From the bowels of the east coast underground metal scene comes another new band to help defend the metal legacy. Although the band is new, the members of it have been fighting the good fight since the golden age of metal, the eighties. Vocalist Bob Mitchell lead the attack against the non believers back then and plans to do so once again with Vyndykator and fellow band mates Steve Ratchen, Rob Oriani and Bill Pena. As Vyndykator prepares to release their first CD and get ready to help lead the attack once again, I had the chance to show them what a moron I really can be with my annoying questions and personality. Below lies the proof!
Prof.ManiC: Well I guess I'll start with part I'm still confused about...How did Attacker fade away and Vyndykator get started and then Attacker resurfaced?
Rob Oriani: Back in the Spring of 2000 Bob decided to reform Attacker. The original members declined but gave Bob their approval to proceed with any plans he may have had. Bob recruited an entirely new assortment of players, myself included. After months of hard work we performed at Powermad 2000. We were greeted warmly and were praised for our peformance. Shortly thereafter three remaining members of the original Attacker decided that they wanted to revive the name and the band and did so. Rather than involve ourselves in a senseless battle, we decided to let them use the name and continue on our own path. By doing so we freed ourselves from musical formula we may have been expected to follow. The populace would have expected our new music to sound "Attacker-like" thereby inhibiting our creative flow. We now have a new name and a new direction.
Prof.ManiC: How did you end up being on Jack Frost's Solo cd? How long have you known him? What do you think of him as a person and a guitarist?
Bob Mitchell: When he asked me I was very much blown away. Especially after being told who the other participants were going to be. Being on Jack's album is definately a career highlight for me personally and professionally. Jack is one of the most personable and approachable people I've ever known. He was always very outgoing and positive. I know Jack personally for about ten years more or less. I remember him coming out to see my old bands. Now we're gonna finally work together. I'm highly flattered that he asked. He earned his status in our business, no question about it.
Steve Ratchen: We've all known Jack for many years, oddly enough I played with him briefly on a few projects back in the late 1980's He seems to have done quite well for himself professionally, which is nice to see because he was always a good guy
Rob Oriani: I have known Jack personally for well over fifteen years. When I informed him that I was involved with Bob and the first reincarnation of Attacker he was quite pleased and very happy for me. I think that the circle of musicians that we are involved with and know as friends help each other and never forget one another (talent also has something to do with it). This, I feel is what led Jack to ask Bob to perform on his cd.
Bill Pena: I've known Jack for about 15 years. We used to work a day job together. I think he's a very good person and a rare gem in the music business as far as sincerity and loyalty
Prof.ManiC: Personally, what do you think of Jack's other projects and the singers he has worked with? Frostbite? Seven Witches? Metallium? Bronx Casket Company? Speeed? Savatage?
Steve Ratchen: Quite honestly, I'm not particularly familiar with any of the aforementioned bands/singers other than Savatage, but I think the volume of work bears testament to his abilities as a player/producer and I've heard nothing but good things about all involved
Rob Oriani: Jack has always managed to find quality people to work with and that is reflected in his work. I congratulate him on joining Savatage and hope to see him again soon.
Bob Mitchell: I'm basically a big fan of all those bands and it's equally great to know that Jack is a part of all that. I remember when he started playing guitar. He's come a long way. We're very proud of him and, again, it's going to be an honor for me to be part of his solo album.
Bill Pena: For me personally it's not my style of music but I've seen Jack throughout the years in various incarnations. One thing you can count on is his enthusiasm as a performer and his desire to entertain.
Prof.ManiC: Besides Vyndykator and the Jack Frost solo cd what other projects do you have that your working on in the metal scene?
Bob Mitchell: Well since the formation of Vyndykator, I joined Alchemy X. They're a great Prog-Metal band and already have an album out called "A Delicate Balance". I heard the album at a friends house and I thought it was really awesome! Then one day I got the call from Steve so needless to say I said yes. Currently I'm working with them on their next album called "11:59:59". The sessions are coming along quite well as we're alternating schedules with out respective bands. Hell I'm having the time of my life right now!
Steve Ratchen: As you may or may not be aware, I originally got in touch with Bob to sing for my "other" band, Alchemy X, and he subsequently asked me to join Vyn. Much to my surprise, Rob and Bill were on board as guitarists. I say surprise because the three of us went to school together and i hadn't seen either of them for the better part of twenty years! In any event, to answer the original question, Alchemy X will be releasing our follow up to "A Delicate Balance" with our new album "11:59:59", with Bob on lead vocals. If all goes according to schedule, both the Vyn and AX new records will be out within a month or two of each other this spring/summer!
Prof.ManiC: How would you define the Vyndykator sound? How does it compare to Attacker and Sleepy Hollow? Does it have a old school feel or is it modern metal?
Steve Ratchen: At the risk of being pedantic, Vyn has elements of old-school power metal, prog, doom, neo-classical and speed all evident in our playing and writing. As a contemporary of the bands you mentioned, there's absolutely no comparison. Attacker was very much an 80's power-metal band and Sleepy Hollow the definitive underground Sabbath-esque doom band of the late 80's/early 90's. When you hear the material on this first Vyn record, you'd be hard pressed to find any two pieces that sound alike or fit into the same genre other than they are all Metal songs and really showcase both Bobs immense vocal ability and versatility as well as the bands technical proficiency and songwriting prowess
Bill Pena: Very heavy but not muddled like a death band. There's a definite old school feel and sound but with very modern influences. We're not recreating the wheel: we're riding several non-matched wheels. Lemme explain Lucky, my songwriting is influenced by many non-metal bands because if I copied Anvil and Girlschool riffs, it would sound very apparent and dated. So I keep the metal edge but try to infuse styles that are not typical metal sources as well as more edge metal bands then wrap it all back together within our style.
Bob Mitchell: The Vyndykator sound is quite simply, Heavy!. I think it's a combination of the styles that I have become accustomed to over the years meaning both of my former bands. It's definately a heavier direction. I still sing the same as I did all those years ago so that really hasn't changed except that my voice has matured somewhat through the years. As Steve and Bill just said, there are allot of elements that make the Vyndykator sound. I feel that fans of all styles of Metal will be most pleased when they hear our music. We have a saying in our band, it's not TRUE Metal it's just the cold hard fact! There is only, in my view, only ONE true style of Metal and that's Heavy. End of story.
Prof.ManiC: With Vyndykator what goals and expectations do you have for yourself and the band?

Bill Pena: To try and take over the world. Get a good following on the first release then for the second album to sell 50,000 units in a year and a decent sized tour. As for myself, I wish to become a better musician and songwriter.
Steve Ratchen: We want to honor our obligation with this two-album deal and put forth the very best material possible. From a live perspective, we want to make sure we give anyone who comes out to see us their moneys worth and more, which is somewhat daunting considering the kind of hype the band has to live up to! In all humility I can tell you we are more than up that task!
Bob Mitchell: For me my dream has always been to come out to Europe. They have always been very supportive and die hard as far as their Metal is concerned. The way things are going now, it will soon become a reality. We have an excellent personal and business relationship with King. As Steve said, we are going to fulfill our obligation to Kings label for these two albums and, perhaps continue working with him for any albums thereafter. The path we chose for this band is no doubt the best road we could have taken. The album is coming along just fine and we're already tossing ideas aroung for the next album. Eventually I want to leave the business someday with a body of work fans can enjoy for years to come. It all began for me in the eighties and it has brought me to this day. I think that my work with Vyndykator, Alchemy X and Jack's solo album will solidify my career and there'll be nothing left for me to prove. I'm also happy to know that it's going to be with guys I'm with. It's gonna be a hell of a swan song brother!
Prof.ManiC: How many songs does Vyndykator have? And what ones made it on the debut? Care to give a hint to the direction the music and lyrics go?
Steve Ratchen: There will be seven songs on "Heaven sent from Hell", with differing themes, formats and length. The song "Tapping the Vain" (play on words)was something I wrote in '94 that i reworked musically, and Bob and i made slight alterations to the original lyrics. I've always been intrigued with vampyre-themed lyrics("Requiem by Moonlight on AX's "A Delicate Balance") with "Tapping" it's more a visceral usage of the medium though. For anyone who knows Bob, he's a huge Lugosi fan and the song "Mr. Murder" is an homage to the character Murder Legendre in the 1930's horror classic "White Zombie" Of course for anyone who's paying attention, "Flight of the Wombat" is just a bit of self-depricating humor on our part! We have an excess of material that will take us to our second release and beyond. Just to give you a little taste, I have a 26-minute epic that will either appear on our 2nd album or as a stand-alone EP in the not too distant future!
Bill Pena: That's right, seven songs with many more in the works. We lost alot of time due to switching drummers just as we were ready to break out. Lyrics are Bob's job. When I used to write lyrics, I was very social and political - think Jello Biafra but not as in your face. I'm not a prolific lyricist but I like to blend punk & social consciousness with poetic flow like Perry Farrell. Can't say I succeed. Musically I'm trying to combine what I like to listen to. Basically I wish to be the band that I wish other bands were. No band hits the mark 100%, so I perform a eclectic frankenstein mish-mosh. I like different styles and the other band members keep me in check coz I tend to be all over the place with no direction.
Bob Mitchell: I may be exaggerating but I think between the five of us, we have about four or five albums worth of solid material. Wanna know what out songs are about? Steve just gave you a small hint but I think maybe you should wait 'til it's out. Everyone interprets songs in their own way so just wait and see and you tell us what you think.
Prof.ManiC: How did you meet King Fowley? What do you think of his projects October 31 and Deceased? Do you like October 31 better with King singing or Tony Taylor?
Rob Oriani: We first met King at the Powermad 2000 show. We hit things off right away. A few months later we played a show in New Jersey and had October 31 on the bill. During this time period King took a liking to us and recognized our potential. He then felt confident to offer us the recording contract we now have.
Bob Mitchell: We immediately became friends as Rob said. It turned out to be the best thing to happen for us. He's honest and that's a rare animal in this business. Prior to signing with him as Vyndykator, I had done business with him in regards to a re-release of the Sleepy Hollow EP back in 2000. Ironically, the EP came out the day we had performed the very show Rob had just alluded to. The deal was more than fair and we did some good business with it. It was a limited edition Vinyl EP and it sold rather quickly. His label at that time was OLD METAl RECORDS and it turned out to be Old Metal's last release. He, as we all know now, has changed the name to Battle Zone. So when he offered a contract to Vyndykator under the new label name, the natural response was yes only becasue of my previous business collaboration with him. It's great to work with someone who's behind you one-hundred and ten per-cent. As for King's bands? I'm a big fan of both. I haven't heard them with Tony yet but I heard some great things about him. We'll be performing with O31 allot this year. So we'll get to hear Tony. Looking foward to it!
Prof.ManiC: With you and Attacker being on Metal Blade and King's October 31 also on there, were they interested in Vyndykator? Was anyone else?
Bob Mitchell: My association with Metal Blade was back in the mid nineteen-eighties. Now were they interested in Vyndykator? We never sent them anything so I can't see how they would be. I will say that before we signed with King we had some nice offers from some pretty good labels. But I think the course we took is the best one. Vyndykator is a new band, my fear was to get lost in the shuffle amongst the bigger bands. Ultimately, the reinvention of myself along with my bandmates would have been done in vain. It wouldn't matter how good out music is. These things happen to allot of bands and I wasn't going to let it happen to my guys. So signing with King is the best decision to make both career-wise and from a personal standpoint. We have total fredom and we work closely with King which is something that we wouldn't get to do on a bigger label. Because of our decision we have become quite visible to say the least. Case in point, we're performing the Classic Metal Fest in Cleveland, Ohio this year and I'm going to be a guest vocalist on Jack's album. Long term? Good move!!
Rob Oriani: We decided to go with King's offer from the beginning because as far as Vyndykator is concerned, the deal is very fair and offers us flexibility. If another label wants to pick us up at a later time we'll have to see what is offered to us.
Prof.ManiC: Why pick King's Battle Zone records?
Bob Mitchell: Because, quite simply, we trust him. King himself would tell you that he expects allot of great things from us, for the label and we in turn feel the same way. He has contacts with distributors the world over. He has a great relationship with just about all of them from a business and personal standpoint. Again, I am starting my career over and this is, no doubt, a fresh new beggining. I am very comfortable with the deal as is the rest of the band.
Rob Oriani: As I has mentioned previously King's offer was good for us so we decided to accept his offer. I also feel that Vyndykator will prove to be a successful first signing for King, hopefully allowing other bands to be awarded the same opportunity we were given.
Prof.ManiC: When is the Vyndykator cd expected to come out?
Rob Oriani: The anticipated release date is the first week of June, 2002. We will preceed the release with a few local shows leading up to our performance at Classic Metal Fest on July 13, 2002.
Prof.ManiC: Will there be any touring in the states or overseas in support of it?
Rob Oriani: We will be performing primarily along the Eastern Coast of the U.S. and perhaps a few festivals overseas. At this point our focus is finishing the album's production. We may have a few surprises tucked under our sleeves.
Bill Pena: I sure hope so. Especially Madagascar.
Bob Mitchell: For this album, we'll only be performing some limited club engagements and some festivals. We are negotiating with other bands for package shows in several East Coast states and maybe Canada. For the next album, I think we'll be at a higher level to a point where we'll be able to negotiate better deals with the ultimate goal for us to perform in Europe. But right now it's crawling before walking, capice?
Prof.ManiC: What are some of your biggest influences on your day to day life and musical life? (people, music, books, movies..etc
Steve Ratchen: Muscially I would have to include Rush, Marillion, the Beatles, Slayer, Concrete Blonde, Kansas, Bach, ELP, Iron Maiden, Prokofiev and certainly my friends and bandmates in both Vyndykator and Alchemy X! From a non-musical perspective, I admire anyone who champions individualism and favors intellect, tolerance and equality in all facets of life. I've always greatly admired PD James, Anne Rice, David Mamet, Orson Welles, and far too many more actors/writers/directors/philosophers to adequately remember!
Rob Oriani: My family and close friends make my life complete. Without them I would be a lost soul. Classic cartoons and old moveis help to pass the time. As far as music is concerned. if it were not for the existence of JUDAS PRIEST I doubt that I would be interested in heavy music. Thanks JP!
Bob Mitchell: In my day to day life I have a circle of friends outside of the music business to which I spend a great deal of time with especially around the holidays. They keep me quite grounded as a person and for that it has transcended very well in my professional career. My family life is everything to me, my wife, three boys along with the rest of my family spend allot of time together. Sunday's are big, in my house especially. They inspire me continuously to remain true to myself and others. My wife is a volunteer worker for the Red Cross and we attend any social functions that are relative to that organization. I contribute my time, when I can, to fund raising activities for the Muscular Distrophy Association. Musically? Ian Gillan, for sure. He is the greatest Rock/Metal vocalist ever. I'm also a huge fan of Priest, Saxon, Savatage, man to many to name pallie. I'm like this historian of sorts when it comes to Metal. From the early incarnations of Creem and Blue Cheer to the present day Masters like Exciter and Iced Earth. I love it all and I love it loud. By contrast, however, especially growing up as a kid, my heroes were Dean Martin, Jerry Vale and Frank Sinatra. Matter of fact they still are I'm proud to say. We listen to them at home when we have friends and family over. I tend to read allot as well, my favorite authors are Mario Puzo, JRR Tolkein, Edgar Allen Poe and Nicholas Pileggi. I read allot of biographies especially about Bela Lugosi, Charlie Chaplin, Jerry Lewis and Mob books about John Gotti or anything relative to the underworld. I think it's fascinating.
Bill Pena:

People: I guess my father influenced my independent thinking as well as my 8th grade teacher who was a 60's semi-radical. The bad side of that was it made me very pessimistic in life coz they made me realize most people are idiots. Musically, just about anybody who wrote a song that captured my imagination. My transition into heavy metal started in the 3rd grade when I discovered Aerosmith and then in the 8th when I discovered Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Unleashed in the East practically changed my life. Books: I'm practically illiterate by choice, I do not read fiction. All I really read are my old Calvin & Hobbes books - I worship Bill Watterson, and accounts of serial killers. Movies: Exorcist and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Those are the two hemispheres of my brain.
Prof.ManiC: When your feeling depressed what do you do to try to get your mind off of it? What gives you sanity in insane times?
Steve Ratchen: Music, like sex, cinema, or any endeavor really is simply a defense mechanism that we all employ against the uncomfortable reality that we all will die some day. Given that none of us knows what that entails, we create things outside of ourselves, like records for instance, that, will ensure a legacy of sorts, something that is in itself more tangible or lasting than perhaps those who create it. I don't know that much has changed within the human condition, other than the fact that the fragility of our existence has been recently brought into sharper focus than usual.
Rob Oriani: Drink Plenty of GUINESS!
Bill Pena: Sleep and food.
Bob Mitchell: I watch classic comedies, classic horror movies, mob pictures, concert dvd's, wrestling pay-per-views, The Soprano's and any movie with Pam Grier. Again, time with family is important to me as well. When I unwind from a long day, I like to throw down some red wine or Sam Adams and I listen to Italian music, like I said before. Yeah that gives me sanity for sure. I'm hardly ever depressed unless the phone bill is way to high (ha,ha). Hey with three boys and a wife who really has time for that. Life is great!
Prof.ManiC: Any final comments?
Steve Ratchen: Thanks for giving us this opportunity to voice our opinions and introduce the band to a hopefully widening audience!
Bob Mitchell:

Thanks for having us Doctor. We look forward to our next outing brother! I want to say Hi to our fans and say thanks for the continued support. Metal Forever!!