Greek Fan Club Interview with Chris Troy
Last Modified On 21 Mar 2009
Here is an Interview George Arvanitakis carried out with Chris Troy by E-mail for the Greek Praying Mantis Fan Club.
GA - Hello Chris. I am so happy to have the opportunity to do this interview with you. How are things going ?
CT - Hi, George, I am glad that at last the new album is very soon to be released as it seems such a long time since we actually finished the recording.
GA - Can you give us some information about the "Nowhere To Hide" CD?
CT - As mentioned above, we finished the album in January but have had to wait until now for the release in Japan. I am not sure why but it is to do with certain available slots for the pressing and promotion, etc.
We are all very pleased with it as there was a lot of hard work but the results seems to have been well worth it.
Early indications from Japan is that it has been very well received and in Japan¡Çs Burrn! it got a very good review.
GA - Can you tell us some words about the songs of the CD and on what ideas did you based to write each song?
CT - Nowhere To Hide - it is a common theme that I write about, one day hoping that I will no longer have to write about such subjects. But this is to do with the destruction of the planet due to the continuing ease of the smaller and poorer nations to obtain nuclear fuels and ammunition. With their lack of diplomatic skills it is too easy for the use of them to become widespread.
Cruel Winter - This was about a very good friend of mine who lost his whole family in various tragedies and the song relates to how he has learned to cope with such enormous loss and how it makes the rest of our problems appear to be so superficial.
The Clocktower -This is about a convict who is imprisoned in a jail cell in a mexican small town in the late 1800's awaiting his execution. In the distance through the bars he sees this church clock tower in which he shares an empathy with and relates his remaining time to. He regrets his life and would like to turn back time but knows that the final bells for him will soon chime.
Can't Stop The Fire - This is when the feelings you have are overwhelming and that your heart over-rules your brain and the emotions are unstoppable.
Future Of The World - Similar to ¡ÈNowhere To Hide¡É this is about worrying where planet is heading and though there are always so many signs, we simply carry on destroying what we have without really knowing just what the outcome will be .
Whenever I'm Lost – You should ask Dennis about this as I believe it is written for his son Jack. My interpreation though is that it is about despair, whenever we are at our lowest of lows. When there seems to be nothing anyone can do to help you, it is the thought of maybe that one special person who leads you out of the mental despair time and time again.
You'll Never Know – This one is about a realtionship one can enter where the person can be so influential and strong that they literally change your character. People that have known you for years may suddenly no longer recognise you at all ...........it is the story of redemption of character.
River Of Hope - More simple this one, it is about the plight of the Kosovan refugees fleeing from the atrocities in the recent war. It describes the horror and feeling of helplessness when your lives that have existed for many , many generations suddenly are gone in flames, and young lives taken away before they had time to see what life could be about.
S.O.S - This is again similar to Future Of The World but here we are sending out a final distress signal to higher life forms in the universe to help save the world when it reaches the point of the inevitable catastrophe... you may recognise the famous 5 note communication signal made famous in the Steven Spielberg movie Close Encounters towards the end of the song.
GA - Are you planning on touring Europe except Wacken open air festival?
CT - We will see how things are going once we have done the Jaapn tour and the Wacken festival, there does seem to be this sudden resurgence of the British rock scene in Europe and we may well become part of that.
GA - You have recorded "Nowhere to hide" with the same line-up as the "Forever in Time". Do you think that you found the right "chemistry" for the band?
CT - Definitely, as you know we have strived through so many hard patches trying to get a formula which is right and sustainable by the band members. Fans must appreciate that being in band is almost like a relationship and it is just not the sex that counts ( i.e the music made by the band) the members have to work and grow together to build that long lasting trusting relationship which eventually comes out in the music which hopefully gets better and better ( again like the sex!!!!).
GA - You have recently performed in London and Japan long with Trespass/Tank and Samson celebrating the 20 years of NWOBHM. Tell me how did it feel being with the old line-up. Also how does it feel to be a part of the NWOBHM it?
CT - Strangely enough I did not enjoy it that much but I think what I said in the previous question partially answers that. You see the new line up, or I should say the current line up is right and I have full trust in everyone¡Çs ability. Working suddenly with the old line up again was good and very nostalgic but I did not have any confidence when I was on stage and I am sure it was the same for Tino.
GA - In Japan you are a big band with a very good name, despite that (in my opinion you are one of the biggest bands in the hard rock/aor and in the nwobhm area) you don't seem to have the recognition you deserve in the rest of the world. Why in your opinion this is happens? Is it the fact that your releases can only be found in Japan or some other reason?
CT - It is nice of you to say that, but it is very hard to know the reason why. Firstly we cannot certainly deny the Japanese market as they have been brilliant to us over the many, many years. They are undoubtedly very loyal. It is the only reason we are still doing albums now. For the other markets in truth you need really good backing, particularly financially, and maybe we have not looked hard enough. Or maybe, we are too old now and we can easily see the con-artists coming from a mile away!
GA - Lot of people first hear the name Praying Mantis because many ex-members of Iron Maiden passed from Maiden to Praying Mantis (Paul Di'anno/Dennis Stratton/Clive Burr/Rob Angelo). Can you tell me why so many members that used to play in Iron Maiden join you?
CT - I think this is because we supported Iron Maiden on so many occasions during the early 1980's (It must have been over 100 times) and thus as you can imagine we formed a bond with the various members - so when things got sticky in Maiden they joined Mantis for a while!!!!!.
GA - Now I think it is a good time to bring back some memories. Tell me Chris why did you decide on giving the band the name "Praying Mantis"?
CT - Tino actually thought of it but in truth it is so many years ago that we came up with the name that we don¡Çt actually know? (About 26 years ago) I think we were fascinated with the sex routine where after having it the female bites the male head off and has a "post copulation" snack.
GA - Your first work for a major label was the participation to "Metal for Muthas" compilation. How was the feeling knowing that you were recording for a major label and did you ever feel that it was a special time in the bands history? Is it true that you had as a session drummer Clive Burr when you recorded "Captured City"?
CT - As a young band of course it was very exciting and you wondered in anticipation if it was the beginning of something really big. It was a session drummer but it certainly was not Clive Burr. I cannot remember the drummers name though.
GA - As far as I know only you and Iron Maiden had great reviews from the press and while Iron Maiden sign to EMI you didn't. Why do think this happenned?
CT - In truth the band line up was not right and we knew it. I think if we had the line up we have now, be it all yougsters, I am certain we would have at least been up there with the Maidens, etc. But who knows, maybe yet ????? Ha, Ha......
GA - If I am well informed you and Tino did backing vocals for the one and only 12'' of Scorched Earth. Many people think that this was just a ploy to sell more copies while others believe that you did that. Can you please confirm if you help Scorched Earth on that? If it is true did you ever participate in another group beside Scorched Earth?
CT - This is news to me, I don't think that either Tino or me sung on that record. We indulge in other group activities if they are fun. For instance one that we play in London is called "Paddy goes to Holyhead" which is just cover songs but it is a really good laugh.
GA - One of my most favourite tracks of all time is "Raining in Kensington" which was never released officially until the "Demorabilia" release. You had been playing live for many years why didn't you put it on any of your releases?
CT - It is a great song, but quite simply I have to admit that we did not write it (Jon Bavin our keyboard player at the time did) Thus when Jon left it just did not end up on any major album we have done.
GA - Looking back and seeing all your releases till now , can you give me an opinion about each release you have?
CT - I still think that my favourite album is A Cry For The New World, it just seemed to click and there are some great songs on that album which I love still to this day.
GA - Which is the best track that Praying Mantis ever recorded?
CT - That is a hard one and almost impossible to answer. It changes with my mood. It would also be biased because you are bound to partially like your own songs otherwise you would not write them!!!!! (IE you write what you want to hear ) . All that being said I think my favourite is "Letting Go".
GA - Please give a message for all the Mantis fans here in Greece and for the rest of the world.
CT - We would dearly love to play in Greece, after all Tino and I have a Greek background. Maybe you can make that possible for us.
GA - Cheers........................