Mike LePond of Symphony X is put under the grill by ThisIsNotAScene, where he chats about Axel Rose’s attitude problem, his support for Pussy Riot, Geezer Butler’s great influence and much, much more…
What are you currently working on?
Right now, Symphony X is preparing for a short tour of Costa Rica, Mexico, and some USA shows. Then we will begin writing songs for a new CD.
Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
I would like to be doing the same thing I have been doing for the past 13 years. Recording CDs, touring the world, and making friends from all different countries.
Can you describe your most metal moment?
Back in 2003, we were playing a show in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. We were so excited to find out that Ronnie James Dio was doing a show the same night in the same city as us! After we finished our concert, we went to see Dio. We all went backstage and spent an hour with him. He was the nicest man ever!!
Apparently, you like Harry Potter books? If so, what is your favorite part?
I actually never read any of the Potter books, but I saw a few of the movies. I enjoyed them all.
Which country do you wish to play at?
Well I love playing in all the countries of the world. We have never played Australia, India, and Russia. I would like to play there.
What is the worst review you had, if any?
Symphony X has been very lucky in this area. We really don’t get bad reviews. The press has been very good to us.
What was your biggest waste of money?
This is another area we have been lucky. We have a great manager who takes care of us. We have never really wasted money on anything.
What are you most proud of in your life?
The proudest moment in my life was when I was asked to join Symphony X. It was my dream to play in front of audiences all over the world. To play on CD’s and become a rock star. I practised my bass for many hours and sacrificed so much. So when I finally achieved my dream, I was so proud.
Do you Google yourself? If so, what did you find?
Sometimes I Google myself. It’s always a little strange for me because I am always so surprised to learn how many people know who I am from all over the world.
What advice would you give future bass players?
Practice as much as you can, listen to many different types of music, join a band so you can learn to work with other musicians. Most importantly, never give up on your dreams.
What do you do for fun, apart from music?
I like to hang out with my friends. I also love to learn about mythology, history, and politics.
Have you had any strange approaches from fans? If so, what were they?
Our fans are usually pretty normal. I can’t recall anything strange. I am just always amazed to hear how much Symphony X has impacted the lives of our fans. They look to us for inner strength, for happiness, guidance, and so many other things.
You have been to Kean University. What did you study?
I studied accounting. That’s what my father wanted. I wish I could have studied music. After I graduated from Kean, I couldn’t find an accounting job because I had long hair, hahahaha
If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would probably be a politician or a history teacher.
What are your thoughts on Black Sabbath?
One of my favorite bands of all time! For me, they invented heavy metal. Tony Iommi is the best riff writer in metal history and Geezer Butler was a huge influence on my bass playing. My favorite Sabbath period was from 1970-1978 with Ozzy on vocals.
Preferred vacation spot?
We played a place in Brazil called Manaus. It was located right on the Amazon river. I always wanted to go there for a vacation someday.
Who is your least favorite musician/band?
I can’t stand Axel Rose. He is a great singer, but has the worst attitude in the world.
What is the last song that you heard?
I was just practising one of our songs: ‘The Odyssey.’
Have you been watching the news about the punk band from Russia called Pussy Riot? If so, what are your thoughts?
Yes, I have heard about this. I support Pussy Riot. I feel bad for the Russian people. Vladamir Putin is an evil tyrant who will not allow anyone to speak out against his government. He is an enemy of the free world and he only got re-elected because of fraud. I live in the USA, where people have the freedom to speak what’s on their mind and they never have to worry about Government persecution.
Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they and where are they?
Yes, I have a tattoo on my right arm. It is a sword and shield with a dragon and a cross. I want to get some more in the future.