To say that LORD is a classic heavy metal band would vastly miss the mark and hardly do them justice. While their sound captures the golden age of ’80’s-era metal, LORD is unafraid to take a sharp turn into territories unexplored by many of today’s metal bands.
Hailing from Australia, LORD consists of Lord Tim “LT” Grose (lead vocals, guitars and keyboards); Andy Dowling (bass, vocals); and Mark Furtner (guitar, vocals). The Aussie band seldom performs outside of their own continent, but their popularity is melding through boarders at a blistering speed, thanks in part to their online presence, social sharing and good old fashion word-of-mouth.
Last summer, bassist Andy Dowling traveled to the USA to test the landscape outside of the virtual realm. What he found was an audience eager for a hefty dose of LORD live. Now, Australia’s best kept secret is coming to America.
LORD is scheduled to play next summer’s ProgPower USA in Atlanta. More dates may follow, but until they hit the States, I sat down with Dowling to find out more about LORD, their new music and his own musical journey.
Patricia La Bella: Where did you grow up and what got you interested in playing music?
Andy Dowling: I grew up in the state of Queensland which is in northern Australia. I lived in quite a few towns growing up and later settled in Brisbane.
I had always loved music but it wasn’t until early high school that someone had leant me a copy of Metallica’s …And Justice for All and my life changed forever!
PL: That album changed a lot of lives! Did you listen to a lot of metal as a teenager?
AD: Yeah, I liked heavy metal mainly. I listened to rock as well, but metal was my main love. When I was a little kid, I listened to all sorts of music from pop to rock. But as with most people, I wanted to rebel and metal was perfect to help deal with that stereotypical teenage angst.
PL: How old were you when you started playing guitar?
AD: Around the age of 13 I picked up an electric guitar. Before that I had attempted to play my father’s acoustic guitar, but after listening to Metallica, I knew that I needed an electric guitar if I really wanted to get into it.
PL: When and why did you switch to bass?
AD: I played guitar for several years before moving to bass guitar in my late teens. The main reason for choosing the bass was that I really wanted to play in a band and everyone I knew was a guitarist, so it was very hard! Fortunately a lot of bands were looking for bass players, so it was natural to change instruments for me. I’m glad I did!
PL: How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be a musician?
AD: They have always been very supportive. They wanted to make sure that I still did well in school. So, they looked at my passion for music as more of a hobby than a career choice.
It wasn’t until a few years down the track that things began to change and I become more heavily involved in it all. But, they’ve always been very supportive of me and I can’t ask for more than that.
PL: How did your gig in LORD come about?
AD: I’ve known LT since 2000 and was a fan of Dungeon, which was what our band was called prior to a name change in late 2005. It wasn’t after Dungeon toured with Megadeth in Europe in late 2005 that I was offered to join Dungeon and then the name changed to LORD.
PL: Speaking of Megadeth, you’ve played on the same bill with a lot of big-name bands. Do you have any favorites?
AD: We’ve been very lucky over the years to play with many bands. Besides Megadeth we’ve played with Queensryche, Saxon, Nightwish, Gamma Ray and many more.
My personal favorite was playing with Iced Earth on their first-ever Australian tour. Those were great shows and the guys in Iced Earth are fantastic. Some very good memories!
PL: Metal is such a long haul. When we look at guys like Ronnie James Dio and King Diamond, it took them such a long time to become successful. Is that something you think about?
AD: It depends on how you define success. It’s definitely different now to what it was like for people like Ronnie James Dio decades ago.
I think metal music is far more accepted and you don’t need to be recognized by the mainstream media anymore in order for people to discover and like your music.
With the internet and the immediate connection you can have with like-minded fans, you can find your own version of success.
PL: The lifestyle of touring and and all that goes along with it, seems very hard. Do you ever think about packing it in?
AD: There’s never a thought of packing it in for the band, because we’re doing what we love. Whether it be five people, 500 or 5,000 in the audience, it doesn’t matter. If we can create music and have people enjoy it, then that’s the best feeling and we’re very proud of that.
PL: Tell us about your plans to tour the U.S.
AD: Yes! We’ve just been announced to play ProgPower USA in Atlanta on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Hopefully, more dates will follow, but for now we’re very excited to make our U.S. debut at such an amazing metal festival.
PL: LORD just released an awesome new EP titled What Tomorrow Brings, which includes an epic 25-plus minute title track. Tell us about that song in particular.
AD: The title track to the EP is a long concept story spanning a number of chapters which make up the total length. LT wrote the entire song, and he gives a brilliant description of it in a blog he wrote on our website.
PL: The EP also includes a few cover songs that most metal bands would never even consider doing. How did those covers end up on the EP?
AD: The EP is focused purely around the title track, however we had a number of extra songs that had not been officially released and we thought this would be the best opportunity to showcase them.
Besides our original song “Haunted,” we included cover songs by The Police (“Message in a Bottle”), A-ha (“The Sun Always Shines on TV”), Little River Band (“Playing to Win”) and Helloween (“Someone’s Crying”).
PL: LORD isn’t afraid to cover songs that we wouldn’t expect a metal band to attempt. And it’s a welcome surprise to hear you cover The Police.
AD: We love all kinds of music and make no secret of it. Over the years, we’ve covered many different types of songs. We’ve even covered Kylie Minogue (Check out the video!).
With “Message in a Bottle” – it’s a classic song that we all love and knew that we could do a great cover of it. It’s always fun covering great music from the past.
PL: That’s a lot of music on there for just one EP!
AD: We always love giving our fans as much music as possible.
PL: How can U.S. fans hear your music and get this new EP?
AD: The best way to get our music is through our webstore, which has everything from CDs to t-shirts and much more.
We always try to include bonus CDs, stickers and other goodies with every order. You can also get our music through iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.
The best way to find us is to search by one of our last couple of albums LORD – Digital Lies or LORD – Set in Stone.
PL: What advice would you give a kid today looking for a career in music, especially in metal?
AD: Do what you love to do. Spend time working on your music and your playing. Make it the very best that you can and surround yourself with inspiring people (whether it be friends, music teachers, someone at the local music store).
Don’t get discouraged if you have difficulty making your dreams come true. Great things come to those who work hard and are patient. If you want it, you’ll get it!
For more information on LORD, visit their website at Lord.net. Follow LORD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And subscribe to the LORD official YouTube channel.