James Neal was by far one of the best heavy metal vocalists during the 80s. His work with the L.A. metal band Malice was proof of this.
Metal blog Leslie’s Metal caught up with him recently and discussed a lot about the metal scene 25 years past. Neal comes across as a very down-to-earth guy, remembering more of the musical creativity than the metal scene itself.
“The 80′s seemed to became an arena of metal gladiators trying to take each other out. All I wanted to do was write, record and play.”
Leslie conducts a really informative, deep interview… knowing so much about the history of Malice. The most interesting part of the interview, for me, was the constant mention of the Malice demos. Neal didn’t seem to understand the importance of the demos. However, the Malice demos were better than the Malice albums, IMHO. They were some of the best metal music recorded during the early 80s. The deal with Atlantic Records that followed slicked the band up too much. The major labels, at that time, had no idea what gave heavy metal its charm. I believe they destroyed bands like Malice. Atlantic Records, in particular, was possibly the worst of the bunch. If anyone took Malice “out” (a word Neal uses in his quote above) it was Atlantic.
Anyway, James Neal has ventured onto a different path than the one he was once on with Malice. He now creates a more folksy brand of rock and roll. To check out Neal’s new music, go to www.jameseneal.com