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10 Quick Ones with STEPHEN BISHOP of THUNDER HORSE – August 2018

| 17 August 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Slow, Low, and Brutally Truthful; Thunder Horse gives Southern Sludge Metal a new twist. Thunder Horse is an in your face project of long time touring veterans and seasoned musicians. All four members have a long history of friendship with a chemistry that was right to break ground on something new. An eclectic background of influences and styles are what sets Thunder Horse apart from the pack. Thunder Horse oozes influences of soulful guitar driven southern metal and hails inspiration from the iconic bands that inspired them to be musicians.  It’s hard to pinpoint their genre, but Classic Doom, Heavy Blues and Guitar Driven Rock-n-Roll are easily identifiable in their debut self-titled release.”  We get Stephen to discuss new music, influences, and much more in our 10 Quick Ones…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our debut self-titled release, Thunder Horse, was a long-time labor of love for me personally. After my last band, Pitbull Daycare (MIA Records USA, High Gain Records Europe and Cleopatra Records Worldwide), we all kind of parted ways and just stopped talking to each other. We spent 12 long years grinding away and we just fell out of love with it (the band) and I guess, each other. This record is really a chronicle of my personal journey and experiences after the split. This album is a stretch for me too, as I have always been a front man. In Thunder Horse, I actually play rhythm guitar and sing. That presents a whole new batch of challenges in itself! Collectively, I think the four of us have really come together to put out something interesting, and entertaining. Todd and Jason were in Pitbull Daycare with me and Dave is a lifelong friend of Todd and Jason and I have known him for nearly 20 years ourselves! Thunder Horse is not just another re-hash of a kick ass band from our youth. We tried to really do something a bit out of the ordinary and a bit out of character from what people may remember a few of us as. We like to say, “we play music we like, for people we like.” Hopefully some of our die-hard fans past and present appreciate that in itself.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Music was a part of my life since I was a toddler. My entire family are musicians. My Grandfather played the honky tonk circuit with all of the old country legends, so that was a huge deal in my household growing up. I started off playing Trumpet in elementary school and stayed with it all the way through until I graduated High School. I started doing live music as a singer in middle school and never looked back! Every band I was ever in has left a positive impact on my life. I owe my entire existence to music. Jason, Todd and Dave have all been playing music since they were kids! We have ALL been musicians as long as we can remember.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I have a pretty diverse and somewhat odd range of influences! I can say without a doubt that some of my all-time favorites, and huge influences on my career are (in no particular order): Perry Farrell – Jane’s Addiction, Layne Stayley – Alice in Chains, Al Jourgenson – Ministry, Willie Nelson, and Alice Cooper.  I told ya! I’m all over the map! Lol

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

I’d personally love to do a song with Tony Iommi, but who wouldn’t, right? Iommi is a massive influence on me playing guitar. The guy is an encyclopedia of epic riffs. How can one person come up with song after song, decade after decade, of the most molten metal EVER!?! The guy is a true legend and inspiration. I’m no Ozzy, or Dio or Gillan or Gillen, but I think he and I would make some killer music together! Feel free to pass along my information to Mr. Iommi. I think I can make some time for him! lol

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

This is the $64,000 question that we in Thunder Horse have been struggling with since day one! What in the hell are we? I’ll regurgitate the blurb from our bandcamp page that some of the reviews have said about us lately: “The genre is hard to pin down, but there are definitely Doom, Psych, Occult and Classic Rock N Blues influences. Imagine Black Sabbath mixed with Jane’s Addiction on a Pink Floyd Trip” I really can’t describe it any better than that! We take inspiration from every band we grew up listening to and try to do the impossible: make it original and fresh. Hopefully we are succeeding in that task!

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Oh man, That’s an easy one. The absolute best thing about being a musician is the community and comradery; Especially in the metal scene. There are no more loyal and dedicated fans in the world than in the metal community. Think about it, there are probably 200 different genres and sub-genres of metal, and we and our fans cross over those boundaries all the time. Our community offers art, politics, support, therapy, dedication, acceptance, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. We are our own little universe. What makes what I do for fun so awesome, is the people that I do it for and the friendships I have because I do it. I love my life and I owe it ALL to being a musician.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

First and foremost; I am the cook! I’ve been cooking for Todd and Jason for about 20 years now! Hell, they probably wouldn’t have even eaten had I not fed them for a good 10 of that 20 years! Jason and I are the culprits when it comes to having a few frosty beverages, but Todd and Uncle Dave won’t shy away from a good time! And believe it or not, Uncle Dave, our 12 string Bass player, is one of the most accomplished and amazing guitar players I have ever seen! He always has a guitar in hand and is ready to jam at a moment’s notice! Todd is the artsy one that has actually mastered his instrument and we owe our stage vision and song arrangements to him! Todd is my ultimate partner in crime and I owe this entire album to his friendship and talents.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I kind of cheat on this one. I actually do have an awesome career. I won’t go into it here, but it is killer, and I love what I do. Music is my first love, and my “career” is how I support that mistress we call Thunder Horse! I couldn’t have one without the other. But (!) If I didn’t have a bitchin’ job and music wasn’t my option, I think I’d be a politician… really.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Holy crap. Hell yes! One single moment is not near enough! I would redo almost everything we did while I was in Pitbull Daycare! Bad management, bad record deals, bad tours, bad fights, bad addictions, bad lovers, bad intentions, bad breakups, and generally just bad decisions. I learned so much from screwing up and never learned from or appreciated the good things that were happening at the time. I’d love a raincheck on a lot of those years.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

This is probably not the answer the rest of the band would say, but I’d love to be a fly on the wall during the recording of Nothing Shocking by Jane’s Addiction. That album was my coming of age album. I learned how to drive with that record, I lost my virginity to that record, I skated to that record, I fought to that record. It was the soundtrack of my life at a time in my life when I was truly trying to find my own identity. The XXX Session and Ritual De Lo Habitual were huge influences, but Nothing Shocking is my all-time favorite album, ever. That might not be too popular of an answer, but it is what it is.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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