One of the most outspoken musicians of the last three decades must be singer Kory Clarke of Warrior Soul. With albums like ‘Last Decade…Dead Century’, ‘Salutations From The Ghetto Nation’ and ‘Drugs, God And The New Republic’ his anti authority, anti establishment lyrics wrapped in punky rock ‘n’ roll, he made a clear statement. Over the years Clarke changed band line-ups faster than his underpants but what stayed was his raspy voice, provoking lyrics and punky rock. Recently Clarke and Warrior Soul did a small European tour and in Landgraaf (NL) he took some time to speak to HeadBangers LifeStyle’s Raymond Helebrand about the new album ‘Rock ’N’ Roll Disease”, the tour, the Euregio package and more.
Kory, first of all I want to thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.
,,No thank you, for inviting me to this interview. Cool, I appreciate it.’’
How are you?
,,I’m pretty good, yeah I mean I’ve got bronchitis, but other than that I am fine.’’
That’s good to hear. For the people not so familiar with Kory Clarke. How would describe yourself. A singer, poet, producer, painter, rebel? ,,Haha, that’s a good one, just kind of a renaissance rebellion man, I guess. I don’t know.’’
Does it reflect in the music as well?
,,I think so, the music is my style, it’s got its own individualistic kind of feel. It doesn’t fit to many categories. It’s rock, it doesn’t feel like old rock to me, but it feels like a new form of old rock. Everything moves somewhat different, depending on how I produce it. You know ‘The Space Age Playboys’ stuff doesn’t sound like old rock.’’
So you always try to reinvent yourself?
,,Well, you have to but as long as you just stay true to yourself that’s okay. It’s not bad to be stuck in the same thing. I mean, we all love Motörhead and the Ramones. Not that they totally stuck in their thing, but they are much more forced to their styles. Fans also demand that in a way, but with Warrior Soul there is a certain anticipation of what we are gonna try next. A bit like Led Zeppelin did. Nothing is done really on purpose, I mean, obviously the latest records are more 70s / 80s rock, but I try to change it up by changing arrangements and make it more my kind of feel and keep it fresh.’’
You are about to release the new album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Disease’. What is the difference with the last albums? ,,Not so much. I did the same thing. The previous took about two years to put it together because I was working with people in Chicago and London and so. But this time, I just flew everybody into Chicago. They had the riffs and I went into the studio to mike the drums, we went for dinner with lots of bourbon and margarita’s. When we came back we tracked 10 songs in six hours. I edited those tracks a bit, we did some overdubs on top of that and I did put the vocals on. The mixing took place in London. No click track because I wanted to get a nice live feel. By the way, I played drums on six songs on the record, which was cool.’’
Yes I know you originally started as a drummer.
,,Hopefully I do not finish as a drummer.” [laughing]
What is your drive to keep writing and producing new music ?
,,I need the money [whaha]’’
Is that the only drive??
,,No, what else are you going to hire me to do? Run a bank?? [laughing] I would probably do a better than the guys who are running it now, at least I’d be more honest.’’
You might be hired as a producer by other bands?
,,Well I have done some, but it seems nobody really trust me to do the production for them which is weird because I produced all my own records. But whatever, I make a living selling paintings as well, touring and making new records. I got tired of touring the last record, so I decided to make a new one. The guys in Chicago are once again haunting me, asking me to come back, so I will be there shortly. I don’t know if I am gonna track, but we’ll see. Drop in, track out, do the editing and send it back.’’
Do you write all songs yourself?
,,No, no, I got a co-writer, John Polache, who lives in Chicago and my new guitar player Dennis Post from Copenhagen Denmark. They come up with riffs and I go like guys, change it around a bit. Let me see, change that chorus with the verse, but then I go into the studio, get the drums up and I just keep going through it, over and over again until we get a nice combination and that’s the song. Ninety-nine per cent of my records have all been me in the studio with other people, me playing drums, or not, and just start rocking riffs. Or I come up with a song and let those guys finish it. There are many ways to write but the last two records are like, ‘go in and record’.’’
About touring. This tour brings Warrior Soul in a fair amount of countries. Recently Spain, now Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. There are also some US dates coming up already. Are you happy with how things are going now?
,,Absolutely, Spain was cool. And we have some New York and Detroit gigs coming up. it just goes up and down, who knows why. Sometimes no one wants to hear it and sometimes people love it. There is no knowing, you just get lucky sometimes. We are really pushing to get it further. We do have a momentum and when you have that you don’t let it go.’’
What keeps things fresh for you on stage. Energy wise?
,,Pretty much Wodka and Whiskey [laughing]. The audience gives you energy but in my case it also has to come directly from my internal soul. You just got to fucking go and I also do have a reputation, I can’t let people down. I got to go and kick ass.’’
And the hardest audiences are the ones with 10 people, or?
,,Oh Yeah, but fortunately that hasn’t happen in a long time. All of Spain has been nice. It’s been decent, small audiences you know. I can’t expect much more because not many people know who the fuck I am. Or they just are not motivated to come and watch. Maybe they don’t want to go out anymore or maybe they just have kids or they are in a retirement home. [laughing] But you know, I gain new fans all the time and sometimes my audiences get younger, it’s weird man.’’
These last three dates you were supported by three local bands. What do you think about packages like this and new bands in general?
,,I find it interesting, because they seem so young, you know. And to see them watching me play, they are obviously getting something from it I guess, because they do stay every night and watch very closely. I don’t know, maybe I’m teaching them how to be an old school rock n roller.’’
Do you have any advice for them?
,,They should do a lot less drugs than I did and go on doing the best they can. You know your life expectancy in this business is not that long, so you might as well get it while you can. You should have fun and also learn. Let your soul learn how to grow, how to be more patient, be more forgiving. This business really pushes you. It’s a hard business to forgive, a hard business to forget, a hard business to be patient.’’
And you have learned it the hard way?
,,Oh yeah, but that’s how it is. I am sure that in my past lives, when I decided to come in again and be back on this planet, I probably said ‘Okay, show me the hard way’.’’ [laughing]
What were the biggest musical influences for you growing up in the 60s/70s?
,,That were Hendrix, Zappa, Ramones, a bit of Sex Pistols and obviously Zeppelin, Sabbath. Beatles, stuff like that. You can definitely hear the attitude of a Johnny Rotten sort of raw stage presence. I have done some more psychedelic approached records but the last two records are pretty dry and raw, to let my voice do the talking.’’
Do you have any last words for the readers of Headbangerslifestyle.com?
,,First, wear a helmet. Second, go pick up a rock ‘n’ roll disease and spread it. [laughing] and thanks for the interview!!!’’