Recent events have thrown local heavy metal band Warmachine into an international controversy. After over nine years of hard work, they were on the verge of getting their foot in the door to the big time only to have it rudely slammed in their faces.
“We’ve been working so hard at this band for years,” said Joe Di Taranto, founder and lead singer of Warmachine. Along with guitarist John Salerno, bassist Alberto Campuzano, and drummer Adam Raymer, he has played bars, clubs, and festivals in the GTA, Southern Ontario, and some U.S. venues.
Almost right from their conception, Warmachine has had an interesting relationship with the world-famous heavy-metal gods, Megadeth. It was Megadeth front-man Dave Mustaine that helped the band get its first record deal.
“The CD was recorded with Nightmare records and it has distribution in HMV’s across North America as well as Japan,” said Raymer, a long-time resident of East Scarborough. The Beginning of the End is selling well, considering the lack of promotional material associated with it.
Recent events have put Warmachine in the international spotlight, but these same controversial events have also destroyed the once friendly relationship between Megadeth and Warmachine.
Mustaine was recently involved with the development of a heavy-metal website, called www.theliveline.com. To launch his website, Mustaine entered Warmachine and a number of other bands from Europe and North America into an online poll. The purpose of this poll was to help Megadeth decide who would open for them in their upcoming European tour. This was an opportunity too good to be true for any up-and-coming band.
Literally, it was too good to be true.
“We worked our asses off for months to win this thing and we did,” said Raymer with pride in his voice. “I must have told people to vote for us at least 150 times a day.”
When the polls closed on Dec. 23, Warmachine had earned 21 per cent of the votes, significantly higher than any other participating bands.
“Nobody called us right away and we thought it was because it was the holidays. People want to be with their families and not deal with business,” Raymer said.
As the weeks went by the guys from Warmachine never got that call. They were shocked to read in an online statement from Mustaine that “Warmachine has no means or way to do the tour.”
They were not on the tour.
“He shouldn’t be posting that anywhere without hearing it directly from the band,” said Lance King, owner of Nightmare Records. “Nobody [contacted us] regarding the poll … I told the liveline, ‘Have Dave call me! I’ll talk to him,’ I’d love to talk to him about this.”
King had repeatedly tried to contact Megadeth for comment on this issue, but to this date nobody has returned his calls.
“That would be fine had he not made comments that were inaccurate,” said King with frustration in his voice. “It puts [Warmachine] in a small little arena when they are ready to play the stadium.”
Megadeth and their record label Roadrunner Records did not respond when given the opportunity to comment, but the band that was eventually selected to tour with Megadeth was more than happy to discuss this. Their name is Evile, and they are situated in the U.K.
“We finished third, so we were surprised when we found out we were going on tour,” said Matt Drake, a member of Evile.
Evile was able to shed some light on the fine print involved in the www.theliveline.com poll.
“It wasn’t a competition and people who thought it was were wrong. If it said, ‘the winner gets the slot,’ then fair enough, but it didn’t,” Drake explained. “People have misread it … it was to give Megadeth a range of bands to choose from.”
Despite the website stating that the online poll was merely to help Megadeth choose who they would like to support them, Adam Raymer and Warmachine still find it difficult to deal with feeling slighted by a band that they look up to so much.
“I thought ‘I’m this close now, and if this gets pulled from me it’s going to hurt that much more.’” explained Raymer with emotion in his voice. “[Mustaine’s] been my idol for years and to go and just not even give me the chance when we legitimately won this contest … it just really sucks.”
Though disappointed, Warmachine is determined to continue to bring their special brand of crowd-pleasing thrash metal to the masses. They view this whole ordeal as a just a small bump in their path to superstardom.
“Don’t despair, were not. This won’t bring us down. It will just get us higher up than ever,” claims Raymer optimistically.
Warmachine is currently practising for the provincial championship round of a North America wide battle of the bands tournament sponsored by Bodog. The winners of this tournament will be selected to participate in a reality television series for a million-dollar record contract.
Other current projects of Warmachine include recording their sophomore album with Nightmare Records and potentially recording the soundtrack for an Xbox 360 game that is in development.
“We are proud regardless of what happened in the end,” Raymer says. “This whole thing has really made us appreciate how much all of our fans believe in us.”
Raymer feels that although their window to fame and fortune has temporarily been closed, this will not stop Warmachine. He is confident that “bands like Iron Maiden and Megadeth have had their time. It’s our time now.”
Warmachine will continue to rock in Toronto in the upcoming months. It is their hope that they will attain the fame and fortune that they feel they have earned and show the world the kind of talent and determination that Toronto and Scarborough is capable of producing.