Interview With ‘Claudio Passamani’ [Fire]


Brazil is always known for their extreme bands, something that is actually good, because we really have great bands of these styles, but is that our Hard Rock scene just getting neglected and unknown to the eyes of the world. One of the names of this scene (and even for Brazilians is a bit unknown) is the band Fire. Practicing a sound on the line of Stryper and Whitecross,the powertrio is doing a good name before the fans of the style. Check out below an interview with guitarist Claudio Passamani

Well, let’s start with the latest news about Fire. You’re a trio now, right? Why the change of the line-up?

Cláudio: Well, unfortunately, the guitarist Rogério Rocha is no longer a member of Fire. He stood so far away from the band, personally and musically, and keep him in the band became unfruitful. When he showed himself available to Fire, the band had assimilated his vanishing (almost 3 months without appear or make a call).

And with this change, how are the plans for the new cd?

Cláudio: The reality is that what really changed was the direction of the band’s sound. I myself confess that I, as guitarist, played “more bounded” with two guitars. It must make room for another guitarist, specially a so talented one like Roy; however, now I can “fill the gap”, what allows me to explore all my potential on the instrument. Ironically, the band became heavier, denser, with one guitar.

Have you already made a show with this line-up?

Cláudio: Yeah. The debut of this line-up was in Belo Horizonte [Brazil] and the welcome could not be better. We plugged both bass and guitar on stereo, with two amps for each one (like Mr Big did) and the stage sound was badass!!

Well, before we talk about the record V8 Jesus, what you can tease us about this new stuff? Name, number of tracks, something was already defined?

Cláudio: We’re in a brainstorming process… we have 5 track almost finished, but just that. We want to release the second album first, prepare a virtual surprise to the fans, a record with covers of songs that have “Fire” as title. Stryper’s Keep The Fire Burning, DrSin’s Fire, Deep Purple’s Into The Fire and so many others. It’ll be FREE, to up our virtual channels (site, myspace, facebook, etc).

Now, about the V8 Jesus. This record is full of stories and it’s much expected, isn’t it? And to get better, it had a problem with the pressing. What went on the process of recording and release of this stuff?

Cláudio: This cd was a dream come true to this band. Some people were saying that it was the “Chinese Democracy” of White Metal, for its release delayed too much (laugh)! When I joined the band they had just a teaser of 2 or 3 recorded songs. We decide to go back to square one and start from the get-go. Everything was made at DreamStation, which is my recording studio.

A curiosity about the title track: when the other Ricardo [Soares] left the band, he would “take” the song Jesus Freak with him… (divorce stuff, haha) but the lyrics would stay with the band. Then, I made the song that is V8 Jesus today to sing with the lyrics of Jesus Freak (do this at home… it works), however they [got along with each other again] and Jesus Freak was back to the set, and so I wrote some lyrics that became the V8 Jesus song and thus the title track of the record.

And how did you joined Fire?

Cláudio: I’ve known Alex for many years, he played in a band of which I made part before him [Seven], that is one of the pioneers on rock music in the state of Espírito Santo [Brazil], besides we were raised in the same neighborhood. When I came back from São Paulo to Espírito Santo in 2005, we kept in touch again and I went to watch a performance of Fire. I was just dedicating myself to my solo project.

Ricardo Soares left the band lacking just one week to Metanoia Fest in 2007 or 2008, I guess, so they needed someone who could learn the repertoire in one week… then, they invited me as a freelancer; however, we got along with one another so well and the audience response was immediate, so at Metanoia Fest as at other gigs; so, the invite to be a full-time member came up!!!

Tell us a bit about your career as a musician (and it’s so extensive, as far as I know! haha)

Cláudio: Dude… I started in 1986 playing guitar just for fun. In 1987, after I left the movie theater exhilarated with the movie Crossroads, I decided to take the stuff seriously. That was I’d wanted to do for the rest of my life. Then, I spent hours working daily for at least 4 years, and already working as a ‘pro’, playing as a side man of MPB [Brazillian Popular Music], and joining my first metal band with a Christian direction, named Fator C (that became After Death later); and then, there were several years working on my music, studying a lot, playing in several bands and projects: currently Fire, Opus V (a prog metal work alongside Lufe, former drummer of Oficina G3 – by the way, the recording session starts on October 26th, in São Paulo) and my solo project.

And how it was to you recording with Vulcano? How did come up the opportunity to play in “Tales From The Black Book”, which is considered as one of the best reunion albums of classic bands?

Cláudio: Dude, in that time I played with Zhema [Vulcano’s leader] in Creedence cover, when Soto Junior [Vulcano’s guitarist] passed away. The recordings weren’t even started and Zhema asked me if I wanted to join the band. I analised the situation deeply and I felt that it’d be important, so to my friendship with Zhema as to my curriculum, due to the importance the band has to the Latin American metal scene (Vulcano is one of the first – maybe the first one – Extreme Metal bands from South America).

And there was no trouble due to fact that you’re a Christian?

Cláudio: Not from them. Zhema is an avowed atheist, Angel has his belief in Nordic gods and André and Celso were crazy in that time. All them knew about my Christian background. But they never mind, because there is the banner of friendship, which is much more important than the beliefs in situations like that. Today I seek to be together with people by what we have in common, instead of being away from them because of my differences. But I know this brought trouble in Five Skulls And One Chalice later (the last album of Vulcano)… it seems that they lost some gig schedules because of that. It’s a pity that there are people so radical in this world yet. When they radicalize, a black metal fan becomes so evil as his “archenemy”, the “so-called Christian church”. The same happens to white metal, green metal, blue metal… today I’m from the “friendship metal”. I saw a picture of King Diamond hugging Robert Sweet few years ago. This photo synthesizes all I think.

Well, and about this lack of respect, consideration, there was a serious trouble with Metanoia Fest this year [2011], and I remember you said something very interesting: “There are so many people concerned on lifting the dead up, but don’t want to comfort the widow.” Do you think that we, as Christians, do to deserve this prejudgement of secular metal, with wrong attitudes, and a fake “fellowship”?

Cláudio: Yes, in a certain way. You see, when guys like me and the dudes from After Death, Antidemon, Devil Crusher and other bands started this White Metal stuff in Brazil, we were just a crowd of dudes that loved metal music but had faith in Christ, we mingled, a friendship came up…

Then, the whole shebang started to institutionalize and it became a radical stuff from both sides. The White metal is wrapped up in the ghettos, black metal is no longer an ideology and became a style (actually, a subgenre of death thrash metal, but with a pagan and satanic ideology… hehe… like if it was possible at the same time). Today it’s a veiled jihad. It lacks friendship, fellowship. Being ‘white metal’ is not having a T-shirt of Mortification and go out yelling ‘Jesus, Jesus’ everywhere… It must lift many winos and take’em home, break up many fights, live with them and not shove the gospel down their throats. Jesus was like this… He preached, but He was the guy of acquaintanceship, of tables.

Now a quick quiz… Your First LP:

Cláudio: Rising force – Yngwie Malmsteem

Your last cd (or download, haha):

Cláudio: Symphony X – Iconoclast

3 albums to show someone what heavy metal is:

Cláudio: Deep Purple – Made in Japan; Stryper – To hell with the Devil; Racer X – Live Vol1.

Your first Christian stuff:

Cláudio: Stryper – Yellow And Black Attack

That cd that you’re ashamed to have it in your collection, haha:

Cláudio: Yanni – Live At Acroppolis

An album that you would record:

Cláudio: Dream Theater – Images And Words

An album that you would record, but change arrangements, etc…

Cláudio: Satriani – Surfing With The Alien: I think I’d change the guitar timbres of that record, if I could.

Before we wrap up, what stuff recorded by you, that you would recommend to our readers to listen to?

Cláudio: Well, my album “Belos Hinos Cristãos” [in English, Beautiful Christian Hymns], which is a good catching of instrumental guitar. The Fire’s V8 Jesus, the Opus V EP that is coming out in few days, the Trino’s Evora (it has two cool solos of mine there) and the Five Skulls And One Chalice, by Vulcano.

About ‘Belos Hinos Cristãos’, can we have a 2nd part of it? Haha

Cláudio: That’s a good question. Actually, when I made the pre-selection to the volume 1, it had 40 hymns, haha! It was tough to select those. The second one I intend to make it with an orchestra. The deals with the orchestra from SeSi [Espírito Santo, Brazil] are going forth.

Thank you for the opportunity to interview you. I owe much to Fire, because if it weren’t you, perhaps my mother wouldn’t like this heavier ‘hard’ that you guys do, haha! Feel free to make the concluding remarks.

Cláudio: Well, we thank you Marllon for the great support you give to Heavy Metal as culture and mostly to the scene of Christian bands. Thanks for all the readers and we hope see you soon, whether at the gigs of Fire or the gigs of Opus V. If God didn’t like noise, the storms would be silent!!! God bless you all guys!!

Weblinks: Myspace /  Facebook [Claudio]

Current Line Up:
Alex Bastos [vocals / bass]
Claudio Passamani  [guitar]
Ricardo [drums]

Written and translated By Márllon “Roxx” Mátos

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