Dale Thompson is one of the biggest names when it comes to the hard music world, better known as front man for Christian rock band Bride, which gained world recognition through their first commercially successful breakthrough album Kinetic Faith back in 1991.
As the band grew and evolved over a span of 30 years with constant lineup changes, musical progression and direction, Bride decided to call it a day in December 2013. Since then Dale has blasted on the scene again with his brand new bands The World Will Burn, Perpetual Paranoia and other projects, so we at The Metal Onslaught have been given this opportunity to catch up with Mr. Thompson and to give you this complete exclusive interview with The Lord Of The Dale.
Welcome to The Metal Onslaught, Dale!
Dale: Thank you for this opportunity for me to introduce myself to people that are not familiar with my music.
You’ve been a spearhead for Christian hard rock/metal since the late ’80s until your hiatus from the end of Bride. What made you come back to create music?
Dale: I never stopped writing songs, I just decided that I was done with touring. I moved to New Zealand five years ago and thought I would just keep writing songs when Alan Zaring who I formed a musical partnership with in The World Will Burn approached me about doing some vocals for that project. Once I got started recording I fell in love with music all over again and am now busier than ever.
You have had a few projects since, which one has been a favourite?
Dale: The many projects that I am working on at the moment are all very different from one another. I can’t really pick what I would call a favourite. I am working with some extremely talented and gifted musicians and composers. I am just thankful that God has placed me in a position where these creative people want to collaborate with me. I am recording everything from folk, blues, rock, metal and even hints of thrash. So it is a blessing.
What has it been for you? Was it a blast from the past or a new avenue that you wished to explore?
Dale: I have always enjoyed any style of good music. I appreciate a good song over raw talent to play an instrument. Some master an instrument but cannot write a song. My brother Troy was once asked how many hours a week he practised? His answer has always stuck with me. He answered “I don’t practice. When I pick up my guitar I write a song.”
Since the days of Bride, what have you been doing during that time?
Dale: Since I have left the States my love to create music has increased but I have also taken up painting. I enjoy abstract art. I created the covers on the first two The World Will Burn CDs which I am very proud of. I am working on a piece now that I hope will be ready by the time our 3rd CD is released. Other than art I stay busy writing and making music.
We see you are also dabbling in different genres throughout your projects, are any one of them more yourself? Or do all of them have some elements of your personality and artistic endeavours?
Dale: When a piece of music is sent to me regardless if it is the heavy sounds of No Other God or if is the lighter folk / blues of Dabster Gentlemen, I make the song my own. I inject my personality, emotions and passion into every song I sing.
How has coming back into music inspired you?
Dale: Therapeutic is the first word that comes to mind. I think all creative people regardless their profession are a little touched in the head (a little crazy) so to make sure we don’t go completely mad we create. I love having too much to do because it keeps my mind active.
You did an album Perpetual Paranoia with my good friend Tiago James DeSouza, how was that like working with him?
Dale: Tiago is a genius when it comes to creating monster riffs. I have had such a great time being part of this work. He is easy to work with and has no ego at all. If something is not working and I ask if we can make a change he makes it immediately without argument. He is so confident in what God has given him that he is never afraid of change.
Are you both planning another release anytime soon?
Dale: Perpetual Paranoia will be releasing our 2nd album later on this year. It is having some final touches done to it then it will be mixed and mastered.
What direction do you see yourself heading in the next 12 months?
Dale: One of my most recent projects is called The Thomas Thompson Earth Project. Garret Thomas and I have a unique heavy sound and I am truly looking forward to finishing up the two albums that we have started and see where it goes. I have a lot of recording left to do in most of these projects and I am anxious to get to it.
You since released another Bride album, Snake Eyes, how was it being able to write again with your brother Troy?
Dale: Snake Eyes was different than any other Bride album from the past because of the writing process. Troy and I sent music and vocals back and forth over the Internet. We never really sat down and discussed anything. In the past we would go through long laborious rehearsals with the band and it took ages to write sometimes. With Snake Eyes it was a no-rehearsal meeting of the minds and we never were in the same place at the same time recording. When we added drums and bass guitar, it was done after Troy and I had laid down our parts. So we in fact worked backward.
Was it like old times?
Dale: I think the songs were crafted to have that old times feel but the album was done absolutely different. I had complete control of my vocal, how many tracks I laid down, how I did backups etc. No producer. Thank God for that.
What elements do you think Snake Eyes brought that other Bride albums lacked or listeners hadn’t heard before?
Dale: The fact that it was 30 years in the making, I think we surprised ourselves with how well it turned out. The impressive thing is that we went into the recording with one mindset and achieved what we set out to do.
Would Troy or yourself ever write music together again at some point?
Dale: We have discussed another Bride album but it is 100% up to Troy. He is the music master and until he starts writing again I will stay busy with my other work. It is important for the fans to understand that we are artists and for us to repeat the same sound or the same style song for us is not really that productive in our eyes. We love to reach beyond ourselves in order to tap into unseen resources when writing. If Bride ever records another album we would hope people would go along for the ride regardless of which direction we were heading musically.
What do you think about touring or live shows? Is that something you would still like to do?
Dale: I am officially retired from touring. Financially I cannot make it work especially from New Zealand.
Since settling in New Zealand, have you been involved in the scene or attend any acts in your area?
Dale: I am sorry to say but I am really not a big fan of the acts here in New Zealand. I actually reached out here to three different guitarists here over the course of the last five years and was not able to connect with any of them on any level. The music scene here is sort of its own thing and musically I am an outsider. The Kiwis are a proud musical bunch and it is best if I do not interfere.
If so, which bands or artists do you admire?
Dale: The only band that comes to mind with New Zealand connections is Flight of the Conchords.
What do you think of current music these days compared to say like the ’80s/’90s eras? Would you say that bands or artists are in a better position or worse for promoting their music?
Dale: To be honest I see better musicians, especially the drummers these days. Wow! Some drummers are brutal. Guitarists have always been amazing in every era. Of course I am old-school so when I think of Christian rock I think of bands like Bloodgood, Guardian, Mortification, Deliverance, Sacred Warrior, Jerusalem etc. There are a lot of bands now thanks to the home technology that helps musicians who can’t afford a studio to still record and release their music worldwide.
What is your personal opinion and advice you would give upcoming bands and artists?
Dale: If God has called you, anointed you and prepared you for this life of a musician then do it with all your power. Discouragement is part of this musical field. Every great singer, musician or songwriter was turned down and told they didn’t have what it takes. Allow God to reinvent you and do not lean upon your own understanding. If you are truly following the Holy Spirit and doing it in the name of Jesus / God will be glorified. Nothing comes easy. But the reward when things come together is indescribable.
And we will finish with, what would you like to say to your fans and those looking for advice?
Dale: Use what God gives you and keep your communication with the Lord open all the time. Don’t ask God for things, rather thank Him for what you appreciate now. The life of a musician is difficult at times and when you are a Christian rocker your situation only amplifies but I know we have reached so many people throughout the last three decades and I pray to be around for many more years being used as an instrument of peace and hope.