As many will be aware the legendary Mr Duncan Hall will soon be retiring from Axe duties within Mark Of Decay, and although we are sad to be saying farewell, it is with great excitement and enthusiasm that we introduce our guesting lead string plucker, the equally legendary, formidable and notorious Mr Alex Lewis.
We sat down with Alex to ask him about his influences and what inspired him to throw his hat in the ring when the call came:
So, many will know you as the vocalist for Prolapse A.D. and previously one of the guitarists for Inner Fire, are there any bands you were in prior to that?
I was a singer/guitar player in a Nirvana covers band at school called Splinter. I then joined Advance Directive as lead guitarist when I left school and we released an EP it was mainly metalcore heavily influenced by the likes of Shadows Fall and All That Remains.
When that fell apart I started Inner Fire. Originally, I was supposed to audition for Cliff's band but they broke up before I could. So then Cliff auditioned for me with Inner Fire
So would you still rank Shadows Fall and All That Remains as two of your influences? And what other bands have influenced you since then?
I'd say my biggest influences chronologically have been Led Zeppelin and Guns And Roses. My Dad used to play them in the car when I was a kid. As an intro to hard rock it doesn't get much better.
I moved on to grunge and was a massive Nirvana and Soundgarden fan for a long time. The vocals really appealed to me and the song writing was great. It was after that that I really got turned onto metal and I listened to a lot of Korn and Amen. There was something very cathartic about both of those bands even though they sounded very different they were both absolutely vitriolic in their vocal delivery.
From there I kinda went back in time and started listening to bands like Megadeth and Slayer. For me Megadeth are my favourite band, once I got hold of Peace Sells and Rust in Peace that was it.. I wanted to play guitar like Dave. The thrash bands were all about the riff and the speed and whilst there were also great songs it wasn't about the vocal "hook".
That was the first time the vocal really took a back seat for me and I was more interested in the musicians and the complexity.
My next big influence was a total fluke, I saw the video for Tool's Parabol/Parabola on Kerrang really late at night and it absolutely floored me. The odd time signatures, epic arrangements, dynamics and musicianship was just astonishing. In turn I then got into more "prog" bands like Mastodon, A Perfect Circle, and a bit later Nevermore.
There are so many other bands I listened to that have had an influence. I try to take in a broad spectrum but mainly in metal whether that's Death (Carcass, Death, Entombed) Melodeath (Arch Enemy, In Flames) Metalcore (Killswitch, Shadows Fall) Prog (Dream Theater, Opeth) Blues (Joe Bonamassa, The Doors) Punk (The Gallows, Iggy and the stooges) Stoner (kyuss and QOTSA) the list goes on. I try to take the best parts of all these bands and create something that is my own sometimes it succeeds sometimes it doesn't.
All I can really say is I try to keep an open mind to music and I will always give a band a fair shot before I judge them. I reckon that's pretty good advice in life too."
You were the first in the bands immediate friend group to throw your name in the hat when they broke the news of Duncan moving on. Other than your previous history with Cliff and Tom in Inner Fire was there a specific reason you wanted to contribute to Mark Of Decay?
"The simple answer - Great people, great tunes!
The long answer - the first time I saw them at the Lady Luck I knew the guys had something. All the songs were catchy, but also brooding and menacing. Cliffs vocal was so much stronger and Tom was holding it all together with precision. Plus Duncan and Jack obviously had a great back and forth Chemistry. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of something like that?"