Interview: Kyle Thomas (Exhorder)

It has been a difficult time for Exhorder lately. Bassist Frankie Sparcello (pictured above on the left) died last month.

I originally talked to Kyle Thomas, Exhorder’s singer, just a little over a week before Frankie died, for an interview. The interview was then, understandably, put on hold for a while. Then I completely rewrote the questions for the interview to talk about the recent events, their third studio album and how it feels to be back with Exhorder.

Make the jump for my interview with Exhorder’s Kyle Thomas.

Dose of Metal: Hello Kyle, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. First off, in the name of our team, I would like to send my deepest condolences to you and everyone else in Exhorder regarding the passing of Frankie Sparcello. I understand that it must be a very hard time for you currently. Do you have any info of what exactly happened?

Kyle Thomas: Thank you for the condolences. It’s been just awful. Unfortunately the report from the coroner has not come back yet, so until then we just have to wait until we know for sure.

DoM: The funky bass playing on ‘Un-Born Again’ off your second album ‘The Law’ will probably stay the song that most people associate with Frankie. Which song features your favorite work by him?

KT: Even though Frankie only recorded those funk parts on the album, watching him play ‘The Truth’ and ‘I Am The Cross’ will always stick with me. The dude was seriously good at his craft.

DoM: I’ve read that Frankie was a funny and all around good guy to be around with. Do you have any favorite stories involving him, that you would like to share?

KT: Haha, most of them I probably can’t share! He was pretty good at imitating some of our friends. That always got us laughing. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Frankie and I were talking over a beer and some guy came up to talk to me about music and the bands I’ve played in. Eventually the guy was just interrupting me and Frankie being in the middle of an already happening conversation, so Frankie started acting like a chicken and squawking and flapping around like he had wings. Right in this guy’s face! I couldn’t stop laughing and Frank never flinched once. Did it until the guy finally gave up so we could finish talking. It was the funniest thing I can share with you, no doubt!

DoM: You have just reunited with Exhorder in 2008. Have you already decided if you’re going to continue with the band or not?

KT: We are going on. We just played three shows in Texas and Louisiana with our good friend Jorge Caicedo on bass. He’s really playing great and was a friend of Frankie as well, so it all is perfect so far. We’re really proud of how well he is doing under such a heavy microscope.

Frankie Sparcello (1970 - 2011)

DoM: As a fan I would really like to hear Frankie’s unfortunately last work. Do you still want to release the album? And how far into recording have you been at the time of his death?

KT: We have not started recording yet, so all of the new music will be without Frankie’s writing. He really wasn’t a contributor on ‘The Law,’ he joined after it was written. Frankie’s value to Exhorder was that he was one of the few people that can play our complex structures and that he was great on the stage. He did write in his other projects — he had one called Sulk after Exhorder broke up that was good. The players were good and I think he wrote most, if not all of the songs. He played guitar in that one if I remember correctly.

DoM: Can you tell us a bit more about the sound of the album?

KT: It will be worthy of the Exhorder name but will differ from the older stuff some. We’re trying to get better song structures instead of twenty part epics on every track. Of course there will be some fast moments and some slow heavy moments as well as good grooves. We are not nearly as focused on religion and politics either. It’s time for something new.

DoM: ‘Slaughter In The Vatican’ is still a highly praised album. Do you think the album stood the test of time?

KT: Absolutely. The proof is in the people’s opinions. I have seen that album in the top ten list of many highly regarded critics. That speaks for itself.

DoM: And what do you think about ‘The Law’ almost 20 years after it has been released?

KT: Many people love that album more than Slaughter. I think they are both very special in different ways. We were a much more improved band by the time ‘The Law’ was recorded. I only wish we had had the technology back then that we have today.

DoM: What was the original reason to split-up in 1992?

KT: We just burned out, I think. Struggles with business led into personal battles, and we grew apart as a result. I regret that it took so long for it to happen again, but I am proud of the music I created in between.

DoM: Which Exhorder song is your favorite one, and why?

KT: Wow, that’s tough. I can’t pick just one, but ‘Slaughter In The Vatican’ is probably my favorite to play live. It’s got everything we do — punk speed, crushing metal, spitting vocals and smooth singing. It just whips ass, period.

DoM: Which Exhorder song is your least favorite one, and why?

KT: ‘Soul Search Me,’ because we’ve never played it live.

DoM: You’ve inspired lots of bands with your sound, including Pantera, Machine Head etc. How do you feel seeing that those bands were commercially much more successful than Exhorder?

KT: When you go out and tour ruthlessly and get the right breaks at the right time, you get commercial success. We didn’t tour enough and never seemed to get that one big break. I have no problems or ill wishes toward another person’s success if they work hard at it. All I can do is keep trying.

DoM: You’ve played several gigs in the past 2 years, including a couple of concerts in Europe. How did it feel to be back on the road with the band?

KT: We only did the Rock Hard Festival in Europe last year, and a few local shows as well. This past week we did our first shows outside of Louisiana in the States since 1992. It has been great and even though we’re having to learn each other over again and some business parts of the game.

DoM: The Pantera-stole-Exhorder’s-sound debate is as old as ‘Cowboys from Hell’ but one thing still has me wondering; what do you personally think of all individual Pantera albums?

KT: Yeah, I’m tired of that old whiny shit. You won’t hear it from us. Hell, Phil Anselmo was at our show last night and starting up mosh pits. I spoke with him a little bit and we’re fine. He expressed his condolences to me personally about Frankie and called Vinnie on the phone right after it happened. The fans have a right to feel how they feel in a free world, but don’t bring it our way. We’ve moved on from all of that stuff.

DoM: What have you been listening to lately?

KT: Mostly just the bands that we played shows with recently. Rigor Mortis, World Beneath World, haarp, The Devil’s Rain, The Blood Royale, HOD, Dead Earth Politics, Demonseed. I don’t have all of their CD’s but I can tell you, they were all damn good bands. Some of them I did get but have not yet peeled of the plastic. I am still unwinding from the road.

DoM: Any last words for your readers at doseofmetal.com?

KT: Thanks to all that have expressed their support and condolences about us losing our friend and brother, Frankie Sparcello. Thanks also for the years of support. Sit tight and I promise Exhorder will deliver a good product soon!

DoM: Thank you for your time!

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