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Reborn: An Exclusive Interview With CHRIS BORDERICK Of ACT OF DEFIANCE

By Ruben Mosqueda, Contributor
Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 8:39 AM

"I like getting to meet the fans and getting to know them on an individual basis."

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“I agree with you. We have more material where we can select songs that suits the target audience when we tour with other bands,” says ACT OF DEFIANCE guitarist Chris Broderick proudly of the band’s body of work. ACT OF DEFIANCE are set to release their sophomore effort Old Scars, New Wounds on Metal Blade Records on September 29th. Broderick took time from his busy schedule to chat with KNAC.COM about his past work with JAG PANZER, NEVERMORE and MEGADETH as well as the ‘melodic' sound of the new ACT OF DEFIANCE record.

KNAC.COM: I discovered your work with JAG PANZER through ‘Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles’ years ago. What was your experience playing in that band because they’re great power metal. JAG PANZER is bigger abroad they should be better known in the United States.

BRODERICK: Right. I actually just spoke with [guitarist] Mark [Briody] earlier this week. I speak with him quite regularly. I can’t say enough nice things about that band and the way that they accepted me into their band.

When I joined JAG PANZER I was really naive. I think I had the thoughts that most young guitarists would have when they joined a band. I thought “Oh, I'm joining this band and I will be a fundamental part of this band from here forward.” That just wasn't the case---this was an already established band. You don't get that kind of freedom coming in. Mark was great to me, he was open to my input and he allowed me to write for the first album that I appeared on, The Age Of Mastery [1998]. I could have come in with the belief that this is what I do and expected to write from the start, they could have also said “Wait you're not JAG PANZER”. They didn't do that, instead they were very appreciative that I wanted to help. I can't say enough about Mark and JAG PANZER. They have a new album The Deviant Chord which is great. If you haven't heard it you should pick it up.

KNAC.COM: You worked with Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and Jeff Loomis in NEVERMORE. They're a Northwest band and I followed Warrel’s work with SANCTUARY. What was your experience in your time in NEVERMORE?

BRODERICK: Those were definitely crazy times! [laughs] Those were good times though, it was an honor to share the stage with [guitarist] Jeff Loomis and [drummer] Van Williams. They're all super talented guys and I learned a lot from that experience.

I got to tour a lot with NEVERMORE. I remember the first time I heard The Politics Of Ecstasy [1996]. We [JAG PANZER] had made a stop at the Century Media offices in Germany. Century let us raid their CD stash in the office. I remember looking at the cover and thought “This looks cool.” I grabbed a copy, listened to it and became a fan from there forward.

KNAC.COM: I was excited when you were announced as the guitarist in MEGADETH being that I was already familiar with your work. How did your name wind-up on the list of potential guitarists?

BRODERICK: I’ll add a little bit of a backstory but I got a call from MEGADETH’s management asking if I would be interested in auditioning for lead guitarist for MEGADETH. I initially thought it was a joke but it was definitely real and I was definitely interested.

It happened so quick, it was like a shotgun wedding type of thing. The next thing I know I'm meeting with Dave Mustaine and he's letting me know what he's looking for and what his expectations were. He told me that MEGADETH had a tour kicking off in less than a month and I promptly got to work. I learned 22 songs in less than a month and as you know some of those songs require a great deal of ability and memory, so I got to work.

It was later I found out the reason I got the call was through a recommendation from Willie Gee, a prominent guitar tech, and Shawn and Glen Drover who I had met on a few occasions.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned you learned in the area of 22 songs when you auditioned for MEGADETH. What song was the most challenging for you to learn?

BRODERICK: “Holy Wars” for multitude of reasons, not because it’s such a technical song but because it was the first song that I set out to learn. I knew that was a song that was always in the set and was always the set closer. I knew I was going to have to learn that song, this was before I had even received the complete set list.

KNAC.COM: You came on board in 2008 toured with MEGADETH and your first studio appearance was on 2009’s Endgame. What’s your recollection of the making of that record?

BRODERICK: It was all new. Maybe I had some naivety about how much input I was going to have in the writing of that record. In my opinion Endgame was heavier and more aggressive than the previous record they had done. I also remember that the studio where we recorded that album was also built while we were recording! [laughs] There were a lot of headaches in that sense while we were recording Endgame. [laughs] Ultimately I'm very proud of my contribution to that album and I hope people like it.

KNAC.COM: Album #2 with MEGADETH was Th1rt3n [2011]. What was that like?

BRODERICK: I was definItely more comfortable by that point. The thing I remember the most was the video shoot for “Public Enemy #1” that we did with all the monkeys. That shoot was hilarious, it was shot north of L.A. They had all these chimps around and the way that you interacted was very specific as animals don't interpret your movements the way you might think. It was fun. I think the funniest thing was [Dave] Ellefson laying in bed with the chimp dressed up like a woman, that was awesome! [laughs]

KNAC.COM: Then there's Super Collider [2013] where you guys caught a lot of heat. There were people that referred to the album as Risk II. I would go that far but it was a slick album and more ‘rockin’.

BRODERICK: I don't really go back to that record that much. I can say that Dave worked really hard on the songs and the direction of that record. He went back and forth several times to make sure that it was how he envisioned them for the record. I think anyone that does that deserves a lot of credit---it’s not like he was just spitting material out. He wasn't ‘phoning it in’ at all, he tried really hard to get that album to sound what you hear on the CD. If you don't appreciate it that's fine but it still deserves credit for the amount of time and effort that went into it.

KNAC.COM: Are you a big THIN LIZZY fan?

BRODERICK: You know prior to recording “Cold Sweat” I wasn't. They came too early to be an influence on me but I have grown to appreciate their music. That solo in that song is ripping! Any song that has a ripping solo wins me over! [laughs] I loved performing that live; some of my favorite memories performing that song with Slash and then with Zakk Wylde.

KNAC.COM: You were a part of a lot of cool MEGADETH landmark movements, Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction anniversaries that were celebrated by tours and documented on DVD and CD and who can forget the Big 4 shows. It's safe to say that you were there for MEGADETH's ‘second wind’.

BRODERICK: All I can say is wow! I can't pick one particular thing, I just took it all in and got caught up in the wave. Those were all great times and I really have to attribute this all to the fans; they're so ‘over the top’ rabid, accommodating and generous. When we stepped on stage in Warsaw, Poland and we saw over 100,000 of the craziest fans you can ever hope for---its quite humbling.

KNAC.COM: You've got album #2 due on September 29th from ACT OF DEFIANCE. I’m sure you couldn't blame fans for initially being a little skeptical if ACT OF DEFIANCE was in fact a ‘real band’ or a ‘project’. So many musicians these days are in various bands and not many make it to record #2.

BRODERICK: We formed ACT OF DEFIANCE to be a ‘band' and not a ‘project’. I can understand some skepticism and frankly with the state of the music business it's a slow build. Not everyone has the patience to give it the time develop. Listen, there’s no instant success happening at this point in time! [laughs] The funny thing is I’m okay with that.

I can talk about ‘The Big 4’ show in Poland and that's awesome and then we come to ACT OF DEFIANCE where we're at the entry door level and we're having to build it. I like getting to meet the fans and getting to know them on an individual basis. When you’re on that level you get to know the fans at a personal level. We’ll see them another time around at a larger venue or event the next time around. I have this fondness for having the time to interact with the fans at this level.

KNAC.COM: On the new album Old Scars, New Wounds it sounds like you added more melody which could expand the fanbase.

BRODERICK: I would agree that was the outcome; for us its neither here nor there. When we write vocals for a song it's what appropriate for the music. 99% of the time with my writing, the music comes first then the vocal/melody come second. When we have the music then we move onto the lyrics and we see what's appropriate for this verse or the chorus or pre-chorus. It comes down to what dictates the ‘heaviness' of the vocals. The fact that there’s more melody on the new CD is because that’s what was appropriate for the song.


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