Henry Vasquez of Blood of the Sun: Letting It Roll

By Jeb Wright

Henry Vasquez is a member of the American Doom Metal band Saint Vitus. His side project is a band called Blood of the Sun. This is a true hard rock/heavy metal throwback band. The sound is reminiscent of In Rock era Deep Purple. For their latest album the band enlisted the guitar skills of Point Black six string slinger Rusty Burns. Rusty adds to the already classic sound.

This is an amazing band that are doing everything they can do in order to keep classic hard rock alive and well. If you love organ, distorted guitars and tons of wicked solos then you must, must, must check out Blood of the Sun. Trust me, if you give this band a chance then you will be thrilled to realize that great, guitar solo based hard rock is alive and well in 2012.

Get on your feet with your fists pumping in the air as Blood of the Sun are the real deal.

Jeb: Blood of the Sun is true 1970’s hard rock band in 2012. I need to know how you were inspired to play this kind of music.ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂWe are, and have always been, huge fans of ‘70's hard rock and metal, as well as all kinds of other stuff, more current and then some. ÂI'd say the ‘70's stuff we are more inspired by some of the more obscure stuff from the ‘70's like Bull Angus, Boomerang, Alamo, Atomic Rooster, Bang, as well as the more known stuff like Purple, UriahÂHeep and Grand Funk.

The music from that era is truly heavy and didn't depend on tuning down, or just playing slow, or fast, to be heavy. Of course, there are tons of newer and later heavy things that have had an impact on us as songwriters and performers; things that don't seem like an influence, but nevertheless teach us how to approach songwriting and overall heavy sound. Megadeth, Slayer and early thrash metal all come to mind. Our sound and songs are just a reflection of what we like as listeners and fans of heavy/hard rock. ÂÂÂ

Jeb: Rusty Burns from Point Blank plays on the CD. How did you meet Rusty?ÂÂÂ

Henry:Â Rusty lives in our area and is a well known and respected musician. Dave and I simply approached him about doing this new record and he said yes. Good for us. ÂHe was easy to work with and a lot of fun in the studio, as well. ÂÂÂ

Jeb: I want to know if you are a huge Deep Purple fan! I mean, you MUST be. What is it about that music that you love?ÂÂÂ

Henry:Â But of course! Deep Purple had it all,Âheaviness, great vocals, masterful musicianship, energy and creativeness. The sound of Deep Purple was, and is, just so heavy, but yet has very accomplished musicianship. We try to incorporate that aspect to our sound and that approach to our songwriting. We're not trying to sound like Deep Purple, but the ability to actually play your instruments, and play them well; along with the general hard sound is what we've taken from Deep Purple.ÂÂ

Jeb:Â Same question for Ken Hensley era Uriah Heep.ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂWe love UriahÂHeep,Âas well, but Dave [Gryder] is not as much into Hensley, as he is some other organ/key players. Hensley is no doubt one of the masters, and we definitely love the old UriahÂHeep,Âbut their sound plays less into our outlook than some others. HeepÂcould be more dramatic and epic, where we are looking more towards the rocking side of that classic sound. ÂÂÂ

Jeb: I am totally digging the new album. Let’s talk about some of the songs. Tell me about how “Let It Roll” was written?ÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂThis was a song brought in by our good friend, and co-producer of this album, Tony Reed [MosÂGenerator.] ÂWe asked Tony to bring a song to the new album and Tony wrote this song for us. Tony is the master of coming up with authentic and inspired ‘70's rock influencedÂsongs and this was his vision of what he thought a Blood of the Sun song should sound like.

We loved the track, it sounds similar, I think, to what we've been doing all along. Tony also wrote the song "Bring Me Down," which is also a great song and quite different to what we've done in the past. ÂÂÂ

Jeb:ÂThe title track, “Burning on the Wings of Desire” is a killer track.ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂThis is more of a typical faster paced hard rocker that we've been doing for a while now. Dave wrote a majority of this song and we just tried to keep the vibe of our sound intact on this one, which is very high energy, but with a solid heavy groove and some great vocals.ÂÂ

Jeb:Â Who is “The Snitch” about?ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂIt’s not really about anyone in particular and, in fact, the first thing that came to my head when I heard the music was the title. ÂI thought, “Ohhhhh, it's strong subject matter; thingsÂyaÂread in da satanic bible. Ya can't goÂtellin' the kids to rip virgins heads off on stage. What's the point in that?” Please recite that in a strongÂNewcastle/GeordieÂaccent [laughter].ÂÂ

Jeb:Â “Rock Your Station” is another great tune.ÂÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂThis is a heavier and more driving track and something we've opened our shows with, as it gets the crowd going. I think it's almost got an MC5 vibe to the overall sound and delivery. This is what Blood of the Sun is all about, hard rock and roll that gives you a 100% TexasÂsmack down--in a good way, though.ÂÂ

Jeb: Okay, tell me where you are from and how this band formed?ÂÂÂ

Henry:Â We're from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas. Dave and I started the band after my previous band, Archie Bunker, folded. ÂDave was actually in the last line up of Archie Bunker before we hung it up. We did one album for John Perez'sÂBrainticketÂRecords label in 1997. Â

Dave and I were going in a more classic hard and heavy rock direction anyway and we just enlisted some old friends of ours to get the band started up, including MarkÂZamarron, ex-Las Cruces, on vocals and Rich Christopher and Jason Benfield on guitars, both original members of the early Archie Bunker. ÂSo, to answer the question more direct, we started the band in 2002 and have gone through various lineups throughout most of our albums.ÂÂ

Jeb: You feature a lot of organ and I love that sound. However, it really does lump you into a style that is not that popular these days. I mean, I love it but you have to admit in theÂUSAÂit is not the flavor of the month. Do you ever regret not going for a moreÂcommercialÂsound?ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂNah, we never regret it. We're very much aware that our sound with an organ is not en vogue, but honestly we just don't care, or even think about it. ÂSo there is no regretÂwhatsoever. ÂIt doesn't even come to mind. Â

We play what we like and what we want and not the other way around. But I guess nearly every musician says that they are in it forÂthemselves, so we're really not that much different than anyone else, we just happen to want to play music that is not necessarily popular. Â


Jeb: I also hear a lot of Blue Oyster Cult and maybe even some Head East in your music. Is that fair?ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂSure we love BOC, and some Head East as well, although I don't feel that these bands influenced our sound and style as much.ÂÂ

Jeb:Â I love the damn solos on this album.Â

Henry:ÂÂThey should kick ass, as we had Rusty Burns and Tony Reed playing on the album. Some of the best lead guitar work we've ever had on album is on this one. They are some very tasty guitar licks and are very old school in style and approach.

Point Blank is one of the more well known classic hard rock bands from our area andÂRusty just tore it up on this album. Tony is one of the best current hard rock players in the country. ÂÂÂ

Jeb: What is next for the band? Will you tour this in USA or just Europe?ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂWe do plan on touring Europe, probably in time for summer festivals. ÂNo USA tours are planned at the moment. ÂI'll be busy with Saint Vitus in the spring.ÂÂ

Jeb: This is a music that is obviously close to your heart. Tell me why this sound is so important to who you are as people and asÂmusicians.ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂWe grew up as young kids listening to this stuff and, then, of course, over the years we all got into more heavy metal and trash/doom etc. Â

We're all big fans of all things metal and hard rock, but as time went on, we decided to get back to our earliest roots of rock music since nobody else was doing it. We wanted to do something fresh. ÂAs early as the late ‘90's we've been trying to push this more obscure sound of rock to everyone that will listen. We're still here and we’re still pushing.Â

Jeb: Last one: What is up with the name? There has to be a good story behind Blood of the Sun.ÂÂÂ

Henry:ÂÂPretty simple actually; it's a song title from Mountain, another of our favorite bands and we just liked the ring to it. It’s a bit different, but nothing too deep.