Elaborate stage shows and rock n’ roll are still alive and they beat in the chest of a band called Malice. Founded by bassist and Metal Warrior Rayman James and his younger brother Jay Mez in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2009. Mez, was the original guitarist but never recorded with the band and was, it was then that Sheridan Dolan replaced him on guitar and he has been instrumental in the songwriting process according to James. We tracked James down at The NAMM Show and found out a lot of interesting facts about this band. “As far as the other members of the band, there have been several who have come and gone. I consider Sheridan an original member since he has been with me from the start and now we have David Koepplin, Jr. on drums and David Whitmer on lead vocals so it’s exactly as it is supposed to be.”
James tells us how his brother bought a guitar when he was just 13 years old and encouraged him to go out and buy a bass. This proved to be a smart move and some powerful advice that was influential in who James has become today. Malice’s first album Triumph And Glory was received with open arms by fans. They are in the studio again and James says he has four albums written, it is just a matter of money because he funded the entire first album on his own and it was costly. He admits the change in lead singers amidst the recording of the first album was a surprise and was inconvenient but he is extremely happy with Whitmer. “It’s better than I could have imagined. The members we have now, the rehearsals, everything is just so much fun. We really have a good time playing music and hanging out. In the past, it seemed like work but now it is something I love to do which is the way it should be. When I met Sheridan, I had been doing all the music on my own and I saw him playing guitar with another band and he blew me away so I asked him to join my band and he did and it turned out he only lived two miles from me. He also has his Master’s degree in music.”
James is a self taught musician but if he had to choose a band that influenced him most it would be Manowar and holds them in the highest regard. “Manowar is in my music and I even got my nickname The Metal Warrior from someone within their camp. And I became friends with them and the girl that makes all their leather started calling me that and it just stuck with me, I love it” James expresses. “Other than that, I would say Judas Priest and Iced Earth and bands like that have influenced me as well.”
Aside from music, James loves motorcycles and King Arthur and that is one thing that he liked about Manowar from the time he was a kid–they were into the same exact thing. “I decided to make that my theme for music and the other members weren’t into the whole motorcycle thing at first but slowly but surely they all ended up getting motorcycles and we can start our own biker gang and we can call it Sons of Rock which is the title of one of our songs.”
As of now, Malice is on a break since their tour ended in November and are currently focusing on recording the new album. They have some festivals coming up, one of which they will be headlining on the second stage. “We hope to become the next Iron Maiden” James confesses. “I know it’s a tall order but someone has to do it. I am sure back when they started, they wanted to be like another band and it seemed like a longshot but they did it so let’s see what happens. When we perform, we do like to put on an intense stage show as well as play our music. We want to give people a show like KISS did and we even do some sword fighting and so watching bands like Judas Priest and Manowar and pick up on some of the things they do on stage. We didn’t want to be the boring musicians who just go up and play, you can just put on a CD for that, it defeats the purpose of playing a show.” James had the name Malice trademarked and while James doesn’t mind if other people use it and there might be bands who have the same name, his main concern is no one uses his design and logo.
In the future, hopefully Malice will play in Southern California and we will have the opportunity to check them out. Nothing is better than a band who puts on a production and delivers some serious heavy metal. This is something that will certainly set them apart from other new bands and this is something that will entice fans for years to come.