Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: March 2009
Brian Rademacher: Hey Jeff, this is Brian Rademacher from RockEyez.com.
Jeff Potts : Howís it going today?
Brian Rademacher: Congratulations on the "Executioner" CD. Did you like our 5 star review?
Jeff Potts : Yeah man! Thanks, I really appreciate it!
Brian Rademacher: When you started playing guitar was it classic rock you were into or did it all start with thrash?
Jeff Potts : It was classic rock for me. I heard LED ZEPPELIN and it was all over for me.
Brian Rademacher: Was ZEPPELIN the first concert you went to?
Jeff Potts : Nah, I wish. I'm way too young for that. This is embarrassing, but it was KORN when I was in seventh grade. They were "the" metal band at the time or at least thatís what MTV was telling you.
Brian Rademacher: What were some of your favorite discs you would listen to during your high school years?
Jeff Potts : LED ZEPPELIN "IV" was first and foremost. The first YNGWIE (MALMSTEEN) album I went totally crazy over; I had my Strat signed by him. Then I discovered CHILDREN OF BODOM and "Follow The Reaper" is how I fell upon extreme vocals. I really didnít get into thrash until later on in my life. It was in high school I learned of SYMPHONY Xís "The Odyssey" and DREAM THEATERís "Images and Words". I said ĎWOWí and was just so blown away by that stuff. And also VAN HALEN's first album; what a total classic.
Brian Rademacher: When I interviewed YNGWIE he was a pretty cool guy compared to what I heard about him. He was very gracious and humble.
Jeff Potts : Yeah, maybe it's because he has a kid now that he's turned into a pretty chill guy. It seems like heís not the crazy rocker like he used to be in the 80ís. I love that guy's playing!
Brian Rademacher: Tell me about your high school days?
Jeff Potts : (I was) kind of like one of the nerdy kids. I was into science and reading but also super into the guitar. I would still hang with the stoner kids and listen to SABBATH. Then I would go to school and get straight Aís, so it was kind of weird. At one point when I was in school I went through that phase I wanted to be the fastest and cleanest guitarist in the world. I was obsessively practicing in my room all the time. I live in a super small town and I had nothing else to do so I would practice all day. When I heard RHAPSODY is when I discovered European metal. I was like Ďoh my godí, it opened a whole new world of metal, so it was a really exciting time, discovering lots of new music all the time.
Brian Rademacher: What was the first band you were in?
Jeff Potts : It was called PAGE FACTORY. We were in high school and my brother was our singer. We would play LED ZEPPELIN, VAN HALEN, DEEP PURPLE and a ton of covers like AC/DC and a couple originals in the same style. I was real passionate about it, I said, "This is what I want to do," and the other guys would just say "Hey, this is fun to do on weekends." Eventually I just got pissed and said never mind. I went to college and met a lot of people who were passionate about music.
Brian Rademacher: Then you went onto IMMORTAL ECLIPSE?
Jeff Potts : Yeah. Wow, how did you find out about all this?
Brian Rademacher: I do research before an interview
Jeff Potts : You do good research! IMMORTAL ECLIPSE started when I was in music school; we were more into the SYMPHONY X type stuff. I was writing all the music. I convinced my one friend Mark to play drums because we couldnít find a drummer but he was a spectacular guitarist. Thatís how I found about MELTDOWN; I needed a bass player and I went to school with Adam and he said why donít you come see my thrash band. So I went to see them and I said Oh Shit this guy can play. We (Ben and I) started playing together, IMMORTAL ECLIPSE couldnít find a keyboard player which is impossible to find in metal, and so when MELTDOWN needed a new guitarist I joined those guys.
Brian Rademacher: In 2005 MELTDOWN put out a live demo with three tracks and some had a bonus track ("Seek and Destroy" by METALLICA). Is this true?
Jeff Potts : Yeah, that was even before I joined the band. I donít even have a copy of that. They have all kinds of stuff Iíve never heard thatís pretty funny.
Brian Rademacher: Then in 2006 MELTDOWN came out with another demo with "One by One", "Panic" and "Death and Destruction"?
Jeff Potts : Yeah, that was the old MELTDOWN tracks and when the line-up changed and I joined the band I put my own solos on the existing tracks, and Dan put on his vocals. That was done the day after I saw YNGWIE and I wanted to play fast (laughing). We had a cover for some of the copies that was drawn by the MERCILESS DEATH dudes. We were staying at their house during our first trip to LA and we had a whole bunch of burned copies of the "Executioner" disc; this was in 2006. We were sitting behind the Whisky with a bunch of friends slicing the covers to put in the sleeve, it was pretty funny.
Brian Rademacher: In 2007 MELTDOWN put out a full length release of "Executioner" minus one track ("By The Cemetery"). It had a completely different cover then the newly released "Executioner" on Nuclear Blast. Is the reason for changing the picture of the cover because the band changed names to MANTIC RITUAL?
Jeff Potts : Yeah, the new one we just wanted a new cover. We wanted everything all new. The Nuclear Blast release has everything re-recorded and totally re-done.
Brian Rademacher: Some of the songs have been around awhile except "By The Cemetery". Did you think of recording some new tracks for this release?
Jeff Potts : Yeah, some have been around forever. We recorded one song that we didnít use which was "Blackout" by the SCORPIONS and unfortunately it didnít end up on the album.
Brian Rademacher: The press release I got from Nuclear Blast has a picture of James Hetfield of METALLICA on it and it says "James Hetfield: and the Grammy for Best Thrash Metal Album for 2009 goes to (opens envelope) MANTIC RITUALís "Executioner" and has a Grammy trophy at the bottom next to a picture of the CD cover. Is that an official quote from him?
Jeff Potts : I actually found out this was just a joke that Loana puts in the press kits to make people listen to the CD - the 2009 Grammies haven't happened yet, and there's no Grammy for best new thrash debut! So, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the METALLICA dudes don't know about us. Maybe someday though!
Brian Rademacher: Are any members in the band into the occult?
Jeff Potts : Nope, not really.
Brian Rademacher: I have been talking to Adam a lot and he mentioned the new CD is getting great reviews in Europe. Do you think you will have a bigger fan base in Europe then the US?
Jeff Potts : It wouldnít surprise me. Historically thrash does better over there than here in the US.
Brian Rademacher: I saw that if you order the CD through Nuclear Blast you also get an autographed poster. Do you know how many you signed?
Jeff Potts : Only 100. But we will be available to sign stuff when we are out on tour. We're pretty easily approachable. (laughing)
Brian Rademacher: You trade off leads with Dan; does he pick what he wants to play?
Jeff Potts : The older songs I was replacing the old guitarist. So I would take the leads he had. It depends if thereís a certain or weird-ass riff they would say give it to Jeff - they always stick me with the tough ones! It all depends on who thinks they could or couldn't play a really good solo over each riff.
Brian Rademacher: I noticed that Dan has most of the writing credits on the new CD and Adam has one. Will you be writing anything for the next album?
Jeff Potts : Iím the newcomer to the band, but yeah Iím working on stuff. We all write.
Brian Rademacher: I read an interview this morning with you talking about the horrors of the road and you said you asked fans if you could you sleep over their house. Will that happen again this time?
Jeff Potts : Nope, we are sharing the bus this time with DESTRUCTION & KRISIUN, which is very cool. We donít have to drive!
Brian Rademacher: So what are the horrors of the road?
Jeff Potts : Basically it was the weather, it was freezing and paying for a van sucked.
Brain Rademacher: How are the girls on tour?
Jeff Potts : Depends on the city, some cities awesome and some cities not so much.
Brian Rademacher: What would a daily food menu be for the band? McDonalds?
Jeff Potts : No, not actually, with the exception of me. I would hit a Subway or a supermarket. I try to stay healthy on the road because sometimes you donít get any sleep and things like that. The other guys in the band are vegetarians and really into health. Itís handy having them around. I have been so much healthier being in the band.
Brian Rademacher: So what are your expectations of the new CD and tour?
Jeff Potts : I think the timing is perfect; being on a tour with a band that is similar to us is good. We do pretty well live, we go out there and kick ass. We donít do any rock star posing, we just go out there and hit hard, real hard. This is real dude! We try to make it fun and I hope people like the album. I like the album - it has some catchy stuff and the recording quality is good, so I hope people agree.
Brian Rademacher: I think youíre coming to New York City later in the tour at BB Kings, I hope to check you guys out at that show.
Jeff Potts : Yeah, come out thatís the last day of the tour.
Brian Rademacher: Jeff, itís been great talking to you and the CD kicks ass. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Jeff Potts : We covered a lot of stuff and you did your research, man. PAGE FACTORY - who knows about that stuff? Thanks for the interview and pick up the new CD "Executioner"! Bye!