For the first time since 1994, Bay Area thrashers Mordred are releasing a new full-length album. We caught up with guitarist Danny White who fills us in on the creation of The Dark Parade, upcoming tour plans and other topics.
Chad Bowar: What led to your most recent reunion?
Danny White: I was living and working in NYC and I got contacted by my old high school band Savage Angel. I made plans to make a visit back to The Bay Area. I hadn’t been back in over 25 years. As soon as I flew over the bay, all kinds of memories started to flood back, I started to realize how much I missed being here. I came in with a buddy of mine and we went to Golden Gate Park on the first or second day of the trip. I visited the arboretum and laid down on the grass and had this crazy kind of healing. It was quite emotional!
I ended up jamming with the guys in Savage Angel and Scotty (original singer of Mordred) got hold of me and I also played with him, Sven Soderlund and Slade Anderson from my old Mercenary days. We jammed and recorded it and I posted it on Facebook. Then A guy in Scotland, Matt Denny, saw the post and told me there were people that were still interested in the band! It took some convincing, but eventually he would go on to help me put together a crowd funding campaign to launch the reunion tour.
When did you decide you wanted to record a new album?
From the first conversation Scott and I had about the new music, once I returned from my visit to California, we knew we wanted make a full record. That was in 2013.
How did the songwriting process for The Dark Parade compare with your previous albums?
It started off slowly. Scott and I just sent files back and forth. We both had ideas and had conversations about what we wanted to do. We both agreed we wanted to keep it heavy but still Mordred and experiment. As the writing continued, some things worked and others didn’t as was always the case. We really wanted this first record in 25 years to be special.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Probably tracking together at Bill Storkson’s place in Novato, CA. It was awesome to track basics again, just me and the drummer Jeff. It felt like old times for sure!
How would you characterize Mordred’s style/sound in 2021?
As always we are a product of our environment. We were all brought up playing thrash as well as other stuff so it’s all been filtered in to the music. That hasn’t changed, we continue and will continue to have that as our recipe for music going forward, I believe.
Did the pandemic affect the process?
Oh boy did it. Well of course all club dates were cancelled and we had a bunch of them! We were the last band to play The Cornerstone in Berkeley before they closed down for the pandemic. Most bands tried to stay active by putting on online shows and we were no different except we had to do it differently of course. Scott and Jeff had the idea along with Wayne Marsala, who ended up shooting all of the shows, to add other elements besides music. We had skits, a comedian host and burlesque dancers. It was a regular variety show! We called it Mordred: Acting The Fool. All the shows are up on our YouTube channel. They were a lot of fun to make and kept us busy while the pandemic raged through the country.
What lyrical topics do you cover this time around?
Everything from Manifest Destiny, cancer, realms lower than hell, and also a good old drinking song with some Thin Lizzy influence.
How did you come to sign with M-Theory Audio?
Marco Barbieri contacted me directly. He was a fan of the band and had seen us at The Stone in San Francisco decades earlier, if I’m not mistaken. We talked about what it would look like being partners and he really laid out a very practical approach to distribution. The deal was fair, two albums with an option to reup. He’s been great. His experience and attention to us and detail in general has not gone unnoticed. We’re all stoked to be working with him.
With more than a quarter century between full-lengths, what are your goals and expectations for the record?
Just to have fun and put out music we enjoy. If people dig it, we’ll keep doing it.
How was the video shoot for “Malignancy”?
Awesome! That one came out really great. I woke up in the middle of the night and had the whole concept crystalized. I wrote it all down and called Christian Powell, our unofficial seventh member. He wrote the Baroness with Jim Sanguinetti our other guitar player. He’s been shooting the majority of our music videos and he also shot the online shows I talked about earlier. Once Chris and I talked, he laid out the schedule and shortlist and really made the whole thing come to life. He’s been a blessing this whole process.
How did the Chuck Billy/Will Carroll/Matt Camacho cameos come about?
Jeff was friends with Chuck and Will and Scotty knew Matt. Jeff knew Chuck had successfully beat cancer so he said we should call him up and see if he wanted to do it. Chuck was into it thankfully and he did an awesome job. Will had his battle with Covid and Matt was just kind enough to help us out. The cast was pretty big and the production value was high but we pulled it off I think! Super happy with the way it turned out. That’s my favorite song on the record.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We have three shows planned coming up including opening weekend at Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco, CA and the Ukiah Metal Fest in well Ukiah! We are also in talks with a couple of bands for a tour but I don’t want to disclose until it gets a little closer to being a thing. Hopefully this December…
There will be vinyl editions of the album available. Are you a vinyl collector?
I’ve finally started my collection again! I had one for a long time but got away from it. I just recently bought a turntable so I’m beginning to add to it these days.
What led you to also release it on cassette?
That was actually Marco’s idea. I guess there is interest among collectors so he thought we should offer it as well. It’s fun to have all the different formats!
You recently started a Patreon. What type of content are you offering there, and how has the responses been so far?
That’s where we announce what’s coming up first. We post all kinds of stuff including what we can’t on Facebook because well you know, kiddies. People can watch us act like idiots and… oh wait, we do that everywhere! (laughs) Fans can also help us continue being Mordred because without them, we simply wouldn’t be here! There are three tiers, three ways to show your love!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
System Of A Down, Lich King, Lamb of God, Hank Williams, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and new Tool.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Scott and I are in a Texas Swing band called Emeryvillains. We are on Youtube if y’all like that kinda thang!
(interview published July 23, 2021)
Watch Mordred – “Malignancy” Video