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¬ Thor (CAN) - Rockin' with a Superman costume underneath the clothes!!

Hi Thor!! First of all let me speak out my sincere congratulations for your new album "Thor against the world", which in my opinion is an instant classic in the same league as your best stuff from the 70s and 80s, namely "Keep the dogs away" and "Only the strong"!! So, to start with, what do you think about the album now that it's already a few months old? Are you still satisfied with it overall or is there anything that you would have changed with hindsight?

Thor: First of all TOBI Thanks to you, Metal Coven and the German Fans for all your support. Due to the success of the recent album "Thor Against The World" I am in the studio working on a new recording. I'm very proud of  the current album and the response it has been getting. The new album I'm recording is a heavier and darker in content.

What I like best about the album is it's huge musical spectrum... it seems to be an almost perfect blend of all kind of music you've done so far in your more than 30 years long career... the bandwith on "Thor against the world" ranges from Rolling Stones-like Rock of the 60s ("Easy Woman") to Sweet-like Glam of the 70s ("Serpents Kiss") to Priest-like Metal of the 80s ("The coming of Thor")... and that's by far not all!! With the playful Artrock-meets-Epic Metal masterpiece "Megaton Man" or the contemplative ballad "Turn to blue" one can also find some pretty untypical, but still absolutely brilliant songs!! So please give us a little insight on the songwriting... how have you achieved to cover so many different faccettes, but still make the album sound totally harmonic and homogeneous?? And what has the work with the producer team Messiaz been alike?

Thor: “Thor Against The World” was in the making for a few years. Frank Meyer and I were writing songs across the miles as he lives in Los Angeles, California and I in the Northwest. We were sending mp3's and tapes back and forth to eachother. We had quite a bit of material and narrowed it down to our favorites. We then laid demos down in Seattle and Los Angeles. The final recordings were done in Los Angeles as I flew in to work with Frank Meyer and Bruce Duff who produced it. Frank and Bruce are very talented individuals and a great team. They have a broad spectrum of musical influences and ideas each having their own successful musical careers. Frank Meyer knows a lot about me as he is involved in the new biopic on Thor and has done much research on myself for various articles that have been in major magazines. I was very happy that our hard work paid off.

Another interesting point of "Thor against the world" are the lyrics!! While the lyrics for songs like "Megaton Man" or "Thor against the world" are cool Science Fiction or Fantasy stories, others like e.g. the "And when I was a little kid..." part (from "Creature feature") or the lines "I won't grow old, I'll never settle, I'm still gonna play my Heavy Metal" (from "Thor against the world") seem to be pretty autobiographical... so what different themes and topic do the songs on your new CD deal with and what can your fans learn about John Mikl Thor as a person by listening closely to them?

Thor: In addition to music I've always been a fan of Superhero, science fiction and horror films. My favorites were "Invaders From Mars", "They Came From Beyond Space". Also I was a huge fan of Steve Reeves "Hercules Unchained" and George Reeves "The Adventures Of Superman". My career has combined both movies and music. I enjoy my work. This is what I do. I record albums and produce and star in movies. In my new movie "Intercessor", I play a Superhero character that has to battle evil forces like Mephisto and Zompira to save the world. When I was a young boy I read a lot of comic books  and I admired the character "Superman" so much that I would go to school wearing a Superman costume underneath my regular school clothes and change into Superman at recess. So when I think about it it's amazing to me that my job later on is being a Super Human as my image on stage and in movies.

Your new album is also your first CD release on your new label Smog Veil Records!! How have you got into contact with them, why have you chosen to sign a deal with them and what is working with them alike?? And will they (hopefully) also release any of your albums on vinyl??

Thor: I am very honored to be with Smog Veil Records www.smogveil.com. Frank Mauceri is a great visionary and sees my concepts both audio and visually. He's also a big fan of heavy music and science fiction movies as well. We are exploring all areas of recording. We have discussed the idea of putting out some vinyl.

Next to this vinyl matter, another thing that I'd love to see changed in the future, is the distribution of your albums... unfortunatly they are damn hard to get here in Germany and Europe and hardly any mailorder has them in stock... so the only way for all your fans here to get hold of your new albums is to order them from the US, which is rather complicated and expensive... aren't the mailorders here interested in stocking your CDs (if so, they must be totally crazy!!), or what's the reason for them being that hard to get in Europe?

Thor: We have a large demand in Germany from fans who want our music. I get many emails from fellow Rock Warriors. There are arrangements being made by our label and European distributors to license the Thor catalogue over there. Hopefully our new upcoming album will be licensed in Europe this year.

OK... apart from the new CD, Smog Veil have also released your first DVD called "An-Thor-logy", a fantastic collection of rare footage from the 70s to mid 80s!! Next to some cool, trashy video clips and some great live recordings, this collection also features alot of nice little gimmicks like lots and lots of old photos or even videos of appearances in TV shows or commercials!! By what criteria has the content of the DVD been chosen and in what way, do you think, will it please your fans?? In what way is this DVD something special for the Thor fanatics worldwide??

Thor: The reviews and response to the An-Thor-Logy DVD has been amazing. It is being shown in theaters in the USA as a cult movie. It just hit top 25 of the year from England's Classic Rock Magazine. I had a lot of footage stored in wharehouses over the years. There was enough for 10 DVD's. I think this is not only about Thor but about an observer's journey through time, travelling through 4 decades of Rock and Metal Music. It starts in the Glitter Rock era where Rock music was called Rock music. There wasn't so many genres. Then the times change through the years. The image, stage gear and the music transform and becomes heavier as the years go by.

Much of this footage, like e.g. the commercials for Chevy and Kromer, proves that you haven't been taking yourself too serious all the time, but that you were always up for a little fun as well... so please let us know, in what way fun and humour were (and probably still are) a part of the Thor concept?? Some people, for example, consider your superhero costume, weapon and overall image rather childish and silly, while your legions of devoted fans really love it (me included, for sure!!) and would not ever want it to change!! Is there anything you'd like to tell those bourgeois deadheads, who are always too busy with being dead serious, inspite of having a little fun once in a while as well?

Thor: My image is the ultimate for Metal. A great band of musicians,  A warrior performing on stage who battles monsters performing superhuman strength feats all this while the powerful music is being played. I claim the greatest show on earth. There is no other Metal act out there that can compare with the live performance.We drove the crowds wild on our recent US tour. I am serious about my music but there should also be some fun as well.

As I've just been talking about your costume and weapon, the pictures from your latest tour, which I've seen on your homepage, show you with lots of cool gimmicks like masks, armor plate, hammers and all that stuff... and you've also still been doing all that crazy stuff like blowin' up hot water bottles with your lungs or bending steel bars between your teeth!! So I guess, a Thor concert is still a huge spectacle for the people in the audience, isn't it??

Thor: If you pay your money to see a Thor concert than I want people to say that was the best show I have ever seen. I'll never forget it. I will go all out to project the powerful music with a spectacular show.

And all in all, how has your tour turned out?? From mid 2005 onwards, you've played quite an aweful lot of gigs in Canada and in the USA... during that odyssey of True Metal, with what bands have you shared the stage, what venues have you played, what people have you met and - most important - what kinda metal madness have you delivered to your fans and what were the greatest memories you have from that time on the road?

Thor: There has been a lot of Metal Madness everywhere we played last year. From Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Gainesville, Florida, Nashville, Seattle and many more. As drummer Mike Favata put it, "It was Thor Mania".

In a promo newsletter from Smog Veil I've read, that you also plan to invade Europe soon!! Is that true?? I know that you have a really strong and devoted following here in Germany and Europe, so I'm sure lots of metal fans would totally freak out, if they'd really have the chance to see you on stage...!!! It must have been ages since the last time you've played in Europe, so it is just about time for the Thunder Warrior to head over to the old continent and show the people there how to rock really hard... isn't it!?

Thor: I look forward to taking our concert overseas. With a European release of the new album we are recording we are hoping for that.

Next to being a musician, you're also known as a movie actor and producer... the first movies you've starred in in the early 80s, "Zombie Nightmare" and "Rock'n'Roll Nightmare", are already considered classics among horror and b-movie freaks!! Unfortunatly they are not easy to find these days and I know alot of people who'd love to watch 'em, but unfortunatly don't know how to get hold of them... so would it be possible to rerelease them?? Maybe even in a cool collectors DVD box or something like that...

Thor: Yes. Synapse Films (www.synapse-films.com) is re-releasing Rock n Roll Nightmare on DVD and the sequal Intercessor (www.intercessormovie.com)  is out on SRS Cinema.

When it comes to your connection to the movies, it's always those two flicks that are named... but I'm sure there are also some others, in which you've either acted or which are connected to Thor in any other kind of way... so maybe you can get us some more info about that topic!?

Thor: "Fubar-The Movie". We had the title song "Fubar Is a Super Rocker" and video from what was called one of the greatest Rock Movies all time. “Zombie Nightmare” with Tia Carrere and Batman's Adam West. “Recruits” with Lolita Davidovich and many more. ”No More Heroes”, “Signs In The Sky”, “I'll Be Here Till I Leave”, “Power Man versus Kong”.

Your newest project is "Interceptor - Another Rock'n'Roll Nightmare", isn't it?? On your homepage one can already watch a trailor for that movie!! So please, can you give us more info about it?? When will it be out, what is it about and in what way is it connected to Thor??

Thor: Check out www.b-movie.com and www.Intercessormovie.com.

Puh, that's been quite a bunch of questions already... so I guess we'll slowly but surely come to an end now... but before we do so, please let our readers know, what's the best place to get into contact with you and find additional information about you, your band and everything related...

Thor: www.smogveil.com,  www.thorcentral.com & www.myspace.com/thorrockwarrior.

Thanks alot, Mr. Thor, for taking the patience to answer all those questions!! It's been a real honor to have you interviewed for Metal Coven and I hope it's been at least a little fun for you to browse through all that questions!! All the best & Up the Gorgons, TOBI

Thor: Thanks TOBI. It's an honor!
 

Homepage: www.thorcentral.com
Email: thorpower@shaw.ca

Questions: Januar 2006 by Tobi
Answers
: Januar 2006 by John Thor
Pics: Michael Pilmer (published at www.thorcentral.com)

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