Originally published in Guitar World, March 2010
Former Death and Iced Earth drummer Richard Christy return to the kingdom of steel with his new band, Charred Walls of the Damned.
To many, Richard Christy is known primarily for the prank phone calls and on-air gags he pulls as a staffer on Sirius XM’s Howard Stern Show, where, in Christy’s own words, he is often regarded as “the idiot.” Metal fans, however, have long held a different view of Christy, extolling his aggressive and powerful drumming for such seminal acts as Death, Control Denied and Iced Earth.
Now, the 35-year-old Christy is returning to his metal roots with a new project, the excellently named Charred Walls of the Damned. An extreme-metal supergroup of sorts, the band is rounded out by producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, All That Remains) on guitar, bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, ex-Death) and former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, with a sound that reflects Christy’s love of all eras of heavy music.
“I’m a fan of every kind of metal, and I put it all in there,” Christy says. “I mean, I don’t see anything wrong with having a blast beat in, say, a power metal song. If I like it, I did it.”
Adds Jason Suecof, “To me the album sounds like the soundtrack to Richard’s brain, which would be Amon Amarth mixed with King Diamond, Coheed and Cambria, and John Carpenter.”
Christy, who wrote all the music and lyrics for the band’s self-titled Metal Blade debut, also played all the instruments on the band’s initial demos. He then had his bandmates reinterpret his parts for the album. “With Jason, I just told him to take my riffs and make them his own,” Christy says. “In general, it was exciting to have these amazing musicians performing my stuff.”
Listeners of the Howard Stern Show have already had the opportunity to sample Charred Walls of the Damned, as Stern recently played a clip of the album’s first single, “Ghost Town,” on the air. In typical fashion, the shock jock had a few words of criticism for his staffer. “He said he liked it,” Christy says, “but he also complained that the drums were too loud.”
Which is to be expected. “I knew Howard would find something to bust my balls about,” Christy says. “He always does. But as far as complaints go, that one wasn’t so bad.”