Stoner Rock? Doom Metal? Call it what you like! The fact remains that Chicago's Trouble are a legend in their own right. Their history goes way back to 1979 and with early Metal Blade albums like "Psalm 9" (from 1984), "The Skull" (1985) or "Run to the Light" (1987) Trouble carved their own niche in Metal history. The 90's saw them moving to Rick Rubin's Def Jam label , therewith gaining a whole new spectrum of fans. After the underpromoted "Plastic green Head" platter the band dissolved temporarily. Only to strike back with "Simple Mind Condition" in 2007. Soon after, however, founding member and charismatic singer Eric Wagner decided to leave Trouble. A heavy blow! His substitute is no other than Kory Clarke, the former vocalist of Warrior Soul. A strange mix, some might think. But he fits in perfectly. His strong live presence worked wonders for Trouble when they toured Germany in October 2009 in tow with the forefathers of Doom, the mighty Pentagram (who's singer Bobby Liebling is looking forward to the 40th anniversary of his band). Trouble presented a new number in their live set (to be released on their new 2010 studio album): "Hunters of Doom" is one of the strongest numbers the band ever penned.
New singer Kory Clarke made his debut appearance on Trouble's first-ever live album called "Live in Los Angeles". High Roller Records is proud to release this album as a limited edition vinyl issue. A fact the whole band cherishes. I met up with guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin plus Kory Clarke in their comfortable tour bus, when they toured Germany in the autumn of 2009. Rick Wartell tries to remember the gig they recorded for posterity: "Yeah, it took place in July 2008 in Los Angeles. We were recording most of the shows on the tour. Since L.A. was always such a good place for us in the past, we thought that would probably be one of the better shows, so we brought in extra production. We filmed the gig with five cameras as well. Unfortunately, the filmed DVD material was lost and all we were left with were the audio tapes. So we decided to put the album out. It is not the whole gig though, we left out a couple of songs. On the other hand, the running order is exactly the same as we played them live." So "Live in Los Angles" is the first Trouble live album ever. Why has it taken so long to have it come out, bearing in mind that the band was formed back in 1979? "Yeah, we thought it was about high time we put one out", muses Rick. "Although we had the live DVD from Stockholm", adds Kory.
So what is the most popular Trouble song of all? Which one goes down best in a live sitaution? Rick Wartell does not hesitate to answer: "I'd say 'Tempter'." Bruce, on the other hand, recognizes two different camps: "For people into the early stuff, the total Doom, yeah for sure, for them it's 'Tempter'. 'End of my Daze', however, is probably more universal." Rick: "I'm just going by live shows and it just seems that no matter where we play on the planet, when we play 'Tempter' everybody goes crazy. Old fans, new fans. It doesn't matter. This seems to be the one. And it was the very first song we ever wrote."
As already mentioned earlier, new singer Kory Clarke has added a whole new dimension to the Trouble sound (and live experience). But how difficult was it really to find a subsitute for Eric Wagner, as he was there from the beginning and had such a unique voice? Did Rick and Bruce look for someone specifically, who was totally different to Eric? "It was pretty easy to find a replacement", states Rick. "Bruce and I spoke who we would get for a replacement. We made a phone call. Kory came in. It took him a little while to understand what we were doing. Then he got the vibe. The first criterion for me to find a replacement for Eric was to find someone who would be exciting to watch on stage. Because that's been our criticism for years. We have not been a very visual band in the past. That has changed now." Bruce closes this particular topic: "And you're right. We were not looking for someone who sounded exactly like Eric. What would be the point of that?" As Kory is different in his style of singing, are there certain songs from the vast Trouble repertoire which don't really work with him? "Sure", finds Rick. "There are a few numbers we probably stray away from. For example, the stuff taken directly from the bible. It sounds cool when you are a teenage kid, but when you are a grown man, you would like to move on." Bruce: "Yeah, that was Eric's thing at the time, for the first two records. He was really interested in the bible, that was a big influence on his lyric writing. But we were never really a Christian band as such. We did not start the White Metal thing. That was Metal Blade. Brian Slagel used that as a marketing scheme."