I’ve been listening to hardrock / metal since the late 80s, and I always thought I knew a lot of band’s. But late last year, co-founder and lead guitarist of Ozmathoq (Dan Marsh),approached us, I was not familiar with them (sorry). Their history goes all the way back to 1986. When I listened to their remastered EP for the first time my first thought was ‘wow this sounds like old-school heavy / thrash metal’. Currently they even work on a new album. In the following interview they speak about their history, futureplans, their new EP “More Than A Hero” and much more:
TMR: Hey guys, first of all, happy New Year, this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there ?
Dan: Greetings to TMR and all of Holland: things are fine, we just had our first winter storm and we’re ready for the cold.
TMR: For those who are not familiar with ‘Ozmathoq’: Tell us the brief history of the band.
Dan: After I left the band Created Image in 1985, I decided that I wanted to play Christian Music that was more heavier. Kevin, Bob, and I put together a speed metal band Armored Lion in 1986. We played some local shows for a couple of years, got some local advertising, and radio airplay
TMR: And why the name ‘Ozmathoq’? Is there a story behind it?
Dan: After we played a show in 1988: we met a guy who was the Editor from The Wedge Magazine; John Digman, (who later became our Manager). John was putting a big show together called (Ten Band Jam) he approached us and said: In order to go through with this show; I feel you you need to change your name to something that is only one word”. Kevin, Bob, Jim, and I said; “we will pray about it”, The band didn’t want to change the name, but after discussing it, we said “lets see what we can come up with’.
I started looking through the Bible and a thought came to me; “what would be the Hebrew word for loud?”. I looked in a concordance and then came the word “Oz”, I then looked a little further and found “Mathoq” from Judges 14:14 which means sweetness.
TMR: Are you guys full time musicians ? If not what kind of job do you do beside the band? (everyone}
Dan: I work in the Industrial Cleaning business, but I love playing Heavy Metal.
Kevin: I work in corporate America as an IT professional. Wish I was in music full time.
Vince: I’m a manager in food service.
TMR: What is your musical background?
Dan: I started playing guitar at 15 played in a lot of garage bands, until I played with Created Image: we played for Churches, Detention Centers, and Festivals.
Kevin: I started playing bass in high school, now I play both bass and 6 string.
Vince: I started jammin’ with my Uncle’s and had secular garage band with friends for awhile.
TMR: Who writes the music and lyrics? How do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands or situations have inspired you to write music and lyrics?
Dan: I write lyrics and music, but our Mother has written lyrics to the songs More Than A Hero, Dance Of The Cobra, and others. Reading the Bible has inspired me to write songs, and Sermons at Church. The bands that have influenced me in Metal are Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, but Black Sabbath, AC-DC, BTO, Hendrix, Nugent, and Neil Young inspired my early guitar playing.
TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Ozmathoq’ (1986)?
Dan: While traveling on the road; Jim (the drummer) swerved to miss a flock chickens, but the car behind us hit them: and the feathers flew everywhere….
Kevin: Watching people slam dance to our music and signing autographs for fans.
Vince: I’ll have to get back with you on that…
TMR: And the worst thing were (if there is one)?
Dan: When I ended the band in 1995, there were so many things left unfinished: like our recordings, and turning away shows.
Kevin: having a new amp melt down during a show.
Vince: So far, it’s all good
TMR: Speaking of recording, your album “More Than A Hero” EP is released late September. What can you tell us about the album (such as the recording process, the songs, label etc).
Dan: Three of the songs; More Than A Hero, Great Deceiver, and Dance Of The Cobra were recorded in 1990. The song Turn Around was recorded in 1993, all of the songs were never completed. In 2013 we reformed and Kevin went through the process of remastering all our recordings. While our newest member Vince and I were laying down new tracks for our upcoming CD. Kevin finished remastering the songs that are on More Than A Hero; after we listened to them Vince suggested we added more guitars to the songs.
Dan: The cover artist is Brittany Sines: we felt the cover artwork was really appropriate; Jesus is more than a hero, He is God..
TMR: What’s your outlook on today’s record industry?
Dan: The Internet has change everything; it’s a lot easier for Independant Artist to be heard.
TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days?
Dan: I recently pick up Saint, Warriors Of The Son “30th Anniversary Edition”. My musical taste leans towards Metal, and Classic Rock.
Kevin: I was just at winter jam tonight – skillet rocked the house down. I like to listen to what’s new especially from older bands. After 40+ years JP is still pumping out the jams
Vince: in the summer months I goto several outdoor concerts
TMR: what is your favorite album top 5 of all time?
Dan: (1) Black Sabbath “Volume 4”. (2) Judas Priest “British Steel”. (3) Saint “Time’s End”. (4) BTO “Not Fragile”. (5) Vengeance Rising “Human Sacrifice”.
Kevin: Are you trying to make my brain hurt??? My favorites always are changing.
Vince: I respect the talents of many musicians I know that they work hard . Heavy metal as my favorite.
TMR: How do you promote your band and shows?
Dan: In the past we would open up for Christian bands, Secular bands, play Charity events, as for today we are using the Internet.
TMR: How do you prepare for a show?
We pray, and we’re not changing a thing. We want our Lord to be magnified.
TMR: Do you have a favorite song to play live?
Dan: Dance of the Cobra.
Kevin: Same here – Dance of the Cobra
Vince: Dance of the Cobra…It’s the most complex….
TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ?
Kevin: Killjoy – because we stole the show
Dan: I agree with Kevin, the show with Killjoy..
TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for a band?
Dan: For myself my work schedule.
Kevin: we’re all on different work schedules and I live 300+ miles away.
TMR: What is the main difference between playing in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s ?
Kevin: Even though our music pretty much stayed the same, music that other people now listen to here in the states has changed.
Dan: Real Heavy Metal doesn’t go out of style: everyone still uses the same chords.
TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?
Dan: The metal scene in and outside the Pittsburgh area is very underground, unless you’re a big name band: Country music rules the music spotlight out here.
TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
Dan: If you make a mistake don’t give up: God allows us to make mistakes so we can learn from them.
TMR: So, what makes you laugh?
Dan: The Beefareeno episode on Seinfeld, and the Movie: “Airheads” I can really relate to that movie.
Kevin: stupid people saying/doing stupid things
Vince: Joe Dirt
TMR: What is your favorite drink and food ?
Dan: Dr Pepper Ten, and Cinnamon Pie
Kevin: Chocolate milk and steak & lobster (but not together) that would be just plain gnarly dude.
Vince: Coke and pizza.
TMR: And what is your biggest fear?
Dan: Walking on beams several stories high…
Kevin: OMG that’s EZ… Sharks!!!! Have you ever seen the movie Jaws?
Vince: Being forced to watch my grandma belly dance again.
TMR: Are there some key principles or philosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person?
Dan: Spend time with our families whenever possible. Philosophies? “you can’t change the past, but you can change the future”.
TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?
Kevin: there’s no dumb questions only dumb answers… Oh wait… Do you think this will hurt?
Vince: Can I borrow your car?
TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band?
Kevin: Spend time with the family, road trips and vacationing.
Dan: Collecting Antiques of just about anything.
Vince: Spend time with my family, friends, play video games, and watching Nascar
TMR: What are your plans for the near future?
Kevin: We’re currently working on our next CD, We’re spending a lot of time on production… We promise to deliver a good old fashion thrashing to all that will hear it!!!! It’s going to be brutal. Keep checking our website for updates. http://ozmathoq.wix.com/ozmathoq
TMR: Guys, thank you for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Ozmathoq’ all the best for 2015… Is there anything you wanna add?
Dan: We would to thank TMR for giving us this great opportunity; and all the Media, and our Fans for their encouragement.
“Dance Of The Cobra” [demo] (1991)
“More Than a Hero” [EP] (2014)
For “More Than A Hero” CD, Kevin did all the Vocals.
Video below ‘More Than A Hero’
Video below ‘Dance of the Cobra’