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Interview with Thad Ward


Freak Of The Day

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: June 2011

Brian Rademacher: Hello Thad and welcome to RockEyez.

Thad Ward:: Hello, and thank you Brian.

Brian Rademacher: Man the new CD "Firewater" what a phenomenal release. I totally love the concept and the songs. You really pay attention listening to the theme and story line. Not many artists out there anymore that put out a quality product like that. How did you come up with all your ideas?

Thad Ward:: Thank you! Well I think they had been festering inside my head for the last 30 odd years or so. mainly life, my childhood etc. My mother dated a preacher and he really influenced me to write, he loved horror movies, and also became the inspiration for my character Brother Jon. I didn't grow up in a circus of course, but there is a lot of my life wrapped into this story. Setting the story in the 60's then having it jump to the 80's was important to me. I grew up in the 80's heyday of metal, MÖTLEY CRÜE and "Shout at the Devil", Ozzy and BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, WASP, Alice Cooper etc. Then you had all the slasher films, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween. I'm also a huge comic fan. Between my love of dark metal music and horror films, and comics, is kinda where "Firewater" and the character Sinister was born.

Brian Rademacher: They compare you to Rob Zombie and W.A.S.P and The Aquarian magazine as GODSMACK meets Man-O-War or DISTURBED meets ACCEPT how do you feel about that?

Thad Ward:: I love it! I think everyone of these's bands was an influence in one way or another. Like I'm not a huge GODSMACK fan but love the raw sound they have. The others are obvious Zombie and WASP, the theatrics and images with-in their music big influences. We are all big fans of DISTURBED. I also feel early MÖTLEY CRÜE, and SABBATH were big influences as well.

Brian Rademacher: Was doing three different sagas/acts to "Firewater" difficult?

Thad Ward:: Yes and no. From the start I wrote "Firewater" as a short idea for a film and knew the album had to be formatted the same way, in three acts. The hard part was making the album cohesive for the listener so it was interesting and kept your attention. The version we released is actually a short version of the album, it's actually about 18 minutes longer. When I sat down with Jimmy Wilgus who produced the album with me, we talked about how to shorten the dialogue and music down for a more commercial release. That was hard for me as the writer I'm married to all of it, but just like with anything movies, music some of it has to hit the cutting room floor. We hope to release a deluxe version down the road with the short film "Firewater" on DVD, Which I also wrote and directed.

Same process for the film we had to edit down the film to get it right. Both the album and film where going on about the same time, for about a year in 2010. We started the album in late 2008 and started filming in late 2009. I'm very proud of both. Music and Audio are so completely different from Video, yet so closely related, so the hard part was to make both work. The Film "Firewater" is kinda the morning after type of thing.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me some of your dreams as a kid because I'm sure you had some imagination?

Thad Ward:: Aw shit, I wanted to be an actor; I wanted to be the next biggest action star since Arnold Schwarzenegger. As I became a teenager it was Rock Star all the way. When I was young I built this huge fort out of this awesome tree out in the woods and would have adventures, where I would act out all the parts myself and fight against invisible people. Very stupid shit, but something a young boy does. I would come up with all these cool situations to get my hero in and out of. My mother and Father were too busy with their own things to listen so I would tell my ideas to my Mother's boyfriend the preacher. He bought me my first tablet of paper and pens and said "here write your stories". We'd go see Star Wars, Terminator, Nightmare of Elm street together.

Brian Rademacher: What were some of the songs you listened to as a kid over and over again?

Thad Ward:: "Shout at the Devil"- MÖTLEY CRÜE, "Mr. Crowley"- Ozzy, "Scream Until You Like It", WASP, QUEENSRYCHE the entire "Mindcrime" album, LIZZY BORDEN- "Me Against The World".

Brian Rademacher: Do you remember the first concert you attended and did it have any impact on you?

Thad Ward:: 1987 Monsters of Rock VAN HALEN were the headliners. METALLICA was on their "Master of Puppets" tour and I think Cliff Burton was still alive, great line-up KINGDOM COME, DOKKEN, SCORPIONS, METALLICA, and VAN HAGAR. I'm not a big David Lee fan but became a huge Sammy Hagar fan then. Changed my life and I knew after seeing Eddie Van Halen, and the boys in METALLICA I knew what I wanted to do.

Brian Rademacher: Coming from Indiana were you in any bands at that point?

Thad Ward:: Yea, I had my own band called PHOENIX in high school. We were a cover band, and covered everything from TESLA, MÖTLEY CRÜE, WHITESNAKE, even STRYPER. When I moved to New Jersey and put FREAK OF THE DAY together, our first name was PHOENIX RISING!.

Brian Rademacher: What are some of the unusual things you did as a kid?

Thad Ward:: Other than the action hero in the woods shit , well the usual sex, drugs and rock n roll, onetime 4 guys and I flipped a car upside down on the practice football field. It took the principle 6 months to figure out who did it!!

Brian Rademacher: What age did you write your first song?

Thad Ward:: 17 it was called "R.I.P." I ended up recording that song when I was 18, with a band I was in. It was about world peace, which is hilarious I'm not into politics at all!

Brian Rademacher: Since you're into concept, tell me about one of your Halloween stories?

Thad Ward:: Sadly enough I'm usually so busy every year around Halloween, I don't have time to enjoy my favorite holiday. Growing up in the mid-west we had a great haunted house that Grissom Air Force would put on. You'd get all stoned or drunk and bring a bunch of hot chics with you. The base would hire people to be thru-out this 3 story old house dressed as Freddy, Jason etc and jump out from a dark corner with a real chain saw running( without the chain on of course). They had great special effects for what little budget they had, strobes with a surgeon cutting a guys leg off and they would bring it up to your face and pump fake blood all over you. The girls would be so scared they'd grab you run out screaming their asses off, very easy to get laid that way! My greatest Halloween time would have to been in late Oct 09 when we shot "Firewater".

Brian Rademacher: Did you participate in school plays or anything like that?

Thad Ward:: Can I say No, Yes please don't tell anyone? Ha my father was a high school choir director and me being a singer of course it was expected. I fought it tooth and nail, I hated being theatrical it was so not Metal. Now look at me !! The truth I'm glad he made me.

Brian Rademacher: In 2004 you release "Sinister" how does that differ from "Firewater"?

Thad Ward:: "Sinister" was back then, the birth place of the character Sinister. I knew he was a killer, and preyed on his victims, but had a different idea for his story at that point. Certain songs I wrote about his story, "Sinister", "Frostbite", "F.o.t.d.", and "Severed". The other songs weren't really a part of the story idea I had. "Sinister" is way different in the sense of it was half new songs from the Sinister story idea I had and some of the first "FREAK" tunes Frank Wurst and Mike Thomas and I wrote together. So It wasn't really a concept album like "Firewater". We even fired our first drummer during the recording of the album and finished with our producer Jimmy Wilgus. Most of the tunes were written well there are a few we don't play anymore.

Brian Rademacher: Now with all you do and the production you put on plus you have videos. How hard is it to Self-finance all these projects?

Thad Ward:: Very hard, I have 2 or 3 day jobs going on most of the time and the band is another job, money's always hard for a band. Plus in late 2010 Mike and I put three new members in FREAK OF THE DAY. Anthony Gemignani and Scott McNamara on guitars, and KamranVaziri on drums. The money for the Firewater film was self financed and friends gave generously on their time and talent to make it happen.

Brian Rademacher: You will be opening for LIZZY BORDEN July 9, 2011. What a great bill. Can you tell me anything about FREAK OF THE DAY's live show because I should be in attendance for this one?

Thad Ward:: The show is gonna be great, been a fan of Lizzy's since the 80's. Our stage show is still evolving , but we play 75% of the "Firewater" album, live and then 4 songs off the "Sinister" album that fit with the story a bit. We do a little of the theatrics with make-up and stage presence and we have some of the best loops off the album like "Firewater" with the newscast. The plan is to add to the show little by little till we can get to the point we can do a huge theatrical version of this live. The Duets and whole album complete. My plan is to add actors for the parts and have the band as a main part of the story as different characters also. Ultimately getting to bigger venues even an off Broadway thing we be cool. We're going to be working with a company soon that hopefully will get us to the college circuit. I want to get local colleges involved with their music, acting and art departments to help us put on the whole show!!

Brian Rademacher: What are your feelings toward Lizzy Borden's show?

Thad Ward:: I love Lizzy's show; he stuck with what he was all these years, great theatrical gothic metal. He was like the American KING DIAMOND to me, or a sicker version of Cooper. I hope to get a chance to talk with him we are all so excited to be opening for him.

Brian Rademacher: I'm going to give you a couple names. Let me know what your feelings toward them are.

Brian Rademacher: Alice Cooper?

Thad Ward:: The original shock master, "Welcome To My Nightmare", what more can I say, huge influence...

Brian Rademacher: David Bowie?

Thad Ward:: Ziggy Stardust great.

Brian Rademacher: THE TUBES?

Thad Ward:: Nah.

Brian Rademacher: W.A.S.P?

Thad Ward:: "The Crimson Idol" Blackie is god to me!

Brian Rademacher: KISS?

Thad Ward:: Loved the 80's KISS without make-up. Classic stuff is good too, Live shows the best.

Brian Rademacher: THE PLASMATICS?

Thad Ward:: Wendy O Put your love into me! Loved her, she was insane; her shows were outta this world. All the nudity she didn't give a fuck! My old landlord recorded one of her last few albums.

Brian Rademacher: GWAR?

Thad Ward:: For me it seems hard to pull off the cartoony Horror theatrics of their costumes and be taken seriously. I think Marilyn Manson and SLIPKNOT pull it off way better, better music too.

Brian Rademacher: and Marilyn Manson.

Thad Ward:: Great songwriter never got a chance to see him live.

Brian Rademacher: Do you feel that the New Jersey music scene has any value in performing live anymore?

Thad Ward:: Yes, We hadn't been out performing locally since 2007 and the scene changed somewhat. It's mainly covers now which 4 years ago wasn't anything new, but it's sad to see some of the original clubs gone now. It's tough but there are hard core people and fans out there that still love original music in NJ. Come out to a FREAK OF THE DAY show I promise a Feast for your eyes and ears!

Brian Rademacher: I still can't get over the new release "Firewater" how good it is and the quality and concept is amazing. I really hope people support FREAK OF THE DAY "Firewater". If fans like to hear old scary radio shows and a great image this CD is for you. It's has a killer concept, great songs and if you really listen you have a phenomenal quality CD on your hands. Thad thanks for taking time to talk with us come out and see Freak of the Day July 9th at Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey with LIZZY BORDEN (What A Bill). Would you like to say anything in ending.

Thad Ward:: Thanks Brian and thank you to our fans, Check out and please check out "Firewater" the album and short film. .



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