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Some METAL for the weekend... Joe Stump is the guitarist with US power metal band Reign of Terror, whose latest album has just had a European release via Lion Music.

Thanks to Charlie Farrell for the contact info.
1. What are you currently up to?

Just doing some press for the new ROT disc, playing some shows (next month I'm going to Mexico for a tour and some guitar clinics as well) And starting to rehearse the band for my next full on studio instrumental record.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career to date?

As far as highlights go, touring in Europe was great, going to Japan and touring Mexico. I've had some great live shows in the states as well. Great reviews of some of my past records and features in some major guitar publications were very cool, it's nice to see your hard work and effort rewarded. No one moment or period stands out in particular.

On the other side of the coin, no matter how well you're doing there are always going to be rough times and things don't always go your way. But I certainly can't complain things have gone rather smoothly for me up until this point.

3. Who have been your main influeneces on your career?

Guitar-wise Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Uli- Jon Roth, David Chastain, classical music as well- Bach, Paganini, Vivaldi, Mendelson etc.

4. The new album 'Conquer & Divivde' has just come out in Europe What are your personal highlights on this album?

Some of my favorite tracks and personal highlights include No Forgiving (one of the best guitar solos I've ever recorded) Forsaken, No Limits (that one has a heavy Rainbow/Purple vibe to it) the instrumental Seance, Sign of the Cross and I love the 16th Century Greensleeves intro and the rest of that track.

5. How hard has it been for a US based power metal band to get exposure over in Europe, given that most bands in this genre are European?

It makes it harder especially when it comes touring. Being that the label has to offer enough support to bring the band over from the states, and you can only sell a certain amount of records without a proper tour. However the last album was very well received in Europe, so hopefully we can build on the success of that with this new offering.

6. Is there a big following for power metal acts in the US at all? Do you manage to get any radio exposure at all?
There are power-metal fans in the states but of course it's a bit more underground. Most of the radio play consists of specialty metal radio shows and internet fanzine type stuff.
7. When composing guitar parts do you have a distinct style in the back of your mind or do you just go with the music? How does the band approach songwriting?

My guitar style and compositions are a melding of several schools of metal and hard rock. From European power metal to more traditional old school British hard rock to extremely aggressive classically influenced speed and thrash metal. So when I write it's often a mix of many of those things. The band doesn't approach songwriting , I compose and arrange all the music and Mike writes all the lyrics and vocal melody lines.

8. Any plans to come over to Europe at all this year? Where have you toured and where do you enjoy playing most?

Nothing solid at this point we'll have to see how the new album does and what kind of job Lion does promoting it. But I've been to Europe before and the fans there are very educated and knowledgeable when it comes to metal and hard rock so I'm itching to get back there.

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

Drink of course (a favorite hobby of mine) Travel

10. Message for your fans?

Just to sincerely thank all of my European fans who've supported my past efforts and for everyone to pick up Conquer and Divide it's a monster of a guitar driven power- metal album , you won't be disappointed.

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Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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