Posted on November 22th. 2017
Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Jason: Hello Tom and welcome to Metal To Infinity. I’d like to Thank You for taking time out of your very busy schedule to speak with us. We really do appreciate it. I’d like to start the interview off by asking you what year was your band Held Hostage formed and where’s home base for the band?
Tom: Held Hostage was formed in the early 80’s and started playing live in 1984 Syracuse New York area is home base.
Jason: How did you first hook up with the other members of the band and come to form Held Hostage?
Tom: Most of the members were life-long friends. The current members Scott Gregg and I went to school together and Frank Smith, we met at one of the first Held Hostage concerts around 1984.
Jason: Could you please share with us how you came to name the band: Held Hostage?
Tom: I came up with the name when the Iranians Held The Americans Hostage. We wrote a song called set me free.
Jason: I’d like to ask you do you remember why you chose the Guitar as your instrument of choice?
Tom: I play multiple instruments but Guitar is my favorite . You can get lost in playing and love writing music and riffs on the guitar.
Jason: How old were you when you first started playing the Guitar? Did you take lessons or would you consider yourself to be more of a self-taught player?
Tom: I decided at the age of 17 to play guitar. I was drummer first, I am totally self taught.
Jason: Who were the Guitar Players/Musicians/Bands who influenced you when you were growing up?
Tom: Randy Rhodes was a big influence as a guitarist. The bands I would say are ACDC and The Rods, were also big influences on me.
Jason: Do you remember what was the very, first album you ever purchased?
Tom: It is hard to remember I would guess Led Zeppelin Black Sabbath or ACDC
Jason: What was the point in your life when you knew you wanted to take a shot at being a professional Musician?
Tom: I think I always knew deep down inside. I was going to be a professional musician. My mother growing up, always had music playing in our home. It was a natural fit.
Jason: I know that your latest release was produced by Legendary Rods Drummer: Carl Cannedy. How did you first hook up with Carl and how did he come to produce your album?
Tom: Carl was introduced to me through a Management company I was working with at the time. I think Carl came on board when he heard my song show me the way back home. He said after hearing it and knowing the true meaning of the song. He had to produce it. Working with him in the studio was, fun, educational, and most of all, a pleasure.
Jason: A lot of bands these days due to the current state of the music industry where fans don’t buy CDS like they once did have made the decision to only release their music digitally, not to write/record any new music but rather to rely on the catalog of music they have already released and going out and doing a ton of live shows. With all that being said what motivates Held Hostage to continue to write/record new music. by the way I tip my hat to bands like Held Hostage because as a Music fan myself I still have a desire for bands to release new music.
Tom: I think the main reason is because Held Hostage as always felt it was about the the music first. Our music continues to Evolve. If you lose sight of what you came into the business then you lose your drive. I think writing new music and putting out CD’s are what the fans really want. It brings you closer to your fans and most of all it keeps you fresh in the business.
Jason: I know at a very recent show that Held Hostage had your Producer: Carl Canedy sit behind the drum kit and perform live with you guys. Talk a little bit about that gig, what do you remember most from that show?
Tom: That was a great night. The fans were so excited to see Carl Canedy on drums. . I would say two things really stick out from that night . It was so easy to play with a drummer like Carl. His timing was perfect and made the music just flow. The second thing was he did this incredible drum solo that our fans are still talking about. It was a surreal experience to me. To play live with someone like Carl who I grew up watching The Rods in concert and buying their albums. It can only be described as an amazing night for me and all the guys in the band.
Jason: I understand that the band has decided to donate some of the proceeds from the album sales to some Veterans charities. Again I think this is a great thing the band is doing! Talk a little bit about the band’s decision to do this.
Tom: It was something I have always felt strongly about is helping people in need. From the Inception of Held Hostage, I founded it on the premise of music and helping people. My brother is a Vietnam Veteran and when he came home from war people tried to spit on him. Then I met many Veterans who shared their stories of rejection and ridicule coming home from war. I felt I needed to help them and I wrote the song show me the way back home. It is song to help them heal and many Veterans have told me it has changed their lives. We recently did a big concert with Molly Hatchet and helped raise thousands of dollars for Victory for Vets a great organization that help veterans by getting them service dogs.
Jason: For anyone who’s never heard of Held Hostage how would you describe the overall sound of the band?
Tom: I would have to describe us a great rock band with our own sound and live it is high energy show from beginning to end.
Jason: Talk a little bit about the latest Held Hostage CD…..How many songs are on the CD? What’s the best way for fans to purchase the CD?
Tom: Our newest CD is a EP with two songs on it. We are now going to complete that into a full 10 song CD that is going to Feature some of rocks best. starting with special guest vocalist “Joe Lynn Turner” ( Deep Purple, Rainbow, Joe Lynn Turner band) singing a new version of Show Me The Way back home. He did a fantastic job taking the song to the next level. Also not only will Carl Canedy be Producing this CD he will be drumming on it also, and as added bonus there will be three tracks featuring the late Scott Columbus (Manowar drummer) he recorded with Held Hostage prior to his death.
Jason: In regards to the latest Held Hostage CD I have to ask you was everyone in the band involved with the songwriting process?
Tom: Actually no, right now I am doing all the song writing and arrangements. It comes naturally to me.
Jason: As far as the recording process goes I was curious if during the recording of this latest CD if everyone was in the same studio where you recorded as a live band or did everyone record their parts separately?
Tom: Everything was recorded separately. Even some in different studios. Joe Lynn Turner recorded in his New York City Studio and Carl Canedy recorded in his home studio in Pennsylvania.
Jason: What can fans expect from Held Hostage in the next year ahead?
Tom: Our fans can expect big things from us as we rock forward. They can expect new songs another CD and the high energy live shows we have always been noted for..
Jason: Tom I have to ask you in terms of answering fans who E-mail you or reach out to you on-line how important is it for you to reach back out to those fans and inner act with them for example responding to a fan who E-mailed you on FACEBOOK or any other sites the band might have on-line.
Tom: It is the most important thing to me. I respond as soon as I can and I make sure I respond to every email message sent to the band. We also make a practice of wishing each and everyone of our fans happy birthdays on our facebook pages.
Jason: In the last few years Tom many musicians come out saying that they feel YOUTUBE should pay bands/Musicians for Music videos and anything else that is featured on YOUTUBE related to their band much like a band would get paid royalties anytime a song is played on the radio. How do you feel about this?
Tom: I feel this way about it. Youtube has been a great vehicle for many bands to get their music out there. Youtube has made billions of dollars and musicians are struggling. I am not a big fan or use youtube much. I think they need to pay royalties..
Jason: Is there an album in your collection Tom that all these years later you could point to and say that’s the album that really influenced me and played a major role in me doing what I’m doing now?
Tom: I would say several albums but, if I had to pick one it would be Ozzy Blizzard of Ozz Randy Rhodes was such a unique and great player.
Jason: Are you currently involved with any other bands/projects that you’d like to let us know about Tom?
Tom: Yes one other project I am going to helping a good friend of the bands and mine. Debbie Abbott record some of her songs. She is a great singer/solo artist and her husband Alex had been a friend/brother for many years. it will be a fun project doing someone else’s music other then my own. Debbie has opened several shows for Held Hostage and is getting some great recognition.
Jason: Anything left that you’d like to say to all the Held Hostage/Tom Collier fans out there?
Tom: First off, thank you Metal to Infinity for the opportunity to share the Held Hostage story and to all Tom Collier Held Hostage fans . We will never let you down. It’s our time to shine and get ready to Rock The Nite Away. Thank you.
THANKS SO MUCH TOM!