Cassius King exclusive interview
1- Hello and welcome to Metal Music Midwest, first off, thanks for taking the time to do the interview, could you give our readers a brief description of the group? Where is the band from?
Dan Lorenzo: Ron and I both live in New Jersey. Jimmy Schulman our bassist lives in NYC. Jason...I think you live in Texas, right? ( laughs) Jason McMaster: Yes, I am from Texas. Born in Corpus Christi and moved to Austin in 1980. I joined Watchtower in May of 1982. Not long after,I became a big pen pal guy, writing to bands and fanzines, sending demos, tape trading and trying to get us exposure.That's how I first heard of Hades and later, Non-Fiction, was through singer Alan Tecchio, and of course that's how I met Dan, and Jimmy and even Ron.
About 9 years ago, Dan started sending me songs to collaborate with him on. Not until the last few years did we actually get serious about it, and release material.I have always thought that Dan wrote these big minor key riffs that resembled the dark side of classic rock. The familiar but odd Ace Frehley meets Iommi type thing. Epic stuff. I have always been a huge Sabbath fan and then the underground metal scene as well the NWOBHM movement, both spawning bands like Witchfinder General, Trouble, later on Orchid, etc.The fact is, old Sab with Ozzyy and Dio, is really where I seem to draw tones for these songs from. Dan gets with Ron and records the song skeletons, they get me and Jimmy to build them from there.
Jason: ...it takes us a few months to get the songs put together. The songs take shape of an album once you have about eight or nine stacked up, a full record has always been the goal.
3- What musical influence inspires the bands compositions?
Dan Lorenzo: I started playing guitar because of Kiss. Old Kiss, old Aerosmith and AC/DC Highway To Hell are still the albums I love the most and the music I jam along with the most. Even though most people think I sound$like a "Sabbath guy", I didn't really enjoy Black Sabbath until after high school. I was never a stoner so I prefer shorter songs. As far as tuning down, that is something Ilove.$But even Kiss tuned to Eb. Jason: All of us here love old Kiss. $That common ground might mean something in the way the sings are supposed to feel. At leastKiss deep cuts and not$the popular tunes. A few to mention might be $"Almost Human", "Strange Ways", " Goin' Blind". Those old tunes are doing something to my soul, just as$much as old Sabbath does. I grew up on Elton John, Queen, Alice Cooper and Kiss, but got into Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Rush etc.. by the$time I was about 13, I was engulfed by ACDC, Black Sabbathand Judas Priest. But, again, Kiss is what led me to everything else.
4- Can you tells us how the band was born?
Jason: The Covid lockdowns truly spawned our push and drive to finish material and use Dan's previous moniker of CASSIUS KING yo name the group. He had$been releasing much material with VESSEL OF LIGHT with Jimmy and Ron with Nathan Opposition on vocals. They were writing some great stuff. When I was approached, we made sure that it was not just going to soundlike V.O.L. with me singing. We had to make sure, somehow, the writing had a different feel.
5- The new album title is “Dread the Drawn”, can you give us details about the content and more in depth meaning to this title?
Jason: The title track comes from a lyric that Jimmy wrote. He and I might have a slightly different definition of what planet those lyrics take us to. It can be someone waiting the executioners call. It can be a song about addiction, or a case of lychanthropy. Either way. Something looms in the day, every day. It$might not be friendly, or it is just a monkey on your back. I feel like the songs lyrics are trying to fit the tone or color of the Riff and the tempo. If something is slow and brooding, the lyrics are going to tell that kind of story. The faster songs ( none of them are very fast) have a different feel to the lyric. Some of them$kind of swing, yet are still dark inlyrical tone, "Back from the Dead" could be about a ghost of relationship or a past addiction coming around to visit you. A$haunting of sorts, but it is pretty obvious in the lyric, which makes it a bit playful.
6- Each member of this project is part of another band, how do you maintain a good balance working together?
Dan Lorenzo: I have to give Jason a lot of credit. He is one of the few people on this planet who may move more quickly than I do..which is not easy! ( laughs) Jason is super efficient with his time like I try to be. Most musicians can't get out of their own way and a lot of us rely upon our wives or girlfriends to$support us. Jason and I don't spend a lot of time day dreaming. We are like the Nike commercial: We just do it!
Jason: We just make time for the songs. Personally, none of my bands have any deadlines, so I work on the project when the feeling comes over. It's not always$easy, because I try not to force any melody or lyrical idea. Jimmy really helped lyrics on both of these CK records, and influenced me to write other ideas$down for the other tunes. That is always helpful, to have another lyricist, who is also open to letting me use , or not, their ideas. Either way, it can always help$steer where you want yo go vocally, by having other suggestions.
7- Have you performed any shows in your area? if so, how receptive and supportive are the people to your music?
Jason: Unfortunately, this is a studio project without any real plans to play live. We are open to the idea, but it is not on the
8- Are there any upcoming shows or tours you can tell us about?
9- Thanks for your participation, finally, what is the best way to get a hold of the band, in case someone wants to book or promote the band? Any final words?
Dan Lorenzo: Our Instagram is @CassiusKingBand Final words...there's a lot of music out there. A lot of bands. We hope you held spread the word on bands you really like. Tell your friends. Make a post. We appreciate you!