The return of classic US Metal! 31 years after their last studio album, the legendary US metal band returns with a new album! Formed in 1982, SHOK PARIS is one of the iconic US metal bands of the 80s, releasing the classic albums «Go for the Throat», «Steel and Starlight» and «Concrete Killers», while they toured with bands like Savatage and Lizzy Borden. All over the last years, they performed selected shows and took part in festivals like Bang Your Head, Up The Hammers, Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air. They are back now and very alive with «Full Metal Jacket», true to their original sound. We are lucky enough to talk to singer Vic Hix, who sounds just like the old days!
Hello Vic!, more than 30 years later the legendary Shok Paris is back with a new album. What has motivated you to write a new album after so many years?
The response from our fans at all the European Metal Festivals we have played, we have been asked over and over again, if we where going to produce new material, and this is exactly why we did «Full Metal Jacket» because our fans deserve something new from us!! We are also fans of Metal and we would love to hear new music from many old bands, in our case we where able to get it done for all our Shok Paris fans, it may have taken forever, but it’s done and will be available on No Remorse Records as of 5/29/2020
In 1989 you stopped playing with SP with 3 great albums in your saddles, why?
A couple things, first we chose a label IRS that was a non-metal label, they had no idea on how to promote or support our style of music, it was very hard on the band, we all worked day jobs and also rehearsed 5 to 6 nights a week, no label support unless we where touring, that was extremely hard on us, we wrote new music while rehearsing, so to stay polished and write new songs we needed to rehearse!! They refused to pay us or even just pick up the price of the rehearsal hall!! That’s hard on a band, and I was the one ( Vic Hix) that walked away from the label, I had enough!! So it was all on me!!
A really damned bad luck. In 2009 you return to the activity in some way publishing Steel and Starlight: The Auburn Sessions, what is new in this edition compared to the original classic of 1987?
In 2009 we where ask to do «Headbangers Open Air» 2010, and thought it would be best to release something a little new, we recorded Steel n’Starlight first with Auburn Records, then before it was released, we got signed to IRS, they wanted control over the release so they took the recordings and remixed an remastered, they also removed a song or two! That being stated the Auburn Session release is more on the way the band wanted to sound along with extra releases of new unreleased materials and demo’s!!
Steel and Starlight was probably your best album and put you in the first league touring with bands like Savatage. What do you remember of that time?
The tours we did with Savatage first and then Lizzy Borden where Great, we had a blast and both bands, both where Great to deal with and both where supportive of us, as where we with them!! Great memories right there!!
How long have you worked in Full Metal Jacket and how was composing and recording again after so many years?
We started working on Full Metal Jacket after our return from «Up the Hammers» Festival in 2012, we had planned to release a EP and had recorded 5 or 6 songs for it but decided to put it on the shelf and record a full length Album! We had recorded 2 songs before UTH for promotional use, Those Eyes and Full Metal Jacket, we released Those Eyes before our trip to Greece. We have re-recorded both of these songs for Full Metal Jacket!! To record FMJ we chose to do it on our own, we bought the needed equipment and set up the recording in Ken Screamin’ Erb’s home, we really enjoyed recording it our way without interference by a label!!
From the 80s lineup we still find Vic Hix and Ken Erb, what about your other current mates?
Screamin’and I are older in our 60’s the newer members are in their late 30’s early 40’s and grew up in Cleveland as Shok Paris fans, they are living a dream playing with us, they fit in perfect, and we couldn’t ask for better guys to play with, they know our music inside and out!!
Sure is a dream to play with legends as you. I think Full Metal Jacket will keep the old fans satisfied with the old school sound
That is the game plan, we are Shok Paris and we only know how to work and write in that old school style of Metal, it’s what we do!! And fans want that from us, and that is what we are going to give them! True old school Shok Paris Metal!!
Vic, you sound still powerful after three decades, DNA or a many hours of gym?
Pure DNA, that’s for sure, I have been singing in this style of music since the mid 70’s, Hard Rock/ Metal is all I know, I will say I do rest my voice from time to time, I believe it helps!! It is very easy to burn out a voice, many vocalist my age have lost it from over use!! I like to take breaks to prevent over usage!!
What have you been doing during all this time before resuming Shok Paris?
Very good question, prior to the «Bang Your Head Festival» in 2004 Shok Paris was doing nothing, once we where asked to do that show we put it all together as a one time reunion show, at that time that’s all it was, then in 2009 we where asked to do «Headbangers Open Air» 2010 and from the fans response at both shows and being asked about new material, we decided to work on recording and see if things would work out with the new band and members! We have been working on new material ever since! We also have enough material for a follow-up CD for FMJ!!
OH yeah!! Vic Hix & Ken Erb are still the heart of the machine, pumping blood fast as ever. Is easier to work together now than in the 80s?
I would say Yes to that question, back then, we were always in a hurry, deadlines and so forth, recording company always keeping you under the gun! But today we control that, no matter what people think, music is art, and true art cannot be hurried! It comes from feelings and it comes from the soul, it must be nurtured! That is when you get the best music out of people!!
There are magic songs as Black Boots or Nature Of The Beast, you have been able to caputure once more the old magic
I truly think we have captured the spirit of old school Shok Paris through out the Album, it’s what we do, it’s all we know and I think our fans will know it when they hear it!! This is for them, our fans deserve new Shok to listen to, they have been waiting a very long time!!
What are the lyrics about?
All the lyrics very, depending on the song, being the primary lyric writer, I like to hear as much of a completed song as possible or at least the riffs and parts of the song, when I hear that, it gives me ideas for lyrics! I like to write lyrics roughly about an idea and by doing that it let’s our fans use their imaginations on what a song is about, music is all about use of your imagination! I love it when fans tell me what they get out of my lyrics and what a song is about, that is very special to me!!
Initially the album was released with no label a few weeks ago, but now you are spreading it through No Remorse Records, what is more logic in a big band. Is gonna be any especial edition available?
I want to say the Album was never released, but was hacked, it was always to be released on «No Remorse Records» on 5/29/2020, but was hacked and released the day we sent the music to No Remorse, sad but true!! Yes No Remorse Records has limited addition product on there website, we are extremely happy to be with them, the owner Chris is a big fan of the band and always wanted us on the label, I will say it is Great to have Chris at the Helm that’s for sure!!
If we had not the fucking covid-19 around I’m almost sure we would have the opportunity to see SP at least in some European fest. Did you have any conversations about this? Something like a Steel and Starlight full show for example?
We have done the Steel n’ Starlight only shows if I remember right, at BYH 2004 and HOA 2010, at all the other shows we did 3 or 4 of the fan favorites from all 3 albums to keep our fans happy! All shows currently in the States are on hold, and the only current show scheduled for us is the «Up the Hammers Festival» 2021, we can only hope that stays true and look forward to more shows in 2021 after the release of FMJ!!
How is the band dealing with the covid19?
We are dealing with it, just like everyone else, staying at home and waiting everything out, I guess that’s all we can do until we are cleared by our governments, we just hurry up and wait!!
Now that SP is active again is it possible to think about a resissue of the old classics?
I am not sure if that will ever happen, but let me say this, the first Album, «Go for the Throat», is owned by Auburn Records and was re-released some time ago on CD so Bill Peters will, I am sure, release it again if the demand is there, he is the one that released Steel n’ Starlight Auburn Sessions, and again if the demand is there, he would I am sure release it again! The IRS version of Steel n’ Starlight is under their control as is Concrete Killers, and they will not release them, very sad, we have been trying to get control of them but it’s not working out very well!!
If you were back in the 80s you would change something you did at the time or that you didn’t do?
YES, NOT sign with IRS and refuse to use a Record producer or at least the one we had to use to record Concrete Killers, nuff said!! Besides that, I would change nothing else!!
What plans do you have for the future?
In 2012 we started recording material for an EP titled «Decharge Electricque» with 5 or 6 songs but we decided to put it on the shelf and do a full length Album that became Full Metal Jacket! The music for the EP we saved, and plan on releasing Decharge Electricque as a full album with those songs and new ones in the future, but let’s first get FMJ out and see what type of response we get from our fans!!
Thank you very much Vic for your attention! If you wish to add something…
That I would, first I want to thank you Alberto, for doing this interview with me and for your support of Shok Paris, just keep Defending the Faith my Metal Brother! And to all of our Fans, all of the Shok Paris, Metal Brother’s and Sister’s we salute you! We thank you for never giving up on us, it took forever, but Full Metal Jacket is for you!! Keep Holding your Hammers High, and Up the Hammers to each and everyone of you!! \m/\m/