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In Words: Cage

- Sean Peck - June 2001 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Sean Peck - July 2007 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Sean Peck @ W.O.A. 2001
©Claudia Ehrhardt

Sean Peck - July 2007 (by email) -

San Diego-based band Cage is around for several years, but it's been awhile since their Darker Than Black album was released. Now 4 years later they return with Hell Destroyer. Time to talk to singer Sean Peck again.

In 2003 you presented Darker Than Black. Are you still satisfied with the result? Or would you like to change things?

First of all sorry for taking so long, I appreciate you waiting so long we have been busy shooting videos and actually writing the next CD already. As far as Darker Than Black goes we are very happy and I can only think of one thing I would have liked to change and that was some of the vocal effects on Wings Of Destruction. Everything is killer on it, but the time was running short and that was one of the last songs we mixed so it got rushed a little. I think you are the only one I ever told that to!

Why did it take 4 years to present Hell Destroyer? What happened in the meantime?

Well, the Hell Destroyer CD has so much music it is like we did 2 CDs worth of music. Several of the songs we re-wrote and a song like Christhammer we re-did over like 10 different ways until we ended up with the final composition. We also had to face Massacre Records in court, so we could be free of their complete ineptitude. The results speak for themselves and all I can say is that the new CD will be out late 2008!

With Hell Destroyer you tell a fictional story, even if based partly on the bible.... Even if Astrology wasn't a conceptual album the songs are linked. Was it more difficult this time to write the music?

Yes, a concept has to tell the story and the music has to flow from song to song on the disc, so it is very tricky. We really had it good as everything ended up flowing perfectly together. There was a lot of research involved and we knew we had to really tap into the metal to continue our run of topping each album. I wondered how it would all turn out and now we all know!

A huge story with different elements... like conspiracy theories, etc. How challenging was it to write the story and cover it with the lyrics?

Well, not only covering 2200 years of a timeline and covering all the different parts including years after the end of days was an immense story to tell. There is a lot to the story that was not even told yet that will be released on our upcoming The challenge was writing a good story. Forrest Butler, the artist who did the interior, worked with me for several months and we had the entire thing story boarded for a comic book. We ran out of time as we only got 14 or so images, but maybe one day we will do the whole book. The story has like 3 off shoots to it and we were really putting some killer comic book ideas together as we wrote the thing. So far we have gotten a lot of praise on the whole story line.

How much 'research' did you do for the story?

I did a lot of research as I have done for all of our CDs. It was cool, because a lot of revelations shows and documentaries were running along side the daVinci Code movie and such. I also listen to a very popular radio show that talks UFO's and religious conspiracy and ancient manuscript stuff, so I fed off of all of it as well as reading Revelations and other chapters of the Bible which I had not done before. I have definitely become a more spiritual person over the last 5 years and that helped in the writing as well.

In the story you talk about a New World Order. A topic which is been use a few times and there are several groups / secret societies who had the idea of a New Word Order. On which group / idea is yours based?

Well, the Bohemian Grove is the obvious reference to this and for people that don't know what it is they can go to and trip out, because it will freak people out the history behind this place. It is basically the meeting place for the Illuminati, if there is one that actually exists. This along with the rise of the Antichrist is rooted very much in reality as I refer to bio chips and RFID technology that has big brother creeping in all the time. The Hell Destroyer's assault on Hell City and satans assault on Earth during Legion Of The Demons is where my comic book influences appear.

About the spoken word parts... You kept them short, many bands make the mistake to do too long 'speeches'. Was it difficult to keep it short?

Most people think ours are too long ha! No, I knew that they had to be brief and get the meaning across quick. My wife hates that shit and cringes when they come on, so they probably would have been longer, if not for her. We recorded them and did not know, if we would use all of them or release a special version, but then we decided to throw everything on for maximum fan value. It all barely fit on one disc.

The booklet has beside the lyrics also some notes - and some images. Who did the sketches?

Forrest Butler. It was killer working with him as we like all the same stuff. He is a black guy who loves hip hop, but eventually became a huge Cage fan as we wrote the story. I love his art style as it looks bad ass where some comic art looks too cartoony. He is working on several other projects now. The extra text was important as it really clarified everything in the story and gave a real value to buy the CD and not bootleg it.

You are a comic fan - I heard... Have you ever thought about presenting the story in form of a comic? I know that's all about money, but... Wouldn't it be cool?

That was the original idea, but we ran out of time and marketing and packaging it was totally unconventional. Maybe next time, but I am currently shopping the movie and graphic novel rights.

Or a kind of animated video clip for some song?

My plans for some computer animation may one day see the light, but yes, you are thinking right up my alley. I wanted the HD destroying some buildings in our video.

With King Diamond you recorded a homage to the Danish singer. Did you get any reaction from him?

Not yet, but I just got his address and am sending him the song. I would assume he would dig it, but I can tell you his fans do. We introduce it like "How many people know about King Diamond out there?" and the people go nuts. They sing along with the chorus and just rock. I think he should cover it on his next record.

Have you ever thought about asking him for a guest appearance?

My next CD idea has a lot of that included, but I don't know, if I will get permission to do what my grand scheme is supposed to comprise. But yes, the King would be invited to the party.

Somewhere you mentioned as one of your influences Savatage and you also played with them some shows. Ever thought about a cooperation with one of the guys?

Criss Oliva was the essence of Savatage, so I think when he passed the heart and soul of the band went with him. We played with them and Nevermore on 9/10 right before the terror attacks which is a show I will never forget. I got to meet Criss just a few months before he died.

I know you played a lot on the States and also Mexico... Is there anything planned in Europe?

Yes, the latest will be April 2008, but our new booking agent will be working on some other stuff. We are deadly live right now and I will put our live performance up against anybody's right now!

Btw, how was playing in Mexico at the Mägo de Oz fest?

That was probably our biggest show ever! They had huge crowds in sports arenas and it was sick! We had the full light show and we made the most of it. The Mexican fans are really the best and they love Cage style heavy metal. After both shows we went into the crowd and met the fans signing autographs and taking photos for 3 hours or more. We were the only band that did that and to me it is the best part of the whole experience.

On Darker Than Black you had Chupacabra - a song with Spanish lyrics. Can we expect something like that again?

Yes, I am working on 2 other songs in Spanish now and the bonus track Skinned Alive that has not been released yet, was going to be a Rammstein style song all in German, but my guitarist voted it down. Next time I won't listen to him.

With Forces Of Freedom you made a song about 9/11... But you also don't want to mix metal and politics... Anyway, I have to ask... The war in Iraq is still going on and these days there is a lot talk about mismanagement. I think you have an opinion about that... Can we expect some kind of statement about this on a future release? Perhaps kinda hidden in a story...

Not hidden in a story, but I believe we should continue to pound them over there mercilessly. There is a lot of historical lessons that have already been learned that those radicals understand nothing but brute force. Anyone who talks mismanagement is just a victim of the left wing media trying to defeat the American forces from subverting us from within, because no military force can. The situation has no easy answer and if we withdraw it will be a massive humanitarian holocaust. I sleep much better at night knowing the Iraqi people are free from a madman who had public executions and threw people from buildings. The attempt by Bush to transform the region by implementing freedom and capitalism is a very bold attempt that hopefully in 20 years time will have worked in changing the minds of a bunch of oil rich countries that have all of their people living in poverty. The thing I love about George Bush is, he doesn't give a shit what people think of him. He just does what he thinks is best for America. He still got re-elected when his popularity was super low. There is no popular answer and no one likes war, but if 9/11 didn't happen we wouldn't be in there. They are lucky Reagan wasn't president or the whole place would have been nuked, because he was the most heavy metal president ever! There you got me to say some political stuff, but I won't write it in the songs or preach it on stage. Half the people will agree with you and half will hate your guts. I am just asking for people to give war a chance. Fight for peace and remember violence solves everything unfortunately.

Somewhere I read that you think European metal bands often sound too happy - and I partly agree -, but bands like Evergrey, Children Of Bodom and In Flames aren't sounding happy... Do you think the European metal scene changed a bit lately?

Yes, I dig all of those bands. Children Of Bodom is really popular over here with the kids. The power metal is really hard for me to find a band that I like the whole album. Music is all personal taste so there is no right or wrong answer, but I think there always is something missing. I have almost all of the new CDs that come out constantly searching for something killer. But either they rip and there are no memorable songs or the singer doesn't have it or it's too happy or something. I liked the Beyond Fear stuff that was one of the last CDs that I come back to still.

It seems that there are always new bands from certain parts of Europe and the US, but what do you think is the reason that we rarely hear from bands from e.g. Brazil, Mexico or European countries like Poland or Czech Republic?

I can tell you there are a ton of killer musicians in Mexico! Those other regions are I am sure filled with talent, but the music business is the hardest profession in the world. It is easier to be a brain surgeon than make a good living at this so good luck to everyone no matter where they are from.

When you come on tour, I guess you won't play the whole album... But have you thought about doing some special show to present the album in it's wholeness and record it for a DVD?

Yes, a lot of that is being tossed around now so keep your ears and eyes open.

I remember that you talked about a DVD when Darker Than Black came out - and I haven't seen anything yet. Did I missed it totally? Or did the DVD never get out?

It is coming out first on itunes and then as a hard copy this fall! It has mostly Astrology stuff, but another one is being worked on now!

Can you tell us a bit about the coming Live In Switzerland DVD? What can fans expect from this DVD?

Well, like I said it is mostly Astrology stuff, but it has Kill The Devil and a cover of Savatage's Dungeons Are Calling.

Different topic.... You wanted to build up your own studio... Is your studio finished? Have you already worked their with bands?

Wow, you really remember a lot of details and no, it is not unfortunately. It has been a small nightmare of plan changes and details, but it will be killer when it is done!

Any newcomer bands you would like to recommend? Perhaps someone you worked with... Or will work with...

Well, new bands Audkik is Dave Garcia's sons band who is getting huge down here. They are kind of a Pantera vibe... Super heavy with a groove. They have really cool songs though so check them out. Thanks to all and check us out every week for updates on and Thanks so much and sorry it took so long. This was one of the best interviews I have had!


I think I have to thank Sean for answering my questions and I think it was worth waiting a bit. ;)
Hopefully they get the chance to tour more and perhaps we can talk face-to-face next time. Meanwhile listen again to Hell Destroyer!

Claudia Ehrhardt

Sean Peck (by email) - June 2001


The American band released two great albums and played at the Dynamo two years ago. Now they returning for Wacken open-air. A good reason to talk (okay, this was done by email...) with singer Sean!

Please tell a little bit about the history of the band and why you named the band Cage!

We began in late 1992 as 2 of San Diego's top metal bands Crusher and Nomad basically broke up to form Cage. Sometimes I think if we would have released some of the Nomad stuff over in Europe back then we probably would be huge now. Everything happens for a reason and now we find ourselves legitimizing classic heavy metal for many people. The name came from our first drummer and it just sounded metal and mean so we trademarked because we knew many would try to take it.

For your debut Unveiled you got good reviews. After the release we haven't heard much about Cage here in Europe. What happened?

We passed on a couple of tours due to activities here in the states and recorded Astrology. Now we are coming there and there will be much more heard of us from now on I promise you!

With Astrology you released a follow-up which is in my opinion a step forward for the band. The songs are catchy. Was it planned or more a natural progression?

The addition of our new drummer Mikey Niel allowed us to take off the restraints that held us back somewhat on Unveiled. So many people loved Unveiled though so we have no complaints. It still is selling well 3 years later. We planned to have an upgrade in musicianship and singing as well, but maintain that heavy mainstream sound that is catchy yet interesting at the same time.

How do you write songs? Is it team work? Or does someone comes up with a finished song?

There almost never is a finished song. We all collaborate and maybe someone will have a riff or I will have a vocal melody that we use as a foundation. Many times I will have to hum or sing the guitar riff that is in my head and get Dave to play it just like I am mentally hearing it. I heard Ozzy does that a lot.

Is there first the music? Or do you some­times got inspired by the lyrics?

I come up with a lyric but almost always I will have a melody with it. Like Dancing Around The Fire was being song before there was any music. The Astrology CD has songs that I sung that the band hadn't heard the final vocals until the studio. I don't recommend that though.

Lyrics.... You don't have the typical metal cliché lyrics. Astrology is a kind of conceptual album. Every song tells a story, but is linked to a zodiac. How do you chose the songs for every zodiac?

Initially we had an entire concept based on the song the Astrologicon. But I abandoned that idea and used the Astrology theme where each song embodies the characteristics over the corresponding sign. Our website will soon have the secrets revealed on the linkage of themes and signs. I thought in one way the Astrology theme was cliché, but no one ever fully addressed it in a metal CD and now it is done. The coming of the millennium had many seeking answers and it seemed a natural. Also the night we first started recording was May, 5th 2000 the day all of the planets were in a line in the solar system. Wild isn't it?

Please tell a little bit about the lyrics! I picked a few songs which I think have an interesting background.
Fountain of Youth: genetic technology.... What inspired you to write about this topic?

I was always interested in cloning, gene therapy, stem-cells and the mapping of the genome to eradicate disease and it seemed perfect for a song. I like to look to the attainable future and educate the listener without boring them. This song is one of my favorites.

What's the story behind Victim Of Society and Soul & Flesh?

Victim was supposed to be on the 1st CD, but we actually forgot to record it. I am a bit of a politician and follow American politics very closely. This was about the lack of responsibility for personal actions vibe that is overtaking the USA. The feel-good liberalism where we can't say the truth about something for fear of offending someone or hurting there feelings. You know political correctness. Souls And Flesh is probably my favorite of the CD. I wrote about my fiancee whom I had just started a relationship with. It is about finding your soulmate and the emptiness of todays disconnected internet society. Looking for a date on the web, is so cold and sterile. It also had otherworldly implications because I feel my dead grandmother helped me meet her from beyond. My grandmother's name was Pauline and my fiancee's is Paulina among other bizarre coincidences.

Root Of All Evil has a very complex story. Somewhere I read that it's about the Illuminate... more or less. And that the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA is a private bank owned by this secret society. Is it right that George Bush is a member of the free-mansions lodge? And how does all this get together as a story?

I started reading a conspiracy book about the Federal Reserve and then saw an underground video about it and it was amazing. I also thought what metal band would ever write a song about it less one that anyone could get the story out, not confuse, and still have a hook. The Root Of All Evil sounded perfect.

There is a dissertation of a professor of Harvard University which tries to proof that the decline of metal music / the metal society is caused by the Clinton administration. What do you think about that? Do you think that there will be a change with George W. Bush as president?

I still have that exact article cut out. That is cool you refer to that, because it is absolutely true. I think RockHard magazine in Germany used it as the title of our latest article. Grunge and negative message music was the exact opposite of metals vibe in America. Now that Bush is in metal is getting big again here, it is no coincidence. Metal music invokes a different emotion than other types of music. That is why I love it because of how it makes me feel, confident, powerful yet not angry, fun and happy yet with aggression and energy. The alternative, grunge message of Kurt Cobains generation is now thankfully lost for­ever. Just watch how there will be no 90's only radio stations in the future because most of the music was shit.

At the moment Cincinnati is in a state of emergency after a young black man got killed by a police officer a few days ago. What do you think is the reason that even in the 21st century there is a class destinction (black vs. white) which now leads into a class war?

The liberals would love it to be that way as they constantly pit one class verses another by various social programs that exclude. There will always be prejudices because people are different. Until aliens are known to all, man will always be at war and differences will keep walls between races.

Another thing which caused negative headlines for the USA again and again is that kids run amuck. What do you think it the reason for that? Is the "one man, one gun" law a part of the problem?

Those problems are sensationalized and there is no way you can ever legislate to protect against an act of madness. Back 20 years ago you could spank your kids at home or in school and respect was gained by the children. Now they fear nothing and respect not even life. Now spanking is con­sidered child abuse and we medicate children instead of disciplining them. But that is a topic for a song on our next CD!

Echelon.... "e;...big brother hearing what you say..." It's about satellite sur­veillance... What do you think about that? Do you think one day we will have the situation George Orwell des­cribed in his novel?

We now have stop lights that take a picture and send you a ticket in the mail. We are moving closer and closer to that reality as freedom and tolerance becomes but a flickering light in the power hungry wake of the consumer. Echelon is all over the news now here. The samples I used were from the senate hearings on it and those are the voices of the heads of the NSA (National Security Agency - the editor) and CIA. Now what other metal band gives you that?

During the last months in many countries the TV show "Big Brother" started. What do you think about it? Would you go into one of the "Big Brother" houses?

Maybe for the fame it would give the band, but I am bored by the reality TV shows.

In Europe you just played at the Dynamo festival. Unfortunately I missed you there.... Did the show fulfilled your expectations?

Oh yes it did. We had a great set and a great vacation. We were in the tent stage and it rained right when we played, the only time it rained the whole time there. The Gods truly shined on us as the always seem to. I had just broken my pelvis and had 6 Titanium rods planted in me so it was a challenge for me. I am now truly a man of metal.

Now you'll return to play at the Wacken open-air. What can we expect live from Cage?

Cage is best experienced live for some reason. I think we have made 2 great CDs but everyone says we are so much better live, which is like the great metal bands of our era have been. We hope to see you there.

And what do you expect from your 2nd trip to Europe?

An explosion in Cage popularity! We need to tour to really achieve our lofty goals of success.

Are there any plans to come over to tour Europe?

We are playing 6 shows including the Wacken so this will be our first mini tour. Then next year, every­where in Europe.

As far as I know you had the chance to play in the States some shows... You opened for some well known bands. Just single shows or could you tour with them?

Judas Priest twice, Iron Maiden, Dio, we have played with all of the classics except the scorpions and Ozzy. Those would finish the list off.

Any of these bands you would like to tour with?

Priest or Maiden of course. Halford or even WASP would be cool. We are working on some stuff now.

You also recorded some cover tunes for tribute albums. For a Judas Priest tribute you recorded Freewheel Burning and for a Savatage tribute The Dungeons Are Calling. Why do you chose this songs? Are these bands main influences for you?

They are definitely influences. Freewheel Burning was one of the most challenging songs from Priest so we wanted the challenge. Dungeons came out great, but I wanted to do Sirens. I love that song.

Have you already started writing new material? When can we expect a new album? Will it be a kind of conceptual album like Astrology?

It won't be a concept. The direction is for a darker theme this time. We have 6 or 7 songs written and will probably play a new one called Kill The Devil at the Wacken to test it out. The direction will be more uptempo songs and some more high falsetto screaming like the beginning of Shoot To Kill. This new CD must be one of history's all-time greatest metal records. That is my goal, so we will have more anthem style hooks than on Astrology. We are excited. People who have heard the new stuff are freaking. The expectations are high so we are working hard.
Your questions were some of the best I have ever answered. Thanks for your patience and support. Hope you say 'hi' to us at the Wacken!

Sean Peck (Vocals)

Claudia Ehrhardt


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