I am, unapologetically, an 80s heavy metal purist. If you’re like me and your heart starts pounding when you hear the riff to Diamond Head’s Am I Evil, or if the opening scream of Accept’s Fast As A Shark has you pressing down harder on the gas pedal, or if you’ve argued that the first two Iron Maiden albums with Di’Anno are their best, then you’re going to love Night Demon.
It’s easy to hear a band and pick out what bands influenced their sound in a subtle way, Night Demon go a bit farther than that. I get the sense that they loaded their gear into the Tardis and headed back to 1980; they don’t just wear their influences on their sleeves – they ARE their influences.
Back in the late 70s – early 80s, before this thing called the Internet, I was a heavy metal tape trader. I would trade cassettes of demos and live shows of underground metal bands with other collectors all over the world. I still have my collection of cassettes and have even digitized some of them. Listening to Night Demon is like time traveling back to those days.
Taking their cue from classic early New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), the Ventura, California trio have thrown down the spiked gauntlet with Curse Of The Damned – an 11-song slab of old school riffarama, thundering bass, and pounding double kick drumming. And yes I know metal has always carried a suggestion of kitsch with it; the leather and spikes, the lyrical subject matter – Satan, Hell, death, horror, and of course the crushing of all adversaries with the power of Metal!! But who cares, I still love a good heavy riff, and a super tight rhythm section.
Night Demon locks on to the NWOBHM blueprint with songs like: Screams in the Night, Curse of the Damned, Satan, Full Speed Ahead, The Howling Man, and Heavy Metal Heat, and they are so adept at what they are doing, it doesn’t sound intentional. They capture the DIY, raw energy of those early metal bands (Angel Witch, Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Riot).
Curse of the Damned is a solid metal record now, and it would’ve been solid metal record in 1980.
Bassist/Voclaist Jarvis Leatherby took some time to answer our questions.
Jarvis Leatherby – Bass/Vocals
Brent Woodward – Guitar
Dusty Squires – Drums
People say we sound like….
Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Angel Witch
We are originally from…
What music has had an influence on your sound?
Tell us about the touring scene…
It varies from place to place, but for a band like us it’s a necessary thing. Sometimes the audience is large, and sometimes it’s small. At the smaller shows, I always feel that the important people are there, so we put on the same performance that we would if there were thousands of people. That’s how you build it. The nice thing about touring is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people. Many of these people help you out when needed and become life long friends and supporters.
Tell us about your live show…
It’s very intense! A lot of sweat flying around. We usually play at a faster speed live than on record. We are one of the loudest bands, for sure. We have stepped it up in recent times with a bigger stage production, as well. Just to make things more visually stimulating.
How does a city’s musical history influence your sound?
We grew up as metal heads in the Southern California hardcore punk scene and we take a lot from that as far as energy and DIY effort.
What influences the band lyrically?
Horror movies, comic books, evil doers
Your most memorable gig ever was….
Keep it True festival in Germany, April 2014.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
The late 1950’s and the birth of rock and roll. Just to see how the world texted first hand to that kind of rebellion and culture shock.
Growing up, at home we listened to…
What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…
Visigoth-The Reverant King
Exmortus-Slave to the Sword
If you could open for any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Maiden. They are the best at what they do and have the most loyal following. They are also personal favorites of ours. That would be the pinnacle for us.
If you could only bring ONE record (only one) in the tour van what would it be?
NWOBHM 79′ Revisited. Lots of great bands! I chose a compilation. Hope that’s not cheating 😉
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Time off?! It’s been so long, that I’m really not sure. I suppose when that day comes, you can find me at home demoing for the next album.
The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to our music….
We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We wear our influences on our sleeve. If you like those bands, you will appreciate what we do.
What’s up for 2015?
Just wrapped up a US tour with Skull Fist for January. Touring Europe February, March, and April. Headlining US tour May, June, and July. Mexico in September, back to Europe in the fall. Start writing new album in December.