When did JACK THE RIPPER get together as a band?
“The very first line up came together in the early 90's.”
Please introduce the bandmembers to us…
“There’s "Mad Max" Hernandez; he’s our vocalist and comes from South America. Then we have Kenny Moore on bass guitar, from the USA; Bob Sniegon, our drummer from England; Dave Swisher on guitars from the USA and A. J. Spiegel on guitars, also from the USA.”
Who came up with the name of the band, and why did you choose for JACK THE RIPPER?
“A. J. Spiegel came up with the name for the band for the following reasons: Firstly, it’s the name of an infamous murderer; Secondly, it brings fear and evil to mind and last, but not least it’s a great marketing figure.”
Is the original line up still together now, or have there been some line up changes over the years?
“No. The original line up has changed over the years and has seen many talented musicians.”
Did any of the band members play in any other bands before they joined JACK THE RIPPER. Please tell us a bit more about the musical past of the band members?
“Max and Kenny's experience had been limited up to this point. Bob had played with LIGHTING HAND and several other bands in the Washington D.C. area. Dave had played with numerous bands, particularly IRON CITY ANGELS, who had a contract with Warner Brothers. A. J. played with many musicians and was in LOOSE LIPS - a hard rock band with a rather nasty female vocalist. All band members have at least 15+ years experience.”
Did these bandmembers record anything with their previous bands?
“We recorded a lot of demo tapes and did many light recording sessions.”
How would you describe the music of JACK THE RIPPER?
“JACK THE RIPPER is a mix of the best of 80's heavy metal with a heavy emphasis on great musicianship and stage show."
Who are the musical influences of JACK THE RIPPER, and for each band member individually?
“Take JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, ACCEPT, DEEP PURPLE and LED ZEPPELIN, mix them with each musicians personality and you have JACK THE RIPPER. Max was influenced by Udo Dirkscheider (ACCEPT) and Rob Halford. Kenny was influenced by Steve Harris (IRON MAIDEN). Bob was influenced by Neil Peart (JOURNEY) and Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE). Dave was influenced by Jimmy Page (LED ZEPPELIN) and RICK DERRINGER. A. J. was influenced by Tipton/Downing (PRIEST), MICHAEL SCHENKER, YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN, Jimmy Page (LED ZEPPELIN) and Murray/Smith (IRON MAIDEN).”
You recorded your first six track mini CD called “Blood Bath”. How were the reactions of the media towards these first six songs of JACK THE RIPPER?
“So far “Blood Bath” has been getting awesome reviews everywhere!”
Is there still a market for a traditional heavy metal band like JACK THE RIPPER, in a time of nu-metal, death metal and black metal bands that conquer each other in extremity, fastness and/or madness?? I mean, if you’re looking stupid enough (SLIPKNOT), act like a madman (MARILYN MANSON) or sound like a boyband with a semi heavy guitar riff (LINKIN PARK) in your music, then you seem to be interesting enough to become a hype worldwide. While good metal bands are simply ignored, even in the heavy metal scene sometimes. It’s f*cking unbelievable. What’s your opinion, and your experience with this?
“I think, there will always be a market for real metal. Our fans and sites like yours are proof of that.”
How did you make the fantastic intro to “Burn In Hell”? Does it come from a movie, or did you make it yourself?
“Actually, we burnt a witch at the stake. No, seriously, we wrote and recorded everything you hear, then added effects into the final mix. Nothing was taken from any movies.”
Let’s take a look at thew live shows that you perform. Do you use any show elements (props) during your live gigs?
“We believe in a large and entertaining stage show begining with a dark robed monk lighting candles while sinister organ music is playing in the background, then we start into “Chambers of Darkness”. It’s very effective. Eventually, we want to have an old Londontown set with gas lamps, prostitutes, etc.etc. to promote the right effect. Of course, Jack himself will make an appearance.”
Which other songs do you play to create a full time live gig. The songs on the CD are good for about twenty-five minutes, but I assume you play longer live shows. Do you play any cover songs maybe, or do you stick to own written songs only?
“We have fourty to fifty original songs that we use for shows. There are absolutely no cover tunes.”
With which bands did you share the stage already?
“KIX, HELIX, SLAYER, KICK-AXE, among others…..”
What’s the metal scene like in Columbia, South Carolina? Are there many clubs in which you can play live, or is it difficult to find a spot where you can put on your shows?
“The metal scene in Columbia is very poor, because people are listening to nu-metal. There aren’t very many clubs that we can play, because most are to small to handle our stage gear.”
Are there any more interesting live bands from that area, or are you the only ones around that regularly attack the people with your shows?
“We are the only real metal game in town. All the other bands are nu-metal or posers.”
The songs on “Blood Bath” are from a very high quality indeed. They’re one of the best traditional heavy metal songs that I’ve heard in ages. Most of the songs were written in 1999 however. I am very curious what the band sounds like nowadays. Are there any plans already for a new (hopefully full length) CD, and what can we expect from this?
“Actually, the songs were written in the early 90’s. We are always writing and recording. Our sound now is even heavier than “Blood Bath”. We will be releasing a limited edition LP called “Back On The Attack” soon. A new full length CD is also in the works.”
What are the future plans for JACK THE RIPPER?
“To have control of our own destiny and not let some record company dictate our future! We would like to play Europe, Japan, Russia, and see the world.”
Did you ever shoot any video footage of your live shows, or a video clip for one of the songs on “Blood Bath”?
“A JACK THE RIPPER video was shot in the mid 90’s and broadcast around the USA. It was reviewed by many VJ’s and they didn’t know what to think of us!”
What’s your favorite JACK THE RIPPER song and why?
“The band favors “Chambers Of Darkness”, because of the intensity and flow of the song. It just rocks!”
How important is the internet for a band like JACK THE RIPPER, and where can interested metal fans find you on the web?
“We love the internet! The world can see us now at: http://www.jtrmetal.com.”
Do you have any other hobbies, besides playing music in a heavy metal band?
“A.J. loves adding guitars to his metal arsenal. He wants a jackson A.J. Spiegel model guitar. Dave and A.J. also enjoy football. Bob enjoys listening to and playing metal. “Mad Max” enjoys annoying the hell out of everyone!”
We’re a heavy metal magazine from Holland (The Netherlands). Is there anything specific that you know about our country besides the fact that we have lots of tulips and windmills?
“A lot of great metal musicians have come from the Netherlands. We appreciate their hard work and efforts. A.J. visited the Netherlands as a child.”
I guess, there are some nice stories to tell about one of your shows, or something hilarious or funny that happened to the band over the years. Maybe you want to share one of these stories with our readers?
“We shared a practice hall with another band whose drummer stored some expensive wood in the hallway. “Mad Max” decided to use this wood to build a drum riser and stage ramps. When the drummer came looking for his wood, of course he didn’t find it because Bob’s drums were sitting on the newly built riser. This guy never figured it out!”
Do you have any special messages for all the metal fans out there?
“We appreciate our fans and all the metal fans that help keep the music alive. JACK THE RIPPER gives a hundred and ten percent, because the fans can make you or break you. We rock!”
Your famous last words……
“We come, we deliver, and we kick ass!!! Real metal is alive and well. Thank you true metal fans and the people, that come and visit your website!!!”
Interview by: Toine van Poorten for Headache magazine, NL 2003
Contact JACK THE RIPPER at:
P.O. Box 61126
Columbia, SC 29260-1126