Shows with small turnouts can be mixed blessings. I would imagine that from a band’s perspective it could be emotionally exhausting, but from a fan’s perspective you can catch some truly memorable performances that serve as great anecdotes when new bands pop up as a conversation topic.
Such was the case when I saw Savage Master for the first time at Indy’s sorely missed 5th Quarter Lounge. Whether it was due to lack of promotion or taking place the day after Black Sabbath’s last show in Noblesville, the crowd was criminally anemic. By the time Savage Master’s set started there were more people on stage than in the crowd, but that didn’t stop the hooded Louisville quintet from delivering a performance that would have made Ozzy and Co.’s colostomy bags burst. In addition to stealing the show, they also stole my metal heart, but I left the show feeling like the band deserved better, especially for a Saturday night in the dead of summer. I quickly messaged the band to apologize on behalf of the city of Indianapolis, and swore an oath that I would make the trek up to Ft. Wayne to see them the following week.
As the week progressed, word got out that I was heading up north for the gig and before I knew it I was behind the wheel caravaning to Ft. Wayne with some of Indy’s finest metal warriors. Watching the band perform in front of a capacity crowd was truly amazing and I raged so hard during the performance that I left a nice flapjack sized bruise on my thigh. After working up the nerve to ask the band to sign my newly purchased copy of With Whips and Chains, there was an unexpected exchange of pleasantries and party favors,
Savage Master had become my favorite band, hands down. Anyone that knows me can attest to this, as two years later I still find it difficult to shut up about one of the hardest working bands in metal. When word reached me that I’d have the chance to see Savage Master again without having to navigate the perpetual death trap known as I-69, but at Indianapolis’ own Black Circle Brewing on August 10th 2018, I marked out like an 8 year old John Cena fan. Once my bosses at Indy Metal Vault discovered my love for all things Savage Master, I was given the green light to chat with headmistress Stacey Savage to set the stage for what will be the Circle City’s best metal show of the summer, and possibly even the year. By the way, you can still get a five dollar discount by purchasing tickets in advance here. That’s five more bucks you can put towards beer and/or merch.
Indy Metal Vault: Hey there, Stacey. Thank you so much for your time. Y’all have been together for five years now and hit the ground running. When Savage Master was first formed, how long did it take y’all to find your sound and develop your stage presence?
Stacey Savage: Thanks for the interview, Dustin. We’ve been together just shy of five years, yes. We started out with a lot of ideas and refined them as time has gone by. It’s an ongoing process. We learn new things all the time and we apply whatever we feel is best for the music and show.
IMV: Savage Master is about to head out on tour with Deceased. If I’m not mistaken, y’all tour together regularly. How did this bond between the two bands develop?
SS: Yes we are heading out with Deceased and Death of Kings for a quick eight-day run. It’s going to be a blast! We have played several shows with Deceased and October 31 over the last few years. Ever since first meeting we have gelled really well with both of Kingsley’s bands. Anyone who knows King knows he’s seriously entertaining on and off stage. He’s very outgoing and always amps up the conversating.
IMV: Since the band’s formation there’s been two LP releases in addition to your Black Hooves and Creature of the Flames EPs. How has the band evolved as a studio unit in the five years that you’ve been together?
SS: The studio gets more natural each time, at least for me, and I’d say that’s also true as a unit. We know a little better what to expect and learn a lot each time.
IMV: If I could put my fanboy hat on for a moment, let it be known that “The Ripper In Black” and “Path of the Necromancer” are my favorite Savage Master songs. They’re straightforward, catchy, and they’re always awesome tracks to catch live. Any interesting stories behind the writing and/or recording of those two songs?
SS: Those are definitely favorites to play live. Fun fact time… People often ask what’s that rattling sound on the track “Path of the Necromancer.” It’s a vibraslap!
IMV: Funny story: first time I saw Savage Master back in 2016 there were four people in the crowd. The second time a week later in Ft. Wayne the place was packed. Does this type of crowd irregularity still occur?
SS: On the road, every day is a new day and a new place. In general bigger cities usually have stronger supported scenes than smaller ones. That said, fans who are in places that tours typically skip can be the most grateful. It’s worth it to put on a show that means a lot to someone even if they live in a place where metal is highly unpopular. In our band, we all grew up in such places so there is a true connection with fans who come out and enjoy what they love even if their town doesn’t share in their passion.
IMV: When Savage Master is booked on a show there tends to be a lot of genre variety with the other bands on the bill. Do you prefer playing mixed-genres bills and are there any types of audiences where you have to work harder to win them over?
SS: It’s rewarding and exciting to play to new audiences. To have people come to us to express that they had become a fan that very night is fantastic! We’re always looking for those virgins to sacrifice! We really want to play more all ages shows because we all developed our love of music early in life. We want to give the kind of thrills we got at discovering a new band back then to kids today. It can also be refreshing to have different sub-genres in a show so it’s cool to mix things up a bit.
IMV: What’s up next for Savage Master after this upcoming tour’s conclusion?
SS: This October will be playing Dr. Gangrene’s Horror Hootenanny in Nashville and the prefest for Street Metal Fest in Philly. Other than that we will just focus on writing and recording the new album.
IMV: Anything else you would like to add, Stacey?
SS: We really appreciate the interview. To our fans, we love you all. We post all dates, release info, merch and more on facebook.
Most importantly, remember: be you, be true and do what you want to do.
Savage Master will be performing this Friday at Black Circle Brewing Co. I don’t want to be uncouth but if you don’t make this show you’re a poser.