For example, the band W.A.S.P. is notorious for throwing raw meat into the audience, tying semi-naked (or fully naked, depends on how far you go back) women on torture racks. That was over two decades ago yet people still talk about it. I am not saying that you have to go to those extremes, but it definitely demonstrates how much of an impact it can create. THE METAL PIT: Denver why did you choose to play bass? And what bass players inspired you? Denver: I started playing bass on a whim. An old friend of mine who was staying with us at the time was actually planning on auditioning to be the bassist of Edge of Attack. He left my house one afternoon and left his bass guitar behind. I was bored, so I picked it up and started messing around with it. I have a deep admiration for several bass players including Dave Ellefson, Ian Hill, Geezer Butler, Phil Lynott, Lemmy Kilmister, Fred Leclercq, Dennis Dunaway… The list goes on for ages. I’ve always had major respect for bass players that have their own persona and aren’t simply sidesmen to the guitarist(s). As far as my style goes, I’m not really sure who is a major influence… I’m constantly developing and refining my skills, but those bass players I listed prior are always significant to me. … I looked up the tab for Alice Cooper’s ‘Gutter Cat vs. The Jets’ and taught myself from there. I enjoyed playing it, so I stuck with it. THE METAL PIT: Roxanne what vocalist inspired you to want to be a vocalist? And have you taken anything from other vocalists and incorporated into your own stage style? Roxanne: My earliest major inspiration has to be Freddie Mercury. I adored Queen from a young age and his theatrics made me want to use singing as my creative outlet. I also admired others like Steve Perry and Robert Plant. While I love to watch other vocalists on stage, I don't typically like replication. If what I'm doing isn't mine, then it's rehearsed and it isn't natural. I try my best to be genuine, and while I can draw inspiration from a good performance, you probably won't see me ripping off Tobias Sammet's moves..... though it wouldn't be a terrible idea. 🙂 THE METAL PIT: What bands are you influenced by? Roxanne: Bands that have made an imprint with a distinct image. I try to draw from those who have created a signature that screams, remember me. I think of Bruce Dickinson waving the flag of Great Britain or Ozzy decapitating small animals. Haha 🙂 In terms of sound, I'm really drawn to power, symphonic, and folk metal right now and some of my favorite bands are currently Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and Ancient Bards. Denver: Growing up I found myself studying musicians thoroughly whenever given the opportunity. Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath really stood out to me. I remember watching ‘The Number of the Beast’ video several times and just being completely captured by Bruce Dickinson’s presence. I’ve acquired a much longer list of musicians who I admire and look up to since then, of course. It has actually gotten to the point where nearly everyone inspires me in some way, but when it comes down to it I’d have to say Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper are my largest influences just because they’ve perfected their art and impacted the world of music in revolutionary ways. THE METAL PIT: How would you describe Edge of Attack to someone who has never heard of you? Denver: I have found that defining our sound is a bit of a difficult task. Simply calling us a power metal would be much too easy. Truth is we have influences coming from so many different genres of music, and it really shows. It is true that the foundation of our band is built up on our love for power metal but when you dig a little deeper you will discover the presence of a thrash influence as well. Alicia Beisel photography THE METAL PIT: Congratulations on being signed to Spread The Metal Records. What does it mean for the band to be signed to a label? Roxanne: It shows that our hard work is beginning to pay off. For us, it means adding greater depth to the reach of our music and making it accessible to more people in further parts of the world. THE METAL PIT: Your self titled CD is actually the band’s 3rd CD. The band went from playing thrash metal to more power metal feel. Why the change in style for this release? Roxanne: When I was brought on as the new vocalist, we were just beginning work on this album. The change in sound was the cue that lead to my involvement and Jurekk said it to me very plainly, "Everyone in this band loves power metal so much and I don't know why we aren't playing it." While Megadeth is a profound influence on all of us, it was time to let those other influences come through. THE METAL PIT: Roxanne, Introduce the rest of the band and what they bring to the band and music? Roxanne: Jurekk is our lead guitarist and second vocalist. I guess his talent is lightning hands and a mind for music. I would consider him to be our primary creative genius and mentor. Trevor is our drummer and our solid foundation. I like to think that he keeps us grounded because he's the only one of us who manages to have a normal life outside of trying to be a career musician. Denver is our bassist and my best friend, so I'll opt to forego a segment of blathering admiration and let her speak for herself 🙂 Tanner Wolff Photography THE METAL PIT: Denver, Of course your brother Jurekk is the guitarist in the band. What’s it like for you and him to play in a band together? Outside of Jurekk how do you get along with the rest of the band? Denver: I honestly couldn’t be happier. Jurekk and I have always gotten along extremely well and we see eye to eye on almost everything. We are efficient when it comes to writing together as well, which I find to be incredibly important. But yeah, my brother and I are both very dedicated people and it is very convenient to both be fixated on the same goals in regards to the band. I had been friends with the band for quite some time before joining. I’d always been around them because of my brother and I am quite a social person, plus all of us having common interests in music we naturally just got along. Roxanne and I have been close friends for years now, even before she joined the band. As it stands right now the line up gets along wonderfully which makes everything so much easier. THE METAL PIT: How important is it to have support of family and friends to do this? Roxanne: My family has always been supportive of my creative efforts. My friends are a great network that I can rely on, and they do everything they can to support Edge of Attack. Denver: I feel very fortunate to have such a supportive family and group of friends. They have all been very helpful and I don’t know where we would be without them. THE METAL PIT: You were ready to release your CD back a few months ago but then signed with Spread the Metal Records and decided to fix the album a bit before releasing it. Have you added any new songs to the album or changed the previous recorded songs in anyway? Denver: Yes and yes. Jurekk and I were working on a few songs that we both really liked prior to getting signed, so we decided to polish them up and add them to the album. In regards to the previous recorded tracks we have decided to rerecord them all and make changes where we found necessary. I feel confident in saying that they all sound better than ever and I really can’t wait to release them. THE METAL PIT: I asked previously what bands you were influenced by. But being females is there any certain females in metal that inspired you to do what your doing now or are you still influenced by males in the metal business? Denver: Two women in metal/rock really stand out to me. First being Suzi Quatro, although she played rock and roll, she broke a massive barrier for women in this genre of music. She showed that women can rock just as hard as men, which is the way I think it should be. The second woman that I find to be worth mentioning would be Wendy O. Williams. She is my largest female influence as I find every aspect of her being was completely dedicated to the music she played. She was a tough chick with an attitude who you couldn‘t help but love. She was truly one of a kind and unfortunately she is no longer with us, but to quote the woman herself, “legends never die”. Roxanne: It may have been due to a lack of exposure, but I always idolized male vocalists over the female ones. When I think back, I always sang along to Queen, Journey, and even Elvis Presley. Even currently, my vocal idol is Timo Kotipelto. Of course, I remember being amazed by Ann Wilson but I never tried to emulate her. THE METAL PIT: There is so many metal bands these days with female vocalists and it seems to cover almost all genre’s of metal now. What are your thoughts of females in metal? Do you think now since there is so many you don’t have anything to prove except that you can play good metal? Denver: I think it is great seeing so many women playing metal. The fact that it is generally accepted is excellent and the diversity of genres keep it interesting. There will always be narrow minded people giving women a hard time about playing metal music, but so long as we ignore them and continue what we are doing then it doesn’t really matter, right? Janell Rufiange/Eclipse Photography THE METAL PIT: If you could open for any metal band what band would you chose? Roxanne: Stratovarius. Hands down. I saw them play live in Edmonton and it was the first time I felt my heart in my throat for two full hours. I was nearly in tears, I was so moved. Denver: There are so many bands I’d like to open for. Avantasia is at the top of my list though, because they are absolutely unbelievable live and I know they are a huge inspiration to myself and Jurekk. Aside from that I’d just enjoy touring with anyone, really. I love being able to get to know bands and learning about new music is also very important to me. THE METAL PIT: When not playing or writing music what do you do for fun and relaxation? Alicia Beisel photography Denver: I spend the majority of my time listening to records and watching movies. I am a huge horror movie buff, specifically b-list. For example The Leprechaun series is a personal favourite. I spend a lot of my spare time hanging out with the band, too. Roxanne: I have lots of different hobbies totally unrelated to music that some people find surprising. For years I've been an avid player of Magic: The Gathering. I'm into all sorts of gaming, including console, PC and tabletop. Since Edge of Attack has really taken off, my education has become like a hobby too and right now I'm taking courses by correspondence for my psychology degree. THE METAL PIT: You are from Western Canada and a few years back we had the success of Into Eternity and now more recently Kobra and the Lotus also from Alberta have emerged in the Metal Scene. Do you feel its harder to make it when you’re not coming out of a bigger market like Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal? Roxanne: Absolutely. The market for metal music in Grande Prairie is very limited, leaving us with few opportunities to play shows and gain fans through traditional avenues. We have to endure greater travel expenses just to gain basic exposure and it can pose a massive challenge. THE METAL PIT: How important is the tool of the internet like with Facebook and Twitter to the success of the band? Roxanne: For us it is essential given our location. It allows us to connect with new fans on a global scale who, otherwise, would never hear about us. We've had considerable success using Facebook and Reverbnation to make our music available internationally. THE METAL PIT: You’re still a pretty young band. What is playing your songs live on stage like for yourself personally? Denver: I was a little nervous playing my first show, but since then my feelings have gone extremely uphill. I love being on stage. I feel really comfortable now and I’d have to say that playing shows has definitely become my favourite part of being in the band. Roxanne: Nerves and anxiety are something that I handle fairly well, and while I tend to get it leading up to a show, I don't have it on stage. We are career musicians. We do this because we love and enjoy it. Of course, the audience and the environment can dictate my specific feelings on stage. A great audience lets me have more fun with the performance. Tanner Wolff Photography THE METAL PIT: 10 years from now what do you hope is happening with Edge of Attack? Roxanne: I hope for the same thing I think every musician hopes for. Ideally, we will still be producing great albums, touring the world, and connecting with our fans. I also have an ambitious hope that Edge of Attack will help to fuel a resurgence of metal music in North America. Denver: I’d assume what anyone else in a band hoping to make it would want; The opportunity to make a living out of it. I’ve wanted to be a career musician for as long as I can remember and I must say it’d be lovely to achieve that goal with the people I am with now. We all work very hard and I hope that in 10 years we have something to show for it. THE METAL PIT: How does the lyric/music writing process go with the band? Denver: Jurekk, being the true innovator of Edge of Attack, does the heavy lifting on the writing. The vast majority of the music is initially written by him then tweaked by the other band members. I also helped write some of the new material that will be making it onto the album, like I mentioned earlier. But yeah, everyone in the band is constantly throwing ideas around and we work with what we like. THE METAL PIT: You are the 3rd Canadian artists to be featured as Metal Maiden(s) of the Month in THE METAL PIT. The other 2 being Kobra of Kobra and the Lotus and Alissa from The Agonist so what does it mean to be featured as Metal Maidens this month? Denver: I think it’s a huge honour to be part of something so interesting. It is a fantastic way to connect female musicians and a great opportunity for them to get the recognition that they deserve. The fact that I am noticed for what I love to do is very encouraging and I couldn’t thank The Metal Pit enough for such a wonderful experience! Roxanne: We appreciate the acknowledgement and support. As Canadian artists, we might face a little greater challenges with getting our names out there, but with the help of our supporters and everyone at THE METAL PIT, we are that much closer to reaching new fans.