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DELIVERANCE - Interview with Jimmy P. Brown II
By Wojtek Gabriel,
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Deliverance thrash metal band
With "The Subversive Kind", released early last year, the US thrashers from Deliverance went back to their roots. After years of experiments they put out a straight-forward speed/thrash record, quickly getting a stamp of approval from fans of their early works. This summer, 30 years after their debut release, the band finally got a chance to perform live for their European fans, and played two shows, a festival one at Headbangers Open Air and an intimate one in Dundee, Scotland. Having attended their Scottish gig, I decided to speak to Deliverance's mainman Jimmy, to discuss their new album and events from the band's past.
You recently went on your first ever 2-gig European trip. So, how was Scotland and Germany?
Scotland and Germany were absolutely amazing! I primarily loved Scotland. The people and countryside are so beautiful to look at. And the people are fantastic. Germany, we were picked up and taken to a very nice flat to stay in. But it was far from everything and we were all by ourselves 'till we were picked up for the festival the next day. We ran into some complications that I don't want to get into, but the show went really well and the German people were awesome.
Why just two gigs? Looks like there were no other promoters this side of the pond interested in booking you guys?
Unfortunately, no there weren't. It's a long story but we have some way bigger than life reputation for not showing up for gigs in Europe. So, it has made opportunities and promoters very difficult. It obviously isn't a problem, and we showed up for this set of concerts. We had an issue back in 1996, but that's such old hat. And I apologised over and over for those events that were cancelled abruptly. But I guess forgive and forget is a lost concept with some people. Thankfully our promoters in Scotland (Ewan Gurr) and the good people at HOA festival in Germany weren't afraid and took the chance to give us a second chance. We had a blast!
It seems that the thrash community has embraced "The Subversive Kind". I'm not surprised as it's your best work since your speed metal beginnings, in my humble opinion. But my question is, why did you decide to go back to the roots?
Deliverance, while it has always been viewed as a "band" was and will always be my baby. I wasn't content doing the same thing over and over. So, I changed directions all the time for experimentation and to try to be different. It created a very strange split and divided fan base. Fans of the speed metal era, fans of the creative era. Then there are those who love both, but there aren't a lot of those. So it's strange. I decided to branch out and do my solo project and return Deliverance to the days of speed. It just seemed like the fun thing to do at the time.
I know you tried to record the album the old school way as much as possible, with tube amps, no copy-and-paste etc. Don't you like the modern recording technologies?
I love modern tech! It's quite enjoyable and I use it in all my recordings. But this was a "going back in time" thing for me... Again, I try real hard not to repeat myself for everything else, but since it was a return to that era, why not try to capture that sound?
You've got Glenn back in the ranks for the new album. Have you guys stayed in touch over those almost 30 years of his absence?
Glenn and I have always remained friends and been wanting to work on something together for years... This was the right thing. It was time!
So, the writing team for the new album was similar to the one that created your debut record. Has your song-writing process changed at all over the years?
It's the same as it's always been... I write the songs and lyrics, show them to the band, they write their parts, and away we go... Hit the record button when it feels right!
So, which tunes from the new album are your favourite ones?
If pressed to choose, I'm a fan of "The Black Hand", "Center of It All" and "Bring 'Em Down". I like the whole album though...
When you guys were starting in the mid-'80s many of the well-known thrash bands had already released a couple of albums. Were they a source of inspiration for you or the reason why you founded a thrash metal band?
Sure... Metallica, Slayer, SOD and Anthrax were influences for sure. But I always loved Queensryche as well. So, I always tried to mix the two styles.
Your debut album was produced by the legend that is Bill Metoyer. Do you remember anything from that recording session?
Only that it was the beginning of the most wonderful thing for me, which is being in the studio and recording!
After two traditional speed/thrash albums you put out "What a Joke", which consisted of some really weird material. What was the idea behind that record?
The album was a purposeful mistake! If you get rid of all that silly stuff on there, there is some pretty killer songs on there. Some of my hardest riffs I ever performed for sure!
After "What a Joke" you changed the direction completely, your vocal style changed and the music went more into the prog direction. Were you just fed up with thrash metal?
I think it was a mix of a lot of things. I had always listened to other styles of music more than metal. That is no secret. People always laughed at my album collection because it was like four metal albums, and the rest were like Bowie, Human League, Gary Numan, etc. To me, it was natural progression, not a conscious choice.
You experimented even more on the following albums... You brought some electronica, industrial and even rap elements into your music...
Again, I listen to a lot of other styles of music. So, I always want to experiment with soundscapes...
So, which period of the band would you say was your favourite one and why?
The creative years 1992-96. Loved the experimenting and different players I utilised. Also my partnership with Manny Morales is just perfection for the sounds I want to achieve. Also working with Terry Scott Taylor and Gene Eugene made that time special.
OK, time to wrap up and I have a serious question at the end. Religions tend to divide people. Have you ever had anyone criticise you for your lyrics, or say they liked the music but not the lyrics?
Sure! It's still topic of debate. People will read whatever they want to read. I've been more on the poetic lyrical approach since 1992 as opposed to just quoting scripture and telling the same stories over and over... Life is meant to be experienced! And with all that experience come stories. So, why not be relatable? Why not try to convey ideas and thoughts? I wasn't put on earth and given this brain to be a mindless drone, not a robot, but a human being... So I've tried to keep that approach and continue that.
OK, that's us. Any chance for Deliverance to be playing Europe again in the nearest future?
We will play where we are invited! Provided we reach terms. We can't afford to play for free and we won't do that. After 34 years, it's silly to hear those requests still after all these years. So, we hope to see Europe again very, very soon...
Interview by Wojtek Gabriel

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Tags: Deliverance, thrash, Christian metal, The Subversive Kind, Jimmy P. Brown II
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Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part by persons, organisations or corporations without the prior written permission.
© 1997-2020 Wojtek Gabriel. All rights reserved.
Unauthorised use of any works published on this website is prohibited.
Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part by persons, organisations
or corporations without the prior written permission.