Interview with Mike Howe (Metal Church)

Recently METAL CHURCH released their eleventh studio album DAMNED IF YOU DO & Casper sat down to have a chat with Mike Howe about this amazing album and the possibility of an Australian Tour. You can listen to the full interview below.

Born out of the West Coast metal scene of the 80’s, METAL CHURCH quickly became one of the standout talents of the genre. After signing a deal with Elektra Records, they released two critically acclaimed albums. Their self-titled release Metal Church established the band as one of the pioneers of the thrash/metal scene. The All Music Guide had this to say about the debut: “The band’s incredibly tight musicianship is a highlight all on its own. This album remains an overlooked classic of straight-ahead American-bred heavy metal.” With the heavy metal scene starting to rise in the US, METAL CHURCH set out on a very successful tour with label mates METALLICA.

Next came The Dark, the fury of its opening track, ‘Ton Of Bricks’ was championed as one of the premiere metal releases of the 80’s. The Dark also led to one of a few line-up changes with the departure of vocalist David Wayne. However, more success was yet to come. With the addition of former HERETIC vocalist Mike Howe, and METALLICA guitar tech extraordinaire John Marshall, the riffing became heavier and the subject matter deeper. They tackled political and social issues of the day with the releases of Blessing In Disguise and The Human Factor. At a time when heavy metal bands moved from the underground and became part of the hair band/pop fad, METAL CHURCH stayed true to their roots.

During the mid-90’s, the members of METAL CHURCH headed in their own directions. Kurdt Vanderhoof worked on his namesake project, VANDERHOOF, while Kirk Arrington was playing on various sessions including a recording with Sir Mix-a-Lot. 1999 led to a well-received reunion of the original METAL CHURCH line-up with the release of Masterpeace. The band went back to their classic sound and played several festivals overseas.

2004 saw them back with a new vocalist, whose style has been described as “Rob Halford meets Dio,” as well as Jay Reynolds (MALICE) on guitar and Steve Unger on bass. With a new record The Weight Of The World and some new blood, heavy metal legends METAL CHURCH picked up where their aptly titled last release Masterpeace left off.

In 2006, twenty years after their cult album The Dark, METAL CHURCH presented their brand new release, A Light In The Dark, forging a creative arch that skillfully links the band’s past with the present. Ten new tracks (plus a new version of the classic ‘Watch The Children Pray’, a tribute to original frontman David Wayne), document the development of a band that, despite all innovation, has never denied its typical trademarks. That line-up consisted of Kurdt Vanderhoof, Ronnie Monroe, Jay Reynolds, Steve Unger and new addition Jeff Plate on drums. “Jeff is an incredibly dynamic and professional drummer,” Vanderhoof points out. “He has propelled us to a musical level that surprised even ourselves.” Plate has replaced Kirk Arrington, who left the group for health reasons, and proves a real stroke of luck on A Light In The Dark.

In 2008, guitarist Jay Reynolds was replaced by ROTTWEILER guitar player Rick Van Zandt. This Present Wasteland, METAL CHURCH’s ninth release, is a return to their roots and contains some of their strongest material to date. In 2013 the band released the highly successful Generation Nothing!

In 2014 founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof convinced Mike Howe to rejoin METAL CHURCH. Mike Howe originally joined METAL CHURCH in the late 80’s and released 3 albums with the band: The Human Factor, Blessing In Disguise« and Hanging In The Balance. Mike was also the face of group’s popular music videos ‘Date With Poverty’ and ‘Badlands’ that aired during MTV’s heyday.

In March of 2016, METAL CHURCH released their eleventh studio album »XI« that featured the return of legendary front-man Mike Howe. XI reached #34 on the German album charts, #57 on the Billboard Top 200 and also landed on several other charts around the globe.

The coinciding XI tour took them to audiences around the world, during which they performed at several European festivals including: Wacken Open Air (D), Dynamo Metalfest (NL), Rock Hard Festival (NL), Alcatraz Metal Festival (B), Beast Coast Festival (US), Porispere (FIN) and many more hot spots around Europe. The US leg of the tour paired them with ARMORED SAINT for a co-headlining run, and also saw them supporting MEGADETH’s Dystopia tour, alongside AMON AMARTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and the BUTCHER BABIES. The band performed over 50 headline shows and also appeared on both the Monsters Of Rock Cruise and the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest kickoff show.

Damned If You Do Track-listing:

Damned If You Do

The Black Things

By The Numbers

Revolution Underway


Rot Away

Into The Fold

Monkey Finger

Out Of Balance

The War Electric

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