Interview with Guitarist Tony Lepre of Attack of the Rising

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Tony! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: So many things can define an artist; their sound, their style, their look...even their attitude. What do you think makes an artist unique, even iconic? Is it something more than just the music?
Tony: In the context of unique / iconic; it’s def their sound, style and attitude. Miles Davis, Hendrix, Coltrane, Jeff Beck, Zappa, Keef…that list is long. The bands that inspired us all, all had their own style, sound and def attitude. Their music was all of that and more. Without a doubt, their life experiences, and the “Mileage” they brought to the table.

CV: What do you believe defines Attack of the Rising, that sets the band apart from its peers in your opinion?
Tony: What defines us, as a band, is our respective influences as musicians which gives us our style, sound, and attitude..a true love for the Loud Hard ‘n Heavy music and to make a statement in it.

I can’t speak to being set apart from our “peers”. We believe in the community of it all.

CV: Is being a "rock star" still a relevant term in today's music industry? Is it something worth aspiring to become…especially for a young, up and coming artist or band?
Tony: No, it is not. What I would say to anyone, is “Play because You LOVE to play and don’t be a d*ck.”

CV: The band’s new album “Game Changer,” is out and already blazing up a storm of media attention.  Tell us a bit about the album. How would you compare the album, which was produced by Bill Metoyer, to the band’s 2014 self-titled EP in terms of music? Have things changed from your point of view?
Tony: The (album) title, for Chris (my brother / drummer) and I, is about how everything changed for us when Mandrake joined and having Mike and Billy joining. Playing music with them is Game Changing for us.

The self-titled ep was done over a weekend and basically a live recording with vocals and solos tracked after. It was to get music out as quickly and easily as possible with little money involved. It served its purpose.

Recording with Bill Metoyer was a great, fun, low pressure experience. Bill is a friend and we had been talking for some time about recording. When this lineup came to be, and Bill heard us live for the first time he was completely into recording us and making this happen. In terms of the music, a lot of the songs were written before this lineup and with Mandrake, Mike and Billy, we took songs and ideas and made them into what you hear on the album. What Bill did for us, was capture US. It sounds like us. The recorded music is how we sound. You hear us live, and you hear what’s on the album, but Live. That’s what I wanted to get, and Bill got it.

As far as how things have changed in my point of view; everything has. AOTR can do anything we create, write, come up with etc., with this lineup. We have only scratched the surface literally.

CV: From your experience, does songwriting tend to define the band or does the band inevitably define the songwriting in your opinion? Meaning, can specific songwriting styles or formulas pigeon hole a band over time, creating limitations or does that particular style create a level of freedom and uniqueness?
Tony: Well, songwriting does define what people hear from a band. The band has, as an artistic endeavor, the choice to write however they want to. I love the Beatles. They did what they wanted to create. No one does or will do what they did. A band (who I also love) like ACDC has their style and that’s what they do, and they do it amazingly. I would hope all artists, bands, etc. have a level of freedom to do what gets them off. Otherwise, what’s the point?

CV: If you have to describe “Game Changer” using only three words, what would they be and do you feel the entire band would be in agreement of those three words?

CV: Given that there has been so many major developments and changes over the last several decades, many people feel a career in music is just not worth the time or the effort. Do you consider the music industry to be an environment, for any artist or band, which still has a potential of delivering on a successful career, or at least, providing a living, in your opinion?
Tony: The “music industry” is just that, business. I am aware that there are those who make a living on some level playing music…whether it's theirs or someone else’s. My context for a “successful career” is that one can create and record and play live to whatever degree they can.

CV: Nowadays, more power is in the people’s hands. Has digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Has such access, from a consumer standpoint, changed the game for more seasoned artists to find and maintain their audience?
Tony: I would say that the ability for anyone to create by however means, is a great thing. Digital technology has given that opportunity to anyone and everyone who is so inspired to do so. Regardless of what anyone thinks of it. Art is relative…always has been and always will be. From a consumer perspective, I could only hope it keeps everyone on their toes to keep creating the best art they can. There is literally something for everyone.

CV: Can a band truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of individual privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space”? How does Attack of the Rising protect its members’ private lives?
Tony: I believe that we all can have social integration to whatever degree we choose to do so. There is the public life so to speak and there is the private life. I would hope all respect such things regardless of whatever circumstances. I have become good, close friends with those who I came to know through playing music. I also know a lot of people and respect their individual private lives.

CV: What's one thing being in a Rock band taught you that you feel you would not have learned elsewhere?

Tony: Hmm…I’ve been playing in bands (in context of playing with other musicians) since I was 14. I’ve played sports as well and the Team effort is part of both experiences. One thing for sure is Creating Art / Music with other human beings is a very special one of a kind experience to have. There is literally nothing like in my experiences in life. Playing music with others is akin to a spiritual experience.  

CV: What's next for you? In addition to the new album, what can fans expect to see coming from Attack of the Rising?
Tony: We are looking at playing some live shows through the end of the year, if it’s safe for all concerned. It looks like at this time, 2022 is where live music will be back, we all hope. We have a lot of content in the can so to speak. A live production done with producer Rob Hill at X-Music Studios (5 songs live w interview). We have this really fun quirky EPK type thing in its final production. We have some live AV recordings of a recent show that captures us live 100%. We all are writing (and have been) and look forward to seeing what this lineup comes up with for the next album.

CV: Thank you again Tony for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
Tony: Thank you for the opportunity to do so!


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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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