~ Interview with Charles „Dark“ Hastert ~

Charles „Dark“ Hastert war die treibende Kraft hinter der Band STORMBRINGER, die mit ´Stealer Of Souls´ eines der großen Demos, mehr als das sogar, in den frühen 90ern veröffentlichten. Er schrieb alle Songs und Lyrics, spielte Gitarre, Backup-Vocals und etwas Percussion, produzierte und engineerte für die Band.

Kein Problem für den Tausendsassa, der 13 Instrumente spielt und singt, aber tragischer Weise vor kurzem seine große Liebe verlor und am Lou-Gehrig-Syndrom (ALS) leidet. Gerade deshalb war uns das Interview mit Charles „Dark“ Hastert eine große Freude und Ehre zugleich:

Charles, STORMBRINGER was founded back in 1992, right?

The STORMBRINGER band was formed in the late 80’s sometime. Don’t remember the exact year … i think STORMBRINGER was founded in 1990.

Can you tell us something about the first line-up of the band?

The original line-up was a three piece band. Leonard Brauchler, myself and Joe Starkovitch (from Iron Butterfly/Captain Beyond), whom is my cousin. We were also the first line-up on the ten-song-tape.

Greg Eichelberger joined at a later date and only played on the three-song-ep. Pete Alvarez was my real placement, when I left to do the DARKER-stuff. After that Leonard, Greg, Frank, Donny and Pete became KILLTRAIN. I moved on to do DARKER with Gus Mesa and Paul Killkinney. The DARKER material was released on ‚Sinister Soundz‘.

Did the entire band come from Rockford?

None of us were from Rockford. The label was. We got signed out of Rockford to the ‚Alchemy’-label, but never were from or ever play in Rockford. We are from Joliet.

You play a lot of instruments, guess 13 in total. How in the world were you able to learn so many?

I learned to play piano first, then guitar, bass and drums came later. Strings and Reed’s followed, mouth harp was in jail …

Has there been a real rock/metal scene at that time around Rockford where your label was located?

Not sure about the Rockford scene, but Chicago had it’s no coast thing going on. We were local heros and bands like DISTURBED opened for us.

Who composed the first songs and how?

The first few songs were composed by me writing songs on the guitar, combined with lyrics and I had to wait for Leonard to get out of jail, so we could add the vocal tracks on the mix.

We recorded the ten-song-self release. There was also a three-song-demo. The three-song ´Tales Of The White Wolf´-Ep and ´Stealer Of Souls´, the ten song release, both of which were released through ‚Alchemy Records‘, a sub of Warner Brothers.

The only STORMBRINGER-CD that Greg, Frank and Pete were ever a part of was the three-song-Ep, ´Tales Of The White Wolf´. But at that time I had left and was a writer member. The rest of the guys became, as i told, the band KILLTRAIN, they became alternative rock, I stuck in an old school metal genre and started the band DARKER.

I tried to express through the music every aspect of the saga and every note or beat became a tool. For Example, the solos became the voice of the blade, cymbals were hit closer to the center making it sound more like swordplay. At the same time, I tried to keep the verses as close to the actual literature as possible. Then there were the duality and hidden things like making STORMBRINGER become a band in our plane of existence, so that STORMBRINGER could feed off the souls of the listener. Life imitating art, imitating life.. Hope that makes sense.

Was ‚Stealer Of Souls‘ your first recording?

I had many tapes of various songs written, but ´Stealer Of Souls´ was the first studio effort for STORMBRINGER.

Did REDD BARRON already exist before STORMBRINGER?

REDD BARRON was a band that Greg, Frank and Pete were in before they left that to do STORMBRINGER. Greg and Frank came first, then Pete came later, when I left to form DARKER. Don’t know much about the REDD BARRON-band, other than it was formed and started by my highschool friend Lee Finikle, whom left that band when he and his family moved to Florida. Greg and Frank and Pete were a part of that project, Leonard and I were not.

Are there some unreleased STORMBRINGER songs left?

As far as STORMBRINGER goes I have two studio and one live-album I have never released. Which are ´Seas Of Fate´ and ´Ultraviolent´ and ´Vanishing Tower´. They are various line-ups, but all contain Leonard and I. And I probably have another 100 plus STORMBRINGER-songs I never did anything with.

I think it should, just was too busy with other projects at the time to mess with it. I could release it now, but would only want to do it with a band together to tour it.

Are you planing to bring the band together again?

As far as bringing everyone together again, Greg and I talked about it, but that’s as far as it went.