ONCE AGAIN I GET TO MENTALLY GO DOWN UNDER WITH THE MIGHT JOHNNY STOJ, KING OF THE MIGHTY POWER METAL GIANTS PEGAZUS. SINCE THE LAST TIME WE MADE BEAUTIFUL WORD DOCUMENTS TOGETHER THE BAND HAS RECORDED A NEW CD WITH A NEW SINGER AND ALSO RECUITED A NEW BASS PLAYER TOO. THINGS CHANGE BUT YET PEGAZUS REMAINS ONE OF THE KINGS OF UNDERGROUND METAL. SCREW BLIND GUARDIAN AND HAMMERFALL! PEGAZUS IS AUSTRALIAN FOR "METAL"!

Prof.ManiC: How the hell did you find Rob Thompson? Why go for such a unique voice? The only person I think he kind of sounds like is a more powerful and talented Kai Hansen..did you get the same vibe or did you think he sounded like someone else? How did you end up finding and selecting him and how long did you have too look?
Johnny Stoj: It took us about 3 months of searching before we came across Rob and it was the drummer from Rob's previous band of a few years ago who actually told him about PEGAZUS looking for a new vocalist. He urged him to get in contact with us to try out and audition. Rob called me on the telephone soon after and we talked briefly about a few things heavy metal related of course and then he sent us a demo tape and his bio and it was from there that we arranged a one on one meeting to meet and discuss things much further.
We liked what we heard on his demo tape because his voice had a very unique quality about it which captured our attention right away and we already had a great feeling from that first listening of his demo that Rob's voice was just what PEGAZUS needed. I didn't actually hear him sounding like anyone in particular because he sounded so much more original and unique than anyone we'd ever come across before and that was probably the first and major attraction!
Rob is a true frontman in every sense too! His voice is so charismatic and unique which truly gives our songs a very strong character, and live on stage he is just crazy and wild as the rest of the band...totally 100% committed to this Heavy Metal Beast called PEGAZUS !!! I'm not just saying this because he is in the band now, but one of the first things you would notice yourself too upon meeting Rob is that he has a great character and personality as a true friend and a brother, that's why he blends in with the rest of the band so well. When we get together, we have a great time playing and making music and a wicked time on stage and the fans now see that true vibe, live at our shows!
Prof.ManiC: Besides finding Rob to replace Danny, what other crazy stuff went on that you and Robbie had to overcome to get THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN out?
  Johnny Stoj: Well, just as Rob joined the band, there was already another defection taking place, where our Bass player Cory was starting up his own metal band on the side which he'd told us about and that was all cool but then there was a small problem with the commitment level. It's as simple as this really...if you are in PEGAZUS, it's ok to also play in other side project bands too, there's no problem with that at all but PEGAZUS must always be priority number one and come first for everyone involved!
Besides that lineup change too, not too much else had really been in the way of us creating and recording the new album. We did take a little longer than usual but we really wanted to take the extra time to make sure that what we were writing and creating was going to be a KILLER fucking Heavy Metal album!
 
Prof.ManiC: What are your touring plans for it? Or will touring be minimal just like after Breaking the
Chains? Is Cory still part of the band? If not who will be the bassist when you tour?
Johnny Stoj: It's been a long time since we last toured in Europe...it's been way too long actually! Over the past couple of months, we have been discussing and talking with promoters about going to tour in Europe and so far there hasn't been anything confirmed but we are working on it. We are also right now looking at any possibilities for touring Japan the USA and South America too! It is more likely though, that we might end up playing some of the European summer festivals in 2003 with some club shows in between.
Cory left just over a year ago and we do have a New Bass player now! His name is Hanny Mohamed and he has been with us since January 2002. He’s a really great guy and has been an actual fan of Pegazus since he was about sixteen. Back when he was in high school he even once got in trouble for painting the band name Pegazus on the wall of his school, which by the way, he got caught doing and had to spend hours and hours cleaning it all off...hahaha :o)
Hanny's been coming to all our shows, even when he was underage and not allowed to get into the clubs. So we’ve known each other for about eight years now. When we asked him to fill in on Bass, there was no hesitation as he immediately said yes. He’s actually a guitar player, but he’s played the bass in other bands from time to time too. So far, everything is going great and as for any overseas touring in the near future, Hanny will no doubt be joining us on the road...One for all and all for one!
Prof.ManiC: Are the songs "The Patriot" and "Neon Angel" based on someone or just songs? And is The Headless Horseman based off the movie or just the legend itself? What did you think of the movie?
Johnny Stoj:   The Patriot is sort of based on the two Mel Gibson battle themed movies Braveheart and The Patriot. I have always been a big fan of movies and find that they do inspire me to create and write songs about them. Neon Angel was inspired by an autobiography that I read by Runaways singer Cherie Currie. I actually sent Cherie a copy of the album because of that song and she really liked it very much so that was pretty cool. :o)
The Headless Horseman was influenced from the great movie "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", which is a very cool movie that I must have seen about 5 or 6 times now. I was very intrigued by the movie itself, so I felt that writing about it was a very cool idea. Pegazus has always been a band that likes writing about fantasy type themes from time to time and the Headless Horseman story and legend seemed like a really great and natural idea to write a song about it. As I mentioned before, I personally have always had a lot of inspiration to write songs from movies that I have seen...It's something that I do from time to time on most Pegazus albums!
Prof.ManiC: How perfect did "Ballad of a Thin Man" need to be? Is it the Pegazus track that has the record for the most takes? Or was he so much inspiration to you it was a spontaneous thing? Why did you think it needed to be done??
Johnny Stoj:   Personally, Phil Lynott is a very big inspiration to me and the rest of the guys in the band, not just as a musician, but also as a fantastic and very accomplished songwriter. He was very talented and the diversity in Thin Lizzy’s songs from album to album truely shows that. I really liked the attitude he displayed in his craft. It's a lot harder as a musician to be so creative and keep your music new and fresh all the time. That is certainly a special and rare quality and I think Phil Lynott did that so well.
Anyway, it was about 2 years ago and Philip Lynott's 15th anniversay of his passing was looming. I remember everyone was getting onto the buzz of recording some Thin Lizzy covers for an anniversary tribute album and as a fan I had an idea that it would be really cool to write and record a special tribute song as a true mark of respect to an artist and true inspiration to me and the band personally. That's where "Ballad of a Thin Man" came to life, so I came up with a rock driven guitar riff and twin guitar harmony idea and started writing the lyrics, which were cleverly written from song titles from the many cool Thin Lizzy songs. I showed the guys in the band the song in it's raw demo form and they really liked it and so did the record label!
Soon after the song was recorded as a demo, I got the idea that I wanted to send a copy of the song to Ms.Philomena Lynott, just to see what she thought of the initial song and to also get her approval on it too I guess. Well, she totally approved of it with so much praise as she wrote a personal letter back to me and said she loved it immensely and even went on to say "Philip would love it" that was definitely a big highlight for us and a compliment I will never forget! We never even actually expected the song to be on the Pegazus album because it wasn't really ever planned to be, it was just a straight-ahead rock song with myself singing on it. It was actually when the record label had heard the demo that they really liked it so much that they said it must be on the next Pegazus album. That's why it's on there. It seems to be getting a fantastic reaction from fans so far, so I guess it was a good idea to have it on the new album after all.
 
Prof.ManiC: Rumor has it that Danny left cause he was pissed cause you didn't give him any songwriting chances. And his few songwriting credits kind of show this. On this CD you let the "new guy" Rob write two songs and help on two others plus you let Cory write one too. (which happens to be one of my favorite tracks on there especially Robbie's drumming parts ) Is this a big FUCK YOU to Danny or is it just that you decided to make this more a band project since what happened before or did you just have more faith in Rob or even perhaps you got writers block a tad bit?
Johnny Stoj:   Gee, that would have to be one of the biggest bullshit rumours I've heard about Danny's departure, along with the loads of other different stories that circulated for awhile about 2 years ago. I can tell you quite honestly right here and right now that Danny did not leave Pegazus at all but that he was fired from the band and that is the plain truth and reality of it all. And I don't wish him any ill feelings at all because that was the past and this is now and I hope he does well with his future musical journey wherever that may be?
The fact is that from day one, I have always been considered as the main songwriter in Pegazus but that was never the intention at all. It was just that the songs that I did write, everybody within the band really liked very much and that goes for Danny too. He was forever complimenting me on the songs that I was writing and he even went on to say that he was happy with me writing all the songs even though that was never my personal intention, so I really don't know where all this crap about not be allowed to write in the band comes from. If that is the case, then I will be very interested to see how much he actually writes and contributes in his next band. :o)
The great thing about our new album is that, yes there are different writers on it. Rob Thompson has written Dragon Slayer and Victim, and co-wrote some lyrics on The Patriot and Neon Angel with me, and our previous bass player Cory Betts also wrote Look To The Stars. So there’s been a lot more input from the other guys on this album than there was on any previous PEGAZUS albums. I had always tried to encourage this input from members in the past but it only happened very minimally. Rob Thompson in particular has a great sense of songwriting when it comes to Pegazus...even when we briefly wrote together on a couple of songs, it just seemed to click automatically and comfortably between us, like we are on a similar wave length or something? It was a strange but great feeling actually and will only further enhance the greatness of this band in future!
Prof.ManiC: Why do a picture for every song? And why go with Russell Bennett instead of the overworked (an I bet by now overpaid) Andreas Marshall?
Johnny Stoj:   The idea to create special artwork and particular characters for each song came about from myself and Russell discussing it in detail for a few months and we were only ever going to do it, if it was going to be done with a lot of effort on both our parts...We think the end results are pretty awesome as do most of the fans who already have the album too!
Andreas Marschall is a brilliant artist and he definitely painted some awesome album covers for us in the past but we did feel a need to venture outside of the circle for a moment, just to be slightly different I guess. We were contacted by Russell when the whole band line up shuffle took place and it also felt like a great idea to also give an unknown artist a shot at the title...hahaha :o)
Russell is from within Australia like us too, he's also a big fan of the band and it worked out so much easier to actually work together and correspond with one another over the few months that all the artwork was coming together.
He's definitely got some great and very cool ideas....and besides, original hand painted artwork is a pretty scarce traditional artform nowadays which has really been taken over by mostly airbrush work these days and we did really want to try something very different and special with this new album.
 
Prof.ManiC: How many more records do you have with Nuclear Blast? Do they actually do anything for you? With all the band dumping they have been doing so they can get old ass, past their prime bands, do you worry about being next?
Johnny Stoj:   We have one more album to go on our four album deal. We might not even get to complete that deal with NB the way things are going for us because we just don't much promotion or support like some of the other bands do. That can be pretty frustrating for any band, especially when you've spent many months writing and recording, totally working your ass off to create a great album for the fans, yourselves and the label and then not much else is done about it! Who knows what the future holds and there's no point in worrying about things like that because there's not too much harm in change. Most bands end up moving around from label to label anyway. It's become the nature of the business really and as long as we keep focused on writing and creating the best songs and albums that we can as PEGAZUS, that's all we plan to do no matter what path lays ahead of us...you have to remain optimistic, realistic and positive all at the same time, a bit like a schizo...this music biz could definitely make you a bit nutty and crazy...or maybe it already has...too late!...hahaha :o)
Prof.ManiC: Have you even started thinking about the next CD yet? If so what is the gossip on it?
Johnny Stoj:   We spend so much time and effort creating and writing an actual album that we are purely focused just on that new album alone without thinking too far ahead of ourselves. The thought of writing for another album doesn't really take place for us until we feel totally satisfied that we have done the best we could at that particular time with the current album that we've just released and spent all year long working on. Then there is usually a few months of the promotional interviews and things that have to be taken care of, even possibilities of touring, etc...
We do however have many cool and killer songs/ideas that were being created around the same time as this new album but we never got to finish them. Our songwriting process sort of starts and stops depending on what we are doing at a particular moment. It has only been very recently in the past month that the thoughts about the next PEGAZUS album have even come to mind. We probably won't get into any full on songwriting process for anything new until all avenues for this current album have been totally exhausted, so maybe we'll start working on new songs early next year in 2003 when we just might look at laying down some new demo's?
Prof.ManiC: Besides bands like your self and Dungeon, Eyefear and Ararion who else is carrying the heavy metal torch in Australia and New Zealand?? Who is your favorite?
Johnny Stoj:   There are definitely some cool bands out there and some others that I have heard of in the past year or so are Black Majesty which our bass player Hanny plays guitar in and then there is Atomizer who are a pretty cool 80's style thrash metal band, Gospel Of The Horns are a pretty brutal black metal band that have been around awhile and they all do what they do very well...all great bands and really great guys!
I don't actually get out much nowadays like I used to because I seem to be doing too many email interviews that take me hours to do, only because I am a pretty slow dumb ass typist...I think I might need a sexratary...hahaha :o)
Prof.ManiC: Besides the band what else do you and Robbie work on together? Do you guys keep it business like with band stuff or are you guys first and foremost brothers to the end?
Johnny Stoj:   It is a business and you do have to treat it that way as all bands do find out. Once you sign a record deal with a label and then with all the contracts and legal stuff and all, it can't be any other way after that!. Even so, Robbie and I are definitely brothers to the end because we started this band together from a vision we had many years ago, and as long as we are enjoying what we do as a band (and we do!),
I can't see much changing in the near future...you can definitely expect PEGAZUS to be around as they say in Thailand...long time! :o)
Prof.ManiC: When you first started Pegazus what important lessons about forming and having a band did you learn? Do they still hold true today or does being on a label change things? Or even make them harder?
Johnny Stoj: There were no important lessons to begin with really, only that we were always 100% commited to playing Heavy Metal and performing on stage from day one back in the early to mid 90's and that was whether we ever got signed to a record label or not...it really didn't matter to us because we honestly never thought about anything like that in the very beginning. We were just so pumped and excited to be playing live shows to the Melbourne audiences because true heavy metal seemed like a dying breed back then in 1993 and the audiences that came to see us seemed to really get a huge kick out of what we were doing because nobody else was really doing it anymore!
With getting signed a few years later, it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time I guess, and then once there really was a ressurgence and explosion of metal becoming big again, that was happening over in Europe which is on the other side of the world for us...so, we didn't have a clue about what was happening really, we just continued playing live shows, recording our own independant albums, doing our own thing and then bang, out of nowhere we are being offered a recording deal with Nuclear Blast Records. It has been a pretty exciting and interesting journey through the years for us...
so far anyway! Being on a great record label however, does help you get the exposure by getting your music out to the many metal fans all around the world and that's a whole lot better than just being a club band that only people in Australia might only know of like our earlier days, so yeah for sure,
I'd definitely have to say being on a label does make things a fair bit easier to a point.
Prof.ManiC: Do you think you have the same, more or less passion for metal and the band then when you started out? Why?
Johnny Stoj:

For PEGAZUS and the music I definitely have the same burning passion as when we first started but for the business side of things that start to creep in a few years later, that side of things really start to become a big pain in the ass and piss me off! Besides, there is just too much metal that has contaminated my blood system since being a teenager and there is no way that I would be happy playing anything less than true Heavy fucking METAL!!!
I'm positive that I was born to rock, so I expect to die that way too! :o)
Prof.ManiC: What web zines, fan zines or underground record labels do you get the most support from? Which metal sites do you have book marked?
Johnny Stoj: There are too many great metal sites and zines to mention...they all seem to do a really great job on supporting and promoting Heavy Metal worldwide, so that is good enough for me and the boys!
I don't get much of a chance to surf the net and check out as many sites as I'd like to nowadays, but I do make the effort to catch up on news and stuff from Metal-Rules.com, Metalmeltdown.com and probably the best and funniest website of all, Metal-Sludge.com...that is a real crack up and is always good for a read and giggle...it's definitely entertaining! Oh yeah, and also Pegazus.net...hehehe :o)
Prof.ManiC: Why Tweety??? Is it a babe magnet??
Johnny Stoj:

Tweety is a total legend and one cool little motherfucker! I get asked this question from time to time but there really isn't a special answer to it except that I have been a fan of Tweety ever since I could remember watching the Looney Tunes cartoons straight after school, probably when I was about 6 or 7 years old. He seemed to be my favourite character ever since then...so much so, that I ended up getting him tattooed on my arm about 15 years ago. He is holding an electric guitar and giving the bird (middle finger!) as well, so it's not so innocent really!
And is it a babe magnet...hahaha...I don't really think so... :o)
Prof.ManiC: Any final comments??
Johnny Stoj:

Anyway, the new 'Headless Horseman' album does really kick ass, so get yourself a copy if you haven't already and crank it up till your neighbours ears bleed...hahaha!!!
We hope that all the true metal fans and PEGAZUS WARRIORS out there are enjoying the pure metal that flows proudly and freely from the new album... We are really looking forward to coming over to play some wicked live metal shows soon and having a real wild time with our true friends and fans!
METAL FOREVER!!!