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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!