ORDAINED are a shock rock band from Portsmouth, Virginia. The band has established quite a repution in the underground scene, because of their exorbitant live shows. But if you like old school Heavy Metal with a solid edge of thrash, then you can’t go wrong with their music either. Their music, comprehensive live show, plus the whole horror concept behind the band, struck my attention right away. I just had to put the band through their paces about all kinds of things. Frontman 'The Reverend' was my spokesman along with drummer Wally Parris and they told me, that the band is very busy working on a new album (third album, entitled “Altar Ego”), which should be out in the next few months. All the more reason to pay some attention to this amazing band! What else these wicked guys entrusted me, is to be read in the interview below. The first and very thoroughly acqaintance with ORDAINED!
When did ORDAINED get together as a band?
Reverend: "ORDAINED started out in 1996. There was no Metal scene, where we lived in Virginia. It was totally alternative and progressive bands. We started ORDAINED to become the "unscene"."
Who was in the first line-up of ORDAINED?
Wally: "The Reverend (lead vocals), Wally Parris (drums), Dean Palokangas (bass)and Rob Soul (guitar)."
Who came up with the band name and why did you choose it?
Wally: "The Rev came up with the name. It only seemed natural, because he was already an ordained minister."
Who can we see as the biggest musical influences of the band?
Reverend: "MOTLEY CRUE, AC/DC, MOTORHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST and OVERKILL."
Wally: "I would say as a band the biggest sinfluences are ALICE COOPER, KISS, LIZZY BORDEN, MOTLEY CRUE… Any band with a show. My own favorite sinfluences are MOTLEY CRUE, VAN HALEN, JUDAS PRIEST and AC/DC. As a drummer my main sinflunces are Tommy Lee, Tommy Aldridge, John Bonham, Alex Van Halen and Scott Travis. My main sinspirations are Jenna Jameson, Brittany Andrews, Lovette, J.R. Carrington, Tiffany Mynx, Traci Lords, Celeste, and Davia Ardell."
I think that we can say that ORDAINED is very well known for their outrageous shows. Can we point at any band that influenced you to do a big show, next to the music. Or was this something that just happened naturally?
Reverend: "ORDAINED has been SINfluenced by many bands. As far as the stage show aspect, I am very into the image concious groups. Bands that do more than stand there in jeans and t-shirts."
Wally: "The bands with the big shows have always been my favorites. Our show is a cross between ALICE COOPER meets KISS meets LIZZY BORDEN."
How would you describe the music of ORDAINED?
Reverend: "Heavy Metal with thrash tendencies."
Wally: "We are pure heavy metal. The closest I can describe what we sound like is OOVERKILL meets FORBIDDEN."
Who writes the lyrics for the band? And what are they about?
Reverend: "I write the lyrics. The guys usually come up with some riffs and then play it for me and I set my brain to work. Depending on what type of mood I am in, is what type of lyrics they end up with. Occasionally, somebody else will come up with a line or song title or a fan will send me some lyrics, but 99.9% of the time, it's all The Reverend."
Wally: "The Reverend writes all the lyrics and no telling what will come out of his sick mind."
Can you inform us a bit more about the line-up changes that took place over the years, and who is in ORDAINED right now?
Reverend: "ORDAINED is: Dean Palokangas on bass, Wally Parris on drums and backing vocals, Mike Pagan on guitar and backing vocals and The Reverend on lead vocals."
Wally: "The only line up change ORDAINED has had is our new guitar player Mike Pagan. It has always been The Rev, Dean, and myself. We actually still have some of the same crew guys from ten years ago. ORDAINED is very lucky to have a great crew. They are part of the band as much as the four of us."
In 1996 you released your first two track demo. Did it have a name and which songs were on this demo?
Wally: "It was called "Live Rehearsal 1996" and "Catch and Release" and "I Am The One" are the two songs on it."
In 1997 you released your first six song CD called "Let Us Prey". How many copies were sold of this CD and how were the reactions on your debut album?
Wally: "We sold five hundred copies of the CD in no time. It is out of print now and still in demand."
Which songs are on this CD, which is sold out by now?
Reverend: " "Let Us Prey" had six songs on it: "Catch & Release", "Possession (is 9/10 the Law)", "Mortimus Grimley", "20:10", "Rising Statistics", and "Flow To Hell"."
In that same year you also released a comic book (!!) called "Mortimus Grimley", a name that we will find back in one of your CD releases later on, again. Can you shortly tell us the story that's in this comic book, and who made the drawings for this comic book?
Reverend: "I took the idea of Mortimus Grimley to our artist Scapegoat. He listened to what I wanted and drew up what became the comic book. I gave him the concept and basic plan of what it should look like and he brought it to life with ink and paper."
Like mentioned already, the name of Mortimus Grimley appears many times in the history of ORDAINED. Can you tell us a bit more about this Mortimus Grimley, who seemed to be very important for you guys?!
Reverend: “Mortimus Grimley is a character that I came up with one day while thinking about different bands and mascots. IRON MAIDEN has Eddie, MEGADETH has Vic Rattlehead, MOTLEY CRUE has Alister Fiend and MOTORHEAD has Snaggletooth. I wanted to write a song about a character that told a story. I had been wanting to do something, where ORDAINED could use Scapegoats artwork for more than albums, stickers and t-shirts. A comic book was the perfect medium for this song. Mortimus Grimley is a half human, half monster that lives on the outskirts of town. He lives alone and will kill and eat anythng that gets close to him.”
In that same year you opened for bands like CANDIRIA, THOR and KING DIAMOND. Did you get inspired by KING DIAMOND to give the people a great live show too, or did you already play the sensational live shows by then already?
Reverend: “ORDAINED had a stage show from the very beginning. As time went by, the show got bigger and more props and effects were added. I have over $1000 worth of stage clothing and costumes alone.”
Wally: “We already had the live show by then. We were selling more CDs and t-shirts than KING DIAMOND, when we played with him we were kicking so much ass live.“
In 1998, your stage show began to turn against you. Some shows in Virginia were banned. How did this all happen? And which aspects of the show made people decide to ban your shows? Was it a religious group that banned your shows?
Reverend: “ORDAINED is based in the Bible Belt of the United States. Massive religious hype and moral movements are started here. CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) is actually right down the street from where we practice. Our live shows have blood, fire, smoke, pyros, chopped up mannequins, dismembered dolls, violence, candles, skulls, and dark imagery. No one was doing anything like that here in Virginia when we started, and basically ORDAINED just freaked everyone out. They had never seen a stage presentation on the scale we were doing in a club setting and they could not handle it.
Wally: “First of all we were forbidden to perform our song “Perversery Rhymes” ever again due to The Rev's on stage performance of the song. Then we were banned because of too much pyro. And living right down the street from Pat Robertson, the head of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) doesn't help either.”
Was this a stimulation for you to make the show even more extreme than it already was?
Reverend: “ORDAINED is always trying to add to our show and give the fans as much as possible every performance.”
Wally: “Fuck yeah!”
Okay, we talked a lot about the show aspect of ORDAINED here, but maybe you can explain to us what the people can expect when they come to an ORDAINED show? Tell us a bit more about your sensational live show please?
Reverend: “ORDAINED is commited to giving the audience their moneys worth every time they see us perform. Your eyes and ears will be bombarded with music and imagery.”
Wally: “When we first hit the stage, you will either love us, hate us, or be terrified of us. Pyro, blood, fire...are all sincluded in the ORDAINED show.”
Why is it so important for you to give the people a great show?
Reverend: “The fans are the most important thing in the music SINdustry. Without them, there would be nothing. ORDAINED takes pride in the fact that we always give 100% live.”
Wally: “The fans are the reason I do anything. They fucking deserve it!”
You're also changing clothes several times during your shows. Are you 'transforming into other persons' so to say, when you're changing clothes? Or is this more another aspect of the show that you give?
Reverend: “I have many costumes and props that I utilize during the ORDAINED performances. Depending on which song we are performing, I may have on a top hat with velvet cape, a wolf mask, full leather bondage gear, anything to help add to the visual presentation. I also use axes, candles, skulls, canes, dolls, torches, & mannequin torsos. I have acustom built coffin that I go into and out of during the set. I breathe fire, make fire appear from the palms of my hands, drink candle wax, spit blood. It all adds to the overall ORDAINED experience. Our music stands on is own, we just want to give the fans as much as possible when they come out to see us perform.”
You also spit fire. Isn't it very dangerous what you're doing, or did you get any wise lessons to do it as safe as possible? Does it go wrong once in a while?
Reverend: “It is extremely dangerous! No lessons, just trial and error. I have to make absolutely sure that there are no crosswinds, or anyone or thing in my projected path. ORDAINED has a road crew that is second to none, so I put my trust in them that the stage fans or air conditioning blowers will be shut off during that part of the performance.”
You only play live when you can put up your whole show. Is the show aspect more important than the musical aspect for you?
Reverend: “The show is just an extension of the music. You can listen to the album at home. When you come to see us live, your eyes are going to be bombarded as well as your ears.”
Wally: “No. We work long and hard on our songs and I think they kick fucking ass. Who the hell wants to see four guys standing in t-shirts and jeans playing their CD on stage?!?? This is show business with the first word being show.”
Isn't it difficult when you need to support a band? You need quite some space on stage to perform your show I guess, or do you only play headline shows?
Reverend: “If ORDAINED is the opening act, we cram as much as possible onto whatever stage space we have. Come to think of it, we do that when we are the headline band too!”
Wally: “We try and work with our opening bands. Yes, it takes a very long time to set up our stage show but it is worth it. Every time we play no matter how many people are out there it is always a headline show to us.”
With which bands did you share the stage already?
Reverend: “We have performed with many bands, signed and unsigned. Too many to name them all. Some of the bands we have performed with are KING DIAMOND, CANDIRIA, REIGN OF TERROR, DISARRAY, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and SHOVELBARN.”
Wally: “We have played with KING DIAMOND, COC, and some other major acts. Locally, we like to play with our buds in REIGN OF TERROR.”
Do you change the show regularly or not?
Reverend: “We try to change the show around with the set lists, and props and such. When we write new material, it is sometimes difficult to decide which of the older songs we are going to leave out. A new song could mean new costumes, or props, but not always. The fans expect to see certain things when they come out, and ORDAINED always tries to give the fans what they want.”
Are you allowed to play in Virginia already, or do they still don't want you around in the clubs there?
Reverend: “We were banned from performing in Virginia at one time, but the ORDAINED congregation demanded our return, and we always try to give the fans what they want. The ban has been lifted, so now we occasionally perform there for our fans.“
Wally: “Virginia has treated us so shitty! I don't care, if I ever play there again!!”
What's the metal scene like in Portsmouth, Virginia? Are there many clubs that you can play in, and are there any more interesting bands in the scene next to ORDAINED?
Reverend: “No matter where ORDAINED is, we are the scene.”
Wally: “There are no clubs to play in Portsmouth. We always travel out of state. The only scene is ORDAINED and we don't even play there.”
I believe that sometimes you'll get into some hilarious moments on stage, with shows like this. Maybe you can share some of these funny, hilarious moments with our readers. Please tell us some nice stories about the life on the road of ORDAINED?
Wally: “Not too many funny moments on stage with ORDAINED. The after show parties we have had are what legends are made of. There was the time after a show I put the van in the ditch leaving a drug dealer's house. The time The Reverend passed out in the van and people were looking at him like they do at animals at the zoo. And many lude acts with lovely ladies.”
Do you also play covers during your live shows, or do you stick to your own penned material. Which covers do you play and why?
Reverend: No cover tunes. We concentrate totally on our own music.”
Before you released your second album in 1999, you also released an unmastered limited sampler tape called "A Taste Of The Blood". Which songs were on this tape and how many copies were distributed?
Wally: “The songs were "Sealed With A Fist", "Let There Be Death", "Destroyer" and "Punk You". We released it for the 1999 Halloween show. I don't know how many were distributed, but I know there are none left.”
The second album "The Second Coming" was released in 2000. In which way does this second release differ from your debut album in your opinion?
Wally: “I don't know if musically it is that different. The recording is better. It better be. It took us over a year to do that fucking CD.”
In 2000 you were also added to the website of porn queeen Brittany Andrews. (www.brittanyandrews.com). How the hell did this connection between a porn queen and a heavy metal band get together? I can imagine that you are a fan of her, but is she also a fan of the band?
Wally: “I am the porn king. I was a fan of Brittany and she contacted me about being on her website. She has an area called The Rock/Porn Connection and has a pretty cool ORDAINED section on there. We also did a video interview with her in New York City. Do you wanna see pictures?”
Speaking of the Internet. How important is this medium for a band as ORDAINED? And where can we find you on the net?
Reverend: “ORDAINED has had a website since 1996, when we first started. The very first ORDAINED site was put online by a fan of the band named the Voice Of Doom. He runs an illegal underground Metal radio station. It was only two pages. The current ORDAINED site is run by the band, and is packed with live pics, free music downloads, artwork, and more.”
Wally: “In today's times you have to have a website and get your music out there to fans everywhere. We have fans all over the world. It's almost unbelievable, that there's somebody in Russia sending me a fan letter but it is true. Our website is: www.ordained.net.“
What's your favorite ORDAINED song and why?
Reverend: “At the moment, my favorite ORDAINED song is "The Diary Of Jack The Ripper". It has a groove that just grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go. Plus, it is a true story taken from a diary that was found written by a gentleman by the name of James Maybrick (who also happens to be from here where we live before he moved to London), in which he confesses to the crimes.”
Wally: “Right now it is a song the Mike Pagan and I wrote for the new CD "Altar Ego". It is called "SINvocation". Probably, my favorite songs to play are the ones when The Rev does the craziest shit. In "Sanctum Secorum", he breathes a big fire ball. In "Possession..." he drinks candle wax. That's entertainment!”
You also appeared on the "Transcending The Mundane" compilation CD. Which song ended up on this compilation album, and did you choose this song yourself?
Wally: "Let There Be Death" was the song, but somebody else in the band picked it. I wanted "Sealed With A Fist" on there... That was the song being pushed on Brittany Andrews' website.”
Reverend: “I wanted "Sealed With A Fist" as well, but when the compilation disc came out, it had "Let There Be Death" on it.”
Why did Rob Soul actually leave the band and how did you get in touch with new guitar player Mike Pagan?
Reverend: “Rob Soul left ORDAINED to persue other musical projects. He wanted to take control of ORDAINED and refused to listen to any other opinions other than his own. For six and a half years, he was a quarter part of ORDAINED, then he decided that we weren't doing enough and he felt we weren't serious about anything. He wanted it to be 100% his way 100% of the time, and basically when he was told that it wasn't going to be like that, he quit. Mike Pagan was chosen after around two dozen guitarists auditioned for the vacancy. He saw one of the ads that ORDAINED had placed. He called us up, came out and jammed and had the best attitude, the right look, and gear that actually worked. So he got the job.”
Wally: “It was over with Rob. After he left, we auditioned at least twenty-five guitar players. Mike Pagan had the right attitude. That's more important to me than anything.”
After that we also see the release of "The Resurrection Of Mortimus Grimley", a three track mini CD. Rob Soul still plays the guitar on this mini CD. Weren't you aware of the fact that he would soon leave the band, and wasn't it therefore better to wait with this release until you
had a new guitar player?
Reverend: “We did not know Rob was going to quit, or else we would not have spent so much time working on that damn CD. It was never intended to take almost a year to release a three song MCD. Rob just decided that he was going to try to take control of everything and just kept getting more and more unreasonable. Then before we were finished mixing and mastering the disc, he quit. We ended up cancelling a five state East Coast mini tour, because he quit without even giving us notice he was leaving.”
Wally: “When we did the cd we had no idea he was leaving. It took so fucking long to finish that CD The Rev and I started another band, so we could have something to do and make some money. We put that CD out for the fans as soon as we could...no matter who the guitar player was.”
Recently, you told me that you are working on a new album already. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about this? Have you got any titles of the new songs maybe?
Reverend: “The new ORDAINED disc is called "Altar Ego". It is a full length with eight songs. The song titles are (in no particular order): “Sod”, “The Diary Of Jack The Ripper”, “SINvocation”, “Dead Zone”, “Lovette”, “Unholy Blasphemies”, “Sanctum Secorum (2002)”, & “Cog In A Wheel”.”
Wally: “I know it will be my favorite CD, because everything is so much better with Mike playing guitar and with Dean recording it. The songs are heavier than ever.”
Is Halloween a reason to play a special show somewhere, or is it just another holiday for you guys? (The band HALLOWEEN from Detroit always perform their well known Detroits Heavy Metal Horror Show on that date, that's why I ask!)
Reverend: “Every show is Halloween for ORDAINED. We bring the big show with us wherever we perform. A performance on Halloween is extra special, because our fans will dress up more, but no matter what date we perform it is always Halloween for us.”
Wally: “ORDAINED looks like Halloween every day of the year with our stage show. Every club and all our fans want ORDAINED to play in their town on Halloween. We do it for the fans.”
When I read about your band on the Internet and in magazines, I got very interested. The music you played was great and the show aspect looked fantastic. But like with many other bands from the US it's unlikely that we will see you guys on stage over here in Europe, or is there any chance that you'll come over to Europe someday to play here. (maybe on some festivals or something like that?!)
Reverend: “ORDAINED would like nothing more than to cross over to Europe and perform shows and festivals, but until we have some monetary support from a label, magazine or financial backer, we are going to have to concentrate on performing here in the States. We will come to perform in Europe at any time, we just need some money to get there and back!”
Wally: “I think ORDAINED would go over great in Europe. I know the fans over there no what true heavy metal is about. Hopefully after the new CD comes out, we can perform in Europe.“
We already saw that the show aspect is very important for ORDAINED. Have you ever thought of recording a few of your shows on video/DVD, so we can enjoy it too over here in Europe. Or do you already have some video material available for people who are interested in that?
Wally: “We have video taped shows over the years. As soon as the new CD comes out we will be going all out on everything. Videos are in the works very soon.”
Why do you keep ORDAINED under your own direct management. Isn't there any record label that is (s)interested in the band, or do you want to have full control over the whole situation, so that you don't have to justify yourself constantly for the things that you're doing?
Reverend: “ORDAINED has been shopping around for a label that will give us the creativity freedom to keep on doing our music without changing the formula. We have a strong fanbase and don't want to compromise that with a label to coming in and mixing things up.”
Wally: “We want to be signed to a good label but the band doesn't want to get fucked over. That happens too much in this business.”
Would you please respond to the following names: KISS * ALICE COOPER * WASP * HALLOWEEN (USA) & DEATH SS (Italy).
Reverend: “KISS was the first band I saw live and is a massive SINfluence on my stage persona. ALICE COOPER is the greatest showman in the history of music. WASP is a favorite as well for their stage show and standing up for Heavy Metal. HALLOWEEN and DEATH SS are familiar names, but unfortunately I am not too familiar with their music.”
Wally: “KISS - The Greatest Show On Earth. ALICE COOPER - The Smartest man in music. WASP - Fucking sick man! HALLOWEEN - My favorite Holiday. DEATH SS - Don't know ‘em.”
I believe, you're driving a Harley Davidson, aren't you? What type of Harley do you have and what's so special about Harley Davidson motors?
Reverend: “I have two Harleys. I have a 1994 Sportster that is customized with lots of chrome and leather. I also own a 1995 Dyna Superglide. I have customized that one slightly, but not as much so as the Sportster. I am a believer in supporting American companies, and when it comes to motorcycles, as far as I am concerned, they only make one type. That type is a Harley-Davidson.”
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides playing in a band and driving a bike?
Reverend: “Tattoos, gambling in Las Vegas, traveling and drinking.”
What are the future plans for ORDAINED?
Wally: “Get the new CD out. Play everywhere. Get lots of pussy.”
Can we expect another sequel to this Mortimus Grimley story, or is this finished for you right now?
Reverend: “Right now, Mortimus Grimley is on the back burner. He hasn't gone away and he hasn't been killed off. I am almost certain that he will make another appearance in the future of ORDAINED.”
I also read that Dean, the bass player in the band, has build himself a home recording studio in which you can record your stuff. But it says that also other bands will be able to record there. Which bands recorded their stuff in this studio already, and is there any hidden talent that might be interesting enough to check out?
Reverend: “ORDAINED has recorded there, and a few other bands as well. The only one I know by name is THE RENEGADES OF SLUTS.”
Wally: “Yeah, they recorded a full length CD in there. You can check them out at: www.geocities.com/mainslut.“
With which band would you like to go on tour and why?
Reverend: “As for myself, I would like to go out with MERCYFUL FATE or OVERKILL. They both have the type of audience we would most appeal to in my opinion.“
Wally: “My all time favorite band is MOTLEY CRUE, but I'm not sure how well we would go with them. I will go on tour with anybody.”
You thought that this question would be forgotten eventually, but here it is then. Why do you call yourself "The Reverend"?
Reverend: “I thought I was actually going to get out of a SINterview for once without having to answer this question! To make a long story short, I am a legally ORDAINED Reverend and am recognized as such by the United States government. I am here to preach the gospel of Heavy Metal!!!!!”
What's your favorite SIN?
Wally: “It has to be lust!”
Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview, maybe there is something that we forgot to mention here that is essential for the story of ORDAINED?
Reverend: “Just the fact that ORDAINED is grateful for any and all support and SINterest that we recieve from our congregation and fans from around the world.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Reverend: “Thank you all for taking the time to read this SINterview, and be sure to check out the Official SINternet Home of ORDAINED.”
The last words are for you......
Wally: “Thanks to all our fans.“
Reverend: “First off, I would like to thank you for giving ORDAINED this space to share our thoughts with your readers. Be sure to visit the Official SINternet Home of ORDAINED at http://www.ordained.net. You can also write to us at: ORDAINED, 3724 Towne Point Road, Suite B, Portsmouth, VA 23703 USA. Support the underground and Heavy Metal. Last and most importantly, ORDAINED would like to thank all of our fans for their support and SINterest. Keep the faith in Metal!”
Interview by: Toine van Poorten
(translated and in press for HEADACHE magazine, Netherlands March/April 2003)