I had chance to talk to Wayne from Under Command which is a progressive hard rock band that is based out of Bowie Maryland. They have been around the Christian music scene since 1999 when they put out Secret Place of Thunder.
1. Hi Wayne, how are you doing my friend?
Doing really well, trying to stay healthy and keep moving forward.
2. Could you tell us who is in the band and give us a brief history of the band?
Julie Johnson is still on 5 string bass and vocals and myself on guitar and vocals. We’ve kept the same line up going on over two years now with Nate Johnson drumming for us and no he’s not my son. That title would go to his dad Jeff who’s our stage manager and dad to Chelsea which most of the time you can meet running our merch table. We’re currently in the 11th year of being Under Command so we’ve got a lot of miles on us and our vehicles. We’ve been very fortunate to have been able to put out several cds along the way and meet a lot of awesome people. To get into details of most stuff I don’t think there’s enough room here to print
3. On your Myspace you list yourself as a metal/rock band but I would say you are more heavy rock. How would you describe Under Command to someone who has never heard your music?
Intense guitar grooves with vocal hooks and harmony. The term ‘metal’ has undergone so many changes that people are running out of ways to describe the genre. Theres too many different ways a band can pigeon hole themselves just to try to stay cool with everybody. I mean we tune down to G# and up to G, have guitar solos, screaming and vocal harmonies. We can play acoustic, praise and worship or at full on crush your head distortion levels and we do what we like to do not what whatever fad happens to be hanging around this next 15 minutes. We love good songs and we incorporate all the elements we love into them. Metal/rock is a good start or rock metal, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock. Hmm maybe the next 15 minutes will have something cool in the title.
4. I see you had a new single debut on Metal Pulse Radio, My Madness. I noticed some new hooks and catchy phrases while still keeping the Under Command sound. Could we look forward to this in the new album?
Pretty much. When we started writing this time around I started to pay closer attention to song structure and hooks, always trying to make things better. Its always good to be able to squeeze some extra horsepower out of the machine.
5. What is the title of the new album and when can we expect to see it released?
As of right now were unsure of the new album’s name. Things have changed soooo…we’ll see in the future. Were looking at, Lord willing a end of spring release.
6. Congratulations on your signing with Intense Millennium Records. How did this recent signing come about?
Thanks. The short but sweet version is best for this. When our contract ended with our old label we knew it was time to move on, the Lord was moving us pretty solid about that. At that time a dear friend at a radio station informed me that Intense Millennium was looking for new bands and that got the ball rolling. When we released “My Madness” the strenght of that song helped to make things concrete.
7. I was looking at the Firestream Music Vault (an online database for Christian rock and metal bands). In your listing is an album called Damage Control. Whatever happened to this album?
Damage Control was done by an internet label called Fightcloud and was done in the middle of our first release Secret Place of Thunder and our next Seeing Red. I didn’t want to give them a whole project at the time so I split it with songs from both of those cds. It still had 10 songs and that combo was pretty cool. When Seeing Red was released I didn’t see any reason to push Damage Control because we wanted Seeing Red to get more attention. Not long after Fightcloud went under and we went on with our business playing shows. Well theres always places where some people didn’t have the money to buy a regular cd from us and you could tell that they really wanted something to take home with them so we would say give us a donation of what you can and we’ll give you Damage Control (still 10 songs just no fancy packaging). They worked great for that. You could tell the people who were genuine when they got the cd or if they were just someone trying to get over on you by low balling a price, those folks usually got pissed off because they didn’t get what they thought they should. Even though there were 5 songs from the disc they were after …..
8. I see you haven’t been performing as many live shows as you did a few years back. Is there a reason for this?
Several. The main one is that our daughter is in school now so multiple dates away during school months have slowed way back. When schools out its summer festival season we try to do that as much as we can. The other is the economy. I hate to go on about this but as we all know its hard. Music is all I do and it never pays well and with venues not paying well, getting ripped off or merch stole from our tables it all chips away at the mountain. When things started to get bad we went from driving our tour bus to an RV to towing our trailer with my truck to driving to do a show in Kentucky in Julie’s Saturn 4 door. Its all for the Lord though and hes always made a way for us to make it to these gigs (and back home). I wasn’t very long ago I was praying about places and shows and things and GOD said (in a nutshell) some bands wont do these gigs (bad places, bad people, no pay) but YOU will. So I’m trying to do what I feel the Lord wants us to do.
9. When you are doing a live show which song gets the biggest reaction?
Cut too deep, Dangerous, So be it and Psychotic are the ones that eyes are really wide open on but the whole set gets a great response. The whole meal deal.
10. Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?
Thanks for the encouragement and support and be sure to get the new cd when it comes out. Above all always keep Jesus Christ first and foremost in your life. Remember to love the Lord with all your mind, heart, soul and strength. That makes you Under Command too.
Interview by Dale Huffman (Metal Pulse Radio) for Untombed.com