After a lengthy absence, German metallers Messiah’s Kiss are back. Get Your Bulls Out is the band’s first record since 2007 and it’s testament to all the struggles, diseases and other ill will that have plagued the band in these past few years. Transitioning from a power metal style to that of traditional heavy metal and rock, the record is much different than we’d expect, yet it still brings about a rather memorable performance. I spoke with Mike Tirelli (vocals) as he talked about the new album as well as his thoughts on religion and shared some tour stories as well.
Get Your Bulls Out is your first album in eight years, since the release of Dragonheart in 2007. Do you see this as a revitalizing for the band?
This is definitely revitalizing. But it is also not so easy taking that amount of time off from releasing a new product. But it’s making it a little harder to coordinate touring, and we are currently putting some shows together.
What exactly was the reason behind the long absence? Did you feel that you just needed some time off, or was there another issue?
We had some health issues in the band and we needed some time to re-center ourselves. I was diagnosed with stage three stomach cancer, so that took some time away. But we pretty much continually kept writing music together. Also George, our guitar player who wrote most of the material for the three previous CD’s had a stroke! We also had some management issues. We probably could have released this at least three years earlier if we would have took the bulls by the horns and did what we eventually did, which was shop a label by ourselves.
Your previous records were considered power metal, but Get Your Bulls Out sounds like straight-up rock n’ roll. Tell me a little bit about the decision to add more rock elements.
The decision to go in this direction was very natural. Since George the guitar player had his stroke, he was unable to write. So basically Wayne (Bass) and Jason Banks (Guitar) wrote a lot of the music in England and they were inspired by a lot of American Rock bands. Then they would send it over to Eddy in Germany (Drummer) and he would basically arrange a lot of the ideas. Eddy also was in charge of production as well, as that’s where all mixes and most everything was recorded. Then he would send it to me in the New York to write melodies and lyrics. That was the formula to our new and revised style. But still not too far away from the past I think.
Musically, what are your influences and some of the records in particular that you were most inspired by?
My influences musically are the classic rock singers like Dio, David Coverdale, Rob Halford and Geoff Tate. But there are a lot of great singers that I like as well like Chris Cornell and Jay Buchanan of a band called Rival Sons, which I think is the best out there now! The most inspiring records have to be the first Black Sabbath Record, as well as Heaven & Hell. Also Fate’s Warning and Queensryche because of how different Geoff Tate sounded. But I enjoy so many other singers today from all genres of music. I try to learn from everyone in order to become a better singer all the time, whether I get out there on stage or if I’m in the studio! I sing all different styles of music
There are a lot of topics here, but in particular I’ve been able to pick up songs that seem to be anti-religious, anti-war and anti-dogmatic, among others. Do you think that religion was a good thing at one time, but now it’s gotten out of hand?
I think everyone has different beliefs and to write about them in a song can be cool. It seems today things have gotten a little out of hand. But I don’t think it will ever change, and it will probably get worse. I think that whatever one must believe in should all be for the same outcome and that should be, that everyone believes in a positive world. That every day is a great gift and don’t take anything for granted. Enjoy every moment. Because one day it can all come to an end!
Tell me about the writing and recording process for the album. Where did you record this album and how long was the process? Since this album has been a long time coming, how far back does some of the material recorded here go?
Basically Jason and Wayne in England would write music and would send it to Eddy in Germany and Eddy would edit and arrange some of the ideas. Then they would send it to me to write the melodies and lyrics. Most of the recordings were done in Germany in Eddy’s Studio. I also do a lot of vocal tracks at home in my studio as well. Some of the material dates back to 2008 when we first started to write after Dragon Heart was released. Since we were doing our own producing and mixing as well as everything else, we needed time to learn the production side of things. We also needed some time to work with this, because Eddy was in a learning process and we all were never happy with the sound of our recordings in the beginning. But I think we finally worked it out and I think Eddy did a Great job and is always getting better.
What do you guys do when you aren’t playing music? What sorts of hobbies and day jobs do you have?
Everybody has Families with kids which keeps everyone quite busy! I work in a top forty band as well as several other musical acts and sales. Wayne also plays in several different music acts and drives a truck. Eddy runs some family businesses and George works for the German government. Jason works at the airport. But we plan to get all of our children together and make a rock band when Messiah’s Kiss is not playing!
What is life like over there in Germany compared to life here in the states? Are things more peaceful out there?
There seems to be less stress than what’s here in the states and that’s because we are a lot more populated. With more people comes more stress, but Germany is the stronghold of Europe and they pretty much hold it all together. England is separate and that’s very much like the states.
You’ve been a band for quite a while and have played in several acts even before that. Out of all these acts that you’ve played in, what is one of the most exciting moments that you’ve ever had while touring? Have you ever run into any issues on the road? What do you guys do for fun on the road?
Well playing and touring all over Europe and Japan with two different bands was really exciting. But playing some of the big festivals like Wacken and others have been a highlight. I had one issue on Tour with Messiah’s Kiss in 2002 when we were coming over by ferry boat from France to England and we got stopped and checked for working papers in which I did not have. So they wanted to send me back to France. I got so freaked out because we had a show I think the next day! So they arrested me only until Blaze Bailey’s manager, an English fellow had to bail me out. But it all worked fine after that. What we do for fun on the road now and what we did for fun back then are two different worlds now. Today we like to enjoy good scenery and great food as well as some social drinking. But back then there were the groupies and maybe too much drinking. But we still welcome the groupies…
Thanks for releasing a great record and I wish you the best of luck on tour and with your future endeavors. Thanks for answering my questions too.