Iced Earth drummer Brent Smedley took a few minutes of his hectic day of press at Bloodstock Festival 2012 to talk to ThisIsNotAScene‘s Greg about the rigours of touring, getting the most out of your dressing room, choosing setlists and much, much more…
OK Brent, one question I do want to ask you, is how do you go about drawing up a festival setlist, as opposed to a headline show?
Well, the most important thing is to figure out how much time we have, the time of day might determine it, if we’re playing in light or if we’re playing in darkness, what we may have done if we’ve played before so we can change it up a little bit and of course we always wanna throw a bit of the new album in there.
I notice when you played in the UK in November last year you played a lot of the new album, “Dystopia,” whereas today, it seemed to be more of the back catalogue. Is that because you don’t feel you’re promoting a record here or was that just the way it turned out?
Yeah, it’s probably just the way it turned out, there’s a lot of fans from different eras of the band here so we wanted to play something for everyone and as you said we already pushed the new record over here.
As we’re talking about festivals have you got any survival tips of your own?
Make sure you get enough rest, enough to eat, get in a shower when you can ha ha! Take the booze from the dressing room before you leave.
You’ve been in the band about 9 years now, do you still take inspiration from other drummers or do you feel “this is my style”?
I’m always listening to new guys but my favourites are all pretty old school. My all time favourite drummer is Dean Castanova, then also in my top half dozen there’s guys like Nicko McBrain, Bill Ward, Mitch Mitchell, Scott Rockenfield and Vinnie Paul, but I’m always listening man.
When it comes to touring you guys don’t seem to come to the UK much which upsets me, but is there a reason for that?
I dunno man, I mean we have our agents and management always working to get us shows and tours. I’m not really sure, we’d love to come back and play more as it’s not a territory we’ve not worked a whole lot.
Where do you think Iced Earth sit in terms of contemporary metal?
I think we’re a very valid band, we definitely have our roots in the old school – Sabbath, Priest, Maiden – but it’s mixed up in a modern way so I like to think we’re viable. We’re sort of carrying the torch and keeping the faith for the old school metal. The giants are still around and we are, what I would like to think of as, the next generation of that kind of music.
The Something Wicked (This Way Comes) storyline that Jon (Schaffer, guitar) wrote for the 3 songs on that album expanded to 2 albums (“Framing Armageddon” and “The Crucible of Man”) and was touched upon again for “Dystopia” – with so many bands playing full albums on their tour, is there a plan to do something live with that story?
I’d be up for it! We’ve talked about doing an “Epic Tour” where we play all the trilogies and all the epic tunes like ‘Dante’s Inferno’ and ‘Damien,’ as well as, the ‘Something Wicked Trilogy,’ the ‘Gettysburg Trilogy,’ ‘Question of Heaven…’ We’re not sure what really works right now, but there’s always a possibility for something like that.
The next album then – Jon has said he wants out before the end of 2013
Oh, it’ll probably be out way before that!
Have you started the process yet?
I’ve noticed that there’s quite a few dates on this tour!
Yeah, we’re about 130 in, but there’s another leg or 2 of this tour to go…
And with that Brent was whisked off to his next duty, but he’s given us all a very nice dream of what sort of show could be making its way over here next time…