Wednesday, July 15, 2015


by MMB
Zandelle, from New York City, is a traditional heavy metal band formed in 1996 and recorded its debut EP “Zandelle” that same year, according to Metal Archives. Zandelle now has some seven studio recordings, the latest of which is the 2015 album called “Perseverance,” the new album that comes out on July 24th. In view of the band’s new album, here is a little discussion with Zandelle’s singer George Tsalikis, who also was the singer for heavy metallers Gothic Knights from 1990 to 1994.
Currently, according to Zandelle’s Facebook page, these are the members Zandelle.
George Tsalikis (vocals)
Joe "Jofu" Cardillo (drums/backing vocals)
James Corallo (bass)
TW Durfy (guitars/backing vocals)
Josh Tuckman (keyboards/backing vocals)
QUESTION: Hello, Zandelle! Your new album sounds great! How is life in New York City for you all? Does everyone in the band live in NYC?
Thank you for reaching out to us and for the kind words regarding the new album. We’re glad you like it. Life in NY is pretty hectic as usual. Yes, we all live in the NYC area but in different parts. I (George) live in Brooklyn. Jofu lives in Staten Island. James lives on Long Island. Josh lives in Manhattan and TW lives in Westchester.
QUESTION: The world thinks of NYC as this awesome place in general, but what is it like for a traditional metal band? The vast majority of bands from NYC that get media coverage are hardcore or brutal metal or hipster/fashion gimmicky, weirdo stuff.
NYC is indeed an awesome place in general. If you play traditional metal however, it’s not so awesome. As you’ve stated the genre of music that gets the most publicity in the NYC area is not at all what we play. In fact, most people do not even know that bands such as us even exist or what we sound like. On average, if I mention to someone (who is not a metalhead) that I sing in a metal band, they automatically assume some sort of brutal metal with harsh vocals that one cannot even understand or discern. Then I’ll play them a sample and their response is usually that of complete shock, followed by comments such as “This is actually really good.”
QUESTION: Zandelle’s debut EP came out in 1996. What was the situation in NYC at the time for traditional metal and for Zandelle? There was much trendy death metal back then and you came out in 1996 with your heavy metal! What do you remember from that time?
That time was actually the worst. During the 80s metal was very dominant. Of course, like anything else, once the industry realized there is money to be made, people in suits who know nothing about music ruined it by over-saturating the market with carbon copies of those bands that hit it big during that time, which created a backlash.
So in the early 90s a new form of rock music dominated the scene: grunge. So the 80s metal bands were quickly replaced by bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. But an interesting thing happened. It wasn’t just that people migrated to a new genre of rock. The attitude became very hostile toward traditional metal. It suddenly became very “un-cool”to play or listen to metal. Radio stations stopped playing metal bands. Venues stopped booking metal bands and the scene went crap.
For me personally, that was the time when I discovered the European power metal bands such as Stratovarius, HammerFall, Blind Guardian and Rhapsody. We kept playing throughout the 90s, but we were considered the “old” band because of the fact that we continued to play metal (the music from the previous decade) when so many other bands were playing what was more “timely and hip.”
QUESTION: Zandelle seemed to have continuous activity, but after 2009, band activity seemed to slow down. What had been happening the last several years?
In 2009 we had our first European tour with Grail Knights. It was a fantastic experience, except for the fact that we realized that our two guitarists at the time were not cut out to be in the band and upon returning from tour, we parted ways with them. It was at that time that Jofu, James and myself decided to continue working on the album “Shadows of the Past” which featured re-recordings of songs we had released independently, prior to our first record deal. We recorded all the guitar parts ourselves for that album and got it released in 2011. But without any guitarists to play live with it seemed that Zandelle was facing its final days.
Shortly thereafter, we did a reunion show with a bunch of our old members, including Anthony Maglio and TW Durfy. The chemistry on stage was undeniable and so they rejoined the band and we began writing new material. During that process however, it became apparent that Anthony would not work out with the band and he was let go. We then had to find a replacement. TW then suggested we try keyboardist Josh Tuckman. Being the open-minded individuals that we are, we agreed to try him out and he very much impressed us with his talents and ability to add a new enhanced sound to the music. We instantly took him in and continued the writing process while also taking time to teach him some of the older material for live songs. Keep in mind, all this happened over the course of a few months. So once we completed the writing, it was time to start recording. The problem here is that when the band is not the primary source of income (or in our case not a source of income at all ha ha!!) jobs take precedence and band work sometimes takes a back seat to earning a living so that can significantly slow down progress.
QUESTION: Now you’re back! Did it take a long time to have stable lineup again?
As with any relationship, there are always issues and problems that need to be dealt with. The biggest problem we have always faced as a band is scheduling. The older we get, the more responsibilities we have and therefore making time for a band becomes more and more challenging for some of us. So we do what we can. Those of us who have more time to dedicate to our musical pursuits join or start other projects in the meantime. But in answer to your first question, it certainly did take a long time to have a stable lineup. We have had so many different guitarists in the band that they can probably form two different Zandelle tribute bands.
QUESTION: On the topic of the new album, Zandelle now has a keyboard player. Did you feel the need to add keyboards for more epic songs and elegance?
Adding a keyboardist wasn’t so much of a conscious preconceived decision. Instead it was more of an opportunity that we decided to try out and found to work out very well for the music. We have recorded keyboards on all of our previous albums, only then it was more as a backup instrument rather than a lead one. Josh however is an unbelievably talented keyboardist and being that he replaced a guitarist, there was no doubt that he should featured as a lead musician. The final version of the songs sound far beyond what we had imagined and that is the beauty of what we do being that everyone in the band contributes to the production of the album. Every member adds their own influence and element to each song so that the end result far surpasses our expectations. I do in fact feel that the songs sound a lot more epic with Josh’s influence.
END of part 1. Part 2 is coming. (I need to finish editing the second part of the interview!)
Here is a new song!
Here's an older song from Zandelle.
Flames of Rage by Zandelle

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