💿 Hi,it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal of KARPIS MAKSUDIAN, drummer of LIGHTNING STRIKES, the well-known hard’n’heavy band from US!!
Hi Giovanni. My pleasure talking to you. Thanks for introducing LIGHTNING STRIKES to the readers of Hardrockheavymetal! 💿 Let’s start talking about the early days of the band..When is this all begun? Which bands have influenced you and why, in your opinion, you had no chance in these years to debut with a full length?
Basically, everything started back in 1983 when I started jamming with friend and we came up with the name LIGHTNING STRIKES. Things became more serious after I was introduced Mike and Levon. The final piece to the original line-up was Harout Khatchoyan. I had seen him perform Elvis Presley and Rockabilly style songs, which may sound odd, but he fit in well so he became our singer. So it was an all-Armenian American line-up at the time, then later time bass player was replaced. Cat Tate joined the band as a bass player before we had to record the single. We were influenced by the great heavy rock bands of the 70’s, Deep Purple in particular in my case. Before coming to the U.S., I grew up in the old USSR, in Armenia, and it was pretty difficult to get your hands on Western music at the time, and if you managed to score an original LP, it would cost you one month’s wages or more. But when I heard Purple for the first time, it really changed my life. We covered ‘Our Lady’ off 1973’s ‘Who Do You Think We Are?’ on ‘Lightning Strikes’ as a nod to Deep Purple. The ‘new’ LIGHTNING STRIKES is also influenced by everything from melodic speed metal like Helloween to Dio and Martin era Black Sabbath.
The original LIGHTNING STRIKES put out a 7” single in mid-1986, which will be included on the ‘Lightning Strikes’ vinyl LP as bonus tracks, but we never got around to doing a full-length album due to line-up problems. By late 1986, I was the only member left and even though I managed to put a new line-up together, the band onyl lasted for another year and didn’t record again. 💿 From November of previous year was out your first self-titled full-length. Can you tell us somethin’about this platter and its composition process? Are you satisfied about fans reaction?
Yeah, the feedback has been really positive – lots of good reviews and we’ve gotten many positive comments from fans. It’s been really satisfying to see ‘Lightning Strikes’ received so well. I’m probably most proud about the album entering the Burrn! Magazine Import Charts and making it all the way up to number 6 and even being ‘Album Pick of the Month.’ – As far as the making of the album goes – I was out of music for many years, except for directing a few videos such as ‘Behind the Gun’ and ‘Dr. Wicked’ for Leatherwolf, but then I got the itch again in 2011 after talking to our old bass player, Cat Tate. We ended up re-working some of the material we originally wrote back in the 80s and wrote a couple of new things and slowly but surely put the album together. We got Rob Math from Leatherwolf on guitar, I asked Tony Martin from Black Sabbath, whom I knew from an aborted video project, if he was interested in putting down some vocals and he said yes, and pulled in Derek Sherinian to lay down keys. Through Roy Z, who ended up mixing the album, we got ahold of Nando Fernandes down in Brazil who took over the bulk of the lead vocals. And I tracked down Noah from Avanchick in Japan because I wanted that flavor on the album as well. So it was a bit of a puzzle you could say but in the end it turned into a pretty cohesive album.
💿 This work is out via PURE STEEL GROUP. Can you tell us somethin’about the relationships with this label?
Well, so far, so good, we are very satisfied with “Pure Legend” entire gang at the label including management are doing great work, they seem to have the metal underground covered fairly well. Their distribution through Soulfood is solid as well, and now they’re doing a Vinyl version of the album which I’m really happy about. 💿 On Nov 3rd will be finally out the vinyl version of “LIGHTNING STRIKES”. The real “news” in music industry is clearly the return of vinyl. What’s your feeling about this classic format and the current music business and What’s your opinion about the renewed interest for classic hard’n’heavy music?
Esthetically speaking, nothing beats vinyl so I’m stoked to see ‘Lightning Strikes’ out in this format at last. I don’t think the vinyl resurgence is quite as massive as some people make it out to be but it’s great to see vinyl re-establishing itself as a viable format while the once dominant CD seems less and less popular. Hard rock and metal fans are the most dedicated fans in the world and many are collectors and want either a CD or vinyl – or both. Which is great! Hard rock and metal will never go away. Sure, it may have its peaks and valleys, like it did in the 90s, but this music is here to stay! 💿 Can you tell us somethin’about live projects? Are scheduled some gigs?
We have no live plans at the moment. For one, I feel that one album is not enough material for a live show. The other aspect is logistics and finances – we’d have to fly out Nando from Brazil and that is not feasable at this point. Maybe things will be different if/when we do a second album. 💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal! Thank you, Giovanni, for your interest in LIGHTNING STRIKES. And a shout out to all the readers of Hardrockheavymetal – check out ‘Lightning Strikes’ if you haven’t already done so.
1. VICTIM 2. CAN’T CROSS THE RAINBOW 3. 301 AD SINS OF OUR FATHERS 4. FEAR 5. DEATH VALLEY 6. BERMUDA TRIANGLE Side B 7. DOKI NO SAKURA 8. KAMIKAZE 9. STAY WITH ME 10. OUR LADY 11. WE DON’T ROCK ALONE 12. LIGHTNING STRIKES (Bonustrack) 13. LOTTERY TICKET (Bonustrack)
Total Playing Time: 49:13 min
LINE-UP: Nando Fernandes – vocals Cat Tate – bass Rob Math – guitars Karpis Maksudian – drums special guests:
Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, KISS) – keyboards Tony Martin (BLACK SABBATH) – vocals Noah (AVANCHICK) – vocals www.lightningstrikesrocks.com www.facebook.com/pages/Lightning-Strikes/127449574019794 www.twitter.com/LSRocksOfficial www.instagram.com/lightningstrikesrocks
(Thanks PURE STEEL PROMOTION)