(Thank you to Artondra Hall Photography)

Featured Guest is the area of my website where I interview musicians, actors, artists and various cool people I have crossed path with over the years. Tonight we got a chance to interview the respected and extremely talented musician the one and only Bert Hall.  Bert is a Baltimore, MD native who is well known and loved in underground music. Back in '88 he jammed with the group Revelation and was also in groups like Against Nature, Final Answer, Legion Lost, Righteous Bloom and others. These days Hall is recognized for his work in the heavy sounds of Mangog and Beezelfuzz. Read on to get the low down Bert’s news and a little about his history, inspiration, new music and life interests.

1.Hey Bert how're you today?

BERT: Good to speak with you.  Hey, man! I'm fine! Life is always crazy but that's the way it is, right? LOL

 2.Yes for sure. Bert tell us a little about your background, where did you grow up and what inspired you to start a rock band? 

BERT: I grew up in west Baltimore, where very people I knew  dreamed of playing in a rock band. I saw KISS and Cheap Trick on tv in the late 70's and it piqued my interest, leading me to discover Sabbath, Priest, Rush and Maiden over the next several years. My dad played the upright bass and I got onto bass guitar and eventually, guitar, from there and found my way into bands with classmates.

3.Were there any particular albums, concerts you saw or groups that inspired you along the way?

BERT: Rush and Sabbath were huge for me as a teenager and they still are the bands to top in my opinion.

 

4.How did you come to form the groups Mangog and Beezelfuzz?  

 

BERT: Well, I actually joined Beelzefuzz several years after they had earned a lot of attention with their first cd. So, I'm on the band's 2nd cd. Everyone except their bassist decided to take a break and do a side project together. I got the call to play on some studio tracks and that turned into a relaunch of Beelzefuzz  after a few months. I enjoy playing with them and working on music as unique as that material. 

Very cool, okay yeah.

Revelation and Against Nature ended in the spring of 2013 and I almost immediately missed the music! I spent a few months believing that we'd reconvene but it became clear that it wasn't going to happen. I began writing some of the songs that ended up on the cd and eventually approached the other guys to start the band. Originally, the first functional lineup was Darby Cox on bass, Steve Branagan from Revelation on drums and me on guitar and vocals. Early in 2015, Steve stepped down and we added Myke Wells on vocals and Mike Rix on drums.

 

5.You are an artist with Argonauta Records, whats the news on the new release?

BERT: Argonauta heard the first three songs that we recorded and gave us an excellent opportunity to release a full length cd, which has been getting decent AirPlay on a number of metal radio outlets like Benzotti Live and the Doom Cellar! We're glad to be on the label because Argonauta has been steadily introducing new music worthy of a closer listen!

 

6.That’s great. Sure yeah that’s very cool. Do you write lyrics,music and if so what inspires your songwriting these days? 

BERT: All four of us write, to some extent though I seem to write very steadily about things I see happening around me and things that are going on inside my head.

 

7. Having more than one writer in a band can be a real strength. What advice would you give younger artists just starting out in bands?  

BERT: Play as much as you can and start creating your own music as soon and as often as you can.

 

 

8.Good solid advice. Do you have any favorite books or films? 

BERT: I mostly enjoy autobiographies. Some of my favorites are by Frederick Douglas, Miles Davis and Mick Fleetwood. My favorite films are probably "American Graffiti", "No country for old men" and "Die Hard".

 

9.Yeah me too man. If you were not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing with your time?

 

BERT: I probably wouldn't have made it out of my teens if I hadn't clicked with music. Most everybody else I grew up with didn't. Music occupies me, liberates me and allows me to communicate in ways I don't know that I'd have an alternative for otherwise. In my spare time, I enjoy tv shows like the Flash, Star Trek, and Person of Interest.

 

10. Yeah I can dig it man. Music surrounds the lives of those of us that can relate. Yeah man well said. Hey that’s cool man some of the NC guys in bands are big Trek fans and we talk about it all the time, haha. I haven’t seen any of the Flash show yet but I like Person of Interest too for sure. What are some of your favorite shows you have played with your bands? 

BERT: When I was in Revelation, we played on a tour supporting Warning in the UK, that was amazing, because of the opportunity to see Patrick, Marcus and Stuart demonstrate how powerful great music can be every night! They were absolutely amazing! Touring Japan in Revelation with Church of Misery was amazing! More recently, Mangog has played on some great bills with bands like Mind's Eye, Kan of Worms, Dee Calhoun, Blackfinger and King Bison!

 

11.Too cool. Those are great bands and I’m sure amazing life experiences in your history. What is one life skill you think every person should have? 

BERT: I'm going to have to get back to you on that! LOL

 

12. Lol okay ! If you were to name some of your challenges what would they be and how did you overcome them? 

BERT: Self confidence might be one of them. I'm still working on it. It's great that people have said nice things about the band and the cd but I constantly am a pretty harsh self critic.

 

13.What do you feel are some of your greatest strengths as a person and musician?

BERT: I don't know if that's something best answered by me. I try to do right by people, so maybe everybody else would be in a better position to answer that. As a musician, again, I believe that is something that people who have been generous enough to listen to the music I've been a part of would be in a better position to say than me. I try to serve the music in a part of.

 

14.Looking back on classic music of rock history what groups did you not see live that you wish you could go back and see?

BERT:  Way too many. I didn't grow up going to a lot of shows. I regret never having seen the original Sabbath in their prime.  Or the Who, in their prime or even the original Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green!

15.Yeah man for sure. It would have been great to see Fleetwood with Peter Green. What are some of your favorite new bands you'd like to turn people on to? 

BERT: There's a few of those!! LOL Destroyer of Man are excellent! King Bison from Delaware are amazing!! Dee Calhoun and Bruce Falkinburg have a new group, Thee Iron Hand, that's killer!  You can't go wrong with any of those!

 

 

16.Great man, yeah good ones. Dee is a great guy and I know Matt Crocco. He’s an old pal and super talented guitar player. I am excited to hear their band together. King Bison and Destroyer of Man, cool. What are some of the greatest strengths and limitations of the music scene today? 

BERT: Our Maryland metal scene sticks together and musicians are supportive of each other. I've seen some amazing efforts by people in the scene to help out others when tragedy or adversity strikes!

17. Man for sure. Music scenes like that are really rare bro. So many great artists out of MD and they do seem to be super supportive of each other and that’s awesome. I wish more places were like that. Yes for sure, totally. What is the scene like in your area? 

BERT: There are fairly regular places to play here and people that are into it are highly supportive of original music.  The amazing things that going on and get created still remain a well kept secret for the world at large, to some degree, though.

18.Yeah okay right on. Any future news or last words for your fans?

BERT: Both, Mangog and Beelzefuzz are working on new music that, hopefully, everyone will get to hear in the foreseeable future! Mangog has about 9 songs ready now and will be writing more in the fall before recording. We'll be taking some time to get the new music tight and won't be playing for a bit while we are fine tuning everything. We appreciate your support! Thanks for talking to me, Gideon!

Thanks great man look forward to hearing your new music. No problem, thank you for taking the time for the interview. You rock man. Keep us updated on all your news.  - G

Check out Argonauta Records recording artist MANGOG, with their song "Daydreams Within Nightmares" off their debut CD - Mangog Awakens.

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Cemetery Crows

C.Crows Gideon's side project doom metal, sludge, gothic blues band. You can check out a few songs from the early demo on the reverbnation page. Doom On.

https://www.reverbnation.com/cemeterycrows