Shredding The Envelope (Dave Reffett)
SpazioRock was definitely blown away by this amazing project, Shredding The Envelope, and its album "The Call Of The Flames". So, there you have a pleasant interview with Dave Reffett, the guitarist and mastermind of the band. Enjoy the interview!
Article by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 06/10/10
Hi Dave, first of all congratulations for such a great release. "The Call Of The Flames" is really impressive! This confirms me that true heavy metal never dies. Do you agree?

Thank you so much and yes, I do agree. Like that new Ronnie James Dio song that he did with the Rods says: "metal will never die".

You came from Boston and we are into the "MTV era". How is the heavy metal music going in your country? Are metalheads still alive? 

I live in Boston now, but I'm originally from Kentucky and even down there, where it is country music heaven, metal is still alive and well. Yes, there are definitely metalheads still around all over the U.S.A. It's a beautiful thing. I love metal because it's like that movie Fight Club where we are like this secret society, so to speak that is ultra prevalent. We rule the night and the underground. When every other musical trend fades, metal will still be here. It is stronger than all because of the passion and loyalty of the fans.

Well, how did you get in touch with all the great artists who play on your release? Which one impressed you in particular?

I met Michael Angelo at one of his guitar clinics, which was great, and surprisingly he wanted to do it, which I was thrilled about. Then, for the rest of them I sent out emails to their sites and MySpace and they all dug the music and wanted to do it. It's a dream come true and an amazing record that came from it. They should be proud of their playing on it, they all did an amazing job. I don't like one performance better than another, really they were all impeccable and really really cool for different reasons. Having my friend Joe Stump play on it was great. If you haven't already check out his music ... He is phenomenal. I studied with him at Berklee where he teaches. He has had so many big name students like Gus G., for instance. He's definitely worth checking out.

Shredding The Envelope seems to wink at all the guitar fans: is this release dedicated to them or simply to all heavy & thrash metal listeners?

I would say that this album is my love letter to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal and what it has done for me and given to me in my life. It's an amazing record and it gets me pumped every time I hear it.

It is mixed and mastered very well: if Metallica "Death Magnetic" had a production like this... would you like to talk about that?

I am one of the minority's out there, I guess that thought; "Death Magnetic" sounded pretty damn cool. My favourite Metallica record is "And Justice For All" so, for me, I love that they went back to that kind of style. The guy that mastered my record is George Marino, who did pretty much all of their albums including tons of stuff by AC/DC, Kiss, Ozzy, Guns N Roses, so for me he is the man. Had they used him on "Death Magnetic" perhaps it would have been even better because George Marino is the best in the business. Metallica had that record mastered at the same facility as my record, just with a different engineer. But like I said I love that album. I heard that Rick Rubin had the mixes frozen so the engineer in his defense didn't have a lot of wiggle room to move with it. Sonically, that album definitely has that over compressed sound but some people love that you know, so it's apples and oranges really. For me personally it's a cool record, but just pushed way too much to the max sonically. But that doesn't take away from the songs at all for me on that one. But take an old record like Dio "Holy Diver" for instance, which George Marino mastered. In terms of volume it's not as loud right out of the gate as most new records are today, so you have to turn it up, but when you do it sounds fucking great. It has room to breath and you can really take in all the dynamics and stuff. Which is what I think people responded poorly to about "Death Magnetic", because the clean parts would are soft then some of heavy jam out parts can almost make your ears bleed.

intervista_shreddingtheenvelope_03Apart from the production, how did you manage the song writing? It is simply... stunning! Is there someone that helped you?

Thanks so much; my fiancée and me did all the songs. I wrote all the music and she wrote half of the lyrics and I did the rest. I'm very proud of it. The album turned out brilliantly.

Well, in my opinion the best thing is how you chose the sound: the cruelty of the eighties and a little bit of modern sounds. What do you think about that?

Yeah I agree. It has got some old school thrash style heaviness with the punch, fierceness and flow of great hard rock music. But it also has modernity to it as well, with the great production and over the top guitar playing in there.

What about your influences, Dave? From Black Sabbath to Ozzy Osbourne solos (heavy metal), from Pantera to Metallica (thrash metal)... and then? Something else?

I love so many kinds of music. I enjoy a lot of stuff that I listen to just for fun that has nothing to do with metal or playing. Like being from the south I grew up on country and southern rock so I love artists like David Allan Coe, Hank Williams Jr, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more. A lot of these new metal bands that couldn't write a song, if their life depended on it, could learn a lot from those guys about how to tell and story and create a vibe, capture a mood. Also, I studied at Berklee so some of those other styles rubbed off on me and I enjoy a lot of it. I also always loved the blues. You've got to love that stuff, B.B King, Stevie Ray etc .... Also, some of the jazz stuff that I got into at Berklee is still very cool to me, but I much prefer classical music, which I have always loved. Gustav Mahler is brilliant and then all the obvious guys are insane like Mozart and stuff. Check out Shostakovich he was brilliant, his music has this really cool creepy scary sound to it that is great. He was the Metallica of his day.

Well, now I suppose, you are ready to sign a contract with a major label in metal, aren't you?

I'd sign if the terms were right. I got close with a few labels but it didn't work out. It feels right in this day to be on your own. You own everything and have to answer to no one. But if the offer looked good and it was with people that I trusted that, I thought, could keep the integrity of the music in check, then I'd be happy to get into business with someone.

Is Shredding The Envelope also a live project or only a studio project?

I've been doing guitar clinics and stuff and hopefully at some point I'll tour on it. I need to find the right people. Finding musicians that are great is very tough. If any of your readers want to send me some stuff of them playing one of my songs on the album, I'll definitely listen to it. I'm sure there are some diamonds in the rough out there. There are more albums and projects coming soon. The next record is pretty much all written and I will most likely begin recording it very soon. I also will have a new Instructional Guitar DVD out soon at some point, check my site as more details will be coming on how to order it. Also, I am taking guitar and bass students to study with me online via Skype. All people need is a webcam and Skype, which is free. People can message me on Facebook,, or to set up a lesson. I can take students from anywhere in the world which is great. God bless technology.

Well, time's up Dave: do you have a message for all the Italian fans of thrash metal? Can you leave a message for the SpazioRock users?

Thanks so much to all of you guys out there for the support, you rule. Keep metal and rock ‘n' roll alive and well, follow your dreams and I hope to put out a ton of new records for you guys to enjoy. And I cannot wait to play for the fans in person and get to know your insanely gorgeous country. Rock on!

Destrage: Paolo Colavolpe

Il Rock compie 65 anni: come tutto ebbe inizio

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Extrema: Tommy Massara