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Weapons of Anew Exclusive West Coast Interview

Updated: Jul 25

By Brett Hoag

Photography: Claudia Hoag

Fresh off their industry awakening, face-melting set at the Whisky A-G0-Go during the recent induction of Armored Saint into the Metal Hall of Fame, I had the opportunity to sit down (via Zoom) with three of the five members of Weapons of Anew and not only get to know them a bit but listen to their new single, Angel Has Fallen, with them (my review will follow this interview).

Allow me to introduce you to the band Weapons of Anew currently based in the Tampa area of the Sunshine State. They were founded back in 2015 by lead guitarist Freddy Ordine and bass player Reno in the New York/New Jersey region. While there they released two albums, 2017's The Collision of Love & Hate and the follow-up live EP, 2019 Tour Special Acoustic and Live Performances. After that life took hold of a few members and that line-up went their separate ways. Becoming fed up with the Covid lockdown and the resulting loss of freedoms in that part of the country and having been reduced to the founding duo, Freddy and Reno decided to pack up shop and head to Florida.

Things just kind of began to fall into place after that. Playing tag for a few years, vocalist Dunté Mason was finally able to make life work so he could move from the Dallas area of TX to FL in order to work with his long-time friend, Freddy. Now in need of a drummer as well as wanting to round out the band with a double axe assault, and not wanting a member of a former big-time band, turned their attention to the local music scene. It was there through a friend of a friend that they found the pounding, thunderous drumming of Julius Mendoza and second guitarist extraordinaire Nick Farahvashi. It's all about who you know! Now that we are current, on to the exclusive Left Coast interview with Tampa Heavy Metal favorites, Weapons of Anew.

First of all, thank you all for doing this with me, I really appreciate it.

Absolutely, Dude. We are happy to do it.

How did you get the gig at the Whisky for the Metal Hall of Fame induction of Armored Saint?

Our last show in California we played Anaheim with Metal Allegiance at NAMM 2020 and Pat Gesualdo asked us if we wanted to come back for that show. We were like, "Hell yeah!!"

Who was that guitarist that jumped on stage with y'all for a few tunes?

That was a very good friend of ours and a former guitar player, Kevin Hicklin. He was in Weapons of Anew for a few years before life brought him out here to L.A. and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to jam with him once again. It really made the night special for us.

What has been the reaction back home from your gig here at the Whisky?

It's been great. It's crazy, as big as Florida is, it's really kind of small. So there is like this cool little scene and then this scene of friends and everyone kind of knows everybody here. When we came home there was a cool little buzz happening. Yeah, and the Tampa scene is sort of like Florida too. Where Tampa is Tampa, but it kind of balloons out in a radius all around so everybody that has been following Julius and Nick over the years is already super-stoked that we are working with Freddy and Reno and doing stuff on this next level. With all the build-up beforehand and then in real-time while we were out there it just naturally kept building and building. Now that we are all back we can't walk into a room without everyone wanting to hear all about it.

How many gigs has the current line-up done?

We have not done a whole lot of live shows yet. We are really just getting that taste. There is a lot of experience in the individuals within the band, just not playing together all on the same page. It's still kind of new to us.

How is everyone getting along?

We are jammin' in the room and pushing each other's buttons and finding out what irks these guys, what is going to work together, and how we make it work. You know we find that common ground and that is part of the growing process and that is how you get tight. We are always together. It's been so [much] fun. We just push each other to be the best version of ourselves.

It sounds like you guys are feeding off of each other and you are definitely feeding off of this energy you brought back from California. I bet you can't wait to hit the stage again. When and where is your next gig?

Next Friday actually, July 28th we are playing right here in Holiday, FL. a place called Brennan's which is right across from our practice space. The last time we played we just pushed the drum riser down the street with the drum set still intact!

Right on. Let's move on to the new single, Angel Has Fallen. I assume this is a precursor to the release of a new album?

That's just the thing. The whole record is done, [with] eleven songs on it. However, the way the world is now, it just doesn't make sense to throw the whole record out in one shot. We are going to release it single by single. Pretty much every 6-8 weeks there is a new single. We are going to treat each single like a record. Each one will have new merchandise, new video, and new branding all around this [one song]. This is the beginning of a whole storyline we put together. Wait until you see the last video that is coming out in October, you're not even ready! After we drop all the singles, then we will drop the entire album.

Tell me more about this storyline.

It's like a horror movie on steroids. It's freakin' awesome and the way the whole thing fills together, I don't want to give it away. But, it's freakin' sick. When it comes out it will be a Triligoy linking all three videos together into a short film.

What is your songwriting process?

It's a freakin' mental case, dude. LOL I really don't know how or why they come to me. It's just stuff I've been through, that we've been through. That opening riff of Angel? That was a day I didn't want to be in the city, so I was being a wise ass, I play a 7-string so I hit the A, the E, and the B. And I was like dun, dun dun, dun, dun, dun and then it just started to go from there. Lyrics come from everywhere. Stuff rattling in my head at 4 AM, something I went through 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or 10 minutes ago. I never know what it's going to be until it's done.

So, Julius let me ask you this question. When your guitarist comes in with a riff how do you write the percussion part?

It depends on how it is presented to me. Sometimes, if a full song has been written a lot of times they will put some programmed drums behind it to give me kind of an idea of how they would like it to sound. Or, in the case of rehearsal, they just start playing a riff and we will just play it and play it and play it, just loop that riff for hours and hours and the first beat you come up with might not do it. Then as you go on and play it over and over you do one little hi-hat or you did some kind of double bass or something and everybody goes, "Hey! Do that again in the same spot every single time." Also, at times, they can't figure out how to get it [the song] to the next riff, so I'll figure out a fill or a change in tempo. From repetition, you then lock into it and your foot is keeping up with the bass line and your hands are following the guitar.

Here is my standard drummer question, Sir. Krupa or Rich?

I would have to go with Buddy Rich. But, I am after those guys, so I am more about John Bonham. We actually got completely out of our brains drunk with Buddy's grandson once at a club called Arcadia in Chicago. This little crazy guy is just acting up and I'm like who the eff is that guy? One of the club promoters is like, "Dude, that's Buddy Rich's grandson." That guy is nuts and crazy good! I mean, he is out of his mind crazy, but that dude is a badass drummer.

Reno? You came with Freddy down to Florida. What do you think of Florida?

Ah, it's warm. I haven't seen a snowflake or a snow shovel in two years. It's great! It's tremendous.

Do you still have an ice scrapper in your car?

You know dude, it's funny because I cleaned out my truck a year ago when purchasing a new car and I still did have one in the back. I was going to hang onto it for sentimental reasons, have it framed and hung on the wall, but I just threw it out.

How long have you been playing bass and what made you pick the bass? I mean, it doesn't seem to get a lot of love.

I've been playing for 29 years. I picked the bass by accident LOL I wanted a guitar, but my parents couldn't afford one and my dad had this old bass laying around, so he gave that to me and I was like, "OK, I guess I'll play this instead."

Who are your Heroes?

Jesus. And ya know, I was a big Cliff [Burton] guy growing up, just like everyone else my age. Then there is Les [Claypool], Jaco [Pastorius], and Stanley Clarke. I was also a big Ron Carter fan growing up and thank God he is still around and touring. He is almost 80 years old now and he is still out there doing his thing. It's amazing.

How are you jelling with your new drummer?

He's good, but I ran out of pics during rehearsals. I mean, you can't jump over the drums every time he messes up and say, "Play it this way", so I threw my pics at him. No really, Julius is freakin' great man. It's a lot of work, but we put in a lot of time. A lot of blood, sweat and tears as they say and it is paying off.

I see you have your own studio space. How many hours per day are you jammin'?

It really varies with life and all, but about 2 days a week, so say 10-12 hours per week.

Where are your vocalist Dunté and other guitarist Nick today?

Dunté is recovering from a rock star kind of night last night and Nick should be pulling into work about now.

You mentioned you have one gig coming up at Brennan's on the 28th of this month. Anything lined up after that? Where can the public catch you live?

Our management is working on that right now, so check our social frequently for upcoming gigs! We want to come back to L.A. for sure.

That's a wrap then, guys. Thank you very much for your time and candid answers today.

Thank you!




Listen to the new single here:

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