SPACE VACATION – A Talk With SCOTT SHAPIRO (Lead Vocals/Guitar)

Posted on May 18 th. 2018

Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM

Scott Shapiro (Lead Vocals/Guitar)

Jason: Hello Scott and welcome to Metal To Infinity. Thank You for taking time out of your very, busy schedule to speak with us. I noticed that the band is based out of San Francisco, CA. which is also home base for the Legendary Metallica. I have to ask you how big of a Metallica fan are you and were you at all a fan of any of the Bay Area Thrash bands from the 80’s?

Scott: Hey Jason! Thanks for taking the time! While I didn’t grow up in the Bay Area, the first concert I ever went to was a Metallica show so I’m definitely a fan, especially their early stuff. Hard to beat songs like Master of Puppets, Battery and Blackened. They still rule live. Last time I saw them my brother and I ended up getting in a fight with some punters and my brother ended up hitting a cop. Good thing the dude liked Metallica too, otherwise we would have spent the night in the clink! As far as other 80’s thrash bands, I really liked someearly Megadeth, but I was always more into the traditional metal sound.

Jason: Who were the bands/Musicians who had the greatest influence on you when you were growing up?

Scott: It’s a long list but Van Halen was the first record I ever bought. Iron Maiden, Priest and Motorhead are really the soundtrack to my life. But I always admired good singers so Brad Delp from Boston was a huge influence as well. Add in the theatrics and style of Queen and the blue collar sensibility of Diamond Head and that’s what gets me going.

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?

Scott: I bought myself my first guitar form the Sears Catalog when I was 12 years old. I taught myself, which is why I am an exceptionally mediocre player. But hey! That’s why we have Kiyo in the band!

Jason: I saw on the band’s Facebook page that you guys were also influenced by Ronnie James Dio. I’m a huge Dio fan myself so I have to ask you how were you first introduced to the music of the Legend that was and is Ronnie James Dio? Was it through being a fan of Rainbow, Sabbath, or Dio?

Scott: Dio for sure was an early influence. Rainbow in the Dark and Holy Diver were mainstays on the Headbangers Ball when I was a kid, that little dude swinging that huge sword ruled! Plus he sings like an angel…of death! Amazing power and control. I only found out about Rainbow when I got a bit older. Man on a Silver Mountain is a perfect song.


Kiyo Morgan – Lead Guitar

Jason: Being that you were a Dio fan I have to ask how do you feel about the surviving Dio band members touring with a Hologram of the late/great Ronnie James Dio? I mean would you have any interest in attending such a show?

Scott: I can’t get behind that. Seems odd. I have zero interest in seeing something like that. The greatness of Dio was in his performance and a recorded version pantomimed by robot hologram removes all the humanity and greatness of what Ronnie was able to do on stage.

I had the pleasure of seeing him quite a few times up close and he was a powerhouse live. Although I do think it would be rad if when I die the rest of the band tours with a hologram of me. In fact, I think I may want to do that now so I can keep my voice fresh and take it easy on the road!

Jason: Could you tell me the story behind the band’s name: Space Vacation?

Scott: There is an eccentric quasi homeless man in San Francisco names Frank Chu. When we hit a deadlock about what to call the band, we found Frank. Frank has a history of naming venues in the city and can often be seen walking the street downtown with a sign  saying something like “repent the masters of the 12 galaxies are coming!” We told him we are a metal band and we like to party and use lasers on stage. He blurted out Space Vacation, and since we couldn’t think of anything better it stuck. We also like to think that you take a Space Vacation when you’re supposed to be working and your mind is somewhere else so we consider ourselves that soundtrack to your day dreams!

Jason: After watching the video for your song “Rolling Thunder” I could see/hear a bit of a Judas Priest influence to what your band does. I mean visually you guys have a real metal look much in the way Priest proclaims themselves to be the defenders of the Metal Faith. Would you say Scott that you and your band mates are very much like Priest a Metal band that is very proud to defend the Metal faith?

Scott: Fuck yes. That was the whole point of the band. When we started in 2007 we were the only traditional metal band in the bay area.  we would play shows with all sorts of “Core” bands and a sprinkling of High on Fire clones. We felt like we had to carry the torch for
traditional heavy metal by making the music we wanted to hear…and making it fun.

Steve Hays – Bass

Jason: Talk a little bit about the Rolling Thunder video because while it’s a great/fun song it’s quite obvious that you guys had a blast while you were filming the video, seems that the band members seems to get along and have fun together. That’s not something that is always the case in a lot of bands these days. Talk a little bit about the chemistry within the band.

Scott: We have a different lineup now than what we had for the last record. We are working with Eli Lucas on the drums again – he had played with us before for about a year and half after our original drummer, Andy Headrick, had left, but his other band at the time, Hatchet, had some major touring commitments and he had to leave us. Super hyped to have him back in the fold. He has great energy, is super creative and is a great performer.

Steve Hays – who is a Belgium Native –  has settled the bass spot for us. We have had about 6-7 bass players in the band over the years – like Spinal Tap drummers – so it’s been great working with him. His Euro style has been great for the band and his musicality and precision on the bas has really pushed the music in a better direction.  He added a lot to the latest record and is super solid live. Kiyo and I have been working together since we recorded our second record, Heart Attack, in 2011. We have a great working relationship as we are usually coming form the same place musically. It helps that he is a naturally gifted, effortless player. He can do thing on the guitar that I can only dream of. The sound of the band is really built around my melodies and his shredding so we’re two peas in a heavy metal pod.

Jason: How long did it take to film the “Rolling Thunder” Video and do you think there will be more videos for other songs off the new album: Black Divide?

Scott: It took about an afternoon, but all the rad footage of all the biker extras we had come out and most of the footage of us all riding the sidecar bike got corrupted so it wasn’t quite what we had hoped for. We definitely want to do a video for Black Divide, but I’m hoping to do something animated cause filming sucks and we’re not that good looking.

Jason: I was a little curious about the album title: Black Divide…Talk a little bit about the album title.

Scott: I wrote the majority of the Album right after my mother passed away unexpectedly. So, much like the lyrics in the song Black Divide, I felt like I was drifting untethered through space – Lost In The Black Divide – plus it sounded pretty Metal. Naming albums is always a pain for me so we typically  just pick record that would make a cool cover.

Jason: I read on the band’s official website that in 2017 the band returned with the new CD: Black Divide and recently went through some lineup changes. Did the lineup changes take place prior to the recording of the new CD or after it was recorded?

Scott: I had decided in 2016 to end the band. I had just lost a parent, the music was not coming together and we had a revolving door at bass. It became really unfun. The reason why I do this is because it is supposed to be fun. It wasn’t anymore. Part of that is certainly on me. After I called it quits, I talked to Kiyo about forming a new band, but we had all these half done, three quarters done songs kicking around. We decided to finish them up and since we had already booked studio time with Zack Ohren, we just asked some of Kiyo’s buddies to fill in and get the songs across the finish line in the studio thinking that we would use the recording to jump start a new band.

Warren Ryan played drums in the studio and Steve played bass. Once the record was done, we listened to it and said shit! This is a Space Vacation record! So we decided to revive the band with Steve on Bass and Eli on drums and since we already had a relationship with Pure Steel Records, it was easy to fast track everything.

Eli Lucas – Drums

Jason: Talk a little bit about the recent lineup changes…Why did the lineup changes take place and what can you tell us about the new guys in the band?

Scott: Things just were not  working. I was in a bad head space, Kiyo was getting burned out, Cubby Baumann, our long time drummer, had just got married and started a new business and the music was just taking a back seat to everyone’s life. We had not had a permanent bass player for over a year and rehearsals were not very productive.

More than anything else I was just not having fun.  We had been playing the same set live for almost 4 years. I wanted to write and get a new record out, but it just wasn’t happening.  Working with Eli again has been really energizing and Steve’s talent is hard to miss on the record. Plus he’s a chain smoking Euro so he’s like a throwback to the origins of metal! The band it the tightest we have ever been right now and getting on stage with these dudes has been a real treat for me.

Jason: I also read on the band’s site that you were influenced by early Def Leppard such as High N Dry. With that I have to ask you how you felt when Def Leppard went in more of a Pop/Commercial direction on albums such as HYSTERIA?

Scott: Not a fan of Hysteria, that album has not aged well at all! That said, I’m all for making loot and those dudes made some loot with that record. Can’t beat the straight up rock and roll of their first 3 records though. Plus they are one of the only bands in the metal tradition that can really pull off multiple live harmonies, which is something Space Vacation prides ourselves in. We may not be the fastest or most shreddy band, but I haven’t seen anyone else in the genre pull of 4 part harmonies live.

Jason: What can fans expect from Space Vacation for the rest of 2018?

Scott: We should have a video coming out mid-summer provided we can get it together. We have a California tour starting May 30th in Petaluma, CA supporting Anvil then headed to LA, San Diego, Anaheim and Oakland. We will be headlining the Redwood Metal Fest in Ukiah CA August 19th and are looking to do some Pacific Northwest Shows around that time as well. If it comes together we will be heading to Europe in the fall.

Jason: Is there an album in your collection Scott that you can point to and say that’s the album, that’s the band that played a major role in in me doing what I do today with Space Vacation?

Scott: Number of Beast, High and Dry, and Ace of Spades. We are pretty much an amalgam of those sounds.

Jason: How happy are you with the way the fans have reacted to Space Vacation so far?

Scott: I’m always psyched when people dig it. But in the end, like Lemmy said, you just raise your flag up and see who salutes. We’re probably not for everyone. We’re too metal for the rock crowd and to rock for the metal crowd. But that’s who we are. We have some great fans around the world and we would love to play for all of them.

Jason: What would you say is the greatest thing you’ve had the opportunity to experience because of being in the band?

Scott: 2 chicks at the same time! Just kidding, we play in a metal band! We played in New York and there were a big group of people I had never met before in the front row. They sang along to the whole set and knew all the words to the songs. That was pretty special. We also got to play with some super rad bands. We played with Cauldron, Skelator, Castle, Satan, Natur, Thor and lots of other bands that I’m a fan of. One of the coolest things that happened was that Ian Chains from Cauldron came up to us and quoted our song lyrics to us. We’re huge fans of theirs so that was a rad fan out moment.

Jason: Is there anything left that you’d like to say to all the Space Vacation fans out there Scott?

Scott: Thanks for letting me into your earholes!


Thank YOU Jason