Robert Cavuota of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with ANIMETAL USA guitarist Chris Impellitteri. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: Tell me how ANIMETAL USA was formed?
Chris Impellitteri: It was put together by our record label, Sony. They really had the vision for this band. They thought it would be an interesting mutation if they took the metal world and the anime audience and permeated them together. They would help us find a market, an identity, and people who would listen and come to the shows. Basically, they had looked at a band out of Japan that had done this, around 1991, it was called ANIMETAL. It was very popular only in Japan. They were said to have great success. Sony thought, and I hate this word, what if we put a “supergroup” together and made it an international band? Rudy Sarzo said I was the only choice for guitar, and I was flattered. When I got the call from our now-manager, I asked, “Can put my own spin on this?” considering it’s actually half an original song and half a cover. Lyrically it’s the cover part as well as the main song theme, especially if it’s a really well-known anime song. Basically, we put together the original music that I write with the anime lyrics.
Guitar International: So, the music is original but the lyrics are anime songs?
Chris Impellitteri: Absolutely. If you listen to the opening song of the record called “Touch”, the riff of that song is the cover. It sounds a lot like BLACK SABBATH‘s “Children Of The Grave” and goes into this really insane guitar solo that plays really fast, really orchestrated. All of that is where we start doing our own entire thing. It’s all original music. It’s metal on steroids.
Guitar International: All the Japanese lyrics need to be translated to English?
Chris Impellitteri: Exactly. Mike Vescera [vocals] will get the rough outline of the lyric. Of course, it’s in Japanese, so if you have 12 bars of a certain phrase and a verse, and you translate to English and it only makes it to 3 bars, that’s 9 bars of a big hole. Mike has to come up with ways to say exactly the same thing in English. He’s got probably the most challenging job.
Guitar International: Mike sounds like he’s pretty fluent in Japanese.
Chris Impellitteri: Yeah, he’s not. [laughs] But, there were certain phrases that he had to do because you’ve got to stick to the original lyric. That was the caveat. Even though we’re doing a lot of original music, you’ve still got to use or at the very least the meaning of every word in the song so it doesn’t change, because it’s a storyline. Every song is a story.
Guitar International: Did each member design their own makeup and come up with their own name?
Chris Impellitteri: I did my own face completely. I think the Sony team worked with the other guys quite a bit, just to find out who they felt like, because everybody wanted to express themselves in a different way. Sony called me Speed King. We have Rudy as Storm Bringer, Mike‘s Metal-Rider and drummer Jon Dette is Tank. We do take this music really seriously. At the end of the day, we’re trying to make this really fun.
Read the entire interview from Guitar International.