Former Accept members David Reece and Herman Frank have launched a new project Iron Allies, with their first single Full Of Surprises just released.
In part two of a wide-ranging interview, David Reece discusses the Iron Allies project, Highway Sentinels and more. David will headline the Indoor Summer 2022 Festival in Hamburg in September, with a set celebrating the Bangalore Choir debut album, On Target.
In part one, David Reece discussed Bangalore Choir and the battle with grunge with MetalTalk editor Steve Ritchie. Reece was courted by every major record label, shipping 400,000 copies of his debut album and then having David Coverdale remove him from the Vai/Vandenburg Whitesnake ’90s tour because he heard his fantastic singing.
“It’s signed with AFM,” David Reece says of Iron Allies. “Herman and I had never met when I was in Accept. We had Jörg Fischer on guitar. A year ago, in April, I’m on Facebook and I had a message from Herman. It’s funny because we played at a lot of the same festivals, and I always wanted to see him play and meet him. But we always missed each other. So he asked me ‘would you be interested in trying to write songs together? I think two guys ex-Accept may be something that would interest people.’
“I said absolutely. He sent me two tracks. I went in and wrote the lyrics and recorded them and he went, wow, yeah, this is good. Let’s do some more.”
The first single released is Full Of Surprises. “The unusual triplet beat, the guitar work I can put my soul into, combined with David’s distinctive voice that is always full of melody and never just screaming — this surprising mix serves as the perfect appetizer for our album,” Frank says.
Iron Allies began to record the album Blood In Blood Out last March in Hanover. “I shot two videos last night actually, two singles and I’m shooting another one in August,” David said. “It is heavy and melodic. I really think it’s one of the best records I’ve ever done and everybody says that, but this album, just sticks to you.”
There is the tantalising thought of seeing this live. “I want to tour with Herman because I deeply love the guy,” Reece says. “People talk badly about Herman and me from Accept – they always have these stories. One thing the fans don’t realize is when I joined Accept it was not like I hired myself.
“They needed to make a change and break America. So they got me, they found me out of nowhere and that’s what put me where I am. But I just think the nucleus of us together, we’re showing what we’re capable of doing without certain people dictating what happens. I’m really excited about it.”
Post Bangalore Choir, Reece released a succession of solo albums on his return to music and he is clear about his inspiration. “I kind of want to be honest about it,” he says. “When you talk about all the solo albums, I had decided being in a band is not simple and that goes back to Metaphor and all that stuff. I tried to be in bands and it was like, it’s insane, it’s really tough. So I thought I’m just going to be a solo guy and I don’t want to be in a band.”
But Iron Allies is a band and you sense that David is excited and looking forward. Fank and Reece are joined by Francesco Jovino, drums, Malte Burkert on bass, who has played on Recce solo albums and Mike Pesin on rhythm guitar, who’s worked with Herman Frank in Victory.
Reece will headline the Friday night at the Indoor Summer 2022 Festival, at the Markthalle in Hamburg, on 3 September. The set will focus on the Bangalore Choir album, On Target.
“I talked with Steve Price actually about this festival,” Reece says, “and he said it was Firefest on steroids. It’s well run. He’s been to a few of them. I talked to the promoter a couple of days ago and it is sold out. I’m using an Italian band from my village, a bunch of great young guys and a german guitarist out of Hanover. I was exposed to their credibility and talent and they are amazing guys. I’m going to showcase on target, a couple of solo songs and a couple of cover songs.”
Reece is part of the Highway Sentinels, who released their debut album The Waiting Fire last month. Highway Sentinels is a project created by Steven Rosen and Jimmy Waldo and also features Donnie Van Stavern (bass, Riot V) and living legend Mark Zonder (drums, Fates Warning, Warlord). Guests include Joe Satriani, Tracii Guns, Bumblefoot, Paul Gilbert, Mike Flyntz, Joe Stump and Herman Frank.
The roots of the Highway Sentinels record come from lockdown. “It [Covid-19] actually started about 30 minutes from my house. I was recording with Mario Percudani from Hardline at his studio. He called me the next morning and said ‘don’t come the city’s on lockdown’. I had just finished Blacklist Utopia [David’s solo album] which was scheduled for 13 March 2021. I had 30 plus shows scheduled and in seven days, everything was over.
“I just sat here in total darkness. You know, what am I going to do? What’s happening? I got a phone call from my manager Giles Lavery who put together that great package of Bangalore Choir. He said, Steven Rosen and Jimmy Waldo have written a bunch of songs and we’d like you to sing on it and write to it.”
“Rosen called in the artillery,” Reece says, “so I’m surrounded by greatness, Paul Gilbert, Satriani, Bumblefoot, you name it. I got a survival mode record I made, which of course wasn’t just for that, but I did the best I could.
“I have another record coming out with a band from Bulgaria called John Steel that I wrote, gosh, three or four years ago. They finally got signed to Global Rock and that’s coming out the same day. And then I did three songs with a guitar player named Tass Taylor. That’s coming out this month.”
“But my contract stipulates that nothing three months prior to Iron Allies or after can be released, which is completely understandable,” Reece says. “I just want the fans to know, I’m not prostituting myself. This is a two-and-a-half-year working process and hey, I gotta put food on the table and pay my mortgage and my car payment and with my conditions and stipulations with AFM, I’m forced to have it out.
“It’s all great stuff, you know, and I’m in the company of God’s on guitar. I mean I’m on a record with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and these guys, I mean who would have thought?
“I mean, I remember Paul Gilbert on Shrapnel coming to my apartment asking me if I would jam with him when he was nobody and now we laugh, via messenger, ‘hey, we’re on a record together’. Isn’t that crazy?”
If David Reece was left devastated by the rise of grunge in the ’90s, after his break away from the music business, he is surely back now with an impressive bang. Long may it continue.
Iron Allies, Blood In Blood Out, is out on 21 October 2022 and can be pre-ordered from https://shop.afm-records.de/iron-allies