Wagner is a busy death metal guy and a total lifer who always packs his heat for his passions about playing ultra brutal music and writing well-fictionized horror books.This chat could have happened with him after the classy Mutilated and Assimilated album months ago but unfortunately we couldn’t arrange it because he is a busy guy as I mentioned.Anyhow this way happened better because his new book which is explicitly from the beyond of other dimensions called Rabid Heart is gonna be published in a couple of days.We talked about Broken Hope,Death Metal,Horror Books and more.Take a beer and click below!
Would you like to start to talk about your new book Rabid Heart?Can you pass some info about it?
Jeremy Wagner: Absolutely. RABID HEART is about when the Necro-Rabies virus turns into a worldwide pandemic—all mammals become carriers, and infected humans become rabid zombies—“CUJO’s” as they’re popularly referred to.
How did you precisely understand that you have a desire to write a book?What is your history about being a novelist?
I’ve been writing since I was five years old. I’ve always ahad a passion for writing fiction and it grew from childhood until now. I’ve written many published short-stories and lyrics, and now two published novels with more to come. I write full-time and I just love being a novelist. It’s really all I want to do.
Could you possibly give some info about the characters and storyline that you created for Rabid Heart?
RHONDA DRISCOLL—young, engaged, and also the daughter of Marine Colonel, KENNETH DRISCOLL, with whom she has a major beef with since Colonel Dad wants her now zombified fiancé exterminated.
RHONDA finds her thought-to-be-dead fiancé—BRAD SAVINI—months later in her old hometown, she devises a plan to take him back to a military base and save him—and be his eternal companion despite his current “Cujofied” state. But when her father takes steps to end the unconventional relationship and permanently put Brad to rest, Rhonda takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps Brad, determined to start a new life in Florida.
Rhonda and Brad embark on a road-trip from North Carolina to Florida in hopes of starting a new life in a frightening, uncertain world. The interstate journey through the zombie-laden South in a stolen Humvee is one full of chilling danger and stunning surprises.
Rhonda’s journey is complicated by numerous perils, horror, joy, heartbreak, and unconditional love. In a novel akin to “The Road meets Zombieland,” RABID HEART will take you on a horrifying, violent, and action-filled trip.
How was your debut novel ‘’The Armageddon Chord’’?Was it sold out?Can you mention the differences and similarities between your debut work and Rabid Heart?
THE ARMGEDDON CHORD sold well and is now being re-released with my new Publisher in December. My books are totally different from each other. For example, here’s the THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD takes place deep beneath the Egyptian sands where an ancient and evil song written in hieroglyphics is discovered in the long lost and buried pyramid of the demonic pharaoh, Aknaseth. It is written, that if this song is performed for the world to hear, it will unleash the Apocalypse upon the world of man…Satan will reign and grant immortality to the chosen.
With the help of abominable Egyptologist, Helmut Hartkopff, nihilistic multibillionaire, Festus Baustone the Third will do whatever it takes to bring the song to life at any cost- even if his only daughter is to be sacrificed. Kirk Vaisto, dubbed the “God of Guitar” by his millions of fans, soon finds himself caught between the forces of divine good and monumental evil. Vaisto begins a musical journey that takes him from an unholy chapter in ancient Egyptian history to the very remains of the Holy Cross, to the concert stage, and beyond all this, to the very edge of Hell itself.
So you see…a MUCH DIFFERENT novel than RABID HEART.
What are the differences between being an author and musician as a multi-directional artist?
The differences are mostly that being a novelist is very solitary and I don’t have to answer to anyone. Being a musician in a band has me answering to many people at all times—which isn’t very fun.
You brutalized death metal and put it into a different path.How did you start to play that brutal riffs and songs in the early days as a guitarist?What things influenced you to go on that path?
When it came to death metal, I always wanted to write the heaviest and sickest style of death metal possible. I think I did a good job so far. I was first inspired to play guitar after hearing Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning.” Then my influences grew from there: Slayer, Dark Angel, Death, Morbid Angel, Terrorizer, Carcass, and more
Broken Hope is one of the very early comers on the path of USA death metal.When you think about the founding and first recording days of Broken Hope,what things were different in your mindset and songwriting than others?And consequently how are you feeling about Death Metal and playing music now ?
We were hungry and ready to do anything. We knew nothing of the music business and didn’t know what to expect—we just reached for the stars. Thirty years later this year (2018), I think I made Broken Hope very well-known in death metal history and I still love this music. I think over time I’ve matured and really have a handle of my craft—writing music and writing lyrics. I have developed great radar for what sounds good to me in a riff and recording, and what will hammer home in the lyrics I write in a strong, succinct, and memorable way. I fucking love being a guitarist and I fucking love being a writer/author. I believe I do have a voice—a musical voice and a written-word voice—just as a veteran songwriter and veteran author has. I don’t want to sound arrogant with that; I still have a long way to go, even after all these years, but I’m getting there, and I think my “voices” are more distinct and original than ever before. The excitement of death metal as a new form of metal surprised me back in 1988 and the resurgence and excitement for a new wave of death metal is actually surprising me NOW in 2018! For me, the spirit remains the same; still out to crush the world with sick death metal and have fun doing it. We are doing it for the passion that we have for this music. Still hungry!
Broken Hope had been idle for years after you played,recorded and toured through all 90s.What were the reasons being idle and stayed away from the scene as a musician over ten years?
Most of it had to with personal issues with other members. Professional issues. That type of thing. I didn’t want Broken Hope to be a half-ass band at all, so I took a long break from it until it could be perfect.
You returned to scene with Omen of Disease and it was one of the coolest come back albums for death metal.How were all things started for Broken Hope again?
The time was right to bring back Broken Hope in 2011. By 2012 I had a full lineup and tours in place. Then we signed to Century Media and made our comeback album. It all happened naturally.
Damian from Gorgasm as a frontman and Mike as a drummer became the solid members of Broken Hope after you refound the band. I know all but could you tell us about other new guys in the band?
A new ‘feel” and “new blood” in the band that makes things surprising: The “feel” being different this time around—it’s a feeling and vibe that harbors a new strength and positive delivery in the brutality.The new blood in the band making the “feel” a ferocious and serious thing. Matt and Diego brought a true passion for their instruments and for death metal into Broken Hope—and they brought brotherhood and that positive delivery I mentioned. I’ve never experienced this before in Broken Hope before, and am I ever grateful for this lineup and genuine comradery.
You toured in Europe in 2018.How was it for Broken Hope?What about USA and others?
European tours are always awesome! We had a great time. No more USA tours for us. We’re not doing anything more that doesn’t make sense.
Lyrics and fiction of Mutilated and Assimilated dominantly seemed to be influenced a lot by John Carpenter and The Thing.Do his works influence your fictional world in writing music and book?What other things do you influence?
With Mutilated and Assimilated, I made it a tribute to Carpenter’s THE THING. I’ve never done that before. Most of my ideas come from other sources—real or imagined.
Jeremy,you are the only founding member of Broken Hope in the band.How can you keep it going on this tough music business world after all years?Is it about courage,desire or?
I did it for my love of death metal and to keep the spirit of Broken Hope alive. Nowadays I’m not real happy with the music business or touring. I don’t plan to be super-active with the band…I’m going to focus on writing books and maybe do a studio album only for the future.
How do you see the global Death Metal scene?Is it stronger or weaker now?What do you think about the new bands and new generation fans ?Peronally,what is Death Metal stand for?
There’s many great bands in this genre who are new “millennial bands,” but for some reason, they’re not breaking major ground that the founding fathers haven’t already smashed. That said, it seems that death metal is more popular than ever—again THAT is surprising to me NOW. Once thing I find is that there’s thousands of kids who just discovered death metal and love the old bands, or there’s thousands of kids who also discovered death metal, but they think it’s a new form of “deathcore!” It’s funny and it also makes me want to teach a death metal history class to everyone!The current state of death metal is indeed stronger than ever. The classic bands still prop it up to this day. And it’s the boatload of veteran bands who made last year of 2017 the greatest year of death metal in a long time: Immolation, Origin, Obituary, Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Behemoth, Six Feet Under, and many more. That all makes me really happy to say.There’s nothing heavier than death metal and grindcore. I fucking live and breathe death metal. That’ll never change. I’m a lifer because I’m in love with a genre of music that gives me pure sonic pleasure and a release like no other. There’s none more loyal to this genre than the death metal community. As I mentioned before, It’s the culture and brotherhood/sisterhood that makes it live and breathe. And you see the same faces at festivals and death metal shows around the world. This genre is important to people, it’s a major part of their lives, and I love that and never take that for granted. I’m a death metal fan first.
I remember you made a very humantiarion decision and you donated your farm and its land to an animal rescue organization and then interestingly you collected all the guitars of legendary Jeff Hanneman.How were these things happened for you if asking this is not too personal?
I love animals and I’ve rescued many and have donated money along with my wife to help animals. I was very happy I was able to buy and donate that farm to help animals.
Regarding Jeff Hanneman…When I first acquired the guitars, it was Matt from ESP who brokered the introduction between Kathryn Hanneman, Jeff’s wife, and me. Kathryn was going to auction the guitars. When I heard about it, I got ahold of Matt. I’m like, “Matt, it was Jeff Hanneman and Slayer that sent me on my course as an extreme metal guitarist.” Really, between the Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood albums, that started everything for me — above and beyond my guitar-catalyst, Ride the Lightning. Jeff was a huge hero and a huge inspiration.
When I found out these guitars were going to be available, I wanted to have them and use them. Another thing was that Jeff’s style of ESP guitars was similar to the styles I’ve always used, like the M body, neck-thru design, and ebony fretboard. I used one of them to write and record, Mutilated and Assimilated.
Guitar World magazine ended up doing a feature on my acquiring these guitars. When the subject comes up, most people think I have four or five of Hanneman’s guitars. There’s actually way more. I have several of Jeff’s ESPs that were custom made. I have the Slayer album tribute guitars. Then there’s also older ones from other manufacturers. I really took on a huge part of his estate, including Jeff’s amps, gear, and personal effects.
In my home, I now have a complete Hanneman room that is a dedicated museum.
I ended up using 2 of Jeff’s guitars to exclusively write and record the album with and I’ve dedicated our new album to the memory, spirit, and legacy to Jeff Hanneman.
You lost some comrades of Broken Hope in the battle zone that people oncecalled life. Joe Ptacek in 2010 and Ryan Stanek in 2015.How did these heavy loses influence you as a person and artist?
Joe and Ryan dying so young had a serious affect on me. But later I found inspiration in their deaths to go on and honor their memories with Broken Hope. I am changed for the better as a person and as an artist for knowing them in life.
Should we expect to hear new things from you nowadays?When and how are we going to listen new stuff from Broken Hope?
Expect to see more new books from me in the next years to come. I’m not sure what I’ll do with Broken Hope, but perhaps a new album sometime in the next two years.
What are your favourite death metal and other releases during the recent years?
Gruesome, Succumb, Depravity, Skeletal Remains, Replicant, Extremity, and Mortiferum among others are really the newest generations of death metal bands carrying that fucking old-school-yet refreshing torch. They all have what I like in death metal—sick riffs, great delivery, catchiness, and more.
As an author,what are the connections between reality and fiction in creating and writing a fictionized sci-fi horror book?
With fiction, there’s always something in there about “writing what you know.” That’s what I do and that’s the conenction between fiction and reality.
How can people find and buy your new book Rabid Heart all around?
RABID HEART is available worldwide via AMAZON and can be ordered from any bookstores around the world.
Thank you very much for this cool and friendly interview.Would you like to finish this with your last words?
I just want to thank you for the interview and thank all of the fans for their support of my books and music. And if you all like horror novels, please read my new book, RABID HEART! Cheers!