EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: GEORGE OCHOA Announces New WORLDVIEW Singer, Drummer

IMG_2987_

We sat down with George Ochoa for an exclusive interview where he discussed everything from influences to new WORLDVIEW members.

The Christian metal community has been anticipating a follow-up to 2015’s The Chosen Few for quite some time and George has a lot to say about it.

Let’s get started:

The Pure Metal Fan (TPMF): Thanks, George, for joining us today at The Pure Metal Fan.

George Ochoa (GO): You’re welcome.

TPMF: What made you want to become a musician in the first place?

GO: To get chicks.

TPMF: For real? [laughing]

GO: [laughing] Why not?! I was in junior high and I saw all the cool guys that were playing at the auditorium in the band and I thought, “Man! I would love to get in a band because look at all the girls up front”. (this was all B.C. of course.)

IMG_0083

TPMF: [laughing] Who are your major influences?

GO: That’s a very broad question because I have many, many influences. I’ve always been told that I am a very versatile guitar player and a versatile musician overall. I can pretty much play most styles. I play rock of course but I have a pretty good feel for Latin music because it’s in my blood, I can play the blues if need be, etc. I’ve played Spanish style guitar on various records that I have recorded in the past. I guess I pride myself in a sense that I can play various styles. I really used to love Carlos Santana’s and Jeff Beck’s guitar playing when I first started learning guitar. I was also a huge progressive rock fan. We’re talking about bands like, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Kansas, Genesis. So, I would say that my initial metal influences were Judas Priest, Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Queensryche. I was a huge fan of early Queensryche. At one point, I thought those guys could do no wrong.

TPMF: Who writes the songs in Worldview?

GO: Well, I will always be a major writer on most things that I do. If you’re talking WORLDVIEW—The Chosen Few, I wrote most of the stuff. I co-wrote some of it with various people like Ronson Webster, Todd Libby, and Rey Parra. I actually pulled out a song from the past that Allen Aguirre from Scattered Few and I had written back in the day. We wrote a song called ‘Why?’. I decided to put that on The Chosen Few because I always thought it was a great song and I wanted a home for it.

On the upcoming WORLDVIEW record… well, let’s talk about the new record and reveal some exciting news.

TPMF: So, do you have an announcement regarding any line-up changes?

FullSizeR(2)

GO: Yes. Get Ready! The second WORLDVIEW record will have Terry Russell on drums. Terry used to play with Holy Soldier. Terry is a phenomenal drummer. I’ve already gotten to play and hang out with him quite a bit. He fits in with WORLDVIEW like a glove. Terry is a good family man, committed Christian, just an all-around good guy. He loves playing double kick and we give him a lot of those opportunities. We also have a new vocalist and his name is—none other than Michael Drive Lee formally of Barren Cross. He will be our front man/lead vocalist. We’ve already written 10 songs together and its really good stuff. As it happens with any band that switches vocalists, the band will evolve a bit. We will still have some more first album kind of flavors in there, but the new record won’t be The Chosen Few part two. It will definitely be an evolved WORLDVIEW with Mike Drive Lee at the helm singing. Mike isn’t one of those operatic type singers like Rey Parra. Mike is more of a gutsy, classic metal singer. It’s like comparing Geoff Tate to Bruce Dickinson. Mike doesn’t like to be compared to Bruce because he has gotten away from that type of singing. Mike has found his own niche in a lot of ways. I really look forward to Mike’s input in WORLDVIEW. We work and write well together. Mike is going to be a huge asset to WORLDVIEW.

IMG_3244_.jpg

TPMF: Cool! Cool!

TPMF: Which songs on the new album do you like the most?

GO: Well, you guys don’t know any song titles yet or anything like that. In fact, we still haven’t decided on the album title. So, I won’t reveal the album title quite yet. Mike, Todd and I have written several songs already. We have an upcoming show with Stryper at the Whiskey in Hollywood, CA on October 10th. We will be debuting three to four new tunes at that show. One is called Genetic Dysfunction, it’s really a head banging song. You play it and automatically your feet start moving and your head starts to bob. Other new songs will include Mystery Babylon and Lying Whispers. Great, great stuff! We haven’t recorded all the final tracks yet, so I can’t quite tell you what my favorite is. We have about 20 songs to choose from and we’ll probably put 10-12 songs on the record. So, to answer your question, it’s pretty tough for me to answer until the tracks are totally done. They’ll be done within the next 2-3 months, I assume.

TPMF: What has been the biggest challenge for Worldview as a band?

GO: The biggest challenge for WORLDVIEW as a band has been finding the right singer. I love WORLDVIEW with Rey Parra. Rey and I get along wonderfully. His departure from WORLDVIEW was nothing negative whatsoever. It’s just he lives in Florida and we live in California. Really, that’s just it. We found it very tough to just get together to record the next album. Then he started jamming with Deny the Fallen and took that very seriously, that kind of put WORLDVIEW in the back seat. Then one day, I’m listening to an interview with the guitar player from Deny the Fallen and he states that Rey Parra is no longer doing WORLDVIEW. That was news to me. As far as I knew, Rey was still doing the second record. Oh well… I find out through the guitar player and not Rey. That kind of bummed me out. Life goes on. At this point, we had to make our choice and move on. Again, there’s no hard feelings. Rey called me the other day and he said, ‘I miss you bro’ and I said, ‘I miss you, too’. We’re still good buddies and that won’t change. Rey’s a great individual and I love him, I consider him one of my best friends. Rey’s an awesome dude and I always told him, maybe this isn’t the end, maybe we’ll end up doing something down the line. We really didn’t want to go out and advertise for a singer. We could have. We could have called Rob Rock and paid him to sing on the record since he loves to sing on people’s records. We considered that at one point. Now, we’ve decided on Michael Drive Lee and he decided to do it. I really feel we have found a home with Mike, so that’s where we are right now.

IMG_2982_.jpg

TPMF: How big of a role has your faith played in your song writing and life in general?

GO: A huge part because almost everything I write is biblically based. Have I written songs that have been relationship based also? Like on the first record, I wrote ‘Back in Time’, that’s a song about my first marriage and how it fell apart. It was a heart-break song that was very near and dear to me. Lots of emotion there. I don’t think there’s any problem with doing that, you know, writing relationship songs. It’s life, It’s real. Even if I tried, I couldn’t get away from writing Christian lyrics. It’s just who I am. The Holy Spirit has given me, God has given me, the gift of music, I’ve got to give it back to Him. That is the essence of who I am, who George Rene Ochoa is as a Christian.

TPMF: Okay, what was the last album or song that you bought?

GO: That’s an extremely difficult question because I don’t pay for music, I steal all my music from the internet …No…I’m just kidding [laughing]! LOL, just kidding! I hate pirating! I hate it! Pirates are thieves and should go to jail. But anyway, I’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff lately. You guys saw me put a FB post of Breaking Benjamin last week. Their new album—Wow! Great stuff, man. I see a lot of people commenting, ‘I can’t stand modern metal stuff’ …you know what? Call it modern, call it classic, music is music. Good music is good music and bad music is bad music. I love certain new bands because they’re just good. I’m a huge Kamelot fan, I listen to their latest record quite a bit. Anything from Kamelot I listen to a lot. I think with WORLDVIEW in the future, we’re going to have some of the classic flavors here and there but we are really going to try to be relevant with today’s scene. I’m not going to crush people and say we’re going to be a modern metal band. I don’t know why that’s a bad term in the first place. I really don’t. We’re just going to write the stuff we want to write and that we feel passionate about. Mike is really big on this. We don’t want to ever sound dated with guitar hammer-ons and dives and screams on vocals. You don’t see any of that stuff these days except with clueless bands that refuse to move forward. Europe still loves some of that stuff. There’s going to be a few people that hate our stuff but most will love it. I know that WORLDVIEW is going to be more relevant.

IMG_2767_2

TPMF: What would be a non-metal artist that you really like or listen to that people may be surprised about?

GO: I’m a huge Beatles fan. Huge. In fact, I want to punch anyone who says they don’t like the Beatles. I don’t get it. I don’t get it when someone says they don’t like the Beatles. They are musical geniuses. I mean, they were ahead of their time and when you listen to their stuff, you just go, ‘how’d they come up with this stuff?’ So, that’s my first instinct, it’s just the Beatles. I like artists like Michael Jackson, believe it or not. Don’t tell anybody, but I even like some Backstreet Boys stuff [laughing]!

TPMF: I’m going to print that!

GO: Go ahead!

IMG_0862(1)

TPMF: Do you have any parting words for your fans?

GO: Well, I’ve been playing music for years now and I’ve been in different bands and different projects and just to let everyone know, I am most proud of all my musical accolades of WORLDVIEW. It is by far the best thing that I have worked on musically. The new record will be the best music that I have ever put out, period! I’ve poured my heart and soul into the first record. I’m going to pour my heart and soul into the second record. I am really excited to be doing this with Todd Libby, Terry Russell, Alessandro Bertoni and Michael Drive Lee. This is truly a powerhouse line-up. What is funny is that Mike and I worked together in the 80s at one point, and we wrote some pretty cool songs; but it never went anywhere. He went off to do the Barren Cross thing and I went off to do Recon and Deliverance but after that, after I was out of all those bands, I remember calling him saying, ‘Hey, let’s get together and write again’, he would say, “I don’t have time”. He kind of blew me off a few times to be honest with you. And he doesn’t even live that far from me, he really doesn’t. Finally, I called him again or something happened, I don’t remember the exact circumstances. He came up and listened to some of my ideas and some of the stuff I had written and I guess he was impressed enough to go, ‘ok, let’s do something!’, So, you know what? I look at it like it just wasn’t the right time before, and this is the right time now. So, that’s how Mike and I got back in touch and working together, after all these years. And now, we’re going to put out this record. The parting words I have are that I am proud of the first WORLDVIEW/The Chosen Few, but the next WORLDVIEW record is going to be epic. Just get ready because this is going to have a lot of good stuff on the record. People are going to be pleasantly surprised. We have a fresh sound, new drummer that has high energy, we have Todd Libby, a phenomenal bass player/keyboardist, we have a keyboardist, named Alessandro Bertoni, he’s going to end up playing live shows and record on the new album. He’s a great keyboardist. He put out a solo album that was produced by Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo. So, Alessandro is really connected, and he loves our band. As you know, WORLDVIEW will always have keyboards in the music. We’re looking to have Bill Metoyer mix this record like he did the first record.

TPMF: When can we expect the new album?

GO: The new album will be out by the end of the year. Cross your fingers.

TPMF: Thanks so much!

BREAKING: OZ FOX Medical Update

Please continue to pray for Oz Fox. A medical update was posted to Oz’s personal Facebook page earlier today:

“Hello friends,
First of all, I would like to say thank you for all of the prayers and continued support. I couldn’t think of having this journey without all of you in my life.
Today the report from the doctor was a little less than I expected. But whatever! I truly, truly believe that God has a plan for all of this. He has come through for me so many times in my life. I’m not going to worry about this at all. But I have to face facts. I’m not getting any younger. I have to start thinking about what to do with my time and better manage it. My wife, close family and close friends know me to be a chill person. So really I’m chilling out about all the stupid stuff. The Stryper band and staff is being very supportive. They have been so awesome through all this! I love them dearly! Same goes for my boys from Sin City Sinners and Hart Attack. And a big shout-out to all my new Las Vegas family who are always encouraging me and are always concerned for my well-being. Of course to all of you around the world offering your prayers and positive words, thank you.
I will be in South America soon and other dates in the U.S. will be coming up. I’m looking forward to seeing all the awesome fans! After that, one day at a time…
Below is Annie’s dictation from the doctor.
Love ya,
Oz

Update on Oz’s tumors:

Originally, Each lesion was:

0. On August 12, 2018 Acoustic Neuroma was 2.2 by 1.7 centimeter.

On July 23, 2019 a new scan was taken: 2.7 by 1.7 centimeters.

It has grown.

Doctor recommends radiation ASAP because if tumor grows to 3 centimeters, it will be no longer able to be treated with radiation. Going beyond 3 centimeters, an operation to remove tumor will cause facial palsy/droop as well as being a tough/risky surgery to recover from.

The radiation side effects will give Oz permanent hearing loss completely in one ear. Possibly facial palsy. A tiny risk the tumor will grow from radiation.

But if the tumor isn’t dealt with, it will continue to grow & cause hearing loss, balance, vision & spinal problems.

0. On August 12, 2018 the rear glioma tumor on the right side was 27.77 millimeters by 30.53 millimeters.

On July 23, 2019 a new scan was taken: 35.1 by 33.8 millimeters.

It has grown.

The other tumor is a low grade glioma (doctor says possibly a oligodendroglioma or a pilocytic astrocytoma glioma.

Location: back of brain. Area where left side of arm, hands, body operate. The risk to remove it will affect the upper left motor function, and potential ability to recognize faces, objects.

This tumor cannot be treated by radiation alone, like the first one. First order is biopsy, to find out what kind it is.

If surgery looks like the only option, then a combo of chemo & radiation to stop the growth.

This one will most likely need to be treated after the first one, because as it progresses, it will be difficult to remove.

We are asking for prayer, above all things we are trusting God.

Love,
Annie.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156446977312283&id=613947282

BREAKING: NARNIA Releases Eighth Studio Album, ‘From Darkness to Light’

Press release: ”From Darkness to Light”—The 8th studio-album from Narnia is released today

Uppsala, Sweden. August 2nd, 2019

Today, Swedish metal band Narnia releases their 8th studio-album, From Darkness to Light. The album is released worldwide today, just over a month before touring begins in South America, along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

Narnia’s new album, From Darkness to Light, is the band’s 8th studio album, and a natural sequel to the previous, self-titled album, from the band’s return and 20th anniversary in 2016. 

20190704_115344

The spark that Narnia lit on last year’s live album, We Still Believe: Made in Brazil, has followed the band into the studio, where this energy has been channeled and structured into a long parade of nine songs.

With musical roots remaining deep in melodic metal, the band has both expanded into modern metal territory, where the guitars still dominate, while allowing for 70/80’s analog synthesizers to exist in the soundscape. The lyrics are extremely important to the band, and in true Narnia spirit, this heritage has been well managed and further refined.

received_327221284579791

From Darkness to Light has received positive response from reviewers all around the world, and recently received 1st position in Sweden Rock Magazine’s “The Jury” (4 reviewers on 9 international releases), along with a review (8 of 10) and a full page interview with the band’s singer, Christian Liljegren. A great start for this new major venture for Narnia, which involves a tour that begins in South America along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

Today, From Darkness to Light is available on all digital platforms, CD, and vinyl (in different colors), in collaboration with record label Sound Pollution (Europe, USA, Australia). The album is also being distributed by King Records (Asia), and by Voice Music/MusiK Records, Icarus Music and The Dove’s Voice Records (Latin America).

FB_IMG_1557009968842

The album was produced by Narnia’s guitarist CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band’s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Jens Bogren, Fascination Street Studios (Sepultura, Symphony X, James LaBrie [Dream Theater], and more).