Bloodseal (formerly known as The 7th Seal)
First... The 7th Seal
Contrary to what many think I did not form The 7th Seal. The band had been around with at least 2 other guitar players before and had performed shows around Cincinnati. Their first guitarist was a good friend of mine, Charles Iliff and with him they had more of a New Wave type sound. He left and they replaced with a guy named Adam (I don't recall his last name?). Not sure what happened there but then I stepped in around 1989. Their Bassist/Singer, Augustus Bludstone (Ralph Parker)came in the music store where I was teaching one day and he had informed me they were looking for a guitar player. I had seen them play when Charles was in the band and thought it was cool and different. I was not in a band at the time so I said why not?
Turns out they were both very stellar musicians and one of, if not THEE best rhythm sections I have ever played with. Drummer Arie Vandenberg (and YES, that really is his REAL name) is pretty much a human Metronome with chops out the wazoo! I had always said he and Augustus were 1 chromosome away from being the same musician. When one of them thought about doing something different the other one was right there like telepathy. This was incredible as much of our live performance was improv. One night a song might be 4 minutes long and the next 12? It was also fantastic for me because I always had an incredibly solid foundation to play guitar over.
Obviously, once I joined the band took a very different direction. I brought in a much heavier and very neo-classical influence to the band which they both loved. We were definitely more of a "Musician's" type band. A Dark 3 piece Prog-Rock band. As I liked to say, Black Sabbath meets RUSH with a touch of Iron Maiden...and maybe a sprinkle or 2 of Frank Zappa and The Misfits. An odd mix yes but it most definitely gave us a very unique sound.
We rehearsed 3 nights a week pretty much every week unless Arie had another gig. He often played in Blues and Jazz groups around town. We mostly did original songs with a few covers thrown in live when needed to fill up time. Those included Godzilla, Paranoid, For Whom The Bell Tolls and a few others but all done 7th Seal style.
We released a 6 song EP titled "In The Haze Of The Sun". We had actually recorded 9 songs in those sessions but only released 6 on that original EP. The 7th Seal played around the Cincinnati area quite a bit and often opened for Chastain, CJSS, and once for EZO. The EP got quite a bit of really good press overseas in Italy, Greece, Germany and a few other countries. However, we all felt that while Augustus was a very energetic and emotional singer live, his vocals were a little "too" unique and our reach would be limited. We had a hard time all agreeing on what type of vocalist we wanted other than Ian Astbury but he was taken. Unfortunately we were never able to find the "right" vocalist for the band and like many bands, musical and personal differences began to creep in. Augustus began leaning more towards Hardcore Punk and I wanted something a bit bigger and different than where I felt the band was going. Around this time I was also asked by Sharon Osbourne to fly to L.A. to audition for Lita Ford who had just had a top 10 hit with Ozzy. I was down to the final eight guitarists but didn't get the gig. However, this gave me a taste of what I really wanted to do and I had contemplating moving to L.A. Because of that I gave my notice and played my last show with The 7th Seal at Bogart's (where it all began) on July 13, 1991.
But wait...there's more...
So I ended up not moving to L.A. and right about this time that's when I met Brian Hurst and we formed (actually re-formed) Character...more on that band HERE
So many years go by...around 15 I believe and Augustus and I had discussed re-forming The 7th Seal. As much as we wanted, begged, and about bribed Arie to join he just was not interested. Augustus also had his own band Bludstone so we recruited his drummer Mark Daniel Fuller. So this new configuration was 2 parts the 7th Seal and 2 parts Bludstone...even though we were a 3 piece...it's the new math ;). That combined with the fact that we found out there were like a dozen or so other bands called "The 7th Seal" we decided to change names by combining the 2...hence...Bloodseal.
We talked about calling The 7th Stone, Blud Seal or Blood Seal but for marketing reasons I was pretty adamant about Bloodseal...one word and easy to remember. We decided we wanted to put out a CD so we took the 6 songs off the "In The Haze of The Sun" EP as well as the other 3 tracks we recorded at that time but never released and added 2 other songs we recorded one night in an over night recording session at a studio in town and the album "Silence In Heaven" was born.
The drummer on the album is Arie from the original recordings but we had a new drummer and new songs so we began recording a new album. The Bass and Drum tracks were done at a studio called The Bamboo Room which at the time was owned and ran by Erwin Musper who engineered and produced the album we were working on. You may not know his name but trust me....Google him!!! He has worked with Metallica, Def Leppard, Van Halen (with all 3 singers) and many others. The album was about half way done. We did a few shows around town but at this point the scene and "Biz" had changed quite a bit and our type of crowd was now older, didn't go out much, clubs weren't paying and the entire music industry was in a weird spiral trying to cross over from the traditional ways to the digital age. I had also contemplated moving again only this to Nashville but this time... I did.
So, far now, the Bloodseal CD "Silence In Heaven" is really the original 7th Seal recordings and Bloodseal has an album that is half way done. While I do have the tracks and would like to someday finish it, for now, other than a vanity project I'm not sure there is enough need or demand to warrant the amount of work it will require to complete. The other reason is I have been pretty adamant that if I do finish it, which I really would like to, it has to have a different vocalist and while I have auditioned a few for the task, I have yet to find the right voice and person. So that's the story of The 7th Seal now known as Bloodseal.