CRUSADER: Not only about war

Crusader, picture1Just like the recently covered Blade Killer, Chicago’s own Crusader is a relatively new heavy metal-band that has been given the chance to spread their music in physical format through one of the most hyperactive labels out there, Stormspell Records. While Blade Killer just put out their first EP, Crusader released theirs a couple of years ago. Right now, they’re ready to unleash their debut full length on the heavy metal audience. We hooked up with the band, who gathered around the table answer our questions. As always, some details around the formation of the band have to be revealed. First, when was the band formed, by whom, and what were the intentions when you first started out? Have you managed to keep a stable lineup, or have there been many lineup changes along the way? Have you set yourself new goals as time has passed by, or is the philosophy behind the band pretty much the same as it was in the beginning?

Colin, drums: -We formed back in 2010 as Hoagy and my band The Massacres were winding down.  Prior to closing the book on that group, Hoagy and Brad from The Gravetones, a band we’d been playing shows with for years, had already been kicking around the idea of a side project.  They got Chris on board to play bass and I jumped on for drums.  After jamming together a few times, it quickly became apparent that we’d all secretly wanted to be in a metal band for years, so things really started to take shape.  We’ve had a few lineup changes over the years, mostly on bass.  Joe, also of the Gravetones, came on board in 2011 to add a second guitarist and Ian replaced Chris on bass for a couple of years and appeared on our first EP.  He left in 2012 to go back to school and after trying out a ton of players, we recruited Mikeii as our permanent bassist.

Mikeii, bass: -Yeah, I was not actually in the original incarnation of the band. I came a lot later. The only changing slot in the lineup was really bass players. I think I am number eight. As far as goals and objectives of the band, I am not really sure. I know, for me, that I would love to do Crusader for a living. I love heavy metal, and music in general, and there is nothing I think I can do that I would love just as much.

Joe, guitars: – The band was formed by Colin, Hoagy, and Brad originally to play horror rock. They were called Gravedirt.  I joined at a time when they were looking to transition away from horror rock.  I played Gravedirt’s last show, and then we began our long search for a new name and a steady bass player.  Five or six bass players later, we have our current steady lineup.

Brad, guitars: – The earliest discussions of what became Crusader were Hoagy and I talking about doing a Misfits tribute band. We were both in other bands at the time; I was playing bass in mine but wanted to try playing guitar. We eventually got Colin on board and quickly realized we didn’t want to do a tribute band so we started writing our own horror-punk songs. Somewhere in that time we started messing around with metal riffs and found that was what we really wanted to do. We have mostly had a stable line up, with the exception of the bass players… After some false starts we got in Ian McFadden, but after a short time with the band his path took him toed to Indiana to go to college and luckily Beagle (Mikeii) stepped in after some time and picked things up right away. My goal has always been to simply work with these other talented musicians to create the kind of music we want to hear. I enjoy the writing process and love playing live more than anything else in the world. I just want to keep doing those things all the time.

I understand that the members have pretty diverse musical backgrounds. Is Crusader the first metal band for most of you?

Hoagy, vocals: – I’ve dabbled in other bands, which never really did anything outside of rehearsing and a couple of demos. Those bands were Embryon (97-98, they had the name before I came on board, and I hated it!) which was straight up raw black metal with some keyboards here and there, and Sins of Meldeve (2001-2003), another black metal project. The ‘Sins’ crew also dabbled in some Bolt Thrower type stuff, but again, never went anywhere with it, although the lyrics for one of the songs, “Wartorn and Bleeding” appear on the album, with another set of lyrics that will be on the next album.

Joe – For me Crusader is as a fulltime band.  I’ve always listened to metal and always played along to many metal albums since I started playing guitar.

Colin – This is my first metal band, but I was in the She-Devils, which was pretty heavy in the late nineties and in CHDDA, an industrial group, in the early 2000s, so it’s not like I was playing in some lounge act until now.

Mikeii – Crusader is not the first metal band for me. I have only played in metal bands aside from high school jazz band. This is though, the first NWOBHM style metal band I have played in. I played in two death metal bands prior to joining Crusader. One of which is still going strong with a new line up.

Brad – This is indeed my first metal band. I grew up largely on punk rock and have primarily been in punk or straight up rock bands.

I have always wondered how things happen when you play for instance punk, as I believe Hoagy and Brad did in Gravedirt before you converted to metal. Is it a long process, or can those things happen over night? Is the change from punk and other styles of rock music to metal, smaller than it might seem, seen from the outside?

Colin – I think at a basic level, the difference between certain types of punk rock and metal is all in the guitar tone.  I think playing metal is a lot less constricting though.  It’s really given us all the opportunity to bring out best songwriting to the table and try a lot of really crazy ideas that wouldn’t necessarily work in other genres.

Joe – The change is smaller.  It definitely grows out of wanting to play something different but keeping within styles you enjoy listening to and playing.

Brad – Thats a great question. In our case it happened in one practice and I can remember the moment. The music that eventually became “Iron Forge” I had originally written to be a slower tempo, sort of goth-y riff with a few extra notes in it. Our bass player at the time (Chris) pretty much said, “That’s stupid, how about we play it like this.” And then he started picking the notes faster and with that Iron Maiden type gallop. We all just looked at each other and realized a very important revelation had occurred. It’s been all metal ever since.

Hoagy – I think we’d been denying our metal roots for too long haha!

Mikeii – I personally have never played in a punk band or anything of the sense really. I can appreciate punk, but I never had the desire to really play it. I think Joe, Brad, Hoagy and Colin could answer this better than me.

Especially in the US, it seems many new metal bands consist of members with a background from hardcore or punk. Is it because it’s “in” to play metal again, or are there other explanations?

Colin – I for one can definitely tell you that it isn’t “in” to be in a metal band in the US.  It’s unfortunately a pretty small scene right now. Sure there are some stoner/doom bands that are starting to make some waves, but overall metal isn’t exactly commercially viable.  We’re all playing in a metal band because we love it and because that’s the sound that came out from day one when we got together.

Joe – I wouldn’t say it’s “in” to play metal – in the US anyway – but when you meet a certain group of people that you’re jamming with, the common interests take over and magic happens.

Hoagy – It seems that most people who listen to metal or extreme music have dabbled at least at some point with punk. Also, punk and metal do tend to go hand in hand, do they not? I challenge anyone to disprove that comment. Without that fusion, you wouldn’t have bands like Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower (yes really), English Dogs etc etc. You can write a punk song relatively quickly, and so it’s not too hard to get a band together and start playing punk shows. Here in Chicago, you could probably go to a different punk show every night. Not so much with metal. I’m not trying to put punk down at all, just trying to say that it is, as Colin put it, more viable. There is a thriving punk community here that turns out to shows. Ironically, when we do get put on a show with punk bands, the punk kids love us. I think this says that it’s more about the energy you put into what you do for the people watching your set, than whatever label/genre you want to put on your music.

Mikeii – I feel like this really depends on the city you’re in, and what subgenre you put under the microscope. I could see this being true with a lot thrash bands, and bands of that sorts. I don’t think that metal bands are popping up because it’s “in,” maybe because it’s just more available now with the internet and things. Like I said before, I’ve always played in metal bands, I didn’t do it because it was an “in” or “cool” thing to do, I did it because that’s the music that I like.

Brad – Man, these are great questions. I think maybe some people find it trendy to play metal now. Speaking for myself even though I was in punk bands before, I always did like metal. The first thing I ever bought on tape was a single of “Symphony of Destruction.” The thing is, I couldn’t play it. I’d hear those amazing Marty Freidman solos and then look at my stupid fat fingers and feel useless. As I continued to progress as a musician (and I’m still not much of a soloist, thank God for Joe Papa.) I found that there were things I could do. I’ve also always liked fantasy literature and art work, so lyrics about epic battles and such are perfect.

Crusader2You released a self financed EP, “Rise Of The Templars” back in 2011. How did you promote this release? What are your thoughts about it today?

Joe – We played many shows mainly in the Chicagoland area and had a fun, roughly ten minute making-of video of the EP posted on YouTube.  The EP itself is musically diverse and showcases a transition in the newer styles we have been playing.

Colin – We’ve sent out promo copies of that record to just about any label, blog, magazine, etc that would hear us.  Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t allow for any extensive touring on that one, but we’ve gotten some pretty favorable press off of it- except one reviewer that said we sound like Mötley Crüe.

Hoagy – Yeah, I still can’t get my head around that one. I can’t stand Mötley Crüe. I still listen to that EP, because you can hear the progression from what was Gravedirt into what became Crusader. The downside being that we come off as confused to the casual listener as to what we were about at that time, but I think it highlights that progression from simpler, punk style riffs to songs that are more complicatedly arranged. Brad was a monster with getting the word out, he spent a ton of money mailing it all over the world. It got featured in a UK metal magazine, with four out of five stars, which I was very happy about!

Brad – I still like it a lot. I’m not sure what promotion we did. I know we have it on Itunes and a few other sites for download. We mostly sold and still sell it at shows. I think you can hear the band progressing on that EP. The title track was the first music I ever wrote for Crusader and the song structure is very simplistic. “Engine Face” was a riff I started playing as a joke at a practice. But the last two tracks really show the direction we wanted to go. Especially “Asgard’s Fire”. Oh, and I don’t like my solo on “Iron Forge” which is why I did a new one on the full length.

Mikeii – “Rise of the Templars” actually was before my time, I came not long after it. When I first heard it, I was very impressed, I thought the production was great. Whenever I heard songs and EPs from other bands that I was looking to join, or just to listen to, I had gotten used to hearing lower end production. So this was definitely a nice surprise.

Two songs from this release, “Asgard’s Fire” and “Iron Forge” are rerecorded  for the new album. Why did you do this, and why weren’t the two other songs on “Rise Of The Templars” given the same treatment?

Joe – The songs “Rise of the Templars” and “Engineface” were songs that we enjoyed enough to record and play live a lot at the time. However, those songs have been semi-phased out of the live show, mainly due to the style changes in music.  Although “Engineface” does make an appearance live from time to time.

Colin – The plan was always to have those two tracks on the new record.  We’re all avid record collectors at heart and wanted to give a nod to the past where you had to really work to find that one out of print cut from your favorite band that was only on their debut “45” with a 250 unit print run.  So rather than remix the entire EP for inclusion on the full length, we left “Engineface” and “Rise of the Templars” off to make them just a little bit more rare.  It’s not that we didn’t like the two songs we left off, they just didn’t completely fit the overall theme of our new album “Onward into Battle.”

Mikeii – “Asgard’s Fire” and “Iron Forge” I would definitely have to say are fan favourites. We rerecorded them for “Onward into Battle” because I didn’t play on them originally. And thought that it would definitely be a good fit to the new record. Its not that the other two songs were bad or anything, I personally feel like the EP needs to have its own vibe, aside from the full length, and to keep people interested really.

Brad– I really wanted a different solo on “Iron Forge.” We also wanted to put as much new material on the album as possible so people can get as much of our music as possible.

Let’s talk about your new album, “Onward Into Battle”. If I have understood it correctly, it was first available in the summer, but then only as a digital download? Where you satisfied with having it available in this format only, or was it important for you to have it released on physical formats like CD or vinyl as well?Crusader

Colin – We finished the album in the spring and almost immediately drew some attention from a few labels.  In order to get the album out until we sorted out the physical release situation, we decided to do a digital only release pending a full release in late 2013.  I personally have to own a physical copy of any album, so I was never going to be happy with a digital only release.  But, in this day we had to recognize that there is still a big market for digital releases, so that needs to be a part of any album launch.

Brad – It was VERY important to have it on CD. I would like to see it on vinyl at some point very much, but I’m not sure what the cost would be. The digital download thing we did in the summer was mostly because we were playing the Warriors of Metal Fest pre-show and the digital download was the only format we had available for people at that time.

Mikeii – It was released digitally first. We knew we wanted to release it physically as well. Some labels had expressed interest in the album shortly thereafter, so we didn’t want to jump the gun and fire off to soon. It pays to be a little patient, and I think it ended up working out quite well for us.

Joe – Personally I was not pleased that it was only digital but it was a timing thing.  Our intention was always to have it on CD and maybe one day we could put it on vinyl.  We just wanted to get the music out to the people as fast as we could.

Hoagy – I’ll side with Joe on this, as I feel it stole some of the thunder of the physical CD release, but we’ve still received good reviews and feedback. I understand it was a timing issue, and there are really just some things that you can’t control as much as you’d like, especially when dealing with a third party.

How did it happen that Iordan and Stormspell stepped in and made it available on CD as well?

Colin – He  contacted us over the summer and we talked off and on for a few months hammering out details.  He’s a real credit to the US scene, digging up obscure records and bands and giving them a home.

Joe – They contacted us, showed an interest, and it was just the discussions that lead to the agreement they would release the physical copy of the album for us.

Mikeii – It sort of just happened out of the blue. From what I understand, this is actually Stormspell’s first release that isn’t a re-issue. (Well, they released quite a few others in the past, Leif)

You used Kickstarter to partly finance the recording of the album. How important were the money you raised for the realization of “Onward Into Battle”?

Joe – It was extremely important and also very generous and thoughtful of our fans to help us produce something we love doing.  Otherwise we are only just a working-class and the recording may have taken a lot longer.

Hoagy – I’m still shocked by how much support we got for the recording. It went way above what we thought we’d get, which means a lot to me that so many people share our vision, it was certainly a humbling experience. A lot of people shoot Kickstarter (and other finance projects) down, saying its begging for money but in this age of instant digital satisfaction, you have to start employing the new tools of the trade or get left behind. Plus, those who did help out, got something back. How is that begging? I see established bands using it too though. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, and I wonder if the people who talk crap about it are worried that if they use it, they might not get funded. Who knows? I don’t get the hate for it.

Brad – It was invaluable. We might not have been able to do the album without it. I can’t thank everyone who supported us on Kickstarter enough. I was so scared we weren’t going to hit the goal and it made my year last year that enough people were willing to help us out.

Mikeii – Kickstarter definitely helped us get the ball rolling. We had been talking about recording the album for a long time before actually went into the studio and did it. I think more importantly, it was a definite boost of confidence to see that that many people wanted to hear a full length from us, and that that many people actually cared.

Was your experience with Kickstarter only positive? Is this a solution you would recommend to other up and coming bands?

Hoagy – Absolutely. Don’t be unrealistic in your goals though. I’ve seen some Kickstarter pledge levels out there that just made me think “wtf??”

Colin – I think we’re probably all headed for a crowdfunding bubble one of these days, but I’d still recommend Kickstarter to anybody who’s self-releasing anything.

Joe – It was positive for us but it would’ve been nice to be fully self sufficient. It’s just difficult to get actual paying gigs on a regular basis when you’re small.

Mikeii– I feel like if you use Kickstarter, before you launch your campaign, anticipate meeting your goal, and make sure you have a budget plan for all of the money before you start spending it. I would definitely recommend it, just make sure you have it all mapped out. It is really easy to get lost.

Brad– I experienced it as 100% positive. And I would recommend it. We got support from friends and from people we didn’t know. I think it can only help.

War seems to be a theme, in the artwork, in quite a few of the lyrics an in the band name, which is a reference to the tank used by the British during WWII rather than a nod to Saxon. Are you concerned about war mainly in a historical perspective?

Brad – Thank you for mentioning the bit about the Crusader tank. We are NOT named after those awful murderous rampages several hundred years ago. Hoagy is the main lyricist and I know he has profound thoughts on this. For me though, I think about it like I think about visual art. I find the content fascinating on aesthetic level. Which is also why Eugene Jaworski’s art fits us so perfectly. It’s fantasy, but still gripping and scary. Real war is a terrible and hellish thing but also captivating. I think with art though, we can experience the captivation without any actual death or bloodshed.

Colin – War is certainly a central theme for the band, but it’s not the only thing we’ve got going on.  The name isn’t exactly a nod to just the Crusader tank.  It’s got a lot of different meanings for all of us, but I won’t spoil them all here.

Joe – The horrors of war are a never-ending well of knowledge and stories that can translate into metal quite nicely.  It’s also a big interest of our main lyricist Hoagy.

Hoagy– Indeed the horror of what man can do to man is a never-ending chapter of inspiration when it comes to lyrics and the message we try to get across. Having said that, we don’t dwell just on that. “Asgard’s Fire”, for example, is a nod to the gods of the Vikingr, and their journey across the sea to the new lands. “Witch Hunt” is about the infamous Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General. I take inspiration from lots of places. Some of the people who get the album and read the lyrics will get some references that I haven’t mentioned here. I like to weave these things into songs. You have to tell a story and give it meaning. Crusader won’t always be writing about war, although it is an underlying theme for now at least. I like history a lot, so it’s natural for me to have a look around the past and let the pen guide me.

The song “Arturius”, is divided into three parts, and clocks in at more than nine minutes. Tell us a bit about how this epic song came to life. In my opinion, it’s very much the heart of the album, the longest song and also placed in the middle. Do you see this one as “just another” tune, or is it special to you as well?

Colin – We went into the studio knowing that “Onward into Battle” would be the last song.  The moment we started tracking “Arturius” it became apparent that it also needed a prominent spot on the album.  As such we chose to put it dead center- or track one of the B-side if you’re so inclined.

Joe – It is special because the creation of the song was slightly different for us. It was born out of a few chord progressions and just jamming and yet flowed very nicely. It came together very organically; we did not set out to write a nine minute song and yet felt nothing needed to be cut out of it.

Brad– 17 year old punk rock me is very confused about a song that long. This is my favorite song. It started out as a simple riff Beagle (Mikeii) brought in one day. The writing process for this one came together wonderfully. Everyone contributed a variation and idea to it. I also appreciate you calling it “epic.” Epic poetry is something I actually really enjoy, like Paradise Lost and Beowulf. The song needed to be long and the subject matter needed to carry a lot of weight. When Hoagy told me about the subject matter, it perfectly clicked.

Mikeii – Well, this song is actually my first writing contribution with Crusader. Not long before we were slated to go into the studio, I had lost my Mum and one of my best friends. I was pretty down in the dumps. And one day, I just started writing a few riffs, and I brought what I had to rehearsal and said, hey let’s make this into a song. I don’t see it as just another tune. It means a lot to me personally, not only as my first writing contribution with Crusader, but as a song that I started writing to help me get through some rough times. To divide into three parts I think was Colin’s idea, and we all threw around some goofy names for each part.

Hoagy– Aye, “Arturius” is a personal favorite of mine too. When this was in its beginning stages, I knew that this was going to be the longest song on the album, I just had a feeling haha! I had been reading ‘Winter King’ by Bernard Cornwell at the time, which is a fictional tale of the real King Arthur. As soon as the basic song started to take shape, I had images in my head of a man clad in Romanesque armor, barking orders to his men forming a shield wall, driving back the Saxon invaders. This is a ‘true’ depiction of Arthur, none of that knight in armor nonsense! I’m from the UK, and I feel like it’s a homage to my land of birth in a way. I’m very interested in the Dark Ages, and this just seemed to fit together perfectly. It’s quite a moody song, and would like to think it invokes these same images in the listeners mind.

On your Facebook page, one can read: “Tired of hearing run-of-the-mill corporate produced ‘metal’, Crusader decided to raise the flag and rally the troops to their banner”. I guess you must see Crusader as an alternative to run-of the mill corporate produced “metal”. What do you offer instead?

Joe – A classic metal feel; no jock type anthems of partying or beer.

Mikeii – I feel like Crusader offers a classic sound and style that you don’t get to hear too much of today, unless you bust out your old eighties NWOBHM records. I feel like a lot of the metal that’s out there now, is a trend. Like a lot of these deathcore, breakdown bands, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not cool, or if I just don’t get it. The songs just don’t do anything for me. To me they all the sound the same, which stinks. I need something distinctive to tell me who I am listening to. With Crusader, there’s heavy songs and melodic songs, slow songs, fast songs. You get the whole nine yards.

Brad – I can’t stand so much of what passes for metal these days. They all have the gruff yelled verses and then the weak voiced choruses. You would think 12 years later the influence of Nu metal would be gone, but it isn’t. Also, so many metal bands have given up entirely on melody in effort to be as “brutal” as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I like some of that stuff, but it’s not what I want to play or write. Plus we are entirely our own entity. No one tells us what to play or how to write songs.

Your influences seem to be quite diverse, and not limited to just metal. How does this affect the music you create?

Colin – I think it gives perspective to the song writing process and frees things up creatively.  It’s allowed us to play around with things like rhythms and chord structures that aren’t strictly “metal” to bring some diversity to our sound without wandering into douchey prog territory.

Joe – It allows each band member to bring a lot more to the table than just a standard metal riff.  It may allow for a more diverse melody or harmony that would not have previously been conceived.

Brad – Melody. I like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music because metal riffs can sometimes have a tendency to get repetitive. I figure if I can draw from a wide array of styles, I can internalize them and translate into melodies metal doesn’t usually see. I don’t mean to say we break the mold or anything, but I also don’t want to be too predictable.

Mikeii – This is actually a great question. Everyone is into some many different things. And it’s cool when everyone comes to rehearsal with all these different styles and influences because when we started collaborating, we get something different, almost magical in sense. haha!

I have no problem hearing that you are influenced by the classic heavy metal acts you mention on your Facebook page, but I can’t hear much reminding me of stuff like Sunn 0))) and The Sword in your sound. Is this an influence that is there, but doesn’t really come through in your music?

Joe – Not everybody in the band is into Sunn, just a couple of us. Their influence probably appears more on the tail end of the last track with the noise.  The Sword is just a good band that we all dig.  Their influence probably doesn’t show up in the music as it shows up in the idea of what we would like our band to be.

Colin – Just because a sound isn’t explicitly copied doesn’t mean it wasn’t influential.  Take Sunn O))), for example.  No, we’re not making a drone record, but we certainly experimented in the studio with some quasi drone uses of feedback and some synth pads.

Mikeii – I think it’s more of an inspirational thing. Everyone has that one artist that is the reason they started playing music. They may not want to mimic or recreate them, but the kick in the ass to start doing it is there.

Brad – I would say that it is. (But not Sunn0)))) for me, not a fan). It’s kind of like what I say above. The influence from non-metal acts might not be obvious, but I hope that in an organic way those outside influences shape our writing process so we aren’t a paint by the numbers type metal band. I mean if all I listened to was Iron Maiden it stands to reason that the songs I write would start to all sound like Iron Maiden (As opposed to just some of them haha).

What can you tell us about the song writing in the band? Do you have one method which you follow when you create new music, or is the song writing process spontaneous and rather unpredictable?

Brad – It typically goes like this: Someone will have a riff that they bring to practice. We will then jam around with it and begin feeling it out. If we all like where it goes we will all then start to add and tweak things about it. Then we continue to flesh out those changes in the music. Hoagy writes every lyric, and thank God he does because I’m hopeless with that. Rarely though, one of us will come to practice with a song fully written. Even when that does happen, we usually rework it in a few ways too.

Joe – Personally, my contributions were born out of spur of the moment jams that happen roughly within the warm up period of a practice session.  Other times riffs and ideas are brought to the table and we play them until other ideas are formed around those original riffs.

Colin – Usually somebody will bring a riff or something that they’ve been kicking around to practice and we’ll flesh out a full song from there.  We don’t have a single songwriter in the band and I think we’re better for it.  A huge part of our sound comes from the collective input of five people rather than just one.

Hoagy – I write the lyrics mostly, but the lads sometimes give me ideas. Some songs had lyics already written, and I just shaped them around the composition, other times I write as the music is being written, sometimes I can’t think of anything at all, and it can be a bit of a rollercoaster (and a bit frustrating). I do play instruments, by I’m by no means a musician like the others, and if I have an idea for music, or maybe a re-arrangement etc, I explain it as best I can and let them do the rest haha!

Mikeii – For me personally, I do a lot of independent writing. We all usually come to rehearsals with different ideas and licks. Sometimes it does get a little spontaneous. Joe might have been warming up and played something cool, and we have to be like: Hey! do that again. The same goes for Brad or me. It’s a little bit of everything. If I had to put it into two words… I’d have to say “chaos theory”.

It seems you have concentrated most on building up a name locally. Will you try to establish yourself in the American market before you start looking at promoting Crusader in Europe, or will you try to do both at the same time?

Joe – I think it’s mainly been local due to the outside responsibilities of being in a band.  If we can extend that one day we will but we’ll let it happen organically.

Colin – We have been and will continue to be hitting the road outside of Chicago over the next year.  We’re all interested in playing nationally as much as humanly possible in 2014.

Mikeii – Well locally, it is easy to get shows. There are so many places to play at, and a lot of other cool bands to play with. So it gets kind of easy to get sucked into just one area. This past year we did a few out of town shows, one in Columbus, Ohio for a the Warriors of Metal Festival pre-fest showcase, and we were also in Ft. Wayne Indiana with touring act Havok, which was also fun. I’m not sure if I am allowed to say anything just yet, but I am sure there will be more out of Chicago shows coming soon for 2014.

As far as Europe, I would love to play in Europe. We sort of broke into the European market, not with live performance, but with the album and the EP. The EP was actually talked about in Powerplay UK. And I have seen a lot of things about us popped up in German, Russian and a few other countries metal forums. As well as metal forums in South – and Central America.

Brad – Please tell us how to promote in Europe! I sincerely just don’t know how. If we have a one weakness as a band it’s that we don’t know too much about promotion. We don’t have a manager or anything. Everything we’ve done so far we have done on our own. I would love to tour and play in Europe, I just don’t know how to make it happen. We are hoping to start touring more regionally in the US this summer, and I’m also very much looking forward to that. There’s nothing like being on the road with your best friends playing music for people; it’s the best freedom imaginable.

Hoagy – Playing over in the UK and Europe would be incredible. I’m hoping it’s something we can realize and make happen. I would like to think we’d be able to get a following overseas!

On a final note, on behalf of Crusader, I want to say thanks for getting in touch and sending us this interview, cheers Leif, and hail!

After this interview was conducted, the band has been confirmed to perform at this year’s edition of “Warriors Of Metal Fest”, held in Columbus, Ohio in late June.

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